Monday, 27 May 2013

OCC Lip Tar + Giveaway

OCC Lip Tar in NSFW
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics are known for their lip tars, but they are relatively hard to get hold of in the UK (especially if your outside London), with only a few places stocking them. Not only are they 100% vegan and cruelty free, the little tubes pack a lot of punch in terms of pigmentation. Excuse the annoying flicks in the above pictures (I was still getting ready at the time), but you can see even on my naturally pigmented lips, the Lip Tar is true to shade. NSFW is described as a true red, and I'd agree. It would suit anyone, regardless of undertone. Only a tiny bead of product, half the size of a pea, is needed to cover your entire lip in an amazingly pigmented, long lasting shade. Using a lip brush is essential with this product (when I purchased mine, one came with it, but I'd check in case its dependent where you buy it from). Although I've never used a lip brush before (the most neglected brushes in my collection) I have to say I wont look back. Its very easy to get a lovely smooth line, and not at all a faf as I'd imagined. Once on, its on.  Over the weekend I went for a meal out and road tested it and it was still as pigmented when I got home in the early hours as when I first applied it. There was mild transfer, but considerably less than some of my other red lipsticks, so needless to say I am definitely impressed. This is a similar story with it drying out your lips. Although it is quite drying, it didn't find it clinged to any dry patches as long as you prep your lips before hand with a scrub and balm. The finish is not a true matte, but some still may prefer adding a clear gloss over for a more satin finish. Like all red lipsticks, I'd recommend a good liner to prevent bleeding, but I didn't experience any when I carelessly forgot to use it. Overall I am completely in love with OCC Lip Tars. I'm not really a gloss girl, so the packaging kind of intimidated me. This is more like a liquid lipstick, and the most long-lasting lip product I've ever used. 

If you fancy getting your hands on one of two OCC Lip Tars in the shade NSFW (complete with lip brush), then click here and enter my giveaway!
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Friday, 24 May 2013

Mulberry



When I was 15 I fell in love with designer bags. It was at this time Mulberry really started to appeal to me. I loved the brand ethos and what it symbolises, classic British luxury, and spent a fair few hours procrastinating  on their website. Way back then, my mum said when I graduate from University, I can get a Mulberry bag, but I've got to admit I thought this bribe promise might get forgotten over time. Speed up to 2013, and my parents hadn't forgotten. Although I don't graduate until July 11th, my parents didn't want to award me for what grades I achieve, but on what effort I put in. They said they could see how much work I put into my degree, so no matter what, I deserve my Mulberry. Meet Bernard, my small Bayswater Satchel in Chocolate. I wanted something classic and elegant, and for me, the Bayswater embodies this. I didn't buy it on the high street, I actually went to the Outlet at Cheshire Oaks (and paid quite a bit less), because even I struggle to justify the prices. However, I had fallen in love with the postman's lock and knew a Bayswater was the one I wanted. Now I know Mulberry prices are extortionate for a bag, and normally I wouldn't think it was worth it spending so much on an accessory, but I think its what the bag represents is the bigger think. University for me hasn't been easy. I've suffered from constant illness and pain, only just discovering the real cause was a small brain tumour towards the end of my second year. Having to teach myself the majority of my law degree and still have the prospects of graduating with a high 2:1 in the normal 3 year period is something I am amazingly proud of. For me, my Mulberry is the physical embodiment of everything I've overcome to get my degree, and I couldn't be happier. 

I would just like to add that I am in no way bragging about my amazing graduation present. I am extremely grateful to my parents for buying this me. A lot of people wanted to see the bag I'd chosen from Mulberry so I thought it best to do a post  on it. 

Have you got anything from Mulberry or getting anything special as a graduation present? I'd love to know.

If your from the UK and haven't entered my OCC Lip Tar giveway yet click here to eneter
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Monday, 20 May 2013

Dead Sea Spa Magik Algimud Active Seaweed Mask


Dead Sea Spa Magik Peel Off Mask - £3.60

I've always loved the idea of Dead Sea Spa Magik as a brand, but never actually tried anything. I picked up this face mask on a bit of a whim, my skin needed a pick-me-up and I fancied a change from the ones I already have. Containing natural dead sea mud and seaweed and promising to detox my skin, it sounded perfect.

One of the things that most attracted me to this particular mask is its ingredients. Without getting too sciencey and out of my depth, the dead sea mineral mud is said to help purify the skin whilst the Alignates help to create a gelification process which eventually hardens. It also doesn't contain any parabens, making it the perfect radiance enhancing mask.

In one pack you get a sachet, which provides a very generous amount for a single use, and a wooden spatula. There is a small amount of preparation to be done in that you have to mix the sachet with 75 ml of cold water before immediately applying it in a thick layer to your skin, but its easy to get it into a good consistency. It is recommended that you ask someone to apply it for you, because otherwise you will get it everywhere. While I got the benefit of the mask, my mum got the fun factor in smothering my face using the spatula and nearly blocking my nostrils. Attractive. Joking aside, we never stop laughing, so this would be perfect for a girly night in! Oh, and I've spared you all the horror of seeing myself modelling the mask, I ended up looking like the Elephant Man, and nobody needs to see that.

Once applied you can feel it tighten; I love feeling like a mask is doing something. The advice given is to leave it on for 10-20 minutes. I actual lost track of time watching an episode of New Girl and left it on for 30 minutes.  When I looked in the mirror it didn't appear to have hardened any, but I decided to do a risky attempt at peeling it off regardless. Thank God I did because it had hardened. Although the appearance hadn't changed, the mask actually transformed into a type of rubber mask, a second skin if you will. For once a peel off mask did what its supposed to do and peeled off in one piece, mess free! It was such a fun process, kind of like removing a latex Halloween mask (I kid you not!). The results underneath were amazing, my skin looked so clean and glowed, and stayed like that for a couple of days! I can definitely see the purifying qualities of the dead sea mud and I am now a complete brand convert.

The cheapest place I've found that stock this mask is Amazon at £3.60, but I got mine from Holland & Barrett. For one use, it isn't the cheapest mask on the market, but it is cheaper than a facial. It was so relaxing and my skin looks so much better. If your looking for a detox, pamper and just want to try something different, I definitely recommend it.

Have you tried any Dead Sea Spa Magik products? I really want to try their bath salts next!
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Monday, 13 May 2013

V05 Plump It Up Amplifying Blow Dry Lotion

V05 Plump It Up - £3.69
I'm really lucky in the sense that I have always had exceptionally thick hair in good condition. I've never really suffered from the dreaded frizz, even on holiday, and the only reason I had my cut into a short bob was because I wanted a change, and it took the weight out of my hair. Because of of the limited options a bob presents on the styling front, I rely on my GHD's and a good blow dry. To keep my hair healthy and sleek I depend on a decent blow drying lotion.

I picked this V05 one up way back in late September just before I moved back to Uni, and have repurchased it ever since, so its about time I did a review. V05 Pump It Up Amplifying Blow Dry Lotion is a bit of a multi-tasker. Its a blow dry lotion and a heat protection spray. I'm not usual a fan of multi-tasking products; in my experience they never fully deliver on any of their claims, just so-so on each. For the price I wasn't expecting miracles, but I really do like this. It doesn't give me the most volume and thickness I've ever had, but I wasn't that fussed about that because naturally my hair is very thick. I do think if you have thinner hair than me, this would probably have a greater effect, as it does add a little bit of volume. This is also supposed to help with frizz and fly-aways. I don't really suffer from frizz so I can't comment on that, but on fly-aways, it does help create a more polished look. The heat defence seems to be really good. At the moment I've got into the bad habit of straightening or blow drying my hair every day, and its still in really good condition. It leaves a really smooth, slightly shiny blow dry after one or two sprays. Lasting about a month with every day use, for value for money, I don't think you could do better.

I think I picked mine up at Asda, but Superdrug sell it for £3.69. What do you use to protect your hair? Has anyone got any volume tips for thick hair? Most products I see understandably cater for thinner hair, so I'd love to know any you've found for thicker hair.

P.S. Enter my giveaway and have the chance of winning an OCC Lip Tar! Click here.
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Monday, 6 May 2013

Bittersweet London

Bittersweet London Summer Raspberry Kiwi Sweets (*) - £5.95
I'm always on the look out for items I could give as gifts. Something that's nicely packaged and universally appealing whilst being affordable to be given for small thank you presents, stocking fillers etc. Bittersweet London are the perfect treat everyone can enjoy.  Offering goodies including Marshmallows, gum and mints, all products are sugar free, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. Usually this means that the sweets will taste of nothing, but that's far from it in this case. Unless you read it on the box, you wouldn't know that your actually being 'good'. They are absolutely delicious and whats more low in calories. I can't speak for all the treats, but per 100g of Summer Raspberry Kiwi there are 239 calories. Seeing as you would only have a couple in one go, these are the perfect thing to give into your sweet tooth without compromising your healthy lifestyle. Adding that the packaging is so lovely (I am obsessed with the flower-esque top and opening) and it makes the perfect token of appreciation for any occasion.

To have a look at the full range of treats on offer visit bittersweetplease.com

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win one of two OCC Lip Tars! click here
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Sunday, 5 May 2013

MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow

MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Review

I wasn't actually very bothered about the In Extra Dimension collection until I saw it on Temptalia. I then immediately wanted needed three of their eye shadows in shades Opalesse, Triple Impact and Smokey Mauve. Together they make the most beautiful shimmering pink/lavender smokey eye and are colors I am actually missing from my collection and have wanted to wear.

Opalesse

MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Review
MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Review


Lightest first, Opalesse. MAC described this as an Opalescent White with Pink Pearl and I pretty much agree. The collection uses the same packaging as that of the permanent collection, so I may depot these three into my MAC Pro Palette. However, it's the product I love t to look at not the packaging. How beautiful is the design? Although when I swatched the design was still there, I have a feeling it will inevitably disappear (sigh). The formula is liquid-powder allowing for the intense shimmer given by all three shadows. Opalesse is pretty sheer, but makes an amazing highlight, especially for shades such as Girlie and Expensive Pink. Quality wise this lives up to the MAC standard. It is beautifully applied and extremely blendable. The color can be built up slightly, but still remains relatively sheer. As lasting power goes, this hit the 6-hour mark with no creasing with no primer.

Triple Impact

MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Review
MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Review

Admittedly I wasn't wowed with Triple Impact and on it's on I'm still not. However, next to the other three I really does look beautiful so I'm glad I splurged. Like with the other it is relatively sheer, although there is a slight pink/purple tinge to it. MAC describe this as an opalescent lavender with a violet pearl so it lives up to expectations. I do wish this was slightly more pigmented though, on its own, it does appear to be nothing special. The lasting power is around 6 hours and it is extremely workable, the only thing letting it down is its pigmentation.

Smokey Mauve

MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Review
MAC In Extra Dimension Eye Shadow Review

This is the shade that initially caught my eye. As soon as I saw it I needed it in my life, and then naturally the two complementary shades. Described as a mid-tone cool mauve Smokey Mauve is breathtaking both in the pan and on the eye in the crease. It is incredibly pigmented and appears to have a brown undertone in a swatch, but on the eye blended in with the others, it looks identical to the pan.  Like with all of this range, it lasts around 6 hours before any creasing occurs without a primer, and could most likely be prolonged with the use of one. I am in love with this color and recommend it for anyone, especially those with blue/green eyes, as it really makes them pop.

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Saturday, 4 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Temperature Rising Eye Shadow Quad

There's differing opinions amongst bloggers about MAC limited collection quads. It's either poor shade selection or unusually bad quality that has made a Quad a bit of a risk. Frankly, most of the time I'd say you would be better making your own Pro Palette with nearly identical shades. This time I took a chance, and it paid off.

MAC Temperature Rising Eye Shadow Quad Review
MAC Temperature Rising Eye Shadow Quad Review
MAC Temperature Rising Eye Shadow Quad Review
MAC Temperature Rising Eye Shadow Quad Review

I'm not going to bore all of you have read all of my reviews on Temperature Rising, but the packaging wins me over every time. I wish this was the standard MAC packaging actually. It's just so pretty to look at and screams bronzed summers. Shade selection wise, it's one of my perfect palettes. Neutral with a slight plum twist and ideal for a natural day look or an evening smokey eye. The shades are (top row l-r) Performance Art, Temperature Rising, (bottom row l-r) Swelter and Beauty Marked (which is actually a permanent shade) and are actually similar to those in the NARs the Happening Palette but perhaps more warm toned. I would say the quality is slightly below normal MAC, but is still high. I do think the pigmentation of Swelter should be greater to make for a better smokey eye, but it easily built up and can be blended out. They wear roughly 5 hours and are extremely easy to blend. This will be taken everywhere with me this summer, definitely winning me over to MAC collection palettes.
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Friday, 3 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Blush in Ripe for Love

Third in my shopping basket from the MAC Temperature Rising Collection was a beautiful coral blush. If you're someone familiar with MAC, you will know their blushes are of amazing quality. There is also a pink blush in the collection but coral/peach tones suit my skin tone a lot better.

MAC Ripe For Love Blush Review
MAC Ripe For Love Blush Review
MAC Ripe For Love Blush Review
MAC Ripe For Love Blush ReviewMAC Ripe For Love Blush Review

I adore the packaging, the burnished bronze is so elegant and summery. It feels luxurious even before I apply it. The product is a satin finish and of the usual MAC standard; high quality, high pigmentation, long lasting. The blush is pretty vivid so a little does a lot and can be easily built up. It's the perfect shade for a bronze glowing contoured look and I will definitely be pairing this with my Bronze Strobe Liquid. Coral/peach tones really help to pop blue eyes so this blush will stand the test of time all through the year. I can see this becoming a firm favorite.

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Powerchrome Eye Pencil

After Bronze Strobe Liquid, next in my shopping bag was MAC's version of the eye pencil. I am in love with Rimmel's high street dupes and with the likes of Laura Mercier, Clinique, Nars etc. having similar products, these seem to be sticking around. Not only are they great for traveling, I find application to be fool-proof, perfect if you're in a rush.

MAC Powerchrome Eye Pencil in Polished Jet Review
MAC Powerchrome Eye Pencil in Polished Jet Review
MAC Powerchrome Eye Pencil in Polished Jet Review
MAC Powerchrome Eye Pencil in Polished Jet Review

MAC's Powerchrome eye pencil comes in four shades, of which I have Polished Jet. The other shades are more golden brown, and I just feel like this has been done amazingly by Rimmel, so I'm not going to pay more for the same. The shade is a shimmering dark not-quite-black not-quite-grey shade that will work perfectly in a crease blended in to make a quick smokey eye. The pigmentation is incredible, the swatch shows one very light stroke. It's very soft and creamy, and easy to work into the look you want. Stay power is around the 6-hour mark, longer with a primer, so perfect for a night out.

Packaging wise, there is an appearance on the outer box of the burnished bronze packaging associated with this collection. The actual product is a glossy pencil, with a shade indication at the end. It is not self-sharpening which in a way, I'm glad about as I have had issues with some breaking. However, this inevitably leads to wastage. It's all swings and roundabouts.

Overall, I'm glad I bought this because the color is exactly what I love and I needed it in a pencil form for traveling, but I'm not going to rush out and buy more. As I've already mentioned Rimmel and Clinique do some excellent versions in a wider shade range for cheaper, so it makes little sense to spend more on something I can get for cheaper and at a similar quality.

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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

MAC Temperature Rising: Bronze Strobe Liquid

I'm not usually sucked into 'limited' collections. Well, actually that's a lie. I am a sucker for limited edition nail varnishes, of which Illamasqua is my weakness (I'm currently writing this on Tuesday, just after ordering Illamasqua's Paranormal Collection - the top coat and Omen to be precise). But MAC's collections rarely appeal to me, surprising since my bank sometimes thinks I am solely keeping them in business (always happy to do my bit for the economy). Whilst everyone was excited over Archie's Girls and the upcoming Ri-Ri collections, I'm a bit meh. When something happens every other month, it's not special anymore. I can't afford it and I find it extremely hard to justify buying an eye shadow or lipstick that is practically identical to one in their permanent collection, that I would never have dreamed of buying in the first place but suddenly want because it's 'limited'.

Rant over I am now going to be a massive hypocrite and start 1 of 5 posts on MAC's newest limited collections,  with 4 on MAC Temperature Rising, and 1 on Extra Dimension (I was weak, I was stressed. I blame exams). As far back as December, I got word of this collection on the grapevine. My attention was initially sparked by the mention of MAC releasing a bronze strobe liquid. If you've been with me since the beginning you will know what a Strobe Liquid preacher I am so a bronzing version seemed to be a summer must-have for me.

MAC Bronze Strobe Liquid
MAC Strobe Liquid Bronze - RRP £22.50

Packaging wise it's identical to the normal strobe liquid. It's a glass jar with a pump dispenser which lets you control the amount you use and limits wastage  Most of the products in this collection have a beautiful burnished bronze packaging but this doesn't and remains the standard MAC black. I'm hoping that means this is going to stick around in the permanent collection (as Let's Skate Paint Pot did), but who knows.

Swatches

MAC Bronze Strobe Liquid
MAC Bronze Strobe Liquid
MAC Bronze Strobe Liquid
MAC Bronze Strobe Liquid


The formula seems to be roughly the same, excluding the bronzing nature obviously. It's lightweight and can be used as a moisturizer, primer, highlight. You name it Strobe Liquid will do it. At first glance the shade is intimidating, to say the least with my skin tone. However, it does blend in lovely. There is a slight shimmer, so maybe it's not for everyone, but if you use it purely as a highlighter, it's not an issue. A little does a lot. I used one small pump for an entire hand and a bit of my forearm to test it out. It's easily buildable to use as a highlighter on your face so I'd recommend starting small and working yourself up to the shade you require. As you can see the effect given enhances your skin, reducing the appearance of imperfections and giving your skin a natural glow. This may come as no surprise but the product does have bronzing elements so obviously, if you blend it in carelessly, it will streak (as in the last picture)

Overall  I really love this product. It's perfect for summer or when I've been fake tanning. Worn all over the face, I can really seeing it enhancing the skin's glow and really maximizing a tan. For when I've not got some color, it is definitely wearable, although I do think I'm more likely to reach to the original (even just to preserve my stocks of this). I'm at my palest right now as I revise solidly indoor because of hay fever. Although it looked intimidating at the start, blended in and used minimally it gives such a lovely effect and really combats my dull, dry skin. I can imagine paired with a nice coral blush and a neutral smokey eye, it would look incredible. It can be hard to find products that don't cling to dry skin, especially ones that are tan related, but this is perfect and feels so hydrating. If this lasts me as long as my strobe liquid has (it better last me forever if it's limited edition)  it is definitely worth the money.

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