Saturday, 27 March 2010

Clarins HydraQuench Cream SPF 15: Review

Clarins HydraQuench Cream SPF 15

I have been using Clarins HydraQuench Cream SPF 15 for a couple of weeks after getting to the end of my latest tube of Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream.  I couldn't find any reviews of this SPF cream version before buying, so I think it might be a fairly new product on the market.

So I decided not to repurchase Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream because on its own, it isn't quite moisturising enough for my skin during the cold weather... its main selling point being for brightening the skin, rather than moisturising very dry skin like mine.  When my skin is especially dry from lack of sleep or not eating enough fruit and veg, I can really notice the way my skin crinkles up on the tops of my cheeks when I laugh... not good!!  And I'm scared that if that keeps happening, those crinkly lines will become permanent.  I like laughing too much to stop, so my only hope is to keep my skin hydrated.

Here's what Clarins says about the cream:

"A super-moisturizing cream for normal to dry skin.  Katafray bark and Sorbier tree bud ensure ideal skin moisture balance while SPF 15 filters protect skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Expertise 3P.  Protects skin from the harmful effects of today's pollution.  Allergy tested, non-comedogenic."

This Clarins HydraQuench cream is really rich (the first ingredient after water is shea butter).  I ordered it online, and was kind of expecting it to be a gel formulation because of the product name... you know... "hydra" and "quench".  But it's a proper thick, white cream.  The smell and texture reminds me of the old Pond's creams that my granny used to use when I was a kid... it's very comforting, both physically and psychologically :-).  This is what the cream looks like:

Clarins HydraQuench Cream SPF 15

Being so rich and having an SPF, it can be a little greasy sometimes.  It doesn't totally absorb (but then none of my heavy-duty moisturisers ever do... it's just something I've come to accept).  Sometimes when I've slathered it on a little too heavily, my face feels a bit sticky and unfresh... like that feeling you get in humid climates when you feel like you need to shower again immediately after stepping out of the front door.  So I've just got to learn to control how much I put on!

I wasn't expecting to see any noticeable difference in my skin... after all, a rich moisturiser is a rich moisturiser.  But my skin does actually feel noticeable softer.  I noticed it when washing my face just days after I started using the cream.

The pot is thick glass, so it's really heavy, and totally impractical for travelling.  But hey, that just gives me an excuse for using my MUJI travel-sized containers.

Overall, I'm pleased with my purchase.  I feel like a sophisticated French woman when I'm using it, and it leaves my skin baby soft.  It's a little greasy sometimes but that's nothing a bit of finishing powder can't sort out.

The ingredients in Clarins HydraQuench Cream SPF 15 are:

Aqua, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnate, Glycerin, Ethyhexyl Salicylate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Octocrylene, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Parfum, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysorbate 60, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Cedrelopsis Grevei Bark Extract, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Lapsana Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Pyrus Sorbus Bud Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Sorbitan Isostearate, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, BHT.

The HydraQuench range has several other variants of moisturisers, including a lighter SPF lotion, and an even richer cream (which doesn't have SPF).  I bought mine from for £28.80 (for a 50ml pot) where I buy most of my skincare products because it's so much cheaper than anywhere else due to the company shipping from Jersey and thus not having to pay the usual taxes.  Plus there are always substantial discount codes floating around.  I know it sounds like I'm plugging the website, but I'm not, honestly!  I just like their prices!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Brown eyeshadow cravings alleviated

FOTD brown eyeshadow

I'm going through a brown eyeshadow phase at the moment.  I recently went out looking for my ideal brown eyeshadow (slightly taupe, with no red or purple undertones), and ended up finding four really useable browns, pictured below...

MAC Paint Pot Constructivist, Sleek Eye Dust Dirty, Urban Decay Underground, The Body Shop Chocolate
From left to right:
  1. MAC Paint Pot in "Constructivist"
  2. Sleek Eye Dust in "Dirty"
  3. Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow in "Underground"
  4. The Body Shop Eye Colour in "32 Chocolate"

Swatches in same order (applied dry with finger):

Mac Paint Pot in "Constructivist" (£13)

A slightly bronze brown, with just a hint of shimmer.  I bought this because it went on so opaque (it's not very reflective, so you get more of the colour showing) and doesn't budge once it's on.   It's a nice colour, but I haven't quite got the hang of applying it yet because it dries so quickly and is hard to blend once it's dry.  I'm currently using it as a base under dry shadows, until I work out the best way to use it!

Sleek Eye Dust in "Dirty" (£2)

A dark, shimmery, rich chocolate brown pigment.  It looks a little red-toned in the swatch photo but it genuinely doesn't look like that in real life.  This is such a nice colour and packs a punch when applied... it's so intense.  Being a loose pigment, it does deposit itself all over my cheeks when used dry, but I can put up with that (actually it's quite annoying when I try to wipe the dots off, and end up smearing them into lots of little brown lines... but hey).  This pigment turns into a beautiful metallic brown paste when used wet (which also means no fallout).  I couldn't believe this was only £2... what else can you get these days that cost £2?!

Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow in "Underground" (£13.50)

A really pretty, shimmery "medium fawn" as described by Urban Decay.  This is the most sparkly of the four colours I bought, but also the most foolproof to wear.  It's a warm taupe with multi-faceted shimmer and it lights up my eye area as soon as I swipe it on.  I really can't describe the prettiness of this colour - you just have to see it for yourself in real life in a store.  If you have a soft spot for taupes, you'll fall in love with this colour.  Oh, and the packaging is cute too (albeit slightly excessive for a single eyeshadow).

The Body Shop Eye Colour in "32 Chocolate" (£8)

This was a surprise buy because I rarely like any of the make-up at The Body Shop... but this is a fantastic dark, taupe brown eyeshadow.  It has more grey in it than the other colours I bought and is much more pigmented than you would expect.  The packaging is a bit flimsy, but I love the grey-brown colour and the pigmentation so never mind.

In the photo at the top of this post, I am wearing Urban Decay "Underground" as the largest area colour, The Body Shop "Chocolate" on my lids, and Sleek Eye Dust "Dirty" as a liner on both upper and lower lash lines (used wet).  I also tried my Ardell individual eyelashes with just latex glue as opposed to the permanent glue that they're meant to be used with.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Chance to try the latest Philips Lumea (home IPL system) with Glamour magazine

Note: The registration for this Glamour review panel has now closed!
But if you're looking for details on Philips Lumea, please read my recent post here: Philips Lumea vs. Boots Smooth Skin iPulse vs. Remington i-Light

I just got the below email from Glamour.  I thought I'd post it in case anyone wants to try the new Philips Lumea IPL system for free and is able to attend the sessions in London.  I don't think you actually get the system to take home with you though unfortunately!  I considered applying myself, but I'm probably not the best candidate because I used Boots Smooth Skin during last year and haven't actually got much hair left on my body to zap.


Dear GLAMOUR reader,

GLAMOUR and Philips Lumea would like to invite you to take part in a series of spa sessions in London, in which you will receive a mini manicure AND have the opportunity to trial the NEW Philips Lumea, an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal system for use at home. The system grants women the ultimate beauty wish - to be free from unwanted hair and have perfectly smooth skin every day! Here's how...

Philips Lumea progressively reduces hair re-growth to a minimum and used every two weeks it prevents new hair from growing back.
It uses the latest Intense Pulsed Light technology to give women the confidence of perfectly smooth skin all the time.
It is a safe, gentle product from a trusted brand that has been developed in cooperation with leading dermatologists. Includes built-in safety features to protect the skin and adjustable settings for different skin/hair types.
It is easy to use - it's a cordless, hand-held appliance for maximum freedom during treatment

100 female GLAMOUR readers who are available on the dates specified and whose skin/hair type is suitable for the product, will be chosen at random after the closing date. If you are selected, you will be sent a welcome pack by post and emailed a link to the online booking tool, so that you can select the treatment times that are most convenient for you. After your 4 treatments we will send you a follow up survey to find out your opinion of the product.

To complete the registration survey please click on the link below.

Click here to start the survey.

The registration survey will close at midday on Monday 22nd March 2010. Thank you for your time.


Read our terms and conditions and privacy policy here.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder: Review

Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder

Last week, I bought the new Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder (£17) as a replacement for my almost-finished pot of e.l.f High Definition Powder.

The product promises the following:
"Designed for stars of film and flat screens, our high-tech translucent powder keeps you camera ready. The micro-fine (and strangely refreshing!) powder fools the eyes with "optical blurring"... imperfections are seemingly airbrushed away for soft-focus, silky skin. Foundation lasts longer, and bare skin looks better, thanks to oil-absorbing properties that leave skin shine-free."

I was all ready to buy another pot of e.l.f. HD Powder, but this Urban Decay version of a "high definition" powder caught my eye because of its colour.  While it's still intended to be a translucent, "suits all" shade, the powder itself is a light, nude, beigey pink colour instead of pure white like the HD powders by e.l.f. and Make Up Forever.  I wondered whether this would mean that the product has some coverage.  I really like e.l.f. High Definition Powder, but I would love a version which provided some coverage as well as the oil-absorbing and soft-focusing benefits.  You can read my old e.l.f. HD Powder review here.

It took me ages to work out how to actually get the product from the pot to my face.  This thing needs to come with instructions!!  In the end, I worked out that you're meant to twist the top to allow powder into the built-in sponge and then apply it straight from the sponge while it's still attached to the pot.  I really didn't like that.  At some points, I'm there shaking it for five minutes trying to coax out even a crumb of powder, and then sometimes (even when the pot is stationary) a huge cloud of it puffs up out of nowhere, and usually ends up up my nose.  I swear it's possessed.

Having given up on the intended application method and the cumbersome sponge which makes it impossible to apply powder in nooks and crannies, I twisted off the top using brute force and dipped straight into the powder instead.  This is what the pot looks like open.  You can see how small and few the dispensing holes in the lid are.

Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder open pot

The Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder is silica-based, so it's really silky and lightweight - even more so than the e.l.f. powder which actually now feels "grainy" in comparison.  Aside from the dodgy built-in applicator, this Urban Decay finishing powder is foolproof.  You can put as much as you want on, and it will never look chalky or detectable on the skin.  I can even mindlessly pat it around my eyes and not end up with white, powdery eyebrows and lashes (which I get if I use e.l.f. too heavily).  The powder seems to only tack onto skin and not hairs.

The finish of the powder is what I've come to expect from "high definition" powders... it takes the edge off the shine of my moisturiser and leaves my skin feeling silky and peachy matte.  Used on bare skin, my skin still looks bare afterwards - but a little more airbrushed with no garish contrasts of shine and no shine.  I was disappointed there was no coverage, but finishing powders rarely do have any coverage anyway because by definition, they're meant to be the final step of make-up after foundation etc.  The powder doesn't feel drying at all... it just disappears on the skin.

The shine-control property of Urban Decay Razor Sharp is not as mattifying as e.l.f.  The finish reminds me of my Laura Mercier Mineral Finishing Powder which leaves the skin with a subtle light-diffusing "sheen".  Neither of the Urban Decay nor Laura Mercier powders are shimmery, but they do both contain a small amount of undetectable mica which would give that sheen.  So if you've been put off high definition powders in the past because you've found them too mattifying or drying, you could potentially still like Urban Decay Razor Sharp.

To demonstrate the "airbrushing" effect of Urban Decay Razor Sharp, I am generously posting a bare-faced "before" photo where all I am wearing is moisturiser and a bit of concealer under my eyes (otherwise they would be bright purple and cause you to recoil):

And here is the "after" photo after applying Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder:

From afar, there's not that much difference, but if you look closely (you can click on the photos to enlarge if you want), the shine patches that previously made me look greasy and sweaty have been diffused.  In hindsight, I realise I should have taken these photos with a flash to really show off the contrast between the before and after.  But hopefully you can still see what I mean.  Flash photography is where you'll really see the difference though.  You can also see that there is no coverage - my freckles (of which I am mortified by how many I am sporting these days) are still clearly visible.

As with other silica-based setting powders, the shine-control and "setting" of other make-up is fairly long-lasting.  Of course it won't look quite as fresh at the end of the day, but whereas before you might have had obvious "patches" of shine, with this powder the sheen would be more even and look just like an overall, diffused glow.

One of the tips on the Urban Decay website is:
"Razor Sharp can even be used UNDER makeup to transform foundation into a liquid powder. Don’t just trust us…try it!"

The suggestion of using it before foundation is interesting, but I don't really see the point if you can just use it after the foundation...?  I haven't tried it.

So... Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder vs. e.l.f High Definition powder?  At the moment, I personally prefer the e.l.f. powder because it's more mattifying, doesn't contain any mica and the matte effect lasts much longer.  But during the summer (or on holidays) when I'm a little less pasty-looking and tend to wear less make-up, the Urban Decay powder would be perfect... I'll be able to slap it on in seconds without having to worry about looking too unnaturally matte or having to touch up powdery eyebrows and lashes afterwards.

If you want an airbrushed finish and some shine-control but don't want a flat, matte finish, or if you usually avoid powder because you have dry skin, I think you might like Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder (phew... that's the last time I have to type out that looong product name today).

The ingredients are:
Silica, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isoceteth-10, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Ascorbic Palmitate. May contain: Mica, C177491/77492/77499 (Iron Oxides), C177163 (Bismuth Oxychloride).

Sunday, 7 March 2010

L'Oréal Matte Morphose Foundation: First impressions review

L'Oreal Matte Morphose Foundation
I found a sample sachet of the new L'Oréal Matte Morphose Foundation in the latest Glamour magazine and was curious to see what it was like because there are ads for it everywhere at the moment, claiming the following:
"L'Oréal Paris Matte Morphose achieves a matte, luminous finish for up to 12 hours.  The feather-light soufflé foundation extends effortlessly across the skin with the lightest touch. Imperfections, fine lines and pores appear reduced.  Skin feels peachy-soft and looks transformed."

This consistency of this foundation is pretty similar to all the "mousse" cosmetics that you can find within other L'Oréal brands like Maybelline and Lancôme, but Matte Morphose is different in that it is silicone-based and doesn't contain talc.

I like silicone-based cosmetics.  I find them the most natural-looking as I'm generally happy with my skin's texture, and don't want to cover it up with foundations that are too dewy or matte.  My skin doesn't seem to mind silicones (although my hair does!).

You can really feel the silicone in Matte Morphose - the foundation actually felt slippery when I was trying to spread it out, especially over my greasy moisturiser which I use for my dry skin.  However, within a minute or so, I realised that all the slipperiness had disappeared, and my skin just felt peachy and matte (but not matte in a dry, chalky way).  I only needed the lightest dusting of finishing powder over the top (I usually use a lot to counteract the shine from my moisturiser).  If I had used a less shiny moisturiser underneath, I think the finish would have been more matte.  But I was happy with the effect... it looked very natural and fresh.  Matte finish foundations usually make me look like an old lady.

The coverage is light-medium.  It provides more coverage than my Yaby Liquid Foundation which is definitely sheer in comparison.  I could have gone without concealer if I was feeling particularly lazy.  But when I did wear concealer, it really held in place due to the semi-matte finish of the foundation, and I needed to use much less of it than I usually would.  I only needed to lightly dab the concealer on instead of smearing it on teenager-style like I usually do.

While it's not a drying, "cakey" foundation, I think Matte Morphose might still accentuate any flaky bits, so it's probably best to steer clear if you do have flaky skin.

The sample I tried was in "140 beige natural" which looked a little too dark when first dotted on my face.  But spread out, it was a pretty good match on me.  I've since looked at the other shades in Boots, and I didn't see any that were any more suitable.

I didn't bother to wear a primer underneath the foundation, because I didn't think the extra layer of silicone would have made any difference.  And I was right - my skin still looks peachy at the end of the day even without a primer.

After my very small trial of this foundation, I'd be happy to buy it.  Although it's not a must-have at this point because I don't use foundation on a daily basis... just for "special occasions" (why do I sound like a loser when I use that term?) or when I feel like playing with make-up.

Here's a cross-eyed photo I took immediately after applying the foundation and my other make-up:

L'Oreal Matte Morphose Foundation 140 Beige Natural on face

The ingredients of L'Oréal Matte Morphose are:
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Aluminium Hydroxide, [+/- May Contain: CI 77891, CI 77491, CI 77499]

If you're curious about trying Matte Morphose for yourself, you can currently order a 1ml sample from the L'Oréal website.  The full-sized pot is £11.99, but is on offer at £9.99 at the moment in Boots.

(Image of product was taken from L'Oréal website)

Update (25/06/2010): I can't believe I posted that awful picture of me up... I look so pale and deathly! Not really doing Matte Morphose any justice!
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