Friday, 24 October 2014

NudeStix review

It’s no secret that I love nude eye shadows. A lot. So when I heard about a makeup brand that specialised in the ‘no makeup makeup’ look, I knew it was going to be the perfect match. 

NudeStix was created by a family in America – Ally and Taylor are sisters who love barely there makeup, so along with their mother Jenny (who has over 20 years experience in the beauty field) they developed a collection of the perfect nude shades, all of which come in a crayon style format. 

The range focuses a selection of nude shades that work well together; most of which are universally flattering to all skin tones. 

Nudestix makeup crayons

Nudestix makeup crayons

Nudestix makeup crayons swatches

I’ve been testing out one of the eye shadow sticks and also a lip and cheek crayon. When I first received them I was expecting the finish to be a little powdery, especially with the eye pencil, but boy was I wrong. Both products are really creamy in texture and apply to the skin without any dragging at all. The chubby crayon style means that application is easy – you just apply straight to your eye lid/lips/cheek and then blend with either a finger or a brush. 

I love the simplicity of these – add a touch of mascara and you’ll be ready to go in less than five minutes, making them the perfect low maintenance makeup companion. They’re also perfect for popping in your handbag as you don’t need extra brushes and tools to get the best finish. 

Personally I preferred to use the lip and cheek crayon just on my lips as I didn’t get on as well with applying and blending it onto my cheeks – you need to be pretty swift before the colour sets. The eye crayons lasted pretty well throughout the day without creasing, however I’d recommend using a primer underneath to help make it stay put – mine lasted around 6 hours before needing a little top up. 

Each NudeStix costs £24 and at the moment the brand is exclusive to Space NK and Cult Beauty in the UK. 

What do you think of this nude makeup range? Is it something you’d buy? 

*PR samples 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Library of Fragrance perfume review

Fragrance is a very personal thing and what one person loves another person might hate. So imagine having the choice of over 100 different scents to choose from - all of which can be layered over each other to create your own custom blend. 

The Library of Fragrance has just launched in the UK and has done exactly that. They've created a massive library of scents, each focusing on single notes and subtle blends. You can choose from anything from Fresh Ginger (a slightly fruity, spicy scent), to Lavender, and Leather to Snow (crisp, fresh and very hard to describe but lovely).

The Library of Fragrance perfumes

My favourite of the three scents I've tried has to be Gin & Tonic. It smells almost exactly like the drink, and while it won't leave you smelling like you've been in the pub a bit too long, it has a wonderful refreshing mix of gin botanicals and fresh lemon. It's very fresh and perfect for a pick-me-up daytime scent. 

I especially love the fact you can layer these scents up to create your own custom blend. It reminds me a little of Jo Malone's infamous colognes, only at a fraction of the cost. While not all of them will work well together, there's definitely thousands of combinations to be had - and it means that you can create your own custom scent that no-one else is wearing.

The fragrances are all colognes, so aren't particularly long-wearing, however they do deliver a lovely burst of scent for at least a few hours after application. If you're out all day, then I'd recommend popping a bottle in your bag for a top up, but for a night out they'll be perfect. The scents are all pretty unisex which is a nice change - it's up to you which ones you prefer and how you choose to wear them.

A 30ml bottle costs £15, so it's much cheaper than other cologne brands and a selection of their fragrances has just launched into larger Boots stores and on their website. I think these would make a lovely gift option for men and women alike - there's really something for everyone. The price point means it's also a good treat to yourself without the usual feeling of guilt buying a bottle of perfume would usually involve. I tend to only get perfume as Christmas/birthday gifts as it's pretty pricey, but at £15 each, this is something I won't mind adding to my own Boots basket every now and then! 

Do you like the sound of these new fragrances? Which do you think will be your favourite? 

*PR samples

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer Nail Polish Review

I've always loved the high-shine finish of gel nails, but have been a bit scared to take the plunge because I like to change my nail polish so regularly! Max Factor's new nail launch is the perfect compromise - offering a high-shine, gel-like finish, but without the need for UV lamps or a two-week wear time.

Max Factor Gel Shine lacquer nail polishes, Gleaming Teal, Lacquered Violet, Sheen Merlot, Patent Poppy

Max Factor Gel Shine lacquer nail polish swatches Gleaming Teal, Lacquered Violet, Sheen Merlot, Patent Poppy
L-R Gleaming Teal, Lacquered Violet, Sheen Merlot, Patent Poppy

There are nine shades in the Gel Shine Lacquer line, and I've picked out four shades that I think are the perfect autumn winter companions. I've completely fallen for Sheen Merlot, a dark berry shade, which is seriously rich in pigment and is almost mirror-like in its shine. You definitely need two coats to get an even finish, but they dry pretty quickly so it's not too much of a pain to deal with. 

Lacquered Violet is a gorgeous purple shade that's a bit different for AW, but I love the depth of the colour and it's a nice way to wear something that's a bit bold, without reverting to the typical brights of the summer. 

All of the shades I tried had seriously high-shine finishes to them - the swatches pictured are taken without any topcoat over them. They really do have that gel nail look to them. I was even asked a couple of times if I was wearing a gel shade when I had Sheen Merlot on, so that's definitely a good sign!

The wear time is pretty average - I get around 3 days before chips start to appear, so although you'll get the finish of a gel nail, you definitely don't get the staying power. That's to be expected - I've only found one non-gel nail polish that lasts a week on me, so I don't expect miracles without a UV lamp involved! 

The Gel Shine Lacquers are in Boots and Superdrug stores now and cost £6.99. If you prefer brighter shades, there's an amazing neon orange called Vivid Vermillion which is calling my name. I'm hoping they bring out some pastel shades in this finish for the spring - I can fast see it becoming one of my favourite nail polish formulas and a larger shade selection would be great.

Have you tried the new Gel Shine Lacquers from Max Factor? What do you think of these polishes?

*PR samples