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Friday, 13 February 2015

Look at me lashes: Urban Decay Subversion and Perversion


Everyone has gone monochrome crazy at the moment and Urban Decay is extending the trend to our lashes with their new mascara and primer duo! This is one of Urban Decay's recent releases and being a big fan of their Super-curl Mascara I just had to try this one out too! The products are sold separately, so you can purchase the 'Subversion' mascara primer on it's own to use with other mascaras but as the names and the marketing suggest, the two work best as a pair! Here's how I got on with them...


SUBVERSION LASH PRIMER - £15.50


Remember those days of double ended mascaras? The ones with the clumpy white mess that claimed to build extra long lashes only to leave your lashes heavy and stuck together? Well luckily for us Urban Decay has changed the game. New in for 2015 is the Subversion and Perversion lash duo, an elegant grown up version of those old magazine freebies - that actually works. And of course, it's cruelty free!
The Subversion lash primer is a creamy, conditioning formula that claims to give you 'thicker, longer, stronger' lashes.  Does it work? Yes! So far I have only used the Subversion primer with the Perversion mascara however it can also be used under other mascaras.The primer coats your lashes from root to tip creating a smooth and conditioned base for your mascara to grab on to. I really like this product, it stops the perversion mascara from smudging or running and the creamy formula means I can coat up my lashes again and again to add gorgeous length and volume to my lashes, before I've even applied my mascara! What's even better is that the primer contains vitamin E, so you don't have to feel guilty about layering it onto your lashes - it's good for them!
The brush is pretty massive so with one coat you get a lot of product on to your lashes. It's also a bristle brush, now in my mascaras I prefer a rubber or plastic wand however the bristle brush works well with this primer. It feels gentle and the large bristles are perfect for adding volume. Also, I have to say one of the best points about this lash primer for me is that it works beautifully on your lower lashes. I don't usually wear mascara on my lower lashes during the day-time but popping this primer on them before a night out works wonders. It really lengthens and adds definition so that when you apply the mascara you can definitely see a difference. Big thumbs up!
I'd be interested to hear if anyone has tried this primer with another mascara and how it performs, comment below if you have! For now, read on to hear about the Perversion mascara or scroll down to see before and after photos ... 


PERVERSION MASCARA - £17.50


Urban Decay's mascara promises a lot of things! It claims to give you 'bigger, blacker, badder lashes', in fact, UD describes their new formula as the 'most intense black colour imagineable' - and to top it all off they claim it will 'NEVER get brittle or clumpy' no matter how many times you re-apply or even if you've been wearing the mascara all day. Well this all sounds so wonderful, the question is does it live up to it's promises?
So, intense black colour? Yes... this mascara is black. I cannot argue with that, it's a lot darker than some other mascaras I use. No black/brown nonsense here, this mascara definitely stands out and I'm pretty thrilled with it colour-wise.
Brittle? Nope... true to it's word this mascara simply does not dry hard, brittle or flaky. And, once again true to it's word, you can apply and re-apply this mascara throughout the day; you won't be dragging your brush in vain through the dried out brittle mascara you applied three/four hours ago either, it really does maintain it's creamy smooth consistency. Re-applying is a joy! If you're in a rush and with no time to take off and re-do your mascara before going out, this stuff is amazing, just shove three more coats on and it looks freshly applied. The product doesn't stay wet it just stays flexible, creamy and smooth. I am really impressed with this aspect of the mascara (you can probably tell).
Never clumpy? Ah the non-clumping mascara promise, well I'm a firm believer that non-clumpy lashes are all down to good application and the right tools. If I apply this mascara in a rush, sure there's the possibility of clumpy, stuck together lashes. If I take my time and apply my mascara meticulously then I'm pretty satisfied that I can achieve a nice non-clumpy fanned out lash effect. However, I will say that I'm not a massive fan of the brush of this mascara. I am a rubber wand/brush convert and I really struggle to get on with large bristle brushes. I simply find that plastic or rubber mascara brushes are so much more effective at separating the lashes. SO thumbs down from me for the bristle brush. It is by no means awful though, in fact this is actually the first bristle brush in a while that I haven't absolutely hated. Application is generally good, I just sometimes find myself going over my lashes with a plastic wand just to make sure!
Another point I must raise is that personally I don't like the performance of this mascara without it's Subversion primer twin. I wore it for a day without the primer just to test and when I got home there was the dreaded mascara marks beneath my eyes where my mascara had run/smudged. WITH the primer however, this isn't a problem - it really does improve both the application and the wear of the mascara! 
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Overall, this mascara is a winner for me in terms of it's intense colour and amazing amazing creamy consistency that lasts all day. It does have to be worn with it's primer however or I find it's performance lacking a little, therefore this makes it one very expensive mascara to wear day to day and if you're rushed in the mornings applying the primer is a bit of a hassle! However it's absolutely perfect for going out in the evenings as you can build it up as much as you like without your lashes going brittle or dry and it does create a gorgeous super intense black look. I think I might stick with my Super-curl mascara for day wear, but to create super long, black lashes for the evening I really do love this duo! Check out the before and after photos below to see the duo in action...



RESULTS



PRODUCTS USED:
Subversion Lash Primer by Urban Decay
Perversion Mascara by Urban Decay
Perfect Brow Pencil by Anastasia Beverly Hills - click here to see my review of Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Products.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

My week with Liz Earle: Naturally Active Skincare Range


This January I was lucky enough to be sent these gorgeous Leaping Bunny certified skincare products by Liz Earle. My friend had recently purchased the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and was loving it, so I couldn't wait to try these out! I received the Superskin Moisturiser, the Instant Boost Skin Tonic and the Cleanse & Polish Cleanser along with two of Liz Earle's cotton muslin cloths. I've been using these products routinely for about a week now and so this post is a little summing up of how I've found them so far...

CLEANSE & POLISH HOT CLOTH CLEANSER - 100ml Starter Kit £15.50




The multi-award winning Cleanse & Polish has, from what I can tell of people raving about it online, become a bit of a cult item. Winner of 100 awards, you heard me correctly, I was expecting big things from this product and it hasn't disappointed. Don't get too excited, it's not a miracle product, it is after all only a cleanser but as cleansers go it is really very good
The Cleanse & Polish is a two phase system. Phase one, the cleanse: apply one or two pumps of the cleanser on to a dry face face and the rich and creamy formula will work to swiftly remove all traces of dirt and make up. Phase two, the polish: next, polish off the cream using a pure muslin cloth soaked in hand-hot water to dislodge dead skin cells and reveal clean, soft and radiant skin. 
True to it's word, I have had no problems removing all of my make up with this cleanser as I do with others. The combination of hot water and muslin cloth feels a lot nicer and more effective than simply wiping the cream off with a dry tissue or cotton pad and the cream feels very gentle and smells wonderful. The cream itself is quite a thick and smooth consistency and not abrasive at all; the exfoliating action comes purely from the muslin cloth which in this two stage cleansing routine is as important as the actual cleanser. You can purchase a pack of two of the Liz Earle muslin cloths for £4.50 and the great thing is they can be washed and re-used a fair few times! (I also like using a muslin cloth because it just sounds so bourgeois and 18th century; I can imagine I'm in an Austen novel!)
 Overall, I really like this cleanser. In the past I've been reluctant to spend a lot on a product that you simply wash or wipe off but my experience with this cleanser might have just changed that view! 

INSTANT BOOST SKIN TONIC - 200ml bottle £14.50


The Instant Boost Skin Tonic toner recommended to be used in conjunction with the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish and Superskin mosituriser and so that is exactly what I've been doing. Usually I'm just too lazy or impatient to bother with a toner but adding in that second step between cleansing and moisturising actually makes my morning and evening skincare routine a lot nicer! After cleansing and drying my face, I wipe a splash of this toner all over my skin using a cotton pad. The floral scent is absolutely gorgeous and very relaxing at bedtime. The light liquid feels refreshing after the heavy cream of the cleanser and doesn't leave the skin feeling dry at all. It takes a few seconds to absorb fully into my skin and then it feels wonderfully plumped, tight and beautifully prepped for applying my moisturiser; after using this toner I've also found that my moisturiser absorbs into my skin a lot better. With Aloe Vera, cucumber and Vitamin E I also feel like I'm really treating my skin every time I apply this, what's more it's very very gentle and would be perfect for sensitive skins.
I'm also a big fan of the bottle. Instead of a conventional lid or cap the bottle has a clever twist and open mechanism, where the lid twists up to reveal a small hole. This means there is no danger of spilling or losing too much of the product when pouring onto a cotton pad and it's also pretty neat. Another nice touch is that this product is also available, for the same price, in a spray form. I would be interested to try this as I imagine it would be even more refreshing to spritz a light mist after cleansing and even on-the-go.


SUPERSKINTM MOISTURISER WITH NATURAL NEROLI - 50ml jar £39.00




Last but not least, I've been luxuriously applying this Superskin Moisturiser every morning and night after my toner. This little pot is packed full of lovely things including pomegranate flower extract, cranberry seed and rosehip oils plus antioxidants and healthy Omega-3. The star of the show, however, is the natural neroli which has a floral and really uplifting smell to it.
The product is recommended for mature or very dry skin, which is perfect for me as the cold weather has really dried out my skin and I've been looking for ways to look after it. It's a thick creamy formula thats non greasy and feels like silk on your skin. It takes a little while to completely absorb and I've found it doesn't sit as well under my make-up as I'd like it to. However using it at bedtime is lovely, it smells like a dream and I can go to bed knowing I'll wake up to soft, plumped up and bright looking skin.
As always with Liz Earle the packaging is beautiful and stylish and looks lovely on a dressing table or bathroom cabinet but I do feel that £39 is a little on the expensive side for me. With my everyday moisturiser not usually costing me more than £10 and as a student I don't think this product is an everyday option for me just yet. But as a treat every other night-time it's been really heavenly to use. 




Overall, I think these products are a real godsend for your skin. They are all gentle, smell lovely and work together beautifully to leave you with soft, clean and bright looking skin. I will miss these when they run out and I would definitely purchase the Cleanse & Polish and the Instant Boost Skin Tonic again. I find the moisturiser a little too expensive for me so I would be interested to try their (slightly) more affordable Skin Repair Moisturiser for £20.25! I must mention that Liz Earle, as a brand, I'm really impressed with. Looking on their site they offer more combinations, packages and sets of products at a discounted price than any other brand I know. It's a really unique and neat selling point, I think if you're a regular user of Liz Earle products this must be a really fantastic bonus and also means their products are perfect for giving as gifts. (Valentines day is coming up so have a look!) Which also reminds me to mention that the products I received came individually and beautifully wrapped which was a really nice touch (see photos above)! 

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As always, let me know what you think by commenting below; if you've tried any Liz Earle products, what you thought of them, any you would particularly recommend - I love to hear from everyone :)!!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

All about those brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil and Gel ...



Let’s all take a moment and appreciate these beautiful products from Anastasia Beverly Hills. Okay, so I caved. I’ve had my eye on the Anastasia brow line for a while now purely because of the hype surrounding them and my own obsession with creating the perfect brow. Of the five items in my basket I had to whittle it down to just two and after much umming and ahhing I plumped for the Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil in Dark Brown and the Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Brunette.

ANASTASIA PERFECT BROW PENCIL - £18


Ouch. For someone that has probably never paid over £6 for an eyebrow pencil before, the price was – and in all honesty still is – a bit too steep for me. There’s no denying that it is an excellent product with a very impressive range of shades to suit everyone, however I’m not sure it warrants a nearly £20 price tag. Let’s all hope together that one day it’s lowered to a more reasonable £15 at least. Right, moaning out of the way on to the positives!
Anastasia Beverly Hills description of its pencil reads:  ‘Best of both worlds. Applies like a pencil, sets like a powder for perfectly natural brows’.  This appealed to me because I haven’t ever used any brow products apart from pencils and wasn’t sure I wanted to experiment with powders just yet so this pencil ended up being a perfect compromise. The pencil is long, looks beautiful and comes with a spoolie (brow groomer) attached; a really nice and very useful touch. Also, not shown in the photo both ends have lids which is perfect for keeping the nib and spoolie clean and free from dirt!
Colour wise, I opted for 'Dark Brown' as that is the shade I usually go for in both The Body Shop brow pencils and the Beauty Without Cruelty eye pencils. The Anastasia 'Dark Brown' is I would say marginally darker than both these pencils although enough to be obvious to me. Next time I think I'll try the shade lighter as I prefer a warmer tone and this one is quite a cool brunette. 
 Nonetheless I really love the performance of this pencil. It has had to grow on me however, for at first I was a little bit annoyed as I couldn't really tell the difference between this (very expensive) pencil and my normal products. After playing around with it however I am quite pleased and the difference performance wise is significant. It creates a very natural looking brow as it's a lot easier to create light feathery and hair like strokes with this than it is with the more waxy pencils I usually use. I think this might be due to the powdery consistency. The spoolie is an excellent tool and allows you to drag the colour through the brow coating each hair as you go whilst the bristles ensure all the hairs are separated avoiding that solid painted-on look that can happen with some pencils. Unfortunately one downside to this pencil would be that I don't feel it's wear is very good, I've noticed that it smudges even when paired with the brow gel so unfortunately it has to be re-applied once or twice throughout the day. (This may be because I have run out of my Urban Decay make up setting spray however so once I stock up again I will report back and see how it performs with the spray)
One more thing to note would be that Anastasia Beverly Hills is a US company and so sadly you can't buy directly from their site. On the plus side however both Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty have a fantastic range of the Anastasia products and if you sign up to the Cult Beauty newsletter you get free shipping on your first order! All in all, I am a big fan of this pencil and it's definitely the favourite brow pencil I have ever used. The only downsides for me are the price and also the difficulty in working out which shade to buy online, I am a little disappointed in the colour of this one but with the right shade I think I would have no complaints!

ANASTASIA TINTED BROW GEL £15.50


Forget your clear brow gels, Anastasia Soare has changed the game with this tinted variety. It comes in seven natural shades: Auburn, Blonde, Brunette, Caramel, Chocolate, Espresso and Granite and is priced at £15.50. Again, quite pricey but once again I am a fan of this product. It keeps your brow hairs tamed and in place all day and the formula is not sticky at all. It does dry hard so if you put a little too much on your brows might feel a little stiff but at least they're not going anywhere!
On to the coloured aspect of the gel, this brow gel claims to be able to change the colour of your brows. So theoretically if you're blonde and wanted a darker look to your brows you could use the Brunette or Chocolate shades and hey presto, tinted brows. Having naturally dark brows I'm not able to test this out but I did plump for a shade lighter than my own, choosing Brunette a warmer brown than my own brows which are probably more suited to the Chocolate or Espresso shades. I wanted to experiment with the 'ombre' brow trend. I already sort of do this with my brows as I prefer having a darker tail and arch and a lighter inner corner, however the tinted gel allowed me to experiment with a gradient of colour, too. 
Below is a photo of the outcome of using both products together. So I'm wearing the brow pencil in 'Dark Brown' and have applied the tinted brow gel in 'Brunette' over the top! (Sorry for the poor quality it was evening, I will try and take a better one in natural daylight soon.) The mascara I'm wearing in the photo is the Perversion and Subversion Mascara/Primer duo by Urban Decay and I will be posting a review of this soon!

Overall, I really do love these brow products and they're of an undeniably good quality. However, I do find them a little pricey and I am somewhat disappointed with the lasting performance of the pencil. As the products themselves apply so nicely however, I think I will be tempted to buy again. Next time I think I'll experiment with their famous 'Dip Brow' - as that looks like it might provide a longer lasting finish! 

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As always thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the post! If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences with cruelty free brow products please comment below I love to hear from everyone :)!