Sunday, 30 June 2013

Summer Lovin' Fragrance Edition: 'Nude' by Rihanna


Welcome back beauty seekers!
It's been a bit of a random time blogging-wise for me for the last week. I had planned to schedule posts for the week during my downtime following a minor surgical procedure to remove that nasty cyst that has been plaguing my face for so long, however, the surgery resulted in a MONSTROUS headache that kept me away from my computer screen until now. I hate being away from my blog for more than a couple of days! Thought I'd get things rolling along again with another edition of 'Summer Lovin', only this time it's something very different. I don't really do fragrance reviews as I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm talking about but I've been pleasantly surprised by this offering from the Queen of Pop, Rihanna....


'Nude' by Rihanna 30ml* RRP £19.50
I'll be honest here and say that, if this had not been gifted to me at a recent Press Day, I would have avoided it like the plague. I am really not one for celebrity fragrances as I normally find them to be on the sickly side and the packaging a little juvenile in nature. I'll also admit that I am certainly not a fan of Rihanna or her music. She seems to be putting her name to a lot of things lately, not very many of which I've been drawn to, BUT.... I really like this fragrance and have found myself reaching for it a lot recently as a versatile day-to-night Summer scent. My ULTIMATE Summer fragrance has always been Diesel 'Fuel for Life' and this hasn't knocked it off it's pedestal, but it's definite competition!

The fragrance is described as 'Sweet, Floral and Fruity' (and I've Googled this because my nose is useless) and does indeed list fruity notes of Guava, Mandarin and Pear. I think it is the inclusion of Sandalwood, Musk and Vanilla that have won me over and kept it neutral and without being majorly sweet. Sandalwood and Vanilla is an ultimate scent combination for me (as my scented candle collection will attest) and, true to form, my nose fell for it straight away. Nude also brings a floral twist of Jasmin, Gardenia and Orange Blossom to the mix, making it a much more grown up fragrance than those other sickly celebrity fragrances. Guess it goes to show that you shouldn't judge a perfume by the name on it.


I was also impressed with this packaging wise. Once you remove the obligatory sleeve of Rihanna in her bra and shove it firmly in the bin (bleurgh) you are left with a very neutral and feminine-looking bottle which looks very pleasing on one's vanity. I particularly like the silver detailing around the base of the cap shown in the above photo. It just adds a lovely touch.

You can buy this fragrance in 30, 50 and 100ml sizes and it's available from most of the major names in perfume retail. The Perfume Shop online currently have the 50ml on offer at £29.50 with a free bag (Link) which seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Are you sold on celebrity fragrances?? Do you have a particular scent for Summer?? Do you like floral and fruity or do you prefer exotic and spicy??
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Friday, 21 June 2013

BeneFit Stay Flawless 15hr Primer: Review


Morning beauty-seekers!!
Last week I posted about the exciting new release by BeneFit cosmetics in the form of Stay Flawless 15hr Primer* with a 'Makeup Magnet' to hold your face in place all day long. I've been playing around with it ever since and I'm back today to share my review with you all! For more information on this product, check out my original post HERE. Today is all about whether it does what it says on the stick....


The product comes in a twist-up stick form and has a slight tint to it, although this doesn't really translate on the skin (at least not on me). As instructed by the lovely Lisa P-D, I apply it direct from the stick in circular motions to kick-start the makeup magnet and apply my foundation over the top using a brush. After applying the primer I found that my skin felt quite tacky which I'm assuming is to adhere the foundation on top of it (kinda like a makeup Pritt-Stick, only more fabulous). For the sake of this post I used the BeneFit Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW Foundation in shade Champagne* which I received to compliment the product, but I have also tried it with my Bourjois Healthy Mix and NARS Sheer Glow. Applying the foundation was easy, but I did experience a little 'drag' due to the tacky layer underneath. This isn't a criticism but something I did take note of.


This photo is after having had my makeup on all afternoon (approximately 6hrs). I'm also wearing a dusting of powder and blusher here. I've road tested it for a couple of shifts behind the bar at work as well in the last week. I found it to be on the dewy side, which I quite like for myself but oilier girlies may want to powder it on occasion as my nose did still get a bit shiny towards the end of the day. The weather has felt rather close this week so I'm not sure how much is down to the product and how much can be blamed on the sweat-factor. My skin didn't feel overly oily. It's also worth mentioning that I haven't tried it with a mattifying foundation (as I don't currently own one). I guess the finish of a primer is only as good as the foundation you put on top of it. BeneFit describe the finish of Stay Flawless as a 'Natural' finish.

What I will say is that my foundation definitely did last longer and my skin appeared more radiant. I don't think this will be my go-to mattifying primer (I've got my PoreFessional for that) but I can see it being a godsend for day-to-night timesaving purposes and for minimising the need to touch up. It definitely lives up to its claim of making my makeup last longer and that's the main thing. BIG thumbs up from me on that score! From my experience I would recommend the primer to anyone with dryer, normal or combination skin but urge my oily ladies to keep a powder handy (depending on what foundation you're wearing and the finish you're after).

So those are my thoughts on the new Stay Flawless 15hr Primer. I think I'm going to get a review up on the Oxygen WOW foundation very soon as well as I've been enjoying using it. You can purchase this product and find more information on BeneFit's new release over at benefitcosmetics.co.uk. The product will be available on counters from 29th June.

How do you Stay Flawless all day?? Will you be giving this product a try?? Do you rate BeneFit primers??
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Thursday, 20 June 2013

DIY Instant FaceLift with Crystal Clear Skincare


Hello my lovelies!
I'm not (entirely) scared to admit to you all that my 20s are firmly behind me. I'm quite lucky to have always had pretty good skin and I don't think I look too bad for a 30yr old. However, since I encountered the big 3-0 head on I've been taking much more notice of my skin and what products I use. On the whole I'm quite happy but there are areas that I've felt needed more attention, in particular where firming and lifting is concerned. I was contacted a little while ago about taking part in some blogger trials of a new 'Lift Away the Years' system by anti-age specialists Crystal Clear Skincare and I'm doing this post today to tell you a little bit about the products I'm using and how they work. 


Crystal Clear 'Lift Away the Years' Wand* and Intense Anti-Aging Serum*
These products came as a pair and were developed by Crystal Clear to provide an easy, quick at-home alternative to a salon facial. As a working mum herself, MD Sharon Hilditch understands that few women can neither afford or fit in constant trips to the Spa for their skin firming treatments and was passionate about developing a solution they could do themselves in minutes as part of their own skincare routine. She believes that using these products can produce great results and give a healthier, firmer and glowing complexion.

The System Claims to... 

  • Help firm and tone lax skin
  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Target problem areas
  • Instant results
  • Quick, convenient and effective


The system works by filling the head of the vibrating wand with a small amount of the product and applying it systematically to the skin via the rollerball in a series of circular motions. Sharon insists that the full face can be finished in 2mins! The vibrating motions are intended to stimulate the nerves under the skin and pop it back up into place.


I'm only just getting started with this system and it's taken a bit of trial and error to make sure I'm doing it right but I can't wait to let you know how I'm getting on with it and share any results with you! 

More information on the 'Lift Away the Years' system, along with a pretty neat video showing the product in use is available here at crystalclear.co,uk. The system retails for £59.99 which probably sounds a little steep but, I suppose, that's the same price as one, maybe two, salon treatments as opposed to having one every day in the comfort of your own home. I figure it's worth a good go!!

What are your anti-aging solutions?? Would you take an at-home system over pricy Salon/Spa treatments??
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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Summer Lippy Lovin': A.K.A Lustrous Shine in Harlot


Welcome back beauty seekers!
While it is true that I have my preferred brands when it comes to lippy, I must also admit that I love discovering and trying new brands When I was contacted about the possibility of trying out a few products by online cosmetics brand A.K.A (who are completely new to me) of course I said yes! A.K.A are a UK brand, founded in 2011, bringing you cosmetics of the best possible quality, all made here in the UK, with a diverse range for a bit of whatever you fancy, from a bold, wild night out to natural, everyday makeup at affordable prices to order online. I received a small selection of their key products (more of which will follow soon) but today I'd like to show you this BELTER of a lippy that I've been playing with.


A.K.A Lustrous Shine Lipstick* £7.50
This lipstick comes in a slim applicator for precision application and claims a rich, pigmented and moisturising formula that gives great coverage and longevity. Harlot is an eye-popping, bold raspberry pink shade that is perfect for Summer parties or nights out. I found this lipstick to give great coverage which needed little building up and the slim applicator is really effective to give a precise application. The one grumble I have with this lipstick (and it isn't about the lipstick itself) is that the bullet does not twist up and down very well. It takes a while to twist up and then completely fails to retract and I have to push it down with my finger. This may have just been my lipstick though, I'm not sure if it's a common problem.


The lipstick itself is a pleasure to wear. It has a high shine finish and feels very comfortable on the lips. The colour really is stunning too. One tip I would suggest is giving it a good blot after applying, as a fair bit did end up on my teeth. Longevity-wise, as a bright shade, it stood up well. Even after the lipstick starts to wear off (which, for me was at around the 2.5-3hr mark due to it being a bright shade) it still leaves a lovely stain on the lips. The shade itself is not one I would go for for everyday wear but it's a great, fun shade for summer. There are a few shades in the range so I'm sure there's something for everyone.

All in all I do really like this lippy. It's just a shame that the packaging, for me, was a bit of a fail. Again, this might not be a recurring problem and I probably just got a duff one. I will definitely be back very soon with my thought on the other products I received which include nail polishes, lipgloss and a lovely, neutral eyeshadow duo. 

If you want to nosey through all the lipstick shades available as well as the other products on offer from A.K.A you can find their website at
www.akacosmetics.com

What new makeup brands have you discovered lately?? Do you go for bold summer lippy?? Have you tried any of A.K.A's products yet??
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Thursday, 13 June 2013

My Top 3: Cleansers


Good evening beauty seekers!
Trying to keep on top of my blog after a couple of mental weeks which kept me away temporarily. This is my second post of the week and i wanted to talk about skincare. I've got a couple of skincare posts coming up very soon as I have been trying out some new products, but today I want to tell you about a couple of the cleansing products I keep going back to again and again and that I really do rate. I have a fair few cleansers in my stash but these three products (in no particular order) are definitely the ones I rely on the most, and all for different reasons. I don't always tend to use the same product every day, nor do I have the same routine for morning and night and tend to use these products to complement each other or by what I feel my skin needs most.


Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser*
This is my go to product if my combination skin is feeling particularly oily or in need of a purge. I received this as a duo with the Elemis Lavender Toner and together they really help to balance out my skin if I'm feeling particularly shiny. Usually if I use this I will use it in the morning before I put on my makeup or as a double cleanse after using my DHC Oil Cleanser (more on that to follow). You only need one or two small pumps to do a whole face (look how much I have left!!) so I find it great value for money too. I love the scent of this product and it never fails to make my skin feel fresh and completely clean as well as smooth and shine-free. 


Loreal Skin Perfection: 3in1 Purifying Micellar Solution 
I was so late to the party with micellar waters, it's not even funny. I've never even been within spitting distance of a bottle of Bioderma. In fact, I only have this due to an emergency purchase whilst away at uni after forgetting to bring a cleanser with me. I spotted this in Superdrug on offer at £2.99 and decided to see what all the fuss was about. I really like this product. It's just really quick and convenient to use and very handy when I'm having a really lazy day, short of time or haven't worn any makeup and just need  a refresh. I do a 'wax-on, wax-off' with this using a couple of large cotton pads. It does come out of the bottle VERY quickly which I find a bit wasteful and I don't find it to be the most effective against heavy eye makeup but those are my only grumbles. I find it extremely effective for what I want to use it for. This is the one I take with me when I travel as it's so convenient and quick. I also like that it is easy to and inexpensive to pick up on the go if I ever run out.


DHC Deep Cleansing Oil*
I was so sceptical of this product when I got it home from a recent event, but it has completely won me over. This is the most amazing product for removing makeup and makes my skin feel so clean and soft. The softness comes from the olive oil and vitamin E extracts in the cleanser. I use this when I want to thoroughly cleanse after wearing a full face of makeup (by full face I mean like after a night out where I've really gone to town on my eyes and lips). Like the Elemis cleanser I only need one or two pumps which I rub over my face with my hands before splashing it with water to produce a milky cleanser which i can then massage into my face and wipe off with a damp cloth. I usually follow this with the Elemis Lime Blossom so that I know that everything has come off. It's well worth a try on any skin type.

So those are my current go-to cleansing products. I have other cleansers that I also like to use, although not as regularly as any of the above. Most notably the Una Brennan Neuroli Firming cleanser and also, more recently, the PerriconeMD Nutritive Cleanser which I have yet to try because I'm scared of it running out and me not being able to afford to repurchase it haha.

What are your essential cleansing products??


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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

NEW Stay Flawless 15hr Primer by BeneFit


Good evening beauty seekers!
Exciting new products to tell you about tonight!! We all know that BeneFit are a heavyweight name when it comes to primers and flawless base products. Well, they've got a new product on the block to be released on 29th June in the form of Stay Flawless PRO-Long primer stick with a 'Makeup Magnet' to seal your foundation in place for up to 15hrs! We all know the one where you put your makeup on at the beginning of the day but, by the time you've arrived at work it's already starting to look lacklustre.... Well, BeneFit claim to have that problem NAILED!

I went along to The Ice Bar last night with a few other lovely blogging friends to hear Lisa Potter-Dixon and her flawless team talk about their exciting new release and to learn more about how to make your makeup stay all day. As well as having a BLAST drinking Pina Coladas out of a block of ICE and playing with loads of upcoming releases from the brand, I was given the primer to take away and road test for myself as well as their amazing Oxygen WOW foundation (I was colour matched and given the shade 'Champagne' for anyone curious) and a lovely, soft foundation brush to create a perfect base that won't budge.


A Few Facts About Stay Flawless...
94% of testers said it made their foundation last longer
97% found it improved their complexion
94% felt that it improved the coverage of their foundation
and 97% said it enhanced the performance of their foundation
Those are some pretty Flawless statistics!!

You apply the primer directly from the stick in circular motions to activate the Makeup Magnet and then apply your favourite foundation directly over the top of the product. Lisa said that you should be able to 'feel' it working, which intrigued me! Judging by the performance of the other BeneFit primers I have tried (PoreFessional and That Gal were both a hit with me, for different reasons) I have really high hoped for this product. When I quizzed the lovely Joanne, she said that this product is not intended to replace any of their existing primers. Porefessional is specifically targeted as a mattifier and pore minimiser while That Gal is for those who want a brighter, more radiant finish. Stay Flawless has been developed for longevity.


I'm really looking forward to road testing this and will have a review up on this blog for you before the week is out. I'm going to try it with a few of my favourite foundations as well as Oxygen WOW (which I have been desperate to try out for ages) and have a proper play. If it can survive a shift behind the bar at the pub I will be a seriously happy bunny!!

Stay Flawless will be released on the 29th June 2013 and will be available from BeneFit Boutiques, Counters and Concessions nationwide as well as online at benefitcosmetics.co.uk

Do you rate BeneFit Primers?? What are your secrets to a long lasting base?? What Primers can't you live without??
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Thursday, 6 June 2013

MAC All About Orange Purchases!


Okaaaay so I was only just chatting about MAC Morange lipstick a couple of posts ago.... BUT, in my defence, as a lover of orange and peachy tones I could not let the new MAC All About Orange collection pass me by. I haven't got excited about any MAC stuff in a fair while and I ordered myself a couple of bits from this collection last week as a special treat for handing in my last University assignment. I was very restrained and did not order a lot from the gorgeous selection on offer, but I managed to get the two items I wanted before anything started to sell out. 


'Royal Sunset' is a powder blush in a satin finish, described by MAC as a 'soft, cool peach'. It's unlike any other shade I currently own and leans much more pink than any of my other peachy blushers. I do think it's warmer in tone than they'd have you believe though. I'm a warm toned lady and I love the glow this gives on me. I'd imagine that this blush could work for most skintones though. Its pink enough for the paler/cooler ladies with enough of an orange hue to keep the warmer girlies happy.
 

Sweet and Sour is a Cremesheen finish and is described as a 'soft peach cream' with a warm undertone. I knew I would adore this shade because I LOVE my Shy Girl which, I'd say, is a sheerer. more muted version of this lipstick. As with Royal Sunset, it is just that little bit more pink than any of my other peach lipsticks (such as Sleek Peaches and Cream which is heavily orange based). I also favour a Cremesheen finish and can probably say that it is my favourite of the MAC finishes. This HAD to be ordered. 


I love love love how gorgeous these shades look with a bit of a tan (fake, of course, for now). On me, peach shades just seem to make my face glow. I've also got newly blonder hair and I just think these products make it look so summery and it's a look I'm happy to wear now that the sunshine is out in force! Royal Sunset doesn't have any major shimmer to it, which I like, as this means I can either wear it natural and toned down, or add a sweep of Lightscapade or Illamasqua Gleam for a more radiant peach flush. Sweet and Sour is a seriously creamy lipstick shade and is just so pretty.


I went a bit heavy on the blush for this photo just so that I could get it to show up properly for the photos. But only by a little. How you see it in this photo is how it would appear with a little lighter hand in the flesh. For the sake of this post I'm wearing the lipstick on its own here, but I would be interested to experiment with different liners for it. I can imagine it working with pink, orange or nude toned lip pencils. Sweet and Sour really does give a lovely colour with a creamy texture which lasted around 3.5hrs on me before I felt the need to reapply.

Sweet and Sour is flagging up as out of stock currently on the UK MAC site, but it's only just hitting MAC stores and counters so I imagine there are still plenty out there to be had. Royal Sunset is still available though and you can browse the full collection here at maccosmetics.co.uk. I was seriously tempted by Razzledazzler lipstick as well but I have to be careful with my pennies as a student. I'm so glad I snapped up the items I did though. I'm all set for summer now!!

Did you go for the All About Orange collection?? What items did you pick up?? What items are on your wishlist?? Do you go potty for peach in the Summer months??
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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Maybelline Color Show Polkadot Nail Polish


Oh HAAAAAAI!!! Boy, did I miss you lot!! 
London Beauty Banter has been AWOL for the past fortnight. As some of you will be aware I've been doing a Foundation Degree for the last two years and my final deadlines all fell in the last week so I really needed to take some time out to concentrate my foggy lil brain on getting everything done and handed in. Well it's all DONE now and my course is finished, so I have all Summer to blog to my heart's content with no guilt. HURRAH! So I thought I'd get the ball rolling with a little swatchy post about some new Polkadot nail polishes I picked up in Superdrug recently by Maybelline. 


I'm sure you've all seen (and probably rushed out to buy) the Loreal Confetti Topcoat. I, for one, absolutely did and it's a product I really really love. When I stumbled across these Maybelline polishes I was a little dubious to be honest. I thought that the jelly nature of the polish would be way too wishy washy and sheer and that I would end up having to do a base colour every time and, therefore, how was that going to be any different to the Confetti topcoat that I already owned?? In short, I thought it would basically turn out to be the same product. Well, my curiosity for the better of me and I'm pleasantly surprised!


What you see here is two coats of each of the shades. I haven't had chance to try Shooting Stars (the blue shade) on my nails yet but I've had a play with Speckled Pink and it turns out that two coats provides ample opacity. The nature of the polishes reminds me of the 'jelly sandwich' effect (where you apply a layer of glitter polish in between layers of a plain jelly shade) only without the hassle of layering it. The coloured polish is just enough to surround the confetti particles and give the effect of them being suspended in the polish. So it is NOT the same as merely applying a confetti topcoat on top of any old polish (like I was expecting). It's subtly different and I actually like it! Shooting Stars reminds me of a Galaxy effect whilst Speckled Pink kinda looks like pink camo to me.

I only picked up these two shades as most were sold out by the time I came across them in the Superdrug 3for2. I think I picked up the last two bottles in the shop. I am vaguely aware that they also do a green shade as well as a clear version. Jelly polishes are great fun for Summer wear and I think the confetti in these ones just adds a little extra something. 

You can get your paws on these polishes from all the usual Maybelline Stockists. I paid £2.99 each for these (although I suspect this may have been an introductory offer). 

Which new nail products are your favourite?? Do you have a favourite Spring/Summer Nail Trend?? What did you think of these polishes?? Love em or Leave em??
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