31 January 2012

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Collection

I have quite thick hair but it lacks volume at the roots. I don't style my hair with heat and have tried plenty of the volumising products on the market, in my search for a quick fix. They've been pretty hit and miss so I was feeling a little jaded when I was sent these products from the John Frieda Luxurious Volume Collection. But I rather like them, as it turns out, and I’d be interested in trying further products from the range.

The thickening shampoo is a good size in a handy-for-the-shower squeezy tube. It’s clear with a nice, light scent and I like the texture and the way it lathers, leaving my hair feeling really clean. As to its volumising properties, the jury’s out but as a shampoo, I give it a thumbs up. I’d like to test it out with the conditioner from the range and I’ll be picking that up the next time I spot it.

I’m also rather fond of the Anytime Refresher spray. It works the same as others I’ve tried but it feels a little lighter in my hair and doesn’t leave as much white residue to be worked in. I like the smell and the smaller size means it’s handy to chuck in my handbag and to refresh throughout the day. All of this means that in my book it’s worth paying the few bob more for this stuff than my regular Batiste. All products in the range are €6.19, with the exception of serums at €6.89.

These are decent products that won’t break the bank and if you have fine hair, they may work even better for you. They’re available from supermarkets and chemists nationwide.

Have you tried these and what did you think? Do you have any recommendations for creating volume at the roots?

30 January 2012

Soap and Glory Trick and Treatment Dark Circle Corrector: Review and Pictures

I took a quick look at the Soap and Glory makeup range here and promised I'd be back with my views on the products. Today I'm taking a look at Trick and Treatment Dark Circle Corrector, (€11.69).

Like Arch de Triumph and Marvelips, Trick and Treatment has actually been kicking about for a number of years but has been repackaged and incorporated into the new cosmetics line. 

The product contains a yellow pigment to neutralise dark circles, and also promises to attack the root of dark circles over time. Dark circles are genetic and they run in my family, so anything that promises to brighten and treat is guaranteed to pique my interest. 

While it looks like a flat beige colour in the tube, when sheered out the product is a goldish/yellow toned liquid that has a subtle metallic sheen/shimmer to it - the effect of the 'soft-focusing spheres' that are intended to minimise fine lines. The formula is interesting - it feels like any other liquid concealer product (a smidgeon thicker in consistency than, for example, YSL's touche eclat), but once dotted on and blended my skin sorts of drinks it up, like it's a much thinner formulation. I like this effect,  it means that the product doesn't sit on the surface, doesn't settle into any wrinkles and never looks cakey. 

I'm not sure the colour would work on very pale skin, but mine is fairly sallow and the product suits me. It wouldn't replace my regular undereye concealer - it's more of a brightening corrector and I find it works best as an additional step in my morning routine. Used this way it does help to minimise my dark circles. It reminds me a bit of the Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener but represents better value for money as it's a bit cheaper and you get a lot more in the tube. 

I don't think this is necessarily an everyday essential, but it's a nice product to have on hand for when you need a little extra help faking a full 8 hours. 

You can pick up Trick and Treatment from your local Boots, priced at €11.69.

29 January 2012

Fluffy little giveaway: Paese Cosmetics [Now Closed]

I realise that polish looks blue but it's actually a purple that didn't photograph well!

Paese Cosmetics recently launched in Ireland at the Southern Bride Wedding Show in Cork. They're only available here online for the moment, but the brand has more than 1500 shops throughout Poland offering a wide range of products at highly affordable prices.

I've been sent a few bits and pieces to try out and I look forward to playing about with them and sharing my thoughts. But two readers of Fluff and Fripperies can also get in on the action as I have these two little prizes to give away, to introduce you to the brand. 

How to enter:

1. To enter you must be following Fluff and Fripperies through Google Friend Connect (you can do this through a google, twitter or yahoo account – hit the Join this Site button under the Facebook gadget, in the sidebar to the right there). I’ll be checking! 

2. Like and share the post about this giveaway on the Fluff and Fripperies Facebook page 

3. Leave a comment to tell me which prize you would prefer, and an email address or twitter name where you can be reached if you win (if you don’t want to leave your email, just leave a comment and mail me on emma at fluffandfripperies dot com)

If you’re on Twitter it would be great if you could also tweet about this giveaway, but it’s not a condition of entry.

Good luck everyone!

This giveaway is open internationally. A winner will be selected at random and announced one week from today.

28 January 2012

Cosmetic Candy: New way to display pretty polish!

I've never baked a cake in my life, but I kinda think I might get round to it one of these days - if only to make use of this charming cake stand that himself's lovely mother gave me this Christmas. But until I get my bake on, I had a little brainwave and have used it to display these pretty Spring-like colours from my nail polish collection, the rest of which is living in my fridge. I hope that having them out in the open will encourage me to make use of them over the next few weeks.

Top tier:

Bottom tier:
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Cafe Au Lait
NYC Expert Last nail colour in Oh Soho Sweet
Chanel Le Vernis in Rose Satin

Would you put your favourite makeup out on display?

27 January 2012

Fluffy little pick of the week: L'Occitane Pure Shea Butter

This unassuming little pot of 100% pure shea butter from French cosmetics house L’Occitane fell into my lap like manna from heaven, during a particularly bad skin spell the other week. Thanks to an allergic reaction, my poor face had dried out and puffed up to epic proportions and become extremely sensitised, reacting badly to anything I tried to soothe it with. The brand had just sent me some samples from their new Shea Butter range – which launched nationwide last week - and this natural beauty balm was the only thing that worked to nourish and repair my skin without irritating it further. After two days of liberal use, including around the eye area, things had more or less returned to normal -- and my little pot was close to empty. This is a new essential for my toiletries bag and at just €8.95 for an 8ml tin I might pick up a couple, just so I don't run out...

L’Occitane’s new Shea Butter range also includes an Ultra Rich Face Cream (€36.95), Protective Cream with SPF 20 (€36.95) and Ultra Gentle Moisturiser (€31.95). It’s available from L’Occitane stores nationwide or from Arnotts, Dublin.

26 January 2012

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour: Review, Pictures and FOTD

I've never been a fan of the dewy foundation look. There, I said it. I prefer more of a matte finish, with a decent level of coverage, that's going to hang around all day. It's been kinda lonely in the matte camp over recent years, as all things sheer and glowy took the beauty industry by storm. Matte was almost a dirty word, in makeup circles, being associated with a heavy, caked on look when the trend was for ever decreasing levels of coverage. 

But happily, with makeup as with all things in this life, seasons change*. And thanks to some pretty cool scientific innovations, matte is back, and it's better than ever. 

Launching on February 1st, Lancôme's Teint Idole Ultra 24H benefits from the latest  scientific advances and more than 8 years of research to provide a coverage that sounds almost contradictory: high-coverage but natural? Matte but not drying? Longwearing, but comfortable and light? Weary as we are of cosmetic houses promising us the moon, is all this just too good to be true? 

Well, no actually. This foundation is really very, very good. I can't attest to the 24-hour claim but I've been testing this over the past two months and I feel very comfortable that it will stay in place for as long as it's needed. It has lasted throughout a full day of work, not budged through an after work party and stayed intact for a full day and night of shopping and lunching and cocktails and dancing. 

Taking pictures of myself is not my forte...any suggestions for how to improve?

It applies flawlessly and easily with either fingers or a brush, giving a matte, medium-to-full finish that evens out my skintone and covers up blemishes while still giving a natural, real-skin result. A little goes a very long way, and there is a wide range of shades available for all skintones -  Lancôme worked with the Women of Colour Association to make this their most complete global range. I was matched to (and given) shade #35 at the launch event, a neutral shade which suits my skintone perfectly.

Now, there are very good scientific reasons for why the product performs so well. These are to do with special polymers that are a different shape and structure and so can offer enduring long-wear and a comfortable finish. To be honest I don't fully understand all of that. But I certainly like the results.  

What do you think,  will you bat for matte or go with the glow?!

Teint Idole Ultra 24H (€35) is available from February 1st, at Lancôme counters nationwide.

* And now this (wonderful) song is totally stuck in my head.

25 January 2012

Brown Thomas Spring Fashion Show: In love with Spring 2012

The Brown Thomas Spring fashion show was delightful.  As an event it was fun and fresh and energetic ... and that's before I even get on to the clothes! Sophisticated, elegant collections previewed from Dries Van Noten, Celine, Peter Pilotto, Diane Von Furstenberg, Lanvin, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Acne, Alexander Wang and more.

There was a strong feminine sensibility running through the majority of the collections, and the dress reigned supreme. The key trends were monochrome, colour, quirky prints and the 1920s. 

My favourite collection was Victoria, Victoria Beckham which is new to Brown Thomas this season. I could just picture Fitzgerald's Daisy in those whimsical, drop-waist creations. Other new labels to look out for instore include Jay Ahr and Isabel Marant Etoile. 

Check out the video above for the lowdown on what to expect from the Spring collections; some of my (admittedly shaky!) catwalk photos are also below. Enjoy, and let me know what's taking your fancy!

Delicate details, quirky prints and feminine fabrics from Victoria, Victoria Beckham
Modern minimalism and sporty silhouettes from 3.1 Phillip Lim
 50s florals from Red Valentino
Stunning monochrome floor-sweepers from newcomers Jay Ahr
Stella's tailored prints, on and off the catwalk
Ladylike chic from Lanvin
More photos of the event, and the catwalk collections, can be found 

24 January 2012

First Look: Soap and Glory Cosmetics Range

I was like a kid in a candy shop when the cheeky, retro-inspired UK brand Soap and Glory sent me their look book and invited me to try some of the products from their new cosmetics range.

Despite wanting to try just about everything I limited myself  (somewhat!) to the following items that called to me the loudest:

  • Supercat liner
  • Thick and Fast mascara
  • Kick Ass Concealer
  • Super Colour Fabulipstick in Perfect Day
  • Show Good Face foundation and primer in A Nude Peach
  • Trick and Treatment dark circle concealer

As my beloved Bobbi Brown concealer is on its last legs, it's the Kick Ass concealer that I'm most eager to try. At about a third of the price, how will the Soap and Glory product measure up? That and the Supercat liner - I love me a felt tip pen liner, so I do -- and the Super Colour Fabulipstick, which has got to be the best name EVER for a lippie, right? It was also named The Daily Mail's best lipstick of 2011, and though we all know the tabloids never lie, sure what harm in checking it out for myself?

Reviews aplenty will be coming up soon but in the meantime, tell me, is any of this lot talking to you?

23 January 2012

Dior Garden Collection: 5 Couleurs Garden Pastels Palette, and Skinflash in Universal Light

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Christian Dior’s garden parties were the stuff of legends. The couturier hosted lavish gatherings in the rose gardens he planted in his family home, which he dubbed ‘The Grand Balls of the Century’. The house, in Granville, France, is now a museum, where you can browse three floors of haute couture as well as the gorgeous gardens that Dior cited as a major influence throughout his life and career.

But you don’t need to wait till your summer holliers to get a little taste of that glamour -- Dior’s Garden Party collection was released nationwide last week, inspired by the pastel greens, pinks and lilacs of 'the garden of fragrances' at Villa des Rhumbs.

The collection is exquisite – t’would do Mr. Dior proud. Featuring delicate, embossed powders for cheeks and eyes and glossy shades of lilac and pink for lips, the Garden Collection is a bumper crop of utter loveliness. Two gorgeous shades of Le Vernis nail polish round off the collection, in a shimmery green and a creamy mauve.

There’s a stunning collector’s item in the form of a hand-finished, ornamental clutch -- take a closer look over on beaut.ie -- as well as a limited edition version of the brand’s iconic 5 Couleurs palette, in four floral inspired colour ways. I was thrilled to be sent one in #441, Garden Pastels, which is described as “pink, buttercup yellow and luminous greens”. With its embossed roses it’s a thing of beauty, and affirms every good thing I’ve ever heard about these quints; the shadows are smooth and velvety, with great colour payoff. 

I wouldn’t wear the colours all together, but have been experimenting with one or two shades worn just on the lid – there’s too much shimmer for under the brow, I think. Luckily any actual glitter is confined to the pink and blue/green shade, making the palette more fresh and wearable.

I was also sent a new limited edition shade of Skinflash primer in Universal Light; at first I took this to be an illuminating concealer, but the pearlescent white shade revealed it would serve better as a highlighter. It gives a gorgeous gleam to the highest points of the face. 

What do you think, will you be joining the party? 

The Dior Garden Party collection is on counter now; prices range from €23 for the nail polish, €35 for the Skinflash, €55 for the 5 Couleurs palettes and €74 for the beautiful clutch.

21 January 2012

Miss Piggy for MAC

2012, the year of the dragon? Pshaw, any fool can tell you it's the year of the pig. But not just any old pig: Miss Piggy, the sexiest swine on the block, has been raking in the beauty contracts on the back of her latest movie -- Disney’s The Muppets is in cinemas here from February 10th. 

Not content with being part of two recent Muppets inspired collections, by The Balm and OPI, she's taking centre stage with this short but sweet limited-edition, online exclusive from MAC. 

The collection comprises just three pieces: Miss Piggy Pink eyeshadow, a blue-toned frosted pink (€15), Penultimate Eye Liner in true black (€19) and a set of falsies, 36 Lash (€12), that promise a dramatic but natural look. 

Moi? I'd like a closer look at that felt tip liner. But what about vous? 

Miss Piggy for MAC is available exclusively online from February.

20 January 2012

New! Next Generation of Clarins Extra Firming Skin Care

Clarins Extra Firming Day Cream is one of their best sellers, with 2 million jars of the stuff flying off the shelves each year -- that's one sold every 8 seconds. But rather than rest on their laurels, the French beauty powerhouse has been focused on improvements and this March, will relaunch the entire Extra Firming range.

The products -- the 4th generation since the initial launch in 1978 -- will contain 9 new active ingredients, including organic green banana extract, lotus flower and lemon thyme, discovered by Clarins botanists to act like a glue for the structure of the skin,  increasing its elasticity. The range is pitched at women in their late 30s to 40s -- the model in the ad is, believe it or not, 40 years young herself -- and promises increased firmness, brightening properties and prevention of dark spots.

The range includes a day cream, night cream and lotion with SPF 15, as well as a day and night cream for dry skin. They feel great on the skin, like a cross between a gel and a cream, and have a gorgeous floral scent.

But high performing products are only half the battle: equally important is knowing how to use them. And here's where Clarins are prepared to go the extra mile -- Clarins Skintime, a treatment demonstrating the application methods designed by the brand, is offered free of charge at every Clarins counter. It takes between 20 and 30 minutes and you'll not only be treated to a mini facial, but you'll learn how to recreate the experience in the privacy of your own bathroom. Good, eh?

Above you'll see a couple of tips I picked up at the launch, but make sure you call into your nearest Clarins counter to book a session of your own!

Clarins Extra Firming Day Wrinkle Lifting Cream is priced at €67 and the Extra Firming Night Rejuvenation Cream comes in at €71. The products will be on counter from March. 

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19 January 2012

Stargazer Creme Polish in number 506: minty fresh!

I was really impressed with my first Stargazer nailpolish and took note of a few other colours that had caught my eye, one of them being a shimmery purple. So imagine my delight when I spotted the same fella in a sale set in Warehouse, priced at just €7 for 3 bottles -- which included a lilac and this lovely minty number. 

They don't do names -- my only complaint -- so this is Stargazer's Creme Polish in number 5o6. It's fresh and springlike and I've wanted a mint creme for aaaaaaaaaages -- it was a big trend for spring and summer last year and looks set to continue, with brands like Dior and Lancome featuring a pale minty green polish in their spring collections this year. The formulation is good - it's not streaky or chalky like some pastels and it took just two coats.

As well as Warehouse, you can pick Stargazer up in New Look where, last time I checked, individual polishes are priced at €3.50. What colours are making you feel like spring might almost be sprung?

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18 January 2012

Bargain boots: designer dupes!

At the start of December, Fitzpatricks Shoes on Grafton Street celebrated its 50th birthday and, at their anniversary event, I fell for a pair of leather Hunter Culford boots. These tall boots are a little smarter than your average biker boot and therefore a bit more versatile. I didn't want to spend €300+ so it was a stroke of luck to spot their dupe in the form of these leather Magician Class boots from Clarks, which at about €140 were less than half the price of the Hunters.

This minor triumph coincided with the death of two favourite but ancient pairs of shoes and so, triggered a few more copycat purchases throughout December. Next up were these Aldo black leather wedges -- a dead ringer for the Prada Sport version but, at €100, about €500 cheaper. 

Next, I snapped up these fleece-lined, buckle-front boots from Penneys/Primark which are clearly influenced by the Burberry Prorsum boots, right down to the 5 inch heels and rubber platform. Yes, the Burberry ones are much nicer (and made from leather and shearling) but they also carry a price tag of €895 (on Net-a-Porter, where they're now sold out), compared to just €24!

Honestly, the ones on the right are 5-inchers too, you just can't see it thanks to my dodgy photography!

This last pair is my favourite and were a Christmas present from Mr Fluff (with help from the fabulous Rosemary MacCabe, who has them in three colours!). With their chunky stacked heel, almond shaped toe and zip tassel, these Buffalo boots (€165) are an obvious homage to the Acne version (about €370). Even the name pays tribute: the Acne boots are called Pistol, while the Buffalo's are named Bullet. These are the most amazingly versatile boot and so easy to wear.

Pic of Buffalo Bullet Boots from Buffalo Dublin Facebook page
If I had my very own money tree I would elect to be kitted out head-to-toe in designer originals at all times but, until I can convince it to grow, I'm delighted to get the look for less. What about you, are you partial to a good designer dupe?

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17 January 2012

Chanel Perfection Lumière Foundation: Review, Pictures and Swatches

I am loving the current wave of new-generation foundations. Using the snazziest technologies and most innovative formulas we can now expect to look better for longer, with easier application and often with added skincare benefits, to boot. They come at all price points: Clarins Everlasting Foundation (€29) provides lightweight, medium-to-full coverage for up to 15 hours; Lancome's Teint Idole Ultra 24H is out on February 1st priced at €35, and next month Avon introduce Ideal Flawless Foundation at €15.50.

And last week saw the launch of Perfection Lumière from Chanel. At €44 it's at the pricier end of the spectrum but for that, we're promised a longwearing, comfortable, semi-matte finish that delivers a luminous, flawless complexion -- for all skin types. Those are some pretty big claims.

Here's the thing though: it really delivers. Perfection Lumière is a lovely product that is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite foundations. It replaces the discontined Pro Lumière but is a very different type of animal indeed. I liked Pro -- I wore it on my wedding day -- but its dewy finish only lasted a few hours before sliding off my face. This stuff, though -- this stuff I absolutely adore.

I've tried it with my fingers and with a brush, and I love the results with both. It delivers a near flawless finish, but without looking or feeling at all heavy or unnatural. Coverage is medium and the finish is semi-matte, so there's a hint of glowiness here that keeps things looking very natural. It's got SPF 10, and it really does last all day. I can see this product appealing to pretty much anyone, and the good news is it's available in 16 shades, the biggest range offered by the brand to date. I was sent Beige 30 and it suits me to a tee: when I wear it, I feel prettier and more put together and really, isn't that what we're all looking for from our makeup?

What are your foundation favourites?

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16 January 2012

Sweet treats from YSL's CANDY FACE Spring 2012 collection

Pics and swatches of Voile de Blush in Voile Rose and Golden Gloss in Golden Violet

A collection inspired by crystallised violet, sugared rose, lemon drops, sorbets and peppermints? Yes, please! Yves Saint Laurent's Candy Face collection is as mouthwatering as it sounds, with juicy glazes for cheeks and lips and intensely bold, bright eyeshadow colours. 

I was sent a couple of pieces from this delectable collection to play about with: the Voile de Blush or jelly blush in No. 3, Voile Rose, and the golden gloss in No. 49, Golden Violet. (No. 50, Golden Peach, is also new for spring.)

The blush shade I have is the palest and sadly it doesn't show up on my face, but would be perfect for those with pale or fair skintones.  It also comes in red, lilac and coral shades and I'll certainly be purchasing one of these, as the texture is blimmin' gorgeous: a light, sheer,  water-based gel that melts into cheeks for a touch of barely-there colour.

Promotional shots of other items in the collection. From top left: Ombres 5 Lumiers no 13, nail polish duo,

As a big fan of YSL's golden glosses, Golden Violet didn't let me down. It's a vivid, blue-based fuchsia shade with shimmery golden particles, and that gorgeous signature YSL scent that's carried across all the brand's cosmetics.

The collection also includes two brightly-hued eyeshadow palettes (that's them pictured above), two new shades of Rouge Volupte Perle lipstick and four juicy shades of Volupte Sheer Candy baume gloss in red, purple, pink and tangerine. New nail polish duos in orange/pink and chocolate/mint round out the collection.

Candy Face is on counter now; prices range from €30 -€32 for the lip products, €38 for the blush and the nail polish duo, €55 for the Vinyl Candy palette and €57 for the 5-piece shadow palette. 

What do you think, do you like what you see, or are you sweet enough? 

14 January 2012

Could you be the most beautiful girl in the world?

Honestly, I do not know where Angelina Jolie finds the time to swan about buying waterfalls, making her directorial debut or refusing to let Brad make an honest woman of her when, as long suspected and indisputably proven by this month's US Marie Claire cover, she has a full-time job being the most extraordinarily beautiful woman in the world. Ever. Just look at those eyes! Those lips! And don’t even get me started on those cheekbones! She’s so exquisite that I’d find her fascinating even without the, y’know, blood drinking and knife fetish and snogging of blood relatives. Do we buy her complete metamorphosis into do-good-ing earth mother and humanitarian? I don’t know, I like to think there’s still something of the wild child -- ok, crazy lady -- in there somewhere…

13 January 2012

The Emjoi Micro Pedi is my fluffy little pick of the week!

Nope, that's not some convoluted razor you're looking at there, it's the Micro Pedi from Emjoi and my fluffy little pick of the week! I love this product -- my feckin' feet are the bane of my life. They're always killing me and I've spent a small fortune over the years on products and treatments to make them look and feel at least halfway presentable. I thought the Ped Egg would be the answer to all my prayers but I was disappointed: it's messy, hard work and barely scraped the surface of my poor old dried out hooves. So I could not have been happier to get my paws on the Micro Pedi, courtesy of Irish distributors Lifes2good.  

This nifty little device works wonders. Thanks to its electric rollers, dry calloused skin is quickly buffed off to leave feet feeling soft, supple and cared for.  The roller does all the work for you so, unlike the Ped Egg, it's quick and effortless. It's given me results similar to the salon callus heel peel treatment I tried recently, which is amazing for an at-home treatment. It's a brilliant product that really works.

The Micro Pedi costs €39.95 and is available from selected pharmacies and health stores nationwide, or directly from Lifes2good on 1890 25 24 31 or www.lifes2good.ie. Replacement rollers are also available at €14.95 per pack.

12 January 2012

Detox the easy way with LUSH Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask

Time for another super glamorous mug shot! As I type this I am slathered in this thick, yellow, herb-flecked mask from LUSH, which I've been using liberally about twice a week since I was sent it in mid December. I hate waste and as it's a fresh face mask I'm determined to use it all up within its 3 week lifespan, which is just coming to an end. These products are made from fresh active ingredients and contain no synthetic preservatives so you have to keep them in the fridge and use them before they go off. Years ago I forgot all about one of these to discover it months later at the back of my fridge. It had contained fresh bananas: let's just say it wasn't pretty.

But onto Brazened Honey! This is pretty much the business. Everything you need to combat whatever winter chucks at your skin, it's described as "a powerhouse of effective ingredients for all tired skins, exfoliating, detoxifying, stimulating and nourishing." It's packed with herbs, spices, fruit juices, ground almond and honey as well as purifying clay. Slather it on and your face tingles and feels slightly warm - so it might not be the best choice if you have sensitive skin. But my combination skin loves the stuff. I rub it into my skin a little as I'm washing it off and am left with smoother, clearer, brighter looking skin. Brilliant.

Fresh face masks from LUSH cost from €6.90 for 75g each. There's enough for about 8 generous applications to a tub. Once I use up my Christmas goodies and bring back the tubs, I'm looking forward to trying out more from the range -- if you bring back five clean containers, you get a free mask!

Which one should I check out next?

11 January 2012

MAC Impassioned Amplified Creme Lipstick: Review, Swatches and Pictures


Argh, I'm completely in two minds over this lipstick! On the one hand, I just adore the colour. MAC describe it as an 'amped up fuchsia' which is a bit misleading as it puts me in mind of a blue-based pink. To me, Impassioned is a super bright, orangey-toned, almost neon pink that is much brighter than it photographs. It instantly lights up my face and brightens up any look. And as it's quite a retro shade, it looks great with my favourite flicky eyeliner.

On the other hand, the formulation is quite drying. It's one of MAC's amplified creme finishes, which means it applies lovely and opaque with a slight shine but, on me, it starts to feel quite tight after about an hour's wear. And I don't like the way it fades; it stains unevenly, leaving my lips looking dry and patchy and generally unattractive. It has to be reapplied more frequently than I'd like.

With its gorgeous looks, I'm prepared to forgive it these flaws and I'll continue to wear it at weekends and at night (it's a bit too in-your-face for the 9 to 5). It was a Christmas present, so it would be rude not to, and it is very, very pretty (thanks mum!). The dryness is also eased by the fact that I'm currently using the best lip balm in the world.  But these lipsticks aren't cheap and for €17.50, I was expecting more.

Have you tried Impassioned and what did you think?

10 January 2012

Fashion Fix: Arnotts SS12 Preview

The 1920s trend is going nowhere fast. That was one of the messages I picked up at the Arnotts SS12 preview in December, where soft floaty fabrics, nude and metallic colour tones and pretty embellished details were the order of the day. I particularly liked the collections from Hoss Intropia, Anderson and Lauth and Gestuz (pics below), this latter also incorporating a strong rock n roll vibe with detailed denim and leather pieces. Easy coloured denim with simple tees refreshed tired winter eyes, with Nobody, Victoria Beckham Denim, Vivenne Westwood Anglomania for Lee, Hudson and Twenty8Twelve all impressing with their relaxed, laidback pieces.

Arnotts scarf salon and Sam Edelman handbag collection

The accessories were really strong with a colourful scarf display announcing the launch of the Arnotts scarf salon, including Echo scarves from New York and Codello from Europe. There were fabulous bags as far as the eye could see, with Coach set for continued success next season – the Arnotts concession has become the brand’s No 1 European store in recent months. New handbag launches will include See by Chloe, Z Spoke by Zac Posen and my own personal favourite, Sam Edelman, whose new handbag collection follows on from his successful footwear line. Prices will range from€130 to €325. 

Hoss Intropia

Anderson and Lauth (prices from €210 to €415)

Gestuz (prices approx €120 for denim, €170 for dresses and €325 for jackets)
Will you be sad to say goodbye to winter woollies or are you looking forward to spring's easy, breezy styles? Tell me in the comments!

09 January 2012

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream with SPF 30: Review, Pictures, Swatches and FOTD

Massive in Asia, BB (blemish balm) creams are one of the biggest beauty trends right now with everyone and their mother bringing out a variation for the European market. These products are a skincare/cosmetic hybrid and promise to protect, perfect and hydrate, all in one. 

Garnier were first out of the traps -- I tried a sample and quite liked it, but the yellowish tinge and heavy scent prevented me from picking up a full-sized tube for €14.99. Boots 17 were hot on their heels and beaut.ie broke the news that the Estee Lauder version (€40), not officially out until February, is previewing in Brown Thomas now.

Clinique's offering, Age Defense BB Cream, is launching mid February and price-wise, falls in between the products I've just mentioned. It will be €32 and, like the Boots, Garnier and Estee Lauder versions, is currently only available in two shades. Let's hope somebody, somewhere, is working on a more extended shade offering that will cater for those with darker skintones.

I was sent the cream for those with pink undertones, and on first viewing I thought it would be too pink and would look ashy on my skin. But once I'd blended it out it gave my face a radiant, dewy finish that didn't look unnaturally light. Coverage is equivalent to some light-coverage foundations I've tried -- it's sheer, but enough to cover redness and even out my skintone. Concealer is definitely required to cover blemishes, but powder feels unnecessary thanks to the product's oil-control formula. Because it's so sheer, it makes me want to use less makeup elsewhere, and I just fill in my brows and add some Creme de la Mer lipbalm, YSL mascara in Bronze Black and Bourjois blusher in Lilas D'or. The product can also be worn as a primer, which I've yet to try out.

So that's the cosmetic part but skincare wise, what does this product have to offer? First up, it has an impressively high SPF of 30 and carries the highest PA rating (Grade of UVA protection), of PA+++. It also contains antioxidants and Vitamin E to protect against the environment, and caffeine to sooth and calm the skin.

So far, I'm liking this a lot. I like the finish and the formulation and the fact that it's scent-free. While it's not one for bad skin days, it's perfect for days you want a light, natural finish. One of my beauty resolutions this year is to be better about sunblock and this product takes care of that for me without fussing with a foundation and separate sunscreen. And the added skincare benefits make me feel like I'm being very vigilant in taking care of my skin when actually, I'm making no additional effort at all. 

What do you think, will you be giving this a try? Have you used any other BB creams and what did you make of them?

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream will be available from Clinique counters nationwide from 17th February, priced at €32.

07 January 2012

New Le Vernis shades from Chanel: is January too early to talk about April, May and June?!?

These lovelies are the always-hotly-anticipated new season Le Vernis nail colours from Chanel. Part of the daybreak/twilight inspired Harmonie de Printemps collection that I talked about here, you’re looking at April (the garnet), May (the pink) and June, that very on-trend tangeriney/peachy colour (tangerine is the colour of the year, don’tcha know?).
June is limited edition, so if you spot it, be a darling and snap me up a bottle would ya?

The collection is available in Ireland from 27th January (when the polishes will be priced at €21.50 each) but you can be ahead of the game by shopping directly from Chanel.com, now.

06 January 2012

The Lip Balm from Creme de la Mer

I haven’t been this excited about trying a new product in a very, very long time. You are looking at The Lip Balm from Crème de la Mer, which is hands-down the most luxe lip balm in the whole wide world. It’s probably one of the priciest too, at €58 in Brown Thomas. But it’s La Mer! And it contains the brand’s patented nutrient-rich Miracle broth, packed with sea kelp, vitamins and minerals. I nearly wept with joy when I was sent it to try out, and approached application with all the reverence that this premium brand, so beloved by celebrities and beauty writers, deserves.
The first thing that strikes me is the packaging. That adorable ribbon! The distinctive green and pink colour scheme! And then the pot itself, with its pretty silver lid (the brand recently switched from a white plastic cap to something a little more glamorous) and wide, shallow dimensions, that make it easier to access the product without digging around and getting it trapped beneath your nails.
As with the legendary face cream, you’re advised to warm the balm between your fingers before patting it on, to release the key ingredients. It sort of melts into the lips and a little goes a very, very long way. It feels thick and nourishing and, if you pay close attention, tingles ever so slightly. It’s not greasy and it lasts much longer than other balms.
After the balm wears off my lips still feel smoother, more moisturised. They’ve been dry and flaky, and the bajillion other products I own just provide temporary relief. This stuff sorts out the flaking by the second day’s use. I’m impressed.
And the taste! It’s just like the peppermint creams I made last year -- but better.
I’m not going to attempt to justify the price. You will either want this or you won’t. Is it the best lip balm I’ve ever used? Yes, yes it is. Is it worth the almost-€60 pricetag? I’m not sure. But I do spend a lot of money on lip balm in a year, and this will last a very, very long time...oh, ok, maybe I am going to attempt to justify the price. Of course, if I lost it I’d be devastated (I’ve already dreamt about it -- it wasn’t pretty) but the biggest concern I have is this: is this wonderful lip balm a gateway drug to the rest of the range?!? At €125 for 30ml of moisturiser, that's not really a habit I want to be cultivating, now is it. Though that €65 concealer couldn't hurt, right? Right?!
What’s the most luxe piece of skincare you own? Tell me in the comments!