Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Nails Inc Couture

 If you are stuck on what Christmas gift to buy a girlfriend, sister, friend, mother, brother... ANYONE who has nails worth painting then you should definitely consider Nails Inc's newest service launch: Couture. Quite frankly its genius. For a mere £20 you can create a bespoke nail varnish, from colour selection, colour description and packaging for your loved one.

 There are around 70 colours to choose from, your options being a creme finish, jelly finish, metallic finish and of course the obligatory Christmas (or if you're me then the every other day) glitters. There is literally something for everyone. The packaging can be customised with different stickers whether they be "Get Well Soon" or "Congratulations!". The options are rather vast so that in theory, I should be receiving one of these couture varnishes after every mini-milestone for the next 5 years...

 Cosmetic present buying can be an absolute minefield if you aren't in the know, but nail varnish is usually one of the more inoffensive option, saying that, unless you're buying say the new sold out Chanel colour or perhaps a hard to find Deborah Lippmann glitter... nail varnish can veer towards the more sedentary side of present options, but Nails Inc Couture changes allllll of that and I. WANT. ONE.

 1) Pick your lid
 2) Pick your colour
 3) Name your polish
4) Choose the packaging... DONE!

The Un-Dupeables

In beauty terms or probably more accurately blogger terms... a dupe is a product, usually a cheaper one, that is pretty much an exact 'copy' of another (premium) product.

 There are varying degrees of dupes as you could imagine... There are some exact dupes out there. There are some reeeally close dupes, so close that if they could just have a tiny bit of tweaking here and there then they could be spot on, you also have the half hearted dupes, the ones where you can kind of see where they were going with it but they really couldn't make it happen... and then of course there are the Un-Dupeables, you know the ones who just cant be beaten, the ones that aren't even worth trying to dupe, and if you do so then shame on you.

 Its kind of like when someone waltzs into work carrying a fake bag. They know, I know, they know I know but we all smile, nod and get on with what needs to be done but at the end of the day... you can't beat the real thing. Or can you?

 There has always been whispers that Chanel is actually the parent company of Bourjois and that you were throwing your £26 away on a blusher that could be bought for £6.75 in your local Lloyds pharmacy, but despite all the similarities those domed baked blushers have I'm still not sure how much truth there is in that one. Bearing in mind these rumours were circulating at a time before you could Google "xx product dupe" and numerous blogs would pop up eagerly waiting to bestow all the dupeing information you need. One blog in particular that specialises in literally any swatch you desire and boasts it's own 'dupe list' is Temptalia, which everyone should have on their blog roll.

 Two particular products have always stayed at the forefront of my opinion on dupes (mainly its me wondering how the hell they have gotten away with it) one is a nail varnish... Enter Chanels 'Paraxodal' and Barry Ms 'Dusky Mauve' and the other is a blusher... Say hello to NARS 'Orgasm' and Sleek 'Rose Gold'. I FINALLY managed to get my hands on a Rose Gold this week, my daily post-work pilgrimage to Superdrug eventually paid off and resulted in the swift purchase of both 'Pomegranate' and 'Rose Gold'. I almost wept with joy when I saw that the usual barren shelves were fully stocked, and I do agree with the musings of many a blogger that it really is an excellent Orgasm copycat... just for a fifth of the price.

 So every now and then, either upon a new discovery or re-discovery of mine, I'll be doing a post on an un-dupeable and at the polar opposite of the scale a perfect dupe post... Only time will tell!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Gareth Pugh for MAC

 This highly anticipated collaboration is already available in the USA but as usual will not be released here until January 2012... The video scares me.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Seche Vital.

I have no idea why I didn't like this topcoat. I think it might've been the nail varnish supremacist in me refusing to accept that this £9 wonder bottle, which strangely enough I can only find in Urban Outfitters of all places, could outperform my beloved Chanel counterpart.

Initially there isn't much difference between the two. Both provide a hard and quick drying armour to your chosen polish, with an unparalleled shine that enables Miss Sporty to put OPI to shame, but where the Chanel needs a minor top up after a day or two the Seche Vite seems to be the Duracell bunny of the topcoat world, it just keeps on going! If I wasn't so fickle and easily bored by colours then this would be my 7 day manicure saviour, but I'm more of an extreme gloss and no chips kinda gal so at half the price of my usual manicure drug of choice I think Seche Vite might have just become a permanent fixture in my every other day nail change routine.

Below pictures show how Seche evens out the bumpy surface of a Deborah Lippmann glitter and provides a gloss like no other, making what was already an expensive nail job look ten times that.
One thick coat of Deborah Lippmann 'Superstar'
One coat 'Superstar' with one coat of Seche Vite

Monday, 5 December 2011

Secret Camouflage

 I took the plunge today and finally bought the Secret Camouflage from Laura Mercier! Secret Camouflage is one of LM's cult products, up there with her primers and Lip Glaces and after countless recommendations from Lisa Eldridge coupled with mounting nominations and wins in various beauty awards, it was the least I could do but to trot to Harvey Nichols and buy some for myself.
 The concealer itself is extremely pigmented and only the tiniest amount of product is needed to conceal blemishes. My first impression was that the consistency was extremely hard to the touch and a little difficult to work with but all it needs is a bit of warming up with your fingers before application. I wasn't sure in the beginning if the hard texture was for me, but in hindsight my usual complaint with concealers is the product has too much slip and blends away to nothing leaving you and your (usually huge) spot right back where you started. So it really is the perfect concealer for, well, concealing! It is not however, suitable for using to fool people into believing you had your 8 hours sleep the night before. For that you will still need to rely on your Touche Eclat,or perhaps just go to bed earlier.
 The idea behind finding the perfect colour match for yourself is that you choose the compact of which the left hand side strip of colour closest matches your skin tone, and in theory the warmer toned product on the right can be used to custom blend your own perfect concealer depending on which area of skin needs concealing and more importantly which time of year you will be concealing it. This is hugely beneficial for me, as products seem to last me a lifetime meaning my concealer or foundation sometimes just isn't the right colour as I purchased in August and by the time November rolls around I'm manically smearing NC30 over my blemishes when really I could be doing with an NC20... 
 Secret Camouflage costs £26 and I got mine from my local Harvey Nichols. From my research I can't find Laura Mercier's UK website which strikes me as odd but nevertheless LM products can be purchased from SpaceNK, Selfridges online etc etc so if you don't have a luxury department store near you then purchasing online is another option... The SA matched me up as an SC-2 which I'm pretty happy with on my NC20 skin tone, but saying that I don't think I would have been able to determine the difference between the shade swatches provided on the SpaceNK/LM USA website. If you did want to buy this and lived out in the sticks then definitely have a look at KarlaSugars, reliable as ever, swatches before you buy!