Wednesday, 16 May 2012

L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Luminizer Mascara

The idea behind these mascaras is that the mascara is pigmented with a colour that compliments that of your eyes, thus making your eyes 'pop'. I thought that this sounded great and have always been jealous of people with really amazing blue eyes.

The mascara is available for blue, hazel and green eye colours and is also designed to volumise your lashes. The brush is kind of big which I found awkward when getting to the little lashes at the inner-corners, but the mascara itself wasn't clumpy and could be built up easily. I could see that the mascara was a tinted blue-black which I have to admit, I found kind of odd. I'd have thought that having an orange-based mascara would make blue eyes pop as they are on opposite ends of the colour wheel. I can see where the logic is behind the luminizer mascara but I'm afraid that it fails to live up to expectations.

In order to add volume to your lashes, the mascara also contains little fibres; something I discovered when I looked in the mirror and saw that there were little black specks under my eyes. Not a good look. I was surprised to find that they have used fibres as they haven't marked the mascara tube with a warning for contact-lens wearers. So now, in order to wear this mascara, I have to apply a coat of clear mascara on top to provide a seal for the fibres to stop them from falling off.

Overall, I am not impressed. It is a good idea but it just doesn't live up to expectations due to elementary errors. Once this tube is finished, I shall not be buying another.

Prestige (gentle finish) Mineral Powder Foundation

After deciding to tackle my oily skin problems once and for all, I decided to go on the hunt for a better foundation. Previously, I had been using one by Max Factor but it was hit and miss as to whether or not I would get good coverage. I also found that the oil in the makeup would exacerbate my skin condition.

Although I had heard about mineral makeup, I have to admit that I thought it a fad. I seemed to be hearing bad things about them (too powdery, not enough colour choice, bad coverage etc) all the time but then as they began to become more mainstream, better products came out. I also read that the repeated use of mineral makeup can help calm overall facial redness and as it is a powder, could also combat oily skin.

After doing some research on-line, I came across Prestige which seemed to give good results thus garnering good reviews. I ended up having to buy mine on-line as it appears that a lot of shops have pulled the range from their shelves. I had no choice but to buy a two-pack at £22. (I know, I felt sick too; £22 is a big ask when you have never tried the product before).

When it arrived, I was a little dismayed at how small the pot is and thought 'what a rip-off'. I decided that as I had paid for it, I may as well give it a try and move onto something else once it had been finished.

Mineral makeup is best applied with a flat-edged brush such as a kabuki brush. The idea is to load up the brush, then tap off the excess and apply the foundation in circular motions onto the skin.

After applying the foundation, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it had covered the redness. I did however, think that it looked like makeup but it was still good enough to wear. After checking my reflection about half and hour later however, I found that the makeup was looking even better. It seems that the mineral foundation gets warmed up by your skin and then settles nicely. I had applied extra coverage along my jaw-line where I get quite a few spots and although it covered really well, I was slightly paranoid that my face was a different colour to my neck. (I asked my Dad this question and it turns out that it wasn't).

I have been using Prestige mineral foundation regularly now and I have to say that my skin is better for it; the thought of going back to a cream foundation kind of grosses me out now. I have also found that my makeup routine is much faster now as precise application isn't needed and you don't need to worry about blending. I only wish that Prestige was more freely available and that it was cheaper.

Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer

The Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer (Light) is described as being "a three piece flaw camouflage kit". Does it live up to this? Hmmm, yes and no.

 First off, I did think that it was expensive at £10 but the reviews were good and I thought that it couldn't possibly be any worse than the concealer that I had just bought, so I may as well give it a try. 
The case is divided into two layers: the top is a powder and a little puff, the seconds contains concealer of two tones and a little mirror. The concealer on the left is for under-eye brightening and the right is for everything else.

I have to say that the under-eye brightening concealer is much better than the 'normal' concealer. The under-eye brightener is of the right consistency to give good coverage and can be easily blended whether applied with the tip of a finger or a brush. My dark circles are pretty bad and I wasn't convinced that this could cover them without looking obvious. I was pretty disappointed with the results that I got until I applied the powder and wow! The circles were gone, it looked natural and it lasted all day. To be honest, I also thought that I looked a little weird as it had been so long since I actually looked refreshed and not really tired; it seemed to brighten up my whole face. I do find however, that you need to make sure that there are no little creases in the skin when applying the powder, as once it has set, it is set! This can be easily prevented though, by gently stretching the skin as you apply the powder. The puff is also of the right size to get into the nooks and crannies of the eye and delivers the right amount of product.

Having experienced an almost magical effect with the under-eye brightener, I was also expecting the same with the "superwear face concealer". Hmm, yeh. Hit and miss. Sometimes it is brilliant and covers my spots and red patches very well and it stays put all day. Other times however, it seems to conceal everything but the blemish. It just doesn't quite deliver consistently. Of course, there may well be factors in my day that means that it has more to put up with than usual but isn't this what we expect our concealer to be able to withstand? The colour, the consistency and its 'usability' are all great. Its staying power however, really isn't.

Illamasqua Cream Blusher

I have to admit that I am somewhat biased to this brand. It's just because it is so damn good!

So far, I have two of their cream blushers, the Illumine Oil, some eyeliners and a few cream eyeshadows. Due to this, I can say with confidence that the pigmentation justifies the price. Although seemingly expensive, only a tiny bit of each product is needed to give either a subtle, natural look or one hell of a pop!

I originally bought two cream blushers for use in my professional kit but I ended up keeping the cream blusher in 'Devour' in my personal kit.

As a red-head, I have a lot of redness in my skin tone (whilst also being pale) and after exercise I am like a beetroot. This used to make me afraid to go anywhere near red in makeup, be it for blusher or lipstick. All that changed when I trained as a Makeup Artist and gained confidence to try new things.

Although a red may seem startling when still in its packaging, the secret really is all down to finding the right shade and how you apply it. Those with a warm tone should opt for blue-based reds and those with a cool tone, an orange-based red (blondes, however, can also wear orange-reds). If you are unsure as to what I mean, the next time that you go to buy some new makeup, take a really good look at the blushers available. You should start to see that the tones are slightly different and that not every red is the same.

Anyway. I digress.

Illamasqua has some major pigment-power in their products and this red is no different. So much power in fact, that all I need to do is tap my finger on the surface (yes, that's right: tap!) and I have enough product to apply to one cheek. After blending well, I am left with a flush that is very natural and is still strong enough to show through my mineral foundation (which I apply on top of my blusher).

I can confidently say that the cost per use makes this a really economical product and what with the sales that are available on-line, you can afford to experiment with different colours and formulations and not break the bank. It is very evident that this range has been created by some talented artists who know exactly where and how other brands fail and have sought to fill the gap in the market.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Calvin Klein Foundation

I have numerous foundations in my kit from mineral makeup to liquid to cake. This review is for Calvin Klein Foundation (a liquid) which I frequently use on women when filming in H.D. It retails at around £15 but if you shop around, you can pick up a bottle for about £6.

The foundations come in two formulations: 'infinite matte oil-free' and 'infinite hydration moisturising'. Unlike a lot of other foundations, there isn't any difference in the handling of the two, so this review will be mutually inclusive of both formulations.

For a new cosmetic range - competing with the vast array of designer and well-established cosmetic brands - Calvin Klein seems to have hit the ground running. Although the foundations have a light feel, one pump delivers the right dose of product and they offer a surprising amount of coverage, whilst also delivering on a dewy, natural and youthful glow. Whilst filming, I first used a primer before applying the foundation with a foundation brush; I have to admit that there was a moment of panic when I thought that I had used too much as the foundation didn't seem to be blending very well. This soon proved false and after more blending, the product was very natural and allowed enough of the skins natural texture to shine through to enhance, rather than mask, the actress. After applying concealer, I used a fan brush to add a light dusting of powder to control shine. All good so far.

As I have experience with different formulations and know full-well how quickly something can turn from a blessing to a curse, I was on standby with a tissue-wrapped powder puff in order to quickly eradicate excess shine; didn't need it. The makeup stayed put and continued to look flawless throughout the day with only minimal touch-ups. I have to say Calvin Klein: I am impressed.


Anyone who suffers from a lot of acne and scarring shouldn't expect this foundation to deliver supermodel-worthy results; the coverage is not ample enough to hide a multitude of sins. If you have a few blemishes and want a product that gives slightly more coverage than a tinted moisturiser, then give this foundation a try. Also, although the colour range is vast, it does appear to be geared more towards the Caucasian market.

The Oil Cleansing Method

For the moment, I am going to start with a review of skin care. It is so important that you have a good base on which to apply your makeup, as a bad base leads to a bad face (see what I just did there? I know, I'm so goddamn clever). As someone who has suffered from bad skin right from the age of 13, I can say that I have learned a thing or two about what is and isn't a good skincare routine.

My first review is for The Oil Cleansing Method. 

This was a last-ditch attempt to try and sort out my skin and come up with a long-term solution. I have tried everything from Clearasil to Proactive to Panoxyl and finally to this, with many other products in between. But hey, the sun is due to explode within about a million years so I'm on limited time here. 

It seems weird that putting oil onto an already oily face would actually be of benefit. I admit that I was skeptical but thought that if it was good enough for the Ancient Egyptians (who used to receive some of their wages in olive oil), then it's good enough for me.

First, I massage a generous amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into my skin and leave it for a couple of minutes, whilst I brush my teeth, brush my hair, mooch about on Facebook etc. It feels a little weird the first time that you do it but you soon get used to it and the oil is strong enough to dissolve makeup, even waterproof mascara (be careful around the eyes, as although it won't sting, things will get a little blurry for a while).

Next, I apply about 5 drops of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap Pure-Castile Hemp Soap onto wet hands, foam it up and cleanse my face. This stuff is a little bottle of miracles! You seriously only need a few drops to get a good lather, it's designed for babies so is also ideal for sensitive skin and one bottle goes a long way. Once I have cleansed, I then remove everything with a natural sea sponge before giving my face a good dousing with a couple of handfuls of warm water.

To finish, just pat your face dry and apply a light layer of moisturiser. That's it!

It can take about a week before you notice a difference in your acne and you may even find that things get much worse before they get better. Persevere and you shall be rewarded! I first noticed that my dry patches were gone and my skin no longer felt oily during the day. Although I still get spots (as mine seem to be dictated by hormones), they are smaller, heal quicker and the oil helps to reduce any scarring that may occur. You can always help things along with a nightly application of Sudocrem to get rid of any bacterial nasties.

Another product which I would like to quickly review is 'Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub'. I am a lip-chewer and often end up with dry, flaky lips. This little pot, although at first seemingly expensive, is worth buying as it's a treat for the lips. It's a sugar scrub with peppermint, chocolate and organic jojoba oil and it really is good enough to eat. I cannot resist licking mine off. I know, gross! Lips are often overlooked in a skincare routine but the skin is thin and delicate so needs TLC. Treat yours with this, followed by a lip-balm of your choice at night and an SPF lip-balm for the day. Gorgeous!