Sunday, 30 October 2011

Paperself Eyelashes

I have just been given these amazing eyelashes as a gift from a friend and am absolutely in love with them. They are from a company called Paperself, which I had never heard of before but have since looked them up and they have a fantastic range of original and innovative eyelashes available. As it stands, I have no idea where or what I will wear them to, perhaps I will just keep them on display if no event merits the lashes but I totally love them. I think it is great how interesting and creative the lashes are and just wanted to share them with you because they got me excited and it was refreshing to see something different. I love the horse ones, but I have my eyes on the peach blossom ones too, I think they would be brilliant for a costume party. I also like how the lashes are inspired by the art of Chinese paper cutting, with each lash style having Chinese symbolic meanings - the horse ones are a symbol of success for example.

Paperself have been getting quite a bit of press recently and are becoming more widely available, in stores over London as well as online (I think my friend got mine from the V&A), for people who are not in London you can get them on their website (here) or from  Let me know what you guys think to them, where would you wear them to?

Here is one of Sam's tutorials from April 2010, where she uses the Paperself lashes.

Post written by Kate Gowing.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

ARMANI 'Eyes to Kill' Silk Eyeshadows

I love these shadows from Armani, they are very similar in lots of ways to the Chanel pots that were blogged about here, but have a slightly more 'whipped' forumla. They are a highly pigmented, mousse-like shadow that are soft and silky to touch. They are great just to throw on for an instant eye catching look that has a huge intensity and has a wet effect once applied, I especially like the one on the left (number 4) as it has so many different glitter pigments in it which makes it so shimmery and transforms the eye as soon as it is put on. They are really easy to work with and it is simple to create a lovely look with them with just a couple of slicks of shadow. They blend well, either on their own or by mixing colours together. The black one (in the middle) is completely matte black and is great as a liner or for a really dark smoky eye. As for the longevity, they do crease slightly throughout the day/night but only after quite a long time but I quite like that glossy, worn look, however they still do last on the eye for a good amount of time and don't shed or smudge once they are put in place. Armani claims that they last for 24 hours but I can't say I have worn them for that long - but I don't doubt them! The one on the right looks great in the tear duct for a bit of extra shimmer. 

The colours I have here are (L-R) 

These are just 3 out of the range, there are some other beautiful colours, what makes them so special is that each shade has been made extra intense by the addition of a second pigment which makes the shadows appear multi-dimensional. They have a hybrid formula which makes them sit somewhere between a cream and a powder. Finally, despite having a wet-look appearance they are incredibly waterproof which is great for evenings out, a product you can rely on. Having said that, it is really easy to take off as well so it's a win-win product!

                                        Disclaimer: This review was written by Kate Gowing. 
                             Neither Nic or I have tried these products due to uncertainty over the Armani testing policies

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Plain Jane MTV Wednesday 8:00pm

Anyone watching the second series of makeover show Plain Jane on MTV?
Watch out for my dear friend Rachel Wood.
Rach does the makeup for the shows presenter Louise Roe & appears making over the 'Plain Jane's'.
The show airs at 8:00pm on Wednesdays. Find out more about the show here

You can view Rachel's porfolio here

Monday, 24 October 2011

CHANEL Perfection Lumiere

With Chanel taking one of my all time favourite foundations out of production (Pro Lumiere), I was waiting with high expectations for what they would replace it with. I was not disappointed when I got to try the eagerly awaited Chanel 'Perfection Lumiere' - the foundation had the instant luxury appeal with the classic Chanel packaging and immaculate and sophisticated presentation, so I hoped the foundation matched up. And indeed, the foundation itself is lovely, it has a velvety feel and glides on the skin silkily and blends in beautifully. I love the finished appearance it totally evens out skin tone and gives the face warm and luminosity, Chanel have done it again and brought out another fantastic foundation.

Chanel have defined the 'perfection' of the foundation in 3 words.

1. Universal - a respond to a universal desire for simple perfection
2. Invisible - the invisible structure of beauty on the inside
3. Infallible - Impeccable exactness, hold, balance and harmony

It does live up to these statements, Chanel wanted to make this product available to everyone, and with the huge colour range, it is. Chanel has never had such a wide range of colour variety and this foundation comes in a fantastic 23 shades. They come in 4 'harmonies' (beige, beige rose, beige ambre and beige ocre) depending on skin tone so you should be able to find your perfect match.

I completely love this foundation and it provides just the right amount of coverage in my opinion, however Chanel states that it is buildable but my only set back is that with more and more application of the product I found it can begin to look powdery on the skin, but this is probably because it has such a silky and soft formula and is only a minor complaint. Otherwise it is completely beautiful, and even if you prefer a more heavy look, it doesn't appear thick or feel uncomfortable on the skin. It works really well with a brush, or just with fingers, when applied with fingers it has a melt-away texture and just glides on so straight forwardly and it lasts all day. It has a matte finish but simultaneously makes the skin feel nourished and soft which is a great advantage to this product.

Definitely worth sampling, it is quite expensive at £36 but Chanel foundations do tend to last a good while and I think it is important to get foundation right, so if this suits you then go for it!

The foundation isn't available until 13th January so keep your eyes peeled!


Friday, 21 October 2011

While we are on the subject of hair dye...

My most recent hair colour is AVON Advanced Techniques in 3.0. Click here for link
I had to go for the darkest brown to cover the red. To be honest my hair still has a red tone in the sun but it is a happy accident because now I have the best of both worlds. I absolutely love the depth of my new colour.

These are my previous colours. 6.7 Chocolate brown and 6.56 Light Mahogany Red. I really liked both of these but I think will stick to my current colour for the longest time.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

TRESemmé Colour Revitalise Fade Protection Shampoo

Ever dyed your hair red? If the answer is yes then you will know the intensive work that goes into maintaining the vibrancy for any longer than 1 or 2 weeks.
I learnt from experience that you just can't use any old shampoo.

Initially, I was using the TRESemmé 24hr Body shampoo and conditioner.  Fabulous if you want body, not so great if you want red hair. So I swapped to TRESemmé Colour Revitalise Fade Protection Shampoo & Conditioner
To say that this made a difference would be an understatement. Immediately, I noticed significantly less colour in the water when I washed my hair and I managed to go 5-6 weeks without needing to re-colour.
Having recently dyed my hair dark brown I am considering swapping to Colour Thrive Brunette Shampoo. Anyone tried it?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sleek PPQ 'Me, Myself and Eye' Palette

Sleek has teamed up with London fashion house PPQ to produce a fantastic palette of colourful eyeshadows called 'Me, Myself and Eye'. The shadows, which are only available directly from sleek online are really on trend and diverse, allowing for so many looks to be achieved within this one palette. Like all other Sleek palettes they are amazing value, and even though PPQ is a high end brand the price of the palette remains the same as all other ones available at £6.49, which is incredible considering the quality of the shadows and the fact that the palette is a limited edition collaboration, so get it quick! The PPQ palette was created in partnership with PPQ's SS12 collection at London Fashion Week, therefore is inspired by the vibrancy and different textures in the show. 

I like the packaging, which is like all other sleek palettes with the addition of PPQ on the palette and the bright red cover that the palette comes in. The shadows, are as usual brilliant quality in comparison with the value of the product, 12 great shadows for £6.49 can't really be faulted. It also has extra appeal because with the array of shadows there is something for everyone, from matte's to shimmers, brights to neutrals. They have also named each eyeshadow after different musicians and songs, I am not exactly sure why but it adds a bit more interest! The shadows last and the pay off is great because they are well pigmented, the finely milled formula allows for easy blending and unfussy application. Ultimately, I can't fault this palette at this price range, definitely go and buy it!

From left to right
1. Barry White
2. Black Box
3. Salt 'N' Peppermint
4. Simply Red
5. Pink Beret
6. Primal Green
7. Fade to Grey
8. Blue Monday
9. Supernova
10. Chris de Burgundy
11. Lilac Allen
12. Golden Silvers

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Nars Albatross

There are an abundance of brilliant highlighters on the market but recently this one from NARS has been my 'go to' highlighter. In it's classic matte black NARS packaging like all other NARS products, inside sits the highlighter with a reasonable sized mirror too. On first appearance the pressed powder appears quite white, but this totally isn't the case upon application. Instead it appears warm and golden and subtly compliments the skin without a hint of frostiness or obvious glitter, which is odd because looking at the powder in the pan, not only is it white it also looks quite glittery, so I was pleasantly surprised. The powder is finely milled which is why it glides on so smoothly and has a beautiful and soft appearance, a little also goes a long way, hardly any product is needed for optimum results. I have been applying my highlighter with an angled Illamasqua brush which is small enough for precise and accurate application, using a brush too big could make you shine in places you don't want to shine!

Here is the product on the skin with flash...

And here it is under natural light

It looks great under the brown and swept across the top of the cheek bone for a healthy glow, it also can be used on the cupid's bow and down the nose to frame the face more. It depends how much glow you want, for me I have just been using it around the eye earlier for a shimmering and almost sun-kissed golden effect. It instantly makes the skin appear radiant and fresh in seconds, the velvet texture makes it easy and quick to work with and it can be used anywhere on the body for shimmering results that last.

NARS Albatross retails at £20.50 and is widely available.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

ILLAMASQUA fragrance 'Freak'

"Freak is you, freak is me, freak is he, freak's who you are and want to be, freak's the door, freaks the key, freak is out, freak is free. The freak's will inherit the earth" - Alex Box, Illamasqua's creative director.

On October 20th Illamasqua will be launching their beautiful new fragrance 'Freak' (You can pre-order it from their website now This is the brands debut fragrance, adding yet another fantastic product to the ever-growing and flourishing make-up brand. I absolutely love the fragrance and have been wearing it constantly, it's a really warm and floral fragrance, rich with aromas to make it last all night long. It is quite a heavy scent therefore may be more suited to night time, as Illamasqua says itself 'Freak is a concoction of dangerously exotic unconventional flowers which Illamasqua has unashamedly blended together to celebrate the night'. However, I am totally happy to wear it in the day, perhaps just not as sparingly.

The top notes of the fragrance are black davana, giving it it's magical and night time appeal, and opium flower and belladonna which are meant to enhance senses of lust and passion. It definitely does have an air of this to it, the scent is irresistible.

The heart notes are poison hemlock, datura and queen of the night blossom. The base notes, which give the fragrance it's body are frankincense, oud and myrrh which are combined to last on the skin and give the fragrance its warm and sensory appeal. As you can see from the notes of the fragrance, they are wild, original and different giving it the magical, enchanted forest-esque and dangerous edge that the scent offers. For example, the datura (moonflower) is an aphrodisiac and the queen of the night blossom is a blossom that blooms only for one night each year. A real original mix.

I am also absolutely loving the visuals to go with 'Freak' and think they totally capture the effect and aromas of the fragrance. As with lots of the Illamasqua campaigns they are dark, innovative, beautiful and utterly inspiring. I love the incorporation of the moonlight and the body adorned in flowers in the images, which completely captures the essence of the Illamasqua brand itself as well as the fragrance. The art deco inspired bottle is also a great twist on a conventional perfume bottle, and an asset to any dressing table. I love how the bottle tilts to one side and the purple and silver smokey colours which indicate the night time, warm and sweet aspects to the scent. There is also a snail on the side of the bottle with its trail following, there to symbolise it's 'addictive passionate path of desire that is both distinctive and unusually provocative'.

Definitely check this perfume out, I am a huge fan. Freak will be available on the counter from October 20th and retails at £59 for 75ml.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Urban Decay Book of Shadows IV

Another product launched by Urban Decay as part of their holiday 2011 collection is the Book of Shadows IV (see the Midnight Emergency Kit review here). This all singing, all dancing creation is essentially comprised of typical Urban Decay products - a set of 16 - some new and some classic - shadows, a 24/7 black liquid liner (see review here), a mascara, and an eye shadow primer potion - all packaged neatly into this compact, rather bright and colourful box. But when the box is opened.... pulls out into this incredibly high tech (as far as make-up packaging goes) kit. When I first opened it, I wasn't actually sure what to do with it and found it almost overwhelming, but then soon learnt that what you are meant to do is to attach your phone to the purple speaker provided, and pop it into the top by the mirror. The point of this is because you are also presented with a card that has 5 smart phone barcodes (QR codes) on it which you scan with your phone to reveal a 'get the look' tutorial that you can follow with the products provided, hence the large mirror, which needs to be large because most of it is covered with huge plastic butterflies. I like the idea of this, but not with all the fuss that comes with it.

For me, the packaging and all its accessories make the product on the whole a gimmick. 
Unfortunately I think this deters from the brilliance of the actual products inside, of which time and time again I have praised hugely. I think the products speak for themselves without the need for the full-on packaging and phone accessories. Essentially what they have done is repackaged a selection of their amazing eyeshadows and presented them in a different way - 10 of the eyeshadows are new to the palette, which is a great bonus, whilst the other 6 are staple UD shades. Perhaps something like their NAKED Palette would be more suited to those of you who agree with me on the fussy packaging, it would definitely travel better anyway - with this product it pretty much has to stay on the dressing table, it's big!  Granted it is quite a cool concept, and on trend in so far as incorporating smart phones and barcodes into it if that is something that appeals to you, but this doesn't do it for me.

However, packing and phones aside I adore the make-up in this box. The eyeshadows are as usual exceptional and faultless with a beautiful and versatile range on offer, a great selection of colours and a few signature UD shadows that I use all the time. The liner is great and simple to use and the forever talked about eyeshadow potion makes a great base for these eyeshadows to work their magic.

The eyeshadows from left to right are -

1. Blue Bus
2. Gunmetal
3. Cobra
4. Baked
5. Bender
6. Gravity
7. Lost
8. Hijack
9. Midnight Cowgirl
10. Midnight Sin
11. Midnight Rodeo
12. Crystal
13. Bust
14. Missionary
15. Skimp
16. Zephyr

Ultimately, I love the products inside but don't love the other aspects of this release. I guess as it's limited edition it is fun to do something different and exciting, and even if it is fairly complicated and technical, it definitely has contributed something innovative and new to the make-up world and to the Urban Decay brand. Let me know what you guys think. 

The Book of Shadows IV is available now for £46.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Sleek's Limited Edition Nude Collection

At the end of summer Sleek released its limited edition nude collection for Autumn/Winter 2011 compromising of the 12-piece Au Naturel I-Divine palette, Suede blusher and Bare Minimum Pout Polish.

I am loving the autumnal and rich colours in this palette, from shimmering champagnes to the warm and soft dark browns. I think this is a beautiful collection of colours that are really on trend to achieve smokey brown looks and the red and orange tones to some of the colours really provide autumn warmth. Most of the shimmering colours are well pigmented, however with the matte shades I found the colour pay off wasn't particularly strong and it took a lot of work to build on the colour. However, like all other Sleek palettes this one retails at £6.49 so is undoubtedly fantastic value for 12 shadows, even if some of them aren't amazing to work with.

The blusher, although not particularly 'nude' and more of a terracota peachy colour is pretty nether the less and it adds warmth to the cheek. It can also be used as a contour but because it is quite orange toned this would only benefit certain skin types, so potentially test it out first and see how it suits! 

The Bare Minimum is a natural peachy colour that adds just enough colour to make the lips look healthy and full. This kind of product is great for teaming with rich smokey eyes. It also smells great because it contains sweet almond oil, and also contains avocado and jojoba to keep lips nourished and moisturised. It also contains SPF 15 to keep lips protected and all at £4.29.

An overall warm and autumnal collection, with pretty colours and a few staple bits that are perfect for autumn trends.

Monday, 10 October 2011


Chanel will be releasing this limited edition highlighting powder as part of their 2011 holiday collection. I am really in two minds about this product - on the one hand I am head over heels for the timeless, sophisticated packaging which exudes glamour. However, although I anticipated this product would give a festive glow, I was left disappointed as the colour pay off wasn't very strong (see swatch below), and only after quite a bit of product it left a very subtle sheen on my skin.  I also found the tone quite frosty rather than pearly and festive but this is down to my skin tone and may not be the same for everyone. The texture of the product is lovely though, and has a gentle and velvety feel which makes it blend into the skin well. 

In light of this, it may be best used for a hint of daytime radiance rather than the rich, warm and glamorous look that I predicted it would offer. Despite my disappointment in the appearance of the product upon application, I absolutely adore the pattern imprinted on the surface of the powder which is so elegant and sophisticated, adding a luxurious touch to anyone's make up bag.

The powder is coming to counters soon.....

Review written by Kate Gowing. 
To give you an indication of skin tone Kate wears 40 in Chanel foundation and NW35 in MAC. 

In conclusion, This product is much more suitable for light skin tones. On my skin (NC25) Lumiere Sculptee has a pretty subtle pearl/golden sheen. As Kate said, it has more of a daytime payoff.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

This post is by popular demand as so many people asked for a review after my recent Illamasqua- Theatre of the Nameless tutorial, so here it is.

Illamasqua have recently launched a new foundation and wow is it fantastic. I love it. It comes in a huge array of colours and tones so there is pretty much a foundation for everyone. Once you have the right colour you are well on your way to flawless skin. It completely evens out complexion without looking or feeling too heavy and brightens the skin instantly. Only a small amount of product is needed for optimum results and it absolutely lasts all day so in my opinion is a perfect base and a foundation you can completely trust. *

The shades here are No.8 and No.9, you can see how the tone completely varies between shades. It is available in 18 shades with varying undertones i.e Pink, Pink/Yellow, Yellow/Pink, Olive etc

The foundation was inspired by the up and coming cult Beauty Balm creams in the Asian market which are known for perfecting skin and being the solution to a completely even complexion. It blends into the skin beautifully making it really easy and efficient to work with. It leaves skin feeling soft and renewed and the coverage is buildable so you can alter it to get your desired look, which also makes it great for taking you from day to night. Another really important point about this foundation is that it photographs beautifully, with no flashback or unnatural appearance. I just love it.

The foundation is £25 and is worth every penny.

See the foundation in action in the recent Illamasqua tutorial -

*This is my opinion based on application to my own skin (and Nic's). 
Outcome of payoff may be different on other skin types so please try before you buy.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Urban Decay Midnight Emergency Kit

New from Urban Decay as one of their Holiday 2012 pieces is the Midnight Emergency kit, a compact kit that is full of night out (or of course, anytime) essentials to keep you looking in check all night long. The kit contains 4 classically shimmery shadows, typical of UD, including the Midnight Cowboy shadow that is their bestselling shadow of all time. It also contains a pink shimmery lip gloss and a brush to apply the shadows, in my opinion the compact could have benefited from a mascara or liner just to give it a more of an all-round appeal. Nether the less, these are a good bunch of essential and reliable products from Urban Decay all in one small and easily portable kit.

The shadows are as usual brilliant in terms of pigment and ease of working with, and offer a girly selection of pinks and shimmers for a pretty look. The Junkie gloss smells great and is a perfect colour for a slick of glittery pink that is warm and soft in appearance. The exterior packaging compliments the inside products well, it has a subtle shimmering gold colour with a durable and hard case that has a zip which makes it perfect for carrying about in your handbag. The interior has a good sized mirror which allows for on the go application. I am not overly struck on the bright yellow and purple zig zag detail but it is the products that count and it looks pretty from the outside.

From left to right

1.Midnight Cowboy
2. Midnight Rodeo
3. Midnight 15
4. AC/DC

The Midnight Emergency Kit is available now and retails at £28 which is reasonable for the full sized products inside. It is limited edition for the holiday season so will be great for winter parties and events.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

ILLAMASQUA Theatre of the Nameless collection

Illamasqua have recently launched a collection named 'Theatre of the Nameless' for their Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. The products are just beautiful, and in conjunction with the tutorial that was recently uploaded (see below) featuring the products in the collection, here is a blog post displaying some of the visuals and some swatches of the products. See the full collection on Illamsqua's website here and also a short film on Illamasqua's YouTube channel here. Enjoy...

Above are the two new powder blushers that are part of the collection. The one of the left is Ambition, which is used in the tutorial and the one of the right is called Morale. As you can see the one on the right looks particularly bright in the pan but on the skin it leaves a softer and more subtle pink tone, however it is buildable if you want the brighter more daring look. They are both beautiful though with the subtle shimmer, giving a beautiful glow to the skin that brightens the face and adds a much needed pop of colour for the winter months.

The blushers retail at £16.50

I am absolutely in love with the varnishes in the collection. A gorgeous selection of autumnal colours that are striking and unique. I like how they have an almost matte like appearance to them and are not to glossy which fits in with the dark, 1920's feel to the collection. They are warm colours and glide on easily and can be worn even after one coat as they have a strong colour depth. Fantastic. I have been wearing the green one 'Kink' constantly, but actually quite like them all together as they are here and in the tutorial also. 

Left to right - 

Faux Pas

The varnishes retail at £13.50

Also we recently did a review of the 'Masquara' that is included in the collection and in the tutorial. See that here

See more of the products in play in the Theatre of the Nameless tutorial -

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