Saturday, 27 February 2010

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Espresso Ink: Less harsh than black?

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Espresso Ink

Last week, I bought Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner (£15) in the shade "Espresso Ink" which is a black brown colour that is a little less harsh-looking than pure black.  I already have a long-wear black gel liner from Smashbox but the black can be a bit much for daytime if used cack-handedly, evoking comments such as "ooh you've done your make-up Egyptian-style today".

"Espresso Ink" definitely looks brown rather than black in the pot, especially next to my Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in "Midnight Black".  But when it's applied, I can barely tell the difference between the two colours.  Swatched next to Smashbox "Midnight Black":

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner Espresso Ink swatch
Left to right, Bobbi Brown "Espresso Ink" and Smashbox "Midnight Black"

However, when I look very closely, "Espresso Ink" looks slightly more watered down and grey, whereas "Midnight Black" is true, black black.  Being less stark, "Espresso Ink" does give an overall softer look (especially on the lower lashline), but I was disappointed that it doesn't look dark brown like it does in the pot, but rather a dark grey.

In terms of consistency and application, I prefer Smashbox over Bobbi Brown.  The Bobbi Brown gel is too "wet" so the colour doesn't apply evenly, and takes longer to dry.  You can see in the swatch photo above that it's washed out down the middle of the stripe, and globby on the edges.  The Smashbox gel is more viscous and applies completely evenly, with a truer colour.

I'm still using "Espresso Ink" occasionally, but I'm going to try a browner brown next time... perhaps Smashbox Jet Set Eye Liner in "Dark Brown".  I didn't buy this shade before because I read reviews saying that the red tones might not go so well with brown eyes, but I'm now thinking it might be nicer on me than dark grey.

Here's a photo of "Espresso Ink" on my upper and lower lashline (but applied over Yaby Pearl Paint Shadow, so the colour isn't as strong as when worn on bare skin):

Monday, 22 February 2010

Yaby Pearl Paint Shadow: Swatches and review

Yaby Pearl Paint Shadows
Left to right, "Antique", "Cappuccino Dream", "Chocolate Smoothie", "Hematite"

These are the cute little Yaby Pearl Paint Shadow eyeshadows I bought a couple of weeks ago and that I kept meaning to write about following my earlier review on Yaby Liquid Foundation.

The description for these shadows on the Yaby website is:
pearl paint eyeshadow = fun eyes + wow colors
  • a creamy eyeshadow that is actually a powder!
  • extremely pigmented colors that translates true in photography and video.
  • waterproof (on bare skin, or any other waterproof products).

If you do a search, you'll find loads of reviews raving about Yaby Pearl Paint Shadows, about how they're "butter soft", "blend like a dream", "highly pigmented", "intense shimmer", "long-lasting" etc... so I won't add any more to that!

I bought four very neutral, easy-to-wear colours.... nothing too "out there" but if you did want more electric colours, Yaby can cater for you there too.

Here are the swatches on the back of my hand.  It was quite difficult finding swatches online so hopefully this is useful for someone!

Yaby Pearl Paint Shadow swatches
Left to right, "Antique" (pp019), "Cappuccino Dream" (pp040), "Chocolate Smoothie" (pp048), "Hematite" (pp082)

"Antique" is a gorgeous golden olive green.  It's extremely pretty and wearable.

"Cappuccino Dream" is a slightly red-toned mid brown.  Again, this is very easy to wear... although not suitable if you prefer more taupe browns.

"Chocolate Smoothie" is a dark brown with red and purple undertones.

"Hematite" is black and is meant to be shimmery, but it's nowhere near as shimmery as the other shades I have.  It's also a little harder in the pan.  Used as a liner, you can get a defined look but without the starkness that comes with pencil or gel liners...

Here is a photo of me using "Antique" with "Hematite" to line (sorry, I still can't seem to work a camera!).

... and of me using "Cappuccino Dream" on the lid,  with "Chocolate Smoothie" and "Hematite" to line:

I haven't found these shadows completely smudgeproof, but they do remain intense and relatively crease-free until I remove them.

The Pearl Paint Shadows come as "refills" which are designed to be slipped into a palette (Yaby have a range of empty palettes, or a Z Palette would do the trick).  And they're tiiiiiiiny... a little smaller than a 5p coin!  However, I paid a guilt-free £2.50 for each pan, and the compact size just means more space for other colours.

If you're interested in trying these shimmery shadows for yourself, you can find stockists for UK, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia at

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Ooh.. Yaby! Liquid Foundation review

Yaby Liquid Foundation Buff and Custard
Left to right, "Buff" and "Custard"

I placed an order for a couple of shades of Yaby Liquid Foundation immediately after reading a post by the girls at The London Beauty Review, who said:
"The foundation is described as "unbelievably natural", which is an accurate description - once applied, it looks just like skin; not too matte but not dewy, and not at all powdery..."

The official Yaby description is equally alluring:
Liquid foundation = unbelievably natural
  • Super smooth texture, extremely easy to apply
  • Mimics the skin's natural sheen to create the most realistic flawless skin
  • A natural finish which does not create excessive glossiness that requires constant touchup and mattifying
  • Oil-free
  • Filled with 8-8.5ml of products, each tube can be filled up to 12ml, allowing room for mixing to get the perfect in between color

This sounded just perfect.  I've been looking for a natural-looking foundation that will look flawless in person as well as in photos (wedding stuff!).  For photography, this rules out all foundations containing SPF (especially titanium/zinc oxide) and shimmer particles e.g. mica.  I went through a mineral foundation phase a couple of years ago and I have some comically bad photos from that time, where my face has great big white, shiny patches all over.  Keen to avoid that!

Yaby was developed by a Toronto make-up artist, Liz Yu, who through her profession, knows her stuff when it comes to make-up for film and photography.

I bought shades "Buff" (medium neutral beige) and "Custard" (medium yellow).  "Custard" has turned out to be far too yellow for me (it really is the colour of custard), but "Buff" is a perfect match... it's easy to see why "Buff" is Yaby's most popular shade - there's not too much pink or yellow in it.  See swatches below on my hand:

Yaby Liquid Foundation Buff and Custard swatches
Left to right, "Buff" and "Custard"

Having used Yaby Liquid Foundation a few times now, it does not disappoint!  As it's silicone-based, it blends incredibly easily, leaving my skin smooth and even-toned.  But most importantly, it doesn't look or feel like I'm wearing foundation at all - my skin just looks like my skin, but better.

As the coverage is light, you'll still need to use concealer for blemishes or slightly more red areas.  With this foundation on my skin, my concealer seems to blend easier, and last longer.  I guess with the silicone, it's a bit like a primer and foundation in one.

Towards the end of the day, the foundation (or rather my skin with the foundation on) still looks fresh and even.  It never oxidises, cakes, or turns oily on the skin.  (Although I should mention I use Bare Escentuals Prime Time under it, which would also help the foundation to last.)

If you prefer medium to heavy coverage, this foundation isn't for you because the coverage is pretty light.  However, if you're looking for a "second skin" foundation which evens out skin tone, but truly looks like real skin, you should check out Yaby Liquid Foundation.

The ingredients of Yaby Liquid Foundation are:
Deionized Water, Cyclomethicone, Octyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Copoyol, Silica, Polyethylene, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Sodium Chloride, Beeswax, Phenoxethanol, Nylon-12, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

Liz Yu's concept for Yaby was about making it easier for make-up artists to condense, customise and organise their kits.  For this reason, most Yaby products are tiny little things that let you have more variety, without the waste of huge pans that you'll never finish.

The foundation comes in a 12ml squeezy tube (about the size of a tube of eye cream), with 8ml of product and a removable tip.  The extra space is for people who wish to mix custom colours.  There's also a stainless steel ball inside the tube to help keep the foundation well mixed.  Clever.

If you're wondering how long such a small tube will last you, I read some user reviews saying that one tube lasts them around 40-70 applications depending on application style.

I paid £8.99 for each foundation from The Make-up Artist Boutique which is currently the only UK-based seller of Yaby.  Not sure when it expires, but I used the promo code "FIRSTORDER" for 10% off (thanks LondonBeautyReview!).  And the parcel arrived within 24 hours... woo!

Stockists for Europe, USA, Canada and Australia can be found at

I've also been using some Yaby Pearl Paint Shadows which I'll be reviewing soon!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Various dark pink NYX Round Lipsticks: Swatches and photos

NYX Round Lipstick in Fire, Louisiana, Doll, Spell Bound
My recent Cherry Culture order included these four NYX Round Lipsticks of the shades (from left to right) Fire (599)Louisiana (634)Doll (635), and Spell Bound (644).  I'd heard great things about NYX Round Lipsticks and I wasn't disappointed when these arrived in the post.  The colours are incredibly smooth, rich and creamy, in a moisturising base.  Plus they were on offer at only $1.75 each... barg. You can't get much for that these days!


NYX Round Lipstick swatches Fire, Louisiana, Doll, Spell Bound
Above, left to right: Fire (599)Louisiana (634)Doll (635)Spell Bound (644)

Above, Fire (599), a deep red pink

Above, Louisiana (634), a nude, mauve pink

Above, Doll (635), a brown pink

Above, Spell Bound (644), a rose pink

I like Fire for its drama, and Spell Bound for its natural prettiness.  Louisiana and Doll don't do much for me.  Brown-toned lip colours always make me look awful... and they remind me of being at school in the '90s when brown lipstick (and Rimmel Heather Shimmer) was all the rage.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

NYX Mosaic Powder (highlighter): Review

NYX Mosaic Powder in Highlighter

I received my order from Cherry Culture yesterday and this NYX Mosaic Powder in shade "01 Highlighter" was just one of the NYX items I'd ordered.  I bought it based on loads of reviews saying it gives a gleam without being shimmery...

I already have a fantastic highlighter in the form of MAC Strobe Lotion but I find that Strobe is not so good used over dry products, and if I apply it before setting powder, the "gleam" is completely dulled down anyway.  So I was on the lookout for the same effect in powder form.

Before buying NYX Mosaic Powder, I did try the much raved about MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in "By Candlelight" but I was really disappointed with it after all the hype.  Well, the initial glow was gorgeous, but it turns into a glitterbomb within minutes.  Not good.  I also tried NARS Highlighting Blush Powder"Albatross" but I found that too chunky glittery too.

The "Highlighter" shade of NYX Mosaic Powder is a mosaic of pale colours and goes on as a very fine, silvery white, pearlescent sheen on the skin.  See below swatch on my chubby-looking hand.  I agree with the reviews I read about it not being glittery - there's no real glitter at all.  I'm super impressed.  It looks and feels much more expensive than it actually was ($6.50).  It's doesn't quite give that wet gleam that MAC Strobe Lotion achieves, but it's pretty close.  Recommended if you are looking for a non-glittery, powder highlighter!

NYX Mosaic Powder Highlighter swatch

Here's a shot of it on my cheeks... same old pose, probably same old purple sweater dress that has appeared in photos before...

The ingredients are:
Mica, Magnesium Stearate, Talc, Kaolin, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Polyethylene/PTFE Wax, Nylon 10, Ethyhexyl Palmitate, Squalane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Silica, Iron Oxide, C.I. pigment, Pearl powder, Propyl Paraben, Butylated hydroxy anisole.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Argh why do some brands make it so hard to check ingredients in their products?

Rimmel Stay Matte Dual Action Concealer

This is a real peeve of mine.  I like being able to see the ingredients of products before I buy them, just for my sanity.  Recently, I had a "consumer" moment where I saw an ad in a magazine for the new Rimmel Stay Matte Dual Action Concealer, and bought it the next day.  But I still don't know what the ingredients list looks like.  The ingredients aren't anywhere on the product itself (not even under a sticker).  The Rimmel ingredients flip book in Boots was missing.... and the product is too new to be listed in the ingredients PDF on the Rimmel website.

The "dual action" refers to the concealer claiming to both treat and cover blemishes.  The only words I can find that come anywhere near to "ingredients" are "cucumber", "cotton" and "chamomile" which are part of the packaging design.

I like knowing what's in my face cosmetics, because there's more chance of them causing spots than say an eyeshadow.  Especially around the sides of my nose where I am particularly prone to blocked pores, but where I need to use concealer to even out the tone.  I usually use mineral foundation as a concealer but I hate the way it goes shiny and slides off within hours due to the titanium/zinc oxide.

Despite not being able to find the ingredients anywhere, I still bought the concealer because of the enticing product stand in Boots which said something like:

"Unique Natural Shine Control Complex for up to 12 hours flawless matte coverage.  Long-lasting shine control formula combats the causes of shine all day long.  Full coverage that hides imperfections.  Skin looks fresh and naturally matte.  Sensitive Skin Assured: Fragrance Free. Oil Free. Paraben Free. Talc Free."

This seemed to be more about the foundation (which did have the ingredients listed on the product), but I liked the fact that the concealer could be oil-free and talc-free (although I don't know for sure!).  Mineral oil and talc are surefire ways of me getting giant under-the-skin spots (it happens every time without fail).  Most of the premium, highly rated concealers out there contain mineral oil, and I just can't use them.  So here I am resorting to teenage "spot busting" brands...

Anyway.... I do like the concealer... it has a green core which is the "treat" part of the concealer.  I assume it has spot-fighting ingredients in it, and the green tone also in theory helps to combat red undertones.

Rimmel Stay Matte Dual Action Concealer Classic Beige

I bought the shade 030 Classic Beige which blends perfectly into my skin tone.  I can layer it to get more coverage, and it still looks natural.

The lasting power is great.  The consistency of the concealer is very thick and dry but with a lot of tack, so it doesn't end up sliding off later in the day.  The downside of the dry consistency is that it will accentuate any flakiness.

But most importantly, it hasn't given me any spots or blocked pores on the areas I've been using the concealer.

So a brilliant concealer for me, but Rimmel if you're listening, can you please make it easier to check the ingredients in your products in future, thanks...

I think I paid £4.50 for this concealer.

Update (14th April 2010):  I finally got round to emailing the people at Rimmel and getting the ingredients of Rimmel Stay Matte Dual Action Concealer...

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