Monday, July 30, 2012

Bravery - DIY Facial Waxing

Of course you're wondering why I don't just go to a beauty salon for facial waxing. I do go to a beautician, but I do makeup looks on a regular basis which involves painfully close up photography. Nobody wants to see untidy brows on a makeup look. It's actually a pet peeve of mine. There is nothing worse than having to look at someone else's stray hairs up that close.
I thought I'd give it a go myself at home, rather than having to pluck strays every other day.
This is actually my second attempt at this. The first time I used a Veet facial waxing kit, and the results were woeful. It just did not pull any hair off my face. It was worthless, please dodge.
This time I'm trying a Nads Kit. You don't have to warm this one up like the Veet one, it works at room temperature which saves time. You just apply it to the area with the wand applicator thingy and you're all set for the pain that will soon commence. For this review, I only did my eyebrows.

With the Veet kit, I spent a good hour trying over and over to get it to work. I reheated the wax a number of times and tried it at a few different temperatures, trying to find the right one. I don't know what the problem was exactly, the strips just didn't pull much hair off at all. Really not worth the money. I think it was about €10. The Nads one is slightly cheaper, between €9 and €10. I should really start keeping my receipts.

Treat your brows to some Nads!

What's contained: Instructions, cleansing wipes, wax, fabric strips

The steps involved in this are exactly what you'd expect:

1 - Cleanse the area with one of the provided wipes. Allow to dry completely.
2 - Twist the applicator thing until some wax starts to ooze out.
3 - Apply the wax in the direction of hair growth.
4 - Immediately apply a strip. Smooth in the same direction as before.

The wipes are really greasy feeling. You'd swear your face would never dry after using those wipes but it doesn't actually take long at all. Give it a couple of minutes to be on the safe side. The applicator takes a good few twists before any wax starts to come out. It's not really obvious when you've twisted enough either. When it starts, however, I'm not sure how you stop it. It oozes out quite slowly, so after using it I just stuffed the cap back on real quick so it didn't get everywhere.
The wax feels sticky when you apply it, as it probably should. You put the strip on right away. I much prefer these fabric strips to the paper ones that were included in the Veet kit. It just feels like they grip the wax better. You don't get that many strips though. If you were planning to use this kit for the full twenty-four treatments you'd have to get more from somewhere. You rip off the strip in the opposite direction of hair growth, and it hurts just as much as in the beauty salon. The wax residue washes off easily with warm water.
The whole process is actually a lot less scary than you'd think. You're quite unlikely to come out of this without eyebrows.

I know my eyebrows weren't that bad to begin with. They were worse than they look in the before shot though. You can save the picture and zoom in to see the results better. I just couldn't make the picture here any bigger. This is about one week of regrowth since I last plucked them. I let it go for this long for the purpose of this review. This is the point at which I feel I have to sort them out, and the point at which I'd deem it would take too much plucking, and consider going to the beauty salon. In the after picture there's some redness and minor swelling, but this is normal for me and is not a reaction to the product.
One thing is for sure, the Nads kit is MUCH better than the Veet kit. The preparation/application process is much quicker, and the results are far superior. I'm still not sure that I'm impressed though, since it doesn't seem to grab the length of hair it claims to. DIY wax kits just do not seem to remove very short hairs. The instructions say it will work on hair 2mm to 3mm in length, but this just isn't the case. 3mm at a push, maybe. The longer stray hairs I had, they came off with the wax, but they were easily 4mm long excluding roots. You also can't be extremely accurate with the applicator provided. 
For most women, it might be worth it to pick up one of these. For someone who has to tidy them up as frequently as I do - you're better off just plucking. I mean, you're going to have to do a fair bit of plucking anyway since you can't get too close with the applicator, and it doesn't work on the light fuzz between the eyebrows. 

I won't be buying this or any other home waxing kit again since they don't suit my needs, but by all means pick one up if you think you'll get use out of it. If you're a lady who shaves her brows completely off and draws them back on, certainly pick one up since the results will last much longer than shaving. If not, it's probably worth picking up anyway. Consider the math; one tube of this is almost equal in cost to one eyebrow wax at the beauty salon, and you get up to twenty-four treatments with this. Its use isn't limited to eyebrows either, it can be used on most facial hair. I'm not saying you'll never set foot in a beauty salon again, you'll have to go back for proper shaping now and again, but essentially you could be saving yourself a couple of hundred euro in visits. Definitely worth giving it some thought!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Favouritism: The Body Needs

As you may have noticed (I hope you've noticed!), I now have an ad on my blog, underneath the 'Follow' gadgets. It's for The Body Needs, and I'm so proud to be an affiliate of theirs! I'm very fond of their products, and I'd like to direct any new customers that I can to their site. I've made four orders from The Body Needs in as many months, since I discovered them through Jangsara's blog. The company is run by Cheryl and Grant, and they've been delivering fantastic cosmetics to the world since 2005.

Their products are fast becoming a favourite of mine. Their Under Eye Concealer is a staple in my makeup routine, and I frequently visit their site, planning for my next purchase. Their Mineral Eye Shadows specifically just wow me. I mean, I actually say 'wooooow' when I swatch some of them for the first time, they never fail to impress me. all I've only purchased loose shadows so far, but they do crush pots (pressed pans) too. And they're hypoallergenic! My latest order contained 'The Blackened Collection' (pictured below). It's a set of ten loose shadows, available in either .6g or 1.5g pots. I got the .6g pots, since loose shadows last me forever and you only need to use a little of TBN's well pigmented shadows. I've also purchased the 'Eye Candy Collection', a set of beautiful bright shadows, and the corresponding 'Eye Candy Gel Liner Collection'.*

Swatched over Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy: Blackened Teal, Blackened Navy,
Blackened Blue, Blackened Turquoise, Blackened Emerald
Blackened Iridescence, Blackened Gold, 
Blackened Bronze,Blackened Violet, Blackened Maroon 

I also got some lip luster in my most recent order. I've seen them on the site and been eager to try them for some time. I ordered three different shades - 'Cloyingly Coral', 'Coralberry' and 'Tokyo Pink' (pictured below). My favourite of these is 'Coralberry'. It's just a gorgeous colour that lasts for hours. It's a little more sheer than the other two I have. 'Cloyingly Coral' has a nice satin finish, with great colour payoff. 'Tokyo Pink' is the craziest! It's such an intense pale pink, I love it. These lip lusters have great lasting power, and don't dry out my lips. I'll be collecting more of these!

Coralberry, Cloyingly Coral, Tokyo Pink

Do they stock blush? Hell yes. They do both loose and pressed blush. They carry some of the boldest shades I've come across, along with some softer, more muted colours. I've collected several at this point. Mostly the ones I have are a little shimmery, just a couple of matte shades.
I have a number of TBN glitters too. They do eye safe glitters that they come in pretty much any colour you could imagine, and they've got some fantastic looking gel glitters. They're so unique and pretty. They also have a range of body glitters, but I currently don't have use for body glitter and so haven't yet tried any. I got one of the gel glitters recently in 'Avalanche', I'm very excited about this one and I'm currently thinking of how to integrate it into an awesome look to show it off.

TBN satisfies my not-so-inner bargain hunter, big time. There are regular sale item rotations, not to mention the 1c sample. I've picked up three different samples, each of them glitter. They're an actual steal. I mean, I almost felt bad that I got them each for one American cent. That's even less than one European cent. Pure madness. I've only scratched the surface of the range of products they offer, so I highly recommend you check out the website:

Finally, The Body Needs sports the reassuring 'Cruelty Free' logo on their site, and the majority of products are vegan certified. Really, what's not to love about them? <3

I just realised how much of a consumer I am when it comes to makeup, and I'm pretty comfortable with that.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Galway trip! (or 'Penneys Eyre Square Essence stand')

This week I took a spontaneous trip to visit my sister Laura! She lives in Galway, which is 3 hours away from me by bus, so I don't get to see her all that often. She had a couple of days off work, so I went up there to hang out a little.
I had one shopping aim for this trip, to buy new shoes and a dress. I only managed the shoes. A cheap €5 pair of mustard yellow doll shoes from Penneys. Buying dresses involves trying them on. Trying them on becomes tedious very quickly, so that didn't last too long.
Penneys in the Eyre Square shopping center has lots of cheap makeup!
It has a Catrice stand, a Rimmel stand, and best of all a HUGE Essence stand! I love Essence products, their shadows and polishes especially are just fantastic. Their 'no animal testing' policy is also a big guilt free plus. I was in my element, I just love browsing their products and looking for polishes that I don't already own. So began the Essence nails mini-spree.

There was Disney Snow White polish collection there, that I hadn't seen in the Essence stands in Cork. It had been heavily ravaged already, but I picked up a few of the remaining colours for Laura, since she loves Disney things so much. The shades were adorably named after the dwarfs. I managed to swipe 'Grumpy' (royal blue), 'Bashful' (dark green with gold undertones) and 'Dopey' (shimmery lilac) for her. I also nabbed her an effect topcoat in 'Prince Charming' (blue and silver glitter, different sized particles), and a pack of nail stickers featuring butterflies, apples and strangely enough, grass. I took the liberty of picking her up a tube of Cuticle Remover gel,  and bottles of the 24/7 Studio Nails base coat and Quick Dry top coat. She didn't already own any of these things, and I needed to fix that if we were going to do our nails.
Image from:
The Cuticle Remover gel is great, I don't have any cuticle softening stuff myself. I've been meaning to get some for a while now, and after using this I'll have to do it before my next application. Unfortunately, the Essence counters in Cork aren't as extensive as this one in Galway, so I doubt I'll be able to find this same one. It's not as if I haven't had a really, really good look already. I'll have to scout for a worthy alternative. 
I also got an effect topcoat in 'Evil Queen' for myself, and I did attempt to use it, with lumpy results. The 'particles' are big purple discs, and they're hard to simply coat on without either getting too few or too many. I didn't have any implements with which to guide them around the nail, so I did what I could with layers of top coat. The next day I took it off because of the aforementioned lumpiness, but I will not let it defeat me.
You can read more about the Essence Snow White polish collection here:

I'm currently testing the Essence 24/7 base coat for longevity vs the Revlon one. The only obvious difference between the two seems to be that the Essence base coat finished matte, and the Revlon one shiny. That of course, and the price. The Essence one was €2.29, and the Revlon one €9. I'll keep you posted.
The only other Essence polish I got was a Colour3 one in 'Walk in the park'. If you haven't heard of the Colour3 polishes, you're really missing out and I feel very bad for you. I have 4 of these now, I believe. They are double ended polishes, an opaque colour on one side and a sheer shimmery polish on the other, which is suitable for layering on the opaque colour. 'Walk in the park' is a teal/green polish, and its sheer counterpart is 'Stop for an ice cream', a blue/gold/silver shimmer. It's really pretty on, I'll do a review of the Colour3 polishes that I have soon and add some pictures.

Nail enamel excitement aside, I had a great time in Galway. I always do when I go there! We went to a nice little Italian restaurant one night for dinner. The name escapes me, but it was tasty and reasonably priced. I made Laura watch loads of Angel with me, and when she refused to watch any more we compromised on the Powerpuff Girls. We did some well earned relaxing, and visited some of Laura's favourite haunts. We saw some of her friends play music one night at the Roisín Dubh (she's a musical type herself), had coffee at Java's and breakfasted at An Tobar Nua. Fun times were had by all!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review with Look! - Revlon Custom Eyes - Rich Temptations

Today I'm reviewing another Revlon product! The 3 for 2 offer is still on at Boots :)

There were a few different CustomEyes palettes available, they cost about €11. I picked up the one named Rich Temptations. I chose this one because it seemed to have the best variety of colours. It consists of 5 shadows, pictured below.

I really like the packaging! It's quite small too, perfect for taking in your purse. It's even small enough to fit comfortably in a clutch bag.
I did swatches of the shadows and everything for you! ^_^
The poor shadows don't have names, but they have numbers instead.

From left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

I swatched the shadows over NXY White Eyeshadow Base. I won't be swatching on bare skin at all on my blog. If you're not using an eyeshadow primer or base, you should be.
Each shadow has a satin finish, here's a short description of each:

1 - This one's a pale pink colour. Very pretty in the palette, but applies too sheer for my liking. I really wish this one were a bit more intense, as I really like pink shadows!

2 - This colour looks plum in the palette, but goes on a bit browner than you'd expect. It's still a nice colour though.

3 - A sheer champagne shadow. It's great for brow and inner corner highlight.

4 - A lovely moss green colour! I really like this one because I don't have another shadow quite like it in my collection.

5 - I was sort of disappointed with this one. In the palette it looks like a deep purple, but when you swatch it, it's closer to black. There are subtle purple undertones, but it's not what it appears.

A couple of the colours look a little too different swatched than they do in the palette. I was unimpressed with this to be honest. The colour payoff for the darker shadows is quite good, but for the paler shadows it's not great. I couldn't even build the colour up to make it more intense. I'm talking more about the pink in this case, as I can use the champagne for highlight.

On the back of the package, there's a sort of makeup tutorial! I thought this was quite cool, so I recreated it. I actually wish more products included pictures of look ideas!
The eyeball on the left is my eyeball! :D

Again I used NYX White Eyeshadow Base. The shadows are nice to work with. They apply and blend nicely and they look really good. The dark colours are strong enough that you don't need to pack them on heavily to get them opaque. Until I'd used the shadows to do this look with, I wasn't that impressed at all. Actually working with them and seeing how nice they are to use somewhat changed my mind about them. They lasted plenty long enough too. I wore mine for about 12 hours and it looked pretty much the same as when I applied it.

I finished this look with the following products:

  • NYC Liquid Liner - Black
  • Essence Kajal Pencil - Black 
  • No7 Intense Volume Mascara - Black
  • Essence Eyebrow Designer - Brown

To conclude, I like quite like this palette, despite my disappointment after swatching them. I'd be conscious of buying Revlon shadows without being able to test them in-store, though. Next time I'm in Boots I'll have a look at what other shadows they offer. I know they have Colorstay quad palettes so I might check those out, since the other products in the Colorstay line that I've tried are great.

I'll leave you with some more pictures of the look I did from this palette!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review - Revlon Base Coat

My first review! I'm sorry it took me almost a whole month.

So a few weeks ago, I got Essence's 'Let's get lost' nail polish. It's a gorgeous bright blue colour, I really love it. Unfortunately it badly stained my nails and fingers when I removed it! I normally get some light staining, but this was severe. No amount of scrubbing would help, so I had to repaint immediately. I decided it was time to invest in a base coat so that I'm not discouraged from using my new favourite colour from Essence.

I bought the Revlon Base Coat for around €9 in Boots. There was a 3 for 2 offer on Revlon cosmetics, so I also picked up a some Colorstay Lip Butter for my sister and I (I'm a BIG fan of these lipsticks, expect a review in the near future). There wasn't a particular reason that I chose the Revlon Base Coat, I just got a good deal!

The product itself is packaged nicely. You get 14.7ml for your €9. It's just a little pricey since I normally buy Essence nail colours at €1.25 per 5ml bottle, but not unreasonably so.

The text on the bottle makes the following claims:

  • Prolongs nail enamel wear
  • Fills in ridges
  • Protects nails from staining

The brush is a good size, and coats your nail in just a few strokes. The base coat is clear, goes on smooth, and dries quickly. I always give each coat of polish 5 minutes to make sure it's completely dried, but this stopped being tacky in 1-2 minutes.
Next step is to apply polish! The first time I used it I applied an Essence polish in 'Black is back', as I experience some staining with this shade too. Polish seems to stick to the base coat, so you can't really spread it around the nail as easily. It can get weird and streaky if you try. I found it easiest to apply a thicker coat than usual.

Finished with Essence's 'Quick dry' topcoat, I got 3 completely chip free days. On the 4th day there were chips, and later in the day noticeable wear around the tips and cuticle, and so it had to come off. This isn't bad longevity considering I'm quite hard on my nails, but it's no longer than usual. So no, the base coat did not prolong my nail enamel wear.

It did, however, fill in the ridges on my nails very nicely. One of my little fingers has more pronounced ridges, since I got it caught in a door when I was little. I turned black and fell off, and grew back ridgy. I'm always conscious of it looking different than my other nails when I wear shiny polish.This base coat completely smoothed out that nail, and I am so impressed with that. No more worries about my odd fingernail!
Finally - no staining! The base coat completely protected my nails from any kind of staining. My nails actually feel quite smooth, as if it preserved the buff I gave them before this application. That's a surprise, because they always feel dry when I remove polish. I'm very happy with this result.

Overall it's a good product. What impressed me most was the ridge smoothing and stain prevention. I'd be happy to purchase it again, as it did what I needed it to do.