Sunday 27 November 2016

KIKO Milano Cosmetics Haul And Reviews

As I said before, I think we're pretty lucky in the UK when it comes to beauty products. There are a lot of great UK budget brands, and we also have some of the best European and US brands at our disposal.

One of the most recent brands to make its way on to the UK high street is KIKO Milano. I already own a few KIKO pieces that I'd got in European swaps but now we can buy KIKO here in blighty via there website and if your lucky enough you might even have a store near you.

I'm lucky enough to have two KIKO Milano stores pretty much on my doorstep now in both Sunderland and Newcastle, and I can never resist a little look in every time I go past. Over the last few months I've bought quite a few bits and now I've had a chance to use them all I thought I'd let you know my thoughts on some of their products.

Because the UK website existed before either of the stores near me did, I'd spent a little bit of time looking at the products and deciding what exactly I wanted to try and these Water Eyeshadows were right at the top of my list

These eyeshadows remind me a lot of some the MAC In Extra Dimension products. They look beautiful which is one of the reasons that i bought them I guess but these shadows are just about how they look.

They remind me a bit of a topographical map, with their grooves, peak and troughs, but these specially ergonomically designed 3D, eyeshadow, are actually designed to make these eyeshadows easier to apply, and to make the shadow itself easier to pick up.

There are 32 beautiful shades to choose from and I went for the shades 209 Olive Green and 227 Light Taupe, which is actually more of taupe, champagne colour. These shades are made using spherical powder pigments, which give them a soft and almost creamy feel. You can use these shadows in two ways, dry as you see below, which gives a more sheer, colour and you can also mix them with a little bit of water or some KIKO Mixing Solution, for a full on metallic, block colour finish.

There is literally nothing that I don't like about these shades, I love the chunky matte black packaging and the little mirror inside, I love the appearance of the shadows and I love how they perform. The pigmentation is superb, they feel super soft and creamy, and they apply and blend well and they last. The price of these and a lot of things from KIKO varies depending on the shade, and whether you buy them in store or online but I paid £4.40 each for these in store.

The next thing that I picked was a lipstick, and like their eyeshadow KIKO do a lot of different lipsticks, in different formulations, different packaging and in different shades. I decided to try one of their Smart Lipsticks, which is probably affordable lipstick line in their range.

There are 24  Smart lipsticks shades to choose from and being a creature of habit, I went for one of their nude, pink shades - 927 Intense Rose.

Packaged in a basic but stylish matte black bullet, all of the lipsticks in the Smart Lipstick line are designed to smooth, creamy and nourishing and this one is no exception.

It has a soft and creamy feel, and you get no dragging on the lips but it isn't so creamy that just disappears in a instant. The pigmentation and strength of colour is excellent, and it's also very buildable so can either apply a thin layer for a sheerer shade or you can build it up or apply it with a heavier hand for a full block colour.

Here you can see a couple of pictures of it on the lips, no close ups I'm afraid but I hope it gives you an idea of what this colour looks like on the lips.


I don't know whether it's down to the super wearable shade of the creamy formulation but this has been one of my go to lipsticks for the last month of so. I've dabbled the odd red, purple or nude lipstick but I keep coming back to this one and for the price I really can't fault it. Again prices vary but I think I paid around £3.90 for this one. The only drawback I guess could be the taste and scent, I know not every likes a vanilla based scent and taste but personally I don't mind it.

Next up a blusher and something else with a chocolate, vanilla scent. This is actually a blush duo, and it's one of the KIKO Milano Cocoa Shock blushes.

Open the gorgeous mint green box, and inside you're greeted with two ginormous squares of chocolate! Okay it's not real chocolate but that's exactly what this sturdy, plastic compact is designed to look like, two rich creamy squares of milk chocolate.

Alas there isn't any chocolate inside but instead your greeted with two sweet and creamy scented, chunky squares of blusher, and a full sized mirror.

There are 4 different colour combinations to choose from and this is 03 Adorable Pink and Peach. Despite their traditional powder appearance these blushers are actually baked, to create an ultra lightweight buildable formula.

Every beauty needs a baby pink and a peachy coral blush in their collection and especially two blushers as nice as these ones. As well as being vanilla scented both of these blushers are super soft, and silky to the touch. It does mean that they are a touch powdery but given the softest and the superb pigmentation I can forgive a little bit of mess.

Alas the autumn and winter light has not been kind to me but I've tried to get a few pictures of these blushers on my cheeks - again it's not showing up to well especially with the peach coral but I hope it gives you some idea x The peach coral is first, then you can see the baby pink shade. I've chosen to use them separately but you can mix them together x

This palette is a little bit more expensive then the items that I've already talked about but for me it's well worth it. Although I'd probably save the peach coral shade for spring and summer, the baby pink shade is one of my favourite blush colours and it works perfectly with the pink undertones in my skin. I love the packaging, vanilla scent and the quality of the blushes themselves so I have no regrets about paying £10.90 for this palette.

The next couple of things that i got were both nail polishes and to be honest I will talk about more about these in a future nails of the day post but I thought I'd let you have a sneaky look at them now x

On the left you have the KIKO Nail Lacquer in 521 Pearly Ocean, which is beautiful metallic, glittery turquoise blue,

and on the right you have KIKO Nail Lacquer in 530 Pearly Blue Peacock, which is metallic glittery, teal which is shot through with gold shimmer.

Again the prices vary depending on the shade, and whether you buy them online or in store, but these polishes usually retail at around £2.50 for an 11ml bottle, but I was lucky enough to get them for £1 each. This formulation is supposed to be super glossy and almost gel like, throw in the fact that they are toluene, camphor, DBP and formaldehyde free and I really can't wait to try them out.

The final product I'm going to show is something that I've fallen in love with but unfortunately I don't think you can get it any more. I bought it from the sale stand a few months ago but I'm showing you it anyways just in case any reappear in either the Black Friday or the January Sales.

The first thing that I can say about the KIKO Milano Dessert Dunes Baked Blush is WOW! The packaging is beautiful. Open the box and you immediately spy a beautiful textured rose, gold compact. It's plastic but when it looks as good as this who cares!

As much as I love pretty packaging though - it really should be about the product inside and this compact from KIKO certainly doesn't disappoint!

Alongside a good sized mirror, you get a beautiful tri colour, baked blusher, which features a dark pink, a peachy coral shades, and a bright but so wearable baby pink.

Again with a slight vanilla scent, these baked powders are silky, silky soft and lightweight. Again you get a bit of dust and fallout but as I say I can live with that.

The pigmentation is superb, and you can use each of the colours separately or you can swirl them all together. I haven't managed to take a picture of this product on my face but you can see me wearing it like this in the lip pictures above and in the You Tube video at the end of this post.

I know this product isn't available any more but as I say you might be able to find it on a sale rack, if you can't though there are some beautiful baked blushers and bronzers in KIKO's Holiday 2016 collection.

As I say I've made a little You Tube video to accompany this haul which you watch via this link or below. If anything could go wrong in this video, it probably did but I hope you enjoy it and find it useful regardless of my total lack of professionalism :)

I'm now officially a KIKO convert and I would definitely recommend checking out their products either online and in store if you have one near you. If you have any KIKO recommendations I'd love to hear them so leave me a comment and let me know x

Saturday 26 November 2016

Make Up Gallery - Time To Shine - Quick Dry Nail Colour - 25 Purple Reign

It's been a little which since I last talked about a product from Make Up Gallery at Poundland, but I'm back today with a nails of the day from the polish with probably one of the longest names in history.

The name may be a long one but the price certainly isn't - the imaginatively named Purple Reign, is just one of a large number of polishes in the Make Gallery line which is exclusive to Poundland. All of these polishes retail at just £1 and although I'd only tried one of them before this one my first impressions were good, so I thought I'd try another shade.

Lets face it I love any lilac or purple nails polish Purple Reign is one of those dirt, dusky, purple, lilac shades that hold a special place in my heart.

The bottle is pretty basic but it's definitely fit for purpose and this short, but super wide brush is very easy to paint with. The formulation and the coverage was decent but I still needed two coats for a perfect finish. As the name suggests this polish dries super quickly so adding the odd extra coat isn't any hardship, and it dries down to a super glossy finish which is a bonus.

As per usual I tested this polish without a top coat, and the wear time was decent for the price, It didn't chip but I did start to get a bit of tip wear after about 24 hours, again though nothing that a decent top coat wouldn't fix.

I think I said this in my last Make Up Gallery nail polish review (read it here), but I'm going to say it again I've paid a lot more for a polish, and been more disappointed than I am with this one. For the £1 price tag, you really can't go wrong. You get a 10ml bottle of pretty decent polish, that gives you the opportunity to experiment with new shades and new finishes without breaking the bank. I think that this shade is still available but even if it's not your bound to find something that you like. At the moment they have a lot of metallics, glitters and party shades in, and I'm definitely considering picking up Rainbow Sparkle, which is a multi coloured glitter, that reminds me a lot of the iconic OPI shade Rainbow Connection but if you have any recommendations then I'd love hear them in the comments below x

Monday 21 November 2016

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty - Divine Lips Lipstick - Amanda*

          "I don't feel dressed without nail lacquer. It's as essential to me as lipstick"

I make no apologies for starting this post, the same way that I started my previous Timeless Beauty post, after all the wonderful Dame Joan Collins certainly knows what she's talking about. My mum doesn't wear very much make up, and rather surprisingly, given my nail polish obsession, she very rarely wears colour on her nails. What she does wear though, is lipstick and lots of it. She always says that she never feels dressed without lipstick and she never leaves the house without having a few lipsticks floating around in the car and in her handbag.

Lipsticks serves so many purposes, choose the right shade and it can bring your face to life, but choose another shade and it can make you feel like you can rule the world. Not only can this stick of oils, waxes and butters change our mood, and our complexion but pick the right one and it will also smooth and soften your lips, and give them a little bit of well deserved TLC.

That combination of glamour and care, is right at the heart of the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty line. Joan is a firm believer that make up should protect the skin and that's something which comes through in all of her make up products, which combine make up with high quality skincare ingredients.

Lipsticks are always a good starting point when it comes to trying out a new brand, and over the last month or so I've been trying out one of Joan Collins Time Beauty Divine Lips Lipsticks. There are 16 shades to choose from and everyone of the them is crammed full of moisturising and hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid. These lipsticks have been specifically designed to help smooth the lips and fill in fine lines, and of course they also been designed to help hydrate and protect the lips, so much so in fact that in scientific tests the lipsticks in this range have been shown to significantly improve hydration levels in the lips after 30 days of use.

Like the nail polishes, the lipsticks come boxed in a beautiful, chic matte black and gold box, with a clear product picture on the back. Open the box and your greeted with a beautifully packaged lipstick. The lipsticks in this line come in a beautiful, chic, ridged metal, gold case, with the Joan Collins logo in the centre. Unlike a lot of similarly packaged lipsticks out there, this one is has a real weight to it, it doesn't feel flimsy and you really do feel a little bit special when you pull it out of your bag.

As I said before there are 16 shades to choose from, and in keeping with the glamorous theme I was sent the shade Amanda which is one of several red toned shades in the line.

Nothing screams glamour, sophistication or even power more than a slick of red lipstick. Joan Collins herself is rarely seen in any other colour, but it isn't always the easiest of colours to wear. With red lipstick though it's all about finding the red that suits you, some people suit blue toned reds, some people can wear a more pinkie red, and some people like a warmer red, like Amanda.

It's looking a bit darker in the pictures than it does in real life but Amanda is officially described as a hazel or russet shade, but for me it's a lovely warm, rich red shade, with a soft vanilla scent and taste. You always need to apply red lipstick a bit more carefully then say you would a nude, but this one actually applied really nicely. It was creamy but it wasn't too soft so it didn't bleed or smudge.

As you can see the pigmentation is superb but the colour is quite buildible so you can apply it sparingly or blot it down and wear it as a sheer or apply it straight from the bullet for a full on block colour. A lot of reds that I've tried stain your lips and feel quite drying but this one actually felt really hydrating on the lips, and it wore well, and faded pretty evenly, even on my super dry lips.

I'm going to be honest with you and say that I normally shy away from red lipstick, or for that matter  anything that draws too much attention to my lips. My lips are very uneven and I think that colours like this can draw attention to that but I have actually really enjoyed wearing this lipstick. I did feel a bit more confident wearing it, and I really think that the colour worked perfectly with my skin tone and it brightened up my face. Throw in the beautiful, classy packaging, and the fact that this lipstick didn't dry out my lips, then I think we may have a winner. I'm definitely going to try and be a bit braver when it comes to lipsticks now, but whether you love a classic red lip, a beautiful wine, or maybe a nude pink, there will be a  colour in the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty line to suit you. These aren't the cheapest lipsticks on the market but for me they are well worth the investment. Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Divine Lips Lipsticks retail at £18 for 3.5g of product and are available from the Timeless Beauty website, Urban Retreat, QVC UK and M&S. Are you a fan of a red lip let me know in the comments x


Thursday 17 November 2016

Hair Removal Series - Part 1 - How Laser Hair Removal Works

With the party season now on the horizon, it's time to start getting ourselves party ready. It's time to pick up that fabulous outfit, and book that hair appointment and for most of us it's time to start removing that pesky excess hair. Hair removal isn't the most glamorous of topics, but it's something that an awful lot of us do and it can make a real difference to our self confidence and to our self image. I've talked about hair removal a few times on the blog and in the run up to Christmas I'm going to be talking about some more of the most popular temporary hair removal methods and products on the market. Today though I'm going to start of by talking about a more permanent hair removal method, Laser Hair Removal.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

We've all done hair removal at home, Wax strips or razors or plucking individual hairs with a pair of tweezers! Still, the hairs grow back and we are right back where we started from. It doesn't matter what method we try, the hairs always grow back. That's where laser hair removal comes in; Performed in a clinic, professional laser hair removal lasts far longer, and with repeated treatments, may even be permanent.

At Home Hair Removal

Removing hair at home means that the hair grows back fairly quickly. Razors don't work very well because the blades remove hair just above the surface of the skin, so there's stubble the very next day. Using hot wax can easily burn the skin, if you're not careful, and cold wax strips wind up being pretty expensive to remove hair in larger areas like the legs. Using tweezers to pluck individual hairs hurts, and has to be repeated over and over again, and depilatories and creams use chemicals to break down the hairs, but those chemicals can also cause allergic reactions and burn the skin.

Why Don't At Home Methods Work?

When you remove hair at home, your either cutting the hair follicles or yanking them from the skin. It does nothing to destroy the root, so the hair continues to grow. Even hair removal creams just break the follicles by breaking down the proteins within the hair,  and whilst it means that hair can be just wiped away, it does nothing to prevent the hair from growing back in the long term.

Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

The great thing about professional laser hair removal is that the hair doesn't grow back for a long time and what hair that does grow back comes in finer than before. It can take as little as three to as many as seven sessions to make it permanent. After that you may need to return once in a while to catch any hairs that do grow back.

How Hair Removal Lasers Function

Hair removal lasers use brief bursts of light energy to target the hair follicles. They heat the follicles until the root is destroyed. In order to stop further growth, you must catch the root in the right stage of development. If you want to make the removal permanent, it will take several more sessions to catch all of the hairs. Even if you just have a one off session the hair shouldn't grow back for quite a while, and when it does it will be finer than it was before.

How Much Will It Cost? 

Cost is determined by several different factors. The size of the area being treated determines how much time it will take to treat. For instance the legs are a large area and will take far longer to treat, than say the face. The more time that it takes, the more it will cost. How many sessions you need will also affect the cost. A one off session to get beach or party ready obviously won't cost as much as the several sessions that you would need to attain permanent hair removal. There is also the matter of who is carrying out the laser treatment (be is a technician, a therapist or a licensed physician), and of course where you're located can also affect the price.

What Parts Of The Body Can Be Treated?

Laser hair removal can be used on all parts of the body, from the legs to the bikini line, and the upper lip. The technician or therapist can adjust the laser settings to safely remove hair from both tougher skin and from more delicate areas.

There is no doubt that laser hair removal can be expensive but if excess hair is a problem then it could be a price worth paying. It's definitely something that I would consider trying in the future so if you've tried laser hair removal let me know your thoughts below x 

*Guest Post 

Monday 7 November 2016

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Nail Laquer - Helene*

"I don't feel dressed without nail lacquer. It's as essential to me as lipstick"
This quote comes from probably one of the glamorous women of modern times. She's an actress, a businesswoman, an author, a Dame and an icon. Who am I talking about? Joan Collins of course. Like most people my age I remember Joan Collins from the 1980's soap opera Dynasty. There was no doom and gloom in Dynasty, it was all about cat fights, shoulder pads, and glamour. and it's heart was the queen bee herself, Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington / Colby / Dexter.

Although her work on Dynasty is only a small part of her illustrious career, the whole glamour and style aspect of it sums up the woman herself. Although she's now a grandmother and in her 80's, she's still as beautiful and as stylish as she ever was, and is showing no sign of slowing down.

One of the mantras that she lives by is the idea that beauty isn't just for the young, and she's a firm believer that you can still look good at any age, as long as you have the right products, the right tools and the right outlook.

Over the years Ms Collins spent a lot of time learning from stylists and make up artists, and now Joan has decided to pass on all of her expertise and the tips she's learnt by releasing her own line of beauty products, Timeless Beauty.

The range comprises of a wide range of luxury make up products, accessories and fragrances, that are designed to appeal to women of all ages. A little while ago now I was lucky enough to be sent two products from the Timeless Beauty range to try, a lipstick and in case you hadn't already guessed from the quote above, a nail lacquer.

The lipstick post should be up later this week but today I'm sharing a beautiful and classic nails of the day with you. There are 17 shades of Nail Lacquer to choose from in the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty line, and I was sent Helene.

The polish comes beautifully packaged in matte black, and gold box, with images of both Joan and the product on the back. Open the box and you're greeted with probably the most chicest bottle of nail polish that I've ever owned. The faceted glass bottle is topped with a long ridged, gold tapered handle which gives the polish a real vintage look. I remember going through my grandmas dressing table drawers when I was younger, and spying a similar bottle, so this one brought back a lot of happy memories. The handle isn't just for show though, it's perfectly weighted for ease of application, and the ridges mean that it's really easy to hold.

All of the polishes are named after glamorous women and this one is Helene. Helene is one of those colours that everybody needs to own, it's a classic blue based red, that goes with anything and that you can wear for any occasion, and whether your nails or long or short.

The brush was good, and because of the specially designed handle it was really easy to paint. The polish was very pigmented, and the coverage was excellent. It was also very self levelling, so I got no streaks, and it dried quickly. If you were in a rush you could probably get away with one coat but as per usual I went for two coats which as you can see produced a glossy, almost wet look finish. Although the shine did fade a little after a day or so, the wear time was still pretty good and of course you could always use a top coat to extend the wear and to bring back the gloss.

Nothing screams glamour more than a red nail polish, and this one takes the word glamour to another level. From the involvement of the lady herself, to the vintage style packaging and the formulation, this polish give you that chic movie star look, even if your wearing a pair of jeans rather than diamonds and an evening gown! This shade is perfect for the festive season but I think that any product from this line would make an ideal gift for anyone in your life be it your gran, or even for a friend that loves that vintage Hollywood look and style. Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Nail Lacquer in Helene retails at £13 for a 12ml bottle. The Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range is available from various retailers in the UK including QVCUK,  selected M&S stores and online, from Urban Retreat and from the Timeless Beauty website. Have you tried anything from the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty line? and are you a fan of red polish? Let me know your thoughts below x