Thursday, 31 May 2012

ELLIS FAAS: Creamy Eyes E119



Here are the swatches for the new ELLIS FAAS Creamy Eyes E119 and an eye look using this yellow ochre.

To be honest, I'm not one who gravitates to yellow eyeshadows but then again, if I was game enough to try an acid green eyeshadow, I should at least give yellow a whirl.


Thankfully, E119 is a soft, earthy yellow.

ELLIS FAAS Creamy Eyes E119 swatches: Heavily applied (L); Lightly swatched (R)

For the eye look, I've used E119 as more of a base/background shade, combining it with a dark rust orange and a dark brown for a kind of vertical gradient. I used:


Creamy Eyes E119 - yellow ochre
Milky Eyes E207 - dark rust orange
Creamy Eyes E104 - dark brown
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Truly Brown (tightlining)
Mascara E401 - black
These are a mixture of pens provided by ELLIS FAAS and from my own purchase.


Basically, it's the yellow ochre high on the lid, the rust orange on the moving lid and the dark brown for wing-ed eyelining. For the bottom lid, I've applied a touch of yellow ochre and then did a mirrored wing eyelining with the dark brown to elongate the eyes.



The other new shades previously featured:
ELLIS FAAS Creamy Eyes E114
ELLIS FAAS Creamy Eyes E115

More information:
The New Creamy Eyes page on the ELLIS FAAS website
Don't forget to enter their International New Creamy Eyes Competition!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Botanics: Moisturising Body Balm Review


This body balm came in that same gift/travelpack that I talked about in my review of the Botanics Nourishing Body Butter.


The Botanics Moisturising Body Balm with ginseng and cocoa butter is indeed a balm. It contains beeswax but I have to say that the beeswax, fortunately, goes unnoticed in the product. The body balm essentially has the consistency of a thick, smooth lotion, though not quite as rich and creamy as the abovementioned Nourishing Body Butter. You will see in the list of ingredients below that it also contains shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii).

This body balm has cocoa butter but it doesn't smell of cocoa butter at all. In fact, all I get is a sweet, oriental, pick-me-up, ginseng-y scent. I like it.

It takes a minute or two for the balm to be absorbed, leaving the skin smooth and slightly tacky. I find the balm only fairly moisturising. Personally, I think it works best in the spring months. I don't find it moisturing enough for winter and it's perhaps too heavy for summer. So, I wouldn't recommend this to those who have extremely dry skin to start with (the Botanics Nourishing Body Butter would work better).


Although the name 'ginseng' is touted on the product and in the product blurp: "Ginseng: renowned in Asia as a tonic, this one plant delivers a multitude of benefits. This extract contains several powerful anti-oxidants, helping protect skin against damaging free radicals.", I doubt the balm contains a lot of ginseng. Just take a look at the list of ingredients and you'll find ginseng somewhere at the bottom of the list. Botanics does state that their (plant) extracts are authenticated by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and true, the balm sounds and smells exotic and fancy but I wouldn't get too carried away by the ginseng.

That said, this body balm is very competitively priced: £3.17 for a 200ml tube. In general, the Botanics range of products are fairly good and are great for those on a budget. However, if you're a staunch user of natural bodycare products that contain no parabens and such, then this wouldn't be for you.

Ingredients
Aqua, Isopropyl palmitate, Cetyl alcohol, Glyceryl stearate SE, Glycerin, Cera alba, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric triglyceride, Butyrospermum parkii, Cetearyl olivate, Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbitan olivate, Theobroma cacao, Dipropylene glycol, Xantham gum, Citric acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Magnesium aluminum silicate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium citrate, Sodium hydroxide, BHT, Panax ginseng, Citronellol, Coumarin, Maltodextrin, Propylene glycol, Alcohol denat, Silica, Geraniol, Denatonium benzoate, CI 19140, CI 42090.

In case you didn't know, Botanics is a brand of body and facial care products by Boots.


More information:
Boots UK
Boots Nederlands

Monday, 28 May 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Famous


"When I grow up, I want to be famous!"

.......says many a child these days. Not a doctor, not a lawyer, not a teacher. Just "famous" would do, thank you.


Here's the second polish from the upcoming KOH Fantasy collection.

KOH Famous is similar to KOH Miracles in that they're metallics and they're both very pale colours. Famous is an uncontroversial light pink-lilac. Simple and soothing is the best way to put it. I applied three thin coats here. Application was trouble-free but as it's a metallic, it looks expectedly streaky.

This polish was provided by KOH Cosmetics.


Previous Fantasy polish: KOH Miracles
Next Fantasy polish: KOH Skinny

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Le Couvent des Minimes: Smile Lip Balm Review


Le Couvent des Minimes (a much smaller and lesser-known sister brand of L'Occitane's) revamped its lipbalm range some months back. Oh, wait. That lipbalm range was really just one product - the Le Couvent des Minimes Nutritive Lip Balm.

With the 'revamp', the new range called Smile Lip Balm now consists of four products: three Smile Lip Balms in tubes and one Le Couvent des Minimes Smile Lip Balm Very Rich Formula with Honey Aroma in a glass jar.

I had some issues with the old lipbalm but I was nevertheless curious about this new range. I bought two of the tube Smile Lip Balms and also the one in the glass jar. I will write a separate post on the latter. This post is on the tube lip balms:

• Le Couvent des Minimes Smile Lip Balm Pear Aroma
• Le Couvent des Minimes Smile Lip Balm Orange Blossom Aroma


What Le Couvent des Minimes says (excerpts)
Thanks to its original recipe with a delicious aroma, the Smile Lip Balm:

• softens the lips
• nourishes the lips
• protects the lips

Dermatologist tested. Paraben free. Colorant free. Mineral oil free.


Ingredients
Triisostearin, Trihydroxystearin, Shea butter extract, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Apricot kernel oil, Jojoba seed oil, Aroma, Marshmallow root extract, Saccharin, Propylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Water, Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene, Eugenol.

To help you sift through the ingredients list with some complicated-sounding items, Le Couvent des Minimes highlights on the packaging the natural ingredients and their intended function:

• Marshmallow extract : softens
• Shea butter : nourishes
• Apricot seed oil: protects


My Thoughts

Application
The plastic tube has a slant-tip opening which is handy if you wish to apply directly on the lips with the tube. I like to keep the tip and the screw-on cap clean, so I prefer to squeeze the contents on my finger and then apply.

Scent
The scent is very present in the first couple of minutes of application and yeah, the aromas are dead-on. I especially like the pear variant as it's really like taking a bite of a very juicy, ripe green pear. Despite the saccharin, the Smile Lip Balm is tasteless.


Texture
This Smile Lip Balm isn't a balm in the true sense of the word. It doesn't contain any waxes - no beeswax, no candelilla wax, no carnauba wax. In fact, the 'balm' looks like a gel, like a colourless lipgloss - viscous and murky translucent - but unlike lipgloss, it has a non-sticky formula, which is great! The lips are left with a mildly glossy finish, which is why I tend not to use it at bedtime.

The gel spreads smoothly and effortlessly on the lips and it's lasting too. The lips stay smooth, cushy-soft and moisturised for several hours until it's time to eat. A thin layer applied would also work well as a lipstick base.


Final Words
I'm impressed. I wasn't expecting much when I bought these but I really like these tube Smile Lip Balms now, inaccurate the 'lip balm' name may be. If anything, I think the creators should have called it a lip gel, a lip conditioner or even a lip treatment.

Even though it doesn't look like all the ingredients are natural and I don't know if the aroma is natural or synthetic (let me know if you happen to have more information), it's great that it doesn't contain parabens and petrolatum. I like the fact that the shea butter figures quite highly on the list of ingredients and the presence of apricot kernel oil, jojoba seed oil and marshmallow extract can only mean more nourishing goodness for the lips.

Its recommended retail price in Europe is €7.50 for 15ml / 0.5oz. At the ICI Paris XL parfumerie stores here in the Netherlands, they go for €6.75 each.


More information:
For the background story on Le Couvent des Minimes the brand, please read this post here.
Le Couvent des Minimes website

I did a quick check and here are some of the places where one can buy Le Couvent des Minimes products:

Benelux - ICI Paris XL parfumeries stores in Nederland and Belgium
UK - Tesco's Beauty Halls in Bolton, Dudley and Newport
USA - Beauty.com
It says on the Beauty.com website that with a USD35 purchase of Le Couvent des Minimes products, you'll get a free full-size tube of the soap-free Rinse-Off Cleansing Cream (worth USD16) from its Beneficial Rose Skincare range. Ends 31 Dec 2012.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Miracles


We finished taking a look at the entire KOH Elements collection just recently and it's already time to move on to the next one! KOH Fantasy features another set of six limited edition nail polishes, with names that are ideals many of us fantasise about. I can't say that I agree with all of them but okay, I can see why they fit right in in this age of reality tv and the overabundance of talent shows on television these days.


KOH Miracles doesn't demand a lot of attention in the bottle. On the nails though, it looks rather space-age. Miracles has a metallic finish. It is a silver with a tinge of blue (or perhaps a tinge of violet). It was almost opaque in two coats, so I stopped at that. Go for three if you're OCD about visible nail lines.

This polish was kindly provided by KOH Cosmetics.



These are the six KOH Fantasy nail polishes. I suppose you can split them into three general colour groups: two purple/lilacs, two pale blues and two orange/corals.

L-R:
KOH Rich
KOH Famous
KOH Miracles
KOH Lucky Star
KOH True Love
KOH Skinny

The previous collection, KOH Elements, is only now making its appearance in the parfumerie stores here in the Netherlands. According to the press release, the KOH Fantasy collection will be available from 1st July. Retail price: €14.95 per bottle.

Next Fantasy polish: KOH Famous

Sunday, 20 May 2012

ELLIS FAAS: Creamy Eyes E115



Creamy Eyes E115 is another shade from the set of seven new ELLIS FAAS Creamy Eyes eyeshadows released last week.


E115 is a matt medium purple. It's old news that the Creamy Eyes liquid eyeshadows are cast-iron lasting but if you're new to this range, please refer to my detailed ELLIS FAAS Creamy Eyes review.

Creamy Eyes E115 swatches: Heavily applied (L) and lightly swatched (R)


For the eye look in this post, I used:


Milky Eyes E203 - dark blue
Creamy Eyes E106 - matte taupe
Creamy Eyes E115 - matte medium purple
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Black Ink (tightlining)
Mascara E401 - black

L-R: Milky Eyes E203, Creamy Eyes E106, Creamy Eyes E115


The very lightly applied taupe of E203 served as a base for the medium purple of E115 and I used the dark blue of E203 for eyelining.



Further reading:
A look at the burgundy Creamy Eyes E114
The New Creamy Eyes page on the ELLIS FAAS website

Friday, 18 May 2012

Adorned Nails: Douglas Spice It Up


I spied this polish in a Douglas parfumerie store a few weeks back. Tucked away in a corner was a special Absolute Douglas display with five products: bronzing powder, kabuki brush, eye pencil, plumping lip gloss and this nail polish. Absolute Spicy is the name of this special collection, obviously meant for the coming summer.


The Douglas Spice It Up nail polish with its copper-brown cap and the copper-coloured contents was the only one that I thought worth buying (Price: €4.95 for 11ml). I've already got a couple of copper-coloured polishes at home but I don't know.......I love how chique this whole bottle looks. Ooo, did I just admit to being shallow?!

Just like the other Douglas nail polishes, this bottle comes with a double cap and a medium-broad brush. Spice It Up is a super lovely copper. The finish is appropriately metallic, which also spells 'streaky'. It was quite all right with two coats but to intensify the colour for these photos, I did three. It looks glorious in sunshine.


I hadn't had the time/chance to try some of the top coats that came out in the Catrice Million Styles Limited Edition Collection from a couple of months ago. I chose ¿Holo Qué Tal?! which Catrice says contains "holographic shimmering glitter pigments". Well, kinda. I don't find it quite that holographic (not the kind that I'm used to anyway). ¿Holo Qué Tal?! has bitty bits of pink glitter particles that look yellow and green at an angle.

Anyway, I applied two-three coats of ¿Holo Qué Tal?! on Spice It Up and ended up with a curious pink copper. Here are three shots of my nails taken from different distances and light conditions. Enjoy!

Natural lighting


Sunshine


Upclose, natural lighting


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Catrice: Revoltaire Smokey Eyes Palette Review



These are the Catrice Revoltaire Smokey Eyes Palettes that I mentioned in the Revoltaire Velvet Matt Lip Colour post.

Basically, each palette has one eye-popping colour, two 'supporting' neutral colours and, in the bottom right quarter, one dark-coloured eyeliner that is water-activated.


Ah, what can I say about the palette casings? Sleek, stylish, glossy, gunmetal, they are perhaps the coolest-looking palettes to have come from Catrice so far. Each has a no-nonsense mirror inside and the palette can be opened to a 180-degree angle. By the way, doesn't the emblem remind of you of Rococo and/or Rorschach's inkblot test?

As you will see in a moment, the eyeshadows don't disappoint, as far as pigmentation is concerned. They all have varying degrees of shimmer. I'm not too crazy about the cake eyeliner in the green palette as I find the shade a bit light for an eyeliner. The one in the pink palette is appropriately darker.

Using the accompanying sponge-tip applicators and my fingers, I did an eye look with each of the palettes and in both looks below, I used the following three products:


Etos Eyeshadow Underbase (eyeshadow primer)
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner in Truly Brown
ELLIS FAAS Mascara E401


Let's now take a closer look at each of the palettes.

C01 Toxic Combination



You can't miss that bright, toxic, acid green eyeshadow. The green is, to say the least, very 'out there', so unless you're going to be rockin' at some summer pop festival or if you're (fortunate enough to be still) a teen, I'd suggest going easy on it. Its more down-to-earth companions are a khaki green and an ashy taupe-grey. The cake eyeliner is a medium brown-grey.



C02 Explosive Combination



The coral pink looks innocent enough in the palette but in a heavy swatch, it looks coral red. The shade pretty much reflects the bright coral pink of the Revoltaire Velvet Matt Lip Colour called Colour Bomb. The supporting eyeshadows are a beige and a medium brown. The cake eyeliner is a dark-enough dark brown.


For this eye look, the eyelining was done with the GOSH eyeliner pencil. To get that hard edge on the outer corner, you could use the usual method of sticking a piece of tape to block off the area. I prefer to just apply the eyeshadows and then wipe off the excess with a cotton bud and eye makeup remover.

Price of the palettes: only €4.49 each


To view the collection:
Catrice website

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

ELLIS FAAS: Creamy Eyes E114


In case you haven't heard, ELLIS FAAS is now seven Creamy Eyes eyeshadows richer. Well, isn't that nice?

The brand launched this new set of colours last weekend. Just like the existing Creamy Eyes range (E103 - E109), these new ones are liquid eyeshadows and run in the E11x series. This new set is certainly more colourful than the previous seven and it consists of:

Creamy Eyes
E113 - navy blue
E114 - bordeaux red
E115 - purple
E116 - lilac
E117 - mint green
E118 - light blue
E119 - yellow ochre


The good folks at ELLIS FAAS kindly sent over a couple of colours and in this post, we take a quick look at Creamy Eyes E114, a magnificent, rich, intense, gorgeous, splendiferous burgundy. But then again, burgundy is one of my favourite colours (the other being purple), so, ummm, I could be biased here.


Creamy Eyes E114 swatches - heavily applied (L) and lightly swatched (R)


You should know by now that the Creamy Eyes eyeshadows are waterproof and they don't crease. Put simply, they stay put until it's time to take them off. The darker shades make great eyeliners too.

The new Creamy Eyes are now available through the ELLIS FAAS website and are priced the same as the existing Creamy Eyes: €26 / £23 / USD36 each.

Here's an easy eye look using:


Creamy Eyes E114
Eyeliner E501 - black
GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner - Black Ink (tightlining)
Mascara E401 - black


ELLIS FAAS Competition
On another note, ELLIS FAAS has launched a competition, calling it the International New Creamy Eyes Competition. To participate, all you need to do is submit a visual using one of their new shades. Ms Faas, a master at creating great visuals herself, will pick the winners, with the first prize winner walking away with an Ellis Holder filled with products of his or her choice! Closing date: 31 July 2012. More details can be found on the special New Creamy Eyes page on their website.


Further reading:
Brand: ELLIS FAAS
My ELLIS FAAS Creamy Eyes Review

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Catrice: Revoltaire Velvet Matt Lip Colour Review



So, the Revoltaire Limited Edition Collection by Catrice has been making its rounds on websites here in Europe.

I was very drawn to the sleek, glossy gunmetal casings with the Revoltaire 'emblem' when I saw them for the first time on the Limited Edition Preview section of the Catrice website some time back. To be honest, though, I think they would look even better in matt.....but never mind. Many things go through my head when I see the ornate 'emblem': Rococo, Rorschach's inkblot test, not quite Rock & Republic and not quite Rouge Bunny Rouge. The design looks different on the casings for the eyeshadow palettes. I'll feature that later. If you haven't seen it, you can take a look on Catrice's website.


Although some may gag at the silly play of Voltaire's name, I actually quite like it. In a nutshell, with the Revoltaire collection, Catrice advocates having the courage to be yourself and all that you want to be, and breaking free of conventions.

Yes, okay.

This is what Catrice says of the Velvet Matt Lip Colour:

Matt, velvety lips revolutionize the spring season: full of contrasts, unexpected, exciting and new. The matt lipsticks in a unique gun metal case won’t dry out your lips thanks to their velvety, rich texture. Instead, they provide color with depth for sensual lips with a matt finish and a touch of coolness - from nude to coral pink to intensive red.

I paid €3.99 for each of these.

I gave the nude one - Nude Alarm - a miss. I just know it would never ever ever work on me. The coral pink one is called Colour Bomb and maaaan, it's one heck of a coral pink. A coral pink this bright is not something I'm used to and at first, I wasn't sure if it would be a hit or a miss but I've decided that it's quite all right on me.

L: Colour Bomb; R: Bloody Red

The vampy red one - Bloody Red - appears to be a brown-toned red on the lipstick but when swatched or applied on the lips, it actually looks slightly blue-toned.

The highly pigmented lipsticks have a seriously matt finish and an almost rubbery look which I love! Both applied smoothly, albeit seemingly dry. I applied them without my usual lipbalm base as the slight glossiness of the lipbalm may take away the matt effect and surprisingly, my lips were able to take these lip colours straight for many hours.

Colour Bomb

As they are on the 'dry' side, the colour doesn't transfer much when one takes a drink. After a meal though, one is left with the lip colour only on the outer edges of the lips. This unsophisticated outline cannot be simply/temporarily fixed by pursing the lips together to shift colour around because the Velvet Matt Lip Colour has little slip - it's 'dry'. A proper re-application is advised.

Bloody Red

The lip colours look 'dry' but they are not drying. I took a closer look at the list of ingredients and besides the usual microcrystalline wax, these lip colours also have safflower seed oil, corn oil and extracts of the papaya fruit and the early purple orchid. I'm wondering if this explains why my lips didn't dry and shrivel with just these lip colours on.

Thumbs up, Catrice!

Ingredients
Neopentyl glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, Trimethylolpropane triisostearate, Dimethicone, Microcrytalline wax, Polyethylene, Polybutene, Dicalcium phosphate, Silica, Dimethicone crosspolymer, Mica, Safflower seed oil, Corn oil, Papaya fruit extract, Orchis Mascula flower extract, Pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tocopheryl acetate. May contain: CI 15850 (Red 6/Red 7 LAKE), CI 15985 (Yellow 6 Lake), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium dioxide).

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Adorned Nails: KOH Fire



I've saved the most interesting one of the lot for last. Finally, the sixth KOH Elements polish!

If ever I had a pet dragon, this would be how I hope it would look - sinister and shimmering with green-gold-brown tones. Oh, just humour me, please.


I would describe KOH Fire as a burgundy-brown jelly packed densely with tiny bits of yellow-gold, green and turquoise glitter. It has no flakies but it's charming enough. I've got three coats on here.

This polish was kindly provided by KOH Cosmetics.


Previous Elements polish: KOH Earth

To view all the Elements polishes at one go, please refer to my KOH Nail Polish Gallery.

Stay tuned for the next special collection called KOH Fantasy!