Saturday, 17 March 2012

Urban Decay Naked 2 - don't mind if I do!

I know I'm late in the beauty world for jumping on the Naked 2 bandwagon, but until recently I honestly had no intention, whatsoever, of purchasing the highly anticipated second palette from Urban Decay.

I only bought the original around Christmas time last year and haven't really used that to it's full potential - so although I saw the second one would launch in Debenham's this New Year, I wasn't all that interested.

And then along came Buyapowa, my complete and utter guilty pleasure (see this ridiculous haul in a previous post) who decided to launch an Urban Decay Naked 2 palette co-buy!!!

I told myself I didn't want, or need, the second palette - yet when I got the email to say it had gone live, I rushed to the website. Alas, I was not quick enough but my fate was sealed - I now HAD to have this in my life. So last Friday, I spotted that it had creeped it's way back onto the 'coming soon' co-buy list, so I stalked twitter and, like last time, it was due to go live mid morning on the Saturday.

So as I sat in the hairdressers last Saturday, whilst having my hair slathered with dye, I avidly watched my iPhone and when the moment came, I was in there like a shot! And it arrived today....

Having ready many reviews of the Naked 2 on my regular blog reads, I wasn't whole heartedly convinced of it's superiority over the original. But now, I am decidedly for Naked 2 and less appeased with the original:

I loved the packaging of the original, but, having now seen the Naked 2 with its sleek tin (which, to me,  initially sounded really cheap and nasty) I have rapidly begun to dislike the original's felt cardboard awkwardness. One simple reason is that the gold/grey matte tin satisfyingly 'clicks' shut, whereas the original is only magnetic. Also, the mirror inside of the Naked 2 is much bigger than the original -  it fills almost the whole lid so the original is quite small in comparison.

Brushes, were definitely a good choice of Urban Decay to include, it is after all a palette of shadows that warrant blending and precise application. I love the shadow brush that came with the original, but love even more the double ended Good Karma shadow brush. I am really impressed that a set like this comes with such good quality applicators - kudos to you Urban Decay!

Many beauty buffs, were not impressed with the offerings of a Lip Junkie lip gloss with the Naked 2, and much preferred the eyeshadow primer potion that came with the original. I have to be honest, an eyeshadow primer is a far more obvious choice for an eyeshadow palette, but I really don't think I'm that disappointed with the gloss. It's a great universal colour, great handbag size and is something that I know I will get use out of. I'm also still not fully convinced that the eyeshadow primer potion suits my really oily skin for eyeshadow staying power.

Naked 2 arm swatches left to right: Blackout, Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted
In terms of the eyeshadow colours themselves, the Naked 2 has impressed me with its focus on a few more 'mink' toned browns and nudes. It is still very similar to the original (with the repeat of Half Baked something that annoyed me somewhat) but just varied enough that you can warrant owning both palettes.

The colours consist of two matte shades, a few shimmers and a load of metallics - all of which are highly pigmented, but if you're not careful, will give some fallout. I'm not going to attempt to describe these colours, you can see for yourself as I have swatched quickly in the photo above. But for a much better quality set of swatches, head over to Debenhams Beauty Club blog and better still, if you can and haven't already, I strongly suggest having a play in store with a tester. I'm not an expert on colours, I just tend to pick what I like, but Anna at Vivianna Does Makeup has made some nice comparisons and breakdowns on the Naked 2 offerings at her blog, so check that out for a bit more detail.

Now to compare between the two palettes - the original Naked and new Naked 2, both contain a mixture of cool and warm shades, again, some shimmer, some matte and some more glittery or metallic. The first Naked palette offered some more silvery/grey toned shades and a bigger variety of paler ones, whereas the Naked 2 has gone for slightly darker tones and richer browns with purple undertones.

My favourites from the original, are Sidecar, Hustle, Smog and Sin.
My favourites from the Naked 2, are Snakebite, Suspect, Verve, and Busted.
All metallics funnily enough!

Naked arm swatches left to right: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep, Gunmetal
So do you need both palettes? If your a beauty addict like me then yes, of course, but let's face it - you probably already do have both! I’m saying that you should definitely invest in at least one of them, especially if you love your neutrals, but which one? Well that's your preference at the end of the day. Mine firm favourite was always the original but I have to say, I think I am now swayed to Naked 2 instead. Ah well, at least I don't have to decide between them now - I can just wear a mixture of both!

If you want to get your hands on one, then try either link below. Or if you are looking for a real bargain, check out Buyapowa - as I tweeted earlier, it has yet again, appeared on the coming soon list, so keep your eyes peeled and your wallet at the ready! It's worth keeping an eye on as it will sell out in around 20 minutes but it does get as cheap as £26 plus P&P. Bargain!! 

Urban Decay Naked palette RRP £36 - House of Fraser or Debenhams
Urban Decay Naked 2 palette RRP £36 - House of Fraser or Debenhams

Which Urban Decay Naked palette do you own? Both like me? I'd love to know which is your favourite.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

GlossyBox - March - The Harrods Edition

So it's the last, but certainly not least, of my trio of Beauty Box subscriptions that I wanted to share with you today. I have already posted reviews on my Carmine and SheSaidBeauty subscriptions, so it was only natural that I finished the series off with my GlossyBox subscription too!

Boy was I a happy bunny on Monday when I came home to find my March box waiting for me. I dropped everything, grabbed my phone (no time for proper photography!) and proceeded to rip the box apart.

You may be aware of the hype in the beauty world about this very special GlossyBox, The Harrods Edition to be precise. And further talk, surrounding the fact that you may get a Burberry lipstick in this month's offerings!

Well, I for one was not disappointed as yes, I did receive the much talked about lipstick....

March - The Harrod's Edition

As I mentioned, March's box was a special Harrods Edition which provided a selection of super luxury samples and although there were no full size products, I was more than ecstatic with my selection as it really was very 'special' indeed! So here's what I got:

Burberry Lip Mist Natural Sheer Lipstick in No. 202 Copper - 0.8g sample size

YES! Oh yes! I was think I actually 'wooped' out loud when I saw the little cream textured box nestled amongst the shredded paper. I am not a huge lipstick fan (I own them yes - but use them less often than I'd like) so I'm afraid to admit that I wanted this purely because it was Burberry and because everyone else wanted it, so naturally I just had to have it! True beauty junkie at heart I suppose! Before I get to the colour, I have to first mention the packaging - this is the most luxuriously packaged sample lipstick I have ever seen!

Housed inside a gunmetal coloured case, with the Burberry check etched on the side and imprinted on the base, was a gorgeous browny-pink toned lip colour that looked as if it would swatch very matte and solid in colour. I was pleased to find though, that it was in fact very sheer and glossy in texture, which gave my lips a hint of brown and yet remained quite natural.

Clarins Extra-Firming Body Cream - 30ml sample size

Having recently started to dabble back in the world of Clarins, I was quite pleased with this product to have been included. I don't need any more body lotions, I have so many and never use them as much as I should, but I actually don't think I have any creams in my collection that are as rich as this. So for that fact alone, I have already started to test this one out. The cream is quite thick, but it sinks in well, smells very pleasant (as Clarins always does) and leaves skin beautifully smooth and soft. Whether my thighs will be any firmer will have to be reviewed in time, but for now, I'll be religiously slapping it on!

Molten Brown heavenly gingerlily moisture bath & shower - 50ml sample size

I don't think I have ever purchased a Molton Brown product before, only sampled them as freebies in hotels so this was a lovely product to receive in the box. My previous experiences with the brand have been good and I therefore have high hopes for this bath and shower gel. On first sights, it smells gorgeous and is the perfect size for travelling but I don't know if I'll be able to hold back on trying this out as I'll probably end up using it all before it even makes it to my suitcase!

YSL Forever Youth Liberator Serum - 5ml sample size

I have seen so many adverts for this and have been really keen to try it out, but have yet to make it to a YSL counter to find a sample. So a most welcome product for my box indeed! I'm currently finishing off a current sample of Lancome's Genefique, so once that's done, I'll give this a go. I don't tend to use much more than my Clinique Dramatically Different Gel on my face and often contemplate taking a leap into the sea of serums, but I am so worried that none will suit my oily skin, I've so far held back. I have high hopes that this will suit my skin but reservations over it's anti-ageing properties as this often means it's too heavy on my skin. I suppose we can only wait and see...

And last but not least, 
Narciso Rodriguez 'for her' eau de parfum - 1ml sample size

I love this fragrance! So much so, that I already own it in the 50ml bottle! Although it would be nice to receive something that I haven't tried, this is not a disappointment in the slightest because it makes a great travel size that I will definitely use up. If you are a fan of sweet and fruity smelling scents then I urge you to try this! 

Favourite product(s) in the Harrods Edition March box - EVERYTHING!

Overall - an AWESOME GlossyBox! I am super impressed with March's offerings (Thank you Harrods!) and it has really brought GlossyBox back into the runnings for me with Carmine.

As I said before on my Carmine postI totally buy into the gimmick of a mystery beauty package delivered straight to your door every month, and I am happy to pay £12.95 for the privilege. I love trying out new brands and products that I wouldn't normally think to sample and the box adds up as a great make-up storage box too!

Like my Carmine subscription, I have yet to review any of the previous boxes, and probably won't (other than individual loved products). I didn't really want to until I felt I had received the service for long enough to give a true opinion on it's offerings. I have used the GossyBox service since December and it has always pleased and provided some samples that I have really used and loved. So out of four boxes, three of which were special edition - Christmas, Valentine's and Harrod's - is subscribing to Glossybox worth it? Definitely!

And although it was hyped up by many and disappointed a lot, The Harrods Edition is still my favourite GlossyBox so far! I am a firm believer that you have to be in it to win it, so if you want the best products each month, then subscribe and commit!

GlossyBox Christmas Edition
GlossyBox Valentines Edition
GlossyBox February box

If you love the idea of the GlossyBox Beauty box 
then use this referral link and subscribe now :) 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

15% off MAC at - hurry ends on Sunday!

Just a quick post to share with you a great offer on selected MAC products from Cheapsmells

If you enter the code 'Mac15' at the checkout you will recieve 15% off the MAC items in your basket, but hurry as it is only on until Sunday 18th March 2012 and it's while sticks last (which I doubt will be long!)

It is only on selected items, but when you have some staple favourites such as the Lipglass and Eye Kohl at only £9.75 each and the Powder Blush at only £9.20! How can you resist???

I know I'll be stocking up, will you?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

L'Oréal Paris - True Match made in heaven!

First of all, I have a confession to make. Until recently I was a complete and utter make-up snob. It was 'premium' beauty all the way (since I was a beauty consultant in fact!) and the only 'self-selection' make-up I would even consider was No7.

But, since my blogging venture began 6 months ago, I have seen the error of my ways and am now finding myself trawling the self selection make-up aisles far more frequently than the premium beauty counters. I have discovered some amazing make-up finds amongst the cheaper brands and one of those such finds, is the True Match range by L'Oréal Paris.

I really haven't been impressed by L'Oréal Paris products in the past but was willing to give it another try. So I took advantage of the latest Boots offer of 3for2 on selected L'Oréal Paris Cosmetics and picked up the True Match Foundation, Concealer, Powder and Blusher (as well as a couple of other things).

Normally I am a very fussy powder purchaser. I have been a long time fan of Clinique's Clarifying Powder (before they discontinued it!!!!) and have yet to find anything that truly matches up to it's quality. But on swatching this powder, it had a very similar feel and texture so I had to purchase, just to be sure!

The True Match powder comes in a flip compact with a mirror and sponge applicator under the powder layer. Yes, the packaging is cheap and will probably smash easily, should I drop it, but it has all the elements of a good carry around compact. Now, annoyingly, they only had shade Golden Beige in the shop so that is all I could purchase. I have since found Rose Ivory online which would be better for me, as I am quite fair, but with Summer on it's way and bronzer making more of an appearance, I don't mind a slightly darker shade - and it really is only slightly darker due to it's 'skin matching' qualities. So far it has stood up well to the likes of my old favourite Clarifying powder, when dusted over foundation, but I need to truly test it when it's worn alone. So only time will tell if we will see this becoming a regular repurchase or not in the future!

The True Match foundation itself, I fell instantly in love with. I have very oily skin and have used Estée Lauder Double Wear for a while now, but more recently I have found it to be just too heavy and have opted for foundations with a lighter consistency for a more natural, blended look - and this one definitely met that criteria. It comes in a sturdy glass pump bottle and one pump action is all you need to do your whole face (if you use fingers to apply, two pumps if you use a brush). Be careful, as it is very runny, but it does blend very well even with fingers and in fact I prefer this method to using a brush. Normally I only ever use my Clinique foundation brush to apply foundation but for some reason this works much better with digits! I went for one of the lightest shades, Rose Ivory and it is an excellent match for my skin tone. I would say it gave me medium coverage and really smoothed out my complexion without looking heavy at all. As with some other skin-tone matching foundations, this one too mattified as it dried on the skin, a quality which I quite liked, so if I didn't blot with any powder, it looked extremely natural and gave the impression that I wasn't wearing any make-up (but didn't last as long!). Once powder goes on top, it can become extremely matte, so take care not to dust on too much!

As I was partaking in the handy 3for2 offer, I decided to pick up the True Match concealer to go with the foundation and powder. I religiously use my YSL Touche Eclat but sometimes I need more cover than illuminator and this little baby does the trick perfectly! I use such a tiny amount that this little bottle is going to last me forever! I went for shade 2 Vanilla, the lightest they have, which is a bit too yellow for me - but will help to disguise those dark circles well - so as long as I blend I'm fine.
True Match Swatches from top to bottom - Powder, Concealer, Foundation
Now I couldn't complete my face with just the trio, so to top it off, I added a True Match blush to my basket as well! I picked out a soft pink with a hint of brown - 120 Sandalwood Pink. The packaging is much the same as the powder, but with a brush instead of a sponge. I really doubt I will ever use this little brush, it doesn't look to be of great quality and I much prefer my Clinique Blusher brush anyway, so maybe only for emergency touch ups, but I guess it's is handy nonetheless.

In all I am extremely pleased so far, with my dabble in L'Oréal Paris and cannot wait to try out my Lumi Magique that I bought at the same time (keep posted for a blog entry about it) but for now, my face is going True Match all the way.

The L'Oréal Paris True Match range is available at Boots and Superdrug

Have you tried any of the L'Oréal Paris True Match range? What is your favourite L'Oréal Paris foundation?

SheSaidBeauty Box - March Edition

Following on from last weekend's Beauty box review I have another one to tempt you with. Yes, I know, another beauty box I hear you say, but I urge you to give this one a chance as it is not only cheaper than Glossybox and Carmine, it has offered a few alternative samples this month which have really impressed me.

I am of course talking about the SheSaidBeauty box which launched this month, and at £9 + P&P I think it so far shows very good value for money. It works in much the same way as Glossybox and Carmine in that you can subscribe on a 1/3/6/12 month basis (with up to 15% off on some subscription packages) and once a month you will receive a beauty box filled with 5 luxury beauty samples. SheSaidBeauty also offer a free beauty magazine through their website and when you sign up, you create a profile to become part of their online social community - so you can review and chat beauty with other beauty lovers.

My first box, or rather the first box, from SheSaidBeauty was their March box, which arrived on Thursday - I love the fact they ship it to you for the beginning of the month - and eagerly, I got stuck in straight away...

The packaging is much the same as other beauty boxes, but the box itself is a flip top lid instead of the usual box and lid or drawer design, and is perfect for recycling as make-up storage :) I'm also loving the turquoise and fuchsia pink colour combination - very Spring!

Inside I received 5 luxury samples, plus two bonus samples and much like my other beauty subscriptions, there are at least 3 out of 5 products which make the box worthwhile.

Orly Manicure Miniature Nail Varnish in Ancient Jade and bonus Orly 180 grit Nail file - 5.3ml full size £5.00 and £1.10
A gorgeous jade green colour that deeply disappointed in application. I don't own any colours like this so was eager to try this out straight away. But I found the formula very gloopy and difficult to apply thinly or without brush stroke marks. I have found this happen before with other mini nail polishes so it hasn't put me off Orly all together, I will certainly want to try some of their other polishes, it just means that I will have to work extra hard to get a good finish on this next time I want to wear it. The nail file was a nice added bonus that we be duly added to my nail varnish collection, or my handbag.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Trio: Shampoo, Conditioner and Style-Prep Smoother - 250ml full size £15.50, 200ml full size £17.50 and 100ml full size £18.50
I LOVE these samples, but they really weren't big enough! The Shampoo and Conditioner were gone in one use but the Style-Prep has lasted around 5 uses. The little trio really did smooth out my hair, but without leaving residue that might make it feel greasy- I didn't need to touch my straighteners my hair was that smooth! Having never tried Aveda before, I am definitely impressed but would like to sample some of their colour saving formula too.

Premae Harmony Face Balm - 50ml full size £18.00
This was my least favourite product of the box, I don't really do balms - except for the lips - so this is probably all I will use it for. It is an Indian Mango Butter for Combination Skin and has a lovely Lemongrass scent (not Mango odd enough). I was gutted to find that other subscribers received false lashes instead of this balm in their boxes :( if I had got the lashes too, this would have been one of the best beauty boxes I've ever received!

Comfort Zone Good Night Kit - 50ml full size £52.95
I have never heard of, let alone tried, anything from the Comfort Zone range. In the box I received a 6ml overnight recover cream and complex treatment - much like a skin oil. A little goes a long way with the cream so I fully anticipate the 6ml lasting a good fortnight for me. The complex I'm less into, as it is very oily and I have oily skin, but I'm giving it a go anyway to see if there's any improvement in my skin tone or texture. I use no night products on my face at the moment so this will be an interesting little test.

Collection 2000 Cream Puff Lip Cream in Fairy Cake - full size 5ml £4.99
I loved this product from the box and it came in such a good colour too! I haven't used Collection 2000 for years and had been intrigued by many of the brand's latest releases. So this little lovely was very welcome indeed. This lip cream applies like a gloss but it's texture is so velvety and it feels so silky that it isn't really noticeable once on - kind of lightweight like a balm. Fairy cake is a lovely coral which goes more pink once applied to my lips, and has a semi-matte finish.

Jing Flowering Dragon Eye Tea - 50g full size £9.00
The second bonus from SheSaidBeauty was a tea sample from Jing. Yes, I know, tea? It sounds a bit strange but this turned out to be one of my favourite items of the box! Essentially, this is a green tea 'bulb' made up of green tea, wrapped around a marigold flower, jasmine blossom and a red amaranth flower. You place the bulb in a glass tea pot or jug (I didn't have one so used a large glass instead) and add boiling water. And watch to see the flower unfurl - it takes about 30secs to reach it's full glory! I will definitely be purchasing some more teas from this company, they'd make a great talking point when the girls come over for a chat. 

Favourite product(s) in the March box - Collection 2000 Lip Cream, Jing Flowering Tea and Aveda Hair Trio.

Overall I am really impressed with the first ever box from SheSaidBeauty and I look forward to their offerings in the coming months. But if I'm honest, I still fly the flag for Carmine being the beauty queen of beauty boxes so far, so we'll see how SheSaidBeauty stand up to this in the long run.

If you love the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start
your subscription now :)

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