Monday, 20 October 2014

Urban Decay Naked palettes - which one's right for you?

Urban Decay's Naked palettes are probably the most iconic nude palettes there are in the beauty world. But with the recent launched of their fifth 'Naked' offering, it's becoming tricky to know which one will suit you the best. I've put together a quick guide to help make the decision a little easier. Of course, if you're a nude fanatic like me, there's no reason why you have to stop at just the one! 

Naked - the original nude palette from Urban Decay, Naked is made up of 12 eye shadows in a mixture of shimmer, glitter and matte finishes. These shades are slightly warm in tone, so suit warmer skin tones the best. There's also a predominance of shimmery shades, so if you're looking for a matte palette, you'll need to look a little further down this list. £37

Naked 2 - the follow up to Naked, Naked 2 features 12 cooler toned shadows; again in a mix of shimmer, glitter and matte finishes. While Naked might have some smokey blue/black options included, Naked 2 is a powerhouse of bronze and beige tones with a single black thrown in for good measure. Again, it's all pretty shimmery with one or two exceptions and is best suited to those with neutral or cool-toned skin. £37

Naked 3* - with 12 completely new shadows inside, this rose-hued beauty is one of the latest Naked launches from Urban Decay. All of the shadows have a hint of rose or rose gold to them, again in a mix of shimmer, glitter and matte finishes. These shades are a little more tricky to get away with - if you've got pink undertones to your skin I'd avoid this palette, but if you look good in rose-gold jewellery, then this will be the perfect pick for you. £37

Naked Basics - Urban Decay's first matte neutral offering, Naked Basics was a massive hit for many people who loved nude shadows but wanted to avoid a shimmery finish. It contains 6 matte shades (one demi-matte) which are all warm in tone. If you're best suited to the original Naked palette, then this is the Basics choice for you. £22

Naked Basics 2 - a brand new launch, Naked Basics 2 is perfect for matte shadow lovers as it contains 5 mattes and one slightly shimmery highlighter shade. These are all cooler in tone than the Naked Basics palette, so is a good matte partner for those that suit the Naked 2 palette and is the perfect size to pop in your handbag. £22

Are you a fan of the Naked palettes? Which one's your favourite?

*PR sample

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Illamasqua Facets collection Aura palette review

Illamasqua’s latest collection is one that’s got me a bit hot under the collar. I’m not ashamed to say I’m a nude makeup lover – give me mushroom and taupe over hot pink and blue any day of the week. So when I saw the new palettes from the Facets collection I did a little squeal. Out loud. In public.

Facets is a celebration of nudes, and while it’s a world away from Illamasqua’s usual bold looks, I think it’s a collection that’s going to appeal to a massive market. The highlights of the collection are two new palettes – Aura and Semblance – which are pretty much the ultimate Illamasqua travel palettes.

Instead of just focusing on eye shadows, they’ve put together a selection of everything from brow powder to contour cream and made it into something that’s the perfect handbag companion.

Illamasqua Facets collection Aura palette

Illamasqua Facets collection Aura palette
Illamasqua Facets collection Aura palette swatches
Aurora highlighter, Tremble blusher, Hollow pigment, Thunder eyebrow cake

Illamasqua Facets collection Aura palette swatches
I’ve been testing out the Aura palette*, which is perfect for paler skin tones and I’ve been super impressed. Inside the palette you get: Gleam highlighter in Aurora, Cream Pigment in Hollow, Eyebrow Cake in Thunder, Powder blusher in Tremble and four powder shadows in Vision, Servant, Feint and Machine. While none of these are brand new shades, it’s basically a line-up of Illamasqua’s super star products – throw in a Glamore lipstick and you’re pretty much set up makeup-wise.

Hollow is a really great contouring product for lighter skin tones – it’s slightly ashy in colour, so won’t leave you with that tell-tale contour line running down your face, but instead gives you some seriously good cheekbones.

Thunder is a little on the dark side for my blonde brows, but is a great all round shade and is one that I’ll use instead as a darker shadow to complement the others in the palette.

All of the products in the palette are the same quality you’d expect from full-sized products. They’re long wearing, pigmented and easy to blend. You just get smaller sizes and more choice in the one case.

At £45, I think this is a great palette to have – it’s flexible enough to create multiple looks from, and is a great way of trying out lots of Illamasqua products in one go. If you’re darker toned, give Semblance a try. This contains Gleam highlighter in Mirage, Cream Pigment in Hollow, Eyebrow Cake in Thunder, Powder Blusher in Hussy and four slightly stronger eye shadows.

These are limited edition palettes so if you like what you see, I’d recommend picking one up sharpish. Or maybe pop one on your Christmas list and see if Santa delivers!

What do you think of the new palettes from Illamasqua?

*PR sample

Friday, 17 October 2014

2014 beauty advent calendars:The lowdown

Beauty advent calendars have become seriously popular over the past few years. This year seems to have created a bumper crop, so I’ve put together a comprehensive list to help you decide which one is the perfect choice to grace your mantelpiece through December (or open immediately if you’re impatient like me. Ahem.)

beauty advent calendars 2014
You Beauty Discovery £49.95 - includes luxury samples and full sized products from brands such as Sisley, Laura Mercier, Aromatherapy Associates, Benefit and more, the contents are worth over £240 – out now

No7 25 days of beauty secrets £35 - 25 (yes, you even get one for Christmas day!) minis from the No7 range with contents worth over £130. Online and in Boots stores from 29th October

Elemis 12 days of beauty £59.50 - 12 luxury Elemis products, available now - not your traditional advent calendar as there are only 12 doors, but it's packed full of lovely treats for face and body and would make a gorgeous early Christmas gift for someone special. Inside you'll find everything from the Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm to the Pro Radiance Hand & Nail Cream and my favourite the Papaya Enzyme Peel. I say buy this one as a treat to yourself to make up for all the hard work you'll be doing throughout December.

The Body Shop Beauty Advent Calendar £50 –  this is completely stuffed with some of the Body Shop's best sellers, along with new products like their Colour Crush nail polishes and Glazed Apple collection. There's a good mix of travel and full-sized products and let me tell you, this bad boy is heavy! As an added bonus, The Body Shop are also donating to their chosen charity War Child every time you buy selected Christmas gifts, including the advent calendar. It's in selected stores only, out now.

W7 Countdown to Christmas £29.95 - one for all you makeup lovers, this is a good budget buy that's full of nail polish, mascara and lip treats. It's a little harder to track down as it's not on their website yet, however I did find a version of this on the TK Maxx website for a bargain price of £19.99.

L’Occitane £45 – There are 13 pampering treats from Provence inside this calendar, because 13 is the traditional number of desserts to have on your Christmas table in Provence (a tradition I mgiht have to borrow myself). There are lots of their key products hidden away inside so is an excllent way to test out the brand if you're new to them, or just a great treat for you (obvs) or someone else. It's online from 3rd November.

Yankee Candle £21.99 - not quite beauty, but we all love a good scented candle and Yankee Candle do a fab range for Christmas. This is full of tealights in six seasonal scents and is perfect if you fancy something a bit different. Out now.

Selfridges Enchanted Spells £85 -  containing a mix of products from Lancome, Kiehl's, YSL and more, this is a beauty lover's dream. They're all good sized minis or travel sizes, and will make a lovely treat for December. Out now.

Jo Malone £250 - the most luxury of them all, this is heaven for Jo Malone addicts. Yes it's pricey, but if you've got money to burn and want some lovely fragranced products, this is the one to get. It launches in Harrods on 20th October/nationwide 10th November.

Liberty £149 – Another pricey offering, but one that looks so pretty and it's full to the brim of different brands from their beauty halls. It comes in a signature Liberty print and inside you'll find the likes of Nars, Espa, Diptyque, Weleda and Deborah Lippmann. It launches in November and will no doubt sell out very quickly despite the price!

Ciate Mini Mani Manor £49 - I've bought this calendar every year since it started as I love the variety of nail polishes hidden away inside it. You get 23 mini Ciate polishes (plus one full sized!) in lots of different finishes and makes the perfect gift for nail polish addicts. There are 17 cult Ciate shades, 5 exclusives, 1 full sized and a set of festive nail transfers included. It's out now and can be found in Selfridges, John Lewis, ASOS and Ciate online.

Benefit Candy Coated Countdown £60 - There are 24 minis tucked behind the doors, with iconic products like High Beam, That Gal, PosieTint and more. Now, this launched yesterday (16th Oct), however Benefit are going on my naughty step as they sold out in hours after only producing a (very) limited amount. Rumour has it that more will be launched on 1st November so keep your eyes peeled if you're desperate for one.

Primark Jewellery Advent Calendar £10 - another non-beauty one, but I couldn't resist popping this into the list! A bargain option at only £10, Primark have put together 24 days of jewellery, with a mix of earrings, midi rings, charm bracelets and necklaces behind each window. The designs are all very cute and dainty and would make a lovely gift for fashion lovers.

Which one takes your fancy?