Thursday, 12 July 2012

New in from NEOM: Inspiration and Complete Bliss (what a title)

A couple of new things from NEOM landed on my doormat recently (actually, I'm lying. A delivery man asked to be buzzed in and then he handed them to me, you know how it goes. But that ruins my metaphor). NEOM have launching a new hand cream and body cream in their Inspiration and Complete Bliss scents, and I was offered the chance to give them a try. Given how much I liked NEOM's body products (against my will, body products aren't usually my bag!) last time, I was kind of excited this time as NEOM impress me more and more with each product I try.

Inspiration by NEOM is simultaneously what I expected and not what I expected, in a funny way. It has notes of violet, chamomile and cedar wood, and when offered the choice, I jumped at this one because I LOVE violets. And because Kiwi doesn't. He truly hates them, from a perfume I lust over (Guerlain Insolence) to the Parma Violet sweets.

So anyway, before I get off-topic with how my boyfriend pulls faces when I smell like violets in his presence, I love the Inspiration fragrance blend. It's the first NEOM blend I've had true success with; I've actively disliked one, liked another (see here) and loved this one. It's sweetly, lightly floral with this warm spiciness coming through, which cuts through and stops it being too sweet. In short, it's kind of lovely.

But you can see where I'm coming from - I expected it to smell like violets, and it did. But I also expected it to kick me in the olfactories with something else, and it did.

The hand cream is actually, hand-on-heart-scouts-honour wonderful. I have eczema on my hands, so usually I have an eel's grip on things while my hands soak in greasy ointments. You can see, then, why I don't really like hand cream - because I don't like having slippery hands anymore than normal. This cream, however, is something I loved. It was thick and rich-smelling and not oily or unctuous, but sank in right away and YAY. Too long, didn't read? Basically, I was really happy with this. I probably wouldn't have dared try it otherwise as it's pretty pricey, but this one is something I'm going to use and love.

The body cream comes in a reassuringly weighty glass jar, and it's huge. Unlike the lotion I posted about last time, this is more of a thick body butter that contains almond oil and cocoa bean. The scent is there, but unobtrusive, and it feels nourishing on the skin. I prefer thicker creams to lotions, mainly because I feel like the thick texture is going to do something instead of being runny and greasy and flaily. Like I said, I'm not a huge fan of body products and it takes me ages to get into slathering them on, however, so you ARE then you might love this, because the quality is reassuring and the scent is subtle and expert.

As a side note, Fee from Makeup Savvy reported that Harper's Bazaar will be having these very hand creams as freebies with their August edition - and seeing as they retail at £20, it sounds like something you shouldn't miss if you want a chance to try them out!

* PR Samples.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Deliver Shimmer - Illamasqua Generation Q Launch.

It's not unusual (ooh, hello Tom Jones, how did you get in here?!) for an Illamasqua launch to evoke a story or ethos behind the thinking, like a breadcrumb trail of the thought processes that went into the colour selections and textures and how it all came to be. This collection was slightly different, in that it came with a mission for us, as stated by David Horne:

'Deliver shimmer.'

It probably doesn't make much sense out of context. But then, neither does shimmer on mature skins, or glittery black nail polish on a septuagenarian, according to the usual makeup counter context, who recommend people of older ages 'play it safe' after reaching what is termed as a 'certain age'.

Recently, Illamasqua launched their Beauty before Age campaign, as a reminder that everyone of all ages can and should wear makeup, that black eyeliner isn't just for young girls and matte eyeshadow only for the older generations. Their aim was to throw a big one-fingered salute in the face of social thought, the makeup counters with fussy women telling you that you can't wear purple eyeshadow when you're 80, and the thought that when it comes down to it, you're as young as you feel.

Generation Q, then, will launch in September, and is for you, your mum and her mum - and anyone else that might want to join in (personally I can't see my dad in purple lipgloss, but if yours would then more power to him!) It isn't the typical collection from Illamasqua in that there's the usual selection of brights, but it's less raucous than usual - so for those of you who aren't so keen on the weird and wonderful colours Illamasqua releases - this is your moment. In fact, it's a beautiful selection of well-considered colours, hues for every age, skin and esprit de vivre - corals, dusty brick reds, purples, a rainbow beige (you'll know when you see it).


At the launch, we were privileged enough to meet Evelyn, a seventy-something-and-proud-of-it and the face of the new campaign. She was proudly sporting some bright magenta lipstick and black glittery nail polish and *gasp* shimmer, and she talked to us about what the campaign meant to her. Illamasqua's new collection is emotive and thought through, just a riot of colour for all generations and sexes and proof that beauty doesn't need to involve a blue rinse and minimal makeup once you hit a certain age - and for that, I loved this launch.

My personal picks for the collection? I'd actually wear it all. You'll probably never hear me say that again. However - under the premise of helping you out for when September the 6th comes…

Shown here: Complement palette, Boost and Opulent lipglosses.
Sophie blush - Illamasqua have brought out another shimmer blush, and this one is a beautiful bright coral. It's soft and rich and very high on my list.  

Magnetism lipstick - a rich, opulent deep raspberry red. I can't wait to get this one!  

Creator nail polish - a jet black shot through with shimmering gold. I loved this and the way it was executed. So simple, yet so well done.  

Wisdom Precision Ink - an antiqued gold liquid eyeliner. It twinkles and is basically gorgeous, and wears FOREVER. This was still on when I went to take a shower about 20 hours after I'd applied to my wrist. I'll be posting a review/look/THING of this soon, and it's really hard to capture how pretty this is, seeing as I took about 200 shots.

Shown here: Empower palette, Magnetism and Underworld lipsticks.
Aurora cream highlighter, Sophie blush and Allure blush.
There are also two fantastic-looking palettes being released with this collection, one called Complement and one called Empower, which feature new Liquid Metals and Pure Pigments that have been pressed into a pan. There's two lip glosses - one bright fuchsia, and one… rainbow beige, which looks nothingy until you suddenly catch sight of the way in which it twinkles and transforms over different colours. There's a reformulated highlighter in a compact, and basically, it's all flawlessly done.

I got the feeling from this launch that Illamasqua's team genuinely couldn't wait any longer to release the news of their new collection, which doesn't launch until September. They were positively gleeful and grinning with pride at the launch and it was kind of infectious. The launch and new collection gave me that warm feeling in the pit of my belly from start to finish - it was a beautiful launch and this is going to be an amazing collection.  As a final thought, and not to sound too pretentious - the whole collection reminded me of this poem I read when I was still in school:

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple

with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.

- Jenny Joseph.

I think that poem about sums it up.

What do you think of what you've seen so far? Tantalised yet?


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