Friday, 27 February 2015

Essie Polish for only £2.49?!

Who would have thought that you can pick up Essie polishes at a cheaper price than Barry M?

Every couple of weeks I always check out my favourite discounted beauty website Fragrance Direct. It's my go to destination for nail varnish as they always have a great selection of high end polishes from OPI, ORLY, Essie, Ciate etc. at seriously discounted prices. Sometimes it can be hit and miss with the colour selection but every so often the site adds new stock and this week they currently have 37 Essie colours to choose from! And I'm not talking about the leftover colours that nobody ever wants in store either - I'm talking gorgeous pastel shades and even the iconic Fifth Avenue which I'm having serious regrets over for not adding it to my basket! 

Left to Right:  Muchi Muchi, Eternal Optimist, Warm & Toasty Turtle Neck
Left to Right: Parka Perfect, Take It Outside, Sew Psyched

I managed to resist buying all of the Essie polishes on Fragrance Direct and I ended up with 6 shades that will transition beautifully from winter into spring. I'm finding it almost impossible to pick a favourite - I love Muchi Muchi and Take It Outside for an elegant, neutral nail and Parka Perfect is definitely my kind of blue - not too dark or bright with a lovely hint of grey and green. I couldn't say no to Warm & Toasty Turtleneck when it had such an adorable name and Eternal Optimist surprised me by being such a subtle but beautiful rose shade. I love it so much I'm tempted to buy another as a back up as I can see myself reaching for this all year round! As for Sew Psyched, well it  isn't something I'd usually reach for but after seeing so many photos on Pinterest of khaki green nails I decided that ,for £2.49, I might as well try out the trend and I'm so excited to wear this!

I can't quite believe I picked up 6 Essie polishes for £14.94 when 1 polish usually retails for £7.99! I know I'm acting as an enabler here but I just had to share such a great deal with my readers! Fragrance Direct do charge £1.99 for shipping but it's free if you spend over £40 with the code FREEDEL40 (they also deliver to Europe, the US and other countries but shipping varies!) 

I've also just found this code VCJ438NPRYZ for 10% off but it expires on the 1st March 2015.

You can shop Essie here on Fragrance Direct. What are you waiting for? Go, go, go! 


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Perfect Eye Brightener | bareMinerals Stroke of Light

If there's one part of my face I've always struggled to cover with makeup it has to be my under-eye circles. For most of my teenage life I suffered from insomnia and I've only recently managed to fall asleep within an hour of putting my head on a pillow. Years of sleeplessness, alongside being a complete and utter night owl (I'm most productive at night!), has left me with some rather shocking under-eye circles that are not just dark but are rather sunken in appearance too. After trying so many different kinds of concealers, and even the YSL Touche Eclat many years ago, I've never managed to find a product that achieved that fresh, I've had 8 hours of sleep last night look. So, when bareMinerals' Stroke of Light* appeared on my doorstep I didn't have any high expectations for it. It had one mighty task ahead of it and my under eye circles were ready - after a series of 3 a.m. bedtimes they were never in a better - or shall I say worse - condition to put Stroke of Light to the test. 

Personally, I've found Stroke of Light to work best over the top of my concealer as opposed to wearing it alone but ladies with lighter, less dramatic circles could easily use this alone to add a little bit of coverage and brightness! The Eye Brightener is available in four different shades - Luminous 1 to 4 - and I currently own the lightest shade. Luminous 1 is a very pink, creamy brightener and I find it tackles the purple/blue toned darkness of my under-eye circles amazingly. Just look at the photograph below, can you see how the almost bruised, sunkenness of the left eye has disappeared?

Left: Collecton 2000 concealer and Stroke of Light  //  Right: Collection 2000 concealer in Fair only.
(Sorry for the slightly blurry photograph - this was the best of a bad bunch. I need to work on photographing my own face, I tend to go cross-eyed when I put a camera right in front of my eyes! Not an attractive look! Haha!) 

Most of the initial redness has been hidden by my Collection 2000 concealer (and we all know how amazing that is!) but even after I've applied concealer I always find that I still look quite tired. However, once I've applied Stroke of Light under my eyes my entire face appears to light up and I feel as though I've just gained 5 hours of sleep just by applying a light layer! The only thing I didn't quite manage to capture completely in my photograph is the product's ability to reflect light. Stroke of Light really manages to diffuse darkness without adding any undesired sparkle and it honestly looks even more effective in person.

The effectiveness of the product couldn't be much better in my opinion, but what about the application/longevity of the product I hear you ask? I use the doe foot applicator and dab a small amount on the inner corners of my eyes and a stroke across my under eye area. The product glides onto the skin and I use my finger to lightly blend it in. It has a very creamy, but sheer, texture and it feels almost silky when blended. This sheerness is perfect when applying Stroke of Light on top of concealer as it provides a little more coverage and a brightening effect without making the under eye area cakey and feel heavy. One thing I'm always cautious of is adding even more product under the eyes but Stroke of Light is almost weightless and pretty much unidentifiable on the skin. It just sinks into the skin and brightens the areas my concealer hasn't covered. Almost like magic! I usually set this very lightly with powder and voila! I look wide awake all day (even when I'm craving caffeine and trying not to fall asleep in lectures!) and after setting it lightly with powder I find it lasts at least 8 hours without any signs of creasing.

Stroke of Light also claims to, over time, reduce the appearance of fine lines under the eyes and so far I have seen a slight improvement! Even though the pesky lines may still be visible they have reduced a little (I used to have two prominent lines underneath each eye) so I can't wait to see what happens after using this product for a few months! 

After speaking to one of the lovely make-up artists at bareMinerals I also discovered that you can use Stroke of Light as a highlighter - applying it across the cheeks, down the nose and above the cupids bow! It's such a handy product to have in your bag and it's something I don't think I'm going to be able to live without. I'll be running to the counter to repurchase this the second it runs out!

Have you tried Stroke of Light before? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Review & Swatches | Stila In the Light Palette

Maybe I should just let the pictures do the talking on this one? Say hello to Stila's In the Light palette and my new obsession. The shade selection is what immediately caught my eye and swayed me into spending even more money on eyeshadow (but I'm so so glad I did!) The palette contains the perfect mixture of 6 shimmers and 4 matte shades that can be worn dry and wet. The swatches below are all taken dry but the shadows transform into even more pigmented and opaque shades when applied wet (applying the matte shades wet really improves their pigmentation and staying power!)

The eyeshadows themselves contain talc, an ingredient that initially concerned me as it can often make the shadows powdery or crumbly. The Stila shadows, however, feel rather creamy and leave a smooth, velvety finish on the lids. As for colour pay off, the shimmery shades are extremely pigmented and so beautiful. The shimmer shadows are quite soft, so you should use a gentle hand to apply and I find that Kitten and Bubbly appear almost metallic with their light-reflecting finish. I immediately found the matte shades to be less pigmented than the shimmers but the formulation of the shadows does help you build up colour nd blend easily. I also haven't noticed any fallout, even from the shimmery shades, which is something even the Urban Decay shimmer shadows do!

The selection of shades and finishes make this a truly versatile palette - there's really a shade for every kind of eyeshadow look. Overall, the palette contains more warm toned shadows but there are a few cooler shades mixed in. You can create an all matte look with the 4 shades Bare, Bliss, Sandstone and Ebony and there are endless amounts of day and night looks you can experiment with. I'm completely in love with Kitten, the most perfect champagne shade and I think it even rivals my favourite over the lid shade by Too Faced - 'Silk Teddy'. The beautiful blue shade Night's Sky was a colour I admired from afar but assumed I wouldn't really use it. However it completely surprised me by becoming one of my most reached for shades and I can't stop wearing it - even during the daytime!

Below are two of my favourite combinations so far:
~ Kitten all over the lid, Bare in the crease, Sunset as a transition colour and in the outer corner with Sandstone along the bottom lashes.
~ Kitten all over the lid with Night Sky in the crease and Ebony in the outer corner.

The palette also contains a Smudge Stick Waterproof Liner in Damsel, a very wearable dark brown shade. It glides on easily and smudges nicely but begins to set quite quickly - if you want a smudged effect I'd blend it out quickly. This staying power is due to the liner being waterproof which makes it perfect for the waterline and, as I often struggle with finding liners that stay put in the waterline, I was very impressed at how long the Smudge Stick lasted! The only annoying thing about the liner it comes in a retractable form without a sharpener so creating a sharp point is quite difficult if you were looking to create a fine line on the lid!

As for the packaging, my photos don't really show how beautiful the rose-gold palette is. It's pretty yet minimalistic and the lid contains a huge mirror underneath which is very handy! The only criticism I would have is that the palette is made of cardboard and, even though it's not bulky,I do worry about how well this will wear in my bag - although this was a concern of mine when I reviewed the Balm's Nude Tude palette and I've never had a problem so maybe cardboard is more sturdy than it initially appears!

Stila's In the Light palette retails for £25 which I think is a wonderful price - especially as it contains a Smudge Stick and the famous shade Kitten. You can purchase it online from Stila, Marks & SpencerFeel Unique and other various beauty stores (if you're a member of Birchbox it's available on their shop too - I used my points to purchase mine!)

Have you ever tried Stila's In the Light palette?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Scarlett Of Soho

One thing I always remember from my childhood is visiting the opticians with my mum and spending hours watching her try frames on. It wasn't all bad, I did get to play dress up too after all, but there was nothing more frustrating than my mum complaining after a month or two that she didn't like her glasses any more. And it happened every single time. When Rob contacted me about Scarlett of Soho, a subscription service for eyewear, I immediately thought of how perfect this service would be for my mum and anyone else who has the urge to switch up their eyewear every few months!

Scarlett of Soho offer an amazing free 'home try-ons' scheme where you select four of the gorgeous, vintage frames from their catalog and they are shipped directly to your door for free. The frames are yours for 7 days so you have plenty of time to find your favourite and discover which frames really compliment your style. As I don't currently need glasses myself (although I know one day I will end up needed them as my entire family have to wear glasses and one of my eyes in getting weaker uh oh), I ended up selecting two pairs of sunglasses alongside my chosen glasses frames.

Here are my very diva-esque selfies! 

The frames themselves are made from premium aged Italian acetate and, as well as looking chic and stylish, the quality is excellent. They appear to be sturdy and durable whilst feeling really light and comfortable on the face. I love each and every frame I picked out, even though at first glance I thought I really wouldn't suit the Hemingway, and I'm actually rather gutted I don't need to wear glasses! I think my favourite has to be Ive in Chestnut Horn or the Hemingway in Translucent Olive. I'd love to know which look is your favourite!

After you've picked your favourite pair, you simply have to seal the box with the stickers provided and pop the glasses into your nearest post box (return postage is prepaid!) Then, all you have to do is head over to the catalog and select your frames with your prescription lenses! Scarlett of Soho currently offer three subscription plans for you to choose from:

The Staple - £10 a month where you can change your frames once a year (2 pairs)
The Seasonal  - £15 a month where you can change your frames three times a year (4 pairs)
The Trendsetter - £25 a month where you can change your frames an unlimited amount of times a year!

If you're currently living in London (lucky you!) Scarlett of Soho actually have two events coming up in the next month where you can view the entire range of glasses and get to meet the people behind the brand! The information for the two events is listed below:

Location: Old Street/Shoreditch
Date: February 23rd - March 8th 2015
Old Street tube station pop up store - Stand: UNIT 2B
More Information here

Location: Islington, London
Date: March 18th-22nd 2015

I love the concept, flexibility and style of Scarlett of Soho and I just have to point out how adorable the packaging of the Home Try On kit is! Attention to the little details always makes me smile! I'd love to know what you all think about the service and, if you love any of the frames on the site, you can use my code: BEAUTYB2015 on the Scarlett of Soho website to receive a month's free subscription! 

* The Home Try On Kit is a free service but I have kindly been gifted my favourite pair from Rob at Scarlett of Soho.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Topshop Haul

Apart from the odd sale purchase and buying a new top for New Year's Eve, I haven't bought many pieces of clothing lately. I did, however, find myself in Topshop about two weeks ago - alone which is always dangerous when there's nobody to stop you from buying absolutely everything - and I picked up a skirt, a lace bralet and an embroidered blouse. I've been loving monochrome and experimenting with textures lately so when I spotted these three items I just couldn't leave the store without them!

P.S. - please excuse my terrible photography. It appears that clothes do not like to be photographed on flat surfaces - who knew? There was nobody around to take a photo of me actually wearing the items so this was the only alternative!

When I picked this up I wasn't aware that 'pelmet' apparently means a micro-mini skirt! Although this skirt is definitely quite short I wouldn't consider it to be any shorter than some of my other mini skirts so don't be too put off by the name. I've been wanting a white skirt for quite some time now - I just couldn't find the perfect one last summer - and I love this combination of the basketweave texture and the curved contrast panels. The skirt also features a thin slip underneath to avoid that see-through look and I adore the silhouette it creates. I purchased it to wear with the lace bralet below but I've even been wearing this during the day with tights, my Levi boots and a cute navy jumper! There's just something about white in winter I'm loving at the moment!

 Topshop Tall Deco Lace Bralet in Black - £25 (Only avaliable in white online!)

It was the lovely patterned lace detailing on this bralet that initially caught my eye and it was the neckline and delicate features that sold it too me. I've been a fan of the lace bralet for quite some time but I've never felt comfortable wearing the usual, plunging V-neckline. I love the straight neck on the bralet and how pretty the lace at the top and bottom of the bralet looks on the skin. For now I can only see myself wearing this in the evening but I can't wait for summer when I can pair it with a pleated chiffon skirt and some cute sandals. I adore how elegant and minimal the straps are and I might have to pick up the white version as well before it goes out of stock!

This embroidered, sheer blouse reminds me so much of Free People and I've always been a fan of the effortless bohemian look. I've wanted a floaty, lightweight blouse like this for years now and my photograph really doesn't show how pretty this top looks when it's on! The embroidered patterns are so lovely and even though it is quite sheer I usually just wear this with a nude or black bra. For now, I pair this with my Topshop Leigh jeans but I can't wait to team it with some shorts in the summer time (I guess I'm just really excited for the hot weather!)

Have you purchased anything from Topshop lately? 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Review | Revlon ColorStay Concealer

Revlon's ColourStay Concealer was probably my last beauty purchase of 2014 and I'm so glad that I picked such a good product to end the year with! After frantically searching and failing to find my usual Collection concealer on New Year's Eve I picked this up on a whim, expecting the product to produce fairly decent results as I've always had a good experience with Revlon. As a long time reader of beauty blogs it's very rare that I buy a product without doing any research beforehand but I actually enjoyed trying something out with no expectations whatsoever and finding such a gem to add to my collection. Lately, you might have spotted this product on a couple of beauty blogs as it has been receiving a fair bit of attention ever since Into the Gloss mentioned it in her Best Drugstore Concealer's post and Bonjour Luce likened it to the NARS Creamy Concealer (which is a product I've been dying to try for a while now).

The concealer is available in 5 shades which definitely cater for yellow, rather than pink, skin tones. I picked up the lightest shade - Fair - and found it to be a perfect match for my skin (I'm NC15 in Mac/ B20 in Chanel/ Fairly Light in bareMinerals). The product comes with a doe foot applicator and can be used on all areas of the face. I find the concealer is most effective on pigmentation or blemishes and as the coverage is medium-buildable  it can successfully cover the worst of my blemishes whilst blending seamlessly on the skin. It also contains salicylic acid so it will help heal the blemish whilst it's covering it up! Revlon's ColourStay concealer won't diminish the darkest of circles (I sometimes have to reach for my Collection concealer) but it works wonderfully under eyes that don't have 5am circles or in combination with an eye-brightener. I've also found its lightweight consistency to be much more pleasant under the eyes in comparison to the Collection concealer, which often gathers in creases, and it's practically undetectable on other areas of the face. As for staying power I find it lasts a good 8 hours and I've never had to top it up during the day when I set my face with powder.

The Revlon ColourStay concealer is £6.99 and can be purchased from Boots here.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Review | Benefit Rollerlash

Is there any girl - or at least any beauty blogger - that hasn't bought a copy of Elle this month just so they can try out Benefit's new mascara Roller Lash? I've seen so many posts popping up on Bloglovin' about this mascara so I thought I'd add my thoughts on Benefit's newest product.

Roller Lash takes inspiration from the 1960s and hair rollers and the full sized packaging found here is, like all of Benefit's packaging, really adorable. If there's one thing Benefit always get right it's packaging. That, and their marketing strategies which are totally on point - giving a free sample before the product has been released is genius! It no longer isolates smaller beauty bloggers and make-up lovers from getting involved with the hype that the bigger beauty bloggers create by receiving their full sized gift before release! A big round of applause to the people at Benefit HQ! The most exciting aspect of Roller Lash is the new Hook 'n' Roll brush which is said to grab, separate, lift and curl lashes. It's quite difficult to see in the photo above but the tiny hooks on the wand help curl and lift the lashes and Benefit claim that there's no longer any need for eyelash curlers when using this mascara!

After testing this mascara out for a couple of days I'm still on the fence about the product and a little underwhelmed. Roller Lash definitely does curl the lashes, and the curl lasts for a long time, whilst lengthening them just as wonderfully as They're Real but I find that after a few hours it begins to transfer and smudge just below the brow bone (I have this problem with They're Real too!) It also doesn't separate the lashes as much as I would like it to but maybe it's just not that kind of mascara.

I suppose the main selling point of the mascara is its ability to curl which it does really well! The hype around the product also built my expectations up so much I can't help but think how hard it must be for a product to live up to such claims! I do like the mascara, I just don't love it. The hefty £19.50 price tag puts me off buying the full sized product as I'm not the kind of girl to splash out on mascara and I usually save my pennies for foundation or skincare. I feel like the drug-store create so many amazing mascaras for less than half the price it would take something really special to sway me from my Maybelline Falsies. (And if you were wondering what that might be I'm currently obsessed with my free sample of MAC's False Lashes Extreme Black mascara, £19, which separates and lengthens lashes so wonderfully!)

What are your thoughts on Benefit's Roller Lash mascara?


Friday, 6 February 2015

January Favourites

Surprisingly, after an unpleasant start to the month - consisting of essay deadlines and exams *shudder* - January actually turned out to be much more enjoyable than I could have ever expected it to be! Along with eating out more times than I care to admit (and completely taking advantage of Yo! Sushi's January Blues offer), I finally bought my first ever iPhone and it hasn't left my side all month - who knew how easy communication could be when you have a functional, working phone?! On the blogging front, I was possibly the luckiest girl ever and I had the opportunity to work with my all-time favourite make-up brand bareMinerals. After spending a few hysterical days in utter disbelief  I actually managed to produce some content that is (hopefully) worth reading and you can check out my posts here and here (one more post is on the way!).

As far as beauty is concerned, I've spent the majority of January hardly straying from my everyday make-up look. I have, however, had a little bit of time to play with some beauty products I received for /picked up over Christmas and I've discovered a couple of things that have found a permanent place in my make-up bag this month!

Beauty Favourites
Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne 30ml - £40: I can't help but feel glamorous when I wear my Jo Malone perfume. I was kindly given this for my birthday in October but I've been wearing it so sparingly as I never want it to run out. The Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne has accompanied me on every dinner date or night out in January. I can't quite put my finger on what I love so much about this scent but I've had to restrain myself from using up the entire bottle this month.

MAC Ruby Woo - £15.50: As a lover of red lipstick how have I only just tried the famous Ruby Woo? My boyfriend actually bought me this for Christmas (a complete surprise - somebody must have really been listening when I natter on about makeup!) and it was my lip colour of choice for New Year's Eve. I love the matte finish and it's the perfect, classic red shade! It is a little bit drying but applying lip balm beforehand easily fixes the problem!

Stila In the Light Palette - £25: Oh my... I don't think I can explain how much I love this. I love it so much I've had dedicate an entire post to it which should be up sometime next week. Everything about this palette is perfect - the formulation, the mixture of shimmer and matte shades and the shade selection (especially Kitten and Night's Sky) couldn't be better. If you don't have this eyeshadow palette then you need to buy it no matter how many neutral palettes you own!

Soap & Glory Supercat - £6: I honestly just can't find a fault in this eyeliner. It doesn't budge all day, the felt tip applicator makes it so easy to achieve a thin or a thick line and the liner is super pigmented and it hasn't lost any colour/dried out at all and I've had this for just over two months now! I love the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner but for less than half the price I don't think anything can beat Supercat (it also has a really cute name and makes me think of cats in cute superhero costumes aww!)

Revlon ColourStay Concealer - £6.99: After picking this up on New Year's Eve in a frantic dash around Boots I can't believe how impressive this concealer is. I've written a post on this which is going up on Tuesday but this concealer matches my skin perfectly and covers so well whilst blending seamlessly into the skin!

Non-Beauty Favourites
Fashion: In January it's simply too cold for tights yet revision in the library calls for comfort that denim simply cannot offer. My solution? Meet Topshop's Leigh Jeans, which in all honestly don't feel like jeans at all! I have them in Black and a light Blue colour but I'm itching to get my hands on a Dark Vintage Blue pair.

Music: ♫ Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were  and all of Taylor Swift's 1989!

Random: My iPhone 5s and my cute Cath Kidston case!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Review | bareMinerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner in Forever Brandy

I've always been a long time lover of eyeliner and until recently I thought nothing could be better than super pigmented, black liquid liner. To me it was a look that could go with absolutely everything but recently, on days where I've been wearing a lighter, fresher make-up look, I've been feeling a little disappointed and unsatisfied every time I add my trusty liquid liner to my eyes. Maybe it's because I'm feeling inspired by the many 'no make-up' make-up looks that are dominating my Pinterest feed but liquid liner is just too harsh for my minimal make-up days. So, just as I was on the hunt for an alternative liner, bareMinerals kindly sent me their Lasting Line eyeliner in Forever Brandy to try out.

Forever Brandy is a beautiful brown/black shade with a hint of purple that really brings out the green in my eyes and adds a little warmth to the liner. The swatch above, and the colour of the liner itself, really doesn't reflect how pretty this liner is as the muted purple undertones only really appear when I add this to my eyes. It's beautifully subtle and the mixture of black, brown and purple is really flattering and helps me eyes to pop. The liner has the creamiest texture and it glides along the lids so smoothly, reminding me a lot of the Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof eyeliner but I find the bareMinerals Lasting Line eyeliner easier to smudge.

I prefer to create a light line across the top of my lids, smudging it in my lashes and creating a small, pointed finish to the line by using the angled smudge tip. The liner also looks lovely underneath the bottom lashes but I find it doesn't stay on my waterline very well although not many liners do and this is something I've always had trouble with even with the Stila liner! Maybe I have very watery eyes? Who knows? In every other form of application I find this eyeliner lasts all day: it doesn't smudge on my lids or under my bottom lashes and I don't have to worry about reapplication during the day.

The design of the product is something I'm a huge fan of, the liner itself feels light and smooth in my hand and the twist-up pencil makes blunt eyeliner a thing of the past. The smudge tip on the other end of the liner makes smoky eyes really easy and if you pop this out it reveals a little sharpener for times when you want a precise, fine line (and it's also really tiny and cute!) The liner contains 0.35g / 0.012 oz of product which, when I've looked at the rest of my eyeliners, seems to be standard eyeliner size and it retails for £14.

The bareMinerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliners come in a variety of colours that are all wearable and beautiful. As well as a black liner and a variety of brown liners they also have some really pretty coloured liners. I currently have my eye on Infinite Sage, a gorgeous Olive shade, and Nonstop Navy which contains tiny little pieces of glitter!

Have you tried the bareMinerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliners? Let me know your favourite eyeliner in the comments below!
© Beauty and the Brunette. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE BY pipdig. Edited by Beauty and the Brunette.