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Nicola Roberts was always my favourite member of Girls Aloud. Often overlooked in favour of media darling Cheryl and feisty Nadine, she seemed to have the most individual look with her own style. After first trying to fit in with the rest of the band's image by using fake tan, she soon started to embrace her pale look and now wears her pallor and her gorgeous red hair proudly.
I read that Nicola was inspired to create her makeup range, Dainty Doll, after getting sick of struggling to find makeup that suited her skin. She said that her makeup artist had to get white makeup imported from Japan so that she could mix it with foundation in order to match her skin tone. Though I'm not quite as pale as Nicola, I'm pale enough that I also struggle to find makeup that's light enough (and like her I refuse to use fake tan). I was excited to find Nicola's new range available on ASOS and made a couple of purchases.
The range includes items such as eyeshadow and lipstick, but I was drawn to the foundations and concealers. I purchased the mineral foundation in shade 001, Now That I've Found You. I'd long wanted to try mineral foundation, but I'd been unable to find a shade that matched my skin.
I love the packaging for this makeup range. It is black with a picture of a red-haired girl in stockings. It's stylish, modern but with a vintage twist. The name of the brand, Dainty Doll, is written in gold. The foundation comes in a cardboard box and is described as "A lightweight loose natural mineral powder foundation that leaves a flawless finish to your skin". The foundation carries an SPF of 18 and contains natural sunscreens as well as vitamin E, which is rich in antioxidants. You are meant to be able to apply the foundation gently for a fresh finish or build it up for an immaculate look.
The foundation itself comes in a tube with a built-in brush. Now the packaging claims that this makes it easy to carry it around with you for retouching during the day. You get a disappointingly small amount of product in the clear plastic bit at the bottom - the rest of the package is made up of the tube with the brush on the end, with a hole running through it to let the powder through.
I'll say now that the design just doesn't work as it should. Using it this way it's simply impossible to get the powder out. The idea is that the powder goes through the hole and comes out with the bristles but it just doesn't do that. The only way I can use this powder is by unscrewing the clear plastic bit on the bottom and dipping the brush into the powder. This way is messy, as the brush is far wider than the powder container. It also means that I end up getting out more powder than I actually want. The first time I used this, I made a mess as some of the powder had gone up the centre of the brush, and it kept falling out everywhere. Therefore, I have to keep the tube upright on my shelf in order not to waste more powder - so it's certainly not portable as claimed.
Furthermore, getting the lid on the tube is a nightmare - the bristles don't retract so you inevitably get some sticking out when you get the lid on. This really annoys me!
What about the product itself? Well, I have no complaints here. The powder matches my skin tone, which is something of a miracle. The powder gives my skin a lovely airbrushed finish, and helps to even out my skin tone and minimise redness. It doesn't irritate my skin in any way. It isn't a heavy foundation by any means, and if you want full coverage you're best off going elsewhere (I suspect this to be true of all mineral foundations). However I am generally happy with my skin and I don't think I need more than light coverage unless I'm having a really bad skin day. The foundation is ideal for the summer too, as it doesn't cake. It seems to last all day on my skin, too.
One thing I will say is, mineral foundation should not be confused with powder. It doesn't prevent shine or oiliness on the skin. I still have to use my usual powder - however I can get away with using less, and then usually just on my T-zone. This in turn makes my skin look more natural as it lessens the chance of the powder caking.
I am massively disappointed with this product. The foundation itself is of a very high quality but the whole thing is let down by the badly designed packaging. If the product was repackaged I'd certainly buy it again, but as things currently stand I wouldn't repurchase. This is a massive shame, as I was so happy to have found a mineral foundation that matched my skin tone!
Dainty Doll products are no longer available on ASOS, but I've just noticed that they are now available from the Boots website. This foundation is priced at £19.50. It's expensive for what you get, particularly as you end up wasting some of the product because of the badly designed packaging!