My poor old brows. They’ve never been much to write home about. There’s a saying that your brows should be sisters, not twins, but mine aren’t even in the same family! One is arched, one is angled. One is higher, one is lower, one starts closer to my nose and the other just won’t grow in there at all. Add into that they are sparse on the outer ends, sparse on the inner edges and super long in the middle, and you’re looking at a set of brows that look pretty “meh” without makeup. Long before Cara Delevigne’s awesome brows hit the catwalks I was filling mine in out of necessity and as such, I’ve been searching for my perfect products ever since. Even though my hair is pretty light these days I still want my brows pretty dark and so how could I resist the Benefit Bigger Bolder Brows Set?Containing four products that promise bigger bolder brows, my first decision was which shade to get. Having consulted the oracle (aka Google Image Search), I decided to opt for shade 3 which of the three available is Medium, also available is Light and Deep.
It’s a really attractive kit, and although the packaging seems a bit excessive, it’s certainly desirable and would make a very attractive gift. You’ll also find a handy user guide included in the box which is helpful, especially if you are new to brow makeup, or this kind of makeup.
First up you have two shaping stencils as well as holder they slot into to use. There are two arched brow shapes and two straight brow shapes. So the idea is you choose your shape, slot it into the holder and then hold up underneath your brow to get the bottom line of your brow shape in place with the product. I have mixed feelings on these. The arched brow shape suits me very well and helps me to get each brow equal shapes, however, its quite tricky to get each brow aligned with each other, both in distance from your nose and at the same height, with some practice this works pretty well. On the downside though, the stencils are not held firmly in the holder so thats not useful, they slide around a bit, but also, using them without the holder they seem a bit bulky. I think I’d find it easier to use if they were about half as high and I could hold firmly in place with one hand while drawing the line with the other. They are certainly better than the traditional stencils that you hold over your whole brow and fill in.
Next up is the Ka-Brow in Shade 3.I’m afraid I’m not in love with this product at all. It is creamy and it is pigmented, but first of all its the wrong shade for me. I should have got the darker shade, this is too light and too warm. Secondly the product itself is quite creamy, but its not quite creamy enough for my tastes. it also seems to go on a bit grainy. I don’t get a perfectly smooth line with it… I get little specks, tiny,but I can see them and I don’t like it. Finally, the brush, it’s really great and applies really exact lines where you want them, but I’ve found after a few uses it’s splayed out a bit and I’ve never had this happen with a brow brush and product ever before. It’s not an awful product and I dare say if I’d have bought the right shade, I’d have been less picky about the other things, but I spent quite a lot of money on this kit and I’m here to review it so there we go! On the plus side I will use it up and once applied it lasts well.
Next is the Ready, Set, Brow!
Ready, Set, Brow! is a 24 hour shaping and setting gel. So once you’ve filled your brow in you comb through with this clear gel. The brush is great, and they do hold my brows in shape but I don’t think it’s remarkably different from the cheap clear mascara I usually use.
Finally is the High Brow Pencil, which is a matte highlighter for under your brow.This is my fourth High Brow pencil. I’ve been using this product for years and while it’s had a revamp in terms of packaging, it’s still the same creamy pink matte highlighter. I apply a line directly under and long the full length of my brow and then lightly blend with my finger or a brush. It just subtly defines and lifts the brow without an obvious highlight. A really great product.
For reference here’s a swatch of the High Brow Pencil and the Shade 3 Ka-Brow!I have used this photo before but it’s a decent one of the products in use. You can see how warm the colour is on me I think.I know this is something of a mixed review, but I can’t help feel it’s my own fault and I’d have been much happier with the darker shade. It’s not perfect no, but it’s a great price at £31.50 for all those Benefit products, all wrapped up in a gorgeous tin that I leave out as it’s far too lovely to tidy away in my drawers! If you were to buy the products separately you’d be looking at nearly £60. I’m not sure if these are smaller sizes but they are very generous and certainly don’t seem like trial sizes so it’s well worth it if you want to try a few things out.
I bought mine from Feel Unique if you fancy giving it a whirl!
Well, this is another one of these posts that is a couple of weeks too late thanks to my surgery especially since I now can’t find the vast majority of the range on the website. Which means I am mostly unable to give you any prices or useful information. The range must have sold out very vast since I only received the samples a couple of weeks ago, but I’m choosing to still blog about them in case you like the look of any of the bits and can find them in your local stores.
In case you skipped the title of the post, I’m of course talking about the Kelly Brook cosmetics collection for New Look.
To give you a quick overview before I tell you about the items in more depth. So this is a cheap range, all (from memory so please don’t quote me on this) priced around the £2 to £5 mark. The range is mostly functional and adequate, I think in the bits that I received to try out, one of the items is a total stand out and the, one of them is absolutely awful, with the rest being perfectly nice usable cosmetics. Also, loving the packaging. It’s very cute.
So a quick look at some of the items I’ve been trying out in more detail. Starting with the Lipgloss.
Pinky-nude and very wearable. Not too sticky either. Only problem is that it’s very chemically scented. For me this isn’t a huge issue, but it may be for others. Personally, I don’t mind!
Next, the Blusher.
This is a surprisingly nice product. It flips open on both sides, with the underside containing a brush (I haven’t tried it, I use my own brushes for blusher) and a mirror. The shade itself is a peachy pink and in the pan it looks full of shimmer/glitter. I found the colour to be really pretty and that shimmer, once on the cheeks that shimmer is much less obvious than I thought it was going to be. It’s really rather nice.
Then for the eye products. I have the mascara, the liquid liner, the smokey eyes eye shadow quartet and the brow set.
The mascara is great, it’s not especially lengthening, nor volumising, it is however very black indeed and a more than adequate mascara for every day use.
The liquid liner is my star pick from the collection. Incredibly black and incredibly easy to use. Lovely fine point with just the right amount of “give”. I’m never going to be great at liquid liner, in any form, but this is about as good as it gets for me. Really think this is a great product.
The eyeshadows are nice. They do feel cheap in the same way that Vivo or MUA eyeshadows do, but they pack a decent amount of pigment and achieve a great smokey eye with very little effort. I found the pale shade (which isn’t at all pink even though it looks like it) had a bit of fall out, but otherwise, no problems with this at all.
Finally for the eye products, the Brow Kit. This is terrible. Well, I say terrible, I mean terrible for me. This set is the “brunette” set, but I’d say this was suitable for only the reddest of redheads. You get a coloured wax, a powder, tweezers and a brush. The powder and wax are distinctly orange and looked horrific on me, really awful. I had to do my best to remove it and cover with a nice true brown product for the pictures I’ve taken of all the items in use. Avoid unless you are a redhead.
Finally the nail varnishes. I’ve not tried them all I have to admit, I was sent a red, blue, purple and a black with multicoloured glitter. I’ve been unable to polish with the old arm operation but I did manage a thumb swatch of the black.
It looks a bit gritty but its still glossy and quite pretty I think.
So thats my run down of the products I received. Here’s a little look at them all in use. My only additions were my base, black khol on my waterline and my own brow powder in an attempt to appear less orange 😉
Swatches of everything:
Again, I apologise for the lack of information in this post such as prices and availability, but I think if you fancy anything it’s worth checking your local New Look, just in case!
Smashbox are a Los Angeles based makeup brand born from the Smashbox Studios, one of LA’s most popular photo studio complexes, in my limited experience I believe they are well known for professional standard cosmetics so its great they are having this relaunch here in the UK.
Not too long ago there was a blogger launch event which I wasn’t able to attend but I was excited to receive a little parcel of goodies to try out.
To date my only experience of Smashbox is a rather lovely eyeshadow duo that I realise I’ve not yet blogged about (but will do now I’ve remembered!), so this is really rather a new brand to me.
The first I’m going to show you is the Photo Finish Foundation Primer (£25)
I’m not going to review this in any great detail because I’ve only tied it out about three times. The reason for this is simply that in an effort to sort my face out I’m trying to avoid primers and steps I don’t really need at the moment until things are all a bit clearer. There is a great range of primers, one for every skin type and this one is for normal to dry skin. It suits me fairly well but I suspect that Actually the Photo Finish Colour Correcting Foundation Primer for irritated/sensitive skin might suit me better. That said, this performed exceptionally well, my skin fell lovely all day long and my foundation lasted very well indeed.
Next is the Photoset Finishing Powder SPF 15+ (£18)
This is a super fine powder, pure white, but translucent on application. It’s matte, and absorbs oil and goes on very smooth indeed… it sets my make up well and I do believe gives me a sort of soft focus effect, which is nice. I do find that when I first apply this it can look quite powdery but it settles down quite quickly leaving me matte, but not lifeless. Which is a good thing.
Then my fave product, the O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Colour (£21)
This is one of those products that they claim interacts with your own skin chemistry to create the colour you blush. I don’t know about that really, but I do know I love it! TI comes out of the tube perfectly clear and changes colour very quickly to a gorgeous perky pink, and whilst it looks a bit bright and vivid, it’s almost impossible to overdo. Trust me, I’ve tried!
Here it is fresh out of the tube, I couldn’t snap it quick enough, it started to turn pink the second it was out of the tube, but it is still mostly clear.
And here it is blended out.
So that leaves the final product which I also like a lot, the Brow Tech to Go in Brunette (£19). I must apologise in advance for the blurry photographs here.
A very very natural looking brow product. You can see the swatches in the photos next to the blusher pics above that the shade is a little patchy, streaky. Perfect in fact for filling in and building up your brows without fear of getting any heavy or harsh lines. The pencil itself is angled and twists up and at the other end there’s a clear gel to comb through afterwards. I still like my brows to be full on most days, but not every day and its those days where I’m channelling a more natural looking me that I reach for this pencil. It really is fantastic. The angled product makes drawing in your shape and filling in a breeze. You can see this in use in the final picture below.
I’m wearing all the above products in the following picture. I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that this was about three days before I got my hair and eyebrows sorted by professionals 😉
So all in all I’m impressed!
Unfortunately for me I now have the most hefty wishlist of products. I’d like the High Definition Healthy FX Foundation, the Contour Kit, the Soft Lights Powder, the Artificial Light Powder and any of the incredible looking eyeshadow palettes. Smokebox, Softbox and Image Factory Photo Op Eye Shadow Palette all look amazing.
Anyway, time to wrap it up. Smashbox products are available from www.smashbox.co.uk and www.boots.com.
*Disclosure – PR Samples*
Y’all know me by now. My big ‘thing’ at the moment is brows. I’m obsessed. I spend far longer on my brows each morning than I do on any other part of my make up and regularly have them maintained by my HD Brows lady.
It would seem however, I’m not the only brow obsessed person around at the moment and Escentual.com are holding Kate Middleton entirely responsible and I have to say the facts do sound rather compelling. Escentual have experienced sales of eye brow kits and accessories that have been through the roof, in June sales were 600% higher than the previous June and the biggest sales spike was over the Diamond Jubilee weekend, on the days Kate appeared a lot on the TV, such as the Thames river boat procession and the Jubilee pop concert, there were record sales of brow products. Escentual Marketing Director Louise Reed said:
“Over the Jubilee celebrations we sold nearly
five months worth of stock in three days – and it can only be down to Kate
Middleton.” She added: “Clearly this was a time when a lot of the country were
watching Kate on TV and she looked absolutely amazing so many women went online
to try and emulate her eyebrow look. From now on, whenever there is a major
televised event that Kate is attending we make sure that we stock up on key products
to try to keep up with demand.”
So if you have a desire to have brows like Kate’s then you have loads of options available to you. There’s the sell out Clarins Pro Palette Eyebrow Kit or the bareMinerals Brow Colour, or indeed the kit I’ve been trying out, the Too Faced Brow Envy Kit.
This kit has everything you might need to get those brows into shape and I’ve been using it religiously for a week or two now. It’s fantastic. It has setting wax, (non shimmery) highlighter, blonde brow powder, brunette brow powder, tweezers, spoolie brush, angled brush, templates and a pencil. Oh and there’s instructions, I do love a kit with instructions and this is my second Too Faced kit and I think they excel in this department.
For me the stencils are a waste of time, its not that they don’t work, they do work very well, and in fact they stick to your skin so are much easier to use than others I’ve tried, but I have my eyebrows shaped by a professional so I’m not about to start trying to do that myself. Everything else I use. I comb my brows, fill in with powder (both shades actually work for me and so I just decide on the day whether I want a full on brow or a slightly more subtle one), then I add in final details with the pencil, then go over with the setting wax before going under my brow with the highlighter.
I only have one gripe, and it’s a tiny one, it’s just that having one brush to apply your highlighter and brow powders as well as the setting wax means cleaning the brush thoroughly between each product so I tend to use my own brush just for the highlighter, then I don’t have to worry about getting dark powder in it, other wise this kit is amazing.
Have a look at these babies. Ta-daaa!
Love it, I did try to take a picture of both my eyebrows but all I got was this pre-lipstick beaut.
haha! So anyway, thanks to Escentual for the brow kit and for increasing my love for Too Faced, think I’ll get one of the eye shadow kits next.
So for all your brow needs and to get the “Middleton Effect”, head over to Escentual.com who I often recommend anyway, especially for Clarins!
*not a sponsored post although it reads like one, but the Brow Envy Kit was sent for review purposes*
Since I’ve been seeing the fabulous Michelle and she’s been keeping my brows in tip top condition keeping them looking fabulous every day has become the most important part of my make up routine. I have found I’ve been skimping on other areas and spending extra time on my brows.
I’ve been using the Benefit High Brow pencil to highlight my brow bone but I have to be honest and say I wasn’t loving it. I don’t like using a shimmering shade under my brows, I don’t really know why, it just doesn’t feel very me. I like something matte. I must say I do rather like the Illamasqua eyeshadow in Sex which is pure matte white but as a rule I like the ease of High Brow, draw your line, smudge with finger, done. The problem with it is it doesn’t blend at all well.
Step forward Shavata’s Arch Enhancer which sells at £9.95. Could this pencil be the answer to my eyebrow prayers?
In a word, yes. This is Shavata’s best selling product and its easy to see why when you use it. It’s a soft pink, light reflecting pencil to accentuate the brow arch. It’s matte, it’s subtle, it does just what I want it to do.
Once in place and blended you can’t even see it’s there, it’s barely perceptible but that’s exactly what I want it to be, just so long as it shows the arch, which it does.
Can you see it? I’m kind of hoping not, but I am hoping you can see the effect, if that makes any sense! Oh and for reference, that’s the Shavata Double-Ended Pencil on my brows.
Fab, this is a holy grail kind of product for my tastes. I want lift but not shimmer, unless I’m wearing lots of eyeshadow for a night out. Which is virtually never. 🙁
This is available from the Shavata Online Store. Go get one!
I was pleasantly surprised when this box of goodies arrived through my letter box a couple of weeks ago.
I had no idea where it came from but was in New Look packaging so guessed it was from there, a little look on the New Look site confirmed that the Gold by Giles range is indeed from New Look. I don’t know how they got my details, but am very grateful. Also, if I agreed to review these products it’s terribly embarrassing as I have no recollection whatsoever of doing so.
That’s irrelevant anyway, what is relevant is that this is a box of make up received for review. Now I think I’ve swatched everything and have taken photographs of some of the item in use. This would have been a very huge post if I’d shown everything!
So anyway, Gold by Giles for New Look. The Giles in question is in fact Giles Deacon, the designer. He’s pretty well known I think and I think putting his name to New Look cosmetics is a slightly odd combination because this make up is so incredibly cheap. Not that thats a bad thing as I think you’ll see, but in some cases it’s not a great thing either.
In terms of packaging, I like it, it looks great, it does however feel cheap. I don’t mind that too much, I find the packaging to be completely in line with the pricing, it IS cheap, so of course the packaging is cheap. It looks nice though so thats fine by me.
Let’s look at the brow and Eye Liner Set first. It’s £2.99 for both products.
The black kohl liner has a smudger on one end, it’s decently pigmented and nicely blendable without being too smeary, its decent enough and I’ve used it a few times actually, it really is quite a bargain I have to say.
It’s the Brow Pencil I’ve used a lot though. I think it does a great job, the spoolie on the end is great and the colour is perfect. In any of the following pictures where you can see my brows, I’m wearing this pencil to fill in. Excellent. I can’t decide whether I prefer pencil or powder at the moment and tend to mix and match but if I need a new pencil, I’ll get this one.
Next, The Liquid Eyeliners in Turquoise, Gold and Black. £2.99 each.
These are great for the money, they don’t last all day, but they don’t transfer to my upper lid which is great, I love the turquoise shade especially. The brush is average, its not brilliant, it’s just okay. Ignore the shoddy application of the gold there, that’s me, not the product.
Next the Scandal Eye Shadow Quad £3.99
Love the colours in this palette I have to say, I wish I’d gone a little lighter on the blue-ish shade bottom left, but they are all fab. In terms of quality, these feel cheap, they feel exactly like the MUA eyeshadows, but they are very pigmented and actually wear very well indeed. They just have this sort of wet-ish texture about them. I’ve worn this a few times lately though and I’m a big fan of the colours.
Next up the cheek products…. The Metallic Blusher Set and the Bronzer. Both £2.99. Alas my bronzer arrive a bit damaged but not too badly.
I’m not sure what to say about these, they are super pigmented and VERY metallic, both of them, the bronzer is actually very gold and not all that bronze. Thats not a criticism, these are just for evening only I think.
Here’s the blusher…
Gold. I don’t know though, I kind of like it! Like I say though, evenings only!
Finally the lip products. I was sent the Red and Pink lipsticks, £2.99 each.
Love these, gorgeous colours, nice texture. Bargain price. Would totally be happy to buy them and may indeed check out the other shades.
Then there are Three Lip Gloss Tubes £1.99 each.
All nice, all pretty shades, the first in particular. It’s an interesting method of dispensing too…you sort of pump product out onto the brush. They are all nice, nothing amazing but they are nice and as with the rest of the range an absolute bargain for the price!
Finally there are Three Lip Gloss Wands, £2.99 Each.
Love these, I don’t know if they really differ formula wise from the the tubes, but I love them, the colours are beautiful, and they wear as well as any high end gloss I own.
All in all a very cheap but cheerful range. There are some absolute gems in there, like the Brow Pencil and the Lip Gloss Wands and if budget beauty is your thing, well worth checking out.
Available from www.newlook.com
*Disclosure – PR Samples*
With my recent passion for all things brow related it’s fantastic to try out a new product (to me) particularly one from a little known company.
So I’m introducing Wow! Brows. A small online shop with just a handful of brow products, including Eyebrow Gels, Stencils, Lash and Brow Rejuvenator and the Eyebrow Powders.
Powders that come in five shades, Blonde, Light Brown, Medium Brown, Dark Brown and Soft Black. These claim to give a rich colour pay off, be water resistant and contain no mineral oil.
I was recommended the Medium Brown shade as I specifically requested a brown that had the least red in it.
Unfortunately I dropped mine, twice, before I even got to test it, I’m so annoyed at myself. I’m still using it though, it just doesn’t look as pretty as it should for the photographs.
The first thing I want to say is that I realise the above powder does look quite red toned but it really isn’t. Because it’s been so dark and rainy lately I’m struggling to get accurate colours with my camera, but the swatch came out a little more accurate.
Once in place it stays put all day with minimal fading, only coming off when I wash my face. Fantastic.
I have to make the obvious comparison, how does it compare to the HD Brow powders? Well I prefer it, despite the fact that mine is mostly dust thanks to my dropping it, there’s less powder fall out, the colour match is perfect for me and I find the application a breeze.
It comes with a little brush which I didn’t get on too well with, it was a bit chunky for me, so I’ve been using with my Japonesque Brow Brush and the combination is perfect.
So if you like the sound of this, you can get your own for £15 (well worth it in my humble opinion) from www.wow-brows.net
*Disclosure – PR Sample*
Shavata Singh boasts over 20 Brow Studios nationwide and has earned a reputation as the ultimate brow guru. Now you can buy Shavata products to keep up the good brow grooming at home. The range is fairly extensive considering it’s a range just for brows, including various types of tweezers, tamers, stencils and so on.
Today I’m showing you the Double-Ended Pencil (£8.50). Now I don’t know if the pro’s tend to use more than one colour on brows when filling them in, but for me I only ever use one colour, and in the case of this particular pencil, one of the two shades is completely wrong for me.
The right hand, lighter more red-based shade is far too red for me so for me the double ended-ness of the pencil is wasted, I did try it out, and indoors it wasn’t too bad but hello! orange brows! when I went outside. So for me, I prefer to not have a double-ended pencil.
The other shade however is perfect for my colouring and allows me to fill in my brows without obvious pencil lines. The pencil itself is soft but not too soft, it just needs a light touch and you’re done, its great. It doesn’t budge at all and adds a subtle and gentle bit of definition.
Since I started using this pencil I’ve had my HD Brows done and I’m finding the darker end of the pencil isn’t giving me quite the definition I’m after any more, HD Brows are more in your face and so I’m using the HD Brows powders, but if a more natural brow is your thing this is well worth checking out as it is really perfection for that. As I say though, the two shades is a bit of a waste for me, and I only end up with half a pencil that is any good.
That said, I absolutely would shell out the £8.50 for half a pencil because the job it does is perfect.
The Shavata range can be bought from www.shavata.co.uk
*Disclosure – PR Sample*
Well by now I should think most of you now that my brows are a work in progress! I’ve been growing them out for a long time with Rapidlash and you can see my posts on that here. Much s I was pleased with my progress there was little doubt they needed whipping into shape by a pro before I got too handy with the tweezers and undid all my hard work. I’ve always known I wanted to get HD Brows done, but I didn’t know where I could get them done in Exeter. Turns out there are at least two places and I plumped for the local salon Wags Hair and Beauty.
The salon itself is in the heart of Exeter, is clean, pleasant and very friendly and recommended but the HD Brows themselves are done by Michelle Mansell who is based in Torquay but has regular HD Brow days at Wags.*
For those who don’t know what HD Brows are, here’s the low down. It’s a 7 step process to get your brows in shape, including tinting, waxing, tweezing, threading, pencil and make up and is a process much loved by celebs for creating perfect brows.
My appointment took about 45 minutes and Michelle was lovely and put me at ease immediately and the time flew by so fast while we chatted. It was almost completely painless, even the waxing, compared to my previous experience of threading which I found quite painful indeed, and I personally suffer a fair amount of redness and swelling afterwards which has usually disappeared within a couple of hours. I was consulted at various stages of the process to check they were how I wanted them, tinted the right colour and so on, so there was little chance of things not being how I wanted although I have to say, things would have had to have been pretty dire to not have been an improvement.
So lets have a look at some befores and afters! Hopefully this first one won’t need labelling as it should be obvious which is which!
The following pictures were taken the following day so they’ve not been made up to quite the same standard as they were in the salon, although my HD Brows palette is really getting a hammering now!
Before and After.
Before and After.
Before and After
To say I’m delighted is an understatement, I absolutely love them, but make no mistake, they are still very much a work in progress. I plan to get them redone every 4-6 weeks now to keep the shape and to remove or incorporate where appropriate new growth. I still have sparse areas that need to grow in, so as time goes on and the hair fills the gaps then they can only get better right?
Anyway, that’s enough for waffling, HD Brows, do it, I love mine so much I’m half tempted to do the training myself…but for as long as she comes to Exeter, I’ll be entrusting my brows to Michelle!
Ah brows. The current bane of my life. Whilst I’ve been growing them out and singing the praises of Rapidlash which has helped me fill in the bald spots I am having to endure the most ridiculous Susan Boyle eyebrows. At some point when they’ve finished growing out I’ll be going to get them properly shaped etc but for now I need to keep them under control and I had high hopes for this product. MeMeMe’s Arch Angel.
A tinted brow gel on one end and a creamy highlighter on the other end.
Have a little look at the applicators:
There’s a mascara wand for the brow gel and a sponge tipped applicator for the highlighter.
The brow gel is a great colour for me, a true brown which doesn’t lean too red as so many brow products do, and the highlighter is beautiful.
Unfortunately I haven’t got on as well with this product as I would have liked. The highlighter is fab, very blendable, a gorgeous subtle shade once blended and does exactly what it should, opens up the eye area. The brow gel is a perfect colour for me but I just can’t get on with the mascara wand type applicator. It’s great for combing the brows into shape and adding a touch of colour but I found I couldn’t be as precise as I’d like with this, especially where the brows start and at the top, I prefer a powder and brush or pencil. But that’s just me, if you know you can get on with this kind of applicator for applying brow products then I would definitely recommend this because once it’s in place it stays put all day and as I say the colour is great as is the highlighter.
The MeMeMe Arch Angel launches on the 11th April and will retail at £8.50.
*Disclosure – PR Sample*