Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Illamasqua Brush Review

Hi Everyone,
Just a quick side note on my blog pictures, they're down again at the moment again as my Photobucket bandwidth has gone, I'm upgrading to a full year account tomorrow so please bare with me :)  They'll be back soon.
A little while back Illamasqua kindly contacted me and offered to send me some brushes to try out. I made my first Illamasqua purchase a few months ago which was the Intense Lipgloss in the shade Indulge and I was beyond happy with the quality of the gloss – the pigmentation is amazing and the colour was perfect! After getting over the initial excitement I of course accepted as I had been planning on trying out Illamasqua's brushes among their other products.
As this is the first product review I'm featuring on my blog I do want to say that I wouldn't ever accept a product to review that I wouldn't be willing to purchase and try myself. Illamasqua offered to send me the brushes, not for a blog post in return for them – I just wanted to share my opinion of them.
Anyway, on to the brushes!

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Alex from Illamasqua was beyond helpful as there was a mix up with the first package sent to me, so she sent out a second which I received in 2 days. I received 3 brushes which were the Kabuki Body Brush, Blending Brush 2 and the Lip Brush. All of the brushes are synthetic so I was surprised with how soft they all are, I've cleaned them around 8 times now and have literally only lost about 3 hairs from the Kabuki, none from the others. Shedding is a major issue for me with brushes – most recently my MAC 109 began shedding horrendously when using cream or liquid products, despite taking good care of it. As for the packaging, I really do love the fact that they're a uniform glossy black colour, with the Illamasqua logo printed on each one making them look very sleek and timeless. All of the brush bristles are densely packed and are very sturdy. I've been testing out the brushes for nearly 3 weeks now and so far I'm very impressed with them.

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Kabuki Body Brush retails for £38.00
The Kabuki Body Brush was the brush I expected to use the least as it is quite large (it's the same size as the palm of my hand) but I have found myself using it whenever I apply my makeup. I've been using bronzer a lot more now it's summer and I adore this brush for blending a little bronzer across my neck, collar bones and chest for a bit of a summer glow – perfect for a night out too. It's also amazing for blending out any overly-intense bronzer or blush on the face too as it's so large it really does blend anything effortlessly, taking only a few seconds to do.

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Blending Brush 2 retails for £25.00
The Blending Brush 2 is certainly a large brush in comparison to most eye brushes, but I think that's what I like most about it. I always tend to go for a larger brush for blending just because it makes it so much easier. The brush is quite dense so it moves colour easily and seamlessly, I love this for blending out deeper crease colours and it's extremely useful for blending out a smokey eye. One other use I've found for it is for setting my under eye concealer with powder, as I lean towards having more dry skin I don't like to set my whole face with powder, just the places that need it – this is great for targeting that specific area. One thing I will say is that as this brush is so large, I can see some people not getting much use out of it - I certainly like to go for more drastic looks at times which this is ideal for.
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Lip Brush retails for £18.00
Lastly, the Lip Brush - it's safe to say that lip brushes are one of my most used as I love a bold lip. This brush isn't overly-flexible, it has a little bit of resistance which is ideal for creating a precise shape with ease.  The tip of the brush is tapered into a rounded point which is great for the cupid's bow, I've created more rounded and pointed shapes using this wish ease. It's a good size, not too small that it's going to take a good 5 minutes to apply a full lip colour and not too large that it's difficult to apply precisely.
Overall, I think the quality of the brushes definitely met my expectations of the brand. One thing I do like is how the brushes are named, rather than MAC's numbered system these are named with their reccommended purpose. As you can see from the first image they all came in soft frosted plastic cases, which I have found particularly useful for the lip brush - I don't really like throwing a lip brush into my makeup bag as it tends to get lipstick everywhere, keeping it in the protective cover not only stops the brush from being damaged but keeps my bag clean too :) I also want to add that even after washing them they have returned to their original shapes every time, without any unwanted splaying so far. I think I'll definitely be purchasing a few more brushes for myself, I've got my eye on the Blending Brush 2's baby sister - Blending Brush 1, Blusher Brush 2 and the Eye Brow brush amongst others!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

NOTD: China Glaze - Pink Voltage (Neon)

Hi Everyone,
Today I finally removed Flip Flop Fantasy which lasted really well, I only noticed slight tip wear this morning which was the 4th day of wear - pretty good in my book!

I decided to go for another bright pink shade to cheer myself up a bit, going for Pink Voltage which is another one of my new purchases. I think I really do have a soft spot for pink neons! This is definitely a straight up bright pink neon, it leans towards being more cool toned which I think is more flattering on my skintone as opposed to the orange tones of Flip Flop Fantasy - which I still love!

This is a really gorgeous colour, it's somewhat of a jelly consistency and has a subtle blue duochrome which adds some shimmer, it's definitely not a flat colour. It's quite sheer so it took 3 coats, 4 on my pinky finger because I smudged it! This dries semi-matte so was touch-dry in around 2 minutes, I used my Barry M 3 in 1 base coat and topcoat as usual.


I think the top image is a better representation of the actual colour, this one's a smidgen too light. 
And here's a somewhat pixelated super zoomed in version of the top image which shows the blue flash across the nail - I really do recommend enlarging the image to see it properly ;)


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

NOTD: China Glaze - Flip Flop Fantasy (Neon)

Hi Everyone,
Yesterday I finally got to pop into Sally's, the nearest one to me is located in a different city where I usually don't shop so this would be the second visit I've ever made. The China Glaze and OPI polishes that they do stock is fairly limited and a couple of the colours I wanted were out of stock so I shall be ordering those from Ebay- which works out slightly cheaper anyway.

Flip Flop Fantasy is a neon which looks very different depending on the light source, when I put this on last night it looked more of a pink toned coral, while today in natural light it's a way more orange toned coral that is quite milky looking. I think that my skin tone makes it look a bit more orange toned as in the bottle it is slightly more pink. So this is pretty much a milky pink/coral neon which is a colour I haven't seen before- I think this would look absolutely beautiful against a darker skin tone.

Taking pictures of neons is always a challenge as the glare does alter the colour making it look in most cases drastically different. All of my indoor pictures came out as a neon bright pink, with the exception of one which looked like a pastel orange... so I settled for taking them outside with my camera's 'Flower' setting on which is just a slow shutter speed with no flash and it managed to capture a good representation of the colour. Looking at it in person it is a lot more glow-y and bright.

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This is 3 coats of Flip Flop Fantasy with the usual base coat and topcoat of Barry M 3 In 1 nail paint. My experience with creamy neons is generally that they take around 3 coats to be completely even, but they do dry matte making them dry extremely fast.


Sunday, 6 June 2010

NOTD - Rimmel 60 Seconds: Purple Reign

Hey everyone, 
I purchased this nail polish recently when it was part of a large Rimmel display in boots - I believe it was for a 3 for 2 promotional offer across the store (or something along those lines), I hadn't seen this colour before in my local Boots as they have a smaller selection compared to the larger stores in the city center. It instantly caught my eye and I picked it up straight away - it's a gorgeous bright warm purple with a  light blue shimmer.

I think the name is very cute and fitting too - it makes me wonder if they really did get inspiration from Prince or the naming is just a coincidnce! I kind of wish they could have got away with actually calling it 'Purple Rain' but I'll let Rimmel off; I thought it was one of their more inventive names as they usually tend to play it safe.

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I've purchased polishes from the Rimmel 60 Seconds range before and I've always been happy with them, and this one certainly didn't let me down. This is 2 coats of Purple Reign with a base coat and top coat of my usual Barry M 3 in 1 Nail Paint. 

I recently snapped my index finger nails on both hands so they are looking a bit awkward at the moment! They are starting to grow out slowly but surely though - I just didn't want to have to trim my others down to match, I can live with the growing out process of having 2 slightly awkward nails for a while ;)


Glamour Doll Eyes Samples: Haul and Review

Hi Everyone,
I've seen this company mentioned a few times on youtube as well as on A Brilliant Brunette's blog so I thought I'd give them a try.

*EDIT* Turns out they do have free shipping for orders over $30 - thanks for letting me know SilhouetteScreams
One thing I will say is that on the site international shipping seems to have a standard price of $28 for full size jars which to me is quite steep; especially if you only want to make a small order of just 2 shadows for example. The standard rate of shipping I've paid for cosmetics from the States is around $14. The sample baggies however were just $1.50 each with free international shipping (free shipping applies to sample jars too). The postage was quick and I recieved them in about 8-9 days.

(as usual click to enlarge all the images)

The colours I received (clockwise from the red glitter) are: 
  • Fierce (cherry red glitter - glitters are called 'Eye Lights' on the site)
  • Techno (teal glitter)
  • Cashed Out! (forest green glitter)
  • Little Black Dress (black glitter)
  • Tokyo (matte lilac shadow)
  • Glam Girl (metallic royal purple)
  • Tattooed (very blue toned purple with an iridescent royal purple shimmer)
  • Sex Appeal (purple toned grey with green shimmer)
  • Hollywood (silver holographic glitter)
  • Glowstick (neon lime green glitter)
  • Rave (bright royal purple glitter)

The 2 free samples I recieved with the order were Sex Appeal shadow and Cashed Out! glitter, I believe free samples are complimentary with every order which was a nice touch.

Overall I feel the photos and descriptions on the site matched very well to the actual colour of the shadows. I actually ended up odering more glitters than shadows. Tattooed I feel is the only one that surprised me slightly, I expected it to be more of a purple colour - as you can see it is very blue toned. 

The glitter is extremely finely milled, I've used them a few times already and am really happy with the quality.
I did have an issue with the black glitter called Little Black Dress though, as it doesn't appear to be as sparkly as the other glitters, it has a lot more of a subtle shimmer that doesn't really show up:

As for the quality of the eye shadows I found them to be amazingly pigmented and lasted just as well as any other shadow I own. I went on a bit of a purple kick when I was ordering, but the free sample of Sex Appeal is really stunning! It's a nice unique colour that I haven't seen before. The shimmery shadows look amazing foiled (applied wet) and take on a more obvious metallic look.

(l to r) Sex Appeal, Tattooed, Glam Girl, Tokyo
Swatches are applied dry with no base to give you an idea of the pigmentation 

The size of the baggies surprised me slightly too as they're quite small being 5 1/2cm x 4cm and are about a third full which isn't really a tonne of product - but I suppose the point of samples are to entice you into buying the full size product so I can't really complain!
The colours of all the samples I ordered are very bright which I'm delighted with, the only thing that puts me off buying the full size jars is the shipping price, if it was lower I would order with no hesitation!