Superdrug MUA Lipgloss Shade 4: Cheap and Awesome!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Superdrug MUA (the MUA stands for Makeup Artist) is a line of makeup launched by Superdrug, the eponymous drugstore line. The main attraction of the makeup line is that all its items are just £1. Yup, everything is just a quid! Of course, this means that there are hits and misses - some items are great, some are not so good. Here's one that I think is fantastic.

Introducing the Superdrug MUA Lipgloss in Shade 4. I picked up this little gloss when I stepped into Superdrug for a quick browse and got tempted. The Superdrug MUA line actually has two ranges of lipgloss, both called Lipgloss, but the colours in each line are different. The packaging is also different - one of the glosses comes in a squeeze tube, the other one, which I bought, comes in a hard plastic tube with a wand applicator.

Here's the gloss that I bought. I wasn't impressed by the other shades I swatched, but I did like Shade 4. so I ended up buying it!

Superdrug MUA Lipgloss

Here's a swatch of the gloss. Unlike the other glosses, which were just very sheer and glitter-laden, Shade 4 actually is a colour I really like. It's a deep rosy pink with fine gold shimmer. Very wearable, and very flattering on almost all skintones! Pigmentation was also very good, unlike the rest of the Superdrug MUA lipglosses. As you can see, my skin doesn't even show through.

superdrug mua lipgloss 4 swatch

And here's a swatch of it on my lips. The gold shimmer doesn't really show up on my lips, but it imparts some subtlety of colour that I really like. It would be suitable even for work.

superdrug mua lipgloss 4 lip

So that's my cheap and awesome find of the day! I certainy hope I'll be finding more gems like this!

Bright Summery Teal Eye Look on the Cheap!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Summer is coming soon, and in light of that I've decided to do an aquatic teal eye look, inspired by the brights and shimmers of the season! Yes, I'm wearing teal eyeshadow! What has the world come to?

I gave my awesomely cheap Love Alpha eyeshadow palettes a whirl for this look, just to see how the colours would hold up on my eye. I got these from KKCenterHK, and the colours were just begging to be used!

Here's a shot of the palette, so you can see which of the shades I used for my EOTD (Eye of the Day). As you can see, for this look, it was all about the teal-green shades!

teal eotd love alpha summer gradually compact 03

And here's the final eye look. Somehow on me, the teal colours pulled a little more green. Well, it's not a bad thing, and the colour's still stunning. And still pretty summery!

Bright Summery Teal Eye Look

The two teal shades I used were rather close together, although one looks significantly darker in the pan. I used the darker teal shade on my contour area and at the outer corner, while the lighter teal shade was used on the lid. They are pretty similar, except that the darker teal shade is a smidgen darker, is more green, and has more gold shimmer.

teal eotd love alpha palette 1

As with my previous post on the Love Alpha eyeshadow palettes, in order for these to look their best, care must be used when applying the eyeshadows. A sticky base of some sort is definitely needed, and it's also a good idea to dab or pat the eyeshadow on with a brush, rather than swiping it across the lid with sweeping motions, as most of us are usually prone to do. This allows the glitter to really "stick" to the eyelid, and build up pigmentation on the eye.

teal eotd love alpha palette 2

I love how it looks, but to be honest, I don't think I'd wear this very often, or even somewhat often, because teal eyeshadow is stretching my comfort zone a little. But if you are looking for a cheap palette that has some kickass teal shades, and you can work with glitter-laden eyeshadows, this one would be definitely something you could check out.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

MAC Select Cover-Up Concealer: Stuff I'm Using Up!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just look at this, guys! Have you ever seen a concealer tube quite so empty? Well, this is exactly how my tube of MAC Select Cover-Up Concealer in NC20 looks right now, all 10ml of it! I can't believe it, but I'm actually using up some of my makeup! Well, okay, some is an oversstatement, because I have so much makeup I probably have enough for my daughters and my grand-daughters and their grand-daughters. But hey, I'm using up something! And it counts, right? Right?

My concealer shade in MAC is NC20, so this Select Cover-Up tube you're looking at is also in the NC20 shade.

MAC Select Cover up Concealer

I thought I'd do a couple of swatches of this concealer for anyone who might be wondering if they are NC20 too. NC20, from what I know, is one of the more "common" shades MAC sells, in that its one of the shades people seem to buy more.

mac select cover up concealer NC20 swatch

I know what you're thinking: What's so special about this Select Cover-Up Concealer that led me to actually finish up a tube of it? Well, to be honest, I was just trying to use it up. I personally think it's good, although not that great, and it seemed to match and blend into my skin, so I just kept using it until the tube was all flattened out.

The good thing about this concealer is that it covers reasonably well for a liquid concealer. I'd call it light-to-medium coverage. And when it goes on your skin, it doesn't feel oily or heavy, and when it's dried and blended in, it doesn't look oily or shiny. It also blends pretty well without looking cakey. So it's good for anyone looking for a liquid concealer that doesn't feel too heavy.

The downside? MAC claims that this is a "moisturizing" concealer, but I don't really find that to be the case. In fact, if you have dry skin, this can really sink into fine lines and wrinkles, so it should be avoided. To be fair, though, I didn't find it drying, but I didn't feel like it moisturized, either.

Would I rebuy this? I'm still on the fence about it. On one hand, I don't mind using it, and the fact that I managed to use up a tube shows that I did quite like it while I had it. On the other hand, though, I'm itching to try out something new. I guess it'll just boil down to whether anything else catches my eye the next time I go concealer shopping, LOL!

Beauty Blog Link Love

Saturday, March 26, 2011

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Miss Beauty Nerd dishes on Asia's hottest and most coveted product - BB Creams!!

Jellyminx shares a Jessie J inspired makeup tutorial.

K from Beautifully Addicted To gives us a look at ELF Mineral Glosses.

Anita over at Pleasureflush sorts through her stash of mascaras to find out which ones are keepers and which ones are heading for the bin!

Fee at Makeup Savvy takes on this year's Spring/Summer key fashion trends with a series of inspired nail art tutorials!

Phyrra's Indie Spotlight for March is Epically Epic Soap Co. Learn all about Allison!

Getting downright Dirty with LUSH makes for one very clean-smelling Lipglossiping!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed swatches spring blushes and tries to decide between Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent!

Ooh, shatter! Musicalhouses shows you an awesome black and silver shatter NOTD with Barry M Instant Nail Effects!

Krasey Beauty hobnobs with makeup royalty, and learns of new beauty releases, while she's at it!

Beauty's Bad Habit shares her favourite eyeshadow bases and primers for vivid, 'life proof' eye make-up that lasts.

Checked outELF's black bottles yet? Queen of Turquoise has!

Welcome to your new addiction - Alyson reviews the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams at The Gloss Menagerie.

Tracy at Beauty Reflections gets a 70s makeup vibe with Rimmel Glam'eyes Quad Eye Shadow that fits right in with the 70s fashion trend!

The Pink Sith won't be able to kill your lemming for this new Armani Beauty Eyes To Kill Intense Silk Eyeshadow in # 4 Pulp Fiction.

Who said neutrals can't be dramatic, Madame B Fatale shows you how!

Kimberly takes the Dare To Wear Charity Challenge: For Japan Are you up for the challenge?

Hop in the car for a roadtrip with My Lips But Better and OPI's Fall 2011 collection, Touring America.

Are you a Kate or a Vanessa? You'll find the answer at Musing on Beauty, by comparing Chanel Rouge Coco Shine and Dior Addict lipsticks.

The Chantecaille Sea Turtle palette came swimming into Cindy's life, see if she thinks it's worth the $79 price tag.


Did you hear? BarryM may come to Canada!! To celebrate Spiced Beauty is giving away a huge 5-piece prize pack.

Want to win 2 NARS blushes + other goodies? All you have to do is be a follower of StealMyHeartLovee's blog for a chance to win.

Music and Makeup has been going for 2 years! Jo celebrates with a giveaway of some of her favourite products.

theNotice is giving away a ridiculously glittery Honeycat Cosmetics lipgloss. Whether you're a cat lover or a glitter girl, you *need* to check it out!

Budget Beauty: Simple and Natural FOTD

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today's FOTD (Face of the Day) has a budget beauty theme. I decided to try using the US$3.80 Love Alpha Summer Gradually palette I got recently to see how the palette would look on. Yay for cheap makeup!

Love Alpha seems to be a generic brand of makeup that is available through various cosmetic wholesalers, and I got mine from KKCenterHK. My experiences with them has been good so far - customer service is prompt, and packages arrive without delay.

I decided to go with a girly, more natural look this time round, since my previous EOTD was a little more intense. Here are the shades I used:

love alpha blush

The blush, despite looking really intimidating in the pan, actually applied sheer, and could be built up for more colour. So if you're worried about having too much colour on your cheeks with this palette, don't! It isn't as bad as it looks.

And this was the outcome. Not too bad, actually. Although I do apologise that you don't see enough of the eyeshadow, and see too much of my undereye circles.

I actually like this look - to me it's as simple and as natural as makeup can get, while still being pretty. Lasting power of the blush and eyeshadow was pretty decent. They faded after a few hours, but for $3.80 I'm not going to complain.

This palette would be pretty useful for occasions where you're not concerned with the lasting power of your makeup - for example, if you're just running errands, or dashing out for a couple of hours. It woudln't make sense to use your expensive makeup then, right? (Well, not to me, at least. Did I say I'm cheap?) So palettes like that would bridge that gap where you want to wear something on your face, but it's only just for awhile.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Kiss Me Heroine Make Essence in BB Cream Swatch

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BB creams are makeup bases that have become extremely popular in Asia over the last couple of years. They make wild, grandiose claims about being good for your skin, with anti-wrinkle, whitening, blemish-clearing properties, but the ones that I've seen tend to feel like heavy, over-emollint, shiny tinted moisturizers. I kid you not. But still, they're hugely popular in Asia, so there you go.

Despite my personal reservations about the health benefits of BB creams (reading through the ingredients lists of most BB creams just makes my skin squirm!), I've decided to swatch a BB cream for today's post - just because I love you guys, and I figure even if I'm not interested in it, some of you might.

The BB cream swatched today is the Kiss me Heroine Make Essence in BB Cream. For people unfamiliar with the product, Kiss Me is the brand, and the rest is just gobbledygook in attempting to give the product a catchy name. Gotta love Asian brands - they always feel the need to over-name their products.

Kiss Me Heroine Make Essence BB Cream
L-R: Kiss me Heroine Make in Essence BB Cream applied heavily, then spread out lightly

The Kiss Me Heroine BB cream doesn't feel very much different from other BB creams I've seen. Heavy, oily feel - check. Lots of shine - check. Sparkles and discrete specks of glitter - check. The glitter is a major reason why I abstain from BB creams - I just can't deal with sparkle or glitter in my foundation products. I hate looking like a discoball.

The good thing about this, though, is that unlike other BB creams I've seen, the colour in this one is actually more yellow-based, which makes it more wearable. It has been my experience that quite a lot of BB creams run very pink, making them unwearable for most Asians. So if you generally like the texture, feel and pigmentation of a typical BB cream, but have been having issues with the colour range being too pink, this could be worth checking out.

Budget Beauty Shimmer Purple Eye Look

Monday, March 21, 2011

I always love trying out cheap makeup and seeing just how good it is. Sometimes, it's actually pretty darn good (like one of my loves, Wet n' Wild), sometimes, it just sucks, and sometimes, it's actually pretty decent. The Love Alpha Eyeshadows I got from KKCenterHK awhile back were finally put to the test today, when I decided to finally test drive those pretty palettes.

Here are the shades I used for my Eye of the Day (EOTD). I decided to go with my favourite purple shade (but of course!), and that gorgeous taupe shade I last got all excited about. I also use the light yellowy-vanilla shade as a highlight.

love alpha purple eotd shades

The EOTD I put together with the KKCenterHk product was this. A shimmery, glittery purple and brown look that would be pretty darn awesome if you did like shimmery metallic purples and browns:

Purple Eye Look Shimmer

I know I previously mentioned that the shadows were essentially a bunch of coloured glitter, so when using these, care is required. With a sticky base to hold the shadows in place, such as UDPP (Urban Decy Primer Potion), TFSI (Too Faced Shadow Insurance), or Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy, the colours show up much better. I was lazy, and just used my MAC Studio Finish Concealer. I wouldn't advise you doing this, though - if you have oily lids, it's more likely than not that the concealer will slide off your lid, taking your shadow along with it. But you get the idea - this was just to demonstrate the difference in colour payoff when a based is used.

love alpha purple eotd 2

Another tip I found useful when applying such shadows is to apply the shadow using patting and dabbing motions, as opposed to the sweeping, brushing motions we're usually taught to use. This will help to minimize fallout, and further help the colours to show up better, since they're packed on the lid, not brushed outwards. Blending, of course, still has to be done with sweeping motions after the colour has been packed on. As you can see from the pictures, the shadows are actually quite blendable.

Once you get the hang of application, it really is pretty easy to get the shadows to look good. The glitter-laden nature of the eyeshadow means that when patted on successfully, the eyeshadow looks very vibrant.

love alpha purple eotd 3

I'm really loving my eye look right now. It has that foiled, metallic look of a loose pigment, but actually is a pressed shadow, so yay for decreased mess and spillage! And from the vibrancy of the colours in this EOTD, I don't think I'd be able to guess that the eyeshadow palette was actually just US$3.80 in reality!

PS: Apologies for the appearance, disappearance, and re-appearance of this post. There was a glitch in Blogger's auto-post feature that made it go live earlier than scheduled.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Liz Earle Mother's Day Gift Set: A Quick Peek!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

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A couple of posts back, I was alerting my readers to Liz Earle's Mother's Day Gift Set, which contains a selection of deluxe-sized travel sizes of their Superskin range for just £30. I managed to get my hands on it just yesterday, so I thought I'd give you guys a quick peek into what's in this set!

The set arrived in a very pretty green paper box, with the Liz Earle logo on it. Inside the box, everything was wrapped individually in pretty paper with Liz Earle branding, and the entire set was again wrapped and padded with the same pretty paper.

liz earle mothers day box

And the products themselves were very pretty - they were all individually packed in their own little boxes. I really appreciated the attention to detail that went into packaging the set.

liz earle mothers day set

The products themselves were really pretty too, so here's a quick shot of all of the items together. The set consists of:

Superskin Body Cream 50ml tube
Superskin Moisturiser 15ml jar
Superskin Concentrate 10ml
Sample size sachet of Superskin Eye & Lip Treatment

Liz Earle Mothers Day Set

Looking at the individual items in the set, I actually think it's a pretty good value for money. With the exception of the Superskin Eye and Lip Treatment, which comes as a sample sachet, all the items are actually products that you can buy off the Liz Earle website, in the same sizes that they appear in the set. I particularly thought the 10ml of Superskin Concentrate were particularly generous, since for products like these, a little goes a long way.

Let's do a few cost comparisons: the 50ml size of Superskin Body Lotion sells for £12.25, the 15ml of Superskin Moisturizer costs £12.25, and the 10ml size of Superskin Concentrate retails for £18.40. So these three items already would cost more than the £30 price of the set. It's actually a pretty good deal if you're into skincare.

So that's what the set looks like! If you think your mother (or yourself) might be interested in it, it's available on the Liz Earle Website. If you've been thinking of getting travel-friendly but still sizeable sizes of skincare products, this set is also worth looking into - it's like getting a discount on a bundle of items.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Swatches: Love Alpha Summer Gradually Eyeshadow from KKCenterHK

Friday, March 18, 2011

As a girl on a budget, I'm always on the lookout for cheap makeup options. Is it possible to find cheap makeup products that are just as great as more pricey brands? As a cheapskate, that's a question I always seek to answer. And in the process of doing so, I somehow ended up with not one, but two, eyeshadow and blush compacts from KKCenterHK, a Hong Kong-based online retailer of wholesale cosmetics you probably have been seeing around online.

The compacts, although procured from the site (KKCenterHK has the entire range of eyeshadow compacts, by the way), appear to be rather generic-brand makeup, and are called Love Alpha Summer Gradually Compacts. These come in 3 sets of colours, and I ended up going with 01 (listed as M176-A) and 03 (listed as M176-C).

Love Alpha Summer Gradually Compact

The compacts arrived all whole and unharmed in the post (thank goodness!) after a slight delay - you know, international post is always a little bit iffy, and it was Chinese New Year over on this side of the world, which wrecks the same havoc on the mail system as Christmas does over in the West. Both times I received packages from them, they arrived quick and intact, which is definitely a good thing.

The Love Alpha Summer Gradually compacts are quite small, and are around the size of my palm (as well as my digital camera!), and come with no-frills, no-fuss, basic black shiny plastic packaging. The lids have clear windows, though, so you know what colours are inside without having to look inside the palette. The palette itself consists of 8 eyeshadows and 2 blushes in a colour-coordinated little package.

love alpha compact summer gradually

When I saw the cheap-looking plastic packaging, I didn't have high hopes for the product inside. (Although at US$3.80 a compact, they're actually pretty cheap.) But the two palettes are actually not too badly colour-coordinated. They're actually colours that would go together, and they even seem to have colour themes for each of the palettes.

Palette 01, or M176-A on the site, is what I'd call a girly neutral summer theme. The colour scheme for this palette is mainly warm, summery neutrals that are wearable for daytime. Here's a close-up shot of Palette 01:

love alpha summer gradually compact 01

Palette 03 (or M176-C on the site), on the other hand, is a palette that has a much more intense colour scheme. This is composed primarily of jewel-toned blues, greens and some teals - perhaps a smokey mermaid theme?

love alpha summer gradually compact 03

The first thing I noticed about the compacts when I opened them was - OMG GLITTERBOMB EYESHADOWS! I was quite worried that these were clunky, glittery, un-pigmented crap with lots of fallout. Oh well, I thought, what did I expect for $3.80?

But I decided to put them to the test, and swatched them. Here you can see what the swatches look like - not as fantastic as the high-end brands, perhaps, but definitely better than I thought. I would like to caveat, though, that these shadows are packed with tons of glitter - and by glitter I mean big discrete specks of glitter, so you'd really want to use a sticky base with these to prevent fallout, and help them adhere to the skin longer.

It is my personal experience that with these types of eyeshadows that are primarily composed of glitter (very common in the Asian market although less so in the West), it helps to foil the shadows, or use a primer or a sticky base to make the colours really show up. Without the base, you'd just end up with glitter and no pigment. So moral of the story is - don't forget to use a base for best results!

Here's Palette 01. I've swatched the eyeshadows on the left, and the two blushes on the right, in the order that they appear in the palette. As you can see, the shadow colours show up, and give a metallic, almost-foiled finish, with some gold sheen. I did use my fingers to swatch these, though, and I imagine with brushes they'd look different.

love alpha summer gradually compact 01 swatch

The colours in Palette 01 are very pretty, and quite feminine. I especially love that eyeshadow in the bottom right corner (fourth from the left in the second row), because it looks like a gorgeous browned taupe! We have a taupe, everybody! Taupe Alert! Taupe Alert!

Other attractions of the palette are the blushes, both of which are wearable and devoid of glitter. I think that's a good choice - if the blushes had as much glitter as the shadows, I'd end up looking like a glitterbomb if I used the palette.

Here's 03. As you can see, the eyeshadows have the same frosty, metallic finish, with a gold sheen. And the blushes are also matte.

love alpha summer gradually compact 03 swatch

My favourite colour in this palette is the teal, that's third from the left in the second row. You can't see it in the swatches, but it's actually teal with a gold flash. Very pretty, and very aquatic, and reminiscent of mermaids.

Over the next couple of days, I'm going to be trying out a few looks with these two palettes to see how they fare on the eye - in other words, OMG this neutrals girl is going to be using teal eyeshadow! Judging by the swatches for now, these seem very decent for the price tag (8 eyeshadows and 2 blushes for $3.80), and although they aren't of top-notch quality, are decent enough to work with, provided you use a good eyeshadow primer. So if you're on the market for cheap shades that could pop, these are worth looking into.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Liz Earle Mother's Day Gift Set Offer!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


If you're in the UK, you'd know Mother's Day is just around the corner! (Fear not the rest of the world, you don't need to panic to get a present just yet - everyone else celebrates it in May.) And since Mother's Day is coming soon for my UK readers, Liz Earle has put together a Mother's Day Gift Set.

The kit contains generous travel sizes of our Superskin Moisturiser (15ml), Superskin Concentrate (10ml), Superskin Body Cream (50ml) and a sample size of Superskin Eye & Lip Treatment. From now to 3 April 2011, this set is available for £30, which means you'll be saving £12.90! To the best of my knowledge, it does seem that Liz Earle products cater very well to mature skin, so the set would be a great present for any skincare-loving lady.

Click here to check it out, as well as other gift sets for the occasion. And for the rest of us who celebrate Mother's Day in May, this may also be a good opportunity to do some advance shopping!

Natural Purple Eye Look with Zuii Organic: Swatch/Review/EOTD

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yes, now you can have makeup that's actually certified organic! Unlike other brands which use the "organic" slogan caarelessly, Zuii Organic is actually certified organic by not one, but two governments (the US and Australia). The last time I wrote about Zuii Organic, I was raving about their lipgloss. and going into a bit more detail about their certification, so if that interests you, do feel free to check out my previous post :)

Zuii Organic Floral Eyeshadow

Today, we're looking at the Certified Organic Flora Eyeshadows, which, as the name suggests, are also organic, and contain plant-derived ingredients - in this case, from Rose, Jasmine and Chamomile flowers. Cool, right? They have about 30 colours, which is quite a lot for a niche brand. I'm totally drooling over how Fawn looks, because from the website swatches it looks like it could be a taupe!

The eyeshadows come in a simple black plastic pots, with twist-off lids and a clear top to ensure that you can see the colour inside without having to open the pots.

zuii organic eyeshadow 2

All the eyeshadows have plant or nature-inspired names. The eyeshadows I have are Mustard and Blackberry, which correspond quite well to the colours of the eyeshadows themselves. Mustard is, well, a yellow-mustardy-beige (mustardy in a good way), and Blackberry is a deep red-based purple.

Here are swatches of Mustard and Blackberry:

zuii organic eyeshadow swatch

The finishes of the eyeshadows are a bit glowy. They're not shimmery, and they don't have big bits of glitter, but they're not entirely matte either. I quite like the glow, its makes the colours look a bit more alive and less flat.

Pigmentation for these is also on the moderate side - these aren't pigmented in one swipe, but can be layered for greater intensity. The swatches you see were a few swipes to build up the colour.

The texture is a little bit different from the usual eyeshadows. I felt like these were a bit harder than I expected, perhaps due to the formulation used to produce organic eyeshadows. However, these are still a lot better than most drugstore eyeshadows, and it's perfectly possible to work with them to produce eye looks.

To prove that point, here's an EOTD (Eye of the Day) with these two shadows.

zuii organic eotd

I really like how the EOTD looks. It's a look that adds some colour to the eye, without being too much. It's very wearable, and very pretty, and I think I could even wear a combination like that to work!

zuii organic eotd 2

Although the eyeshadows are not as pigmented as I imagined they should be, I think in this case it actually works out quite well to bring out the soft, feminine look that I was going for. I was also able tp layer the eyeshadows to produce different intensities of colour - so at the outer corner of the eye, the purple is more intense than towards the inner corner. I actually quite like it.

zuii organic eotd 3

The only downside is that girls who are really into very pigemented eyeshadows would feel underwhelmed. But for girls who prefer eyeshadows with medium but buildable pigmentation - think pigmentation like Chantecaille - then the Zuii Organic eyeshadows would be just fine.

zuii organic eotd 4

So do you really need this? Not if you're one of those girls who like bright, pigment-laden shadows. But if you do want makeup that's actually organic, or if you just want eyesahdows that are more wearable but still buildable for a more natural look, then these are worth checking out. Their website,, provides more information on their organic certification as well as product line.

(Product was sent to me for review. Review is my honest and complete opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Majolica Majorca Neo Automatic Eyeliner Swatches

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Majolica Majorca is a drugstore brand of cosmetics hailing from Japan, and is actually marketed as a subsidiary of Shiseido, a more upmarket Japanese brand of cosmetics and skincare. As a result, Majolica Majorca has gotten a lot of fans (you know, the whole "upmarket cosmetics for drugstore price" thing). That's not to say it isn't good, though. I think it has one of the better lineup of products among Asian brands.

Today's swatches are simple and short, featuring the Neo Automatic Eyeliner. These are liquid eyeliner in the form of a click-pen dispenser. Yes, a click-pen dispenser just like those Stila Lipglazes. That is rather unfortunate, in my opinion, because the liquid eyeliner tends to collect and harden up in the brush dispenser, and basically render the brush rather gunked up and useless.

Unfortunately I was only able to swatche two of the entire range. The rest of the testers were all gooped up, and it was impossible to get any product out of them at all.

L-R: GR555, GD833

GR555 is a gorgeous olive green with a metallic finish. I love olive greens, so this one is right up my alley.

GD833 is another lovely colour - this time it's a metallic gold. Not an ugly, brassy, orange gold though - this one is more of an antique gold that is very wearable.

Packaging flaws aside, the Neo Automatic Eyeliners are actually of good quality. The pigmentation is superb, and the staying power is also really good. I had to remove these swatches with makeup remover! So it's really just a matter of whether you'd like to put up with the fussy packaging. I actually really like the colours and the staying power, I'd be a lot more tempted if the packaging was more practical.

Beauty Blog Link Love

Monday, March 14, 2011

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Want the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara but don't like the price? Come over to Jeweled Thumb to learn how to make your own for free!

Kelly from Gouldylox Reviews loves peach colored makeup. After lots of searching, here are three perfect peaches for spring.

Krasey Beauty visits the International Beauty Show in NYC, and takes you along for the ride!

Does Victoria's Secret Sparkling Lip Gloss light up Makeup Morsels' life? Read to find out!

The Pink Sith Pontificates on the Perfect Peach Pigmented Pucker Provided by Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Sweet Nectar. Quite Possibly the Prettiest Peach in Perpetuity!

Kim Porter takes you inside of QVC's Beauty Breakfast showcasing QVC's top-selling beauty and hair products.

Kimmie at KimmieKarmaLove plays catch up with three brand new looks that are different for her. What do you think?

Mariella at Musing on Beauty falls in love (yet again) with a new foundation, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua and tells you everything about it.

Daily Polish thinks she's found the red polish to top all others in A-England's Perceval, take a look and see if you agree (and fall in love with this Cult English Lacquer company!)

Rae swatches and reviews the new Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm at theNotice. Find out if it's bee-utiful, or just a bee-rate product!

Who says you can't wear a smokey eye in Spring? Musicalhouses shows you the perfect forest green smokey eye that's great for any weather!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed tests out lip colours looking to bring some coral into her spring lip wardrobe!

Retrodiva has been searching for the perfect oud fragrance - find out if Tom Ford's Oud Wood is the one.

Phyrra raves about a must-have makeup brush! You need this one, and it's a steal at $3.

Beautywoome divulges the new 'forever' beauty products she found in 2010.

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Brighten up your look by following this spring purple and pink makeup tutorial by Socialite Dreams.

Audrey Dao drops by Inglot to check out their Freedom Palettes. Find out what she thought!

Tracy at BeautyReflections is craving Spring and Annabelle Smudgeliner in Limetteis helping to satisfy!

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Win a huge £300 Boots voucher by commenting here in The Beauty Slice competition.

Anti-ageing eyeshadow? Finally! Cindy at Prime Beauty learns all about the new technology in Anastasia's Illumi8 Eye Shadow Palettes and is giving away one for you to try!

Benefit Ultra Shine Lipgloss Swatch/Review/FOTD

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Benefit recently released their Ultra Shine Lip Gloss this year, and you know that I can't resist a lipgloss, right? So of course when I heard all the raves for this one, I just had to try it out!

Benefit Ultra Shine Lipgloss

The glosses are billed as being the ultimate shiny gloss, and I think they might just be right. These really are pretty shiny! They come in the usual Benefit black-and-white designed box, and come in small but chubby tubes with a brush applicator.

The two glosses I tried were Who Are You Wearing? and the hilariously-named Patootie. Benefit's definitely got a sense of humour!

benefit ultra shine lipgloss 2

Here are swatches of the glosses. As you can see from the swatches, both of them are heavy on shine, but are slightly sheer in terms of pigmentation. Although Who Are You Wearing? looks like it could be quite a bright pink in the tube, it's actually more wearable than it looks, since it lets the natural lip colour show through.

benefit ultra shine lipgloss swatch

L-R: Patootie, Who Are You Wearing?

Patootie is a very pearly, almost bordering on frosty, nude pink. I'd call it oyster pink or shell pink. Very pretty if you like that kind of shade.

Who Are You Wearing? is a midtone purple-pink with sparse, very tiny glitter bits. You can't really see the glitter once it's on.

Here are lip glosses swatched on my lips. First up, here's Patootie:

benefit ultra shine patootie

Like I mentioned earlier, it's more of a nude kind of shade - perfect for pairing with smokey eyes! It's also not as sheer as it looks - if you used a bit more of this one, you would actually blank out some of your natural lip colour.

And here's Who Are You Wearing?, which is my favourite out of the two. I love this colour because it adds a bit of pop to your lip, without being too unwearable. I think this is one of those "go with anything" lip colours, because it's just so versatile!

benefit ultra shine who are you wearing

The Ultra Shines also have a very nice, light, and non-sticky texture, and a smell that is vaguely fruity. In fact, the texture and the smell reminds me a lot of the YSL Gloss Pur range, which I've featured in this post before. The nice, light-but-not-too-fluid texture and the smell are actually pretty similar! The difference is that the YSL Gloss Pur is more strongly scented, and also more pigmented. But when it comes to texture, they're remarkably similar.

Here's a FOTD with my new favourite gloss, Who Are You Wearing? As you can probably tell, I'm really loving this gloss. It goes so well with two of my other staples - taupe eyeshadow and plummy-pinky blush!

benefit who are you wearing lipgloss fotd

These are definitely one of the highlights of Benefit's recent releases (other than Bella Bamba, which I also love). The quality is good, and the shade range is also excellent - there aren't any colours in there that I feel are unwearable, and most of these shades look like they would go with almost anything. If you're on the market for a non-sticky lipgloss with decent staying power and medium pigmentation, these are worth checking out!

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 1: Perfect Summer Fragrance

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finding the right summer perfume can be a tricky matter, because most perfumes billed as summer fragrances tend to smell very sterotypically department-store-ish. You know, they're all flowery or fruity or gourmand, sweet, and generally nausea-inducing if you aren't into smelling like Barbie. In all the sea of pink flowery, overly synthetically sweet fragrances, it can be hard to find a summer scent that stands out from the crowd.

Liz Earle, a brand better known for skincare, released their one and only fragrance so far last year, the Botanical Essence No. 1. And, unlike most other summer fragrances, this one isn't cloying, sweet, or synthetic-smelling at all. In fact, it's quite different, and I can really appreciate that.

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 1

The first thing I noticed about this perfume is that it isn't floral. OMG, guys, a summer perfume that isn't floral or fruity! Liz Earle Botanical essence No. 1 is actually more on the green side. The perfume itself comes in a green-and-white bottle decorated with images of plant leaves, very reflective of the scent inside.

The bottle is a basic, solid square bottle, containing a gold-yellow liquid. Nothing much in the way of fancy design, but very functional. It looks tiny, but it does contain 50ml of awesome perfume juice inside (the usual amount you get in a perfume bottle), so don't be mislead by the small bottle size.

liz earle botanical essence no 1

The perfume itself is actually very pretty, if unconventional for a mass-market fragrance. I'd call it a leafy, citrusy green perfume, although it's a bit more complex than that. There's a hint of spice in the drydown that gives what would otherwise be a light, green scent a bit of complexity, and darkens the final tone of the fragrance. I couldn't make out any notes, but in addition to the leafy, citrus scent, I could also smell hints of something herbal. I really liked this scent - it really reminds me of running around in open plains in good sunny weather, and does smell like summer to me, even if it isn't billed as a summer fragrance.

The only complaint I had was that the perfume didn't evolve all that much on my skin, although it could just be my body chemistry (and you know, everyone's body chemistry is different). I got a big gust of green and citrus at the start, although the green headiness quickly settles down into a much more muted leafy herbal green scent with a hint of spice. Other than the big bang of green citrus, and the emergence of spice at the end, I didn't really feel like the perfume evolved a lot. And I wished it could have lasted longer on my skin - but then again, given that 98% of the ingredients are natural, it's a tall order, since natural perfumes do tend not to last as long as synthetic ones.

liz earle botanical essence no 1 bottle

Much as I like the perfume, and much as I think perfume fanatics might like it, I'm not too sure how your average girl who doesn't care about perfumes is going to like this. I know plenty of female friends who aren't exposed to fragrances, and they generally like your usual cookie-cutter cloying-synthetic-overly-sweet-fruity-floral fragrance. I could imagine them scrunching up their noses at this one, although I personally think it's a lovely scent. I think that Botanical Essence No. 1, like so many other green perfumes out there, need a more developed nose to fully appreciate its beauty. Otherwise, it risks being consigned to the depth's of someone's drawer, which would be a waste of something so pretty.

On another note - why should this just be for girls? Because it's a leafy green scent, I do think it would be great for guys in addition to girls! I know it's not a unisex perfume, but I could imagine both men and women pulling this off with aplomb. You know those "For Him/For Her" perfume sets we always see around? Now you don't have to share a perfume set, you can even share the bottle! Some of the most famous perfumes of all time were unisex perfumes, like Annick Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien, so that's pretty cool.

liz earle botanical essence no 1 3

So would I recommend this? If you're into green fragrances, or would like something a little less sweet and cloying than the usual summer offerings, this is a good one to look into. Or if you want to wear the same fragrance as the man in your life, this is also a great one to look into. Summer, we're all ready for you - please come soon!

(Product sent for review. Review is my honest and complete opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)

Barry M Instant Nail Effects: Black and Silver Crackle!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If you haven't been living on Mars, you'll know what Barry M Instant Nail Effects is - it's this (not-so) newfangled thing called crackle or shatter polish. The reason why these polishes are called crackle or shatters is because, once applied on the nail, they dry up and contract very quickly, producing the coolest shatter/crackle effects ever.

Crackle polishes actually first made an appearance in in the late 90's (the brand was Covergirl back then, and the polishes were called Crackle Laquers), but went out of vogue until the trend was revived. Isn't it interesting how fashion - even nail fashion - seems to go in cycles? I mean, there were the Covergirl Crackle Laquers, and then the Sally Hansen Nail Prisms (holographic before holo became a trend), and the Maybelline Street Wears (all kinds of funky finishes and colours back in the day)! So you never know - that old dinky bottle of crap from 10 years ago might just be next trend!

Anyway, I'm sure you didn't want to hear a history lesson about nail polish (and yes, I am so much of a geek I know the origins of nail polish trends). I'm sure you wanted to see the awesome crackle/shatter effects.

Barry M Instant Effects

There are many crackle polishes out there, of course, and Barry M and OPI were the first brands to have them out this time round. (Unfortunately Covergirl missed out.) But between the two, I personally prefer the Barry M Instant Nail Effects to OPI's Black Shatter - it's cheaper, and it shatters better. Yes, I said that Barry M's crackle polish beat out OPI Black Shatter! Now I'd better hide before the OPI fans come after me.

One of the things to note about applying crackle polishes is that they dry very fast. Very, very fast, as in almost immediately. So they're really like an instant way to glam up your nails!

barry m instant nail effects 2

One of the things about applying crackle/shatter polish is that the way the polish shatters/crackles on your nails is highly dependent on how thick or thin the coat of polish is. I've found that in general, thin coats tend to produce finer, smaller shatters, while thick coats tend to shatter in bigger pieces. Whether you prefer your shatters smaller or larger is personal preference, of course, but for me, I strive for a happy medium.

Here's Barry M Instant Nail Effects applied thinly. As you can see, it shatters in to tiny pieces, especially nearer the tip of the nail, where the coat of polish was the thinnest. Some people may like that, but for me, it's a bit too thin.

barry m instant nail effects thin

And here's the same shatter polish, applied thickly. This one I didn't like at all. It seemed a bit gloopy and clumpy instead of nicely crackling.

barry m instant nail effects thick

One of the last questions I faced when applying my shatter polish was - to top coat or not to top coat? Either way is possible, the topcoat just gives a glossier finish to the nails. Personally I prefer applying top coat, because the shattered bits can chip off quite easily without it.

barry m instant nail effects 3

I'm really loving my shatter manicure, and I'm so excited to try this out on top of other colours! *Waves nails around in the air*


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