Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Anastasia Beauty Express for brows and eyes product review

Here is the Anastasia beauty express for brows and eyes that I was lucky enough to be sent to review. Although this review has been in the pipeline for a while (my bad) I’m really excited to share it with you. Please note that while the packaging is impossible to photograph it was lovely to look at! The packaging is very sleek and inside a cardboard sleeve was this leatherette embossed case that is kept safe and shut with a handy magnet. I thought this was a nice touch as I travel a lot and don't want to risk anything popping open/exploding in my bag.

The products included are from left to right the brow wax cream, the brow powder duo and a matte and shimmer eyeshadow duo. I know this because somebody had the foresight to put a small insert into the box to tell me exactly what everything is. This is the set of shades for blondes.

There is a mirror in the lid of the packaging but I’d say that’s mostly useful for touch ups. If you’re holding a stencil and a brush I wouldn’t recommend trying to use the mirror in the packaging unless you have to. That said, it’s of a reasonable enough size. I used this kit on a train the other day! If pressed you could probably do the rest of your eye makeup in it. There also aren’t any tweezers included in the kit but if you view it as a makeup item, you’re already getting 5 different products, a brush and some very useful stencils. Which is pretty good going!

The brush is angled and I was a little surprised to see that for so many products there was a single brush. While I wouldn’t expect something to use for the eyeshadows the only quibble I had was using the same brush for both powder and wax and getting it gunky (for lack of a better word) fast. However, it’s perfectly adequate to do both jobs in one sitting, and would be quick enough to clean off. The hairs are both soft and fairly dense.

Step one involves selecting a stencil from the box. Step two involves applying the wax cream to your eyebrow to prep it. Step three involves placing the stencil over your eyebrow as shown in the diagram and filling in the area left exposed with powder. The next step is to remove the stencil and tweeze any straggling hairs outside of this powdered area. Although this means tweezing in the middle of doing your makeup it does make sense in that you’re still using the stencil as a guideline. The final step is to use the eyeshadows provided to highlight your brow bone, lid and the inner corner of your eyes. If you were to travel with this, you effectively have a whole eye look. The steps are repeated in French on the insert which is admirably thorough.

There is an impressive selection of stencils included in the pack and they are the slim high arch, full arch, medium arch, high arch and petite arch. This is one of the things I haven’t seen much of in smaller brow kits and I think it makes this kit much more comprehensive. After a few tests at matching up stencils I went for a medium arch, I initially thought I’d be using the petite one but given my over-plucking I probably wouldn’t normally match that. There is a small and useful diagram on the insert of the ‘Golden Ratio’ of where your eyebrow stencil should match up in alignment with your nose.

Here are swatches (from left to right) of the wax, two eyebrow powders and two eyeshadows. The wax is clear and doesn’t give as much of a ‘wet look’ as some products I’ve tried. The powder is buildable and the darkest shade doesn’t look out of place against my currently mid-blonde hair. The eyeshadow is very light and works as a good base/neutral tone. Unless you were to cake the products on all at once, it doesn’t look too much and in fact simply looks groomed and ‘barely there.' My ‘Scouse brow’ fears did not come true in the slightest. There also isn't too much of a red tone to the powder which I found when using my MUA pencil.

With my ELF kit I’d like to add that I used to put the cream over the powder. Don't ask me why, I just thought early on that it worked better. There is a risk of blonde eyebrows looking dark and overdone with my ELF kit (I use the Ash studio brow kit) due to the fact that both the powder and the gel are pigmented. Although it has two ends to the ELF brush I don't think I've ever bothered to really clean them (shame on me)and the one Anastasia brush gets the job done fine. The Anastasia powders seem finer and offer more of a shade range than my ELF kit.

I tried using the stencils initially without instructions but bogged myself down in too much product. This time I followed the very helpful instructions on the inside lid of the packaging and it couldn’t have gone better. The trick is to remove the stencil to check out your handiwork before you move onto the next step. I do tend to touch up a little after removing the stencil but honestly my brows look better than I’ve ever seen them. The stencils really help get your eyebrows to look more symmetrical and groomed when working with the product. As far as makeup products go when it comes to achievable immaculate, quick natural looking eyebrows? Anastasia has this one covered!

Here I used just the brow powders and wax with the medium arch stencil. This should also demonstrate the fact it blends right in with my hair tone!

Will I be swapping my usual budget ELF option for this? Given the higher price on this product I’d probably want to save this up for nights out but I actually can see myself being able to pull this look off every day. When the cream and powder product in the packaging runs out I might not repurchase this entire kit right away (specifically for budget reasons) but I’m going to treasure the stencils and brush for a long time! The stencil element and clear instructions would make this a perfect gift for anyone who is an eyebrow newbie like me and if you look at it like that it’s an investment. Trialling this product has shown me it doesn’t take that long to get the knack of brows. While I may try out another powder, pencil or cream in the future the stencil is the key aspect of this set and it’s a gem. Altogether this kit represents all of the cosmetic products you'd need.

The retail price of this product is $39.50 on the Anastasia website or £27.50 at cultbeauty.co.uk but I’m definitely a convert to just how natural looking and effective it is. I would very likely look at Anastasia products and try to somehow work them into my budget/stash in the future! While I can't say this is a super cheap product, it definitely does the job, you get multiple products and it would make a great gift.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Pastel pink FOTD

The other day I watched a youtube tutorial by the lovely Lisa Eldridge here that was so pretty I had to try and recreate it! This isn't really a FOTD but I had great fun trying this out.

I used so many different eye shadows and products whilst playing around with this look that I sort of lost count but most of them were from my trusty MUA immaculate palette and my Collection 2000 (Now just Collection of course) Angelic palette. For my lips I mainly used my lilac Barry M 129 lip paint and my Collection lipstick in bubblegum. To finish off the lips I patted a little of one of the pink eye shadows from my MUA palette on top. I used my ELF eyebrow kit in ash and my Accessorize pretty pink baked blusher.

And finally, on the topic of lovely girlie pinks and purples, how gorgeous are these tulips that Mike got me for my birthday? I love them!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Anastasia of Beverly Hills Lash Genius review

I know that I told you all I'd be trialing an Anastasia brow product a long time ago. Well due to issues in getting samples out to bloggers I ended up getting my parcel quite a few months later than expected but with the fantastic bonus of another product to try. I have been dying to try this because when I heard about it, it seemed far too good to be true.

Anastasia Soare's beauty range Anastasia of Beverly Hills has made bold claims with their new Lash Genius. This product primarily works to waterproof your favourite existing mascara. It is a topcoat that according to their website "instantly waterproofs, refreshes, and protects any mascara all day." I must say that I was a little skeptical but excited by this idea. With the summer coming, I couldn't wait to take this product and put it through its paces. On its own Lash Genius simply looks like a mascara in some rather nice packaging, but don't let that deceive you.

Apart from a slightly chemical smell in the tube (didn't notice it at all though from the wand), the product is clear gel-like and didn't irritate my eyes upon application. The brush has quite stiff comb-like bristles and while I was worried it might not cover all my lashes, it actually managed to get through my slightly stiff and already clumped lashes without much trouble. The stiff bristles actually helped it get to the roots really well. I strongly approve of any brush that lets me get to the roots of my lashes properly so this is a tick in my book.

So here is my everyday eye makeup. I had trouble finding a decent shot of this as by this stage in my photos I might have already applied the product. Can you tell? No? Me neither. What I'm wearing as my usual daily mascara is actually a combination of 2true's Voluptulash and Accessorize's lengthening mascara ... because I like to be awkward. Now I personally know that this combination isn't at all waterproof so I was really interested to see what would happen next.

Now the eye with two heavy coats of Anastasia's Lash Genius applied here is on the left. One application of the product actually helped define my already applied mascara and only after two very heavy coats did I notice the lashes looking at all like they had been moved. Lash Genius did very little to disturb the product that was already there and I don't feel I lost the desired effect of my chosen mascaras. All I notice is my lashes are slightly more bouyant? Between each application I left a few minutes for this to dry as I would a mascara - just to give it a fighting chance. This second shot is literally taken about a minute before I threw a lot of water at my face.

In the picture below however, it's fairly obvious which eye has the Lash Genius on! There is no visible product migration from the left eye and yet on the right hand side I'm sporting the panda look. There are actually droplets of water on my lashes and yet the black pigment on the left hasn't moved. I even screwed my eyes up for good measure before I took this in order to fully simulate what having a good cry looks like. The staying power is quite incredible and although my lashes themselves moved a bit after a soaking, the product did. not. budge.


Having left my eyelashes to dry out naturally after this, the eye with a topcoat on looks simply a little clumpier than before and not panda-esque at all. Even having given it a good rub just now nothing came away. I haven't had any real irritation at this stage although by now I'm quite aware that the makeup is still there. However normally I would at least blot my eyes! My current mascaras when combined don't normally fare as well and there was no flaking, smudging or smudging of any kind. Removal with a makeup wipe was actually slightly better than what I normally experience with my daily mascara.

If you plan on visiting a pool, beach, the movies (Monsters Inc. gets me every time) or any other venue where you might not be able to guarantee a dry eye this Summer; I'm fairly sure that this product could literally save your face! As a precautionary measure, it works perfectly. I know that my Mum has very sensitive eyes and real trouble with mascara migrating, so I'm fairly certain this would probably solve her problems too. As for me, I know exactly when I'd wear this. There happens to be a hot-tub in my boyfriend's back garden so this will be in my makeup bag for the rest of the Summer!

The Anastasia Lash genius costs $21 and can be purchased here and their shipping is worldwide! Other Anastasia of Beverly Hills products are also available at Sephora. I also have my Anastasia brow review coming up soon!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A uni update and some good news

So I've been awful and haven't updated for over 2 months. It feels bad even to type it. Ouch.

My last post was a back to uni post and in case anyone was wondering where I went, I think that pretty much accounts for it. Between work, uni, getting healthier since January, visiting the boyfriend in Canterbury and keeping on top of my workload my blogging has completely fallen by the wayside.

I can tell you all for starters that I've kept up my obsession with budget products, had a wardrobe clear out and have gradually gone back to a darker blonde after impulsively going a chocolate brown over Christmas. Don't ask. I've accumulated loads of products I've been wanting to review but I just haven't found the time. So over the next few weeks I'm going to work through my stash and bring this blog back to life... Also, it's my birthday on Monday so I'll be damned if there isn't be a haul post coming up soon!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Back to uni NOTD

I decided to paint my nails last night, which is actually pretty unusual for me! Once you see the picture you'll understand that I don't really have nails and my hands are a state... but I gave it a go anyway. I should have been getting my sleep but instead on a whim I picked out some suitably 'back to school' colours. Here in all their fluorescent and highlighter-esque glory are the shades I chose. At least my nails will coordinate with my notes!

Yes I did have a faff with the colours in that photo, but only because my hands were so damn pink. 

The colours I used were MUA shade 16, Collection 2000 shade 30 'Sherbert Lemon' 
and Barry M 'Mint Green.'

I used these with my steadfast No 7 base and top coats which were a gift quite a while back. Overall I found the coverage on the MUA polish a little thin but easy to apply in 2 coats. The Barry M polish is quite ancient but apart from being a little thicker than it was, is still totally wearable. Finally I've always had a bit of trouble getting application on the yellow right as it's pretty thin and patchy but it's a fun shade. This combination has actually held really well so far!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

New MUA pastel lipstick swatches!

Recently in my local Superdrug, I noticed that they had the new MUA £1 range lipstick shades for sale so I snapped them up. Shown above are the old shade 4, and the new 'bare' shade 14, 'juicy' shade 15 and 'nectar' shade 16 in the range. I put these together for a post as they are all pale pastel shades and I wanted to see how wearable they were on my chapped lips!

From left to right - 4, bare (14), juicy (15) and nectar (16)

Shade 4 from the original MUA range is a very sheer and quite glossy pink. It feels a bit more like a tinted balm in that sense. It's so sheer that when applying it it's can be hard to notice the baby pink tint - but it is there! Due to the how slippy this shade is, I don't see the colour hanging around for too long. However I do like the effect and it was very quick to apply.

Now this is 'bare' or shade 14. Much to my own surprise I really liked the tones in this! This shade doesn't make me look that dead and it doesn't look like I'm wearing foundation on my lips. Instead this is a very subtly peachy beige that tones down the natural pinkness of my lips. Impressively it didn't  drag or gather at all in the dodgy patches of my lips. This was creamy to apply and once on it wasn't sticky or slippy at all. For this reason I think that shade 14 would wear longer than the others here.

Unfortunately while shade 15 or 'juicy' was my favourite in colour, it had the most difficult consistency and application. While this lipstick is pigmented, it is also quite sheer and had a tendency to slip and show up my damaged skin. However, this is a gorgeous pinky peach and a true pastel shade that really pops. While it looks quite pale here, it's lovely and vibrant. I think that with a bit of blotting and some balm, this could still be worn in all weathers.

Shade 16 or 'nectar' is actually the most similar to shade 4 of the original MUA lipstick range. It's very sheer and very glossy but instead of being pink this lipstick is a coral orange. This would probably normally be considered more of a summery shade but I will be wearing it no matter what. This lipstick makes a bold shade a lot more wearable. It also livens up my lips whilst still looking vaguely natural. This may be sheer and glossy but it doesn't seem to budge as easily as shade 4. It doesn't have the most even application but my lips aren't in the best state at the moment so I don't think it's really the fault of the product!