Friday, 25 January 2013

"You have lovely lip-lines" Ah, the compliments of MUA's

Since changing my hair colour recently, I decided that I'd go for a new lip colour to compliment my plum/purple hair.

Although it's no secret that Illamasqua is my favourite beauty brand, I know their lip shades inside-out and wanted to give another brand a chance (I had already been wearing Illamasqua Lipstick in 'Magnetism' up to now.)

My logic here was: "I've never tried a M.A.C lip colour, so I'll look there." Now you may be thinking: "How can any self-respecting beauty blogger not have tried a M.A.C lip product?" But I really do feel like I've pledged allegiance to Illamasqua as a brand, and therefore going elsewhere would make me feel like I had cheated on them. But I thought that, as a blogger, it's my duty to branch out and see what else is on offer.

Off in to M.A.C I went. It's always crazy busy in there, but I fought my way through to peruse the lip colours. I immediately picked out two shades that I wanted to try and caught the attention of one of the make-up artists.

I was choosing purely on a colour basis as this was the most important factor here for me (to compliment my new hair colour) but I discovered that the products I had chosen were not 'lipsticks' as such, but more of a highly-pigmented coloured balm.

The M.A.C girl began to apply the colour, as she was doing so she said: "You have lovely lip lines!" which made me laugh, inconvieniently so as she was trying to paint my lips at the time.

I had no idea what she meant by that, but I took it as a compliment nontheless. After trying both products, there was a clear favourite.

Sheen Supreme Lipstick in 'Zen Rose'
The M.A.C artist even said she had only noticed my hair colour after applying this shade as it really made it "pop" Result!
Me wearing the lip colour
I love my new lip colour, and the only semi-criticism I have is that, to achieve my "lovely lip line" I have to apply the colour with a lip brush, as the texture of the product makes it quite difficult to achieve a precise line and shape. It is very 'balmy' and moisturising, so building up the colour with a lip brush is essential, especially to ensure precision.
I later discovered that having "lovely lip-lines" makes the job of an MUA much easier, as apparently such a thing as 'double lip lines' exist on some people, forcing the MUA to choose which line to go for and follow that. You learn something new every day!


Do or dye? - My new venture into hair colourants

As someone who whole-heartedly believes in self-expression through appearance and presentation, I constantly try to think of new ways to create my own personal style. The easiest way to do this is by the choices you make when it comes to clothes, shoes, accessories etc. But every now and then the thought would drift in to my mind: "Should I dye my hair?"

The usual response to this question was: "I like the idea of it, but I wouldn't know what colour to go for." But one day, on a whim, I picked up a box of hair dye and thought: "Why not?"

I went for L'Oreal Casting Creme Gloss shade 316 'Plum'. It wouldn't be a dramatic change from my natural dark brown, but still noticeable.

So after much deliberating (the typical: "What if I don't like it? What if it doesn't look nice?" worries.) I went ahead with it, and was very pleased with the result!

(And in daylight...)

It does look quite a lot darker, and at first that took some getting used to, but now I love it and would definitely go for this shade again.

The formula is ammonia-free and has a very pleasant floral scent to it. I found that the conditioner included with the dye left my hair remarkably soft and super glossy.

I would recommend this colourant for anyone who is keen on trying a new shade but doesn't want a permanent change (Casting Creme Gloss lasts up to 28 washes)

Happy hair dyeing!


Illamasqua White Christmas Campaign - Selfridges Promotion

It's been a while since I've posted and Christmas is but a distant memory, however I feel that I should share the experience that I had on 8th December 2012.

It all started in November with a tweet from one of the girls who work for Illamasqua.

The tweet was calling out for two 'model-esque' girls who could ice skate to get in contact with her to be involved in an exciting event. (By this point in time I had only just taken up ice skating as a hobby and my skill level could be described as nothing more than 'novice' at best)

My curiosity about the 'exciting event' led me to bravely respond offering myself as one of the two participants.

I was then given more information about the event, it was a promotion for the Selfridges Illamasqua counter in the Trafford Centre, Manchester. I would be skating around in full costume and make-up, handing out candy canes and promoting the brand.

Of course I jumped at the chance of being involved, and decided that I had better start practicing my ice skating skills ASAP!

The day came, and it was met with nervous anticipation. All I knew was that they intended to re-create the imagery used in the Christmas campaign for the brand (see top of post) which had a strong emphasis on statement lip colour, set against a contrasting backdrop of either black or white.

The night before I had painted my nails with Illamasqua's glittery red nail varnish, 'Untold', in the hope that I would be chosen as the red/white girl as this was the most festive image in my opinion, and my personal favourite.

Arriving at the Selfridges Illamasqua counter, I met the lovely team and was told that today the make-up artist would be doing something a bit 'avant garde' with my makeover. I couldn't wait!

To my delight, I was chosen to be the red/white girl and the makeover began.

Selfridges was very busy on this particular Saturday afternoon and a lot of people were walking around the store. When they passed me being made-up at the Illamasqua counter, their eyes would stay fixed on me. There were plenty of double-takes occurring I can tell you that.

Judging from the reactions upon the sight of my face, this would really be something special, I was dying to take a look and see what all the fuss was about.

The finishing touches were applied (these included a very elaborate pair of diamanté encrusted false eyelashes and loose gems dotted around my face) I was almost ready to go on the ice rink.

My first look in the mirror made me gasp, I had never seen make-up done in this way before, it certainly was 'avant garde' compared to what I was used to.

I was then shown to the changing rooms to put on my costume. Almost an exact replica of the outfit worn by the model in the Christmas campaign imagery. A white top hat, suit jacket, bow tie, top and tights.

Safe to say that I got a few bemused looks wandering around Selfridges in this out-of-the-ordinary get-up. One woman even let out a surprised shriek as I walked by. I smiled, knowing that my striking appearance had stirred such a reaction.

The rest of the day passed by in quite a blur, I handed out all of the candy canes to the public and enjoyed seeing the different responses to my appearance.

When the time came to go home I was disappointed to have to hand back my costume and leave Selfridges, but at least I could still be a walking work of art for as long as I had my make-up on.

I left my make-up on all the way home, and even considered going out somewhere just to show it off even more, but the day had got the better of me and I was too tired. Regretfully I removed my make-up, eyelashes and gems, but still had the memories of a really fun and exciting day.

I thoroughly enjoyed being the face of Illamasqua for a day and well and truly 'standing out from the crowd' with my elaborate make-up and costume.

Individuality and self-expression are some of the things that Illamasqua strive to promote, and this is why they are my favourite beauty brand. During my day as an Illamasqua girl, I didn't shy away from the attention that my appearance received, instead I was content with the knowledge that no one else in the Trafford Centre that day looked like me, an achievement that I was very proud of.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Super Facialist by Una Brennan

"Feel like you have had an expert facial every day"

Stumbling upon this new range of skincare products I feel as though I have found a new cult brand.

Like most women, I find it quite difficult to pick out the right skincare products for me. There's just so many! So every now and then I like to try something new, that I like the look of/smell of and see how it goes. If you don't try you'll never know, right?

At first, what attracted me to the Super Facialist range was the simplistic, sophisticated packaging. It can't be denied that the way a product is presented influences the decision to buy it, perfumes are a prime example. So when I saw the white, clean boxes with a single rose petal on them, I knew these products were going in my basket.

I then flicked the cap open on the cleanser and tested the scent. Now, as many of us know, rose scented products can often remind us of our dear old grandmas. The rose scent reminds me of pretty vintage floral soaps and the Cath Kidston shop. But I have to say, that the Super Facialist products don't quite carry the same associations. The rose scented cleanser and day cream smell so fresh, and not at all overpowering. It is undeniably a very girly scent though, so I'd maybe go for the Tea Flower or Neroli products if you're buying for someone who hates pink... and roses.

Ok, getting home with my new products (Miracle Makeover Facial Oil, Calming Creamy Cleanser and the Radiance Day Cream SPF 15) I did some research about this Una Brennan lady and the Super Facialist brand. I found that Una Brennan is one of the most accomplished facialists and skincare experts in the UK, she has been giving facials for 17 years. Wow.

So by this point I was pretty excited to try out the products, I learnt that the Facial Oil is part of a 'double cleansing' routine where you apply it as a pre-cleanse treatment and remove it with a hot cloth before continuing to use your cleanser. The potent 'wonder-blend' of essential oils assists in eliminating impurities from the skin while encouraging cell regeneration.The oil smooths on like silk, is delicately scented and suitable for the most sensitive skin. I particularly enjoyed removing it with a hot cloth as my skin felt super soft and thoroughly cleansed.

The cleanser next, it has a slightly stronger scent but I think it adds to the feeling of freshness on your skin. This gloriously creamy cleanser is expertly formulated with Shea and Cocoa butters, renowned for their moisturisng effects, plus Pro Vitamin B5 to remove make up, debris and oils without drying the skin.

And finally, the Radiance Day Cream SPF 15. Usually I find that these kind of products can leave my skin greasy and therefore provides a oily base to apply my make up. But this Day Cream soaks in beautifully, leaving my skin soft, fresh and ready to apply make up (If I want to that is, sometimes the fresh feeling after cleansing and moisturising makes me want to stay bare-faced) This Day Cream provides deep hydration while helping to recharge the skin, keeping it looking firmer and more toned. Also, SPF 15 helps to prevent sun damage, making skin look more youthful for longer.

So not only are they the new wonder products, but they are all under £15You can buy the Super Facialist range in Boots stores across the UK and at

To find out more about Una Brennan and the Super Facialist range, visit

I hope you enjoy the products as much as I do!


Monday, 17 September 2012

Dita Von Teese for ArtDeco

Dita Von Teese, a modern style icon with her signature cat eyeliner and red lipstick, has finally launched her very own make-up range with German cosmetics brand ArtDeco.

It seems only natural that Dita, famed for her pristine look, should have her own range of make-up, a range that will give women the opportunity to look and feel as glamorous as the lady herself.

Dita is a strong believer in the power of transformation, and more specifically the power of make-up. In interviews she has stressed that she is more of a 'created' beauty than a natural one:

"The truth is that I'm quite an ordinary looking girl, I remember watching classic Hollywood films from the 40s and noticing that these glorious women were painted that way. Glamour is about creation, and any woman who desires it can learn to create it for herself as I have. I believe that make-up has the power to transform an ordinary woman into an extraordinary one."

The range, available exclusively at selected Debenhams stores in the UK (also online at consists of lipstick, nail lacquer, eyeliner and mascara amongst others, in classic colours. The collection comes beautifully presented with the phrase 'beauty is art' featured on the packaging, and a sophisticated vintage-style design.

So if you're a lover of old-Hollywood classic glamour, a Dita Von Teese fan or just a keen enthusiast of red lipstick, this collection is perfect for you. Creating that perfect cat-eye or that perfect pout should no longer be saved only for special occasions, as Dita herself would say: "Glamour above all things."


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

My DIY Manicure

As you may have read in my Summer Beauty Trends post, DIY nail art is a hot trend this summer. So I gave it a go myself last night, and this was the result...

Using clashing brights, I created this half and half design. 

(Clockwise from thumb: Barry M #136 Tangerine, Barry M #300 Acid Yellow, Illamasqua Jo'mina, Rimmel #825 Sky High, Barry M #309 Strawberry Ice Cream. Pink colour continous throughout: Illamasqua Obsess)

It may look difficult to achieve, but you won't believe how I did it...

Yep, that's right. Common household tape.

I simply used small pieces of tape to cover one area of the nail while I painted on the base colour, then removed the tape to paint the second clashing colour onto the rest of the nail. Using the tape in this way ensures clean, mess-free lines, a steady hand is not essential! Don't forget to finish with a clear top-coat to keep it glossy.

There are plenty of other ways to use tape to achieve different designs and effects, so why not give it a go?

Have fun!


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Palmer's new skincare range

Upon one of my routine shopping trips I came across Palmer's new range of skincare products.

I just had to try them out.

With soothing botanical extracts, proven anti-ageing ingredients and the highest quality cocoa butter, this new range promises a more even, radiant, and youthful complexion.

A mild fresh lily fragrance accompanies the Facial Scrub, Night Renewal Cream and the Line Smoothing Eye Cream. The gentle formula is suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin.

My two personal favourites are the Daily Cleansing Gel and the Line Smoothing Eye Cream. The Daily Cleansing Gel, leaves a soft fresh feeling on the skin for hours after first use, and the Line Smoothing Eye Cream glides on and leaves the skin around the eyes feeling smooth and hydrated all day long.

If you already love Palmer's cult Cocoa Butter beauty products then this range will be the perfect addition to your Cocoa Butter collection.

(l-r: Daily Cleansing Gel, £3.95, Exfoliating Facial Scrub, £5.95, Daily Facial Lotion, £5.95, Night Renewal Cream, £6.95, Line Smoothing Eye Cream, £6.95)