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*
Wowee, what a stunner of a mini collection. In the last year Clarins have virtually done no wrong to my mind, every single collection they have put out has inspired me and I’ve loved all the products. I’m still hugely in love with the Summer collection and wear many of the products regularly.
The Christmas collection is small but most definitely perfectly formed consisting of a face palette and an eye palette. Personally, I’d like to have seen a blush maybe, or a couple of lipsticks as well, but then I’m greedy like that!
Firstly, lets have a look at the stunning Odyssey Face Palette.
You have to admit this is a beautiful palette, the gold pattern on the top is oversprayed, and underneath you are left with a beautiful face powder. I’ve waxed lyrical about Clarins powders and this is no exception. I personally believe they are the best powders out there, they never disappoint. The gorgeous golden palette has a handy mirror inside the lid and the powder itself is a sheer powder with subtle golden flecks (which I can’t see I have to admit although the lack of sunshine may have a part to play in that), regardless, the finish is perfection, brightening and light without being sparkly or shiny or glittery. You can see the powder in action in all of the following pictures.
Next the Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette – Odyssey
Oh my gosh this palette is stunning. Inspired by Ancient Greece there’s brown, beige and a taupe-bronze along with a gold leaf shade which is stunning truly. These Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palettes are always suitable for wet or dry use and this one is too.
The gold leaf shade is really quite amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before.
When I pressed my finger into the gold leaf to swatch it, it literally swatched like gold leaf, little gold flakes. I must admit I wondered how it would translate to the eye.
I must also mention, that this palette comes with two little charts which I always massively value because I do need guides for eyeshadows!
The gold is really fantastic. I blended it out and it was a quite chunky glitter, but sparse if that makes any difference and it’s so pretty. I had a minute bit of fall out. Absolutely tiny and once in place it just stayed put all day, it just adds something really special to the neutrals. I’ve worn this every day for a week now but I’ve got one more thing I want to try at some point which is patting the gold leaf shadow on and seeing what kind of effect that gives and if it will stay put!
Here’s the whole look, with the Face Palette and the Eye Quartet. I think the finish the the powder give my skin is incredible. I look soft focus, but I swear, there’s no filters on these photographs!
It doesn’t appear to be out everywhere yet, but I’ve spotted it on my favourite Clarins stockists http://www.escentual.com who have a (what seems to be) permanent discount on all Clarins products.
The palette is £28 and the eyeshadows are a brilliantly priced £24.
*Disclosure – PR Sample*
Clarins for Autumn 2012 is a subtle affair, but subtle in a really quite beautiful way. There are several stand out products and I’ve got a few things to show you today, all swatched and applied.
Don’t overlook this collection, there are some beautiful products.
I’m going to start by showing you the lipsticks. There are four new Rouge Prodige Lipsticks, Spiced orange, Fig, Orchid Pink and Dark Cherry. They retail at £17.50 each. I have Spiced Orange and Orchid Pink to show you.
I don’t know why the swatches on my hand look sheer, these lipsticks are most definitely full coverage. They are absolutely gorgeous, they last and feel super moisturising.
These are both beautiful and you can see them both being worn in the following pictures. I quite fancy Fig as well, it looks beautiful.
Next I want to show you the two new Limited Edition Eye Liners.
First up the 3-Dot Liner, which is £20 and comes only in black.
And then there is also a black Khol Eye Pencil, £15.
Okay, so the 3-Dot liner is a new thing, it allows you to sort of push the colour down between your lashes to give the impression of fuller lashes, but you can also, if careful, draw a nice line. I have found this takes a lot of practice and I perhaps should cover the dots with a liquid liner, but I have left my poor attempts undisguised. I actually rather like it, but it does take (me) some practice. The kohl is just fab. You can see both of these products in all the following face and eye pictures.
Here however are some hand swatches. Left to Right is the Khol, the 3-Dot Liner dotted (sorry it’s bled on my hand) and the 3-Dot Liner drawn as a line.
Next thing I want to show you is possibly my favourite thing, the Limited Edition Instant Definition Mascara in Intense Plum £20.
Love the brush, it’s got this little narrow tip to let you get right in close to the shortest lashes and the colour is divine, it’s an all round great mascara, you can see in this in most of the following pictures, but I’ll list each thing where they apply.
Next up is the prettiest product, Clarins Colour Accents Face & Blush Palette £30
I am, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned about a billion times, a huge huge fan of Clarins powders, they have the most incredible textures, whether translucent powder or blusher, they are just so incredibly soft and they leave the most perfect finish on your skin. This is one of those products I wasn’t quite sure what to do with… is it a blusher? is it a setting powder? is it a bronzer? Well the answer is, I think, all of the above depending on the colour of your skin. Clarins claim you can blend the four shades together or apply the pink shade as a blush, but the pink bars are too small for any blusher brush. There’s a Light-Optimizing + Complex which apparently reduced the appearance of wrinkles and imperfections. For me, the shades blended all together are not quite right, its a little too dark so I can’t really vouch for it’s imperfection concealing abilities, as a blusher or bronzer, on my pale skin, it’s just fine. You can see it in action in the following photographs.
Finally, there are the New Mineral Eyeshadows. There are 16 shades available and they cost £16 each. There are a variety of finishes, matte, satin, pearl and shimmer and they can all be used wet or dry. In all my pictures they have been used dry.
I have six shades to show you. All come in a beautiful gold compact, with a mirror inside the lid.
The texture of these is incredible. This is what you get when you use them dry, I’m sure they are incredible if used wet.
So I’m now going to show you them all on my lids and in the context of my face.
Golden Rose and Aubergine. Golden Rose is my favourite shade.
Here in addition to Golden Rose and Aubergine, I have the Intense Plum Mascara, 3-Dot liner, Khol and the Colour Accents Powder all over my face and Orchid Pink Rouge Prodige.
Then we have Auburn and Dark Chocolate.
This time I have the mascara and the two liners on, but have only applied the face powder to my cheeks, and am wearing Spiced Orange Rouge Prodige lipstick.
Finally, Black Sparkle and White Sparkle.
This time, I have the khol, the 3-Dot Liner, Orchid Pink Rouge Prodige lipstick, a black mascara and the face powder on cheeks only.
The eye shadows are beautiful and highly recommended.
My top picks from the whole collection are the eyeshadows and the mascara, but I like all of it. I’ll definitely be going to look at more of the single shadows in store soon. I’m fancying Taupe (!!)
The collection is due out in September but is now available from Escentual.com who I always recommend for Clarins as there seems to be a permanent discount on the entire range.
*Disclosure – PR Samples*
As a blogger, I try to not review my products until I’ve given them a really good trial, but sometimes with the best intentions I blog about a product and then later change my mind. I might start off disliking something only to discover a couple of months down the line I actually rather like it, or I might start off liking something only to find over time it rapidly falls out of favour.
So here’s a blog post updating you on a couple of those things I changed my mind about.
Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre. I first blogged about this here and I loved it.
I don’t know what I was thinking. I loathe this. It’s unfortunate there’s so bloody much of it because I’m having to really force myself to finish it. I find it looks powdery and although it does indeed keep me shine free all day, for me personally, it’s nowhere near worth the money I spent on it, it has almost a chalky feel. Talk about seeing things through rose tinted glasses!
Probably my most famous about turn… Nars Orgasm blusher. I first wrote about it here.
Over time though, I changed my mind, it became the blush I reached for whenever I didn’t know which blush to wear….which is often. So I had to do another post about how it had become invaluable, you can find that post here.
I’ve got a few more to share with you, but I’ll do a part 2 at some point in the not too distant future!
As always I fell in love with the Paul & Joe Summer collection, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and wanted pretty much everything in it. I received and wrote about the very pretty Love Potion lip gloss. Since then I’ve received another couple of items as PR Samples and bought several bits myself so here’a picture heavy look at them all.
Starting with Pixie Nail Enamel £10.50. Holographic Silver Glitter, pictures do it no justice. This is so pretty and it wears very well. Gorgeous on its own and equally pretty as a layering polish, it is fairly opaque though, two coats ensure it’s fully opaque.
A Midsummer’s Night Sparkling Pressed Powder £22. A stunning powder, Paul & Joe do pressed powders extremely extremely well and this is no exception. It’s incredibly beautiful but please be warned, it is also incredibly glittery.
When you blend the powders together what you get is translucent but extremely glittery, you may have to enlarge this to see how glittery it really is.
Stunning product but definitely one to avoid if you are not into glitter, and definitely for evenings only. And possibly not if you’re old, like me. I don’t care, mutton is how I like to dress these days!
Face Colour G in Nubile and Faune £15 each. There is a further blush shade called Nymph which is a pink, but what really caught my eye with these two shades was the possibilities for sculpting and shaping the cheek, they are gorgeous, beautifully pigmented and they work together extremely well indeed. They aren’t matte or shimmery, they just have a satin feel.
Shimmery Body Lotion £24. Not so much as a body lotion as a lightly moisturising gel with some very pretty glitter. Again, I’d say, possibly not one for daytime unless you’re 14, but very pretty indeed for hot Summer nights and definitely one for the suitcase if you’re off on holiday. Such a pretty product. Also very lightly scented, I can’t quite pinpoint what the scent is, it’s just fresh and light.
What a pretty collection, entirely in keeping with the collection title, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, all glittery and fairy like. I’ve still got my eye on the single shadows released with the collection so we’ll have to see what I’ve got left in the way of funds and if there’s any stock left when I do!
The collection is available from one of my favourite retailers, Beauty Bay. Check it out!
*Disclosure – the blotting papers and body lotion were provided to me free of charge for review purposes*
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*
The penultimate post in my short series dedicated to the beautiful Clarins Summer Collection. I’ve shown you the lip products and today its the turn of the Bronzing Duos.
As with everything Clarins, the packaging is beautiful, the compacts are a amber transparent, well plastic I suppose with a gold base. Beautiful, heavy and stylish, each comes with a brown velvet pouch (not shown).
The Bronzing Duo’s come in three colourways, 1, 2 and 3.
These aim to give you a natural colour when blended and White tea extract and 100% mineral sunscreen help to protect your skin from pollution and UV and I’m told that the combination of mineral and soft-focus pigments are combined with pearls to optically minimise fine lines and imperfections as well as giving you a luminous glow.
I love Clarins powders and foundations. I’ve not found a brand that does them better. Something about the brands products suits me very well indeed so given the above descriptions I was pretty keen to give these a go.
Here they are swatched (on Chloe’s arm) in the order shown above. The light shade, the dark shade and the two mixed. 1, 2 and 3.
I’ve tried all three on my face, and really 2 and 3 are a little too dark for me although I could probably get away with it if I’d had a bit of skin, but for now, number 1 suits me perfectly well.
In the following pictures I mostly have it on my cheeks as a blusher, to try and show you the colour, but this is not necessarily how I’d normally wear it as I’d normally wear it in addition to blusher.
A very beautiful bronzer indeed. This retails at £26 and actually, it does fall in with my expectations of a Clarins powder, butter soft, applies like a dream, doesn’t look powdery, just feels gorgeous. Well worth it. I do recommend if you’re looking a posh bronzer this Summer.
*Disclosure – PR Sample*
Before I start, I realise these photos contain the Ever Matte Foundation as well as the powder compact, but I won’t be reviewing the foundation as alas it is the wrong shade for me.
The Ever Matte Mineral Powder Compact promises to control shine, smooth skin texture, absorb excess sebum and even the complexion for a transparent finish and a natural no mask effect.
Firstly the packaging. This is a compact to be proud of. That beautiful classy and classic gold compact, Sturdy and heavy and beautiful. Inside, there’s a mirror in the lid, a sponge powder puff and this beautiful ‘quilted’ powder. The powder itself just looks smooth and it really is. There are four available shades and I have the second, (01 Transparent Light).
This is a great powder. I don’t find it keeps me completely shine free all day long but it does do a good job. I tend to apply using a powder brush in the morning and then when I need a touch up (usually around mid afternoon) I use the included powder puff. It’s testament to the product that the puff does a great job of applying the powder exactly where needed and without being cakey in any way.
Although this is a matte powder, it doesn’t suck the life out of your skin. It just takes away the shine but still allows some radiance… I know that doesn’t sound like it makes much sense, but thats how it is! I don’t normally like a very matte finish, usually I find it just makes me look odd and overly made up, whereas this just seems to make me look normal. Not oily, not dry, just fine. And you can’t see the powder in place. Perfect.
This was a PR sample, but it retails at £25, but it would seem Escentual are still selling all Clarins with 20% off. Bargain!
What a deliciously understated collection and one I fully intend to buy more pieces from as I’ve totally fallen in love! This is a collection for those that want a fresh Spring look with hints of candy colours but who want to avoid the brights in other Spring Collections (which I also love!). I have to admit that the collection wasn’t on my radar at all until I ended up at the Clarins counter paying for something else (hello Dior – post coming soon) and whilst I was waiting for service this little stand caught my eye and I was totally drawn in.
The star product of this collection is the beautiful Colour Breeze Face and Blush Palette, £30 (Limited Edition).
This is the product that first caught my eye, a face powder with three delicate shades embossed into it. I think if you were very patient you could use those individual colours as blushers, I’m not and attacked the whole thing with a big fluffy brush for all over application as a setting powder. What a beauty! For me the colour is perfect but it’s the finish that’s just so beautiful, it’s matte, really matte but adds just the subtlest hint of radiance and somehow over my foundation (in the pictures its Mac Studio Finish) I felt absolutely flawless and its the powder that gave me that amazing finish. Scroll down for pictures of it in use.
Also Limited Edition are the Vitamin Pink and Coral Tonic Instant Light Blushes, £19.
I have Vitamin Pink although you could be forgiven for thinking it’s coral from the above picture. It’s not, it’s the pink and its my most favourite product from the collection. So much so I will be without question be going back for the Coral Tonic version. It’s not cheap but the formula is to die for, blends like a dream and does what it promises, instantly lights. The colour is also really buildable which is great. I hope you can see that the following pictures are a blob of the Blush and then blended out a little.
And this picture I’m so happy with, it really shows the colour and radiance of the blush combined with the perfect finish of that powder. Never has my skin looked so good! You can also see here the Joli Rouge Sheer Lipstick. See below for details.
So the final item from this collection I have to show you is the Pink Coral Joli Rouge Sheer Lipstick. £16.50. I swatched this in store and fell in love. It is obviously, given the name, sheer and for this collection is also available in Pink Magnolia.
There are two swatches there because this lipstick is a bit chameleon-like, in the first swatch you see just a apricot tone and the sheerness and gloss shows, whereas the second shot looks a bit more pigmented and there’s a little shimmer. I know it doesn’t make sense but both are accurate. It’s extremely moisturising, perhaps due to the mango butter and I love this! I’ve done just a few swatches to show you how different it looks in different light. They all came out a little out of focus I’m afraid 🙁
Oh and all of them on my miserable wide angled face with huge nose?
So that’s all the things I have to show you but also available are Poppy Red and Baby Pink Joli Rouge Lipsticks, 8 New Glosses, Gloss Prodige Intense Colour and Shine Lip Gloss and beautiful Eye Palette with greys, turquoise and teal.
I think I’ll go back and get the Eye Quartet, the Coral Tonic Instant Light Blush, A couple of the glosses, (Candy and Raspberry in particular look amazing) and I have a hankering for the Baby Pink Joli Rouge… I’m not sure my budget can stretch to all of those as well as the Chanel bits I want and all the Dior I just bought but I’m going to do my best! I’ve spotted it all on Special Offer over at Escentual.
This stunning collection is available and on counters now.
*Disclosure – PR Samples*
The Christmas collection from Paul & Joe this year is so incredibly pretty! It’s one of those collections where I think I want everything just because of how good all the items look together. Actually I’ve never tried Paul & Joe before and I don’t really know why since pretty much everything I ever see on blogs and in mags makes me drool.
So this is my first foray into the world of Paul & Joe cosmetics and the first thing is, isn’t the outer packaging beautiful?
I know it’s not really the outer packaging that interests people but I had to share it because it’s so pretty. I was sent three products to try out.
First the Ornamental Pressed Powder (£22)
It is really a very beautiful item. The compact design is stunning and very worthy of pulling out for cosmetic touch ups in public places. The paler stripes within the pan of pressed powder are a little bit glittery. I’ve been sweeping a large brush over the whole thing and sweeping all over my face… a very small amount of glitter is apparent but it’s a lovely powder, soft and gentle and brightening. For most people, the glitter probably makes it an evenings only powder, for me, I just don’t care, bring it on! Very pretty little compact.
I was also sent two of the Nail Enamels (£10.50 each). On the left is Rockin’ and on the right is Home for Christmas.
Both of these are quite sheer, and soft, if that makes any sense but they are both pretty.
A really pretty colour.
Home for Christmas is the one though!
Again this is sheer and the picture does not do it justice at all, it’s so sparkly and festive, love this so much. I’ve got three coats on in this picture and it’s just gorgeous.
The wear on both of these was fab, lasting 4 days before I removed because I had other polish I needed to swatch.
There are of course other gorgeous things in the Ornamental collection, I’m loving the look of the Green polish called Hallelujah, and the Self Select Eye Colour in Silent Night which looks like a delicious purple. I’ll be looking more closely at this brand in future!
*Disclosure – PR Samples*