Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Chanel Autumn 2011 Nail Polish

Throughout the course of this blog, you will come to learn that I am a bit of a nail polish nut, especially when it comes to Chanel polishes.

When I first became interested in Chanel polishes, I awaited the new collections with anticipation but the 'must-have' polishes always sold out so quickly. This meant that I had to wait for a considerable amount of time for the hype to die down and for them to come back in stock. (I had to wait MONTHS for both Paradoxal and Black Pearl- my current favourites).

I tend to wear darker polishes and so I prefer the Autumn/Winter collections. When I was informed by my local Chanel advisor that the new polishes were coming out on August 19th (Gabrielle Chanel's birthday, no less) I decided to be 'that girl' and put my name on the waiting list for all three.

The advisor showed me the colours and I knew instantly that I would buy Peridot and Graphite but I wanted to wait and see Quartz in person before I made a decision as I was unsure about the colour.

So, last Friday I patiently waited for a phone call from the Chanel counter and I popped in on my lunch break when they informed me that my polishes were waiting for me!

My suspicions about Quartz were correct; a soft brown metallic that I wouldn't choose to wear. It is still a very pretty colour and I would recommend it for those who prefer less of an 'in-your-face' look.

It seems as though Peridot is set to be the 'must-have' of this collection (much like Black Pearl and Paradoxal before it) and it really is beautiful. It is a very unusual green/gold metallic with the occasional hint of blue. Different angles and types of light emphasise the different colours in the polish so it can go from a pure gold to a light green as you move the nail around. I would recommend buffing your nails before using this as the metallic/holographic quality of the polish means that it highlights every imperfection on the nail bed.

I feel that Graphite will not be as popular as Peridot but for me, I love it just as much. It is a glittery polish as opposed to the metallic Peridot and it has a graphite/pewter finish to it. Again, when it moves in the light it can look more grey/blue or silver depending on the brightness. You will also notice an occasional gold shimmer when under artificial light which adds to the dimension of the polish.

Graphite applies very thinly, as with most glitter polishes. This means that it is a very easy polish to work with as you can apply multiple coats (I prefer three for complete coverage) within quick succession. Peridot also applies quite thinly and I find that two coats are more than enough, although it is important to be precise with your brush strokes for the polish to look flawless. It certainly seems that Chanel have worked on their formulations as these polishes are very quick and easy to apply.

All in all, these are beautiful polishes, although £17.50 for a bottle is expensive. I have seen several cheaper dupes of previous collections (one of which I will review at some point) and I'm sure that several lower price cosmetic companies will want to get on the action some time soon should you want to spend less!

A xo

Please excuse my pathetic photography attempt- Graphite (L) and Peridot (R). Photographs of these polishes do not show how truly amazing they are! Pop to your local Chanel counter to check them out for yourself.

First image courtesy of Chanel

Monday, 22 August 2011

... Foundation!

Foundation has been a constant issue for me ever since I started wearing makeup. I have tried cheap ones, pricey ones, liquids, cremes, mousses, and powders to name a few...

My problem lies in my skin type; I have dry/combination skin that has the tendancy to get oily on the T-zone every now and again. I also have rather uneven skin tone and some scarring from spots when I was younger. Thankfully, my skin has got over it's 'funny teenage moment' and now I get spots very rarely. My parents kindly bestowed upon me a face full of freckles which while lovely, become a pain when applying a base, especially in the summer when they are more prominent.

As a result of all of these factors, I find that I need coverage to even out my skin, but too much and my masked freckles make my skin appear as though I have conducted my morning routine using a cement mixer and trowel.

A consultant on a makeup counter suggested that I try a mineral powder foundation, and I was sceptical to say the least.

Powder with my dry skin? I don't want to look cakey, thanks. Powder when I need coverage? Yeah, right.

Well, I hold up my hands... I was wrong.

Laura Mercier's Mineral Powder Foundation is my saviour. Although it is a powder, it is a moisturising formula which ensures you do not look too cakey. The coverage is buildable so you can apply more where necessary and it enables you to choose how heavy your makeup is, depending on the occasion. There is also a light (and subtle) shimmer in the powder which gives you a healthy and pretty glow.

Having tried SO many foundations over the years, I am happy to have found a foundation that works with my skin. It makes me look really healthy and it is a good base for the rest of my makeup. I am applying my makeup at 6.30 in the morning at the moment and it is staying in place well into the evening which is perfect as I do not like to touch up during the day.

Application: I am currently using a MAC 150 powder brush to apply the powder, I know that this is not the preferred method of application for mineral foundation, but it seems to be working for me. I may consider trying a Kabuki brush to see whether it changes the finished look of the product on my skin.

- A lot of product in the pot considering you don't need much for a full face application
- Nice, subtle glow
- Buildable coverage so you can tailor it to your requirements
- Staying power
- Natural looking

- Expensive- At £31.00 it is an expensive gamble if you have never tried anything like this before but I believe you get what you pay for. 
- Bulky packaging- not ideal for traveling/handbags although Laura Mercier do sell a pressed compact version
- Messy- not for use when in a rush. Trust me, I speak from experience...
- Glow- not a con for me but I know that many girls like a matte look to their foundation

All in all, I am so happy I took a chance and bought this! It has become an everyday staple for me and my half-finished bottles of foundation are now sat on my shelf gathering dust.

Although this product works for me, it may not work for everyone. I know many people that swear by iconic liquid foundations that look fabulous on them but look rather lacklustre on my skin. Foundation shopping is sadly about trial and error, but you will eventually find the right one for you!

Good luck in your quest, Beauty Girls!

A xo

Image courtesy of Laura Mercier

Autumn 2011 Wishlist

I am a big fashion lover, yet I don't tend to follow many trends. I prefer to (attempt to) dress for my body type which, if you're interested, is pear shaped and I'm rather short! I have found myself dreaming of Autumn clothes over the last few days and if money was not a constraining factor, I would rock this look every day. I am a firm believer that rules are made to be broken and I love the idea of different animal skins and coloured leathers mixed together in one outfit.

I like to keep my outfits quite muted but I love the idea of the pop of colour on those GORGEOUS Zara shoes (which I am currently lusting over in a big way).

I am determined to re-invent myself this school year... maybe this outfit is what I need!!

A xo

Image created using Polyvore


For my first official Beauty Girl's Guide post, I thought it would be apt to start at the very beginning with the most important aspect of beauty: skincare.

In order for your make-up to look it's best, you must provide it with the best possible starting base. The best way to do this is to find a skincare regimen that suits your skin type and budget and stick to it religiously. Now, when I say religiously, I mean religiously. Regardless of how much vino you had at dinner or how busy you are; it is vital that you cleanse your skin at the beginning and end of each day. If you cleanse at the end of each day, it is still important to repeat this in the morning as the natural oils on your skin's surface will build up overnight.

Moisturising is also as important as cleansing. When you cleanse, you are stripping the skin of oils, and it is necessary to moisturise in order to re-balance your skin. If you have oily skin, there are oil-free moisturisers available which will not make your skin overly greasy.

The skincare regimen that I am currently using is Clinique's 3-Step Skincare which can be found at most department stores across the U.K.

3-Step is exactly as it sounds; a three step system that promises to cleanse, tone and moisturise your skin. I find that a regimen with 3 steps like this works best for my skin. (I previously used Olay products which are also good and much cheaper).

Clinique have designed 3-Step so that you can customise it to your skin's requirements. The first step, cleansing soap, is available in a liquid or bar form and there are four different clarifying lotions for each skin type and two types of moisturiser; a liquid for dry skins and a gel for oilier skins. My skin type is dry/combination and so I use clarifying lotion number two and the moisturising lotion. If you are unsure of your skin type, the assistants at the Clinique counter will be able to provide you with a skin consultation in order to select the correct products for you.

The mild facial soap is lovely to use. It does not lather much but it does not leave my skin feeling tight. I remove my eye make up with Simple's Kind to Eyes Eye Make-Up Remover prior to this as the soap is too mild to effectively remove waterproof make-up. Following the soap, the clarifying lotion acts as a toner which gently exfoliates to remove dead skin cells and encourage cell rejuvenation. The lotion tingles and feels cool as you apply it (I prefer a cotton wool pad) which is refreshing both first thing in the morning and after a long day. The moisturising lotion is a perfect end to the system. I find that it is very soothing on my sometimes sensitive skin and it also provides a nice base to start applying make-up.

I noticed results upon the first use of 3-Step. My skin was a lot smoother and brighter, and make-up application was easier. I feel that it thoroughly cleanses my skin whilst simultaneously providing it with the nourishment it requires. I have now been using these products for about three weeks and I LOVE them. I am always trying new products, yet I feel that this regimen may just be good enough to re-purchase!

The best thing about Clinique is that they often have free gift offers when you purchase the full 3-Step system which enables you to try other products from within their range. Who doesn't love a freebie?! The staff are always very friendly and knowledgeable and they are keen to make you feel as comfortable as possible! I recently took my mother to a counter for a full skincare and make-up consultation as she had a big birthday coming up and she deserved a treat! The assistant was so helpful and made my mother feel so special and valued as she spent over an hour and a half talking her through everything and making her over. At the end of her consultation, she felt no pressure to purchase anything (even though she did) and the assistant kindly noted down every product discussed for future reference.

Another thing worth noting is that all products within the 3-Step are available to purchase in different sizes to suit your needs. There is also a starter kit available with all 3 products if you wish to try it on a smaller scale before you invest. The starter kit versions are also a great size for travelling so you don't have to mess around with decanting your products into smaller bottles!

All in all, I cannot praise Clinique enough for both their service and skincare system!

What are your thoughts? Have you tried Clinique before and have you found something even better? Let me know!

A xo

Image courtesy of Clinique