Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Allure magazine A lure?

Yes, that's right: my conclusion, having read the 'editor's letter' available online, is that Allure magazine is ironically simply trying to lure in the grey pound. Do they honestly abhor the concept of anti-ageing? If so, why pick Helen Mirren who has had and admitted to having work done? As far as I'm aware, she's had a facelift and no doubt has a regime of peels, fillers, botox. So, she knows how to use them in moderation to avoid us being able to ridicule her for 'chasing youth', and that, presumably, is what is being applauded.

To me this is a cynical ploy to act as though they are at the forefront of some kind of revolution. I pity anyone who falls for it... No fool like an old fool, eh?

Allure seems like one of the more intelligent woman's magazines but it often looks like it's trying too hard. Until they put non airbrushed non operated non hair extension-ed non injected women on the cover, what is their point? And in any event, let's be frank, we want to see beauty, we don't honestly want to buy a magazine with a 'people of Walmart' poster child on the cover. The simple truth of the matter is, since the dawn of time, youth and beauty, are linked. Not inextricably linked, but there is a fact: looking good once you're older than 30, takes effort. Effort may mean just eating better and drinking water and exercising. But it's certainly not the bloom of youth that comes effortlessly from being, well, in the bloom of youth.

Women over 30 hopefully have the intelligence to know that calling something "anti ageing" doesn't need to considered in the same lexicon of "anti fungal" and "anti virus" and "anti anxiety" as the editor's letter suggests. Buying a cream labelled "anti ageing" doesn't mean you wish you would die young and never age, or that you renounce all wisdom and knowledge accrued with ageing. It means, clearly understood because you're old enough and self aware enough to accept it, that with ageing comes age spots, wrinkles, uneven texture, sagging. Is there any point pretending we want these things?? Is there any point pretending that we don't want to look like we have a fantastic body, fantastic shiny hair, fantastic gleaming even-toned skin? Why create this absurd Emperor's new clothes phenomenon by claiming, after the horse has bolted (a very hasty search of past Allure covers shows that they have never been mindful before - yes, I know, they say they know they were part of the problem...) that suddenly we object to being promised a remedy to these side effects of ageing?

I believe that magazines aimed at teenagers - and more to the point - online blogs and sites and instagram and social media, are a threat to emotional well being and are dangerous. Because when you're young you're very impressionable and vulnerable.But telling a woman old enough to recognise marketing babble, that she will now no longer have to endure the term "anti ageing" is really pathetic. The magazine is not claiming to actually address the true issue: celebrating ageing in all its undisturbed damage (and it is damage, let's not be coy). They want to have their cake and eat it. They will hoodwink us by saying that they champion age, while putting a woman who's had a face lift and who is posing with an undeniably young tattooed model's arm. Why the need to enhance Mirren with this young arm, why not let the age stand alone or be enhanced, with another aged woman? To put Mirren in this setting makes the cover seem diluted and made more palatable; it seems to signal it as a gimmick and a novelty. In fact, what they ought to be doing is accepting that beauty can and does exist in every age, and there is no point in being touchy about the fact that after 45 you certainly won't have the same, ahem, allure, as someone in the 20 year old bracket. Yes, it's probably linked to fertility. Sad but why be in denial. However, an ageing face can be beautiful and inspiring by virtue of its age, with an erstwhile beauty that still shines through proudly.

 Audrey Hepburn. "I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls"

This is not to renounce advances in science, quite the contrary. One is welcome to fight ageing with all one's finances and all one's efforts. The fight will probably be lost - who, seriously, is convinced that these fillers giving an old cheek the same volume as a young one, looks anything other than a blown up old bag? But regardless, the procedures give the patient a sense that she has done all she can and has at least tried to stem the ravages of time... Do not go gentle into that good night...

So don't treat this fight as anything other than "anti ageing" and don't just lead down to an inevitable sickening platitude or euphemism. If it's because you're ashamed to have a cabinet full of labels screaming "anti ageing", that's one thing, and if it bothered me that much I would put masking tape on it or rip the label off... but I would be no less ashamed if the label said 'plumping and smoothing' than if it said 'anti ageing'. If it's because you genuinely think "anti ageing" is an insult, then why not just stick to a slathering of vaseline when your skin feels tight, and let ageing take its unabated course. By 'plumping' for that plumping cream, you've admitted this is a fight against ageing. You're old enough to accept this without a cynical ploy by a magazine taking payments from these companies and taking photo-shopped images from plastic surgery celebrities who swear on paper that this is down to healthy eating. To force brands to rename creams just to spare your feelings?! How about they say they'll no longer run adverts for anti ageing creams unless the celebrity is actually ageing? Or unless the celebrity is actually ageing without surgical intervention? Hmm well that is a step too far, evidently.

Friday, 28 July 2017

National Lipstick Day - MAC free lipstick...

Just in case anyone doesn't already celebrate it, this Saturday (i.e. tomorrow, 29th July) is National Lipstick Day. If you live in US or Canada, you can go to any MAC counter or store and pick up a totally free, no purchase necessary, lipstick. The only catch is it'll be handed out blindly (one per person until stocks run out) and it's only from the, one can only assume dismally received, Colour Rocker collection. (Pictured above.) So hopefully it won't be the streaky pale blue one or the streaky pale yellow one ;)

If you're in UK or Ireland, we still get a "free" lipstick at any MAC counter, but we'll have to stump up £40 minimum spend before we get it. And once again, it's, one can only assume dismally received, 6 specific shades: MAC Red, Captive, Cyber, Stone, Fleshpot, or Media. I already have Fleshpot (that shade name always reminds of Jeffrey Dahmer and makes me feel queasy) and Stone. I really like Stone and I often use it to 'Autumn-ify' bright orange or pink shades so it's actually very useful. I like it alone as well, it's very 'film noir'. I'm not sure it'd tempt me to make a £40 spend - but if there's any staple you get, maybe you ought to pounce now, and grab yourself a treat...

I just wanted to let people know in case they somehow hadn't heard! Hope this helps :)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Drugstore Chronicles: Duds and Darlings

Who doesn't enjoy a cheap thrill? Well, I say "cheap", but with cynical multi-buys being the only way to get it cheap, it's normally the £10 mark for drugstore makeup... But nonetheless, it's always fun to discover a drugstore favourite. My favourite today has been going strong since 1952! So it's doing something right...

Now first of all a quick note on the duds. Both were flung mercilessly into the bin; if makeup doesn't "spark joy" it goes in the bin. Firstly, an ugly stick: Collection yellow corrector. I love the Collection lasting concealer in Fair. Personally I only wear it for short outings as I find it does fade and separate. But for a few hours it brightens and conceals. My favourite concealers are Bobbi Brown tinted eye brightener (which someone told me is being discontinued so I may have to buy a few backups!?) and the classic staple, Lancome Effacernes. The Collection yellow corrector was a brilliant idea, but it's a very ashen yellow and needs to be a warmer yellow. It separates and makes foundation on top separate and it literally makes everything it touches go uglier. The second item flung in the bin was the long-awaited to our shores, Maybelline age rewind Brightener. It gives no coverage and goes on patchy, I have no idea how it won so many fans.

Enough negativity! The anointed one, step forward! It's Revlon Fire and Ice. Of course it is! This is a lipstick I'd had my eye on for ages but never felt I wanted to spend £8 when I had Guerlain Gina for my orange red lipstick needs. But when Colgate toothpaste had the inspired idea to give away lipsticks with toothpaste, I grabbed it. It's exceeded all my expectations. It's creamy and long wearing and it's a real head-turner. It brightens your face, and your mood. I think it's a red that makes you look younger. And it's got that potent touch of blue-red (the promised "ice") which stops it from being Ronald Macdonald and tropical. I line it with a browned red to keep it even more sedate, but for nights out I'd line it with MAC Cherry.

If you have been on the fence about it, check out the deal if you're in the UK via Boots (N/A link) ( and you'll find it for £5.99 - plus you get a toothpaste. This lipstick is better than many of my MAC quality lipsticks as it's only a tiny bit drying, or rather I should say, it's not actively hydrating as my Rouge Gs are. Apparently Rouge Gs are being discontinued! I'm not sure if this is a vicious lie. Gina is a fabulous warm red with a tiny sparkle. But I wouldn't give up Fire and Ice and I don't think they have the same aura. Fire and Ice is more retro in its gloss finish and it has a subversive coldness within the warmth. It's more high maintenance than Rouge G, as it doesn't 'set', but I'm not one who touches or licks their lips so for me it's not a problem. A shade like this defies the whims of fashion, and I'm glad I've got this classic in my collection.

Revlon Fire and Ice swatch

 Applied straight from bullet

 Lined with L'oreal Bois de Rose lipliner

The full face truly retro finished result (excuse the PJ top) 


Please share any drugstore faves you have? I'm sick of always throwing out 3/4 of my purchases!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

MAC Whisper of Gilt is coming back! Third time lucky

Yes! For the third time now, MAC is re-releasing Whisper of Gilt. This will be its fourth outing to date and I do just wish it would be included in the permanent line-up, but for whatever reason, MAC has made it clear that it wants to hold onto the ethereal image of a lost-in-the-mists-of-time perfect highlighter. And adding a snowflake to it has just sealed that reputation. How beautiful???

The only thing is, it's 7.5g instead of 9g. But, one look at that cracked frozen ice packaging and embossed snowflake - all is forgiven. I sold my Whisper of Gilt, reasoning that Anastasia So Hollywood was a dupe. And reasoning that Guerlain Cruel Gardenia was a superior near-dupe. But the truth is, I've missed it ever since. The reason I loved Whisper of Gilt is that it's gold but it has a slight peach glint to it which makes it melt into the skin. The last incarnation, as part of the Nutcracker collection (and in a miserly segment as a duo) looked more gold than I remembered. I've taken @trendmood's picture and put it alongside the original and beloved, and for now, I can spot that same peachiness that made it so special. Of course, since the heady days of that initial Whisper of Gilt release, there have been so many wonderful highlights which include the same 'wet' finish, so it's a little late and perhaps a pyrrhic victory, but nonetheless, one of the champions is set to return - and I for one will have it in my sights. NB: Judging from the wintry theme it is likely to be the next Christmas/ holiday's collection.

The Poundshop Chronicles: Rimmel Kate waterproof gel eyeliner in Emerald

In the olden days, pound shops were a rarity and usually called themselves, rather frustratingly, "pound plus" shops; indeed Poundland (the current giant of pound shops in UK, fondly known as the pand shop) has its own share of £2, £3, £5 and even £10 offerings. However this post will refrain from a discourse on the evolution of pound shops and when a pound shop is no longer a pound shop. Because, here is a beauty product - and it is - in fact, just one shiny pound!

Previously this happily sold for £6.99, and having now tried it a few times, I honestly would have felt that even at full price it was a good purchase. It's a very Kate Moss colour so it doesn't feel like a cheap celeb cash-in. I've always adored Kate Moss' makeup and the way that she is not afraid of colour, she just wears it on her own terms. Her fashion and makeup choices always look like she is the one in control - all too often a wild colour or outfit can look self-conscious, or worse, like it's wearing you! But never with Kate Moss.

It's not a bright emerald but rather a smoked out and blackened emerald. Still, it has an unmistakable jewel tone to it and I love it for the summer to wear instead of a black. It's really hard-wearing and even in our current heatwave it has not smeared at all. I've only used it as a liner but I expect it would work well as a base to a smokey eye. (In the picture below you can see all my eyeshadow has pitifully smeared and creased but the liner has stayed as true as it was when first applied.) The brush included looks worthless and was tossed in the bin; I prefer using a Louise Young eyeliner brush. The other negatives are the plastic pot which, although very cute, is rather flimsy and may not keep the gel fresh, and also the fact that this does say "Made in China".

At the time of writing, my local Poundland had at least 5 still left on the shelf. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available online. If anyone has any trouble getting one or is overseas, perhaps I can do an extravagant giveaway contest... If I can get any more. Let me know in the comments if you've tried this, or what other finds there are for a pound?

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Lancome Sourcils Gel eyebrow gel: REVIEW!

Well it's another Lancome product review! I find myself becoming quite the fan. Lancome is a ubiquitous beauty hall staple, and as such, does get picked on for being "bland". True, their packaging and products don't call for much drama, and when they do try drama (cf. that rose petal highlighter or the big glitter palettes Lisa Eldridge designed) it never convinces. What I like about Lancome is that when they have a good product, it sticks around (no impetuous limited edition games with their staples) and it works. I have always had their effarcernes concealer on hand - and their Bifacil makeup remover, and their eyeliners and lipliners are always reliable too. Previously, indeed, I liked their Crayon poudre for eyebrows, in the shade Taupe. This review is for their latest eyebrow product, a gel pot, called a waterproof gel-cream or by its proper name, "Sourcils Gel". At the same price as their pencils but containing a generous 5g of product, it's a great buy. Let's look at the shade 04 Chatain (French for chestnut). I picked this up going by google images from blog posts, and I'm thrilled with it.

My favourite product for brows is still probably Billion Dollar Brows powder in Taupe. I find the shade so lovely and I like the soft powder retro look. It's long wearing and creamy and it seems to last in its pot too. Having said that, it's 2g and I've already hit pan twice - there's no denying this Lancome will outlast it. And it's a very similar shade:


It's got the same minky richness that is so hard to find in a cool brown (they often tend to be greyed or flat yellowed tones, this seems almost mauveish if that can be). The Lancome Chatain is denser/ more concentrated than my Billion Dollar Brows Taupe. Compared to MAC brow gel it's less creamy, but similar in concept. The shade I have in MAC is beautiful, but it's a far more simple and rich darker brown - shade: Deep Dark Brunette.

I love the MAC one, but for every day I favour a more blonde look overall. As brunettes with highlights know, if you pick a deeper brow you look more brunette, and if you pick a lighter one your highlights stand out more...Such is the science here at Ooglemakeup blog Towers. 🤓

I also have another much-enjoyed pencil which is more in line with the darker MAC gel, though a softer effect. I believe it's discontinued but it's the Dior sourcils poudre in the shade Sable. (They seem to be renamed...?)

Swatches: Dior powder eyeborw pencil in Sable, Lancome powder eyebrow pencil in Taupe, Billion Dollar Brows powder in Taupe, Lancome Sourcils Gel in 04 Chatain and MAC Deep Dark Brunette brow gel

Swatches as above, with Illamasqua Wolf eyeshadow at top for colour reference

At £19.50 I really think the Lancome gel is a brilliant and worthwhile alternative to powder pencils and powders which do run out fairly quickly with everyday use. I use an angled brush and only need a touch. The best thing about this is the shade which is very soft and natural, yet it adds impact to the brow. It also applies well over both the brow hairs and the skin itself. Sometimes I do think that a dark true brown suits me best as it makes my brown eyes stand out, but in surroundings where most around me don't wear much makeup, I find myself reaching for natural tones and effects instead. One of my favourite eye shadow shades is Wolf by Illamasqua. It has that - yes, wolfy - rich brown. Illamasqua Wolf, Lancome Taupe crayon sourcils poudre and this Sourcils gel in Chatain, all have that true, vivid cool brown that so often isn't translated into makeup properly. One thing which is strange about the Lancome gel and it's even more intense in other shades, is the presence of glitter. One never thinks of it, but brow hairs do have a gloss to them. Anyway, I've not noticed any glitter once it's on, only when I swatch it. I'm sure that if anything, paradoxically, it adds to the natural effect.

This lasts all day and really is waterproof (workouts, rain, humidity). In fact the only negative is that it's harder to take off than my standard brow powders. A small drawback - more than compensated by its performance.

Top marks

...Have you tried this?

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Lancome Cils Booster XL: REVIEW!

How would you feel about a £50 mascara? Well inadvertently I seem to have been trapped into this.

I've always LOVED Lancome Hypnose. I loved Hypnose Drama too but nothing beat Hypnose for every day voluminous, soft, fluttery, dark lashes. However, perhaps due to ageing or perhaps due to wearing it for intense gym workouts (I like to think, the latter) - my mascara had not been holding up. A primer was therefore in order, as sacrificing Lancome Hypnose seemed untenable after so many years of loyal service.

For a while I'd been using L'Oreal Beauty Tubes mascara (red and white packaging) which did the job but didn't seem to maximise the Hypnose potential. After being recommended the Lancome version, and reading amazing reviews, I decided to try it. At £23.50, it's the same price as their mascara. And at a measly 5.2g, it's less than the portion of primer given in the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes mascara.

Part of me wanted to dismiss the Lancome instantly. After all, L'Oreal owns Lancome, so I hoped it was just the "same" product in sleeker packaging. The L'Oreal Beauty Tubes did its job after all. But having fianlly tried it, well, let me just say, my Beauty Tubes mascara is now in the bin.

The Lancome primer makes it look like your lashes have multiplied; a host of secret lashes seem to reveal themselves from some hidden depth. A coat of luscious thick lashes emerge once the mascara is layered on this primer. At first opening Lancome Cils Booster XL, my wand was utterly dry and I wondered if I'd received a defective or dried out product? But I swirled the wand and applied. The formula is white as with L'Oreal Beauty Tubes, however, the texture is far smoother and doesn't have the visible fibre strings that the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes has. It must be noted that L'Oreal Beauty Tubes only claims to be lengthening, and it is, but lashes (unless independently blessed) become long, thin and spindly and even a little gritty up close. The Lancome somehow lengthens and volumises. Perhaps the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes actually lengthens more than the Lancome, now that I think about it, but for me, volume is the most important. Using this primer is like applying my Hypnose 4 times layered. In some ways, this can arguably be said to economise on your mascara usage! The picture below is after only one coat of Lancome Hypnose over the primer.

I do wonder if others have found a magic formula layering two drugstore mascaras to get the same effect for less than half a ton. I never thought I would be prepared for a two step mascara process, let alone devote even more expense than simply using a high end mascara. I am wondering if this Lancome is so magical as to make any (even lacklustre, perhaps even a previously dismissed drugstore) mascara work miracles. I literally look like I've had lash extensions when I wear this Lancome Cils Booster XL with my Lancome Hypnose.

Sadly (and with the caveat that it mustn't dry out/ run out too quickly) this is now an absolute a must-have.

 L'Oreal Beauty Tubes base - notice the somewhat 'gritty' and spindly fibres

 Lancome primer - smooth, and doesn't look like much...

...BAM! Where did all those lashes come from?! A lustrous carpet of lashes

Lancome Hypnose over L'oreal Beauty Tubes. Lovely and natural long lashes, but no wow factor and no dramatic thickness. I can't return to this now!