Monday, 26 March 2012

Nina Pro Tickled Pink

I got this beautiful summer shade from my visit to Sally's (I finally introduced my friends to the wonders of this little store). Whilst my friends cooed over China Glazes, I found out that I forgot my credit card and thus decided to look at Nina Pro more closely, since it was cheaper than China Glaze and OPI.
What attracted me to this particular polish is the beautiful golden shimmer running through the coral red shade (Have no idea why they called it Tickled Pink)
The golden shimmer is less obvious in my shots, but its positively stunning in real life.

Its a toluene, formaldehyde and DBP formula, which is always nice. The formula was very thin, and there was some cuticle flooding. It was very sheer and relatively fast drying- the manicure above shows 5 coats(!) and there is still a hint of VNL. I think the finish is very jelly-like. I dont mind this type of finish on shorter nails, but its looks kind of weird on longer nails to me. I topped it off with my Sally Hansen Insta Dri topcoat, and there were still some sheet marks on the nails of the left hand.
Despite the sheerness of the nail polish, I would use it again- when I have shorter nails. I think this is a great shade for summer!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Natural FOTD

I consider myself very un-photogenic- my pictures hardly ever fail to make me think "What the hell is this???" and then hope that I look at least a little bit better in real life. Coupled with my lack of decent camera, I have to admit that FOTD's are a bit of a pain to me- it takes me ages to take a photo that doesn't make me feel bad about myself, and even then they are less than flawless. Or maybe I should just get some self esteem?
This is one of the rare looks that I wanted to take a photo of- I hardly ever wear natural style make -up, I mostly go for bold, bright colours, or don't bother at all, except some perfunctory eyeliner. I have tried to attempt a soft, neutral look based around pastel pink for ages, but it always turned out a little too bright.
This time, I felt like it was very subtle and nice, just how I wanted it:
Again, this picture makes me scrutinise my face a little too closely, and find that my nose is too big, and that I look a bit cross- eyed (not to mention my disheveled hair) . OK, I'll stop with my insecurities, and get on with my post.
My favourite thing about this FOTD is my lipgloss (ELF luscious liquid lipstick  lipstick in Pink Lemonade, which I wrote about in my haul post). It makes my lips look glossy and hides the terrible state they are in, whilst imparting some soft pink colour on them.
Face: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation in and Bourjois Little Round Pot Blusher in Lilas d'Or. I love Lilas d'Or for a quick flush of pink when I am short of time. 

Eyes: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Static (from The Maggie Collection that I bought in Debenhams, link), a silver with a hint of taupe in the inner corner of the eye, Avon Golden Twilight eyeshadow quad on the rest of the eye (light lilac all over the lid and dark purple in the crease and under lower lashes). I didnt take any pictures of this quad, but the colours in it are pretty basic, and I only used them for light definition. 17 Peepshow Mascara on upper lashes)
Lips: As mentioned before, ELF Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Pink Lemonade.

This is to show off the subtle blusher. Also, this picture makes me look very hairy. I need Jolen in my life.

The best thing about this FOTD? It took me around 15 minutes to throw this together- I did my foundation in five minutes whilst I was getting ready for uni, and did the rest of my look on the train. Avon quads have a decent mirror in them and their applicators would do in a pinch. Lilas d'Or is very easy to apply and hard to overdo, and ELF's Luscious Liquid Lipstick had a very useful applicator, which makes application a breeze. I simply twist the pen and wait for the lipgloss to come up on the foam applicator pad and then paint it on my lips easily!

My recent ELF haul

I haven't ordered from ELF in quite a while, mostly because I only order when there is a promotion on Facebook, and I haven't visited it until about two weeks ago. The Mother's Day promotion (free shipping) caught my eye and I started filling my virtual basket immediately. I feel kind of guilty that nothing in my order was actually for my mum- but then my mum doesnt use anything except a bit of lipstick and black eyeliner, and I have already given her eyeliner as a present.

One of the first items I have decided to buy was the famous ELF HD Powder- I heard many glowing reviews about its airbrushing, mattifying, pore diffusing properties, and my skin was in dire need of this powders magic, lately it was very temperamental. Dry cheeks with massive pores, oily chin/forehead and sensitivity to most cleansers I used. My go to foundation (Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum) highlighted the patches of dry skin and my mineral foundations(both ELF and Bare Escentuals) looked a bit cakey, so I stopped using these.
I still needed something for light coverage and oil control, and ELF HD seemed to fit the bill perfectly. And who wouldn't say no to a bit of airbrush in a pot, as I have heard someone describe it as?
I like the way its packaged - its simple and it looks far more expensive than the price tag would suggest. The little puff is well made and  the ribbon is securely attached to it. I use the puff to pat some powder on my face and then buff it in with my Bare Escentuals little brush. The powder itself is white and very, very fine- at first it looks like you dusted a bit of flour on your face, but as you start blending it into the skin it dissapears.
It mattified my t-zone easily, and I think it made my pores look less like holes in swiss cheese. It didn't get rid of them and give me a porcelain doll look, but my skin looked a lot better if not flawless. Would I buy this again? Yes, because it performs well and does the job for me, without a hefty price tag.
I also ordered two items from their mineral range- a lipstick in Cheerful Cherry and eyeshadow in Outdoorsy. I adore their eyeshadows (more on that later) annd wanted to buy Outdoorsy for a long time (it was released in US sometime ago, along with four others, but it wasn't carried by Elf UK at the time)- its blackened green base with gold flecks looked awesome in other people's swatches and I thought that it would make a killer liner for green and brown eyes.

Cheerful Cherry the Lipstick has arrived smudged at the top and broken at the base, which left me a bit dissappointed- I quickly emailed ELF customer service and they were very apologetic and told me I could send them the pictures of damaged item rather than send it back, and after I emailed them the photos, they replaced it swiftly- I sent the pics on Thursday afternoon, and received a replacement on Saturday. I was very impressed by their customer service, they were very polite and acted very quickly. The lipstick costs less than my lunch normally does (which is why I call ELF my lunchtime brand sometimes), and I wouldn't have pursued matters further if they didnt reply, but it would still have put me off the brand!
I also ordered two Luscious Liquid Lipsticks, which I consider to be the best lipglosses I ever used, for their soft, moisturising, slightly sticky formula that keeps my lips moisturised and soft. The name is misleading as they are not lipsticks, but they are very pigmented for a lipgloss, and most of their shades are flattering on me
I ordered two of my favourite shades, Cherry Tart- a soft berry colour, followed by Pink Lemonade- a pretty light pink colour with gold shimmer running through.
The last addition to the basket was a lipliner from their regular line, in a vampy, wine red shade called Bitter. Its nothing special as far as lipliners go- medium softness, good pigmentation, average longevity. I liked the fact that it came with its own sharpener, which was very good.
Swatches (please excuse my hairy arms ;)):
From top to bottom- Cherry Tart, Pink Lemonade (I think the gold shimmer particles are just about visible in the picture, but its very subtle on the lips), Bitter and Cheerful Cherry.

Outrageous swatched above. It looks nice enough when dry, but how awesome is it when wet? Freaking sweet, as a certain character would say :P

Overall, ELF impressed me again, this order was full of stuff that ranged from awesome to hot, and I would gladly repurchase most of the items I bought. Sometimes, ELF products can be a miss, and swatches/descriptions on the website are often inaccurate, but its a great value brand that delivers good quality items at a small price tag.