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This week my local Boots store finally moved from the tiny store they've had for many years into a larger, new retail unit and to celebrate they have been giving away vouchers for £3 off a £15 spend. Never one to turn down the chance of a bargain, I happily took a voucher and promptly spent it on a Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File, a large one... bringing the price down from £15 to just £12, which is basically the same price as the small one.
It's said to be 'The Rolls Royce of Nail Files'(all be it by Leighton Denny, himself) and boasts that it will 'glide smoothly and evenly along the nail edge, turning the excess nail to dust while leaving the newly filed edge completely smooth and sealed' I have no argument against this statement, at all. Honestly, I couldn't agree more.
This file gets through my nails like a hot knife through butter turning it to fine white powder before my very eyes. Filing nails can be such a chore, trying to make sure the edges are smooth and neat, well this file almost does all the work for you!
It's also a much more pleasant experience, if you're a bit nail file phobic (is there a real phobia name for this?) then this should really help you as it's such a smooth action with no ickyness (I'm not nail phobic but I can understand why people could be)!
It made such light work of my nails and it even passed the toenail test, filing them nicely without any damage to the nail edge... and well, I don't know about you but for me, trying to file my toenails usually either ends up with me totally contorting myself to get the right angle to file at, or risk having scratchy, rough nail edges which is not nice, at all!
I think it also helps that you can file back and forth with these files without worrying about the nail not being sealed or smooth... something I'm still getting used to, but a welcome advantage.
The only (very, very minor) downside to this file is that unlike the smaller file, the larger one didn't come with a proper (and protective) case which is a bit disappointing, but I'm thinking maybe I need the smaller one for in my bag and keep the larger one for home use?!?!
The price, whilst seemingly more expensive than your average nail file actually is a lot more reasonable than you'd think; considering this file (and its smaller counterpart) comes with a lifetime warranty. Now this doesn't mean you can snap it and have it replaced, but what it does mean is that if you look after it (including rinsing it in warm water from time to time to clean and restore performance) but find that the quality of the filing surface diminishes (at any time), it will be replaced for free - good eh!
This means that your £12 or £15 nail file should last you for your whole lifetime which seems pretty reasonable to me and should more than cover the cost compared to all the cheaper nail files you'd otherwise buy in your lifetime... so long as you don't lose the file, of course!
I am so pleased with this purchase and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this item to you. It's available from so many places so is easily purchased, the cheapest place I've found so far for the large one is Amazon.co.uk fot £12.97.
I've been very lucky to be given the chance to test out No7's new, not even released yet Exquisite Curl Mascara, and I was very excited to do so as I love love love their Exceptional Definition Mascara.
The product marketing blurb says:
"The aptly named Exquisite Curl Mascara has a curved brush, tailored to enhance curl and volume. The unique formula with curl-setting polymer helps keep lashes lifted throughout the day. The result? It curls lashes by up to 90 degrees. Eyes look more open and lashes extended from root to tip - get ready to va va voom!"
"This mascara gives a lift to the lashes for a wide open-eyed look. The bend in the brush helps to manipulate the lashes in to place and get a good coating at the roots."
Lisa Eldridge, No7 make-up artist and creative director"
I absolutely loved using this mascara, I could easily get away with just one coat (without my Clinique lash primer) and still get a fantastic curl - in fact I was so pleased with the curl that I've been able to stop using my heated eyelash curlers when using this product as the curl really is defined and just as importantly, it stays put - great for when you're in a rush, or running late (like I usually do).
Apparently this is down to 2 things, the first being the obvious curved brush which has been designed to enhance, curl and create volume; the second thing is a curl setting polymer that helps the curl to stay put all day long. Whatever it is, it really does work.
I had difficulty getting huge amounts of volume from the one coat, in fact I found that it actually gave more length than volume on my lashes (which isn't bad, as who doesn't want longer looking lashes?) but I did find that 2-3 coats gave much better volume.
The mascara consistency is quite thick, which I thought may cause a problem with coating the lashes, and also clumping but honestly there was hardly any - I think this was down to the brush being quite full and bristle-y (you can see this in the product picture, or if you like you can visit my blog to have a closer look).
I did need to work the lashes from the second coat to keep them separated, but this is quite the norm for me with most mascara to be honest!
I've already mentioned the staying power of the curl, but felt I should also mention that I was very impressed with the staying power of the mascara itself, again, without the use of any primer (to make it a fair test based purely on the mascara, not additional products giving it extra help). When wearing this, I've found that it stayed in place all day and evening too - granted I didn't cry or get soaked in the rain, but I did go out drinking, after wearing it during the day which I find is a great test for the durability in itself. I don't think it's waterproof, but I do think that it's as good as you'll get without it being so, for staying power.
As a side note, when twisting the mascara lid back shut, you actually feel a little bump (that's the best I can explain it) that tells you that the mascara tube is properly shut - I quite like this as it assures me that the mascara is closed and I won't come back to it dried out. I don't think I've really noticed this on my other tubes of mascara - I could be wrong, it could just be that I am paying more attention to this function at this particular time. Anyway, I'm rambling now - sorry about that.
The mascara, available in Black and Brown/Black goes on sale on the 26th January and will cost £13.00 for 7ml of product - I'd be more than happy to pay this, and will actually do so when this tube runs out.
Part of the No7 limited edition Christmas range this year is a mini set of nail polishes. They're 4mls each and there are 4 in the set. I am so impressed with the colours, they are amazing; they do need a few coats to get good coverage (copper and gold especially) and once you've applied those few coats they have great colour payoff - well worth the extra coat or so!
They do apply nicely but they're not quite on par with the likes of Essie, so you have to make sure you get a smooth, even coat with no brush lines before you deem yourself 'finished' but honestly, they're still great for the money.
It's a real shame they're only mini bottles as I would happily buy full sized ones of at least 2 of them (but most likely all of them) individually or a gift pack containing them all as full sized products.
My opinion on each of the colours:
Gold - This is a real classy gold - not at all brash and with a satiny metallic effect. Just be mindful that you need to work a little bit with this one especially to avoid any brush marks. It is possible to get a smooth finish with a tiny amount of extra effort though.
Copper - Love this, it's also got a slight satiny effect but also has shimmer included which emphasises the metallic finish. The copper colour is also very flattering to skin, something I didn't think it would be. I've been pleasantly surprised here.
Black with gold shimmer - Possibly one of my favourite colours, the black works so well with the gold flecks, they reflect the light beautifully and the black provides the perfect background for them to stand out against. I find this colour to be perfect for Christmas and all the upcoming parties; it's a must-have.
Deep red-purple - This is the one shade that confused me with this set, as I can't see the metal reference; am I missing something here? Anyway the colour is lovely regardless of its link to the metal theme. It is almost an exact dupe (but seems a touch darker) against my Essie Velvet Voyeur (autumn 2010 collection) polish so it is bang on trend.
The polish seems to last a decent amount of time, I tried it with and without base and top coat and the first chip did indeed happen quicker without any base/top coat (1 and a bit days) but it did last a respectable 3 days with the base and topcoat, and I was able to patch it up enough to get a further day out of it. I used models own clear polish (£5) as both a base and top coat as I wanted to make sure the polish wasn't only lasting because I'd spent a fortune on the 'best' base and top coat.
This set is perfect for a stocking filler gift, or even a secret santa - but is even more perfect if you want to keep them all to yourself (I don't blame you at all for this decision).
Anyway, they're £8 for the set from Boots stores and also online, however they are currently out of stock on the boots.com website; and there appears to be 2 choices of colour available, precious metals as shown here (in the picture above) and smoky jewels.
There are also swatch pictures of this set on my site (www.thebeautyscoop.co.uk) if you'd like to have a look at the colours out of the bottle.
I have psoriasis, I've had it since I was a child and it's bothered me non-stop since then and I've tried all kinds of shampoos and treatments to try and ease, or preferably get rid of it. I've tried everything from those prescribed by the doctor, to shampoos like T-Gel and even head and shoulders (I thought it might work well for the scalp even though it's for a different condition) and nothing has ever done it any good. I settled on using whatever shampoo I fancied that would benefit my hair at that time, since nothing was helping my scalp.
I noticed this on the Aveda website and was sent some to try out - I thought it couldn't hurt and I do have a degree of trust in the brand from many years ago when I used to pinch my sisters Aveda shampoo when I was a teenager (I hope she's not reading this now)!
My first thought on the smell is that it is a million times better than anything the doctor has prescribed me and certainly better than T-Gel too. It's quite herbal and whilst this isn't the usual kind of scent I would go for, it's actually quite nice - certainly not offensive.
The shampoo lathers well, and you don't need to use gallons of the stuff in order to do so - so whilst it costs more than your average supermarket brand, you may find you go through less bottles for the same amount of uses. I also think that it's worth spending money where you get the benefits from doing so, save where you can (where it doesn't compromise quality or results) by any means but don't go for lesser quality or something that doesn't work just because it's cheap. I find if you have an issue that is solved by using something more expensive then if it makes you happier and more confident, well then it's worth spending that money.
I don't spend any extra time or effort washing with this as I would with any other shampoo (I always rub into my scalp and massage for a while, which you do need to do with this - otherwise how is it going to help your scalp?) but I can honestly say that my scalp feels smoother with every use. It's not completely cleared up, but I am impressed that with such relative ease and speed that it does feel much better.
My hair also feels nice so it isn't suffering from the shampoo being aimed at helping the scalp - something that always bothered me about being prescribed shampoos from the doctor (that neither helped my hair, or my scalp and that stunk to high heaven - errgh) as my hair was always at its worst when using that stuff.
My hair feels nice and clean when I've used it; it's even dealt with my hair perfectly when I've been a lazy bum/running late and have used dry shampoo instead of washing it so that it's had 2 or 3 days worth of product and dirt in it. This is without having to do any extra 'washes' or use any extra product - very impressive.
I always use some form of styling product when doing my hair after I've washed it, even if it's just heat protection spray so I can't say if it's helped with being able to style my hair any better, but it has certainly not made it any worse to do so.
All in all, I would completely recommend this shampoo to anybody who has any kind of scalp problem or irritation, and even to those who just want to maintain a healthy scalp since this product also seems to work brilliantly for the hair, and not just the scalp.
The RRP for this shampoo is £14.50 for 250mls, but you can get it for around £12.50 from places like Look Fantastic. You can also buy it in a 1litre bottle for around £35 from Look Fantastic (again) but the RRP is £40.50.
Some information from the website that you may find useful:
"Healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp. That's why our Scalp BenefitsTM Shampoo is formulated to:
* cleans down to the root
* removes excess sebum and buildup
* creates the ideal foundation for healthy hair
Babassu, Burdock root, Echinacea, Sage leaf, Seabuckthorn oil, Vetiver
Directions for use:
* Apply Scalp BenefitsTM Balancing Shampoo to your hands, rub together, inhale centering aroma
* Apply to damp hair and lather by massaging scalp vigorously
* Continue massage with slow circular motions
* Place your fingers on back of the head, thumbs at the occipital ridge and massage along this bone
* Massage scalp again vigorously
* Rinse thoroughly with warm water
* Apply Scalp BenefitsTM Balancing Conditioner and massage as above
* Rinse thoroughly with warm water
* If your stylist has determined that a dandruff condition is present, apply Scalp RemedyTM*"
I thought that I should add that I have been using this shampoo with the matching conditioner, which is also fantastic; it's not too heavy and not too light (at least not for my hair) and I found that it left my hair feeling lovely and soft, without any flyaway!
"This daily formula nourishes and balances all hair and scalp types to:
* hydrate the hair
* soothe the scalp
* create the ideal foundation for healthy hair"
You may or may not have heard about the cosmetics brand 'Sleek' and if you haven't then you need to read on as you could be missing out on some fantastic, inexpensive makeup!
Sleek makeup is sold in Superdrug and online in the UK but is actually a brand that sells worldwide (both in stores and via their online site) and they're very popular indeed. They have a fantastic range of makeup, including foundation to pretty much suit any skin tone (I think they have about 17 shades) but the product I am going to review today is their new eye shadow palette named 'Bad Girl'.
The palette costs just £5.99 and comprises of 12 colours (which works out at just under 50p each - yes really!!), all of which are right up my street. I've listed their names (I believe this is the first time they've been given names) and a brief description of what the colour is like.
Innocence - A shimmery white - but still quite subtle as doesn't apply heavily.
Gullible - A shimmery flesh tone, subtle and doesn't apply heavily, as above.
Blade - Shimmery/metallic silver (the lightest silver in the palette).
Gun Metal - Shimmery/metallic... gun metal grey.
Underground - Deeper grey (heading towards black) with slight metallic/sheen.
Noir - Fairly matte very dark brown, verging on black it seems.
Intoxicated - Metallic very dark olive green.
Envy - Even darker green that verges on the grey side, still metallic/shimmery.
Obnoxious - Fairly matte dark navy blue.
Abyss - Even deeper blue, seems fairly matte.
Twilight - Gorgeous metallic purple.
Rebel - Fairly matte purple that seems a bit more on the plummy side.
I love all the colours included but I am especially drawn to the shimmery ones - that'll be the magpie in me; and they're such fantastic quality not just for the price, but even in comparison to some of my more expensive eye shadows. The pigmentation is nothing short of spectacular, something not usually found in such bargainous makeup.
Not only is the pigmentation so fantastic, but so is the colour payoff when actually being applied to the skin. I say this as I've tried testers in boots etc which have looked great colour and pigmentation wise on the finger that was in contact with the shadow, but when actually trying to apply to the eye has been a big letdown (I'm talking about Bourjois here - nice colours, lovely sparkles but really need to be used wet to get any kind of decent colour payoff) - well there's none of this here thankfully.
Application of the shadow is so easy and gives such a lovely effect, although there is a bit of fall down when applying - easily solved by having loose powder under your eyes to protect your base, or even doing your base makeup once you have applied this.
The shadow also performs well; it stays where you put it and it lasts well - which is probably more important than anything else! I've tried it both with a primer and without and I was so surprised that it lasted so well without any kind of primer involved.
The shadows are soft so be warned that you should not really be dropping the palette, poking the shades too hard or doing anything else that could damage them - this is the only real downside, but I think this is the thing that makes them so pigmented. If looking after them a little bit more carefully is what is needed for that, well then I'll happily take that trade off!
Included with the palette is a double ended foam applicator, which is actually another thing that is fantastic quality - I normally only use my own makeup brushes but with these I am more than happy to mix it up and use both.
I have swatches available on my site if you'd like to see - maybe it will also help you to make your mind up about purchasing them?! The direct link to all my sleek posts is: http://www.thebeautyscoop.co.uk/search/label/Sleek
I totally recommend this palette - and in turn, pretty much all of their other palettes too as they're all the same kind of quality and pigmentation. They release limited edition palettes all the time, this keeps the range fresh and also keeps people interested in them as a brand - the next one is a Christmas sparkle palette (sneak preview swatches available on my site also) and I cannot wait to get it based on my experience so far with the brand.
My lips can be a complete pain - literally. They get so dried out at times that normal lip balm just doesn't touch them at all. I quite like using Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream as it really does help to keep them hydrated, but the smell can be a bit overpowering which is something I'll put up with as it's providing a decent protection barrier on my lips (which stops them drying out even more) but it's not something I love either.
I was recently alerted to Lucas' Papaw Ointment - by accident really as I saw it when browsing the Cult Beauty website for other things. I read the reviews and then decided that I had to give it a whirl, especially after reading that it was a great moisturiser for chapped lips because it didn't taste chemical and also that it was odourless.
I decided to play it safe and just purchase the one 25g tube of it (I think I paid around £3.50 for it), as I didn't want to buy loads of it if I didn't know how well it was going to work. I made the right decision as this stuff lasts ages anyway; you only need a tiny amount on your lips to do the job.
It's made from fermented carica papaw which doesn't sound at all enticing but as it said on the product page, you can't taste or smell anything, let alone anything 'bad' so I haven't been too bothered about this at all.
Applying the product is just a case of squeezing out a little product and rubbing it into the area you need it - be that your lips or any other dry or problematic areas of your body. The consistency of the product isn't oily as such, but it is quite slippy and silky (it has a similarity in texture to Vaseline but a bit softer) which to me is great on the lips and it does give a lovely sheen; but I would say that it does need a short time to dry/soak into areas like your fingers where you may come into contact with other items or clothing - just to eliminate any risk of ruining something.
I tend to reapply the product to my lips every 2-3 hours or so, I don't think it needs to be reapplied more frequently as even when the initial shine has gone, I can still feel some moisture on them. I noticed quite quickly that my lips were much softer and whilst there was still dry skin on there, I found it buffed off much easier using both a toothbrush and also a dedicated lip scrub leaving much smoother and moisturised lips.
I've been so impressed with this that next time I think I will go for the big tub (75g - £8.99 ish or 200g - £19.99 ish) as well as a tube of it (for my handbag) as although it does go a long way, I do find that I'm using it all over my body where I have dry areas/patches of psoriasis so buying the big tub for this would present even better value!
Some interesting information from the website:
"Lucas' Papaw Ointment is a world-wide proven remedy of over 100 years standing.
Lucas Papaw Ointment has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and may be used as a local topical application on the following.
Minor Burns Chafing Cuts
Gravel Rash Minor Open Wounds
Nappy Rash Scalds
Sunburn Splinters and Thorns
Temporary relief of the symptoms of dermatitis and eczema
Papaw or Papaya we all know as a delicious fruit, but the beneficial qualities of Papaw greatly aid the skin.
Lucas Papaw Ointment is made in Australia from pure Australian papaws."
It's upgrade time for me, and so I've started my quest to find the phone that I'll be happy to use for the next 18 months. The first phone I've tried is the Samsung Galaxy S and I have to say that after my first disappointing foray into the Android operating system with the G1 (I have written a review on this but it was a long time ago), I am actually really impressed with how far forward the Android operating system has moved.
The phone design is actually really similar to the old style iPhone both with how the phone looks and also the software user interface that Samsung have used - you only have to look at YouTube videos to see how similar they look. In fact, when in Harvey Nichols at a beauty event, one of the sales ladies mistook it for an iPhone (she had owned one too) when she was going to use it to take a photo of some product she had used on me.
The screen is immense, it's so clear and crisp and the colours are spectacular - it's a real treat to use, I promise you this. I don't think I've seen or heard anybody complaining about the screen on this phone, in fact it appears to be very well received in general all round from my experience when looking.
The phone is also VERY light, even with the battery inserted, I quite like this but some people say it feels flimsy and cheap so I guess it depends what you're looking for - I know I'd like my handbag to be lighter whenever possible so a lighter phone is a great option for this.
The 1ghz processor means that the phone is very quick, the capacitive touch screen means that it is super responsive too - although it does hang at times, it's certainly not often enough to put me off owning one.
The Android system loaded on this phone is version 2.1 which is still great but the latest currently is 2.2 (Froyo) and still doesn't seem to have a definite release date for this phone. This is quite disappointing when you consider that some of the features like Flash 10.1 support and being able to install to your micro sd card (great for if you're running out of room - although this phone does come with 8gb or 16gb of internal memory - not impossible to fill if you like music, pictures and videos though) are missing - hopefully Samsung will rectify this soon, but until then you'll have to make do with 2.1.
Navigating the phone is super easy, just a swipe of the finger moves you between multiple home screens where you can add shortcuts to apps and widgets. I quite like to have things like the Facebook and Twitter widget - but they do take up a little more battery, but I am willing to pay that price. The same is also said for the choice of wallpapers that you can personalise your phone with, you can have still or live wallpapers and can get more than comes with the phone via the marketplace or Samsung market.
The live wallpapers are fab, and responsive as you can touch say the water one and it will ripple where you touch it - obviously this is purely for vanity and novelty so you might not want it on all the time if you're more interested in using the phones battery for other things, like making calls - ha!
One massive attraction with an Android phone is the Android Marketplace - some may say a poor man's iPhone store but I say not. The applications on Android are vast, and a lot of what you can get on the iPhone, you can get on Android these days; and what you can't is very possibly already on its way. Developers have, and are tuning into the fact that Android is proving to be a popular and viable alternative for a huge market of people who refuse or can't afford to buy into the Apple market and they want a slice of that pie. I am so impressed with both the quantity and quality of the apps and games available, it's a massive draw to me to an Android phone I have to say.
The marketplace is easy to navigate with options to search via applications or games and then into various options that specify the type of game or application you're looking for. You can then search by the top free or top paid in each category. You then also have the option of searching outright for something by name - for instance Angry Birds, and it will bring up all options for this (including things like wallpapers etc but they're all quite clearly labelled as to what they are) and you can then install from there. It's just a shame you can't then filter between free and paid once you've done this kind of search.
The camera is where the camera gets let down in my opinion as whilst it can take a decent quality picture, there is no flash and this is something that is super important to me as I don't always take my normal camera out with me, so require my phone to be able to take photo's to an acceptable standard whenever the need arises. If this is when light isn't great, or it's in the evening then I'm stuck with no photo or a badly lit one where you can't see the subject of the picture very well anyway!
How well does it cope with the basics though? Actually really rather well; making calls and sending texts are both easy to do, with good sound quality on calls and good reception, meaning you're not always getting cut off due to a dodgy antenna or its positioning (iPhone, I am looking at you here)!
Using the keyboard is fantastic, both in terms of using it QWERTY and in its normal phone keypad layout but where it really excels is the Swype text input facility that is included; you literally swipe your finger from letter to letter in one continuous movement and it types it out for you. It's said to be quicker than every existing text entry method, apparently because it has some kind of built in intelligence that doesn't even require the user to be accurate or an expert to get data entry speeds of over 40 words per minute.
I touched on the battery earlier on in this review but thought I should expand a little on it; it's not a battery that is going to last you days - unless you're not using the phone much, but I do find it lasts the day with average use which is fine. I do recommend having a spare battery and a dual charging dock (one where you can charge your phone and a spare battery at the same time, usually either via USB or mains) if you want to make full use of this phone. To me it's no hardship as most phones seem to be this way, since they are all expected to sing, dance and do everything in-between.
The box the phone comes in is tiny, much smaller than I thought it would be, in fact not much bigger than the phone - they're really cutting down on packaging and items that they send out with the phone (I remember when it came with a big thick manual and a cd - not anymore)!
In the box I received:
Galaxy S Mobile
A Small Quick Start Guide & Marketing Bumph!
I have to say that whilst I have sent this phone back to my service provider, it's not because it was a bad phone. It's because I wanted to try the HTC Desire HD before making my decision which to buy (since it has a flash on its camera, and uses the same operating system - expect a review on this soon) and I still haven't ruled out going back to the Galaxy S as it really is a fabulous phone. I really recommend it and am reluctantly knocking one star off (would only be half a star if I had my way) because of the lack of flash on the camera and the 2.2 upgrade not being available.
I do love Urban Decay most of the time and this is no exception; they just seem to hit the mark every time for me and I don't think I've ever really come across a product that I have hated from them. They're not stupidly expensive and the quality you get is superb - basically they're bang on the money! They also don't test on animals, which is probably one of the more important things about the brand (in my opinion as an animal lover, of course) - I just love those ethics.
I've had this eyeliner for a while now and I think it's really lovely. The colour I have is 'Honey' which is a fantastic metallic gold colour - perfect for party season, actually. On the skin the liner retains its metallic shine and gives a great colour payoff due to the great pigmentation of the product.
There are 13 colours available in the range, according to the Urban Decay website and they all look equally as fabulous, below I have listed them but I would say it's definitely worth going to the Urban Decay website to check them out as those colours need to be seen.
Acid Rain - Metallic lime
Oil Slick - Shimmering black
Revolver - Metallic silver
Crash - Purple with silver sparkle
Lucky - Copper (metallic)
Perversion - Ink black
Roach - Warm brown
Ecstasy - Bright purple
Minx - Bright teal
Radium - Bright blue with sparkle
Shattered - Metallic teal
Smog - Olive with gold sparkle
I love the brush/handle on this as it's a bit shorter than most I encounter, which enables me to have greater control over where the product applies - so easy compared to other liquid liners I've used in the past). You get 7.5ml of product for your money (usually between £12 and £13 but can be found even cheaper if you look, at least for certain colours anyway) and it does seem to last very well - helped I expect by the highly pigmented colour, meaning you need to use less.
On the box it reads "Not your typical liquid liner, this inkwell is filled with an amazing formula that dries slightly shiny and will not budge. The tip of the tiny brush creates razor sharp lines, while the side of the brush gives a softer sweep of colour (it says color but I refuse to spell it that way as I am English). Smudge a bit all over the lid for a long lasting shadow in our wide array of shades'
The packaging is quite cool; it really does look like a little inkwell and I quite like the novelty value of that! I think that the picture above must be the old style packaging as it seems to be the same product.
This is another multifunctional product as it can also be used as a metallic shadow just by painting over more of the lid- if you were going for more of a striking look or smudging it over the lid to give a slightly less striking look.
Having worn this several times I have to say that the product lasts very well, withstanding being rubbed (I always seem to forget that I am wearing eye makeup, which is strange as that's the makeup I tend to like wearing, messing about with and experimenting with most) and lasting perfectly on a night out! This goes for wearing it both as a liner and over the entire lid - and it kept its metallic shine, more importantly.
I really recommend this product and will be adding to my collection as soon as I can (as soon as I can buy them and pretend I've had them for ages to my fella, anyway) and if you'd like to see swatches of this then please head over to my blog where I have put pictures up for you to see.
I love it when a product comes along that excites me, and I was very lucky to have been offered a chance to try such a product before its official re-release. Now you may be surprised to see that the product in question is an Avon product as although they're widely known, they're not usually the first brand you may think of when it comes to products that people should be (and are) raving about.
Their SuperShock Gel Eyeliner has been on sale before, but went away for a while and now back, it appears to have had a little makeover itself, now sporting a fancy pink lace design.
Eyeliners can be VERY hit and miss, performance wise; liners that are soft enough to smudge usually don't stay where you want them to, and liners that stay put can be too hard to smudge. I've been through my fair share of liners and this one is one of the best that I've used.
Firstly, it's so easy to use, you do not need to keep going over the same skin area to try and get a good colour depth as the colour payoff on the first stroke is incredible - it is pigmented to the max. Even the lightest stroke gives great colour and you can easily make the liner as thin or as thick as you desire with no drag on the eye.
If you want it smudgy then you have a window of opportunity to do it before the colour seems to set in place, and once it has done so then it stays put. I love love love this as there's nothing worse than having your eyeliner ending up everywhere but the place you had wanted it to be.
I do think that Avon *may* have slightly missed a trick in making it retractable, rather than a normal sharpening pencil - unless, as I suspect it's something to do with the formula possibly being too soft to use in this way, in which case I forgive you, Avon.
This appears to be the only real downside that I have found, as this means that the liner needs sharpening (using a good sharpener) more than usual as it is a bit softer than a normal liner (although I've found this with Urban Decay 24/7 liners too). However, for the price of the liner this isn't such a big deal and you're still going to get plenty of wear out of it before you need to repurchase.
Currently there are only 2 to choose from in this range (black and silver) but I don't see this as a massive issue, and I suspect (hope) that the range will be expanded as it grows in popularity. Until then we do have 2 fabulous colours to play around with and I am happy with that.
The black liner is more pigmented than the silver and lasts a bit longer, but the silver does hold its own and lasts a respectable amount of time and still has great colour payoff. The silver is also fabulously metallic and can be worn over the lid for a long-lasting hit.
This liner is a complete bargain, especially when you consider how well it works and how it lasts once applied; it will be priced around the £6 mark, although Avon regularly run special offers so you may even be able to get it cheaper, and it's available right now (currently half price on the website).
If you would like to see my swatches of these eyeliners then please do visit my website (www.thebeautyscoop.co.uk).
I am mainly referring to 'Rose' Shimmer Brick in this review!
I just love this Shimmer Brick; it's the perfect blush to give you a bit of a rosy glow with just a touch of shimmer. Application is SO easy, the product is very blendable and you can easily build up a stronger colour, or leave yourself with just a hint of it which is another reason I love this so much. I think the fact that it's not overly pigmented works in the products favour as I do find that blushers can sometimes be overpowering and too easy to overdo on application.
The shimmer is not at all glittery, so you're not going to look like you've let a herd of children loose with several tubes of glitter (does glitter still come in tubes?) as you were applying your makeup. I find it gives quite a dewy finish that flatters the face and can be used to highlight the cheekbones perfectly. I think that the dewy look actually helps to make the skin look healthier, which is a great thing if you're feeling like your skin is a bit dull that day, or maybe you were drinking the night before and your skin has been paying the price.
As Shimmer Bricks come with a range of shades within the compact, you will find that you can customise the colour you get *very* slightly, by using certain areas of it more than others. You can also use the very lightest shades to highlight under your brows, around your décolletage or on any other areas you would normally use highlighter and because the powder appears to be very fine, it's not going to look stupid or too heavy. I have this in gold (I believe this is no longer available) also and like to use it on my eyes sometimes too which demonstrates its fantastic versatility.
I understand that shimmer is not something that can be worn on any occasion you could think of, but I do think that because this is so subtle that you'd be able to get away with it for more than you'd expect. Even with a lot of usage, my compact is still going strong so this is a product that will last for ages -just make sure you keep your brushes clean as you don't want to transfer lots of bacteria to the product whilst using it.
The product comes in a classy black compact that keeps the powder safe in any handbag whilst still being easy to open when needed. The mirror inside is a great size and very useful.
Other colours that are available are: Beach (similar to bronze but a bit lighter available in USA or on eBay), Pink Ribbon (limited edition for cancer awareness month), Beige, Bronze, Nectar (which is a peachy colour), Pink Quartz, Rose and one for the body that is limited edition (USA/eBay) and they retail at £29.50 but can sometimes be bought cheaper if you shop around.
A little History!
The Denman Company was established in 1938 by John Denman Dean, when the original D3 brush was patented (at that point with boar bristles implanted in a natural rubber cushion). Throughout the years technology advanced and he discovered Nylon whilst in the USA which enabled him to create the brushes we know today! The company is now known as Denman International after being bought when John Denman retired in 1972.
I remember when I first heard about Denman brushes; it must have been about 18 or so years ago when I was just starting high school. An older friend at the time was training to become a hairdresser and introduced me to the brand and I convinced my mum to buy one that we shared and loved.
It seems that these days we're getting more used to things not being built to last like they used to, so I was curious to see if their brushes were still of the same quality that they were all those years ago.
The Denman brand is synonymous with being the hairdressers' choice of brush and I think this is because of the quality of the products on offer; the fact that the brushes have stood the test of time, that they are still classed as some of the best brushes available today speaks volumes.
They have many varieties of their brushes available these days too, a brush for any occasion you might say; but the thing that stays constant, is the confidence in the Denman brand.
Their D3 brush is still available, but has also been released in a few new pimped up styles. One of these makeovers has included a change of colour (generally expected when being made over), the D3 style is still the same, the same handle and the same brush head but this brush also the addition of scent to the actual brush; yes that's right, scent.
I have the strawberry scented brush and it's quite cute. The smell isn't overpowering, and actually reminds me of the smell of the strawberry shortcake doll I had as a little girl, I don't know if many (or in fact any) of you know what I mean by this, but it does.
It's quite a novel idea really, although it doesn't appear to have a specific purpose that I've noticed as the scent doesn't transfer to your hair (well not in my experience anyway), but you can smell it when you use the brush with a hairdryer which is quite nice, but still ultimately pointless.
None the less I do like it, it does make the range stand out above other brushes available on the market and I think would be a great little stocking filler present at Christmas since they aren't too expensive and do have the added novelty value.
As a standalone brush it holds up very well, it's anti static because of the rubber cushioning and it also holds the hair firmly in place whilst styling which makes it easier to control where the hair goes!
Using the brush is the same as any other brush, and I do find that my hair styles better using this brush when using a hairdryer because of the grip it gets on your hair, it stops it just flying straight off the brush again - thus not forcing the cuticle in the correct direction to create shine and keep the hair straight.
There are different 'flavours' available in the aptly named 'Tutti Frutti' range:
Strawberry - white overall with red rubber pad and fruit prints
Green apple - white overall with green rubber pad and fruit prints
Lemon sherbet - white overall with yellow rubber pad and fruit prints
Wild dewberry - white overall with purple rubber pad and fruit prints - this one to me is very intriguing as dewberry was my favourite Body Shop scent when I was much younger, and I find myself wondering how much it smells like Body Shop dewberry!
Coconut - there are 2 different styles for this scent, one with a white plastic handle and fruit/text design on the back of the brush head, mostly as matching with the rest of the range, and one that has a beech wood handle (and is a couple of pounds more expensive as a result) but appears to have no design on it like with all the rest.
These are priced from £7.16 to £9.45 (for the wooden one) and available from the Denman shop http://www.denmanbrush.com/acatalog/Fragranced_Range.html
I think most of us have seen the adverts for the new No7 'Exceptional Definition Mascara', unless you've been hiding under a rock that is. I was instantly interested by the look of the wand/brush/whateveryouwanttocallit as I have always struggled with coating my inner eyelashes without poking myself in the eye or getting mascara in places it shouldn't be.
So I decided that it would become my next purchase, and off I popped down to boots to buy it the next morning.
When I got it home, I opened it straight away to look at this wand that seems to be its main selling point from the advert! The wand on the mascara is indeed very interesting - it actually claims to be 3 brushes in 1 so it has 3 defined points that are you should note, those being; 1. The longer bristles as these give volume to your lashes, 2. The shorter bristles that you should use to comb through to give separation and definition (and removes clumps), and thirdly there's the tip which obviously coats the teeny lashes that are usually so very hard to get to.
Removing the wand felt different because it isn't the usual bristly kind that I have been used to, it's more plastic and with more rigid bristles. I first of all applied the mascara to my bare eyelashes, I don't think it felt much different to a normal brush in this respect but I did notice that it was easier to apply and that my lashes separated easier than with a normal wand; not to mention it was also easier to see when I needed to load the wand up with mascara again. I didn't do anything different to how I would usually apply mascara; working from the base into the ends and then doing the inner and outer small lashes, so no special techniques or jiggery pokery are needed here.
The first application made my lashes look longer and gave a lovely separated finish that was noticeable but not over the top - perfect for natural every day application; and the formulation actually has vitamins in, that are said to enrich the lashes so it should actually be good for your lashes to wear it every day if this is correct. I gave a second coat shortly after and was impressed to see that this seemed to make my lashes quite dramatic looking but without clumping yet again.
The mascara lasted all day and needed no touch ups were needed to improve the look throughout that day. I was very surprised by this as the mascara wasn't waterproof and I'd worn it from early in the morning to around midnight. I'd also had a few forgetful moments where I rubbed my eyes before realising I was wearing it, but was pleased to notice that it had not budged, or smudged.
My next test for this mascara was to see how well it would work with my Clinique eyelash primer, to see whether it would improve the finish of the mascara or not. Upon applying the mascara (on top of the primer) I felt that it was even easier to apply and that my lashes instantly looked hugely longer and more volumised than they had been without the primer on - although still suitable for every day wear.
The second coat was even more dramatic, I had been thinking that I may be pushing my luck with a second coat though as I had already put on primer and one coat of the mascara and I just had a feeling that my lashes may just start to clump. I was wrong, they looked perfectly separated and with fantastic definition.
This time around the mascara still lasted all day as it had previously, and I even knowingly put it to the rubbing eyes test to see how it would stand up to it; it passed with flying colours and for a mascara that isn't waterproof (so isn't as resistant to this kind of behaviour), this was a real surprise but also a very welcome one.
Removing the mascara both times was easy enough with my eye makeup remover; although I don't think it would have come off so easy with just water alone. This gives me confidence that if I was to have a little cry whilst wearing it that it wouldn't end up all down my face - ok it may suffer a little (since it isn't designed to be waterproof) but I don't think you'd have a clown face that needs a full reapplication of all makeup.
This mascara really made my eyes look amazing, my eyelashes framing them dramatically but still perfectly without flaking, clumping or smudging. It was easy to apply, which is saying something for me as I usually have to do a lot of faffing around to make sure my eyelashes stay separate but this really did just do the job for me, it lasted well and was not an absolute chore to remove either.
All in all I am very pleased with this purchase, as used both with and without primer it gave my lashes great volume and length without clumps. I would say that I would recommend it with the primer more than without but if you don't have any, don't get on with it or your budget doesn't afford you to buy it then it is perfectly fine without it. I will mention that one thing I did notice is that with the primer, the curl of my lashes held 100% better than they did without the primer, but without the primer they were still satisfactory.
This mascara is available in boots stores and online in 2 colours (black and brown), priced at £12.00 - currently comes with a free eyeshadow palette gift with purchase.
I remember the days when curling your eyelashes meant holding a scissor-like clamp right on your lashes and *squeeeezing* them firmly to make sure they curled. I also remember the fear I felt that I may actually catch the eyelid with said clamp and really hurt myself; hence I didn't really use them that much. Not to mention that the pressure used can actually damage the lashes, and that is not good news really. I am sure many other people got on perfectly well with them, but for me I was just not confident enough to use them regularly on myself.
Things have moved on a little since then and thankfully there is now a style of eyelash curler that I feel confident and comfortable using, all hail the heated lash curler. It seems like the obvious choice really, as we use heated appliances to curl and straighten the hair on our heads; so why not use heat to do our eyelashes too!
There are heated clamp style curlers available for those who are comfortable with that style, but also want the added benefit of heat to help 'set' the lashes but personally I feel like they're double the danger for me haha.
The blinc heated lash curler in particular is a bit like a wand with a little comb head, and even though you don't have the clamping action I feel you still get a decent curl from it. The wand uses a single AAA battery (included) and only takes 20-30 seconds maximum to heat up; you can see when they're ready to use as the red at the back of the head of the wand turns to yellow.
To get a lovely curl that will make your lashes look wider, more alert and more youthful, all you have to do is 'brush' the comb up the lash (do the middle and then the side lashes as the directions point out), it's a bit like putting mascara on really slowly as you do need to hold it for a few seconds whilst gently forcing the lashes back.
There is a safety guard that prevents the heat from being too close to the eye area, and the wand also delivers the 'precise amount of heat that can set a long lasting curl without damaging your lashes' so there's no fear of singed eyelashes, thankfully.
The first curler I was sent had a loose battery fitting (so the connection to connect the electrical circuit wasn't able to be made, thus no worky) so that had to be replaced with another one that has worked perfectly. I am only mentioning this as it is something to consider when purchasing this product; it's not something that I would say should stop you buying it as it is easily rectified as you can check right after purchase/delivery (depending how you buy it) and ask for it to be replaced if it is a unit with a dodgy connection.
Of course ordinary clamp curlers are still widely available, and I am sure they are still very popular but I think I will be sticking to my heated wand from now on.
The blinc heated lash curler is available from Harvey Nichols and http://www.blincuk.co.uk at its official retail price of £18, or from having a quick glance on google I see you can get it cheaper at HQHair for £14.50 and BeautyBay for £15.75 so it's worth having a shop around before you buy it.
I apologise for the uninspiring title, it was the only none crude one I could think of as the other option was 'Do you like to curl one out' and I wasn't sure how well that would go down haha!
Some official information from the website:
Instructions For Use
* Take off curler cap.
* Remove and store the small cleaning brush.
* Slide open the bottom portion of the curler, insert the battery according to the diagram and slide back.
* Turn curler on and wait until the LED indicator light on the comb head changes from RED to YELLOW.
* Curl the middle lashes first then either side of the lashes. Brush upwards while keeping the curler's heated comb surface pressed against your lashes for three seconds. Continue brushing upwards and hold curler at the tip of you lashes and gently force the lashes back and hold for another three seconds.
* Repeat the process until desired curl is achieved.
* Turn off curler. Slide brush back in place and put the curler cap on.
* Keep Curl turned-off when not using to prolong battery life (here's a tip...use rechargeable batteries!)
* Clean comb head if you notice impurities.
* For best results, curl prior to applying mascara understanding that oil-based paint mascaras weigh lashes down. When using blinc mascara, the tubes that form around the curled lashes acts like a "cast", holding the curl form longer as opposed to weighing it down.
Continued here: http://www.blincuk.co.uk/index.php?main_page=page&id=17&chapter=0
If you're looking for full, long lashes then stop right here as I have found just the product you need, Clinique's Lash Building Primer. The blurb on the Clinique website states that this product 'boosts the benefits of Clinique Mascara as it conditions and protects lashes' but what it doesn't tell you is that it offers so much more than just nourishment and protection. It volumises and lengthens them whilst also helping to hold the curl longer and doesn't make your lashes clump together at all - in fact they look more separated than ever before.
For me, it has given a true false lash effect (without the need to be 'styled with inserts' as favoured by pretty much every advert for mascara that I have seen before) with all mascaras I have tried with it, not just Clinique's. I've tried it with cheap mascaras (ELF ones) and higher end ones and have had the same result with each one, a result I am really very happy with. The only one I found it didn't work quite as well with is my Blinc mascara that creates silicone tubes around your lashes - and I expect this is down to the fact that it is a completely different kind of mascara with a different chemical composition to most others.
I also found that it seems to keep my mascara in place for a lot longer; even non-waterproof types, as demonstrated at V Festival when my mascara lasted the whole day with no smudging, running or disappearing into thin air. My lashes looked exactly as they did when I applied my makeup.
The product itself is a fairly runny white fluid that is easily applied with a wand, just like you would a normal mascara, and whilst it does go on ever so slightly white too it is a lot less opaque than it seems in the tube. When applying it you will notice how easy it is to get a good finish, it goes on smoothly and needs very minimal evening out (just a little sideways wiggle is needed), it really is a complete dream to apply.
Once applied you'll also notice that the lashes immediately look longer and more separated but because of the slight white tint I would still say that you do need to apply some kind of mascara over the top of it to disguise this, especially if you're heading out as it's not a hugely flattering look when left without. I should also mention that you need to leave the primer to dry a bit before applying any mascara; it doesn't take long though.
You may be expecting this product to cost a fortune, being that it works so well and that it's made by Clinique but I bought this at the surprisingly low price of just £10 from Boots. It might be worth noting that it's currently being sold for £9 in Debenhams in their 10% new season sale and also John Lewis (a price reduction that seems to have come off the back of the Debenhams sale) so if you hurry (as I don't think this price will last long) you may get it even cheaper than I did.
All in all, I can't recommend this product enough as it has completely excelled my expectations and will have a permanent (or at least very long term) place in my makeup bag.
So, Julia Roberts has recently been snapped again with her (hairy) arms in the air, waving (well lifting) them like she just don't care! I truly believe that she doesn't care at all; because anybody who is willing to lift their arms up without having first defuzzed them is very, very brave. It's even more brave (or stupid - however you wish to look at it) when the world's paparazzi are nearby watching and taking photos. I salute her for having the guts to do it, but really could not imagine being as bold as to do it myself; in fact I will be getting some of mine lasered off soon.
Thinking about body hair reminded me of a fantastic piece of kit that I have owned for the last few years; it's the Rio Complete Wax Kit and it's for use at home. I had never heard of this until I was given it as a present a few Christmases ago because my sister had sworn by it ever since she had owned one herself and knew I would make good use of it.
The box contains a number of items that have various uses:
1 black and silver unit with a dial on it and a mains lead to plug it in, this is the main item that is used to heat the wax that you use (as it's a warm wax system) and the dial enables you to control the temperature of the wax and also turn the unit off. This is quite quick to heat up, so you don't have to spend ages sitting and waiting for your wax to even start to melt.
2 silver mini saucepan-type cups with black handles, these are what hold the wax to heat it up in the unit and also are fully transportable to wherever you are waxing so that there's less chance of wax getting stuck to everything in-between the unit and your skin. Although you should still keep the heating unit nearby as the wax does cool down if you leave it out too long and can become harder to use, not to mention more painful.
Spatulas - a number of these (I haven't counted, but there's quite a few) and these are for applying the wax to your skin. I have found that whilst these are decent for most areas, they feel a bit too big for my eyebrows and I am not confident using them in that area for fear of ripping out too much hair. For this reason I went to eBay and found some smaller ones for a reasonable price.
Wax equipment cleaner - to remove waxy residue from bits from equipment that it should not be on, or to try and help to clean any accidental spillages. It says it is effective to use on all surfaces, including plastic and natural fibres - although I haven't really had any major spillages in the time that I have owned this product *touch wood*.
A tub of soft wax - this is the most common kind of wax that you're used to that gets applied with the spatula and then removed using a waxing strip. It's decent quality and does the job; it's cheap to replace too, which is a bonus - I'd recommend replacing it with tea tree wax when the time comes as tea tree helps to soothe the skin.
Hard wax - This used to come in blocks that you broke into quarters but these days comes in flakes in a sealed plastic bag, this is easier to use as you don't have to break fingers/nails to get the 'portion' you require into the cup so it can be heated. It doesn't need wax strips to remove the wax from the body, but you do have to wait for it to cool down and set/get hard (which traps the hair in the wax) before you can peel the edge a little and then rip it off and the hair will come out along with it. This is said to be better for more sensitive areas and will cause less skin irritation than normal soft wax with no interference with the lymphatic flow, it's also less sticky than soft wax. Obviously because it has to go hard and set first, it does take a little bit longer (and more patience) but it is definitely worth using.
Waxing Strips - To remove the soft wax, along with the hair from your body; these can be folded once one side has been used and reused (all be it being a little shorter, but still very useable). This means that you don't have to buy replacements quite so quickly; although I have found they are quite cheap to replace anyway, but it's also more environmentally friendly to do it this way which is another incentive to do it. You can also cut the strips into smaller strips for use around the eyebrows or any other smaller/more intricate waxing areas.
Instruction book - Pretty self explanatory really, and definitely worth reading.
A DVD - This may or may not come with it, my sister got one and I did not - apparently this has guides for the more 'troublesome' areas of the body (bikini, underarms etc), but I have never thought 'oh I could really do with a DVD to watch for this bit' so I don't think it is essential really.
Application of the wax is easy, dip the spatula into the wax (whichever one you're using) and coat it with a small amount for the soft wax and enough to make a thick coat for the hard wax - make sure you don't have any wax ready to drip as you move it away from the cup (just for neatness really) and smooth it over your skin following the direction of the hair. Another tip for neatness is to dedicate an old towel to the task and have it under the body part being waxed so if any wax does drip, it drips on something that you don't mind getting ruined.
Removal of the wax is an easy action in itself, however the pain you anticipate will make it the most difficult thing you could think of doing to yourself. Whilst I'm not saying that it's not painful, it isn't anywhere near as painful as it is if you hesitate and end up pulling the skin so like they say for plasters, do it quick and in one go if you can. Pull the skin taut too as this will stop the skin being pulled as much and can help lessen the pain. The action to remove the wax is to either put the wax strip over and smooth over it and then pull AGAINST the direction of the hair (ie opposite to the way you smoothed the wax on) for the soft wax, or once the hard wax has set peel a little bit up at the edge and then rip that up in the same way as mentioned for the soft wax.
You may also find that you need help with hard to reach areas and bikini line etc, but I usually find my fella is more than happy to help on these occasions.
There are many benefits for waxing rather than shaving that are widely known and accepted (lasts longer, smoother result etc) but one of the downsides of it is that you have to let hair grow in order to do it. This can be very inconvenient and usually means that you need to cover up until the hair is long enough to be waxed. I have this problem too but if I really cannot cover up I usually end up epilating the hair as epilators do pluck out hair that is shorter.
I also remember reading that Liz Hurley has her waxing done weekly, which I assume would make the area hair free all the time. This could be another possible option for you to avoid the re-growth issue; and as using this kit means that it doesn't cost as much as it would in a salon, this could enable you to maintain your hair free status on all budgets. I have saved a HUGE amount in salon costs in the time I have had mine.
All in all, I can honestly say that this is one product that is worth purchasing for anybody who is sick of their usual hair removal routine and thinks they can handle the (slight) pain for the money saving and smooth result you get.
This product is available in many places, most notably Tesco online and Amazon, priced around the £39 mark which is a fantastic price for such a brilliant product that WILL save you money if you replace your salon visits with it, and will save you the embarrassment of stubbly bits from shaving, or hairy bits from not doing anything (haha)!
Rio manufactures in the UK, which is brilliant for economy and environment alike. They have a page dedicated to their environmental actions and aims for the future here: http://www.riobeauty.com/Rio_Beauty/greener_rio.html