Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Which do you prefer... wild and colourful, or naturally pretty makeup? And, are you being manipulated in your beauty choices??

I was reading this amazing post which gave me hours of fun, and it made me realise decisively that I prefer colourful looks to natural ones such as those used by Stella McCartney, Balmain and of course Emmanuel Ungaro. Speaking of Emanuel Ungaro, I have just secured a swap for the cream colour base 'Crushed Bougainvillea', which came out in MAC's collaboration with Ungaro. I can't wait to try it! (Have any of you tried it?)

I have read a lot on Make up artist's forums where complaints are made about how MAC are buying out the independent artists- sponsoring shows, or even paying for the privilege of serving at shows, providing free make up and free artists and literally squeazing out the artists who used to make their livelihood from the fashion show season. Most infamous example would be to direct you to inmykit.com, where product recommendations conspicuously eschew all MAC. But that palpable sense of bitterness is more measured when you investigate the backstory and read the threads at forums. Take this post, where it really hots up:

"I'm on a mac boycot (sic) right now. I'm finding their practices in my market to be disturbing, and now its effecting (sic) my personal business. I feel like an idiot for not realizing their tactics sooner. Then after talking to an ex mac corporate employee, I'm really not happy. Here is what she told me. Their strategy is to befriend working freelance artists in a market, give them free product get to know who they are working for, via fashion shows, events, award shows etc. Then slip in under them, offer to do the show for next to nothing with their beauty advisors. At first I thought no skin off my back, I don't really do fashion shows and they haven't really affected me directly. (My italics) However I do events and award shows. Well not so much anymore, they've managed to take a huge huge huge client away from me. When I talked to the client about the situation, they were very honest with me and simply said, they could get for next to nothing even free from mac instead of paying me and the other artists our rates. They then had the balls to ask if any hair lines have a similar program. Now I feel like a fool for being a part of mac's "sponsor program" .Those of you who work for mac and do the shows and events for them, do you mind telling us what you do get paid? for hit and run events here in my market we were getting $400 for about 3 hours of work max. plus a kit fee. usually employing 4 to 6 artists per event. so $2400 per event, I think a bargain. again consider my market. Don't you think we should be angry about this??? and shouldn't those who are working for mac be angry about the fact that they should be making more money doing these types of jobs??? please correct me if im wrong here.."

Ok. This reminds me, one of my friends works for the Bank of England and I was talking to him about the state of the economy (yes, really) and I was saying, "Oh how sad, Woolies is gone" (yes this probably is the depth of my economic nous) and he replied, " Well it's like Darwinism: Woolworths was once important, but it had lost its place and didn't really have any niche anymore, this economic downturn means that only the fittest business models survive." Then, he added, with a flourish, "It's like spring cleaning really".

This make up artist who posted the message above, had been unwary. She selfishly gave information, so long as it didn't affect her directly. Currently the UK news is ablaze with the prospect that perhaps the secret cabinet minutes might be released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Not necessarily because the minutes might reveal anything (for they are probably sparse) but because it's the 'slippery slope', opening up the constitution and unravelling safety nets. By giving away information on fashion shows because "no skin off my back", she has made her awards show work vulnerable. It is difficult to feel any sympathy for her now. Similarly, her client, who has seen her use these free MAC products, can easily be forgiven for assuming this is, in her words, some kind of "Sponsorship programme" and that perhaps this was a new phenomenon, and where are the hair equivalents, please? (In fact there are Lauder initiatives in this field too, supposedly, whereby Bumble and Bumble are at the helm.) Viewed in this context, the Lauder company are simply exercising a form of 'Darwinism', making individual make up artists obsolete dinasoars, and replacing them with young enthusiastic MAC workers who are excited enough to be in the fast-paced eye of the storm, be it a fashion show, an awards ceremony or even a film set, without concerning themselves with a fair wage or even the opportunity to own their work as their own indidvidual portfolio image (according to the forum, no money is paid and they have no right to assimilate the 'MAC' image with their own).

This cruel commercial attitude evokes Estee Lauder's celebrated line, "You can get anything you want from men with perfume", a know-how that has made us, as consumers, associate MAC with fashion shows, pop stars and professional make up artistry; has made us see Clinique's simple jars- labelled 'Super Defense', Turnaround', 'Moisture Surge' etc, as prescriptive cure-alls, with this quasi medical image intensified by the overt uniform of white coat! We have Origins as the 'earthy' brand, 'Aramis' as the male brand, 'La Mer' exclusive brand, etc etc ad nauseum. Each expertly marketed, and Estee Lauder herself has been credited with the 'Gift with purchase' concept (as well as the idea to 'accidentally' spill her 'Youth Dew' perfume in a department store in Paris and ingrain the scent into shoppers' minds!)

MAC have been identified in the forum as the brand who used to represent the creative artistry of make up, and now, as one unhappy professional make up artist puts it:

"They made their choice to disregard the professional community IMO, when they became all consumer geared and corporate. Away from their past history for being about the artists and individuals in favor of being over distributed next to every Lancome counter and the quality started dropping severly."

This implies, perhaps correctly, that to be an artist's brand means a tacit exclusivity clause- no "over distribution". Plebs and artists, the argument seems to run, should be very much differentiated. Today's beauty commercials often rely on film stars endorsing the product- it's no secret that we as consumers, want what they, as professionals serviced by professional make up artists, have. They are never anything other than perfectly turned out- and we want that glow. No use attributing it to good lighting or photoshop, just tell us the exact product and we're on it. MAC take this a step further- they have their name against a multitude of runway shows: 'Make up by MAC', the byline reads; 'MAC Viva Glam', the poster with Fergie proclaims. TV make-over programmes aimed at young women, where the make up artist has been surreptitiously sponsored by a make up range, spotlight the 'products used', sometimes belying this with a long-screen shot where the recognisable bottle of MAC 'Face and Body' sits.

Then there is the cult of the 'celebrity make up artist'. Kim Kardashian's popular blog, which I linked to in my last post, is heavy on make up tips and often features her make up artist in prestigious place, links to his blog and in turn their blogs feature the celebrities who they have 'done'. One make up artist blogger listed all items used as 'By Revlon', only to have his next blog entry become in turn an angry defense, provoked by the commenters who asked, 'come on, what did you really use?'

But most famous and succesful is the creative genius Pat McGrath. Chances are, if you have ever admired a runway look, this is the face behind the face. McGrath has been poached by Proctor & Gamble so had to push Cover Girl, MaxFactor and SKII, but plans are underway for her own cosmetics brand, which like celebrity make-up artists Bobbi Brown, François Nars and Laura Mercier before her, should do pretty well.

Ultimately, we all have our favourites, whether found by experimentation, chance or falling prey (however unconsciously) to a marketing strategy. Artists like McGrath make make up fun and inventive, so one hopes that this type of person is not eliminated if corporate conglomerates continue to dominate press heavy events. But with MAC making individuals outside of their firm nervous, and the prolific collaborations with designers and brands (Heatherette, McQueen, Fafi, Barbie, Ungaro, Manish...) MAC is proudly decalaring its commercial bent. Is it then up to us to the consumer, to go with the rebuffed make up artists and boycott MAC for this? Or do we live in a commercial age where capitalism is nothing to be scared of? Or should we just say, with a laugh, "Hell it's only makeup!"

Well I don't know. All I would advise is that you know your style and you test your products as if they weren't in that packaging. Just see it in and of itself. With L'oreal owning The Body Shop, Lancome, Garnier, Kiehls, Maybelline, Vichy and a host of other brands, and Estee Lauder owning Clinique, MAC, Prescriptives, Aveda and half the premier beauty section floor, it is tempting to imagine a different label is arbitrarily slapped onto each bottle on the production line. Perhaps that is not true. Nevertheless, the lines between the quality of drugstore make up and high end make up are blurring, so all we can do is not become a victim of the marketing machine. Get inspired by make up looks, then 'shop your stash'- if you don't have the colour- be creative! - mix colours you do have together, mix 2 different brand eyeshadows and see if you can make something new and your own. When McGrath is interviewed in magazines, her early experiences revolve around her enterprising usage of the limited products available at that time, particularly for dark skintones. Certainly today we should applaud the influx of new ranges and tailored products, but is it at the expense of experimentation?

Well this is my inspiration anyway. Now let me leave you with my poll. I would be intrigued to see the results. Please take a moment (see multiple choice poll above).

--> I want to know whether you generally prefer to look glowy and natural, or wild and colourful. Me, I prefer colouful! I'm talking about generally, not the time you'll be going to a funeral or even to work, I mean in your heart. Here are two images you should use as your guide:

Tom Pecheux for Givenchy:

Pat McGrath (mais bien sur!) for Galliano:

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Products best *grabbed off* the shelf... HGs!

Yesterday a swap package arrived. It contained 2 MAC pigment tubs: Sweet Sienna and Your Ladyship.

Now, praising MAC items is usually infuriating- seeing as the chances are that the product has since bid adieu to the lineup, and one can only soothe this anger by reassuring oneself that, one of these days, next collection, next recycling initiative will have it... "Oh, it's Pink Grapefruit lipglass, again. Oh, and Femme Fi. And Deep Truth. Which is perm anyway dammit. Oh. OK, but next time, next time, I can feel it..."

Erm, anyway yes as I was saying, these 2 pigments I believe came out with Antiquitease - which seems like it was the best collection ever by the way- Gold Dusk is another firm fave but ...

I have never seen such a beautiful pigment! Sweet Sienna has got to be the most gorgeous pigment ever, it's like that beloved fave Stila Diamond Lil crossed with the taupey miracle that is Reflects Antique Gold. Breathtaking! And Your Ladyship is like a superior quality version of the erstwhile favourite Naked pigment (or as it's known, 'Naked Pig' haha).

OK so whilst this ecstasy and soaring revelry is at its peak, I feel I should rebalance my previous downer post with this, a list of those products which make the heart sing and the face beam; indeed the life force of our addiction. Let us begin...


Were it not for this, my friends, I'm not sure I could even get up in the morning. First place, as always, goes to Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. (sadly in a discontined shade, but let's not spoil this joyous mood eh?)

It's in perfect shades for pale faces in particular, although comes in a wide variety right up to dark skin. It sets matte, is oil- controlling, has sunscreen, can deliver opaque coverage and lasts and lasts both on your face and in the bottle. Use your 187 for a dream application.

And for underye darkness or blemishes: for seamless blendable full coverage, it's got to be Lancome Effacernes. Hygienic tube packaging (who wants to compound the problem by using an easily contaminated pot/ stick form?) and this stuff also seriously lasts, both on your face (it's waterproof) and in its tube. Amazing!

If you are having a nightmare face day and you think nothing in the world could ever cover the horror... wrong! Estee Lauder to the rescue, again. It's Maximum Cover SPF 15, a thick smooth and very, very richly pigmented foundation (you seriously need a dot of this stuff for an entire face. As the SA said to me, "It's scary how little you need").
Designed for post-surgery skin, this covers all discolouration effortlessly and in fact can be your standby concealer.

--> Tip: Try this applied very thinly as a dupe for Painterly Paint Pot as a pretty long wearing crease proof eye base!

Conversely, for 'Good skin days',

nothing beats Origins Nude and Improved which I use in the beautiful shade, Almost Angel. Sadly, in the UK all Origins makeup has recently been discontinued, but if you can get this stuff, believe me it's like magic. Firstly, it smells divine, like an orchard (and it's natural, not chemical, smell.) This alone makes it a pleasure to use. Its texture is like whipped consistency, and although it masquerades as a tinted moisturiser, this literally does even out texture and make skin look velvety and perfected. The packaging is simple, a lightweight fuss-free tube (unlike the rather hefty frosted glass bottle DW comes in). I bought two; I will be devastated to run out. Like EL Maximum cover, the only criticism is that there aren't enough shades available.

*Blusher / Bronzer

Bare Escentuals again discontinued, surely I am cursed??! blusher in Flowers. The only consolation is that this stuff is so pigmented that a jar will last a hell of a long time. I try others, like NARS Dolce Vita (similar but more red) but I always come back to this. Gives a soft but bright pop of colour and lasts a long time on cheeks without changing colour (oxidising). The colour is a deep pinky red.

Their much maligned B.E Warmth also gets my vote, in that it flatters the blusher very well. I also like Too Faced Sun Bunny.

MAC limited edition Blooming is stunning. Looks dull and ordinary in the pot; transforms to a PERFECT delicate pink glow once on.Very special.


PIGMENTS- Yes, kudos to MAC, they get their own exclusive entry here, my fave pigments.

TEAL Just a stunning colour, vivid pure teal. Excellent non flakey texture, applies like a dream and co-ordinates with a surprising array of colours, notably greys and browns.

Your Ladyship or Naked
- These can't be duped by drugstore brands, they are delicate, angelic and perfect for highlighting or classic lid wash colour. Not too much sparkle, but just enough to keep it in with the luxurious image. It reminds me of some expensive tulle.



Sweet Sienna perfect smooth texture, as Teal. Complex cool taupey colour, adapts to any shade and is truly unique. Has elements of Stila Diamond Lil and MAC Satin Taupe :

Reflects Antique Gold Probably my secret fave. Über glittery but in a mature, rich way rather than an 11 year old makeup party way. Overriding taupe presence, has green and red sparkles when you really look at it. A cool gold shade that can be worn sheer or packed on with a mixing medium to make it go 'editorial'!

Silver (Pro colour I believe)This is literally molten silver on your lids. For a softer silver, Silver Fog is a great alternative. It really is like the pure silver as seen through a hazy fog.
But if you want pure silver, that looks like silver, not tin or blue undertone, then pick up Silver for sure. Looks amazing with Violet pigment or Teal, or pink eyeshadow- yes, it cools it right down.


- Blanc Type: Rich, smooth, pigmented classic cream shade.
- Contrast: Midnight blue, pigmented and blendable. Can be used for daywear or glammed right up.
- Brun: The nearest in MAC's perm line up to the incredible Dark Edge (richest brown, in Cult of Cherry Tempting quad). Works as crease colour, or brow shade. Versatile, it's an ideal staple.
- Plumage: Sophisticated teal shade, very remarkable worn either as lid or crease colour, works with many different colours- always looks great!

- If you can get it, Tempting quad is a fave, OK so is Shadowy Lady quad,

as is the 2008 Holiday smokey eyes quad:

Oh and I loved Electroflash Fresh Green Mix and Odd Couple.


Mustn't forget MAC Paint in Bare Canvas. Doesn't crease. Amazing worn the Kim Kardashian way, with Contrast in crease and Naked pigment on top.


No.91, No.92, No.62:

Highly pigmented, silky and beautiful bright bold colours. Picture is blurry, and these are now replaced with different shadows in Guerlain's newly revamped lineup. I have yet to try the new brigade, but I hear they are less pigmented (?) although much bigger size now.

Prescriptives -Buttermilk. I love this so much I use it all the time, it's similar to Blanc Type but a bit more creamy yellow tinged. They used to have a shade called Buttercup, which I think was the same shade just renamed. It was replaced with this, I used that before. I find Prescriptives eyeshadows can be amazing quality actually but they don't have enough colours to keep me coming back. Nevertheless, this one is just so pretty for lighting up the eye area and creating 1920s style eyes.

They are sold in horrid compacts, or bought as loose square pans:


- This is SO easy, it's my cake liner, NEW FAVOURITE OF 2009 Chanel La Ligne de Chanel in Noir-Lamé.

After loving it, I managed to get the very hard to find, discontinued, duo in Noir et Marine- but it was very lacklustre by comparison (perhaps because I disinfected it with alcohol and dried it out? Maybe that was stupid...) but anyway it put me off buying the limited edition Brown duo. Plus seeing as my hair is now virtually black, I wonder if it would be too light anyway. The black is amazing, very deep jet black and can even be used in the waterline and stays put very impressively. Read
Karlasugar's brilliant blog entry which convinced me I had to have it.

For a cheaper and quicker option, I love GOSH Velvet Touch eyeliners, available in Superdrug for around £5(UK)or online. My favourite staple is Metallic Brass, an exact dupe of MAC's Buried Treasure and I also adore Hypnotic Grey, a deep charcoal. The liners are waterproof and stay in the waterline for hours.These pencils in fact seriously rival Urban Decay 24/7 liners... except Covet, which is such an incredible emerald green that it is simply peerless, and made for the lower lashline/ waterline.


- no HG as yet sadly, but I like Max Factor Masterpiece (original) combined with Lancome Hypnose.


-I have a soft spot for Chanel 'les Gouaches de Chanel', I keep searching for them and have stocked up. It was a limited edition set designed to look like an artist's palette:

and they last a really long time, as they're sort of dry textured. It comes with a gloss tube to put on top of them, but in of themselves they are like pure pigments. The red is exceptionally striking, but it also has a brownberry shade and a nude pink too. It's a great set and I'm always excited to use it, even though I've had it a while.

For instant Angelina Jolie lips, I love MAC's Kinda Sexy, it's nude without the corpse effect. It avoids any beige or mauve creeping in as it's particularly peachy. Wear it with MAC Beurre or Estee Lauder Spice Writer.

For the best warm red I've found, I'm afraid it's another MAC ltd edtn, from Naughty Nauticals, called Port Red. Best described as 'ruby slippers' red, I bought 4, as I just thought it was that good. It looks amazing with MAC Cherry lipliner.

*Finishing powder

MAC Blot (Pressed)- In a league of its own for its oil controlling properties.

Estee Lauder Lucidity also very good, especially for evening out skin texture and helping diffuse age lines. Go for the pressed, the loose is a little sparkly.


- Makeup removal:

Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean foaming facewash. Only need a tiny pea size amount to thoroughly clean ALL makeup off. Contains caffeine and conditioning extracts and really does foam and feel clean! It leaves skin squeaky clean, and manages not only to remove makeup in one go, but also to balance oily and dry areas of your face. Just a word of warning- DON'T get this in your eyes, it reallllly hurts!

*Eye makeup remover

I have tried Clarins 'Heavy' eye makeup remover, it is so much weaker than this... I have tried Gatineau's mammoth size bottle from QVC, it is a joke. I've tried oily drugstore eye makeup remover. But this one is the King of all eye makeup removers, in one gentle swipe your heavy eye look has gone. No tugging and inviting wrinkles, no holding you up when all you want to do is get to bed. It is, of course, Lancome Bi-facil.


I use Clinique toner No.2 , the notorious purple one. I don't care it's got alcohol, it feels like it's working and I like seeing the dirt come off tangibly.


Nivea Oil Free moisturiser - Great makeup base, non greasy and very soothing due to its witch hazel and allatonin.

Clinique Total Turnaround - a miracle cream that palpably brightens and renews the skin at night.

*Blemish treatment

Panoxyl Acnecide Gel Alcohol based 5% - Dries out spots and kills them in record time.

Origins Spot Remover- Tiny but mighty, this is like some witches' remedy, it really cuts down to even cystic acne and attacks it. Removes swelling and redness and can effectively stop spots in their tracks. Best spot treatment available OTC. Has a herby medicinal smell of thyme, which personally I like but some may find it unappealing.
(*actual size!)

*Nail polish
Essie varnishes for french manicure, and base coat; Seche Vite for topcoat. Mavala La Paz for hot pink.

......That's all for my exhaustive round up of fave products, it hardly scrapes the surface but it surely represents my selective top faves!

--> What about YOURS?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Products best left on the shelf....

Today I went to the hairdresser's. I am in love with my hairdresser at Toni & Guy who cuts my hair and always makes me leave the salon feeling like the best funkiest most amazing person ever- so much so that the £50 price tag translates as bargain of the century. However Toni & Guy operate a system whereby hairdressers specialise in either cut or colour, so I go somewhere else for colour. And as for my colour, I am always left severely disappointed- no, actively distressed. The last time I went there (HOB Salon) I vowed never to go again. And I took to colouring it myself. This led to mixed results and often ended in an expensive 'corrective colour' appointment to undo untold damage. But yesterday I received a voucher from HOB declaring they had won 'Hairdresser of the Year' and therefore I, as loyal valued customer, should celebrate and share their victory with a 50% off voucher. Talk about false economy- I have been left with BLACK MANGLED GROSS HAIR. Even I know 'tint can't lift tint', yet hairdressers I swear, know less than me. Exactly like make up assistants, they don't know what we know!! So, although this 'only' cost £20, I could have got the same botched result myself for free by my own fair hand. And why did I not complain? Well the girl was already in tears from her last client, who 'was a cow... didn't like her hair'. Yes the writing was on the wall. But I didn't have the heart to divulge my true violent sentiments. And I even gave a tip. I guess having had a succession of hair tradgedies -(for they are tragedies, truly very damaging to one's wellbeing... If a woman's hair is her crowning glory, then truly I am exceptionally bereft)-makes me strangely immune from the tears that any other mortal woman would shed.

Anyway, as if this general tradgedy were not enough, as I was laid back having my hair washed, the hairdresser exclaimed: 'Oh I like your eyeshadow! Wotsat then, Barry M?'

'No,' I said, rather defensively, 'It's MAC'. It took her a moment to recall, then she rejoined with some tale of trying to find a lipstick she'd seen in a magazine, which had since vanished. 'Yes, they discontinue a lot of things... limited collections...' I faltered. Bemusement. It was weird talking to someone not passionate (obsessed?) with makeup. Incidentally I was wearing MAC Antique Green pigment (Overrich collection); it got me thinking hmmm, maybe I might as well BE wearing Barry M.

For colours, MAC pigments could often be aped by any number of drugstore dazzle dusts and sprinkle powder. They excel at neutral tones, e.g. Naked pigment doesn't have a dupe I've ever seen. And volume by volume, possibly MAC are cheaper (I don't own any Barry M and the website failed to enlighten me, but I suspect this is the case... however taking in mind various Superdrug promotions, perhaps this desperate defense holds no truth anyway, plus who besides a makeup artist needs a tub that huge eh?). So this sad thought led me to thinking of all the other overhyped, or just lousy, products I've suffered so far and I thought I'd share : products I've bought but wish I'd left on the shelf......

1. Bobbi Brown
Yup, whole range, whole thing. I don't like her and I don't like her overpriced rubbishy scratchy brushes; her unpigmented chalky eyeshadows (good size, crap product); or her boring clumpy packaging. And worst worst WORST of all, this:

This is, of all my considerable makeup money wastage, the most glaring case. It's Oil-free Even Finish Compact foundation. Creates simlataneously oily and flaky skin? Check. Heavy finish yet crappy coverage? Check. Doesn't last on your face, doesn't last in the compact? Check!-- (literally lasted ONE MONTH, for an utterly extortionate £24! For 9 grams of product. For your reference, the absolutely amazing faultless Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation is £22 for 30ml.) Heavy, cumbersome packaging? Check. If this is your checklist, you're in luck.

2. Benefit

...Style over substance, anyone?

-Lemon Aid

Yup, it covers my eyelids a treat. And for non makeup days it is a must (erm, I would imagine!) But.... it's NOT a primer as advertised on the Benefit website. It creases pretty quickly. I wish it didn't. This renders it rather a useless product. If I have to prime first, I'll just use my foundation thanks.

-Get Even

Again, nice idea. Yellow counteracts red, yet again. But no. It comes in THREE shades. That won't cut it in today's multicultural world, Benefit. Unless you happen to be chalk white, vivid yellow or ashen brown, these powders will not suit. Also it didn't do enough oil controlling to entice a colour matching sacrifice. Stick with MAC pressed Blot powder, folks.

- Moon Beam

Nail polish bottle and brush. erm, Why?? How does this aid application? Anyway, product itself. Goes bad quickly, perhaps due to unhygenic aforementioned design. Colour is nice, I won't lie. Unique? Certainly not. Lasts on your face? Moderately. Very mediocre and boring product. Stick with highlighter powders and pigments for a more natural application. Use Guerlain's Cupidon pencil or similar for highlighting small areas such as above the lips, along the inner eye.


I cannot believe I spent over £20 on this?! It comprises of a sub standard pair of tweezers, a paste and a powder. Save yourself by mixing vaseline with a dark eyeshadow. The brushes were quite cute, and the packaging (old style) was cute too. If it's in new cheapie lightweight packaging, only the brushes stand as reason to buy. Don't.

- Fantasy Mint face wash

Nice smell. Gloopy, filmy texture, doesn't wash deeply at all. Try Honey Snap out of it scrub if you insist on giving Benefit skincare a go. That one smells nice and softens skin, but after buying it twice I won't be going back. Overpriced and underwhelming. Not quite bad enough to get on the list, but it's sidekick Mint wash easily fits in.

-Ooh La Lift

This sounds like what Fagin might say to congratulate one of his boys on a particularly successful pickpocketing find. I feel no less a victim having bought into this nonsense. Does nothing. Thin pinky liquid, very useless. Use Touche Eclat, believe the hype.

- EDIT/// Forgot yet another stupid wasteful Benefit product: Bo-oing concealer: too dry to be blendable, therefore can never look natural. And again, limited shades, and also unhygienic concept: Product is so dry it demands to be used by fingers warming product up- brushes can't pick any of it up. Hated this!!//


-Base Paupière
VERY similar to MAC's Painterly Paint Pot. Dulls the colour of your eyeshadows, that's the main cause for it making it to the list.

-Angled Blusher brush

£28 mistake. Too stiff, deposits way too much colour. I have a feeling it would make a great contour brush for an expert, but I haven't reached for it. Looks very pretty. A bit scratchy. Also took a million washes before the black dye ran off the bristles.

- Nail polishes

£12 and rubbishy drusgstore runny quality. Pretty bottle, but really!

P.S Heavy scented mascaras, blushers.... why go so heavy, Guerlain? (Just an aside, I love Guerlain overall though.)

4. Lancome

-Traceur Design Waterproof eyeliner
I was at the airport and had happily stuffed some trusty Artliner into my basket. Then a pesky SA came up to me and pointed out the newer version, which had way more product in (4.3g I believe as opposed to 1.something or something like that). She assured me it was identical, only more economical, plus waterproof. Wrong- inlike the adored Artliner, this stuff 'peels' off. It's awful. Very sad. Taught me to mistrust SA with a vengeance.

- Pinksplash Color focus palette (eyeshadow quad)
Another expensive airport buy, different untrustworthy SA. These were terrible on me. They should supply this as a ready made E.R/ Casualty/ Doctors/ other medical drama series/ supply kit for the on-set MUA to perfect the pink eye of severe infection or injury, or druggie. Not sure who else would be able to pull off this colour selection?

-- I've just seen the new Lancome quad and it looks amazing though, it has a hot pink so no doubt I should steer clear... but it looks awesome...

- Moisturisers: Hydra Zen Neurocalm, Primordial, Pure Focus
All have a nasty heaviness to them, heavy scent, feel stodgy. I don't know why I persisted with Lancome moisturisers. I now use humble Nivea Oil free moisturiser every day, and Clinique Total Turnaround at night.

5. Prescriptives

- Custom colour foundation- an 'expert' matched me... until I stepped into daylight with my expensive new purchase and had a horrific tide mark. SO USELESS! And it was beyond crap anyway in so many other ways too. I suppose it's hit and miss, if I'm being generous. A stupid unnecessary gimmick if I'm being honest. Come on, with all the ranges overspilling, why would you gamble on this?

- Virtiual Skin foundation (it may have been d/c since- it was one which she sold as "makes you look like you're constantly in candlelight"). Lousy lousy no coverage, and orangey as well.

- Inklings eyeliner in Mulberry
Needed to line in purple pencil first, otherwise colour didn't show up, and also it was very watery and didn't last. Very poor quality. Think it has since been axed from their lineup?

-Px Super Line Preventor Extreme
I actually preferred the original, well at least it didn't make me break out! I highly regret buying the first one, it was £55 I remember and seriously that shopping trip I spent £220/ £250, something highly obscene, and not one product was any good at all. Recently I have been buying a gorgeous Prescriptives eyeshadow called Buttermilk, and I received 4 little samples of this as a gift. It was a disaster. Not only as ineffective as its predecessor, but whatever the new formulation included, caused spots. Stay away!

6. MAC

Ah, MAC.

- Volcanic Ash Exfoliater (limited edition)
OK I know everyone loved it, To me, it was sugar mixed with dirt. I also found it caused spots. I used it once and hated it. I had bought 2, seeing as it was as usual limited edition, accompanied by ecstatic raves. I could have sold it on Ebay for a small fortune. Instead? Got swaplifted. Hate you e*******!

-Mystery; Retrospeck eyeshadow
Many MAC eyeshadows are rubbishy texture. Little colour pay-off, unblendable, chalky. There is wild variation in quality, only somewhat navigated by first checking the finish.

Mystery is a very interesting plummy browny grey which I love, sadly it leads to patchy blending and can only be used for crease or its poor application becomes too obvious. Such a shame!

Retrospeck is a lustre, and we all complain about them. Glitter chunkerama, bad. Looks so pretty in the pot, but applies as a disaster. Has been on my swaplist since forever, so its reputation must precede it.

Antique Green Pigment
I know- sacrilege! But having really looked at it, there is something a bit Barry M about it, there is something tacky about it. It's gorgeous and applies wonderfully, but somehow winds up looking a bit hackneyed.

Lipglasses/ liplustreglass
I find these too sticky. I like Plushglass as that feels piquant so it's cool, and it stays on lips an extraordinarily long time. But the other ones feel so heavy I just have to wipe them off.

-Studio Fix Fluid Foundation
--Shudder!!-- I can't stand this. I'm breaking the rules here, as I never bought this, but I got a sample and it wreked havoc with my skin. Also, very very yellow and I was colour matched, this was indeed the one for 'cool' skintones. Awful, had to wash it off at once, soooo heavy and unpleasant all round.

- Blot powder LOOSE
I love love love the pressed powder, so better try the loose, right? For mornings, and have the pressed compact for on the go! NO! This is like a completely different product, why does it even share the same name? It lacks the main ingredient which makes the pressed powder so potent (some clay derivative) and instead is loades with talc, wheatgerm, bismuth and other deadly no-nos. Oxidises a terrible orange colour, does NOT control oil in the least, messy packaging which spills everywhere.

Overhype. These tend to look too pigmented and greasy unless you have black or asian skin. On those they look stunning, especially black skin. But the ones I tried- the discontined but highly popular So Ceylon and Petticoat, made me look oily and either orange or ruddy, neither flattering options.

-266 angle brush
Equal to any generic eyebrow brush, I found this too floppy to be much use.

7. St Tropez

- Tan Remover
Doesn't work at all, as I found to my horror when I tried to wipe my orange palms clean... eek! Cost me around £15. The rest of the range is fab though.

8. La Prarie

-Cellular Treatment Concealer
Very drying and hard to blend, plus poor coverage. Was very expensive but I forget now... I think £26. Beautiful colour but wrong consistency. Go with the amazing Lancome Effercernes.

Well, I think that's it!!
Have YOU tried any bad things??

Saturday, 17 January 2009

DUPE OF 187!!!!!!!!!!!???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOAAOHH!!! YAY!!!

... OK so this is exciting!!!

Now, I've seen countless knock off 187s. And no I'm not talking about other H/E territory such as Guerlain's version (which came first, who knows?). I'm talking cheap knock-offs that can spare us the £28 hole in our wallet. The 187 was the brush which set me off on this path of destruction; the brush which instilled the conviction that yes, brushes ARE worth investing in. Albeit that is the case, today on my lackadaisical ambling about the familiar Boots surroundings, my gaze was at once arrested: A NEW 187 DUPE IS IN TOWN.... RUSH!!Invariably, these moments of excitement are undercut by the next sensation, feeling the brush and realising, Oh, it's two toned, not two textures at all. How rude! That ain't no more 187 than my toothbrush is. But this time was different, through the pouch I squeezed... and it met with resistance, not the customary limp floppyness. It is the "'JEMMA KIDD MAKE UP SCHOOL' 'ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION BRUSH'" and I picked it up from my local Boots for £10.77. I can't seem to find it on either the Boots website or her own, but I don't think I got it for a discount (?)- some of her brushes online seem rather more expensive... but anyway as far as I'm aware, it's only £10.77, making it just shy of a third of the cost of a MAC stippling brush.

OK onto the reason why this gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up. It is not quite as narvellous as 187...or rather, it is, but in a different way. The 187 has fewer synthetic fibres on top of its natural hair base, lending it that far spaced 'pixel' character once applied. This all-synthetic brush(good for any morally opposed to natural hair) is still a stippling brush, as it has that essential resistance integral to the name, but it is dense packed. I tried to show this in photos:


This means it offers MORE coverage as the whole surface is coated in foundation, thus could potentially lead to you using more of your foundation if you don't make sure to spread it around. But this is not necessarily a bad thing (sadly!) as full coverage foundation is often required. This definitely gives a smooth, yes 'airbrushed'- why not say it? finish to your foundation. After being washed, it retains its shape beautifully and has suffered NO FALLOUT (another cheap brush characteristic to dread). I tried it with an MSF and it performs exactly like the 187- giving a soft application. I highly recommend this as the best value and best copy of MAC's famous 187. I own the 187 but I still feel this is brilliant: I'll be using it for travel as it's smaller handled and faced than the 187- and also I'd be so devastated to lose my 187 that this seems safer. (Having said that, I would always travel with my makeup in hand luggage with me, if not actively clutching it protectively throughout the flight, so no doubt any danger of loss or damage is surely imagined.)

Although I have never been tempted to try Jemma Kidd's makeup range, priced as it is at roughly the MAC standard, I now find myself being tempted to give it a go. This gets 9 out of 10 from me, folks!

P.S. As long as you can ignore the horror hair phase I'm in, CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE REVIEW: