Archive for 2011

I'm seriously running out of interesting titles. (Kiko 273)



*slightly sarcastic, I am aware that my cuticles are minging. The dry, unforgiving winter air decided to vacuum every last drop of moisture out of my already Gobi-esque hands. Thanks winter. I really appreciate it.

This is the free Nails Inc polish, 'Basil Street', that Glamour magazine were giving away, over which a layer of Kiko nail polish is applied. I quite like the 'flaky' effect that this one gives, and I don't own any other top coats like it, so I consider it a good buy.


As always, the Kiko polish had an impeccable formula and this manicure lasted for about four days without chips, which is a big thing for me as my nails are quite chip prone :/ Basil Street took about three coats to get to the level of opacity that I really like, but two are more than sufficient for most others.


I decided to go classier this year and stick to a nude polish. The Kiko topcoat creates a sort of shimmering effect, almost like rain or snowflakes. Christmassy enough? Probably not. I didn't really put any effort in *hangs head*.

Wishing all blog readers a really happy Christmas!


Sleek MakeUP 'The Berry Collection'

Don't care how late to the party I am on this one. It's awesome.


£10 from Superdrug, this was a birthday present from my lovely siblings. The set consists of a blush, a lipstick and an eye pencil.



I'm enjoying this a lot more than Sleek's holiday offering from last year, the Sparkle palette. To me, it feels like better value for money (buying a blush, an eye pencil and a lipstick from Sleek seperately would cost you more than £10) and they're all full sized products, not to mention imminently more useable than a palette full of glitter.


Left to Right: Fenberry Blush, Cranberry Lipstick, Mossberry Eyeliner
I actually find it hard to go overboard with my application of this blush, even though it's as pigmented as all the others in the range. There's something about the dark, dusky finish that just looks more natural than the others in my collection. That may just be a skintone quirk, though - I'm thinking that if you're lighter or have different undertones then you may need to exercise caution with this just as with any other darker blush.

While the Eye Kohl (Mossberry) is pigmented on any other part of my body, I find when I apply it to the eye I'm just not getting the pigment out. It's too hard to press effectively on such a delicate area, which I found a bit of a shame. I've got no problems wearing that colour near my eyes, however.

Instead, I've used it as a lip liner in these (seriously poor) photos. It matches the lipstick really well and has decent lasting power, so why not?


The lipstick, Cranberry, is described as matte, but I don't find that entirely true. It seems like a cross between Sleek's Sheen formula and their old matte formula for their pre-revamp True Colour lipsticks. It's more moisturising and appears slightly more glossy than a pure matte lipstick, but still has the lasting power required to make it through a few drinks (I tested this out in the name of blogging, by the way. College Christmas party on Monday...enough said, really.)

Anyone else have this one?


Not too long ago, MakeupSavvy  posted about an awesome offer from Klorane. The deal was, simply register and indicate your choice of product, and they'd send you a full sized shampoo and conditioner, absolutely free. Naturally, not having heard of this brand but thinking it was a good opportunity to test it out, I went for it.


The day afterwards, MakeupSavvy edited her post, saying that the brand had contacted her and told her the offer had changed. Now, it was a sample sized product they were giving away, and they weren't accepting any more applicants anyway.

I'm not sure there's another way a brand could have put me right off their products, permanently, any more forcefully. Contacting a beauty blogger to promote your products and giving her incorrect information...not on, at all. Brands wouldn't make this sort of huge mistake (assuming it wasn't deliberate) in their dealings with magazines, would they? So why isn't this sort of professionalism found in brand/blogger interactions?

Companies, bloggers aren't toys and they're not inferior to magazines. Klorane, your samples are going in the bin.



My Mum recently gave me a mini bottle of an OPI polish that she wasn't keen on the colour of. That was my first experience of an OPI product for myself, actually.



 Unfortunately, I don't actually know the name of this polish as OPI don't put names on the bottle of their mini polishes...can anyone help me out here?

These are adorable. Will probably get used up in three or four more applications, of course, but they're just so cute.


It's not too visible in the swatches, but there is a faint silver shimmer running through the polish. Not the most unique colour, but a good staple that I've been lacking in my collection for some time. I don't own many pink polishes, strangely enough.

And yes, those are moustaches on my nails. I did these on the last day of Movember.

superdrug spending.


I finally got paid from my job, and promptly took it upon myself to spend lots of money. As you can tell.
This was the first of many shopping trips - and now Christmas is coming up, I will spend even more...


Luminous Pressed Powder (Shade 3) from Sleek, Superdrug Facial Wash (99p)


Having heard good things about their mud masks, I put one of those in my basket as well. This is the 'Deep Cleansing' type. While I will probably do a quick review on it, I've used it twice with good results so far.

I also picked up a tube of MUA's new Professional Eye Primer. My much disliked Elizabeth Arden primer is finally nearing the end of the tube, so it's time for a new one.

Completely unrelated, but I found an Asian Supermarket in Brighton! My friends were entirely unenamoured with the place so practically dragged me out, but I was in love. Definitely returning.

The Krispy Kreme was unrelated. Basically, while we were out shopping, we went into a Krispy Kreme and the man serving us was not only hilarious but offered us free samples. After one taste, we unanimously decided to buy the counter take three. Brilliant salesman, him.

November Empties (and a cheap makeup wipe review)

On time! Sort of. yeah.

The big thing this month, for me, has been wipes. I love wipes. After a long day at college and an hour or two or three or four or yeah spent doing nothing productive on the Internet, you realise you have three pieces of homework due in the next day and so stay up until 5:30 doing them, sleep for an hour and then up to go to school again (yes, this has happened to me. On more than one occasion.) In this situation, makeup wipes save your skin from taking that hour long nap smothered by your makeup. Even though recently, I've been wearing my homemade BB Cream, it's not an actual cream - that is, you still need to remove it like you would regular makeup, especially if you put powder over the top like I do. It can still clog pores. So a quick wipe down with one of these minature blankets of goodness and maybe a quick rinse/cleanse if I remember, and that is all too often, my nighttime skincare routine.


I finished one packet of these Primark wipes and still have another to go...can't say I'm that keen, in all honesty. Their smell really puts me off, and they feel a little abrasive once you're done with them - I can't tell whether my skin feels strongly exfoliated or a little raw. If you don't moisturise immediately afterwards, your skin feels incredibly dry. All in all, I'm not keen. These are a pound for two packets of 25 wipes (so essentially, a pound for 50 wipes) which is good value for money. I suggest you try them and see whether you like them for yourself, but if you don't like strong smells then steer clear.


This Elizabeth Arden toner doesn't actually come with a spray pump, I fixed one on. I can't say I really know what to look for in a toner...(yes, that is a cop out) but this one seems nice. It gets off any remaining makeup on my skin, which is what it's for, right?


Lastly, these Tesco Value wipes. I personally prefer these to the Primark ones any day. They don't have a strong, unpleasant scent; they're soft and gentle on my skin, and leave it feeling slightly moisturised (or at least, not as dry). 25 wipes cost around 28p, I believe - clear winners here are Tesco. When I take that inevitable leap into University life, my student finances will welcome these.

What makeup wipes do you use?

The Lazy Student: Make Your Own BB Cream

Companies, you're ignoring me? Well I'm ignoring you. It's BB time.

(Before we get too into this, let me just warn you that I prefaced the actual BB 'recipe' with a load of analysis and discussion. If you don't like words, feel free to skip to the end!)

While having never actually tried one, being a K-pop fan does mean that you're exposed to lots of facets of Korean (and by extension, Asian) culture, so I did know a bit about BB Creams before they became popular amongst those in the West (outside of the Asian diasporas). I'm sure everyone has heard the abridged biography of BB Cream before, developed for plastic surgery rehabilitation, 'beauty balm/blemish balm', ultra amazing and awesome on your skin yadda yadda.

The main thing that put me off, personally, from trying one was that each company only makes them in a few shades, and obviously a product geared towards countries like Korea or Japan is going to cater to the fact that they are incredibly ethnically homogenous. Something like 99.98% of Koreans are ethnically Korean, so I'm guessing dark brown/creamy pink toned BB Creams wouldn't sell so well over there, because they're just not going to suit, well, anyone. I can understand that.

Once Western companies got interested in the concept and started manufacturing their own 'versions' (from what I've heard and seen, many are nothing like the versions sold in Asia) then I had expected to see a wider available shade range. For one, in general the cosmetic industry here seems to encompass a wide variety of choice, when it comes to skincare, as standard. Most foundation/tinted moisturiser lines have at least five or six different shades to choose from, as it's widely accepted that people want to be able to find the closest match to their own skin. Generally, features like whitening/brightening are less valued, compared to mattifying or moisturising properties. They're different markets, yet companies seem to have half heartedly lifted 1/3 of what BB Creams are actually about and returned with this awkward, greasy, tinted moisturiser mish mash of fail.

While I'm not a marketing expert, I'm doubtful that the 'one or two shades in the entire line' model will succeed in the West. I think part of it's success in Asia (East) is due to the general cultural acceptance of harmony and cohesion as societal ideals, whereas the West is very focused on individuality which would lead to someone brought up in the West perhaps being more inclined to seek out his or her own unique shade. I dunno. I do know that the major drugstore BB Creams being brought out so far come in one or two very light shades, which excludes quite a lot of people from using them. 17's is basically the same shade repeated twice with slightly altered undertones :/ No good for me. I've heard of girls mixing foundation in with their BB Cream, to correct the shades, but to me that would mean that I was getting less of the benefits of wearing it. By percentage, if the amount of BB Cream present is decreasing (because you're adding foundation to it) then the skincare benefits are decreasing as well. If I'm going to spend a substansial amount of money ordering cosmetics from halfway around the world, I want to make sure I can use them! I suppose the exception would be if I ordered something and recieved BB Cream satchets as free samples, but even so...

What I would personally love to see would be a range of BB Creams similar to what can be found in Asia - different benefits including brightening/healing/SPF protection, the lot - but it's unlikely a company is going to take that huge risk in producing that, or at least not until the craze has truly taken off.
Knowing this, I set about making my own, or at least an approximation of it. First, I looked at what BB Creams actually are or are meant to do.

This isn't actually something I'm looking for in my own BB Cream, however if it's an aspect that interests you, I suggest you just go a shade lighter on the foundation that you use when you're making it! I haven't tried this but it looks like it'd work.

This is more of an area of interest for me...a nice 'glowy' look is always welcome, especially in winter when everyone is ill and miserable. Many BB Creams that offer brightening as a selling point make use of tiny, light reflective gold (or more commonly, silver) particles to bounce light off the face. I'm thinking of Shiny Pearl Water Drop BB Cream by Skin79, that sort of product. I dusted over Max Factor Mineral Foundation in 'Bronze' after applying my BB Cream to get this look (it's got lots of gold particles in it) but if you don't want to add an extra step, you could mix some of a suitably sparkly face powder into the product or even crush up a /tiny/ bit of gold or silver foil eyeshadow and stir it in.

The good thing about making your own is that you can judge the level of protection your skin needs at any given time and tailor the cream to it. For example, now we've moved to a bigger town I want to up my coverage as there's more environmental pollution which could introduce toxins etc. onto my skin. So I add slightly thicker ingredients like E45 cream to provide a little more of a barrier between myself and the smog car drivey gases. Also, if you're someone that burns easily, add a little more SPF (if you're using a seperate one) or a moisturiser with a higher SPF if you're combining it, like me.

Again, this is something you can fix entirely to your liking. I have rare eczema flare ups and sometimes tiny patches of dry skin, so those times I might add more moisturising ingredients to my BB Cream. At the moment, I'm trying to shift some dark marks from a recent crop of spots, so more moisture and perhaps a little RescueOil is needed there. If you're recovering from a sunburn, adding some Sudocrem might do wonders (or whatever your favourite post-sun exposure treatment is). Alternatively, recent waxing or a rash on the face could do with a higher percentage of moisturiser to soothe the area.

This is a big one for me. I have really, REALLY dry skin. Many people don't like the feel of a heavy moisturiser on their face, though, so might choose something lighter. In the winter, most people require more moisture than in the summer, due to the action of the wind and cold drying out and chapping away at exposed skin on the face.

This one is a bit iffy to me. Most BB Creams, including the Western versions that I have tried, won't function as a heavy duty concealer - don't be misled. Rather, they help to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of say fine lines and redness/sallowness.

They're all meant to be a primer too, and to stay on your face all day. When you apply many BB Creams, they have a wonderful slip to them because silicones are often pretty high on the list. I added MUA's primer to mine and it makes my skin feel lovely. Obviously, if you react badly to silicones in your skincare products you would need to reconsider their inclusion in your own BB Cream.

This in mind, let's get started.

The only picture you have seen thus far is of most of the things that I used while making my BB Cream. I'm using an empty Johnson's face cream jar to store it all in. First, I squirted a few pumps of this awesome sunblock spray. It's SPF 30 and invisible (as well as being water resistance, so it shouldn't react badly with any of the other ingredients in my BB Cream), so the fact that it was liquid not only helped the mixability of the cream but also made it smoother, and it spreads easier on my skin. However, cream sunblock is great too if that's what you have at hand. Depending on it's consistency, it'll make your cream thicker.


Next, I added a few squirts of the MUA face primer, which is almost like a thin lotion but adds much needed silicones to the formula, which not only help it go on smoother and make your skin feel almost silky, but help it to last longer on your face. With a bit of powder, this can last all day on me (does depend on how much I've had my head in my hands, though. Bad habit...)

To this, I added some pumps of a more liquidy E45 lotion. I have both the runnier kind and the firmer stuff in a tub, and both are totally great for this. I do find the firmer type needs a bit of warming up before use so to make this quicker for me, I added more of the liquid type. But for forming more of a barrier against those air pollutants, I'll up the amount of the solid kind. Personally, I find these lotions very healing and they don't irritate my skin at all, but they do contain parabens and lanolin so if you are sensitive to those ingredients, add something else that is kinder to your skin.

It's not pictured, but I then added truckloads of the Johnson's face cream. It's got an SPF of 15, which obviously isn't the same as the extra sunblock I added. One of my friends, when I was younger, once told me that adding two SPFs of different strengths meant that one 'divided' the other, so 30/15 = an SPF of 2. This sounded like complete bull to my fourteen year old self, but can anyone out there confirm it?

Finally, I added some tint to my huge pile of creams and lotions. Depending on how much coverage you want, you can adjust the amount of foundation you add. I put a 'medium' amount, perhaps about eight or so squirts? Give or take.

Mixed together:

I made mine more watery than maybe some other people would like, but I dig this consistency at the moment - it's very light.

You can see the slight sheen it's left on my hand - nice and dewy, but not what I'd class as 'glowy' because there aren't any sparkles in it. As I said before, I add those later with my powder.

Thoughts on the (lack of) shade range in BB Creams? Have any of you tried to do anything similar?

Forever Empties

I believe the last time I did one of these posts was yonks ago. So this is a few (a really small snapshot, actually) of the products I've used up since then.


Body scrub by the Sanctuary, Chit Chat pressed powder (empty pan) No7 Extreme Definition Mascara, Johnson's Daily Essentials 24 Day Cream for normal skin, Ted Baker travel size body souffle and also Max Factor Mineral Foundation in 'Bronze' (I kept it in the empty container after the moisturiser was used up).

The body scrub was quite good but not great or outstanding. The scent was pleasant and the colour and everything great. I don't think I'd repurchase as it didn't wow me.

The Chit Chat pressed powder was good for a quid. I liked the fact it was totally matte, disliked the fact that the shade range was so limited. This sat around, unused and unloved, for ages as for years I never used it. Since September, I've been getting into wearing a little powder or tinted moisturiser/BB Cream on my face, so it fell back into use. Unfortuately, the lid of the powder broke in my bag and about a third was spilt all over my schoolbooks and homework. From then on, it was relegated to my (imaginary) dressing table. Each time I used it thereafter, a little more (or a lot more) would crumble away, and finally one day I swear it up and commited suicide by falling the foot or so in height between my table and the floor, immediately shattering into a million billion tiny pieces and making a hideous mess in the carpet. Why me?

I really liked the No7 mascara, and as soon as I run out of my current ones, I will probably pick up another tube of this. The brush is the plastic kind that I favour, and the formula is great and isn't too wet (which I abhor). It does define well and doesn't take long to apply in the mornings. Thumbs up from me.

The moisturiser was so review is linked. It's not as moisturising as I'd like, but that's my fault for not buying the dry skin one instead.

^All since used up.

The body souffle was just alright. Nothing remarkable. The foundation is good, if a little orange toned on me. For a mineral foundation, the coverage isn't bad when applied with the right brush.

MUA Pro 'Extreme Volume' Mascara - dupe for Elizabeth Arden's Natural Volume Mascara?

You know when a product gets so many things right, yet so many things wrong?

This is one of those products.


Before I launch into my review, firstly I am very sorry about not blogging recently - between school and work and everything, I really haven't had enough time :( I want GCSEs back!

Right, so from a totally objective point of view, the design of this mascara makes it look more expensive than it is. The huge, chunky black tube brings back memories of Elizabeth Arden's Natural Volume Mascara, though it's less weighty than its high end counterpart. Again, the brush is similar - chunky, unwieldy, hard to use and really messy (for me at least). The formula is wet. Very wet. Those that are fans of multiple coats may like that - I, pioneer of the 'wave it in the general direction of your eyes and go' technique, am not. It ruins my eyeshadow and gets all underneath my bottom eyelashes, ironically, just like the far more expensive but equally annoying Natural Volume mascara.

Does it supply volume to my lashes? I find this hard to judge, as the mascara is so hard to use anywhere near the base of my lashes that it's impossible to judge simply from application to the middle and the tips. It doesn't have much of a lengthening effect, but does make them blacker and thicker. Not by an incredible amount, but you can tell the difference.

This would have ended up being a 'so so' review if not for a serious incident on Saturday. If you've been reading long enough to remember this, my chief complaint with the Elizabeth Arden mascara:

The final, unforgiveable act of this mascara is that it left me weeping and broken on the floor of my bedroom. No lies. I was applying it and somehow managed to get it in my eye (who knows how? I don't) and within seconds I was a sobbing, mascara covered mess. Oh God, the burn. THE BURN. It hurts so much. It was like napalm in the eye. NAPALM, I TELL THEE.
How history repeats itself.
On Saturday, I was happily lifeguarding, wearing a couple of coats of the MUA Pro 'Extreme Volume' mascara for the first time. Up on the flume towers, happily watching ten year olds scream like they were at Thorpe Park while riding the tamest water slide to ever exist...when suddenly, disaster struck. Some combination of the moist, chlorine tinged air and the heat must have led to some of the mascara entering my eye, and I felt the most hideous, burning pain one could imagine in beauty terms. Worse than having your favourite lipstick being ground into the carpet by an unruly three year old niece or nephew. Worse than your pressed powder breaking inside your bag and spreading all over your homework due in for next period. WORSE THAN NAPALM IN THE EYE

Weeping, sobbing and getting looks from concerned customers, I bravely tried to fight it out for all of three minutes before breaking down and waving blindly at a collegue to cover me for five minutes so I could hose the offending substance out of my eye. After that experience, no. Just no.

Sleek True Colour Lisptick in 'Mystic' Review

Needless to say, I prefer this colour to 'Barely There' (although having said that, I have found a way to make it work in a way that does actually suit me).

The lipstick is fuschia, but the lip swatch makes it lean slightly more pink than it actually is. Easy to apply, pretty moisturising, and a truly matte lipstick that leaves a stain. Staying power on this is really good. I can (and have) made it through to lunchtime at school having only partially reapplied once, and it doesn't feel heavy on the lips or drag excessively during application.

My one gripe would have to be with the size of Sleek lipsticks in general. They just seem rather small, for four quid? I don't know, I'm just used to recieving more product, personally. I do like the packaging, which doesn't roll away if you set it on a flat surface. The rubberised finish reminds me of a brand like NARS, but does pick up miniscule scratches if you leave it knocking around in a bag or a drawer like myself.


I know you've seen these pictures before, sorry :P There's not enough daylight to take new ones! 


Aren't you all sick of my lips by now? (I hope not, because Pout Paint swatches are coming up...)


Want to see something really scary?

OK, so this year I planned out a proper Hallowe'en post and everything. Did the nails, took the photographs etc. well in advance. After a long day at school on the 31st (I was a little bit excited though, as we never have school on Hallowe'en. I decided to take a 'quick nap' and went to bed at like 5 pm, fully intending to be up in time to post this at a suitably witchy hour.

I woke up at half eleven, ladies and gentlemen. Half eleven. Missed all the trick-or-treaters and everything :( Highly depressed, I set about doing all my homework and didn't get a chance to post this until it was too late and Hallowe'en had been and gone. I still think these photos are too potentially shocking to miss, though.


Orange polish.
With black nail stamping.
Then black crackle polish.
Then PINK crackle polish.





I was. Looked like my nails were decaying, to be honest with you.



If you're a real daredevil, here's a bonus of WINTER FEET.



Hoping all the brave souls that battled their way to the end of this post had a more enjoyable Hallowe'en than myself?

Kiko 259

I'm going to be honest, I just didn't like this one.


It was sheer and not particularly easy to build up - you're looking at three/four coats here, and it doesn't really feel opaque - and the formula wasn't great. It was more runny than the other Kiko polishes I've tried and didn't dry as quickly, so I smudged it on a couple of nails as well. In the end, I just felt like covering it with glitter, so that's exactly what I did.

So much nicer this way. The glitter, by the way, is Funky Fingers.

You can see a little of the unadulterated colour on the ring finger. I wasn't keen on it anyway, to be honest. I guess this Kiko will stay in the franken box.

I guess we all get dud polishes sometimes? *tries not to cry*

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