Unlocking the Vault: Illamasqua Sin

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another day, another blush and today it's another Illamasqua beauty. I don't own many matte blushes, in fact, this may be my only one - I'm not sure. Sin is described as a deep violet plum and I fell in love with this shade as soon as I clapped eyes on it.

It lifts off the pan onto my blusher brush with no problems and layers easily. However, this doesn't last as long as I'd like it to on my cheeks. I find that it fades after approximately four hours or so. I think that may be down to my skin having an oily fit, rather than there being a problem with the formula though.

I think I'll probably reach for this a lot in the upcoming colder months as my skin's less oily in winter, so I'm hoping it'll last longer during the day.

Smell This! Paco Rabanne - Lady Million

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I rarely post about fragrances on my blog, mainly because I think they're so personal. You can't smell a scent through a screen, so no amount of gushing will give a scent justice unless it's directly under your nose and it happens to make you go "Mmmm" too. I also find it incredibly difficult to describe scents and fragrances in a convincing way."Yeah, it smells nice!" is as far as it goes with me.

I had a huge clear out of my fragrances a while back, giving them all away to friends and family and now only have a handful which I alternate between - all of which are fast running out. My bottle of Marc Jacobs Lola is coming to an end and I've decided I don't want to repurchase it, and instead I'll be focusing on trying new fragrances and collating a small collection of trusty scents for different occasions.

The Perfume Shop has compiled its insider’s choice of the latest and hottest new fragrances to adorn its shelves this Autumn/Winter and it's the new Lady Million by Paco Rabanne that has caught my attention. It was Bubblegarm who originally drew my attention to its male counterpart 1 Million a few months ago, which smells pretty hot. I'd highly recommend it for the man in your life, mine loves it!

Lady Million comes in a pretty bottle, inspired by those pretty lil' jewels all ladies love, diamonds. Those of you who understand all that "notes malarky" and the way a fragrance is broken down, feast your eyes on the scents encased in this nose-pleasing goodness:

Heart Notes - Neroli, Orange flower, Arabian Jasmine
Top Notes - Bitter orange, Fleshy raspberry 
Base Notes - Honey, Vibrant patchouli 

It took a couple of days to for me to warm to this, I wasn't keen at first. Described as a floral scent, I can personally smell the fruit and honey in it more than anything else. It's not sickeningly sweet (my nose doesn't think so anyway). I think it's a sophisticated kinda sexy and I like it a lot. It's a warm, enveloping scent that develops nicely. It wears off after a few hours, but I'm happy to squirt it on again if I've got a long day ahead of me.

You can find it at The Perfume Shop (their 5 day mega sale ends tomorrow by the way, so make sure you go on the website!) and prices start at £32.50 for 30ml

Has anybody had a sniff of this yet?

black|Up Cosmetics - Nil Point!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I popped into Debenhams on Oxford Street last Saturday to check out the black|Up make up counter, the French cosmetics brand aimed at darker skin tones.

Nothing could have prepared me for the unprofessional, hideous behaviour of the two members of staff on the black|Up cosmetics counter. I had already obtained permission from Debenhams PR to take photos of the counter and politely explained this, giving the name of the manager who they should confirm this with.

This wasn't good enough and I was quizzed suspiciously, had to repeat on numerous occasions why I was there and who I had spoken to (because clearly I was speaking a different language wasn't I?!) and forcibly told, "No!! You contact head office in Paris and they will send you pretty pictures. We don't allow photographs. You need to have the information which tells you the origins and history of the company." Ok.

My attempt at explaining that my readers didn't want to read corporate spiel, that they just want to see the products fell on deaf ears and she continued to roar that I needed to email head office.

**eye roll** x 100 at this point.

Quick! 30% Off At The Body Shop!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

If you've been mulling over items lingering in your basket, or fancy treating yourself hop on over to The Body Shop where they're currently offering a mega 30% off online purchase over the Bank Holiday weekend!

Just enter discount code AUG30 at checkout. You have a while yet to browse and make you yoru mind what to buy, as the offer ends midday on Tuesday! Nice one.

I'm toying with buying a back up of their new Vitamin C Microdermabrasion Scrub (love this stuff) and another bottle of the  Vitamin C Radiance Mix as I used up the bottle I was given at the last Body Shop Bloggers Event up weeks ago.

What are you loving from The Body Shop at the moment?

RapidLash Update - Five Weeks On

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So, I've been using RapidLash for five weeks now and I'm pleased to report that I've certainly noticed a change in my eyelashes. I've applied it every night, only missing out 4 over the past five weeks, due to arriving home at a silly hour and crashing into bed or sheer laziness having remembered that I'd forgotten to apply it and not WANTING to get back OUT of bed!

I've not suffered from any side effects or sensitivity, which just proves that every experience is different and just because somebody may report back on a product negatively, it doesn't mean we'll necessarily suffer the same fate.

When I'm wearing no mascara, I can barely see a difference. My lashes pretty much look the same as they always do. Wearing mascara has suddenly become much more fun now as old mascaras have had new life injected into them

Last Saturday, two people asked if I was wearing falsies, so SOMETHING is happening. I've never been asked that in my life!

Onto the comparison photos:

Unlocking the Vault: Illamasqua Laid

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I thought I'd showcase my latest blush purchase - Illamasqua Laid. I fell in love with this bright rose pink cream blush months ago, after an impromptu swatching session at my nearest Illamasqua counter, in Selfridges. I finally bought it a couple of weeks ago and here it is.

I like the texture of Illamasqua's cream blushes, they blend easily, and less is certainly more as they're quite pigmented. So far I've used both my MAC 187 and 131 brushes to apply this but I think I'm gonna see how I get on with my fingers next time. This is my third Illamasqua cream blush purchase (although I've since sold one) and the quality has been consistent with all three.

Beauty Blog Link Love - 28.08.10

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rae reviews a gorgeously packaged mascara that smells like blueberries (no, we're not kidding!) over at theNotice.

Tammerly from Pink Diva's Beauty Spot was GHD's guest at Little Joe Woman fashion luncheon which was also sponsored by Lancome.

IHeartCosmetics reviews the famous Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish .

The Pink Sith tries to put as many non sequitur references that she can into her review of Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush. See if she has finally gone too far!

Madame B Fatale swatches some Australian Mineral Shadows by Kylies Professional.

Jellyminx creates an affordable autumn inspired eye look perfect for the dreary weather the UK has had recently!!

Urban Decay announce The Black Palette and Lipglossiping has the photos! This one's for the rock chick inside each of us!

Cindy from Prime Beauty is finally leading the semi-"charmed" life she thinks she deserves by wearing the newest Three Custom Color Specialist lipstick. Find out how you can get yours as a GWP!

What's in the vanity drawers at The Gloss Menagerie? Come have a look at Alyson's makeup organization.

Beautywoome takes you through the no-chip manicure paces.

It wasn't easy, but Glitter Geek actually listed her top 10 products for Summer 2010. See any of your own favourites?

Jeweled Thumb reviews a face paint by Models Own as a blush and discovers it works!

Want to learn how to self-apply individual false eyelashes at home? Mz. More of The Glamorous Gleam has a video tutorial!

Hot Beauty Health shares how to get short, curly hairstyles like celebs!

The Lip Print makes a change and crosses over to the light side .

Retrodiva explores eight autumn beauty trends sure to be popular this year.

Want Chanel Paradoxal but don't like it's price? Musicalhouses shows you Paradoxal's (much) cheaper little sister!

Review: Decleor Hydra-Radiance Smoothing Cleansing Mousse

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We all know how important it is to have a proper cleansing routine. Cutting corners can lead to 'problem skin', which is often caused when we don't cleanse our skin properly. This can be the result of either sleeping in our make-up or using facial wipes which leave some form of  residue behind, regardless of how clean the wipe will come away from our skin.

To ensure brighter, clearer and hydrated skin, Fiona Brackenbury, Decleor's UK Head of Training and brain behind Hydra-Radiance Smoothing Cleansing Mousse, has created a 3-in-1 super cleaning formula which aims to carry out three distinct actions, which are:

1, Deep Cleansing
2. Skin Polishing and Perfecting
3. Hydrating and Plumping

You only need to pump a small amount into the palm of your hand and when water is added to this rich concentrated cream cleanser, it lathers up quickly, leaving you with a creamy, mousse-like lather which vaguely resembles shaving foam. I'm a big fan of cleansers that lather up, I convince myself that my skin will be super clean when I remove them.
I wasn't wrong - this DOES leave my skin feeling extremely clean and removed most of my make up with ease. However, it leaves my skin feeling so clean that it feels uncomfortably tight and is left looking visibly dry after I've wiped it off with the accompanying muslin cloth (two come with the cleanser). The drying effect I felt was instant and I even used a smaller quantity in the hope that it would help to ease it, but it made no difference.

Remember when you knew no better as a child and used soap to wash your face? Remember that tight, tense feeling you'd get and the way your hands would 'squeak' over your skin? Well I get the same effect each time I use this Decleor Cleansing Mousse. Not pleasant at all. It even smells like soap which just confirms why I find it so drying.

Leopard Lovin' with WAH Nails

Monday, August 23, 2010

I was treated to a quick nail makeover by WAH Nails over the weekend and I love the design so much I though I'd do a quick post on it.

Since its launch last year, WAH Nails has gone from strength to strength. Founded by Sharmadean Reid, 25, she's already secured a contract with Topshop, replacing nails inc which has guaranteed her nail art creations adorn the talons of fashionistas, teens and celebrities alike.

My nails were painted with Essie Chinchilly and the leopard print design was created with the use of a thin tipped nail art pen. The design I chose will set you back £20.

Now although a top coat of Seche Vite was applied to dry and seal my nails as a finishing touch, the polish has worn away a little and it's only been on three days, which is a little disappointing. This was a really quick mini manicure I had, I didn't have my cuticles pushed back, which I assume wouldn't have been the case had I been at the salon paying for a full manicure, so focusing on just the design itself, I'm pleased. This is my first experience of nail art, I've never been one to go for wild and wacky designs in the past and I tend to play it pretty safe. It only took 15 minutes (if even that) for the design to be painted on, which is great news for those often pushed for time.

You can visit WAH Nails at the flagship Tophop Store at Oxford Circus, where they're located in the basement or you can visit the salon based at 420 Kingsland Road, Dalston in  East London.

Check out WAH Nail's most popular designs and price list on the website HERE

Unlocking the Vault: NARS Taj Mahal

Monday, August 23, 2010

NARS Taj Mahal is a unique shade in the world of blushes, where colour, texture and finish leaves beauty lovers spoilt for choice. A gorgeous, burnt orange with shimmer, this gives cheeks an amazing sun kissed glow and really warms up my complexion. You don't need to go crazy with lip colour when wearing this powder blush, let your cheeks do the talking. 

NARS blushes aren't cheap, but their quality is renown and Taj Mahal is no exception. It blends well and lasts well once applied.

It looks intimidating in the pan, but I think Taj Mahal is extremely wearable. This particular NARS shade is extremely pigmented, so you need to build up colour slowly.Warm toned, tanned and dark skinned beauties can wear this with ease, but paler skinned ladies will need to apply this with an even lighter hand to avoid a disaster. It doubles up as a great eye shadow too!

Unlocking the Vault: My Blush Collection

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm a self confessed blush whore. I can't get enough of them and feel naked when one isn't gracing my cheeks as part of my daily face. I thought it was about time (long overdue in fact) that I delved deep and shared with you, the numerous shades I've collected over the years and show why they hold a place in my collection.

The majority of my blushes originate from MAC (when MAC really WAS my crack!), but I have a few from NARS, MUFE, NYX, Bobbi Brown, BECCA and Illamasqua. A couple from Black Radiance too. If there's a particular shade you'd like me to do a post on, then let me know in the comments and if I own it then I'll line it up in a future post for you.

Glancing at my collection as I type this post, I realise this series may take a while. Hmm. No shit Sherlock!

ETA: I've swatched a few blushes in past posts, so be sure to check out my blusher label HERE to see if I've already swatched the blush shade(s) you're interested in. I don't mind writing up another as I'll try (time permitting) to always include pics of me actually wearing them which will give you a better idea of suitability.

Cheap and Effective: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Without fail, after a couple of hours of applying my make up, my face transforms from a matte canvas to a shiny beacon. The shine that bounces off my face is even worse in warmer weather and for the past few years MAC Blot Powder has rarely left my side. My last back up recently ran out and I started to research other products in the same field that performed well, but cost less.

For years, I've purposely avoided translucent powder after a disastrous experience with one made by Corn Silk. I had purchased Corn Silk Translucent Pressed Powder after seeing it recommended in all the magazines in my early 20s. I didn't realise the influence advertising has over magazines back then and actually thought all product recommendations were given out of the goodness of beauty journalists hearts.  

Anyway, after one application, I soon realised that this powder certainly didn't 'suit all skin tones' as advertised, and it soon found itself in the bin! It was THIS You Tube review that I stumbled upon a few weeks ago, that made me check out Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder.

This comes in six shades, and if you have a darker complexion and have been looking for a powder to help control shine that's easy on your wallet, then look no further. This little beauty has been sat in Boots and Superdrug right under our noses! Admittedly, I don't really pay much attention to Rimmel. I own a couple of eye shadow quads but and maybe a lipstick somewhere, but that's about it. I was sent their new mascara to try last week, so who knows, perhaps this may change my mind about the brand ..we'll see.

Shade 001 (translucent) is the shade that those with darker skins need to reach for. It controls shine amazingly well and considering it costs under a fiver, I'm very impressed. No ashiness whatsoever and it applies lightly, giving me a shine free, natural looking face which lasts up to five hours (as promised) before I need a light touch up. 

It would have been great if a powder puff had been included in the packaging, so that I didn't have to root around in my make up bag for my powder brush, but I can overlook that small oversight given that it's such a great product.

How much is it? £3.99
Where can I buy it? Boots. Superdrug

Review: Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Scrub

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good news for Aromatherapy Associates fans, the entire line including the limited edition Christmas collection will be stocked in Liberty department store as of Thursday, Aug 26th. You can find it located in the Bath & Body area, situated on the third floor.

So far out of the products I've tried, the Renew Rose & Sandalwood Facial Oil and theAnti-age Overnight Repair Mask have become firm favourites for me. I can now also add the Enrich Body Scrub to that ever-growing list list. I'm loving this wonderful product, which is a rich, indulgent body scrub which leaves my skin feeling amazing after a hot shower.

It contains the finest natural ingredients which include:

Coffee - anti-oxidant and stimulating properties used  to combat cellulite
Frankinsense - anti-ageing, optimises the natural process of cellular renewal
Pink Grapefruit - stimulating and detoxifying, tones the skin, improves circulation
Salt - draws impurities from the skin
Sweet Almond Oil - nourishes and smooths the skin

Its ingredients are combined in a deep cleansing salt base with sweet almond oil. My skin loves this scrub which it smooths, moisturises and conditions perfectly after each use. A little goes a long way and I really like the moisturising film it leaves behind on the skin, which is reminiscent to that left by Soap & Glory's Flake Away. I love to use a body oil afterwards when I use this in the evening. I wake up with skin as soft as a newborn!

It also doesn't feel scratchy on the skin, which is the first thing I notice when using a body scrub. It has a rich texture which I'd expect given the price point and you can definitely note the coffee scent when you stick your nose in the pot, however I don't find that it engulfs me when I'm in the shower, which is just as well, as I'm not a huge fan of coffee at all.

Aromatherapy Associates doesn't come cheap but if you have a birthday coming up (hey, Christmas is only around the corner), then a subtle hint wouldn't hurt. Failing that, treat yourself!

How much is it? £30.75 (200ml)
Where can I buy it? Aromatherapy Associates, Liberty, Space NK

Beauty Bloggers Backstage - Seven Questions with LiAnn of Sparklecrack Central

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's that time again, I'm interviewing another beauty blogger, and this month I was drawn with was no other than LiAnn of Sparklecrack Central , who came up with the idea of Beauty Bloggers Backstage. LiAnn is a huge mineral make up lover, who owns a remarkable collection and has been busy sharing her love of it on Sparklecrack Central for over 18 months.


If you want to join Beauty Bloggers Backstage, which allows beauty bloggers to get the 411 on one another, then check the site out for more details. In the meantime, read on for my lil' chat with LiAnn :-)

1. What inspired you to begin beauty blogging?
As my collection neared the 700-color mark, I wanted to compare similar colors - especially indie dupes and near-dupes of BE colors. I'd found two exact dupes of BE colors, often marked "hard to find" on Ebay, for $2 a pot...and the pigmentation and longevity were similar. I wanted to share the information. I actually didn't start out doing many EoTDs - now, I'm posting one nearly every day. I'm learning a lot, too!!

2. If you had to stick to one cosmetic brand for the rest of your make up wearing days, which one would it be and why?
Geez...well, if Aromaleigh hadn't up and closed, I'd say Aromaleigh. I wasn't fond of their foundation, but their blushes, lip colors, and eye colors were all amazing. Second choice would be Meow (that's who I use for foundation. I like their eyecolors as well...just not as well as Aromaleigh.)

3. What are your blogging peeves?
Corrupted databases and botched software upgrades...both of which are currently kicking my ass. (If we're talking "content pet peeves"...my biggest gripe is the fact that I can't take decent photos.)

4. You own an insane number of eye shadows (LiAnn owns over 1300!!!). Name three shades you always reach for. Um. Um. That's a tough one... (This past year I've forced myself to use each color in my collection once - to get to know them all, to actually use them all. I've learned quite a lot; but I effectively now no longer have "a shade I always reach for." I've reached for them all!! I've also gotten comfortable working with all the colors in the spectrum.)

I'd say that the shades I grab most often are: medium to medium-dark orange, duochrome blue-grey-green, and pink- or red-brown. I have tried to get more comfortable using yellows (not golds - I can use those well), and still have to work a bit to get pure greens to work well for me. I don't give my true-green shadows nearly enough love, I think.

5. What has been your proudest blogging moment to date?
I don't honestly know! Everything I've done with Sparklecrack Central has been fairly routine, just kind of re-using skills I've honed other places / other blogs (writing, HTML, CSS, organization, categorization.) On another of my blogs (now also down for the count, with this same corrupted-database/munged software upgrade problem) I had two separate posts nominated as the "Best of Holidailies". I think that was in 2006, if I remember correctly. (I didn't participate in 2009.)

6. If you could visit any three cities anywhere in the world, which ones would be top of your list?
Vancouver BC (which is gorgeous, I lived there for a few years and really do miss it) is about the only city, necessarily - and I actually include the entire metro and surrounding areas in my "I love that place" happy thoughts. If money were no object, if I had the time off from work (and knew I had a job to come back to), I'd kind of like to hike the entire Israel National Trail. I'd also like to go hiking in the Sandias, in New Mexico.

7. Favourite ice-cream flavour?
Mexican chocolate (chocolate, caramel, cinnamon...yum!), or green tea. Depends on if I'm in the mood for "sweet/spicy", or "sweet/cool".

Wanna read what I had to say? Then check out what Kristie asked me HERE

Topshop Make Up A/W Collection - Heavy Duty

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's funny that given the blaze of publicity many beauty blogs (including my own) gave to the new Topshop Make Up range that was released a few months ago, not much has been said or heard of it since. We're so fickle!

Anyway, cast your eyes over the new images of the upcoming A/W collection which has certainly upped the ante in since its May debut. The packaging has taken on a sleeker appearance for the new season and brings with it a mixture of wet and dry textures, focusing on foils and metallics paired with vampy lips.

The collection which goes by the name of Heavy Duty, consist of 17 items including a mirrored eye shadow duo palette, lip markers (reminiscent of those that featured in the MAC Art Supplies collection), and a number of other products for the eyes. lips and nails such as liners, polishes, glosses and eye crayons.

The Kohl Dust features a unique formula, which allows you to crumble and smudge it to create the perfect smoky eye. Perfect for both the upper and lower lid, inside and out, I get the distinct impression that this is the product that is supposed to get us all talking.

Urban Decay Book Of Shadows III + Swatches

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The latest offering from Urban Decay is here - Book of Shadows III, which comes complete with a New York theme. I made my disdain of the Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland palette packaging crystal clear when it was released, but I do have a soft spot for this palette which pays homage to one of my favourite cities.

The pop-up collage includes lots of NYC faves - from the skyscrapers, to a yellow taxi. They've even chucked in a 'a pair of sneakers'.

The lights on the skyscraper light up when you open it up and stay on for a few seconds - tres cute, and no I wasn't about to wait 'til nightfall to take a photo in the dark to show them off!

The palette contains 16 eye shadows, 2 eye liners and a mini primer potion:

PERVERSION – Matte Black
UZI – Metallic silver with iridescent glitter
LOADED – Blackened Forest Green
KUSH – Bright Green
MCRA – Golden Beige with neutral glitter
LAST CALL – Plum Punch
ROCKSTAR – Aubergine with neutral leanings
MONEY – Dull Platinum
HAIGHT – Shimmering Mediterranean Teal
MAUI WOWIE – Medium gold with silver glitter
SMOG – Coppery bronze
BORDELLO – Neutral Pink that leans to gold
RADIUM – Bright metallic blue
SNATCH – Peach-pink with glitter
SUSPECT – Oyster with dimensional shift
PSYCHEDELIC SISTER – Purple amethyst

Pop the hood to check out my swatches. All photos were taken first using flash, then without and can be enlarged by clicking on them.

If I Ask Nicely ...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

...will you vote for me? 

Voting for The Black Weblog Awards 2010 ends on and as many of you know I've been shortlisted in the best Fashion/Beauty Blog category.

Please cast a vote for me if you haven't already. I WANNA WIN DAMNIT!! ;-) It'll take less than two minutes of your time and you can also cast multiple votes if you have more than one email address..

To vote:
1. Click here
2. Find my category, Best Fashion or Beauty Blog (on page 2) 

Thank you!!

NEW! Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Estee Lauder are well known for their Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex, which revolutionised skin repair and continues to be a best seller. Now they have produced Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex, which promises to deliver the same protection and is specifically aimed at the delicate eye area. It lands on counters on Thursday 26th August 2010.

New Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex includes three powerful technologies to address the key signs of ageing around the eye:

1. Exclusive Chronolux™ Technology helps support the natural synchronization of skin’s repair. Consequently, the look of the fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes is reduced.

2. A patented technology encapsulating Alkyl Guanine Transferase (AGT) repairs the appearance of damage to the eye area from smoke and pollution, in particular toxins and chemicals, putting this new eye gel-serum at our forefront of repairing the look of damage from all known major environmental assaults.

3. A new anti-irritant blend plus a proprietary blend of antioxidants and high levels of proven Hyaluronic Acid work together to create the optimal environment for the natural protection and repair of the appearance of the delicate eye area, and thus helps reduce the look of dark circles, puffiness and crepiness around the eye.

I've been using the sample I was sent for almost two weeks now (perfect timing as my eye cream of choice recently ran out). The gel-serum like texture is like no other eye cream I've used before, so I'm curious to see if similar results can be achieved as I'm more familiar with cream based eye treatments. So far I quite like it, but I'll deliver my full thoughts on it soon, allowing it more time to work to its full capacity.

Estee Lauder have a couple of promotional offers planned to celebrate its launch. On 26th August from 4pm (whilst stocks last) Estee Lauder will be offering a FREE 5-day supply of new Advanced Night Repair Eye, exclusively available from 4pm on Thursday 26th August 2010.**  This is whilst stocks last just for the evening.

** One sample per customer, while stocks last

Plus an Advanced Night Repair serum 7ml (10 day supply) with every purchase of new Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex.
These offers will only be on 26th August from 4pm.

How much is it? £35.00

Where can I buy it from? Estee Lauder online and counters from August 26th 2010.

Fancy A Trip To The CCO? Come On Then!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last week, I found myself in Portsmouth, whilst en-route to the Isle of Wight for the Liz Earle Anniversary Event. It made sense to pass by the CCS/CCO in Gunwharf Quays, a shopping outlet at Portsmouth Harbour.

For those of you who are unsure of what lies in wait for you at a CCS/CCO, keep reading. CCS/CCO stands for Cosmetic Company Store/Outlet and they stock and sell discounted Estee Lauder owned company's cosmetics. These brands include MAC, Origins, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder amongst many others such as Darphin and Ojion, which are also under the Estee Lauder umbrella.

Stock is discounted up to 30% and you can often find discontinued or hard to find products, including a large quantity of stock from past MAC limited edition collections. It's also not unheard of to find plenty of current stock in there too, making a saving of 30%  even sweeter.

So what can you find behind the doors of the CCO?

Project Palette - MAC Cult of Cherry Tempting Eye Quad (FOTD)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Whilst rummaging through my make up the other day (as you do), it dawned on me how much I neglect my eye shadow palettes. I have five x 15 MAC Pro palettes - all full of depotted shadows and pans and all too often I'll reach for those, ignoring the numerous eye shadow palettes that I've purchased. It's not intentional, I just have too much make up and it's all too easy to forget what I own.

Yesterday I dug out the MAC Tempting Eye quad which is from the Cult of Cherry collection, which was released in 2008. I really like Sharp, a unique, vibrant acidic green (MAC Bitter e/s is a great dupe by the way), which Tempting and Dark Edge compliment so well. 

I loathe taking FOTD pictures with a passion, it's the one aspect of beauty blogging I really don't enjoy at all. You wouldn't believe me if I told you how many pictures I ended up taking yesterday afternoon before I gave up in frustration. Urgh.

New Burt's Bees Lipbalm Flavours - Mango Butter and Acai Berry

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm a big lover (and user) of Burt's Bees lip balms, having recently finished my 4th tube after switching to them from trusty Carmex a while back. So I was really pleased to hear that two new flavours have been introduced to their cult lip balm range.

Introducing Acai Berry and Mango Butter - which are both moisturising and meant to be non-greasy (although at a push I find Acai Berry to be the greasier of the two). Acai Berry is well known as a super-fruit and for containing antioxidants as well as vitamin A, C, D and E, whilst Mango Butter is loved for its emollient and moisturising qualities.

I think both smell great and are neither sickly sweet or artificial. One of my pet peeves are lipbalms which sit on your lips, interfere with your lip colour and fail to moisturise at all. I don't have that problem with Burt's Bees lipbalms and the new flavours live up to my expectations.

Burt's Bees lip balms are100% natural, free from parabens and phthalates too.

How much are they? £3.49 each
Where can I buy them? Burt's Bees, Boots, John Lewis, Independent Stores

Urban Decay Book Of Shadows III - Now Available At Debenhams.com

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The latest offering from Urban Decay has landed here, in the UK. Book of Shadows III which has a fab New York theme to it, is now available to buy exclusively, on Debenhams.com

Within the last hour, I've managed to convince myself that there are colours within this palette that I do need after all (starting with that green, Loaded!), and let's face it, Urban Decay were obviously thinking of me when they decided to dedicate this palette to the fabulous city that is NYC, so it'd be rude not to buy it!

It's not out in America yet. It doesn’t launch on UrbanDecay.com until after Labor Day (Sept 6th, 2010) and will not be available in-store at Macy’s, Sephora, and Ulta, until October 1st! Wow, we've got it first. I keep thinking there has to be a mistake and it's going to disappear off the website any second.

It won't be in-store in the UK until Sept 6th!

How much is it? £30

What's Happened to K by Beverley Knight Cosmetics?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Less than a year after its launch, RnB singer Beverley Knight's cosmetic line, K by Beverley Knight has been withdrawn from London department store, Selfridges.  I can't say I'm surprised.

After its initial launch in September 2009, within a couple of weeks it quickly lost its prime location in the middle of Selfridges Beauty Hall and was relegated off the main floor, tucked behind a corner where the counter was practically invisible unless you happened to accidentally walk past it or were accosted by a SA, who were forced to stand on the main aisled entrance in order to catch your attention.

I think they've made a huge mess of their advertising campaign. WHERE were they advertising for a start? I have a feeling they stuck an advert in Pride and Black Beauty & Hair magazine and hoped for the best! Their Twitter account came along far too late, and when they did eventually arrive on Twitter, the questions I put to the team were ignored. Oh well.

It's a shame the line hasn't been successful, it had every opportunity to be. There is more than enough room for another brand which specifically caters for darker skin tones in the cosmetics industry. 

Unfortunately some of the shades in the line reminded me of the limited shades that were available to my mother in her make-up wearing prime - dark black/purple or bright red lipstick. No thanks, it's so dated! It was almost like looking at Fashion Fair in faux NARS-esque packaging. When I checked the range out a few months ago, I did fall in love with a couple of her blushes though (no surprise there).

Chanel Paradoxal Vs Models Own Purple Grey

Saturday, August 14, 2010

For those of you adding yourselves to waiting lists and climbing over mountains and allsorts to get the latest 'must-have' nail polish from Chanel, do yourself a favour, save yourself the time (and money) and check out the alternative dupe that is Models Own Purple Grey. Check out  The Swatchaholic who's posted a great comparison post, which shows off the uncanny likeness.

Check out the the full comparison review, complete with suggestions on how to obtain the same muted shimmer found in the Chanel polish here

£16.50 or £5. Which would you rather pay?

Beauty Blog Link Love - 14.08.10

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Phyrra shows you Meow's Friday the 13th Collection, just in time for Friday the 13th!

Louise wonders about the Thierry Mugler wisdom of Womanity.

Lismarie from Beauty Crazed opens up Pandora's Box - Pandora's Makeup Box that is!

Take a look at swatches of Revlon's Super Lustrous Lipglosses and see what Sophie thinks of them.

The fish pedicure has come to London via Aqua Sheko and Beautywoome tries it out.

Lipglossiping has the scoop on the NARS Christmas Bento Box Lip Set that EVERYONE will want, but that at £95, few will be able to justify!

Krasey Beauty swatches her entire collection of Make Up For Ever eyeshadows, for all the world to see!

Retrodiva discovers a mascara that's almost identical to her beloved Max Factor 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper. a solution to her oily skin, she just can't get enough of it!

Want soft skin, smooth legs and shiny hair? Cindy at Prime Beauty has your solution--find out what ten must-have beauty products are in her shower.

Broke your nail and don't know what to do? Musicalhouses will show you how to fix your nail with a DIY nail wrap!

Rachel's been finding possible Liz Earle alternatives.. is Soap and Glory's Hot Cloth Cleanser "the one"? 

Jeweled Thumb reviews a miniature blush from a brand that doesn't seem to get quite enough love (PS she loves it!)

Are you looking for some everyday nude lip products? Check out Spiced Beauty's top 3!

Jolie Laide Girl falls in love forever and its with the creamy Make Up Forever Aqua Creams.

Finally, over to theNotice for Rae's Silicone Giveaway, which includes a lustrous hair lotion, a Canada-exclusive powder, and a bit of Urban Decay!

Ilamasqua Flagship Store And School Of Make-Up Art - Opening September 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

The news that the first Illamasqua flagship store will be opening in September, in Soho London, has bought a wry smile to my face.

Must. Not.Buy.More.Blushes.

Illamasqua exploded onto the beauty scene in November 2008 and the brand has enjoyed continued success, having been embraced and recommended by beauty bloggers worldwide. Personally, I'm a sucker for their blushes, if you couldn't tell already.

As well as housing over 700 professional products, the flagship store shall also be home to the 'Illamasqua School of Make Up Art'. The courses have been developed and created by Illamasqua's house Creative David Horne and industry professional Spob.

The course details have now been released with prices ranging from £50-£200. Check out the Illamasqua blog for prices and more details

Paul & Joe Sahara Sparkles Summer 2010 + Swatches

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm a Paul & Joe virgin. I've heard of the brand (well known for its kooky, unique packaging), have seen it banded around on various beauty blogs in the past but have never used any of their products until recently. Viewing this collection up close, at a demonstration a few weeks ago was something of a learning curve for me and an introduction to Paul & Joe Beauty.

I know the new Autumn Collection from Paul & Joe, Clair de Lune is due out shortly and images and info are doing the rounds if you look hard enough, but Sahara Sparkles is still available to purchase (I called Paul & Joe to check) and it's still technically Summer (if we ignore the rain), so there!

I've been using a lipgloss from Paul & Joe's latest range of glosses, which I believe are permanent and available in 10 shades. Shade 03 Naked (Rose Beige), swatches as a pretty mid-tone rose pink which applies as a transparent sheen with a creamy finish. I love the pretty sparkly effect it has which makes it ideal for use on a night out, but not so over the top, that it can't be worn with ease during the day too. The versatility of this shade means it can be worn by a range of skin tones which is always a great selling point.

I like the brush applicator, which is neither too hard or too soft and distributes the gloss evenly and smoothly on my lips. The texture of this gloss is an non-sticky as a lipgloss can get, without the intervention of the wind blowing your hair in your face - because we all know when that happens, all lipgloss WILL stick to your lips!

I'd compare the lipgloss quality with that of the BECCA Glossy Lip Tints, which have similar moisturising properties. Paul & Joe lipglosses contain white lily extract and apricot oil which help to add volume and moisturise simultaneously. I can't say I notice my lip size increase when wearing this but it gets a big thumbs up for leaving my lips feeling moist and super-kissable. I really like the texture of this gloss and the more lipglosses I come across with these moisturising effects, the more I'm steering away from my pile of MAC lipglasses which leave my lips feeling so dry in comparison.

Meanwhile, a swatch of the finishing powder revealed an ashy catastrophe on my darker skin tone, so instead of letting the sample languish in a dark corner gathering dust, I called upon the services of Charlotte, writer of the splendiferous Lipglossiping.com

Keep reading to see what she thought of it ...

Nails Inc Bargain Manicure Offer

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nails in need of a good buffing? About time you changed your polish? Then sit up and pay attention!

nails inc is offering a nails inc mini (shape and paint) which normally costs £17, for just £11 when you book BEFORE 11am (or 1pm on Sundays).

The Euro equivalent is €15 when booked before 11am, normal price is €22

Check the store locator to find your nearest nails inc

Whilst I still have your attention, check out some of the nails inc gift sets and shades available this Christmas at lookfantastic.com

I'm loving the diamanté embossed polish bottles - fabulous!

Revlon Grow Lucious by Fabulash

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The obsession for longer lashes continues with the launch of Revlon's new Grow Luscious by Fabulash mascara and lash enhancer, which promises longer and fuller lashes while helping them to grow stronger with each use.

It contains wheat protein which coats the lashes and provides conditioning and strengthening properties. Panthenol and Phytantriol (I'm as confused as you. chemistry was not my forte at school) work together to condition and moisturise, resulting in strengthening the lashes.

So basically, they all do the same thing right?

Sounds impressive though, doesn't it? That's not all, 96% of the women who tested this saw instantly longer, fuller and more lush lashes.

Revlon is one of my favourite high street brands and I love a number of their products - Colorstay foundation, Super Lustrous lipglosses, Colorburst lipsticks, and their nail polishes. I think they're all gems. 

However I don't love this ..

I had high hopes for Grow Luscious by Fabulush (I don't know who/what Fabulush is by the way) and since I'm a fan of the oversized brush that Maybelline Colossal has, I thought my experience would be similar.

I find the formula to be quite dry and it drags against my lashes as I apply it. This isn't helped by the oversized brush which doesn't give me much control and perhaps would have had a different effect had the formula been 'wetter'. Because the formula is dry, it often 'trips', as I pull it along my lashes and I end up with mascara on my eyelid which is annoying as I then have to grab a cotton bud and clear it all up.

Having said that my lashes do look thicker after application but I find it hard to separate them and it doesn't give me any length. I find flaking and smudging to be minimal too after a day's wear which is impressive for a non-waterproof formula. However, overall I find application quite awkward. This is the first Revlon mascara I've tried, hopefully their next offering will impress me more.

Revlon Grow Lucious by Fabulush worn on the left eye. No mascara worn on the right.

With continued use this lash enhancing formula promises to improve your lashes but unfortunately I can't bring myself to use it regularly to find out.

How much is it? £8.99
Where can I buy it? Boots, Superdrug

Celebrating With Liz Earle - 15th Anniversary Event

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Last Thursday I found myself in Ryde on the the Isle of Wight (yes, really), having been invited to a special event to mark the 15th Anniversary of Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish.The last time I was on the Isle of Wight was when I was 10 years old but the seaside town was just as I (vaguely) remembered - both picturesque and peaceful.

What got me to the island!

Prior to the main event in the evening, I was treated to a grand tour of the Liz Earle head office, where I saw the various departments hard at work. I was able to speak to staff members in departments such as marketing and customer service who broke down their job roles and how they contributed to the daily functioning of the company. We even spoke to Liz Earle's resident Botanist, Jennifer Hirsch whose global jaunts to find the best natural ingredients for Liz Earle products left me rather impressed.

I observed the Fulfilment Team hard at work, who are responsible for the beautiful tissue wrapped packaging you receive your Liz Earle products arrive in, when you place an order over the phone or online.

*The team of over 130 staff wrap 1.2 million pieces each Christmas
* An experienced wrapper will easily wrap over 300 pieces a day
*99% of orders are dispatched on the same day

Where the magic happens!

Each row of staff  are responsible for wrapping different products

Pre-wrapped products ready to be pulled for customer orders

 A quick peek at the warehouse

After the first whistle stop tour, we took off in the 'Liz-Mobile' to the Island store on Union Street -  a boutique style store (and the first) where customers can relax and receive complimentary hand massages as well as receive helpful advice from staff who are on hand to advise you on products as needed.

Our mode of transport around the island - 'the Liz-Mobile'.

Every Friday at 2pm, they serve tea and cake to customers too!


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