Look Incredible & Glossybox July 2016

Glossybox July 2016 My ‘Look Incredible’ and ‘Glossybox’ beauty subs boxes have both arrived now!
Both contain a lot of similar stuff to other very recent boxes or just stuff I plain won’t use but there are a couple of gems depending on your personal likes and dislikes…

In terms of Glossybox (and Birchbox too) I am starting to wonder why they bother having ‘beauty profiles’ because they never seem to actually use them for anything… and don’t even ask questions I would consider pertinent such as what your make-up look is and whether you’re a gloss girl or a lipstick girl. At least Look Look Incredible JulyIncredible don’t even pretend to tailor their subs boxes – but then they still haven’t mastered getting the product card to fit into the box so the less said about their production values the better I think!

Both boxes contain all full size products this month:

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Ciaté x Olivia Palermo Smokey Suedes Palette Review

Ciate/OP Palette

24498937436_821c6e374c_z.jpgThis palette (and the lipstick you can see in one of the pictures for scale) is from Ciaté London’s collaboration with American socialite and model Olivia Palermo.

I’m going to be upfront, my initial reaction to this palette was that it was incredibly small for the price tag – it comes in at a whopping £35 if you aren’t lucky enough to find one on sale or in TK Maxx. It’s about the size of an Urban Decay Naked Basics palette BUT the pans seem bigger (the whole area is filled with pan) and there are more of them. This palette has nine shades while a UD Basics has six.

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The shades are mostly metallic-y shimmers with four mattes (‘Whoopie Pie’, ‘Macchiato’, ‘Plumberry’ & ‘Butler’, and one satin, ‘Cocoa’). I’ve swatched them below in the same order they appear in the palette its self:

24524685315_593698a354_zTop row from left: ‘Shaken’, ‘Verde’, ‘Whoopie Pie’ & ‘Glazed’.
Centre highlight shade: ‘Butler’
Bottom row from left: ‘Prosecco’, ‘Cocoa’, ‘Macchiato’ & ‘Plumberry’ (‘Plumberry’ is referred to as ‘Macchiata’ on the Ciaté website but not on any of the packaging and it is definitely a plum shade rather than a brown,)
Off to the right I also swatched the lipstick for you as well, it’s the shade ‘Velveteen’ and is my favourite of the Olivia Palermo ‘Satin Kiss Collection’ lipsticks. It’s quite a pinkish red, bordering on raspberry.

As you can see the shadows are generally very pigmented (there’s no primer on my arm!), the only exception to this would be ‘Whoopie Pie’ but I’m sure a good primer or white cream shadow or even pencil liner would would sort that out in a jiffy.
The shadows are creamy soft to the fingers, not as soft as Charlotte Tilbury’s (I’ve never felt anything else like her products!) but very nice. No noticeable fragrance which is good – I hate it when companies fragrance eye-shadows (Too Faced I’m looking at you here, I do not wish to eat eye-shadows or get sugar cravings at 7.30am while I’m getting ready for the day, they do not need to smell like chocolate! Not to mention the vast amount of people out there with fragrance allergies.)
All seems great, until the brushes come out. The shadows suddenly seem very powdery and produce a lot of fall out and wastage. A lot, I’m not joking. This is a palette where I would recommend doing your eye make-up before your foundation or using some of those Shadow Shield thingies. The intensity of the shades is still pretty good if you have good application skills but the sparkle of the shimmers/glitters is much more subdued which some people will like and others will not.

I still think I would have much preferred a slightly larger palette, mostly because I would have liked all of the pans to have been equal in size. It’s a shame that four of the most, in my opinion, interesting colours have sacrificed a corner each so they could fit in that fairly boring matte highlight/all over base shade in the centre which I can see being the one left after the others have been used to be honest. The two bottom middle I really would have appreciated a ‘full’ pan of. For the price I feel the quality of the shadows themselves is a bit middling, good pigmentation but oh so powdery, you’ll waste half of the contents in fallout. They really need to look at their formula. The overall size of the palette though is very handy for popping into your bag while on the go or while travelling and it’s quite solidly made too. One thing I do approve of is that they haven’t wasted space putting in a pointless sponge applicator that you’ll never use. Why do so many brands still do that? Why do sponge applicators even still exist for crying out loud?If you know the answer to that, drop me a comment or a tweet!
Overall I’d say give it a miss unless you really really love the shades or find it in a sale and get the lipstick instead.

Extending the Life of Polish

Chipped Polish

chippedThere’s nothing worse than chipped nail polish. It’s embarrassing, it’s unprofessional looking at work and if you’ve spent hours doing intricate nail art it’s down right heart breaking. So how can we extend the life of our manicures and prevent chipping? I’ve collected a few tips over time and thought I would put them together into a blog post.

Before applying polish:

  • First ensure the nail plate is free of oils – some fragranced or ‘nourishing’ polish removers contain oils or glycerine that will prevent a fresh polish from adhering properly so do check the ingredients list. Wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap and water or clean the nails with a nail cleanser solution. White vinegar is a good household substitute for this if your remover is not a more ‘basic’ one.
  • Filing your nails into shape using the correct technique can help prevent nail breakage which will prolong the life of your manicure, check out my post on how to file your nails for a full explanation of filing.
  • If you want to push back your cuticles at home I suggest a hoof stick rather than an orange stick or other implement, the hoof stick is softer and you’re less likely to do yourself any damage. Never ever cut your cuticles! If your cuticles are a mess, see a manicurist.
  • Gently buff the nail with a 4-way or block buffer to remove the shine – this dries out the nail plate slightly which improves adhesion. Don’t be tempted to use a nail file instead of a buffer, it will take off too much.
  • Don’t shake the bottle of base/polish/top coat as this will form bubbles which will affect the look and life of the manicure. If the polish contains a mixing ball hold it by the lid and gently move the base in a circular motion. If there is no mixing ball rub it gently between your palms as if rolling a plasticine sausage.

Base Coat:

Don’t be tempted to skip on the base coat. Base coat protects your natural nails from staining and is designed to ‘grab’ onto the nail plate in a way that polish its self is not. Apply a second coat at the tips and don’t forget to seal the free edge (do this with every layer, as illustrated below.)

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Yes, I sacrificed a nail for you guys! The unsealed nail will likely chip or wear while the others will last much longer.

A good quality base coat is important. My favourites are Morgan Taylor’s ‘Stick With It’ and CND ‘Stickey Base Coat’.
Another brilliant idea I have to credit to a friend who plays wheelchair basket ball is using OPI ‘Nail Envy’ as a base and top coat. This has the added benefit of being good for your nails at the same time!
If you want to be really thorough, apply OPI ‘Bond Aid’ before your base coat.

Applying Colour:

  • When you apply your colour apply two thinner coats rather than one thick one. This is more effective and less likely to peel off.
  • Try to use as few brush strokes as possible on each nail, no more than three to cover the nail plate. The best technique is considered to be one stripe up the middle and then a stripe up each side of that to complete. Cap off/seal the free edge with polish as above.
  • Avoid getting any polish on the cuticles, the polish doesn’t adhere to the skin as well as it does to the nail plate so having the edge of your polish on the cuticle will cause lifting and peeling.
  • Leave the polish to dry properly before applying top coat. Polish takes longer to dry than either base or top, in fact to dry out completely it can take up to 24 hours! I’m not going to ask you to wait that long, but do try to wait a few minutes until the polish is firmly set and not merely ‘touch dry’. This will not only help the life of your manicure, it will also prevent you from accidentally ruining nail art with streaking or contaminating the clear top coat with bright colours.

Top Coat:

A good quality top coat can work wonders or if you have the time you can set a special gel top coat such as Ciaté Geltox over your normal polishes. For regular polish top coats I recommend Seche Vite or try out my friends tip and use the OPI ‘Nail Envy’ as both base and top coat. Again, don’t forget to cap off the tip!

After they’re done:

  • Wear gloves for household jobs such as washing up or cleaning, having your hands in and out of water a lot significantly shortens the life of polish.
  • Stop using your nails as tools! Using your nails as tools not only causes chipping and peeling but can actually damage your nails themselves causing problems such as onycholysis (nail separation).
  • You can apply another layer of topcoat every two to three days to help prevent chipping and re-enliven the shine. Even if you don’t cover the whole nail, do seal the tips.
  • Avoid hand sanitiser. Alcohol based hand sanitisers ruin top coat, they also dry out the skin on your hands. Wash using a mild hand soap instead and follow up with a good hand cream.
  • Regular application of a hand & nail cream or a nail oil will help keep your nails in good condition and prevent breaking and flaking and thus prolong the life of your polishes.
  • If the very tip of your polish does chip or wears off, fear not! Gently file the exposed nail down to the polish and seal in with a new layer of top coat OR simply add a contrasting French tip and seal that in. Ta dah – brand new mani!

I hope this list of tips helps you make the best of your polish, if you have any other tips do add them in the comments!

Last Minute Beauty Gifts?

Last Minute Beauty Bargains

If you’re on the lookout for some last minute beauty bargains check out TK Maxx, NYX @ Boots and also weirdly B&M Bargains of all places!

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TK Maxx always has a random selection of stuff that is worth rooting through, I nearly always find something so if you’re in need of stocking fillers for a beauty addict that is definitely a place to check out and have a root through the racks. This is a selection from my last couple of visits.

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B&M Bargains

W7 is a budget brand who have been knocking it out of the park with their eye shadow palettes many of which are good dupes for the Urban Decay Naked range of palettes. In my experience of them they have always had good colour payoff and been very blendable so it was a no brainer to pick this up for  £1.99 – less than half full price. They also had in some of the larger Naked dupe palettes for just a fiver!

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NYX @ Boots

Boots now stock NYX cosmetics and have concessions in some of their stores as well as selling online, this is a random selection of products I had to hand. They are amazingly priced for the quality and many lines are ‘cult’ products. Great stocking fillers and if you haven’t checked them out already for yourself, what are you doing? Get to Boots! (Other stockists do exist)