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Monday, 30 April 2012

Illamasqua Lipstick in “Test” and Sheer Lipgloss in “Torture”

Illamasqua have a deal on their website where you can buy a lipstick and a Sheer Lipgloss and save £6.50. Having had my eyeballs on “Test” since I found out it was in the gorgeous Sophie-i campaign and with a few quid in my PayPal account, I snapped it up along with a gloss that I thought would go nicely with it.

Illamasqua Test Swatch

Illamasqua “Test.”

*fans self.” Oh, my days. I know this shade might not be particularly exciting to most of you, but as someone who can’t really wear more traditional nudes, a pinky-brown that suits just gets my pulse racing.  Illamsqua describe it as “soft pink chocolate,” which reminds me of those pig sweets but childish craving aside is a pretty good description. (Maaaaybe it looks a little like a slightly pinker, matte version of MAC Blankety? I don’t have the two to compare. Maybe I should get Blankety…. Anyway.) A lot of people have gripes with Illamasquas lipstick formula and while this is certainly one of the better ones I’ve tried, if you don’t like dry lipsticks, this maybe isn’t for you. I love a good matte though, and this wears really well.

Basically I love it. I want to wear it at my wedding, that’s how much I love it.

Illamsqua Sheer Lipgloss Torture

Illamasqua “Torture.”

Not knowing whether I’d like the formula of these or not, I went for a sheerer colour that I knew I could just chuck in my bag. Torture is a light coral-leaning orange in the tube and looks a sheer coral on the lips. It’s a thick, slightly sticky gloss and as such, wears pretty well throughout the day. Alone, I think it’s a little expensive for what it is, but worth it in the deal. I also really like the squeezy tubes these come in – they look pretty slick.

Illamasqua Test and Torture

Illamasqua “Torture” over “Test.”

I thought the two might wear well together, and lookit! I was right. I love it when I’m right.

What are your favourite Illamasqua products?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Quickie Review: Maybelline Illegal Lengths Mascara

Sometimes I pick something up in Superdrug and I take it to the till thinking, “This is crap. You know this is crap. Why are you buying this?” This is one of those items. I’d picked up my trusty favourite, One By One and a Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe, and, with nothing else I wanted on the 3-for-2, I grabbed this. I knew it was crap, but I bought it anyway. Why do I do it?!

The product in question is Maybelline Illegal Lengths mascara. It’s supposed to be a fibre mascara, which has fibres in that build up on your lashes and make them much longer.

illegal lengths mascara


This packaging is one of the cheapest pieces of crap I’ve ever felt. I’ve already scratched some of the silver off, and it feels super light. When you take the brush out, there’s no resistance, it’s like the bottle neck is too large for the brush.

illegal length brush

The brush itself is very long, and the bristles are quite sparse. Not my favourite type of brush, but that’s just me.

illegal lengths

Um. Are there fibres in this? *squints* Straight away I thought this just wasn’t going to work for me. I really don’t like wet mascara formulas, I just think they always end up looking really natural and they’re not buildable. Anyway, let’s slap it on/



bare eye

My bare eyeballs, obviously. As you can see I don’t have much in the way of length, volume or curl.

illegal lengths one coat

One coat.

illegal lengths two coat

Two coats.

illegal length three coats

Three coats.

Well…. yeah. This DOES make your lashes longer. So I can’t fault it on that claim, I guess. Does that mean I like it? No. It’s messy, the brush does nothing to separate my lashes and it doesn’t lengthen any better than any other mascara.

Basically. Save your pennies. Save yourselves.

Monday, 23 April 2012

A few NYX swatches…


A while ago the fabulous Kathy from kathyfuckingjacobs sent me a bunch of awesome Nyx lipsticks, because she’s awesome. I really like the Nyx Round Lipsticks, the selection is amazing and they’re always opaque and easy to wear. And pretty damn cheap as well!


Nyx Round Lipstick in Almost Black

Nyx Almost Black

Oooooooh, guuuuuurl! This is awesome! “Almost Black” it ain’t – it’s just a very dark purple. I know a lot of people who don’t get on with NYX Medusa, and though this is less auberginey and pretty different, if you want a cheap “goth” colour of lippy, I’d totally recommend this one.

Nyx Round Lipstick in Saturn

Nyx Saturn

A really hard one to describe… I think it looks more red in real life than this photo, but it is really frosty. It’s pretty cool and I’m quite interested to try this with different liners.

Nyx Round Lipstick in Penelope


It looks a little purple here in the photo but in real life, it just looks black to my eye. I’ve not worn this out yet, but I think I’d wear it over a black eye pencil and that that should keep it pretty much in check as it’s pretty glossy, I’d worry about it feathering and with black that just looks terrible!

Nyx Round Lipstick in Indian Pink

Nyx Indian Pink

I adore this colour! A lovely pinky-peach which is bright enough to make it the focus of your look but not so bright you’d feel like a dumbass wearing it at work/to Tesco/to sit in on your arse and watch Take Me Out etc.

NYX Megashine Lipgloss in Chandelier

NYX Chandelier

The perfect every day pink gloss! It’s SO shiny and glossy and gorgeous and goes with everything – winner!


Sorry it’s been mostly swatches from me (and sporadic ones at that) of late but I’ve been a busy bee doing shoots and going home to see my family and stuff. I have some photos from shoots to show y’all soon and hopefully some manis and a Sleek Eau La La Liner review as well!


What are your favourite NYX products?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Wet n Wild Lipstick Swatches

I got a lovely package from Wendy last week with some gorgeous Wet n Wild lipsticks in. I love WnW lipsticks and would love it if they came to the UK!


Mega Shield Lip Colour in “Within These Adobe Walls.”

Within These Adobe Walls 2

Within These Adobe Walls

Unf! Is this a gorgeous spring colour or what? I love it. Can some PLEASE explain the name to me? I know adobe is a type of clay… but I don’t get it. And it’s not even a clay colour!

Mega Shield Lip Colour in “Salsa Lessons.”

Wet and Wild Salsa Lessons 2

Wet and Wild Salsa Lessons

And isn’t this a perfect summer colour? This one is coming with me on my holidays! I love the formula of both of these – they go on balmy and dry down a little, lasting 3-4 hours which I think is pretty good. The formula has SPF 15 which is better than a kick up the arse and I’m in love with them both.


MegaLast Lipstick in “Purty Persimmon.”

Wet and Wild Purty Persimmon 2
Wet and Wild Purty Persimmon

MAC “So Chaud.”

Mac So Chaud


*fans self*  This is everything I want in an orange/orange-red lipstick. Yesyesyes. It’s not bang on with MAC So “Chaud,” which is a little darker and more opaque, so I won’t call dupe but if you’re looking for an awesome matte orange-red and don’t live near a MAC or want to pay the dollah for it, this is a great alternative. Do you live in America and not own this? Yes? LEAVE THE HOUSE NOW. RUN. RUN AND FETCH THIS. Seriously.

Megalast Lipstick in “24 Carrot Gold.”

wet n wild 24 carrot gold 2

Wet n Wild 24 Carrot Gold

To me this looks a little like a lighter, less in-your-face alternative to MAC Morange which even I as am orange lover am terrified of – hence why I don’t have it to compare, it’s just what gets called to mind when I look at it. This is much less yellow than I thought from seeing swatches online and I was so pleased because I love the MegaLast formula, and I love oranges.


Thanks SO much Wendy for all the pretties!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Weekend Face

I had a busy weekend just gone, with shoots with tons of fabulous alternative models on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I managed to do some half-decent face each day myself, so here they are:

bad to the bronze 2
bad to the bronze

bad to the bronxe 4

bad to the bronze 3

Eyes: Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to The Bronze. Shadows from Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette. Maybelline Eye Studio gel liner. Sleek Eau La La Liner in Bullion. Paris Hilton eyelashes (yeah, yeah.)
Cheeks: Boots No 7 Vital Radiance highlighter, MAC Modern Mandarin
Lips: MAC Rebel

Maybe this look is a bit mish-mash with the eyes-lips-cheeks, but I don’t care. I had a day off, I was wearing ALL the makeup. The lashes are awesome – the “hairs” cross over each other to make big spiky lashes. Get thee to Savers as all the Paris Hilton branded lashes have 2 sets in the box for £2.99 – bargain!

lazy pink pinup
lazy pink pin up 2
lazy pink pin up

Eyes: Pink lid colour and highlight from Wet n Wild Lust palette,
Cheeks: Sleek Pan Tao, BeautyUk Peaches and Cream.
Lips: Wet n Wild Mega Shield in Salsa Lessons

Super quick face as I was up at 6.00 which is stupid for me on a Saturday – hence why the eye shot is blurry and you’re getting a good look at my curtains! I was  I was off to a pin-up shoot so I wanted to look..well, pin-up. Liner, red lips, done!

raisin 3
raisin 2

Eyes: Shadows from Wet n Wild Lust Palette. Sleek Eau La La Liner in Raisin, MUA Liner in Pink Sparkle. Salon Perfect lashes in 105.
Cheeks: Sleek Pan Tao, BeautyUk Peaches and Cream.
Lips: Kiko Supergloss in 107.

I hate it when I take my photos right away and the glue is still tacky and you can see it. Ah well. I LOVE this style of lash – wispy, but still long and full with a thin lash band. Wendy sent them to me, so thanks psychic Wendy!

What have you all been wearing recently?


Just a quickie for you this dull Monday afternoon! Permit me to pimp my videos on our collaborative channel, The Makeup Heroes. It's a channel where 10 of us who are too busy to take care of our own channel full time do looks, tutorials, beauty tags, hauls and all that good stuff! Here are my last few videos for your viewing pleasure:

Jessie J "Domino" Inspired Butterfly Look

My March Favourites

My shoe collection!

Pimpy pimpy! I'm still really nervous talking in front of the camera and not so good at filming/editing so bear with me!

The other Makeup Heroes are:

Wendy of Turtle Beauty
Heather of Eyeconic Makeup
Jerry of SilhouetteScreams
Amanda of Snarky Princess
and Priscilla of MakeupJunkie88

So pleased to blog with such awesome sauce ladies!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Oldie But Goodie: Sleek Original Palette

I’ll be the first to admit that I really neglect my Sleek palette. I pulled The Original out of my drawers a couple of weeks ago having not touched it for a long time and have actually got a pretty decent amount of use out of it since then. And it really is a fantastic palette:


sleek original

(With Sugarpill Lumi)


sleek original

sleek original

sleek original

original blue

sleek original 1
sleek original 2


The standard Sleek black in this palette is pretty poor; Although I did do this swatch with fingers on bare skin and it adheres to a brush much better, it’s still a bit difficult to work with. The gold has an odd texture as well, but other than that, the rest of the colours are really really smooth and easy to work with. Bear in mind this palette is more than a year old, so they may well have changed since then! I think if you’re a colour fan, this palette is amazing and full of awesome jewel-toned goodness, but the coppers and khaki/olives mean you can easily incorporate it into work looks and whatnot.

And just in case you haven’t seen it yet, I love love love this recent tutorial by Nic with the palette!

Mmmmm, Pixiwoo.

What are your “oldies but goodies”?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Quickie Review: MAC Modern Mandarin (Satin) Blush

Modern Mandarin just came out with the Trés Cheek collection, which I merrily skipped down to MAC to swatch on Thursday.  I was expecting to come away with Immortal Flower at least, if not more, but Modern Mandarin ended up being the only one which excited me.

mondern mandarin 2

modern mandarin

modern mandarin comparisons

L-R: Mac Modern Mandarin, Sleek Pan Tao, Darling Girl Fantasia, Sleek Aruba, MAC Springsheen.

Isn’t it pretty? I love the satin finish and the pigmentation is just right for a blush – not too much, not too little. I was worried from some swatch pictures I’d seen that it would be too ORANGE, but on the skin it actually has a bit of coral to it, perhpas, there’s very little yellow there to my eye which is fantastic as blushes like Sleek Aruba just look awful on me!

modern mandarin swatch 2
modern mandarin swatch

I really love how it looks on! I’m really pleased with it – I normally try and steer clear of MAC blushes unless they’re on Fragrance Direct or Cheap Smells or similar as £17.50 is pretty expensive. I’ve no complaints at all with this product though, and I can see it being a favourite over summer.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Real Techniques Brush Review

In case you've been living under a rock, Sam from Pixiwoo has a brush range called Real Techniques out. (Nicola didn't get involved as she was pregnant at the time when they were developing the line.) Previously only available online, you can now pick the range up at Boots which is fantastic because if your Boots doesn’t carry them, they should be able to order them in for you. The range consists of three Core Sets and several single brushes. I’ve got one single and two of the sets to show you today. All the brushes are hand-cut synthetic (taklon) bristles and are so are 100% cruelty free, hooray!

Put the kettle on now, because this is a long post!

-your base/flawless Core Collection ($18/£21.99)

core collection

Contour Brush


contour size

What a cute little brush! It's a smallish dome shaped brush, so it fits nicely under the cheekbone. It's great for blending out a cream product  as the brush keeps its shape enough to really work the product, as well as being synthetic and not soaking up the product. It works equally well with powder too. I used it for highlighting a models skin last week, and it's a nice size for the top of the cheekbones and down the centre of the nose. I also then used it to work foundation in to certain areas. I really like this brush and can see myself getting a lot of use out of it. I thought it would be too small to apply blush initially, but as long as you’re not using a really pigmented colour, it’s actually okay, it’ll just take a little more time to blend out than with a larger blush brush.

Buffing Brush


buffing brush size

Alright. I'm going to get a bit misty eyed here because this brush is excellent. It's a small-ish, soft dome shaped kabuki-style brush and the idea is that you - obviously - buff your foundation into the skin with it. I don't know where this brush has been all my life, I really don't. It makes light work of Revlon Colorstay, which can be a bit of a tricky bugger and effortlessly gets cream foundations right into the skin. It's just fab and I'm really annoyed they don't sell it separately. (Apparently, the new Expert Face brush only differs in that “It is a narrower shape and available as a single rather than in a set,” according to Sam in a YT comment, so it might be worth looking out for that one instead.) I much prefer it to my ELF Studio Powder brush  (flat top kabuki-style brush with a long handle) as it doesn’t give such heavy coverage, and being slightly rounded rather than cut flat across, it works better with the contours of the face. I also found it easier to wash than the ELF Studio! Personally I find this way too dense to apply blush with, but that’s down to preference I suppose. Love, love, love this brush.


Pointed  Foundation Brush




Compared to the ELF Studio Angled Foundation Brush (which I think is quite small actually!)

This foundation brush is tiny! While I don't use this type of brush for foundation often (not on myself anyway) the small size is actually quite good if you're using a foundation that sets quickly and that you would apply in 'sections' anyway. It's not going to do your whole face quickly (although it's not so small it's a massive ordeal!) but it's great for getting in around the nose, under the eyes and between the brows, either for concealing or where other, larger paddle-type foundation brushes can be a bit too large. Because this is synthetic, it plays well with cream and liquid products so I’ll be playing with it for highlighting, etc.

Detailer Brush


You may not know it, but I have a bit of a fetish for tiny detail brushes like this one. I love that they can be used for spot concealer, lipstick (both of which the RT website recommends you do) highlighting the cupids bow, smudgy liner, and applying colour to the inner corner of the eye and the lower lashline, which is what I mostly use them for.  There's not much to say about this particular brush other than it does all those things very well. It's not what I'd buy the collection for though, obviously, and ELF studio has similar ones if you want to buy one singly – or any lip brush to be honest! - but it's a nice, really really useful addition to the set.


Overall, a great set. You can highlight, contour, conceal, apply foundation and blush/bronzer with all these brushes. The Buffing Brush is the star of the show with the Contour brush a close contender.  Each brush, if you don’t include the case, works out to about £5.49 each which is awesome! I’d pay £21.99 for the buffing brush to be honest! It’s a shame there’s not really a star blush brush here, but it's sold as a base kit, I suppose, so I can’t grumble!

- your eyes/enhanced Starter Set ($18/£21.99)


Deluxe Crease Brush

deluxe crease 1

deluxe crease

deluxe crease comparison

Deluxe Crease Brush compared with Revlon Crease brush.

This is a monster of a crease brush! It's not the sort of brush I normally use for my crease - I prefer a fluffier brush like a MAC 224 - but if you've got more space than I have you might really like it. Where this brush really shines - and if you watch Pixiwoo at all you'll know what's coming - is for concealing under the eyes. I hate wearing concealer under my eyes for a variety of reasons, but this makes application effortless and look really nicely blended and natural. It's  soft and gentle for the under-eye area, but robust enough to blend your product out and really fits in the under-eye area nicely. I really like it for applying a highlight on the brow bone as well. Sell this one on it's own please, Sam!

Base Shadow Brush

blending front


Compared to my (bedraggled) MAC 217

To me, this is the RT answer to a MAC 217. It's not quite as full as the 217 perhaps, but it's got a pretty similar shape. I've never been particularly enamoured with the 217 personally, although I use it on models a lot more than I would on myself. I prefer the 217 for laying down colours as I find it grabs the product more, but much like the 217 this is still great for a wash of colour on the lid and for blending colour in the crease. If you want to pack colour on, reach for a different brush. Really like this one so far and am keen to play with it more. Again, I think this one would sell really well on it's own.

Pixel Point Eyeliner Brush


liner comparisons

Compared to MAC 209

liner strokes

Trying to get a  decent line with the Pixel Point Liner brush

I... don't understand this brush. I've never seen a liner brush like it! It's enormous! I was expecting it to be very flimsy, but it's actually pretty good at keeping it's shape. I much prefer to build my liner up rather than apply a fat line right away and I getting a thin line with this is.... tricky. I'm going to play with it for lining the waterline and see what I can use it for lip-wise. The way the brush is constructed is odd and I’m worried that the brush will get damaged as it looks like water could easily get into the ferrule. I know that’s silly but when I look at it, you can see where the bristles all come out of a hole in the ferrule rather than it being pinched around the bristles. Very unusual! It's a bit of a bizarre inclusion in the kit in my opinion and is the “let down” of the five. Don’t get me wrong, the quality is fine and it’s soft and picks up product nicely and what not, but whoever thought this was an awesome idea must have had a bit of a brain fart as to me, ‘pixel point’ suggest a fine line. Oh well. Real Techniques are releasing a fine liner brush that’s going to be sold separately, however, so I’ll probably end up checking that out! If you’re after a budget fine liner brush in the meantime, head to the art store!

Accent Brush


  detailer comparison

Accent brush compared with Elf Small Smudge Brush (sorry it’s grubby, I just used it!)

accent comparison

Compared with the Detailer brush.

See above re: Detailer Brush. I don't think you can have enough of these types of brushes! This is nice and small and I’ve been using it to put gel liner on my waterline and colour on the inner corner which is what I love it for most! You could use this for lips easily because of the size, but I prefer a pointier lip brush personally.  Cute brush, happy this was in the set.

Brow Brush


This is a nice brush, but personally it's a bit too thick for me to use as a brow brush - if you wanted a really fine tail you might struggle with this brush. I guess that's all down to preference. I've been using it on the lower lashline and I really like it for that, it’s not too stiff for that area, but when I used it for my brows I had to do the tail with the Pixel Point liner brush. Again, I do like my skinny brows on me, so that’s just a personal preference.



While all the brushes are great quality, I don't think this set is as well-rounded as the Core collection. I wish that the liner brush had been replaced with a regular flat eyeshadow brush - the domed shadow brush that's in the travel essentials kit maybe, or the shading brush which is available separately. Then you could pack colour on, do a wash/blend, do detail and do your brows with the whole kit (and just rely on liquid liner :P) The Deluxe Crease Brush gets the pat on the back for this set, its certaily the star. The kit is fantastic value and each brush works out about £4.40 each even if you don’t figure the case in, which is frankly insane.

-Blush Brush ($9/£9.99)

blush brush

blush brush size

I utterly adore this brush! I've been wanting an big egg shaped blush/powder brush for a long time. This is so, so soft! Now, for a blush brush it does look enormous and I've seen a lot of people moaning that it's too big for a blush brush. It can be daunting when you first go to use it, but really, the tapered shape  is perfect for creating a nice, soft-focus look. Basically, the whole of this brush isn’t necessarily going to touch your face, and because it’s lovely and soft you won’t pick up too much product if you’re using a pressed blusher. Because it's tapered, it's also a great powder brush as it can fit in all the nooks and crannies of your face, like under your eyes.

Unlike the brushes that come in sets, the single brushes have a wide bottom (ha!) and can stand up on their own. I was initially worried that it wouldn't fit in my brush belt, but it does! With that in mind, Sam has said that they weren't made for professional use (even though a lot of MUAs love them!) but it would have been a bit annoying! I’m going to try the stippling brush next out of the single brushes, although the foldable kabuki has me really intrigued!

- The Cases


Case with the top folded over and stood up.

case with extras

Case laid flat, with extra brushes on the left hand side.

The cases themselves are really interesting. They're light and slim and when you open each one out, you can bend back the top half and tighten a little toggle to create a stand for your brushes. Obviously these are fantastic for travelling, and providing they're slim you can pop a few other brushes in there as well as there is elastic on the other half of the case too. The ‘slots’ on the other side are a bit wider, however, so I’d pop any slimmer ones in with one of the brushes in the set. I think I'll mostly use the cases for separating dirty brushes from clean ones after a job or shoot and the brushes will continue to live in my normal brush holder. The set brushes fit perfectly in the case, but if you have some really long-handled brushes, they’re not going to fit quite as well.

It's innovative and a great idea, but in practice there's a few issues. The RT brushes are rubberized at the bottom and this makes it a little hard to pull the brushes out - you need two hands. Not a big deal, but you can't just pluck a brush right out – before I put them in my regular brush holder and just laid the case down flat as it was easier to get them out.  The cases seal well at the side with a velcro clasp, and the brushes are held in well so they won't escape, but I would prefer that they zipped up all the way round so you can just pop the case in your bag without worrying about handbag detritus getting on your brushes! The material of the outside case itself is a sort of shiny canvas material - the type that looks like it will catch easily and pill up. Again, not a big deal but if you're a neat freak it might bother you. All in all, I do like the cases however. They’re slim and light and your brushes aren’t going anywhere.


Summary and bits ‘n’ bobs:



Length compared to a MAC 217. Most of the brushes are slightly on the shorter side handle-wise.


details 2

Text on all of the brushes. On the purple ones, the brush is a darker purple, on the pink handled ones, it’s a darker pink. 

I know people will moan about the pricing as the States get these much cheaper than we do in the UK, but I think Real Techniques is American company even though Sam isn’t! I saw this in a YouTube comment and not for the life of me can’t find where it is! However, even if it’s not, these are still awesome value if you’re getting the sets. The only brushes I can think of that are comparable at that price are some of the Crown brushes, perhaps? I like the few Crown brushes that I have but they’re just not comparable. The quality blows them out of the water. They’re on par with MAC in my opinion, and I love my MAC brushes. For cheaper face brushes, I really, really like the ELF Studio and while those are cheaper if you want to buy singles, Real Techniques singles are still pretty darn accessibly priced! Around the £10 mark for a good face brush is very reasonable in my opinion.

So overall, these brushes are fantastic. The quality is great, and there is everything you need to create a look across the range. The kits I have are great value, the cases are a good idea and a great size for travel. The brushes look good and feel light and easy to use. I’ve experienced no shedding from any of them (I’ve only  washed them all once or twice each, however). They’re cruelty free and are all lovely and soft and feel good on the skin. I do wish that certain brushes were available separately and that a couple of the brushes in the eye kit were different but basically I’m really, really pleased with them and can’t recommend them enough. I’ll be purchasing more in time, I can assure you! I don’t think they’re great budget brushes, I just think they’re great brushes full stop.