Thursday 17 January 2019

Nails Of The Day - Nails Inc Victoria

I think I might have mentioned this a few times, before but even though nails of the day posts were few and far between in 2019, it doesn't mean that I fell out love with nail polish. I fell out of love with my nails at times but the nail polish love was still strong! So in 2019 I'm determined to showcase a few more of my nail polishes than I did last year. I got quite a few new ones for Christmas that I'm dying to show you, but first of all I thought I'd talk about an oldie but a goodies, Nails Inc - Victoria.

Victoria is probably one of Nails Inc's oldest and best selling shades, and it's probably one of the oldest Nails Inc polishes that I own. I do own a slightly newer version but for these pictures I decided to use my old faithful bottle, which is still in excellent condition, despite its advancing years, and is surely a testament to the continuing quality of the brand.

For many years shades like Victoria were seen as a bit unusual and a bit left field, but far from being unusual nowadays you would probably categorise it as a true modern classic. Victoria is one of those deep, dark almost black reds, similar to the shade popularised by Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. It looked amazing on her short and since my nails are pretty short at the moment I thought I'd dig it and revisit an old favourite.

Packaged in the original Nails Inc bottle with one of their earliest logos, the bottle has a short, thin straight brush. Now I love the wide, curved brushes that you now get with the majority of Nails Inc polishes but because my nails are quite short at the moment, this one was probably slightly easy to paint with.

Despite it's age the coverage was still pretty decent. This is one of those polishes that changes colour slightly depending on how many coats you apply, I applied two here, but if you wanted a redder finish you could potentially just apply the one. It actually looks pretty black here but in real life it's definitely more of a red wine shade.

Even though my bottle is probably due its pension in nail polish land it still pretty quickly and the wear time was decent. Like a lot of dark polishes, Victoria is one of those colours though that needs to be applied well and unfortunately when dark shades like this chip it's very noticeable so for maximum wear time I would definitely recommend a good top coat and I would also recommend a decent base coat, and a good nail polish remover because deep shades like this do have a tendency to stain the nails at least in the short term x

I've actually worn this shade a few times over the last month or so, I think it's a perfect wintry shades, but as much as I love it on it's own I've also had a little play with it, and I applied Nails Inc's Cosmic Blur over the top, to give it a fab duo chrome, iridescent, flip finish. You can check it out if you haven't already in my Nails Inc Cosmic Blur Gift Set review here x

This is a gorgeous wearable, yet sophisticated, yet fashionable colour that really has stood the test of time. No matter what your age, your skin tone, or whether your nails are long or short, this colour really is a must have. It fabulous on its own but you can also play with and use it a base colour for nail art and for sparkly, holographic and iridescent top coats. If you don't already own this colour, then buy it, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Glossybox "All I Want" Advent Calendar - Part 2 - Days 13 - 25

Okay this post, like so many over the last 12, or even 24 month is late but as the saying goes better late than never. I've promised you this post a few times over the last few weeks but eventually the starts have aligned, the creeks haven't risen and it's now ready for you to read!

Although Christmas does seem like a lifetime ago, let's take a little look back to those hectic days in the run up to Christmas and of course to the big day itself as I share the contents of days 13 - 25 of the 2018 Glossybox All I Want Advent Calendar.

Day 13 - Karmameju Charcoal Age Defence Konjac Sponge 03 - Balance / Combination Skin - Full Size

First up we had a full size Konjac sponge, from Danish company Karmameju. Made with fibres from the Amorphophallus Konjac plant, and Bamboo Charcoal, this sponge is perfect for oily, combination and hormonal skin, is designed to exfoliate and purify the skin. 

I've used a few different Konjac sponges in the past and I've particularly enjoyed using them for my morning cleanse. You can use them both with and without cleanser, and surprisingly even without cleanser your skin feels super soft, and very clean afterwards. To be honest every time I've used one I've always been really pleased with how clear my skin has looked after a few days use but despite following the instructions thoroughly, they never seem to last very long, they either dry out to much or they just seem to disintegrate and fall apart. I haven't used this one yet but I'm looking forward to giving it a go and fingers crossed I can make it last for more than a week x The full size Karmameju Charcoal Age Defence Konjac Sponge 03 - Balance / Combination Skin has a recommended retail price of £11.44 / €12.

Day 14 - Elgon Refibra Haircare Concentrated Restoring Mask  - 100ml - Full Size

On Day 14 it was a hair mask from professional Italian salon brand, Elgon. Now I do love a hair mask or any hair product come to think of it and this sounds like a good one! Especially formulated for dry, brittle, and unruly hair, this mask containing guarana and glycerin, promises, soft, smooth, full bodies shiny hair. Bring it on is what I say x This is a full size tube and I've seen this same size online retailing at various price points between £6.49 and £13.42.

Day 15 - INC.redible Jelly Shot  - _Ex Revenge - 4.4g - Full Size

Next up, a lip product from Nails Inc's make up line which is now called INC.redible. I've tried a couple of things from the brand so far ( you can read my reviews here and here) and I've been pretty impressed with both the formulations and the overall performance. Whilst the packaging isn't that exciting immediately on opening box number 15, the appearance of this product certainly gave it that wow factor. 

How pretty is that?? This lip product definitely falls into the nearly too pretty to use category but that would be a waste. Formulated with a blend of avocado, vitamin E and rice brand oil, this clear jelly balm, which contains real 24 carat gold flakes, and a pretty little flower, is designed to nourish, moisturise and repair the lips, and to give them a subtle sheen

There has been a bit of trend for balms and lip colours with glitter, gold, and flowers suspended in them and believe me I'm here for it - this is without a doubt one of the prettiest beauty products that I've ever used, but for me that is pretty much where it ends. I'm actually at a bit of a loss as to what it's actually supposed to do. Obviously it's some sort of lip balm, with a sort of gel like texture but it doesn't appear to add any colour to the lips and as yet I've encountered no gold flakes; it does add a bit of a sheen but in my experience it doesn't seem to last that long, and unfortunately it doesn't seem to add that much moisture. It's very pretty to look at and I'm glad I've tried it, but personally looks aren't everything are there are more hydrating lip products on the market still the recommend retail price for the full 4.4g size of INC.redible Jelly Shot  in _Ex Revenge is £8 so price wise this wasn't a bad inclusion.

Day 16 - POP Beauty Pure Pigment - Metallic Copper - 4g - Full Size

On day 16 it was a full size pigment powder from Pop Beauty. Now I've had trouble find these in the UK but they are available for around $4 for Amazon, and from various US retailers.

I used to use a lot of Dazzle Dusts, pigments and loose eyeshadows but in the last few years I've kind of fallen out of love with them, after having a play with this though, I can see myself shopping my loose shadow stash a little bit more in 2019. This is one beautiful pigment, it's in a gorgeous deep, metallic, copper shade. Yes, they can be a bit difficult to apply and of course there is the fallout issue, but this one in particular is so beautiful, and they are so economical to use that they are definitely worth the extra effort. Obviously this makes an amazing eye colour, either used as a shadow or even mixed with a bit of mixing medium as an eyeliner, but I also think that it would make a fabulous lip colour mixed with either a little bit of clear gloss or a some lip balm.

Day 17 - Luxie 522 Dreamcatcher Tapered Highlighter Brush - Full Size

Now I do love my make up brushes and no matter how many that I own, and how many brands that I've seen and lusted after, it seems like there are still more beautiful brushes, and beautiful brands out there. Now one brand that you may not be that familiar with is Luxie, I only own one Luxie brush and it's one of those brush brands that you try and you immediately want more.

All of Luxie's brushes are handcrafted, made of high quality, soft synthetic bristles and are hypoallergenic, vegan and cruelty free. This is their tapered highlighter brush that is specifically designed to deposit highlighting powder on the cheekbones, nose, forehead and Cupid's bow.

Despite the fact that my brush head had got a little bit crushed in it calendar box, this brush was a pleasure to use, I've used it alongside the HUDA Beauty palette (keep on reading ;) and a few other cheek, and highlighter powders in my collection, and I've been really impressed with how well it's performed. The bristle are lovely and soft, yet dense and it's the perfect shape to get into the contours of your cheeks so you could use it as a general cheek and contour brush, as well as a highlighting brush. This particular brush is from Luxie's limited edition Dreamcatcher range, which means that it looks fab as well with a periwinkle blue handle, and a rose gold ferrule. Retailing at around £19 this isn't the cheapest brush but I think it well worth and again it's a great value inclusion in the calendar.

Day 18 - Lollipops Fluid Glowy Liquid Highlighter - 10ml- Travel Size

One of the things that I love about beauty boxes and of course beauty advent calendars is that they give you the chance to try new things and new and unusual brands, and seeing as Glossybox is an international brand you do got a lot of overseas brands maybe you haven't heard of before.

Case in point day 18 of the calendar and it's a make up product from French Parisian brand Lollipops. Fluid Glowy is a gorgeous paraben and cruelty free highlighter. I do love a highlighter and there were a few in this calendar, in different formulations and textures, and this one has a creamy, liquid consistency. It's in a gorgeous warm gold colour, that will work equally will in the summer months, as it will in these colder months. This one is perfect as a cheek highlighter but I also think that it would make a lovely brow highlight, and a lovely liquid eye colour. A nice versatile product, and the travel size means that it's great for your handbag or for holidays. Again not easy to get hold of in the UK but it retails for around €4.

Day 19 - Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater & Pink Peppercorn Hand Therapy - 25ml - Travel Size 

Now I don't know about you but when the weather turns cold you can really see it in my hands, my fingers look red, my hands look and feel dry, and my cuticles feel sore and peel, not nice! Hence I'm a prolific cuticle oil, and hand cream user. I normally have a couple of tubes on the go at once, and this one went straight into use.

Made with macadamia seed oil, shea butter, glycerine, ceramides, and rosewater, this cream has a thick and creamy feel but it actually absorbs really quickly leaving the skin super soft, and protected. I've really enjoyed using this one and I've fallen in love with the scent - a soft rose aroma with a warm and spicy hit. I have a load of hand cream to use up but I can already that this one is a potential repurchase. Because you need so little this is a very generous travel size which retails at around £8.

Day 20 - Steve Laurant Lip Gloss - Eggplant - 3.2g - Full Size

On Day 20 Glossybox gave to me a Steve Laurant Lip Gloss, or should that be Steve Lavrant as my tube says, I'm not saying that's why it's in the calendar, but having a misspelling on the packaging would make it quite hard to sell, or am I just being cynical?

Anyways thanks to various beauty boxes I've tried a few products from Steve Laurant and at the risk of repeating myself I've been fairly impressed. Steve Laurant seems to be one of those brands that you only ever seem to see in the UK in beauty subscription boxes, but apparently it's a US based luxury make up brand that only uses high end cruelty free ingredients.

Packaged in an eye catching tube with a rose gold toned lid, and sponge doe foot applicator, this lipgloss is apparently a hybrid gel, oil mix that moisturises and hydrates that lips and provides highly pigmented long lasting colour in a lightweight formulation
gorgeous berry red - 

With a slight coconut, the formula does feel quite moisturising, and unlike a lot of lip glosses it didn't feel that sticky. Eggplant is a very rich, dark berry red, the pigmentation is superb but personally for me it looked a little bit too much when you applied it straight out of the tube. Given the fact that it was so lightweight, and moisturising, it did have a tendency to travel out of the lip line, and as a result it was hard to maintain that perfect deep berry finish. I've worn this a few times though, and how I've got round it, is to blot it down slightly which gives you a much more wearable, long lasting, pink, berry stain with just a hint of gloss. This is the shade that I'm wearing in my December Pink Parcel video which you can watch here x This is a full sized product and it has retail price of around $22.

Day 21 - PIXI By Petra Fresh Face Blush - Beach Rose - 4.5g - Mini

If you're a fan of cheek products then I think that this calendar will have been right up your street - I love highlighters and blushers so I was really pleased to find this PIXI blush in box number 21.

I've tried a few things from PIXI already (including a few bits from last years look fantastic advent that I still need to review - whoops!) and although a few of the lip things have been a bit hit and miss, the skin care, eyeshadow, and cheeks products that I've tried so far have definitely been on point so I had high for this blusher and I wasn't disappointed.

Containing natural minerals, Vitamin E and mica, this blush is gorgeous neutral, brown toned peach, it feels silky smooth and the pigmentation is excellent. It's a good neutral shade and I think that the colour would work on a lot of skin tones. At this time of year it's just a touch too dark for me so I've just been applying it very lightly but come the summer I can see myself wearing this an awful lot.
I have had a bit of trouble finding this shade anywhere else bar directly from PIXI, I'm not sure if it is the same size that they are selling but they describe it as a mini and sell it around £6, where as Glossybox value this size and shade at £8.80. What is the correct price? I have no idea!

Day 22 - Zelens Transformer Instant Renewal Mask - 10ml - Travel Size 

Next up a travel size product from top, scientific, skincare brand Zelens, I haven't tried anything from the brand before but this sounds like an interesting starting point.

It's basically a face mask that promises to hydrate, smooth and firm the complexion, leading to noticeable younger looking skin. It contains sesame protein which is designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, hyaluronic acid to increase skin elasticity and erase fine lines, a blend of Vitamin C, yeast extract and marine glycogen to regenerate skin, as well as magnesium, brown sea algae, enzymes, and lactobionic acid.

Lots of ingredients and lots of science and a high price tag to match, the full 50ml size retails at £100, so if you do the maths, this 10ml travel size retails at £19, still a lot of money for such a small tube but a good to try a high end product.
Day 23 - Eyeko London Fat Eye Stick - Satin  - 4g - Full Size

Now I'm the first to admit that I have a love hate relationship with Eyeko, I remember them in the first incarnation, slightly manga inspired and super cheap, then almost overnight the prices flew up and they adopted a more mid to higher end image. I haven't bought anything from them since then but I've acquired quite a few of their products from beauty boxes, and as magazine freebies - well I guess that's one way to get your products known! 

Anyways I've tried a few of their products now but I've never tried one of these shadow sticks before. I do love the convenience and ease of a shadow stick so I couldn't wait to give this one a go. The colour Satin is beautiful silvery, taupe shade, that you could literally wear every day, or you could add some lashes and liner for an evening look, super versatile and wearable. Love the colour but unfortunately that pretty much the only thing that I loved.

The pen itself is quite chunky so if you're applying it straight from the tube it has a tendency to where you don't want it to, so if you want perfection, you need to have a cotton bud at the ready for touch ups. I can deal with that but what I had real issues with was the wear time, I have quite oily eye lids and as result it faded quite quickly and after a few hours it had almost completely disappeared :( I'm not giving up with this yet though, the colour is really me, and I going to try and use it over a eyeshadow base, or even as a base for powder shadows. I love the colour so I'm really hoping I can make it work. The full size eyeshadow stick is cruelty free and has a retail price of £12.

Day 24 - Mitchell And Peach - Fine Radiance Face Oil - 20ml - Full Size

Despite now being in my early 40's I still have quite oily skin, I can deal with that though, I don't have too many wrinkles and fine lines, and dry patches thankfully are few and far between. I know that won't last for ever though, so I'm starting to introduce a few anti ageing products into my regime. Something that I was always quite scared of were facial oils. It's a common belief that you shouldn't use facial oils if your skin is oily, rubbish, you need to find the right oils for you and when you do you won't believe the difference in the feel and texture of your skin.

That's why I was delighted to see this beautiful facial oil from British brand Mitchell And Peach in box number 24. Designed to leave the skin feeling plumper, firmer, and glowing with radiance, it contains cobnut oil, which contains vitamin E and B, as well as apricot kernel oil, coconut oil and wheat germ oil. It is scented with Mitchell & Peach's own Flora 1 natural fragrance blend containing rose, ylang ylang and lavender.

I haven't managed to try this on my face yet but I did try a little bit on the back of my hand, the oil itself is quite runny so it was easy to massage into the skin, it absorbed really quickly, and the scent was beautiful, you could really smell the essential especially the lavender but it wasn't too strong or too overpowering. This is a full sized bottle and has a retail price of £40.
    Day 25 - HUDA Beauty Winter Highlighter Palette - Winter Solstice Edition

    At last the big one! When I was little I definitely don't remember advent calendars going up to day 25, but hey I'm not complaining. When I first received the press release about this calendar, this was the clincher and this was the reason why I decided to go for the Glossybox calendar, what was it?  a full size highlighting palette from one of the brands of the moment HUDA Beauty of course!

    Now I am going to be honest with you this palette was a limited edition and as a result it's no longer that easy to get your hands on - is that why it was in the box? I don't know but in the interests of fairness I thought it was worth mentioned. Now I'm quite new to HUDA Beauty and before receiving November's Glossybox (click here to watch the unboxing) I hasn't actually tried anything from the brand. Like most beauty lovers though I'd lusted after the entire range for the longest time and when I win the lottery this weekend (haha) my first purchases will definitely be Huda Kattan's rose gold, and nude palettes! drool! then again though I love all of her highlighter palettes too so maybe a few of them? Hell I guess if I win the lottery I can buy it all!                                                                                 

    As I say this highlighter palette was a limited edition but as a relative newbie to the range it gave me a good opportunity to get a feel for it, to try some of the textures, and to see if the brand really lives up to the hype.

    The palette contains four good size highlighting shades in two different formulations. Frosted Kiss is in a cream formulation, and can either be used alone, as a pale pink / champagne cream highlighter or as a base colour to intensify the other powder shades. Arctic Glow is probably the most left field of the shades, it's a beautiful iridescent lilac, blue coloured powder. Although it looks a touch green in the picture Northern Lights is in fact a beautiful gold, and Winter Rose is a beautiful shimmery pink, coral, with copper and rose gold undertones. I've taken the swatches in both natural light and with the flash so you can the full effect and how the shades can look in different lighting conditions.
    Frosted Kiss (Left) And Arctic Glow (Right) Taken In Natural Light 

    And Frosted Kiss And Arctic Glow Taken With Flash

    Northern Lights (Left) And Winter Rose (Right) Taken In Natural Light

    And Northern Lights And Winter Rose Taken With Flash

    The creamy product Frosted Kiss, feels lovely and smooth and creamy to the touch but not too oily or greasy, it gives the skin a lovely sheen when you wear it on its own. All of the powder shades are silky smooth, and buttery and have an almost creamy feel. On my skin tone Frosted Kiss, Artic Glow and Northern Lights all make fabulous highlight shades, but you could easily use them as eye colours and for highlighting different parts of the face such as the brow bone, where as Winter Rose on the other hand would made a fabulous shimmery blush on my pale pink toned skin.
    As I say this was my first opportunity to have a proper play with some cream and powder textures from HUDA beauty and I have to say I'm really impressed, the pigmentation and the effects are superb and everything feels so soft and dreamy, I'm now even more convinced than I ever was that I need some more products from the HUDA Beauty line. The stated retail price for the HUDA Beauty Winter Highlighter Palette - Winter Solstice Edition is £40.
    So they you have it - days 13 -25 of the Glossybox All I Want Advent Calendar, you can also read days 1 - 12 here if you haven't already x What's the verdict then? Well by and large I'm pretty pleased, I will use the majority of products, and the ones that I won't I can easily pass on. Although Glossybox's pricing on some items was questionable after doing my research the value definitely seemed to be there. Obviously there were a few big brand, high end items that stood out but there were quite a few smaller items and of course there were a few lesser known brands in there but the products and quality seemed decent and I've said before I love trying new things and new I definitely had no complaints. Like beauty boxes, beauty advent calendars can be hit and miss, if you want full sizes, high end brands, and big names, then the likelihood is that you will always be disappointed no how much you spend on a box or a calendar, if you're like me though and you don't mind taking the odd risk and you don't mind the odd travel size and you love trying new things. and new brands then you'll be fine and you'll look forward to and be pretty happy with every box - At the end of the day you pays your money, you makes your choice. I love the surprise of a beauty advent calendar and I'm going to try and get another one this year. What are your thoughts on beauty advents?  and have you tried any of the product that I've talked about in this post? Let me know in the comments and don't forget from this week I'll now be doing my regular beauty box unboxings right here on the blog, starting later this week with the January edition of Glossybox UK. You can find out more about Glossybox here
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