Bobbi Brown Rich Chocolate Collection

I am a bit of a browny, nudey, smokealicious fan – so when I saw the new Bobbi Brown Rich Chocolate collection, I may have swooned just a little. Just how gorgeous!?

The initial item that stole my heart was the Rich Chocolate eye shadow palette (£39.50) – 7 varying chocolately brown shades housed in a slim brown mirrored palette, with a superb double ended eyeshadow and eyeliner brush included.

There are five matt shades, one Sparkle Eyeshadow and one Shimmer Wash. Bone is very light but great for creating a base or to add a little lighter tone to the inner corner of the eye. Stone, Frappe and Cocoa are gorgeous chocolate shades, with Rich Cocoa being perfect for the outer corner or a full on smokey eye. Caramel Sparkle adds definition to the eye, and Champagne Truffle is a truly beautiful gold. 

The Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Bittersweet (£20) is so deliciously creamy and easy to blend. It can be used to line the eyes then smudged out, all over for a smokey eye, or a base for other eyeshadows.

The lipsticks in the collection are Baby Pink and Berry (£19 each) – both gorgeous classic shades and perfect for this season. They compliment the brown eyeshadows perfectly and have a slightly orangey taste to them that takes me back to my childhood. I love the way that the lipsticks are shaped – making them super-easy to apply to your lips. 

The blush’s mirror the colours of the lipsticks. Pink Coral (£19) is a new shade which I am in love with! It’s such a flattering, universal shade. Berry (£19) is limited edition and really highly pigmented. Paler faces will only need a light dusting of this, and it will look beautiful on darker skin tones.

I also have the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner (£17.50) from the collection in Dark Chocolate Ink, which is a very dark brown and a nice alternative to black gel liner. It’s so dark it’s almost black, but takes some harshness away for a softer look. The Extreme Party Mascara (£19) in Black Chocolate, again is really dark but softer than wearing black – and a really pretty shade on the eyes.

I have created a couple of looks to show how soft or bold these new products can be, depending on the occasion or what floats your personal boat!

For the look I used Champagne Truffle Shimmer all over my lid taking it up to the crease. I added a little Bone to the inner third of my eye, then used Cocoa on a blending brush in the crease. To add a bit more dimension I added Caramel Sparkle to the middle of my eye. I used the Dark Chocolate Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, and Black Chocolate Extreme Party Mascara to finish off the eyes. To complete the look I used Pink Coral blush on my cheeks and Bobbi Brown Baby Pink lipstick.

For this look I applied the Cream Shadow Stick in Bittersweet all over my lid, up to my crease, then blended the edges with a fluffy brush, then added some Frappe shadow at the edges to blend the colour out even more. I patted on some Caramel Sparkle to the lid, then using Rich Chocolate along the lash line with an eyeshadow brush to softly line the eyes. I also used the Cream Shadow Stick under my eyes and blended out, then finished with the Extreme Party Mascara. To complete the look I used a tiny bit of Berry blush (see what I mean about how pigmented it it!?) on my cheeks, and Berry lipstick on my lips.

I think this collection is absolutely gorgeous for Autumn and will definitely be getting a lot of use from me. What do you think of the Rich Chocolate collection?

Available at Bobbi Brown counters nationwide, and online.… and LIMITED EDITION!

NARS At First Sight Palette

At First Sight is a new, limited edition palette from NARS, housing two of their best selling complexion products – Deep Throat Blush, and Laguna Bronzer, and a quad of bestselling eyeshadows – All About Eve, Bellissima, Nouveau Monde and Cordura, all contained in a sleek, mirrored palette.

Deep Throat and Laguna are favourites of mine, and them being paired up for this palette ticks major boxes for me. Deepthroat is a coral with golden shimmer, and Laguna a not-too-bronzey bronzer with subtle golden shimmer in it.

The eyeshadows are all wearable shades – three neutrals – All About Eve; a flesh toned shade with a hint of shimmer, Bellissima; a perfect matt mushroomey taupe, and Cordura; a deep brown with flecks of golden glitter. Then, in case you fancy to take it up a notch and break through the neutral barrier, Nouveau Monde is in there too – a satin lilac colour, which is really pretty, and nice to use as an inner corner highlighter.

I’ve really enjoyed playing with this palette and creating different looks, it really is very versatile – you can get lots of different effects from the one palette and as there is a blusher and bronzer inside too, I have found my make up bag over the past two weeks has really slimmed down! This is ideal for travelling with for that very reason.

Here is one of the looks I created with the palette:

I started by adding All About Eve to the inner 1/3 of my eyelid with a flat eyeshadow brush, then using a fluffy brush, added Bellissima onto the rest of my lid and into my socket. I then took a pencil brush and added Cordura into the crease of my eyelid, blending it across and downwards to meet my eyelashes. I used the end of my flat brush to add Cordura under my eye too.

I used a black eyeliner pencil to line my waterline, and used it very close to my eyelashes on my upper lids. I finished by adding some Nouveau Monde into the inner corners of my eye with a small brush, and then added mascara to my lashes.

For this look I applied Bellissima to the crease of my eye using a fluffy brush, then added All About Eve to my eyelid and blended the two together. I lined the my waterline with a black pencil, and used black gel liner on my upper lid, then finished with mascara.

You’ll have to excuse my eyebrows in this photo – I was testing out a new brow product and didn’t realise quite how dark they were until I saw this photo!!

For this look I used Nouveau World all over my lid, and under my lower lash line. I added Bellissima into the crease using a fluffy brush, and added eyeliner to my upper lid and waterline, then finished with mascara.

For reference, I am wearing Deep Throat as a blusher in each of these looks, with a little Laguna bronzer.

There are three totally different looks I have created, but the possibilities go on and on. I am definitely going to keep experimenting! The quality of NARS products has never let me down, and I continue to be impressed with At First Sight.

NARS At First Sight costs £45 and is available from HQ Hair

Bourjois Cream Blush 02 & 03

Everyone seems to have a little round pot of Bourjois within their stash somewhere – it could be to do with the fact they’ve been around for a long time, constantly improving and keeping up to date with trends while being really affordable. They created the first baked blush 150 years ago, and now, next week sees the release of their Cream Blush – 4 gorgeous little pots of blush which transform from cream to powder on the skin.

I have been testing out shades 02 and 03. 02 is the shade I would automatically go for – I do love a coral cheek. ‘Healthy Glow’ is it’s name, and it’s a pretty good name as I think that’s just what it gives you. Once it’s on the skin, a slight amount of pearly shimmer shows through, giving a nice dimension to where the blush has been applied. It’s a beautiful apricot blush which will get thorough use from me.

Both of the Bourjois Cream Blush’s that I tried are really easily buildable. I have been using my finger to apply, over the top of my foundation – patting it on then blending it up – they are so easy to apply and the first application isn’t too heavy so you can’t go too wrong!

03 ‘Rose Tender’ is a babydoll pink colour, which gives a nice gentle flush to the cheek. Again, there is a small amount of shimmer particles which I think is nice for a powder-blush (what this has set to be) as it leaves the skin looking fresh. I have worn it quite lightly, but you could go more extreme if that’s more you’re thing!

The Cream Blush launches on 8th May in Selfridges, and 15th May at Boots, Superdrug and Asos priced at £7.99

Wild About Beauty Safari Nights Collection

The first time I heard about Wild About Beauty I was working on a show for Nicholas Oakwell’s Couture collection – the head make up artist, Michelle Campbell had some of the products in her kit and was raving about how great they are.

Wild About Beauty is a range created by Louise Redknapp and make up artist Kim Jacob. After the birth of her son, Louise developed pigmentation on her skin – Kim made her skin look so good without the need of heavy make up, that they put their heads together and Wild About Beauty was born in September 2012. This isn’t your average line of make up that a celebrity has decided to endorse – this is high quality, gorgeous make up created by both of these ladies.

They have recently released a limited edition collection for spring / summer, focusing on sunkissed, natural hues – Safari Nights. The collection is made up of a multi-purpose palette ‘Safari Nights’ (£29), three nail polishes (£9) ‘Flora’ (coral), ‘Martin’ (bronze) and ‘Tanwen’ (green), and a coloured Nutrilips Balm ‘Camelia’ (£14).

The Safari Nights palette is a sleek, compact mirrored palette housing two powder shadows (Aine & Polly), two creme shadows (Edna & Buster), one multi-purpose tint (Sandra), a Nutrilips gloss (Sasha), an Ultra Dewy Glow Stick (Benny) and an Ultra Sheer Powder Blush (Kitty).

The products are all very nicely pigmented and a gorgeous range of metallic and earthy tones, perfect for a smokey or sunkissed look. I love that all the shades have human names too! As a make up artist, this is an expertly designed product for putting in my kit as it’s so versatile and has such a wide range of products inside. I found that the blush pan size was a little small for my usual blush brush, so I swirled the tip round a little more gently to pick up the product.

For the look above, once I had applied my base, I used Kitty blush with a dab of Benny glow stick above it to highlight.  I used Sandra all over my lid up to my socket then blended the edges. I used Polly in the crease and outer corner of my lid, and a little Aine in the middle and under my lower lash line. I added black liner to my inner eyes, applied some mascara, and finished with the Sasha gloss.

I am really pleased at how much of my face I have managed to get done with only one palette and 3 extra items – for travelling this will be a massive space-saver! The products applied and blended really well – the creme eyeshadows act as the perfect base for the powders which cling to it beautifully without creasing.

I also tried out Flora from the nail polish range – I was really impressed with the formula – it’s nice and thick without being gloopy and applies evenly. The brush is medium thickness and easy to use. The colour is coral with a slightly whitish undertone – it’s really pretty and will look even better with a tan! I think it’s one of those shades that would look great on any skin tone.

For my first delve into Wild About Beauty, I am thoroughly impressed and look forward to exploring more of the range.

Wild About Beauty is available at wildaboutbeauty.com and selected House of Fraser and Debenhams stores.

Illamasqua Powder Blusher Duo – Beg & Bronzerella

I was very excited to receive some pieces from Illamasqua’s I’mperfection Collection in the post this weekend. The idea behind the collection is that, rather than hiding our imperfections – we should work with them and show them off – be proud and say “I’m perfection”!

The spring line up has 3 new powder blusher duos – I was sent Beg & Bronzerella. To be honest, when I first opened it up and saw the colours I wondered what on earth it would look like on – these are almost the opposite of the blush colours I would normally choose for myself.

Beg is a matt, dusky pink colour, with Bronzerella being a frosted coppery bronze colour – both of them are extremely highly pigmented – the swatches above are taken after just one swipe of my fingers across the pan then on the back of my hand.

My initial thoughts were that Bronzerella was a little scary to wear as a blush, but looked a lovely colour for the eyes – so I decided to use it as an eyeshadow, while using Beg as blush. I know I don’t look very happy in the photo – but I am, promise!

I think Bronzerella is perfect as an eye colour and works great with my brown eyes, even if I do say so myself, and would look amazing with blue eyes. As the blushes are so highly pigmented all it took was one sweep of the colour across my lids to create this look. 

I was a little wary of how Aunt Sally I may end up looking with this powerful blusher, so I made sure I used a large, soft brush to apply Beg to my cheeks – it leaves a flushed finish which is very buildable if you wanted to go more over the top with it than I have.

Curiosity got the better of me, so today I have tried the products the other way round!

I was so scared applying such a brown colour to my cheeks, but I actually really like the finished result of Bronzerella! Although I used a large, soft blush brush, I did have to tone it down by blending it in with a clean brush. 
I used Beg in the crease of my eye for a little definition – I would never normally wear a pink shade on my eyes but I’m pleased I stepped out of my comfort zone for the day as I love the finished look and will definitely wear both the shades in both ways again.
Beg & Bronzerella is priced at £26 from Illamasqua – which, for 2 products you can use in two ways, is  good value in my opinion! 

Real Techniques Blush Brush

Whenever people ask me for a recommendation of where to get affordable yet effective make up brushes, one of the brands I always point them to is Real Techniques. The brand has been around for a while, but if you don’t know about them – you should! Makeup artist Samantha Chapman, one half of YouTube sensation Pixiwoo, is the brains behind the brushes. It’s nice knowing that someone who actually knows what they want a make up brush to do has made the final decisions – and also the comfort that Sam wouldn’t put her name to something she didn’t truly believe in.

I have a few of the Real Techniques brushes now, the most recent addition being the Blush Brush.

The bristles are synthetic and super-soft. They’ve been cut by hand into a dome-like shape which is great at getting in under the cheekbone if you wanted to use it for contouring and equally as good on the apple of the cheek. I find that the softness and taperedness of the brush means that the product deposits itself gently and evenly which leaves a perfect finish. I tend to use it for blush, although it can also be used for bronzer, contour or for powder – it seems to pick up all kind of powders really well.

I love the overall design too – I mean, a pink handle – what’s not to love!? They wash well, don’t seem to shed at all, and are such good value for money (this one is only £9.99 from HQ Hair). If you want to build up a brush range, I’d highly recommend the Real Techniques brushes. I’m yet to try any of the eye range, but all the face brushes, I’ve loved.

Bobbi Brown ‘Pretty Powerful Pink’ Pot Rouge

Last night, I went to the Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful Bloggers event – which was a great get together celebrating women and finding out about the latest news from camp Bobbi.

Pretty Powerful is a campaign which celebrates how beautiful every woman from every background is – and started with a book Pretty Powerful: Beauty Stories to Inspire Confidence. It’s a step by step book which shows before and after photos of all different types of women, from famous actresses, to singers, to ‘real women’ which includes inspirational stories about what beauty means to them, as well as some fantastic tips and tricks not only about make up, but about being confident and happy.

The latest release in the Pretty Powerful campaign is the Pretty Powerful Pink Pot Rogue, which is a multifunctional cream product which you can use on cheeks and lips.

It’s one of those colours that will suit everyone’s skin tones – a gorgeous dusky pink which is very buildable depending on how much colour you want. It adds a fab, natural but finished look and believe it or not, this is the first time in my 29 years I have actually used a cream blush on myself! I rather love it!

I am wearing it as a cream blush, and a lipstick – it’s so easy to apply using the finger, and easily blendable – the design of the packaging; a slim pot with a mirrored lid, makes it super easy to pop in your bag for touch ups on the go.

It’s launched today – National Women’s Day to further send out the message how powerful us women are – and a full 100% of the proceeds of sales (-VAT) will be going to Dress For Success UK – a charity set up to help women get back into the workplace, which I’m sure is a subject close to many of our hearts, especially since the recession. It’s about building up confidence in themselves, in their make up, in their clothes, in their knowledge – getting them out there and ready to work again. What’s not to love!?

You can view some of the Pretty Powerful stories on the Bobbi Brown Facebook Page  where you can also share who is a Pretty Powerful person to you, to be in with the chance of the pair of you winning an all expenses paid trip to New York for a makeover at Bobbi Brown HQ!

The Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful Pink Pot Rogue is available from all Bobbi Brown counters and online costing £18.

Urban Decay Naked Flushed

Urban Decay really are taking their NAKED range to all areas – now they have released NAKED Flushed, a gorgeous, multipurpose face palette.

In the mirrored compact, which is about the size of an iPhone, there is a bronzer, highlighter and blush. 

 

The three products can be used separately – the bronzer is matt which can be used for bronzing or contouring, the highlight is perfect for the cheekbones, under the brows, inner eyes or along the nose, and the blush is a satin finish deep rose colour. I think it’s great that all the products are quite large, and spaced out from one another making it simple to use them alone.

I have been wearing the three mixed together to create a pretty cheek colour which leaves a very slight frosted finish which accentuates my cheekbones while giving my cheeks some colour. I’ve then used the bronzer with a different brush as a contour. I really love the colour of the bronze on me, but most of all, I love the three colours blended together.

The powder is super soft and velvety and goes onto the skin easily. It doesn’t require any hard work to get a good finish on the skin – I just sweep my brush from one side to the other and hey presto! 
Urban Decay NAKED Flushed is available from HQ Hair for £20 – another great value piece, hurrah for NAKED! 

MAC Archie’s Girls

MAC release limited edition collections more often than I’ve had hot dinners, but as soon as I got wind of the Archie’s Girls Collection, I knew some of it had to be mine! I am too young to have experienced Archie’s Girls as a comic, but I believe MAC have taken two of the characters from it – Betty who I gather is blonde, sweet and innocent and made a collection for her, and Veronica – a dark haired vixen, and made a collection for her too.

It was released in USA at the beginning of February, so I have been eyeing up the swatches that have appeared on blogs, making a list of what I wanted. It still isn’t for sale in MAC stores in the UK, but when I got an email from Selfridges saying they were stocking it exclusively I couldn’t wait to place an order!

I feel I was quite restrained really – if I was better off I definitely could have ordered more, I love the look of most of the collection. Number one on my list of importance was Betty Bright. The moment I saw it swatched on Temptalia I knew it was definitely my kind of lipstick!

When I swatched it on my hand I thought it was quite similar to Viva Glam Nicki by MAC, however side by side, you can see that Betty Bright looks much more coral in comparison to the pinkiness of Viva Glam Nicki.

It’s a Satin formula, which I find means that it will be moisturising, long lasting and buildable. The colour is opaque and not overly creamy – however as this is a colour verging on neon, I found that it needed to be applied with care so as to not look streaky – and also picked up any dry bits on my lips. That said, I adore the colour and think it will look amazing with a tan.

The next must-buy for me was the Pearlmatte face powder in Flatter Me, which is also from Betty’s collection.

It is described by MAC as a ‘golden peach base with coral hearts’ which sounded up my street – Stereo Rose by MAC has been my blush of choice for years now, and this sounded like it could come close colour wise. Besides, I loved the design of the product – the hearts are mega cute!

In the photo above I first swatched just the coral heart, then the base, then the two mixed together. The hearts could quite easily be avoided if you wanted to use the base colour on it’s own – I think it would be a really pretty highlight shade. Temptalia said in her review that she had problems in getting any colour from the hearts – however I found it to be no problem at all – the two mixed together leave a gentle coral colour which I find to be ideal with my kind of skin tone. It’s fairly sheer so it may not show up on darker skin tones though.

It went on really easily and smoothly and lasted all day – could this be a contender for my new fave coral blush!?

The Pearlglide eyeliners all looked amazing – if I could, I would have bought all four in the collection, but they are part of MAC’s permanent collection so I wasn’t too worried about getting them just for the Archie’s Girls packaging (plus they’re £1.50 cheaper!). Instead, I went for Black Swan, and Designer Purple.

Amazing, huh!?

They have glitter particles in them, which make them almost frosty looking and shimmery – even wet. You can’t use them in your waterline in case the glitter irritates your eyes, but they look fab on the lower or upper lash line.

They are really highly pigmented so one swoop of the pencil is all you need. I found them to be incredibly soft – so thin little eye liner lines are not possible straight from the pencil. These are all about being seen! The softness means they glide onto the eyes really easily. I think the black will look great to accentuate a smokey eye, but think I may end up using these as eyeshadow bases – they seem the perfect consistency!

And so, unfortunately – that is all… the photos above show me wearing everything I bought.

Let me know what you think, and what you have your eye on from the collection.

The MAC Archie’s Girls collection is available at Selfridges.

MAC Naturally Collection: Mineralize Skinfinish in Blonde

When I saw that MAC were releasing the Naturally Collection I got rather excited – I love wearing natural hues of makeup, and thought I would buy near enough the whole shebang. Having learned from previous online collection haul mistakes, I decided I’d wait to see it in the flesh before committing to a purchase.

I thought that the Sweet Sunrise would be a definite buy – but in reality it was just too close to my natural skin tone for it to ever look good!  One of the first things that caught my eye on the display was the Mineralize Skinfinish. I am a massive everyday-wearer of Stereo Rose MSF, and Blonde reminded me slightly of it, of her – my favourite ever blush product… they could be cousins. As part of the Naturally Collection, MAC re-released Blonde and Redhead Mineralize Skinfinishes, which originally came out as part of the Blonde, Brunette and Redhead Collection.

When I first laid eyes on Blonde, it looked pinkish – far more pink than once it’s swatched. The domed product has four stripes of colour, varying from a soft pink rose colour to a more coral, apricot tone. When swatched, it definitely takes on more of the apricot colour.

It is meant to be a highlighter, but I love wearing this, and Stereo Rose, as blushes. For reference, I am an NC20 in MAC – if you are a lot darker this probably wouldn’t work as anything but a highlighter.

It has a frosted finish to it, so if you are using it as a blush you have to be careful not to be too heavy handed or all your pores will end up extra visible! I use a MAC 187 brush as it is very fluffy so distributes the product nice and softly.

I tried to take a photo of me wearing it but it’s not really the best angle – anyway, here it is…

You can see it better, or from a different angle, in this photo taken of me today at London Fashion Week which I’ve borrowed from the AOFM website. Please note, I also have some Shu Uemera bronzer on under my cheekbone for contour.

So, that is Blonde – the gorgeous, pretty, soft blush / highlighter. Stereo Rose is going to have to watch out now her cousin’s on the scene. There is going to be some serious competition in the mornings! Luckily Redhead was out of stock, otherwise I’d be wasting even more time deciding which I’d wear that day!

Have you checked out the Naturally Collection yet? What did you get? Should I keep trying for Redhead?!