Beauty-related gifts that don’t suck

Posted on November 13, 2014 under Lists

There are a lot of beauty holiday gift roundups out there, but in my opinion most of them are not that great. Obviously, tastes differ and I’m sure there are people who would disagree with me, but personally I think it’s hard to go wrong with holiday-specific sets or products. I know, I know, not very creative, but they’re nice products from brands with name recognition and THEY ARE SPECIALLY PACKAGED FOR THE HOLIDAYS. I love the holiday season and I love interesting/cute/beautiful packaging, so obviously this is the way to my heart.

This isn’t a real wishlist because I know that I will be receiving ZERO of these products. This is just a list of holiday beauty gifts that are not crap.

Lips

lipstick

Lipstick Queen Lip Nouveau Set – $48 USD ($54.46 CAD, £30.51)

I think Lipstick Queen packaging is beautiful in its simplicity (and the lipsticks are satisfyingly heavy to hold), and there is just something so special about receiving THREE ENTIRE lipsticks. You get three colours and three formulas, and although the set isn’t holiday-specific, the colours are all appropriate for cold-weather.

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Lipstick Charms – £29 ($51.77 CAD)

I’m in love with the Charlotte Tilbury lipstick I have, so of course this adorable miniature set of three miniature travel-friendly lipsticks is appealing. Plus, the packaging is perfect for the holiday season: it’s a bit fun, but still expensive with the matte chocolate brown and rose gold.

Sephora Favourites: Give Me Some Lip – $30 CAD (£16.80)

For the lipstick lover, there’s nothing better than the chance to try new formulas and colours, especially if you can try a bunch all at once. These are generous sizes (including one full-sized product), so it’s not like giving someone one-use samples. This is the gift of choice!

Eyes

eyes

Lancôme Hypnôse Classic Mascara Christmas Gift Set – $35 CAD (£22.50)

Even though I refuse to spend my own money on high-end mascara since there’s so much on offer at the drugstore, I live for high-end samples and I love Hypnôse and its various spinoffs. Also, the Bi-Facil eye makeup remover is THE BEST and the Defincils eyeliner is a classic – and you’re getting those for free, since the set is the same price as the mascara alone. SCORE.

MAC Keepsakes Eye Palettes – $39.50 USD ($47.50 CAD, £32)

This one is entirely about the packaging for me – that cameo is too gorgeous! Plus, considering the price of MAC eyeshadows, this is actually a really great price for what you get. But I’m mostly in it for the packaging – I would treasure something this gorgeous forever!

Illamasqua Embellish Eye Trio – £49 ($87.40 CAD)

This set is a bit extravagantly priced, but when has Illamasqua ever mislead us?! The rose gold details and the beautiful box it comes in make this seem like a very special gift, plus cream eyeshadow, gel eyeliner, and brow gel are all products that would get a lot of love from me. This set is just decadent.

Face

face

NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette – $75 CAD (£45)

This is another one that’s quite pricey, but NARS’ cheek pigments are legendary, the packaging is just the right balance between whimsical and chic, and this is a useful product for travelling. With a few cult products and a few of NARS’ lesser-known hits, this palette hits all the right notes.

Benefit Fun-Size Flirts Christmas Gift Set – $38 CAD (£29.50)

This set contains a little bit of everything – deluxe samples of primer, highlighter, blush, mascara, and more. Again, I’m into sampler gifts because the recipient can try out generous sample sizes of things for free and then know for sure if it’s worth dropping cash on the full-sized product! Also, I think the Benefit packaging is the cutest ever. Fancy packaging is nice too, but sometimes you just want something adorable.

Benefit Cutie Cravings Gift Set (Debenhams exclusive) – £26.55

And for those of us in the UK who are craving an especially adorable Benefit set, get thee to a Debenhams (or order online, it’s the 21st century). Personally I think this set is really useful, with Benefit’s cult classic Hoola bronzer, four neutral eyeshadows, the super popular They’re Real! mascara, and more. This set gives you pretty much everything you need to create a soft and pretty makeup look, which means that it’s basically the gift of a face.

So, those are my picks for beauty-related gifts I would like to receive/gifts I would give if I were rich. What are yours?

Review: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red

Posted on November 10, 2014 under Reviews

Let’s all be honest with each other here for a moment (and eternity).

There are products that circulate around the beauty blogging and vlogging community all at once, and you know they were comped and maybe sponsored. And bloggers post pictures of them and maybe not even swatches (and certainly not any looks with the products), and they’re never mentioned again.

I don’t like this.

First of all, it’s lazy. If you get sent hundreds of dollars worth of lipstick for free and your job is YouTube, I feel like lip swatches are the bare minimum. Yet nobody does this!

Second of all, it’s disingenuous. Don’t pretend you weren’t comped products, then barely use them, then act as if we should spend ACTUAL MONEY on them. Because there’s a difference between “I was given this for free and it’s passable considering I didn’t have to pay for it” and “I purchased this with my own money and I feel that it was worth the price”.

Like, good for you that you received 10 full-sized high-end lipsticks for free, but sometimes the best review comes from someone who went out and plopped down £23 of their own cash.

So. Yes. I bought a Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick. This was on the recommendation of Aisling, who has one and loves it.

This is the most expensive lipstick I have ever purchased by the equivalent of $12.50, which is enough to buy me two Rimmel lipsticks. So you know that if I work for 4 hours to be able to afford a single lipstick, I am going to expect it to be flawless in every conceivable way.

charlotte-tilbury-tube

I got the colour Red Carpet Red, a true red that leans a bit on the cool side. I chose it mostly because it seemed like the most versatile and I think that it’s important to get a lot of wear out of a $41 lipstick, but also because I think that having a red lipstick in fancy packaging is possibly one of the most gratifying material experiences a person can ever have. Even if you’re not a red lipstick person!

Gorgeous textured rose gold packaging aside (and it is truly, decadently beautiful), how does this lipstick perform?

First of all, it applies like an absolute dream. It feels like a balm on the lips, even though it’s very pigmented and definitely matte. It goes on so smoothly and doesn’t accentuate any dryness. I love the shape of the bullet itself: the straight edge makes it easy to get a perfect, crisp lip line even without a brush.

As for wear, this lipstick is practically indestructible. The first time I wore it out, I had a full day in London including two meals and plenty of drinks. (Normally when I go out for drinks I submit myself to the fact that my lipstick will probably get messed up, but not this time.) There was minimal fading on the very inside of my lower lip after I ate, but even if I hadn’t touched it up I don’t think I would have looked noticeably weird wandering around!

charlotte-tilbury-before-and-after

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Red Carpet Red just after application, and after 5 hours and a messy meal. It could use some minor touch-ups in the center of the lower lip, but nothing serious, and no feathering whatsoever! Plus, it still feels great – not dry or flaky.

Is this lipstick a splurge? Definitely. Am I sorry that I spent my own money on it? Not at all. It’s certainly not an essential item, but if you’re in the mood for a fancy and gorgeous lipstick I would absolutely recommend one from the Matte Revolution line. My only complaint is that the colour selection is fairly limited – most of the colours are either dark, vampy cold weather colours (which I do love) or very similar shades of peachy/browny/pinky neutrals.

Charlotte Tilbury Tilbury Matte Revolution lipsticks retail for £23 ($41 CAD) for 0.12 oz, or £191.67 ($341.67 CAD) per oz, and can be purchased from Charlotte Tilbury counters at Selfridges or online from CharlotteTilbury.com.

Review: Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter False Eyelashes

Posted on November 06, 2014 under Reviews

This weekend while in Brighton, something possessed me to pick up a pair of Tanya Burr false eyelashes despite the following two facts:

  1. I am not a big falsie wearer – they’re a hassle, generally not super comfortable, and look too dramatic for my day-to-day life!
  2. I’m not Tanya Burr’s biggest fan.

However, I didn’t bring my very small lash collection over to the UK with me in September, so I thought I might as well buy a pair just in case I needed them. Plus, I suppose my curiosity about Tanya’s line got the better of me.

tanya-lashes

I selected the “Everyday Flutter” style, because I thought half lashes would be easier to apply and more wearable for an everyday context.

Now, I was not expecting to be impressed. I mean, I didn’t think I’d hate them, but I thought that they’d just be another set of lashes.

Because it’s my style to reveal my conclusion near the beginning of the post: I love these lashes. Yes, I used the L-word. (No, not lesbian. Or lesbians.)

tanya-lashes-closed

In case anyone was wondering, other eye makeup: Burnout and Darkside from the Naked 3 Palette, Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner, Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes mascara.

These half lashes are fairly long, with thin criss-crossing lashes that do make for a fluttery effect. Although they’re long, the fact that they’re not very voluminous makes them very wearable for daytime. I mean, I’m sure people know that my eyelashes aren’t naturally that good, but I don’t think they look out of place if I wear them to class to test-drive them.

Not only do they look great, they feel wonderful. Actually, they feel like nothing. At one point during my lecture, I was convinced they’d fallen off since I felt absolutely nothing. Nope – still on. Just super comfy.

tanya-lashes-open

I did find them easy to apply, probably thanks to the fact that they are half lashes. There’s no inner corner to tuck – that’s what always gets me! Also, the glue that comes with it is really nice. Normally I toss the glue included with lashes since it always sucks and I have my trusty Duo, but Tanya’s glue is the perfect consistency and has a little applicator that makes it easy to apply directly and accurately onto the band. Plus, it’s shimmery – what’s not to love? The glue holds very well and dries clear, which is always nice. (A bit of eyeliner to hide the seam is still a good idea, though!)

tanya-lash-comparison

My own lashes (with mascara) on top; Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter lashes on bottom.

I can’t speak for the ease of application or comfort of the full strips, but I am so impressed (and surprised!) with the quality of the half strip. Next time I’m in the market for lashes I might just have to try another set in Tanya’s range.

Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter false eyelashes retail for £5.29 ($9.65) at Superdrug.