Thursday, 22 November 2012

Photo How-To part 2

MAC Moisture Cover Concealer NW25
Dot under eyes and blend with ring finger
Sleek Blush in Life's A Peach

Photo How-To

This is a photo tutorial showing you how I create a daytime look - VERY pic heavy so most of it is after the jump. Go easy on me as there is a totally bare-faced picture in here....

MAC Pro Longwear NW25

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sleek Curious iDivine Palette

 I bought this palette at "Cheveux" on Williamson Street in Liverpool. They sell discontinued and discounted Sleek products and I picked up this iDivine palette for only £4.88! It's a shimmer palette with a mixture of colours, darks and neutrals. It's really pretty and pigmented - I wasn't expecting much as Sleek palettes haven't always been such good quality. The finishes range from high shimmer to satin. There is a fair amount of fallout, even when swatching, but I'm going to let them off because it's the really soft texture of these shadows which I have the feeling is going to make them really really easy to blend. The colours are brilliant, and I am so excited to use that yellow! 
Hope you enjoy this and if you get a chance, do check out "Cheveux". They sell mostly Afro hair products but a small amount of cosmetics too, and all at very reasonable prices. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

FOTD: Sleek Respect iDivine Palette

This look was basically an excuse for me to test out the sampler of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation that I got the other day when I was in town. I also got a sample of their brand new Maestro foundation, but I think I might film using that because based on testing it out at the counter, I think it's going to be special!
Amazingly, my skin is absolutely awful today and I've managed to totally conceal it. I did this by first going over any red blemishes (there were quite a few) with Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Bedaub, a mint green which is great for cancelling out redness. I then went over this with the VERY pale Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation in 115. I don't know if this has always been too pale for me or if I have magically gone three shades darker, but this foundation (that I used to use a lot) was basically coming out white on me. However, I just wanted some extra coverage on my problem areas. After this I used the GA sample - which was very generous, I'll definitely get another few uses out of it - all over the face, dotting an extra layer on places I was worried about. It feels soft and pleasant on the skin and just melts in. It does seem to smell like emulsion paint, but given that my skin looks that THAT ^ I'll let it off.

Eyes are pretty fun today, using O'Jays and James Brown from the Respect palette. O'Jays was patted all over the lid and blended. I then ran James Brown through the crease and above nearing the browbone, blending a lot. To lighten the effect closer to the browbone I put a tiny amount of Urban Decay Half Baked on my blending brush as I blended it upwards, and dotted some of it into the inner corners of my eyes.

Lips are lots of balm (I'm dehydrated!) and a tiny amount of Chanel Rouge Allure in Lover, just enough to give my lips a little more pigment.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Accessorize Merged Eyeshadow - 9 Cosmic Rays

This was free in Superdrug's 3for2 on cosmetics deal, but normally priced at £3.95. It's a 'merged' eyeshadow which is probably slang for "a cheap rip-off of MAC Mineralize". It's called "Cosmic Rays" and is actually, against all odds, a really nice eyeshadow. Smooth and pigmented, but very glittery so beware of fallout. 

Close up for shimmery goodness!

Top swatch using mostly green
Bottom swatch using mostly gold

Sleek & PPQ Shangri-La Collection - iDivine Respect Palette

Here's some beautiful swatches for you guys: this palette is amazing. It's a brilliant mixture of darks, pale neutrals and red-oranges. Basically I have been eyeing this for quite a while because it combines my two loves: Motown and makeup. The shade names are right up my street and they're properly amusing. So this is a mostly picture post because I think this palette MOSTLY speaks for itself... with a couple of notable exceptions...
There's a nice mix of mattes and shimmers here,  seven mattes and five shimmers. I actually quite like that there's more mattes than shimmer as it will force me to experiment with them a little more! With five very soft neutral matte shades ranging from white to cream, taupe and soft beige-brown. The texture is gorgeous but these are a little sheer for my liking. I'm sure - if they're anything like the other Sleek shadows - they're pretty buildable though, so let's not worry!

The black, bright pink and dark aubergine matte shades are just perfect: gorgeous texture and highly pigmented. LOVE THESE. It's gonna be smoky eye central up in here, let me tell you that. I looked into Topshop today and everything was plum and gold, so I'm gonna do a lovely eye with this palette based on that mix of colours.

 The shimmers are like any Sleek shimmery shadow: PERFECT. I love them. I literally don't think there is a better drugstore formula eyeshadow out there, and at £7.99 for 12, you're not gonna get much cheaper. 
So, the shimmers. Well, aside from the fact it's named after Otis Redding, which guarantees me loving it... OTIS RED DUDE. LIKE SERIOUSLY. RED SHIMMER. Where has this been all my life??? And Aretha Orange? Oh man. In case you can't tell, I am totally enamoured of this palette and I will not apologise for being majorly freaking excited :D  
Gladys White - James Brown
Roberta Black - Vandellas
 To shorthand it: go to Superdrug - or - and buy this. Right now. You won't regret it. If you're scared of brights, you can use the matte neutrals as a pale wash of colour along the lid, along with some James Brown in the crease (JAMES BROWN IN THE CREASE PAHAHA) and use a bright as a liner with a narrow, stiff brush. Oh I could try and talk sense for a little while...but I cannot. This is so freaking beautiful. Just buy it. Go on. I won't tell anyone. 
Shalamar - Count Basi Beige
Cameo Cream - Motown Mink

Aretha Orange - Otis Red
O'Jays - New Jack Pink

Thursday, 1 November 2012

CK One Color Cosmetics - Counter Review

On Tuesday I had some stuff to do in town (more info coming soon...!) and while I was wandering through I went to Debenham's to take a look at the beauty counters. After swatching a few Bare Escentuals Ready shadows - which are beautiful - I noticed a brand new Calvin Klein cosmetics counter. I asked the MUA if there was a price list and was told that whilst no price list was available, they were offering absolutely free makeovers that day. So I sat down on one of those silly little stools and got my make up done for free! What a nice surprise. As I took a couple of snaps and had a really brilliant chat to Lauren, who did my make up, I thought I'd write up a little blog post about it. I think beauty counters are what put a lot of people off really loving make-up: between the uppity staff and the array of products with little explanation, as well as pushy women on commission, it can be a bit of a nightmare. Luckily CK One was definitely an exception.

The first product we talked about was foundation: I am a very fussy girl when it comes to base. I told Lauren I needed to start using products that weren't as heavy as I'd used in the past. She told me to try ck one's 3in1 face makeup in shade 200, fair. I was more than a little skeptical about a product offering sheer-to-medium coverage and built-in serum and primer. I have fairly oily skin and a very uneven skintone and didn't think this would do much for me. However, buffed in with a foundation brush I found this to be really comfortable on the skin and giving enough coverage so that my natural skin shone through - but only where we wanted it to! I really liked this and even better, it was still firmly in place that night after being fixed with airlight pressed powder. Got this applied at 11am, and when I went to remove it at 11pm, it was definitely still going strong.

Eyes we left alone as I had done them that morning - Urban Decay RoachSmog and Baked - but my brows were refreshed somewhat with brow pencil & gel duo in 'wily brunette'. This was a brilliant product with a wedge-shaped waxy pencil on one end, and a sheer gel with a spoolie applicator at the other.

Face was given some serious warmth and shimmer which I love. The cream & powder blusher duo in 700 happiness - a lovely coral pink with a golden brown shimmer side - was applied and blended liberally all over the apples of my cheeks and up the cheekbones. I would never have a) used a cream product here or b) used so much of it so it was brilliant to have someone test out something new. I told Lauren I totally trusted her and let her do whatever she felt best. I definitely had a lot more dewiness and 'life' to my face than usual and as I've said it lasted very well. Some skin illuminator in 200 warm was also applied for a gold highlight on the tops of my cheekbones, browbones and cupid's bow.

Finally the lips - Lauren layered pure color lipstick in 310 apology underneath lipgloss in 500 mad for a really vampy lip.

A final word on the products: we used a small sample of the line on my face for this look, but Lauren was kind enough to talk me through the other products. Pricing was pretty much on a par with MAC, with some products coming up a lot cheaper - the eyeshadow bases which come in several shades are only £11, and the nail polishes only £9. CK One aren't selling brushes, as they feel it would be difficult for them to really innovate in this area within their price range. I totally respect this: brushes are a difficult market that is basically dominated by a few brands and it seems pretty pointless to me for lines to keep bringing out the same basic seven brushes time and time again. The focus for CK One is on multi-functional, space-saving and efficient products, and I think that really shows. Products like the blusher duos could work all over the face, and the eyeshadows came mostly in duos, trios and quads, making it easy to create a look with only one pan. Packaging is sleek and tidy for all products. The items that impressed me the most were definitely the double-ended brow product - why nobody has created that pencil before is a mystery to me - and the 3in1 face make-up, which incorporates serum and primer to give a long-lasting finish.

All in all a brilliant experience, and a brand that I will definitely be looking to in the future.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Assisting A Make Up Artist

So WOW. I haven't posted on here for aaaages because I've had a bit of a nightmare with my laptop but I'm back, and I'm so happy I can post because yesterday I got to assist Andrea Perry-Bevan on a photoshoot at Nemesis Modelling Agency. Considering I'm totally untrained with zero experience it was so kind of Andrea to let me help out and I am really grateful for the opportunity.

The day started early, getting the train from Liverpool to Manchester at 8.22am! I had faffed around majorly on what to wear and what make-up to use - of course - but settled it by going simple with a plain dress and leggings (which is pretty standard for me) and smoky eye with my lucky lipstick, YSL Vernis a Levres in Orange de Chine. I'm going to be honest, I was so so nervous and didn't have a clue what to expect - I had a certain image in my head of a modelling agency and didn't think I'd quite fit put it lightly. As soon as I got there I settled right down, everyone I met, from managers to models to staff to photographers, was warm and polite. I got offered cups of tea straight away and generally really well looked after. But of course, I was there to work and not there to get petted...
Being inexperienced, I knew I might make mistakes but decided from the off that I would be as polite as possible and smile a lot so that even if I didn't really do well, I could be pleased with myself that I'd taken the right attitude.

It was a really busy day, with two separate shoots for Andrea to do make-up for, and for the first shoot I was mostly asked to get specific items out of Andrea's kit. This was - let's have it right - really exciting. What aspiring MUA doesn't want to have a look at someone else's kit? As an example of something I was asked to do, Andrea asked for a nude lip pencil for a 60s look. Seeing a working MUA on a shoot was definitely the best part of my day, and it was so good to see what the job is actually like. It was a lot more hectic than I had assumed, and so much more physical. Sitting in front of my webcam at home putting eyeshadow on is totally different to the atmosphere at a shoot, and reflecting on it today there were a lot of people around, all wanting to look at the make-up before it was finished. I'm still inexperienced enough that that would creep me out a little! During this shoot I was kept busy sharpening pencils, finding scissors and tweezers, gluing lashes, and curling the model's hair. All during this time, we were in the kitchen of the modelling agency and it was humming with activity. If anything, this part of the day really had the vibe most similar to doing your make-up for a night out but with a lot more 'industry' talk. The shoot was going to be a kind of 60s model in Manhattan, using Manchester sights, with lots of movement. Straight away this 1962 Vogue shoot (original Jean Shrimpton image on left, recreated by Karen Gillan on right) popped to mind. Turns out this shoot is going to be featured in Vogue Italia (!) and here's a look at it.

The next shoot was a video of Andrea applying make up to three different models. First up was Jess (who doesn't yet have a profile on Nemesis' homepage) who had the most amazing red curly hair. She got treated to a gorgeous bronze and shimmery eye look with a matte nude lip. Some of the products I could spot being used were Illamasqua Berber pigment, Urban Decay Naked Palette and NARS Hungry Heart as well as a Miners matte lip cream. During most of this look I was in the kitchen starting to curl Kit's hair - she had a lot of it! Once this got done Kit then got her makeup done by Andrea whilst being filmed by Adam Al-Sened. Her look was to feature some beautiful Paperself lashes. Here are a couple of sneaky pictures of her:

After this was done, Kit and Jess then worked with the rather wonderful photographer JK Green, who took some amazing pics of them with all kinds of light projections and - weirdly enough - a sheet of plastic. Here's a sneaky look at Jess

After lunch - for which Andrea had made me some sandwiches! - I was back on hair curling duty with the very lovely Laura Gallagher who then went to get some insane blue and green make up done on film with Andrea whilst Kit came back to get her hair re-curled. It was actually really nice to be in a quieter room doing a relatively relaxing job yet still called in to help Andrea with different bits every now and then. Obviously this wouldn't be the case with every shoot but for my first time I really did appreciate it! Laura and Kit then went under the plastic sheeting and light projections for some more creative shots and videos, which when previewed later on looked amazing - kind of as if they were swimming or being born!

Final job of the day was catwalk shots - and whilst I was helping Andrea tidy up Alex Leigh, a preternaturally gorgeous human being who made me a cup of tea and was generally lovely, came and gave Kit and Laura some catwalk lessons. I may or may not have listened in for tips. 

All in all I had a ridiculously brilliant day. BIG thank yous to everyone involved! xxxxx

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Shit Happens

Sometimes, shit happens. And in my case, this is usually in the form of acne. I suffered with really bad acne when I was younger: I had to use lots of really harsh products, usually on prescription. I took antibiotics for a long time, used face cream that was 10% peroxide and in the end put pure lemon juice on my face for twenty minutes a day. That was the only thing that worked on and really balanced my skin out. However, it does sting like a bitch.

As I've got older (and given up drinking!) my skin has settled down quite a lot. It's still pretty oily, but I comfort myself by saying I won't age as quickly if this is the case! I always experiment with lots of different skincare routines and change about every two months or so unless I find something I really love. Products that have worked in the past include Clarins' Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Tamarind coupled with their Hydra Matte Lotion. This is pretty expensive but truly amazing for my skin. The best thing I've ever done for my skin as well as the most expensive skincare routine I've ever had was Chanel: their Mousse Exfoliante Pureté and Pureté Idéale Serum.

But we know - because I discuss it ad nauseum - I'm on the dole and I cannot afford this. My skin hates me for not listening to careers advice in final year. So I'd like to introduce you to a MIRACLE. That costs FOUR POUNDS. And shrinks spots. Introducing:

Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment promises clearer skin in just one day. Normally such promises are bullshit. Not this time. 

It's amazing. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Batman Joker Look

Face/Hair: Asda Hallowe'en Cream Paint in White and Green (£1 per tube) 
Illamasqua Debauch Cream Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Omen mixed with Perversion
Eyes: Urban Decay Perversion covering eyebrow and blended down to cover whole lid and under eye
Urban Decay Grifter blended into lid
Fake eyebrows created with Urban Decay Roach and Ransom
Mouth: Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Temper (KNEW I would find a use for this some day) applied heavily to lips and then blended outwards using a sponge
Shadows/details added with Urban Decay Roach 

I used sponges rather than brushes for the majority of this look. Layering the paint on thick then sponging away at it really helped create the texture I was going for. I've tried to incorporate certain 'fashion' elements of make up into this - such as the glossy lip, shimmer eyeshadow and - though it's difficult to make out - I mixed the green and white to create a kind of 'mouldy' contour effect! I also sponged the green paint through my hair to mimic Heath Ledger a little further. Obviously this is full-on scary and not something you'd wear to look pretty - but don't worry, I'm going to do a more 'prettified' version too! I'm actually really pleased with myself with this look - I have never ever tried anything like this before and it certainly makes me feel more confident with doing characters. Hope you enjoy!

And because the contrast REALLY made me laugh, look what's next to these pictures in my Photo Booth:

At least I've convinced myself I'm mildly talented now I've seen that difference. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

MUA Going for Gold Palette - Review and Swatches

This is the Make Up Academy Going for Gold palette from Superdrug. It's normally £4 but was available for £3 yesterday. It was released for the Olympics and contains bronze, silver and shades along with some oranges and yellows and neutrals. It's a lovely palette and really reasonable for the price. There's ten shades here but sadly no shade names - just numbers. Top row is 1-5, bottom is 6-10. The texture of these shades is almost insanely soft, just placing a sponge applicator or a finger into the pan creates a lot of kicked-up product and a definite indentation in the product. This means it's a pleasure to swatch and play with though - and I can imagine these to be beautifully blendable. I have used these in a look today and really like them so may make a video out of it. I'm very sorry about the audio and visual being out of sync on my videos but iMovie is being a right pain so when I get a fix I will update what's happened.
 So here is the palette opened, you can see that there are two very bright colours in with a stack of neutrals. I have honestly never seen a colour like 5 before. It reminds me of sunflowers or egg yolks. In fact  - definitely egg yolk, a very very orange yellow with beautiful shimmer. There's one matte shade in this palette (6) which is majorly outperformed by the shimmers. As I was doing a look with the palette this evening I discovered that my original theory about its lovely application and blendabiity was spot on: it was honestly a pleasure to apply. They layer on beautifully and change colours as you layer them. 

Swatches after the jump!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pushing The Boundaries Of Blending

Because I still haven't unpacked all my make up (there is nowhere for it to go!!!) I am having to trawl through my stash every morning when I want to put my face on, which is having the unforeseen advantage of me finding products I haven't used for ages, or have never used, and giving them a go. Today's look is the product of me thinking "hey, how about I give cream eyeshadow a try?" I have never had any inclination to use it before, and the only two I had were a dark purple from Illamasqua's sale, and a mint green from Illamasqua's Fundamental palette. So, because I'm that kind of girl, I decided to use them both at once in a look. I actually initially tried this last night, but the colours were too different to blend properly so I got it a little more the way I wanted to this morning.

I started with Urban Decay Primer Potion in Greed as always, and over that, used a tiny angled brush to apply Illamasqua Debauch cream shadow (an aubergine purple) over the lid and winging out as you can see it in the picture. In the crease I patted Illamasqua Bedaub (the similarity in the two names is really freaking me out) cream pigment using my index finger. This was actually a really pretty look alone, but it was starting to crease and smudge just while I was sat down doing my face, so I decided to layer up with powder shadow too. I used Urban Decay Jet, a dark shimmery purple from the Black Palette, on top of the purple cream. I used a tiny tiny brush (Sephora Classic Smudge Brush) and really packed it on because the glitter is beautiful and I wanted to make sure it was visible! Originally I used Wet'n'Wild Cool as a Cucumber over Bedaub but it was just...too green. So this morning I thought I'd take it down and make a little easier to blend by using MAC's Vex, which is an amazing colour, basically a silvery base but with green and pink duochrome. I used Sephora's Classic Crease Brush to blend Vex down into Debauch and I really liked how it softened the look and made it a little more daytime friendly. 

I took this picture to show that I'm experimenting with a look that's much dewier and less flat and matte than I usually go for. This is NARS Orgasm/Laguna used as blush and contour, but with Benefit Watt's Up! highlighting the top of my cheekbones and down either side of my nose. I also used a paler foundation on top of my usual base, applied with a lip brush, to highlight in the centre of my forehead and along my cheekbones. Lips were Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Lipgloss in Coral, which is my current go-to gloss. I don't use clear gloss because I have uneven pigmentation in my lips, but this is sheer enough to be very natural whilst evening out the colour of my lips. 

Hope you enjoy!

Alison xx

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Jewelled Manicure

Illamasqua Charisma topped with nail gems from the pound shop.

Naked and Dramatic (+Tutorial!)

I love this look: this eye forms the basis of my 'everyday' wear but yesterday I ramped things up with an amazing Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Temper. I've always struggled with this one - it's very sticky and almost -too- pigmented! But yesterday I thought I might be applying too much so used about half of what I would usually and applied with a lipbrush. It's not very long-wearing but my God it's pretty. It has an almost stain-like effect when applied like this and is definitely a better choice now.

This is a basic brown smokey eye using neutrals from the Urban Decay Naked Palette. This, like all of my Urban Decay Palettes, gets used SO much. It took a while to learn to love it because I am so not a neutrals girl; however, it's brilliant for smokey eyes and the softer and pale shades are brilliant for blending. 

This is how you create my standard brown smokey eye - really easy and can be daytime or evening depending on how dramatic your make up usually is. 

1) Apply Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion all over the lid and up to the brow
2) Using any brush you like - I prefer a small domed fluff brush (like the MAC 239) - apply Urban Decay Smog all over the lid up to the crease, using a reasonable amount of product and buffing it in, which I find makes the colour truer and longer-lasting.
3) Using a fluffy crease brush (I'm using Sephora's Rounded Crease Brush to excellent effect in pretty much every eye look) to apply Darkhorse through the crease, and winging it up toward the brow.
4) Using that same brush, blend any harsh lines into each other.
5) Take a clean brush and apply brow highlight. For a shimmery brow highlight, I like Virgin and Sin mixed together, whilst Virgin alone is more of a satiny sheen shade.

Hope you enjoyed this!
Alison xxx

Saturday, 15 September 2012

I Am Generation Q

Illamasqua's new collection, Generation Q, is absolutely beautiful. My favourite look is on the model Georgia. The strong highlighting and contouring mixed with the insane colours. I tried to recreate it today, using some Illamasqua products and lots of others.

I don't know how well you can see from this photo, but I've mostly used Georgia's eye make-up as a starting point. The strong highlights down the nose I definitely toned down - but for the first time ever I got busy with a lip brush and a pale foundation to highlight. It worked a lot better than I was expecting to be honest - you can to some extent see it on the pictures but in person the effect was definitely impressive! Lots more light thrown on my face and an overall more contoured, almost 'slimmed down' effect. To achieve this I darkened my usual base somewhat by mixing Revlon ColorStay in Ivory and Bourjois Healthy Mix in 51. I then used the Revlon alone to create the highlights. For blush, I used Illamasqua Ambition, a beautiful rosy coloured shimmer blush, which I placed along my cheekbones and blended down into my contour, which was actually an eyeshadow today! I use Nars Laguna a lot but I wanted something a little more brown and so used Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow as a contour, underneath the hollow of my cheekbones. 

I've been really wanky here and shut my eyes so you can see the way I've used Georgia's look as inspiration. I really liked the way there was iridescent purples and brown tones used in her look and I used that as a starting point to create something that's pretty heavy for daytime but actually turned out to be a really flattering smokey eye with an edge. The colour shift (and blending!) was a lot more obvious in person but this picture is useful because you can clearly see where I've used each colour. I used Illamasqua Cream Shadow in Debauch as a base for this look, all over the lid, over my usual Urban Decay Primer Potion in Greed. I then loaded Urban Decay Half Truth from the 15 palette onto the lid, patting some Urban Decay in Omen onto the centre part of the lid. This is a gorgeous blue-violet duochromatic shimmer and placed in the centre of the really caught the light and lifted the look. In the crease - and winged out - I used MAC Blue Brown pigment. I really packed it on so that it was mostly born and the blue was mostly visible from extreme angels or in direct light. I blended like a mo'fo but didn't feel it was quite defined enough at the edge of the 'wings'. I dived back into my UD 15 palette and mixed MIA and Deeper to create a deep, shimmering brown to line around the wings. I used a wet brush to really give some strong definition. I then used Urban Decay Virgin to put a highlight on the browbone and down towards my tearduct and then on top of the brow to mimic Georgia's bright highlighting. Eyes are lined with Illamasqua Glister.

On the lips is Versace V2010C, an iridescent plum, and NYC Big Apple Spice, a copper gloss. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tuesday Tumblr Round-Up!

It's that time again guys... I'm picking out anything that's inspired me or tickled me this week.

GB-themed and so so cute: WAH Nails are always my favourite.

Illamasqua's nail art looks are always super-beautiful and Leanne from Do Not Refreeze has recreated the nails from their gorgeous new collection Generation Q. Not from Tumblr, but they're SO pretty.

Nail Nerd does possibly the best thing I've ever seen on nails.

Putting a fashion twist on the gorgeous galaxy manicure.

Polish You Pretty gives us some Pineapple Express nail art.

Another classy Essie manicure: I'm getting simple and sophisticated in my old age.

Bazinga! I still loves ALL THE GLITTER


Alison xxx

Monday, 10 September 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle - NOTD

Excuse how jacked-up and abused this mani looks, packing and unpacking are NOT on my top tips for nail care...
This is two coats of Illamasqua's Boosh topped with two coats of Sephora's gorgeous blue flaky topcoat Twinkle, Twinkle. The beautiful Sarah (@sazmerelda) bought me this from France and it's lovely. It shifts from an electric neon blue to a royal indigo and looks stunning over this black polish. 
Again, excuse how awful this looks... I will be resuming totally normal service shortly. 

Alison xxx  

Minnie Minaj

This is three coats of OPI's If You Moust, You Moust from the Minnie Mouse collection, topped with a coat of the supermegafoxyawesomehot holographic bar glitter from the OPI Nicki Minaj collection called Save Me. I love this combination. Like all holographic manicures it's at its best in the sunshine but because there are silver and blue glitters in the Nicki Minaj so it's still pretty awesome otherwise. Enjoy!

Alison xxx

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Drugstore Lip Product Favourites

While going through my stash as I was packing, I thought it would be good to do a little collection of some of my favourite drugstore products and swatch and review them. These are all under £5 and beautiful pigmented products that act like they are much more expensive than that. These are my six favourites and I'm going to run through some swatches and a quick review of each. The six products are:

  • Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Papaya Punch
  • Boots 17 Lasting Fix Lipstick in Showbiz
  • Boots 17 Supreme Shine Lipstick in Pink Posey
  • Collection 2000 Cream Puff in Angel Delight
  • NYC "SmoochProof" (ugh) 16Hr Lipstain in Champagne Stain
  • NYC Liquid Lipshine in Big Apple Spice 
I've tried to make sure these products are pretty evenly divided in terms of texture, from my favourite ultra-dry mattes to a full-on high-pigment gloss. Sleek's True Colour Lipstick is a brilliant product, retailing at £4.99 and available in 20 different shades from Superdrug. Researching this post I found that Sleek shows swatches of all their products on fair, medium and dark skin, which I have never seen before but think is absolutely wonderful and such an important thing. I have a post brewing in the back of my head about racism in the beauty industry which I'm sure will pop up at some point. The shade I've featured is Papaya Punch, a coral pink that leans slightly orange without being TOO daring. However, it's pigmented like WHOA and is very bright and intense even at one swipe. If you're prone to dry lips I would use some lip balm (or Lanolips!) with this as it does tend to be quite drying. For me that's no bad thing but I know it would put some people off. Next up (product pics and swatch pic are all in the same order) we have Boots 17 Lasting Fix Lipstick, which kind of bridges the gap between a creamy lipstick that doesn't dry up your lips and a very intense matte shade. It's not a flat and 'powdery' matte but would not pass muster as a gloss. It's got enough slip to apply and wear comfortably but the pigment ensures a smooth application of a true colour that lasts like nobody's business. You can see in the swatch picture that it has a little sheen to it but nothing so dramatic as a gloss or shimmer effect. Gorgeous budget red lipstick and would happily use this as my only red lipstick! I don't.... but I would.'s only £4.29 at Boots and also comes in 20 shades. Another Boots 17 product is next - I love these as they often have 3 for 2 or gifts with purchase - and who doesn't love that! This sheer shade is Supreme Shine Pink Posey, which is a frankly bizarre name for a purple lipstick. And they spelt 'posy' wrong, not me. Just to clarify. I'm not usually big on sheers but this turns into the most awesome berry coloured lipstick when mixed with Illamasqua Violate, which I swatched here and is a crazy dark green shimmery lipgloss. It's actually also really cute as a daytime lip which is not at all too purple when worn and can often just pull a warm look back to neutral. When there's 13 shades all for £4.99 each, I really don't believe in arguing too much, and I can imagine this to be a great starter lipstick for someone who wants to try a few crazier colours without having to commit TOO much. The next product is pretty much a matte dupe of Viva Glam Gaga II, which I do NOT endorse duping - it is a charity product and 100% of the RRP goes straight to the MAC AIDS charitable concerns. However, I own it and it's sometimes a little too glossy for me due to its amplified creme finish and its awe-inspiring amount of slip. So I anchor it over this: Collection 2000 Cream Puff Moisturising Lip Colour. A few words to start with: this is NOT moisturising. It is, on the other hand, matte like you won't believe. It only comes in four shades, which is a shame as I'd love to see this in red, orange or bright pink, though it tends to be a neutral line. It's £2.99, which is just crazy cheap, and it lasts a long time and doesn't have that tendency to run or smudge that a lot of products do. It will just stick. Doesn't even come off on cigarettes. The final two swatches are both by NYC Cosmetics, who I just LOVE. Their foundation isn't worth the bottle it's housed in, but for nail polishes and lip products for less than THREE QUID, you really cannot go wrong here. Like, seriously. Second from the right we have the 16 Hour "SmoochProof" Lipstain (scare quotes mine, I can't say that word seriously). This is a felt pen that lots of people will detest due to its drying properties, lack of balm on the other end and the fact that felt tip lip products often dry out in the tube pretty quickly. This shade is Champagne Stain, which just sounds horrid. However, the fact that this is a felt tip pen lip stain that actually has some pigment is not lost on me, and I love it under Lanolips or any sheer and glittery gloss - particularly MAC Evolution Revolution. OR I also love the next product, NYC Liquid Lipshine in Big Apple Spice, painted over aforementioned stain, which gives a multilayed effect that I really like. Big Apple Spice is not a colour I would normally choose: these kind of coppery-neutral glosses aren't usually massively flattering on me but I do love the fact that it's quite Autumnal - and almost a bit festive. I'm not saying the C word though. 

Phewf, I'm knackered from typing that and must refuel with cake. 

Alison. xxx

So sorry about the gap in posts!

I'm really sorry there haven't been any posts for nearly a week, as I may have mentioned in my last post I moved house on Wednesday and not only have I been mad busy (packing/unpacking/sleeping) but there's not yet internet in my house! So I've packed self and laptop off to the Brink and their wonderful free WiFi, and am writing and queueing four posts for your amusement over the next few days!

(For those who are interested, whilst at the Brink I will also be partaking of chocolate and beetroot cake, some posh tea and The Thick Of It on iPlayer)

Alison xxx

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

This is honestly like pornography to me

These are my lip products. Well. Most of them. I know there's at least five missing...However, luckily for you guys, they ARE organised by brand. Top row is Revlon, Benefit, Sleek, Tarina Tarantino, Sephora, Kat Von D, Missguided, Chanel. Middle row is MAC, NYC, Soap & Glory, Cargo, Bourjois, No. 7, Yves Rocher. Bottom row is Yves Rocher, Collection 2000, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, SOME FRENCH BRAND THAT I CAN'T REMEMBER THE SODDING NAME OF AND THE LIPSTICKS ARE NOW BURIED IN A SUITCASE, Make Up Forever, Illamasqua, Boots 17. As far as I'm concerned it's a fine collection ^_^

You'll see that I don't discriminate in terms of cost. Drugstore products are just as appealing to me as high-end, and as I face up to life as an unemployed graduate, they become frankly ever more appealing. I was looking at my MAC lipsticks today and realising they are a luxury I will not be indulging in for a good long while. However, I think I would have to be actually dead to stop buying Illamasqua. I'll save a pound a week if I have to, I do not care, I will continue to drop insane amounts of cash on their BEAUTIFUL products.

(This has given me an idea: if I use my biscuit tin as a penny box, I could lose weight AND buy lipstick. Hmmmmmm.....)

Swatches and more pictures, after the jump...

My Illamasqua & OPI Polishes

I'm packing up all my stuff because I'm moving house TOMORROW God save us all - so I had an idea to take a few pictures of my stash because whenever I go on a blog I am a stash pervert and want to see their collection.

This first picture is my OPI and Illamasqua nail polishes. Missing from this picture is OPI Warm & Fozzie and Illamasqua Hemlock because I know I own them but for the life of me I cannot find them. Weirdly I wore them both in the last two weeks. The Illamasqua polishes from the left: Force (electric blue), Jo'Mina (electric lilac), Scarab (metallic burgundy), Boosh (glossy black), Viridian (metallic teal), Spartan (gold glitter), Bacterium (no description other than AWESOME) and Kink (rubberised finish cerise). The back row is Nicole by OPI - Wear Something Spar-Kylie, Daffy-Dill, Follow Me On Glitter, A Really Awesome Pink I Can't Find On Google and Sephora by OPI Blasted Indigo. I just found out on Google that Blasted is a shatter polish, which is why every time I have tried to use it as part of a manicure the texture has been horrendous. The OPIs on either side of the Illamasqua polishes are: Too Hot Pink To Hold 'Em, I Juggle Men, Sparkle-icious and Do You Think I'm Tex-Y? The bottom row of OPIs: Black Shatter, Fly, Pink Friday, Excuse Moi!, OPI on Collins Ave, Mod-Ern Girl, Here Today Aragon Tomorrow, Designer Series Reflection (silver cap), Save Me, Take The Stage.

When I unpack I'm sure I'll take more pics, I even have a couple more coming in the next few days! I got to 500 hits on my blog today, I am very grateful!

Alison xx

Tuesday Tumblr Roundup!

So here it is again, another roundup of fun beauty stuff I have found on tumblr this week...

The main reason I have never tried galaxy nails

Sophy Robson's new autumn nail designs. I love the baby pink with glitter (bottom left) and the taupe with stripes (bottom right).

Neon mani that is fierce as f***!

Keeping it simple and ladylike with some Essie and glitter. Adore this!!

I don't know what movie this is from but something about it just really appeals to me

A neutral eye and a pop of neon on the lip is always perfection

Hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the things that have inspired me this week!

Alison xxx

Monday, 3 September 2012

NOTD - W7 Salt'n'Pepper

This is a nail varnish that is simultaneously bizarre and awesome. It looks kind of like frogspawn, and the texture manages to be patchy but too thick at the same time. It takes three coats to be even and is messy as hell (I'm still picking black glitter off my arms). However, this was another of my bargain purchases at only £1.99 and it's actually pretty cool, especially from a distance. It's the kind of nail polish that people are going to comment on. I like that because I love attention. It's a white polish base that is basically a creme but has an almost jelly-like translucency that allows the square black glitter to show through. It's not glittery in a super-sparkly kind of way, it's pretty subtle and muted...if black and white speckles can be subtle! I don't know if it'll become a favourite but it's a nice, quick and effective manicure. It has an advantage - similar to crackle polishes - of looking like hella complicated nail art when in fact it's just in a bottle. Being the poor and lazy graduate that I am, I appreciate the crap out of that. I never usually match nail polish to outfits but I think this would look lovely if you were wearing all-black - I was wearing a leopard print dress today and it just looked *wrong*. So I'll give it another shot when my maxi-dress doesn't clash :)
Alison xxx

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Technic Electric Palette - Review, Photos, Swatches

So today I went bargain hunting. I got this palette from a really random shop in St John's Precinct called "Facial Attractions". What a bizarre name! I really only picked this up for three reasons: 1) the off-chance of more neon pink eyeshadow in my life 2) it was £1.99 3) I need to practice buying makeup I can actually afford. Like I said, I only have a a phone camera, so I just have to make do picture-wise, but it really is an incredible palette for the price! In case you can't tell from the price of the palette and the name of the shop, it was WELL dodgy. However they had some brilliant little finds, such as W7's Salt n Pepper nail polish (post coming soon!) and some Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polishes that I've never seen in the UK before.
It's called the Electric Eyes Palette, which seems to be made by EITHER "Technic" or "Badgequo", I can't really tell from the back of the package! There was a big old mess on this palette when I opened it, which is basically because the shadows are so so soft. They are really soft, smooth and buttery, almost like a cream shadow. They really do have a beautiful texture. I've only had a little swatch with them but they feel absolutely gorgeous. The top row of the palette has a soft champagne gold shimmer, a rose pink shimmer, a neon pink matte, a pinky-copper shimmer, a grass green shimmer and a sky blue shimmer. You can see from my pictures that the pigmentation on the last three shadows isn't brilliant. The grass green is so exciting in the pan, (not colour accurate in my pic - sorry!) but swatches really disappointingly. The same happens with the really vibrant blue.
However, the first three shades - the golds and the neon pink - are absolutely beautiful. The lovely texture comes into its own combined with a lot of shimmer and is really even to apply. The matte pink is a little patchier to apply but blends easily and I can imagine used with a brush over primer it would be gorgeous! The picture on the left is the first row. The picture on the right is the second row. You can see there are a couple of very similar shades in this palette - oddly enough they are very different in the pan but on the skin seem very similar. In the pan, the first shade on the bottom row seems very bright orange but swatches a muted orange with gold. Still very pretty though - if a little bit sheer. The second shade is a lovely bronze, and probably a dupe for Urban Decay Half Baked! The third shade is a definite dupe for MAC Cranberry, a very nice reddish shade with lots of shimmer. Love it.
These next couple of shades essentially make this palette worth the absolute PENNIES I paid for it. It makes it cheap at twice the price. Now, I know it looks horrendous on this picture. It's actually a really pretty teal shimmer that leans blue. The last two are beautiful: a gorgeous blue indigo and a reddish-purple. The buttery-softness of these shades bring out a beautiful sheen. I did a little googling and found the palette on Amazon for £3.49 here. Nearly twice as much as I spent on it, but still pretty cheap! I'd definitely recommend giving this a go if you like shimmers and brights as much as I do :)

Alison xx