2014-01-03 10.20.27Ingredients: VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED OIL*, SESAMUM INDICUM (SESAME) SEED OIL*, ISOAMYL COCOATE*, COCO-CAPRYLATE*, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE*, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER EXTRACT*, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL*, HIBISCUS SABDARIFFA SEED OIL*, ARGANIA SPINOSA KERNEL OIL*, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE (OCTINOXATE), BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE (AVOBENZONE), TOCOPHEROL*, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE (OCTISALATE), PALMITOYL GRAPE SEED EXTRACT*, SOLANUM LYCOPERSICUM (TOMATO) FRUIT / LEAF / STEM EXTRACT*, CITRIC ACID*, BENZYL SALICYLATE, LINALOOL, HYDRO XYCITRONELLAL, BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL, LIMONENE, CITRONELLOL, ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE, GERANIOL. (107/084). *Plant origin.

Product Description: “This multi-purpose, luxurious dry oil moisturises, nourishes and enhances the skin thanks to its unique formula made with an exceptional blend of oils (grape, hibiscus, sesame and argan) combined with our patented anti-oxidant Polyphenols. It envelops the skin with a subtle, floral and sun-kissed fragrance, with woody notes. Use it on the body, hair, nails, in the bath or as a massage oil.”

2014-01-03 10.21.02My Experience: Oh, Caudalie Divine Oil, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First of all, I adore the packaging. It’s chic and screams quality. Though I wouldn’t dare travel with it for fear it would break and I would lose precious drops of golden oil, I sometimes find myself musing on how utterly gorgeous it looks on my desk. Can you see the grapes etched into the glass in the picture on the right? Soooo pretty! I keep this oil next to the mouse for my computer, which is like saying it sits at the right hand of God. And I use it every single day. The smell is, as the name would suggest, divine. It’s a bouquet of flowers and herbs of delicate yet alluring strength: dreamy but not overpowering. It’s also well designed for an oil, because there’s no worry about tipping too much into your hand or not enough. I use 4 sprays at night, which is a generous amount, and then sweep the oil onto my face and neck. It’s rich and silky and my skin drinks it up. It also seems to smoothe my skin texture and calm the redness in my face. When I wake up my skin looks like a light has been turned on inside it. For day, I use 2 sprays gently massaged into my skin before my moisturizer. I also use a couple sprays for my hair if the ends are looking dry and lack lustre, or massage a little into my nails when the cuticles are looking rough. This has been my saviour throughout the skin-parching months of winter, and it actually lasts a long time. I’ve been using the large bottle since Christmas and it’s only half empty. And when I’m out of it, I will snap up another bottle. I can’t imagine not having this product in my life. Love it!

The Skinny: A luscious-scented oil that improves and nourishes skin, hair and nails. A brilliant multitasker and a beautifully packaged product. Absolutely swoon-worthy.

Cost:

USA: $9 for 0.5 oz, $32 for 1.7 oz, $49 for 3.4 oz from Sephora

UK: £24.30 for 100ml or £16.20 for 50ml from feelunique.com

Rating: HERO (goes above and beyond expectations)

2014-01-03 10.17.07Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol

Product Description: “Lightweight cleansing balm quickly dissolves stubborn eye and face makeups, including those with sunscreen. Transforms from a solid balm to a silky, fluid oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Non-greasy. Non-drying. For all skin types.”

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My Experience: I freaking LOVE this stuff. It’s so clever and simple that I can’t help but gush. I know it’s been around for ages and I’m probably late to the party, but it’s a staple in my cleansing ritual so I think it deserves a post. I first heard about this on Caroline Hiron’s uber knowledgeable and endearingly honest blog, which is having a major influence on my skincare choices of late. I love the heft of the pot and the fact that it looks unique when it sits next to all my other bottle and tube cleansers. Plus you get a ton of product and the texture is waxy, so it doesn’t seem to attract fluff like pots of cream. I use the top side of my nail to scrape out a pea-sized amount. I dab equal amounts on my forehead, nose, chin and each cheek. If I’m wearing heavy eye makeup, I put an extra dab on both eye lids. Then I massage it in. Within seconds, it transforms into a rich and oily texture that slides across the skin like silk. And it doesn’t irritate my ultra sensitive eyes, which is a rarity for me. When it’s washed off, my skin feels soft and calm and squeaky clean: there is no greasy residue or trace of makeup left behind. It has no scent but I don’t even care. This stuff should be in everyone’s cupboard. It’s a hellishly good, simple and straight up cleanser that lasts forever and cuts through stubborn make up like a hot knife through butter. I used to loathe coming home after a long and late night out and having to scrub away at my grimey makeup when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. This product actually makes me feel better on those nights, because it’s so gentle and quick and effective. And because it just feels so luscious on my skin. Go get it. You won’t be sorry.

The Skinny: A beautifully simple cleanser I can always depend on and use with joy. It obliterates stubborn makeup, feels luxurious and leaves skin soft, calm and squeaky clean. This is a forever product in my cleanser wardrobe.

Cost: USA: $28.50 from Sephora

UK: £21 from Boots

Rating: HERO (goes above and beyond expectations)

Key Ingredients:2014-01-03 10.23.28

Chamomile: Naturally calms and soothes your skin.

Gingko Biloba Extract: Energizes your skin for a radiant glow.

Kiwi Fruit Extract: Gently soothes skin.

Vitamin A Palmitate: This vitamin A derivative helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, evens skin tone and skin texture.

Vitamin C Derivative: Helps brighten the appearance of skin.

Tocopherol Acetate: This Vitamin E derivative has antioxidant properties to provide free radical protection and help condition and restore skin.

Shea Butter: An effective emollient and moisturizer.

Glycerin: Provides optimum hydration to replenish and revitalize your skin’s appearance.

Product Description: “Nighttime is the perfect time to give your skin an intense hydration boost. Now you can enjoy a spa-quality hydrating mask at home right before bed when your skin is primed to absorb the maximum benefits. Just leave on this luxuriously intense hydrating mask for 5-10 minutes. You’ll love the soothed, smoothed feeling it gives your skin. Use 1-2 times weekly to boost skin’s moisture levels.”

My Experience: Hmm. I’m on the fence about this product. On one hand, I do notice an instant difference in the hydration of my skin when I rinse it off, on the other hand it doesn’t provide me with the spa-at-home feeing I so desire. I like the ingredients, the sleek yet convenient squeeze tube and the quick results. It’s very thick in consistency, like a paste, which was surprising to me because I don’t think of a paste as something that my skin is likely to soak up. Due to the thickness, it can feel a bit dry and difficult to spread across the skin. However, once it’s on, it stays put. I don’t even wash it off 10 minutes later as advised, I usually go straight to bed and leave it on overnight. However, when I wash it off within 10 minutes I do notice a difference. My skin is instantly softer, smoother and brighter. I think my main quibble about this product is that it doesn’t feel as luxurious as I would like. The scent has the earthy, herbal scent of a clay mask and the pasty texture doesn’t feel pampering on my fingers or on my face. It’s effective, no-nonsense and unfussy, which I’m sure some would appreciate. However, I like a moisturizing mask that has a touch of je ne sais quoi to it: an inviting fragrance, a silky texture that enriches the experience and encourages me to spend just a little bit more time massaging the product into my skin.

The Skinny: An effective yet minimalistic mask that transforms dry skin into soft, soothed and brightened skin within 10 minutes. I just wish it had an enticing scent and a less pasty texture.

Cost:

USA: $36 from Elizabeth Arden

UK: £22 from lookfantastic

Rating: 3/5

2013-06-29 16.29.05Ingredients (courtesy of ehow.com): The first ingredients in the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick have the highest concentration. Talc, a powdered magnisium silicate, is added for its oil absorbing and anti-chaffing properties. Caprylic Triglyceride, an oily liquid made from coconut oil, helps hydrate the skin and thicken liquid additives. Zea Mays (Corn) Starch is known for its skin conditioning and protecting benefits. And, Aluminum Starch Octensylsuccinate is a plant derived starch that aids in anti-caking and sun protection. Thank you, Pascha of The Posh Blog, for finding this info for me.

Product Description: Handmade in Italy, this award-winning editor’s favorite highlights skin with five bars of pearlescent shimmer.

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My Experience: I know I’m being naughty for reviewing this because it was limited edition and it’s not available anymore. But! But! But! I just couldn’t resist. I adore this product, and I take some guilty comfort in knowing that you can always pick up a similar shimmer brick from Bobbi Brown. I’m not fond of blushes – my cheeks are naturally ruddy and I’m heavy-handed with the powder brush. It’s a lethal combination that often results in the dreaded clown face. So, I usually do myself a favor and avoid blushes altogether. But I love highlighters and shimmer as long as they don’t turn my face into a disco ball. And this, my lovelies, is the perfect product for blush-shy highlighter fiends. I can swish my brush liberally into the pan without worrying about it applying too dark or bright. It builds up slowly but beautifully. It’s honestly fool-proof. And it’s gorgeous. It’s a subtle blooming glow of pink with a dewy sheen that looks enchanting when caught by the light. Lately, if I don’t have time or don’t want to bother with a full face of makeup but want a fresh pick-me-up, I use this to give my cheeks a pretty, pearly flush. And the packaging is tres chic – it’s sleek, stylish yet simple and feels weighty and solid. It’s expensive, yes, but I like to think of it as a multipurpose product because it can be used as a blush, highlighter and even eyeshadow. Plus it will last a very long time. And it’s just dreamy on the skin. Every time I open the compact I smile, and I truly love to watch the warm glow that beams from my skin as I apply it. When I run out, I’ll buy another shimmer brick that’s as close to this one as I can get. FYI they are currently selling a summery shimmer brick in the shade Nectar, which looks comparable but is more on the coral side. Try it. Love it.

2013-06-29 16.31.32The Skinny: A gorgeous multipurpose powder that works as a blush, highlighter and eyeshadow all in one. Application is fool-proof, even for the heavy-handed, and it brightens up cheeks with a glowing, pearly pink shimmer. It’s pricey but pure quality.

Cost:

I’ve seen this particular shimmer brick floating around Ebay and Amazon for eye-watering prices, but check out the stunning shades currently available from Bobbi Brown.

USA: a variety of Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks are available for $42 from Sephora

UK: a variety of Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks are available for £32 from Bobbi Brown

Rating: HERO (goes above and beyond expectations)

It’s been a while, I know. I’m sorry. There are several reasons for this, the most relevant being my masters degree, which has been relentlessly kicking my ass. I come bearing a peace offering gift in the form of a new review =)

Behold, Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream!

2013-06-19 09.48.08

Ingredients: Glycerin, Water, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E), Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Camphor, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Hydrogenated Coco-glycerides, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, EDTA, Methylparaben, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Sodium Hyajuronate.

Product Description: “Concentrated glycerin moisturizer (enriched with Vitamins B2, C & E) helps hydrate, soothe and smooth rough, dry and extremely dry skin. Non-greasy formula absorbs instantly and stays locked in for hours. ‘A little dab goes a long way’.”

My Experience: I was terribly unhappy with the state of my skin over the winter. It was dry, more bumpy than usual and more sensitive than usual. There was flakiness across my forehead and around my nose that laughed in the face of exfoliators and creams. And my makeup looked cakey and dry. Yum. Anyway, I was desperately in need of a heavy duty moisturizer and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Also, it’s been my obsession for a few months now to find skincare products that aren’t expensive and contain several good key ingredients. This moisturizer ticks all those boxes. It’s a balm, not a cream, so it squeezes out thick like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. It’s yellow, which is odd for a moisturizer, but it doesn’t disturb me. I put a small blob of this on my forehead, cheeks and chin and spend a couple minutes massaging it in. It responds well to the heat of your hands and blends easily after a few seconds. And my skin sucks this up within minutes. It’s not heavy. It leaves my skin feeling soft and dewy without being sticky or greasy. Now, the smell. It’s not a great smell. I think Sam of the Pixiwoo sisters got it right on when she said it smells like Vicks. This is true, but it’s not a deal breaker. The smell dissipates quickly after you’ve rubbed it in and I like the results and the price well enough to put up with it. My skin is a lot happier now that I’ve been using this twice a day. It’s softer, smoother and I can feel the moisture in my skin hours after I’ve applied it. Plus it’s tamed my flakiest areas and now my makeup glides on. This stuff is no frills – it’s one of those basic multi-purpose gems that can be used for the whole family and on an array of dry areas including lips, hands, feet and cuticles. And a 33g tube has lasted me 2 months and going, which is more than I can say for some high-end 50g pots I’ve used in the past. I’m turning with the tide. Maybe basic really is better.

The Skinny: A great multi-purpose moisturizer that’s safe for the whole family to use and treats dry skin all over the body. It sinks in fast, quenches thirsty skin and contains some great ingredients. The smell could be off-putting for some, but it’s such a good product I’m happy to put up with it.

Cost:

USA: $16 for 1.25 oz, $25 for 2.5 oz from Sephora

UK: £12.50 for 33g, £19.50 for 70g from Cult Beauty

Rating: 5/5

DSCN1601

Ingredients: ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, vegetable oil, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, beeswax, ozokerite, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), hydrogenated vegetable oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, hydrogenated olive oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, [+/- titanium dioxide (ci 77891), mica,  yellow 5 lake (ci 19140), iron oxides (ci 77491, ci 77492, ci 77499), red 7 lake (ci 15850), red 22 lake (ci 45380), red 30 lake (ci 73360), carmine (ci 75470), red 6 (ci 15850), bismuth oxychloride (ci 77163), red 33 lake (ci 17200), red 28 lake (ci 45410), blue 1 lake (ci 42090), yellow 6 lake (ci 15985)]

Product Description: “Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm is a lip treatment with sheer colour that relieves dry, cracked lips and provides immediate moisturisation. The unique pencil-style applicator provides easy to apply sheer soft lip colour and rolls up for ease of use.”

Shades (from left to right): Chunky Cherry, Mega Melon, Woppin’ Watermelon, Super Strawberry, Whole Lotta Honey, Graped-up, Fuller Fig, Richer Raisin

DSCN1629
My Experience:
I got all these shades for Christmas from my lovely husband – doesn’t he know me well? I’d been dying to try these and I was giddy when I tore away the wrapping paper and all these luscious shades tumbled out of the box. So, do they live up to the hype? Yes. Clinique’s product description is right on. They’re balmy enough to moisturize parched lips, easy to apply because of the thick pencil-style packaging and a little twist extracts more product when you need it. Have I ever mentioned how much I love makeup that twists out? I hate sharpening pencils because it’s a mess and I always feel like I’m wasting product by obsessing over the sharpness of the point. Anyway, I digress. I also love the colors. They are sheer and will give you a subtle sheen if you prefer, but you can also build them into glossy pops of color. This is a very versatile product. Clinique has been very clever with selecting shades that will suit most skin types. And you can layer these over lipstick for balmy shine, or you can use the two most neutral shades (Woppin’ Watermelon and Whole Lotta Honey) over dabs of your favorite bright lipstick to make your very own, custom-made shade that’s über flattering and butter soft. Now, I had the luxury of trying out all eight of these shades. They look very similar side by side, and I do have my favorites. Chunky Cherry and Super Strawberry are my top picks of the pinks, one being more candy red and the other being a fresh bolt of pink. Of the browns, my favorite hands down is Fuller Fig. It’s also the shade I’ve received the most compliments on. It’s not as dark as it looks from the tube and there’s just something about it that’s very unusual but also incredibly flattering for my skin tone. I’m NC20, by the way. Woppin’ Watermelon looks bright but on my pigmented lips is non-existent. Whole Lotta Honey is a nice, neutral shade. I love how these feel – light as air and silky smooth. You have to apply them more frequently than lipstick but they feel so good on the lips I don’t even care. Dare I say I prefer these to Revlon Lip Butters? These are not quite as thick, and the range of shades is much more appealing to me. My birthday is coming up – I think I might ask for some of the spring shades as well!

The Skinny: These sticks are just what they’re supposed to be, moisturizing and sheer, but the shades can be built up into bright pops of color. They feel light and silky on the lips, the packaging is great and the shades are very flattering and versatile. Go get one!

Cost:

USA: $16 from Sephora

UK: £16 from Clinique

Rating: 5/5

DSCN1504Ingredients: Talc, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Nylon-12, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Magnesium Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Aluminum Dimyristate, Phenoxyethanol, Bisbehenyl/Isostearyl/Phytosteryl Dimer Dilinoleyl Dimer Dilinoleater, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sorbic Acid, Tin Oxide, Tocopherol [+/- Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), etc.

Product Description: “This precious quartet, 500 Les Ombres Turandot, showcases a subtle monochrome palette for vibrant and refined eye make-up. The interplay of textures and colours allows you to effortlessly adapt the make-up result, from a radiant morning to enigmatic nights.”

Shades: Two matte (Rose Satine and Prune Aubergine) and two iridescent (Dore Clair and Beige Mordore).

DSCN1505My Experience: Since I’ve started my MA, the purse strings have been very tightly drawn. I could afford only one eyeshadow palette this winter, and I carefully researched the holiday collections to narrow down my choice. It was down to this palette and Chanel’s holiday palette and price determined the winner: Guerlain’s palette was cheaper by several pounds. And I’m so pleased that I chose this one. The beauty of this palette is swoon-worthy. First of all, the packaging is gold and sleek and bears the weight of quality. Second, the eyeshadows blend like butter and are eye-catching yet flattering. Rose Satine is a rosy, dusky pink and Prune Aubergine is a plummy brown. Rose Satine is meant to be matte but I would say the finish has a slight satin sheen to it. The golden shade has a touch of orange to it so it’s warmer than most golds, which makes it quite unique. Combined with Rose Satine, it’s like a wash of sumptuous sunset over the eyelids. These colors are vibrant but not garish, and compliment each other wonderfully. The shimmery brown shade is deep and rich, and a perfect color to vamp up the eyes for night. This is a warm-toned palette of unique and top quality shades and textures. There is only one thing that would have made it holy grail for me, and that’s the inclusion of a suitable highlight shade. But, really, I don’t even care because I love this palette so much. Thank you, Guerlain, for a marvellous palette.

The Skinny: A top-notch eyeshadow palette with a mix of matte and shimmery shades that compliment each other beautifully. This is quality from head to toe. Love it.

Cost:DSCN1495

UK: £37 – I purchased mine from Debenhams a few weeks ago but it appears to be sold out. Keep checking back and you might be able to get your hands on it.

USA: $59 – I’m having trouble finding this only a few weeks after I bought it! I’ve seen it lurking on Ebay, though. Keep your eyes peeled and you might get lucky! Otherwise, have a look at the other lovely palettes in the range.

Rating: 5/5

Lipstick Heroes, this has been a wonderful blogging year for me. I started my little blog back in July to share my love of beauty and skin care products with anyone else who might be interested. I never imagined I would have almost 4,000 views by December, or that I would get so many comments from other talented bloggers and beyond. I follow and am followed by such exceptional bloggers that I am truly honored to be nominated for the Very Inspiring Blog Award, the Liebster Award and the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you. Each of these awards have set questions to be answered by the recipient, and I’ve decided to answer three or give three facts about myself for brevity. Thank you to all my readers who make this blog so special. I wish you all a Happy New Year!

very-inspiring-blogger-award

I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blog Award by the lovely Zunaira. This award is given to an inspiring or talented blogger. I’m supposed to state seven things about myself; here are three:

1. I have two Bengal cats called Oscar and Tallulah. They can be naughty little beasts, but I love them dearly.

2. I’m currently undertaking a Masters in Creative Writing and hope to complete a novella by October 2013.

3. I have dual citizenship (American and British). I was born in the USA but I’ve lived in England since 2003. My husband is British – I met him while he was an exchange student at my university. The rest is history!

I nominate the following bloggers for the Very Inspiring Blog Award (they may have already received it in the past but these are blogs that have really inspired me):

http://mylucitedreams.com/

http://skinndbeauty.wordpress.com/

http://maesbeauty.wordpress.com/

http://storybookapothecary.com/

http://mademoisellesnow.wordpress.com/

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I was nominated for The Liebster Award by the brilliant boldmode. This award is given to new bloggers with less than 200 followers. I’ve answered a few questions set by boldmode below:

1. What is your favorite book?

I’m not sure I can pick just one, but my top three are Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote.

2. What clothing can’t you live without?

Bras from Rigby and Peller in London. They’re expensive but worth it because they’re well made and last for ages. And the fitting service is second to none.

3. If you could choose anywhere to live, where would you?

Such a difficult question to answer! Since I was born in the USA but I now live in England, both have a piece of my heart. I wish I could spend half the year in each country!

I nominate the following bloggers for the Liebster Award:

http://cupcakesakura.wordpress.com/

http://monicasbeautytips.wordpress.com/

http://mylittlebeautystash.wordpress.com/

http://productfanatic.com/

http://courtneyem.wordpress.com/

Liebster Award nominees, here are five questions for you:

1. What’s the most overrated product you’ve ever used?

2. What’s your New Years resolution?

3. What’s your pet peeve?

4. Who inspires you?

5. If you could only keep one product, what would it be?

versatile-blogger-award

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by the beautiful bellezakisses. I’m supposed to post seven random facts about myself; here are three:

1. My favorite tv show is Seinfeld. I’ve watched it every single night before I go to sleep for the past 10 years. I also own the Seinfeld trivia book. I’m slightly obsessed.

2. I love silent films, particularly those by Charlie Chaplin.

3. Dance is a passion of mine. I studied all different kinds of dance for ten years and now I run around seeing shows in London. I was a judge on the dance panel for the Olivier Awards (the British equivalent of the Tony’s) in 2010.

I nominate the following bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award:

http://littlefashionistaontheprairie.com/

http://lauriecaumette.wordpress.com/

http://wandsandpliers.wordpress.com/

http://oneproductatatime.com/

http://luchessa.wordpress.com/

Ingredients:

Hyaluronic acid: helps restore the skin’s moisture.
Katafray extract: helps reinforce the skin’s surface barrier effect and helps prevent dehydration.
Sorbier bud extract: reinforces skin hydration and radiance.
Inca peanut extract: helps restore the hydrolipidic film.
Chondrus crispus extract (red algae): helps stimulate skin’s natural moisturization process.

Product Description: “Intensive, moisture-replenishing care. As invisible as it is comfortable, this bi-phase serum acts at all levels of the skin to help restore the skin’s natural hydration mechanisms. It replenishes very thirsty skin and promotes soft, comfortable, radiant and matte skin.”

My Experience: First of all, profuse apologies for my lack of blogging. I’m in the throes of an MA and finding it difficult to maintain any life outside my studies. Your patience is greatly appreciated!

It was not my intention to buy this product; I’m rather dubious about serums, but I was lured by the siren song of the free gift set so I purchased this in addition to a moisturizer (a review of which will follow in another post). The serum is blue and watery, so care is needed when pumping it out. My skin feels comfortable after I use it, but not quenched, as the name suggests. In fact, the serum does something quite peculiar. It leaves a film on my face. If I happen to rub my face after I use it, it literally pills on my skin and the gummy residue sticks to my fingers. Not nice. And this only happens when I use this product. It’s rather alarming: I want a serum to absorb into my skin and work its magic from within, not sit on top of my skin like the sticky lacquer on a coffee table. This isn’t its only downside, I’m afraid. I’m not opposed to scented products, especially if they smell flowery and French, but this is so heavily dosed in artificial fragrance that a pump of it is like a punch in the face. Blue coloring and heavy artificial fragrance? This is a no-no for ultra sensitive skin. In fact, I don’t think this serum is doing anything beneficial for my skin, despite the acid and extracts it contains. My skin doesn’t feel any more hydrated with this product than without it, and the film it leaves is hugely unpleasant. I love the heft and sleekness of the packaging, but that’s not enough to justify the price. Such a disappointment!

The Skinny: I can’t think of anyone I would recommend this to: it’s heavy with artificial color, fragrance, and it leaves a film on the face that pills into a gummy residue. It’s not intensive or quenching, either. Big disappointment.

Cost:

UK: £40 from lookfantastic

USA: $58 from Clarins

Rating: 1/5

Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Glyceryl Distearate, Trisiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cholesterol, Jojoba Seed Oil, Steareth-10 Cetyl Esters, Cetyl Alcohol, Vitis Vinifera Fruite Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Pyrus Malus Fruit Extract, Morus Bombycis Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyalauronate, Panthenol, Ceramide 2, Xanthan Gum, Sucrose, Glycerin, Cyanocobalmin, Caprylyl Glycol, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hexylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Linoleic Acid, Isohexadecane, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Red 4.

Product Description: “The ultimate quick fix for the skin. Super-powered with potent botanicals; de-snoozes, de-stresses, moistens, freshens and boosts the look of dull, flat or tired-looking skin with a fully loaded vitamin zap and a mega dose of green tea.”

My Experience: This cream has been around a long time and is one of MAC’s hall of famers, and with good reason. It’s brimming with great ingredients and infuses skin with a beautiful glow. Although it’s technically a moisturizer, it’s really more of a cream highlighter with benefits. It doesn’t have quite enough hydration to be used alone, especially in the moisture-sapping chill of winter, but as a highlighter it’s quite lovely. And it isn’t sparkly or in your face, either. Dabbed across cheekbones, along the temples or down the center of the nose, it radiates fine, light-reflecting particles. Skin looks beaming and, when caught by the light, softly opalescent. And this doesn’t leave behind any sticky residue. It leaves skin feeling velvety smooth. I’ve even dotted this gently across my brow bone to give my eyes an enticing glimmer. This isn’t the product for you if you’re after a totally natural highlighter, because there’s a whisper of pearly shimmer. But, really, it’s one of the more delicately gorgeous light-infusing products out there. And for such a stellar product, it’s decidedly not extortionate. And it’s great for your skin. Go try it.

The Skinny: A cream that works wonders as a highlighter because it infuses the skin with a soft, pearly glow and it’s packed with good ingredients. There is some shimmer, but it’s very subtle. You needn’t fear the disco ball effect.

Cost:

UK: £12.50 for 30ml, £22.50 for 50ml from MAC

USA: $15 for 1 fl oz, $31 for 1.7 fl oz from MAC

Rating: 4/5

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