Sunday, 20 January 2013

Illamasqua Fundamental Pallete.

Yet another Illamasqua review for your viewing pleasure today. This time I've broken with tradition & plan to do some good old fashion praise singing.

Illamasqua Fundamental Palette
The Fundamental Palette is part of the Human Fundamentalism range, that's based on the desire to express your inner self on the outside. The premise of this palette is to experiment with a range of different textures. It contains a matt cream pigment (Bedaub), a liquid mental (yuck!) & two matt powder shadows. (Inception and Hype). I picked this up for £10 on sale from the Illamasqua site, a complete steal as full price this retails for £34.

Fundamental Palette Swatches
I find the powder shadows from Illamasqua are really good in terms of pigmentation & wear time & I love the shade range. I've already had a lot of wear from Inception & had been on the look out for a bold yellow like Hype for a while & neither have disappointed. They blend well & keep their intensity for around 8 hours. Although Inception needed to be applied wet to keep its vibrancy otherwise it blended to a much darker almost dirty grey. 

For me the unexpected star of this palette is Bedaub. A pretty, minty green cream shadow that I've been using as a base for Urban Decay's Aquarius as well as wearing it alone. It's really smooth to apply, doesn't crease & lasts all day. I'm so impressed with this I'm already eyeing up other shades. Unlike some of my long wear cream shadows, this stays blendable for a couple of minutes before it sets. It's also easily built up from a sheer wash of colour to a really striking intensity without caking. I'm think this colour will come into its own when spring has finally sprung & it's pastels a go-go.
I've only used the liquid metal as a highlight for the inner corner of my eye. I'm not usually a fan of these but I noticed the consistency of the one included here is far less greasy than those in the Liquid Metal Palette.

Overall this a great little quad. I'm not sure how many looks you could achieve using solely these colours but individually they are great products. Even at full price this is quite good value when you consider the price of the individual colours.
I've had quite an extensive play & will post some looks once I get some decent photos.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Illamasqua Cream Foundation

Its been a while since I used a cream foundation, I had a little love affair with Max Factors Miracle Touch but I'm a liquid girl at heart. Illamasqua's Cream foundation was in the sale at a bargainous £10 & as I seem to be reaching the ends of my current favourites thought I'd give it a whirl. 
Illamasqua Cream Foundation C150


  • Blend/build ability
  • Consistency
  • Didn't exaggerate large pores
  • Shade. Much less orange than appears in pan.
  • Styling of packing, good size mirror for touch ups


  • Sponge applicator included makes it really hard work to apply & there's nowhere to store it within the casing so it's a fairly pointless addition
  • Styling. Although I really love the way Illamasqua products look its a bit of a faff when riffling through your make up bag to distinguish between them
  • Shininess
Illamasqua Cream Foundation C150 swatch
I was initially fairly impressed. The shade was a good match, the colour appears much less yellow once blended. This product has had mixed reviews but like all foundations one man's trash is anothers treasure. It's probably best described as medium coverage, much lighter than the Max Factor equivalent but it is buildable. It doesn't feel as greasy as I expected from the quick swatch on my hand & has plenty of slip to allow for easy blending. I found I didn't need a concealer with this foundation as I added a little dab more under eyes & on blemishes & it did the job well enough. 

I blended it out using a Real Techniques Buffing Brush after applying a thin layer using a MAC 190. I only powdered the areas I'd concealed & fixed with Urban Decay De-Slick. I found it lasted really well. Even a 2 hour power nap (woops!) failed to make too much of a dent in its lightly luminous finish. It did crease slightly under my eyes by the 14hr mark but I think that was more to do with the powder I used (Max Factor, trying to make a dent before I ditch it). Its perfect for a causal Saturday or a lunch with the girls but I'm not sure it'll be making onto my week day list as it takes a little more care to apply than a liquid. It's not transfer or climate resistant either which is an essential to me for work. 

I gave this foundation another outing before posting this review & I'm not sure my original opinion still holds. It was still comfortable to wear & lasted a good 6 hours but I looked so shiny all day. It didn't feel particularly greasy but appeared to me to be a step too far past luminous. It also transferred really badly when I blew my nose or used a napkin. Perhaps I should have powdered with a heavier hand, perhaps I used too much product but either way I wasn't overly impressed. I've not experienced foundation transferring onto things before & as I'd used my faithfully De-Slick, before & after, was amazed & alarmed. 

This product is far more natural looking than many cream foundations & the satin like finish I achieved the first time I applied it was really pretty. I think the jury is still out on this one. Perhaps it's best suited to good skin days where a feather like touch is all that is needed to even out skin tone.

Monday, 14 January 2013

My Frustrated Silence

Having some technical issues here at Esme's towers which has slowed my blogging right down. Grr!

This little post will be winging its way to you via the power of the bat phone. Although I find the Blogger App useful for drafting I much prefer posting from my, sadly unwell, laptop. I like to add headings, change font colour & intersperse my images & text, it's a shame Blogger doesn't yet support this on the phone.

So as I'm holding back my more significant posts for a day when I have the patience to battle with my bruised & battered computer, I thought I'd take a moment to tell you what 2013 has in store for my blog & I.

There's exciting times ahead for me & my brushes. Weddings a plenty, playtime make up with friends & a little drop in session where I'm going to be making up people with the sole intention of getting some decent photos for my fledgling portfolio. There may also be a chance for me to work on a shoot for some PR images for an accessories company, more on this soon I hope.

This year I intend to invest much more time into whipping my blog into shape. I'm currently awaiting delivery of a couple of books recommended by other bloggers to improve my skills in this area.
My second resolution is to really try to get some 'proper' make up jobs under my belt. I intend to market myself like a fiend & offer my services for free to get some great pictures in my 'look book'.

I've stock piled some lovely bits to review & have been playing with some colourful looks that I'll be posting as soon as I've photographed them. I'm enjoying playing with Ed Hardy inspired brights at the moment, which has been super fun.

With pay day peeping around the corner I've got a February wish list planned & haul post coming up. I'm starting to get really exited by the spring collections &, for the first time ever can't wait to play with pastel shades.

So the moral of the story is please stay tuned throughout this barren spell & send happy thoughts to nurse my laptop back to health!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Beauty 'app'enings. My 4 current favourite beauty apps.

Ok, rubbish title but I couldn't help myself, I do apologise!

You'd be forgiven in thinking my phone is actually surgically attached to my arm. If Steve Jobs was still with us I'd probably hunt the man down & snog him for the gift that is an iphone! Lately I've redeveloped my unhealthy addiction to the app store & have been exploring (free) beauty related apps.

As with all genre of App, the beauty world has its fair share of duds but there are a few worth a little look.
I use these apps as a way to inspire me & keep me updated with what's going on in the cosmetic cosmos. Some also make it a bit too easy to purchase little treats wherever, whenever.

I'm currently favouring four, all were free from iTunes App store within the past three months. So, in no particular order.......

This little app holds a wealth of advice & information from all corners of the beauty globe. There's articles on everything from building the perfect kit & creating looks to workout advice & hair style considerations. There's a chat room/forum board function, product reviews, videos & inspirational photos. It's fully interactive so users can add their own content. I've really enjoyed the articles from people in the industry & have learned valuable tips from this app.

Debenhams Beauty Club.
I could lose days of my life browsing through the products & a months worth if salary buying direct from the app! The wish list function allows me to keep track of the products I've noted as future purchases, potential gifts or things to research further. It includes advice & videos, features a new arrivals section & allows me to check my Beauty Card points. I love the offers section for directing me straight to the bargains. I also like the scanner that allows me to compare prices or add a product somebody else is using to my wish list. It's super easy to use & the Top Rated section is handy when you want to try something new but need it to be tried & tested.

At first I wasn't convinced by this one. It asked some pretty broad questions to ascertain my skin type & I had to create a profile. From this it recommended products matched to my skin type. The products are listed by rating as well as percentage match to skin type which makes you feel like you can be confident in anything you decide to invest in.
It's an American app so all prices are in $ & many are from brands you'd struggle to find here in the UK. However, it did throw up some little gems that I've added to my wish list. The discussion section is useful for picking up skin care advice for a whole host of problems. I expect I'll quickly lose interest in this one but for now it's aiding me in my quest for skincare to placate my madly blemished chin.

InStyle Best Beauty Buys 2012. Although this app may be somewhat limited it's handy if you're considering updating your beauty routine in 2013 or are in need of inspiration. You can browse through the winners in each category & favourite those you're considering. You can also buy the products direct from the app thanks to its association with John Lewis. I really like the fact it's divided into very specific categories making it easy to find the best product for you need/desire.

Two Magazine from the PixiWoo sisters is also worth a mention, although I don't consider it a fully paid up member of the app club, being a magazine. It's full of great advice, tips & interviews from top industry insiders. There's some stunning photography show casing some amazingly constructed editorial looks too.

I'd love to hear your suggestions for apps to try or what you thought of those above, so go on leave a comment & let me know.

New Years Day Pamper

Is there a better way to kick off the new year (& celebrate my lovely new bathroom!) than with an at home pampering session. I love reading other blogger's  'pamper day posts', so I thought I'd continue the indulgent spirit of the festive season and tell you how I spent a large slice of my New Years Day.

I was itching to try a couple of the products from the Nip+Fab Ultimate Pamper Kit. I picked this set up at Sainsburys for £10 (reduced from £40) and it includes some real gems. Taking inspiration from its name I headed bathroom-ward clutching a couple of the face products and set to work.

I started with a mini facial. Shu Umeura Fresh Pore clarifying oil to cleanse. To exfoliate, Nip+Fab Face Scrub which contains Salicylic Acid to combat blemishes (so sorely needed after the last few weeks!) and Bamboo to exfoliate. To breathe some much needed life into my tired, dehydrated skin I applied a massive helping of Nip+Fab Hydrating Mask. This mask is heavy on the Hyaluronic Acid to plump and Blackcurrent oil to sooth.

Then I took to slathering L'Oreal Perference Wild Ombré to the ends of my hair. Whilst this was working its magic, I sat back with my face encased in mask. I left the mask on for the full 45 minutes of the hair dye! After washing dye from hair, I showered with Yves Rocher Tradition De Hammam Shower Oil. Slipping into a wonderfully rose scented bath, courtesy of English Floral Garden Rose bubble bath, I settled down to watch the flame flicker on a Lily Flame Rose Petal candle. I emerged so completely serene that I decided the time was right to use the very last drops of my Ole Hendricksen Rose body oil. Then I finished the facial moisture binge off with a generous helping of Elemis Maximum Moisture Day Cream. 

The whole experience was blissful and went a long way in relieving my gin jaded state. Every girl needs a bit of top to toe TLC now and again.

I'll be doing a full review on the Ultimate Pamoer Kit once I've given the products a proper run for their money, but I have to say so far, so good for Nip+Fab.

A few of my favourite things 2012

As the year drew to a close I read many 2012 favourites posts, which have made me consider my own.Being so fickle with my beauty 'likes' it's no mean feat for a product to nudge itself into my top ten. The list isn't exclusive 2012 releases just a collection of things I've repurchased, have had a love affair with in '12 or use on a frequent basis. So, in particular order........

1. Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream. The clue is in the title with this one, it really is a wonder. After draining 2 free samples I was hooked & bought a tube (£20). It's the perfect everyday eye cream, it brightens, tightens & is low in nasties. It's introduced me to the whole Balance Me range which really delivers.

2. MAC Pro Longwear Foundation. It wears longer than anything I've ever tried, more than living up to its 16 hour claim. It builds well, blends well & controls my greasy T zone. Everything I want from an everyday foundation, worth every penny of the £24 price tag.

3. Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray (£23). I only discovered this a few months ago but cannot imagine my world without it now, it knocks others I've tried, MAC fix+ , Ben Nye Final Seal & Clarins Fix Make Up, to the curb. Eyes, cheeks & base stay where they should & fresh as daisies from breakfast through to midnight feast!

4. MAC Melba Powder Blusher (£11). My fail safe for looking brighter & healthier. It's the perfect peachy shade, blends & builds nicely lasts well. An everyday essential for the girl who will free admit to having a little fear of blushers!

5. Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush (£37.50). So soft, beautifully different in styling with its wound bamboo handle & picks up just the right amount of product. It's tapered domed head is that cheek perfect size that makes applying product a dream. I use it for blush,contour, highlighting and sometimes to blend the whole eye area. Its a really hard working brush that justifies its price tag.

6. Whilst on brushes I couldn't leave my beloved Real Techniques off the list. As a self confessed brush junkie I thought it'd be hard to replace Trish McEvoy in my affections but every single on of these is perfectly crafted for the intended job, multi tasking & affordable. Every make up wearer on earth should at least own a Buffing Brush & a Deluxe Crease Brush.

7. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil (£12) in YeYo. I've loved the 24/7 pencils for so long, with Zero being an absolute staple in my box. I've included Yeyo here because I've found finding a white pencil that clings to the waterline a real challenge. I use it to highlight as well as line my waterline when my eyes need an injection of 'wake up'.

8. Collection 2000 Lasting Colour Lipsticks. An expensive feeling lipstick for £3, what's not to love. These babies really last & are pigment heavy. They don't feel at all drying either. One of my favourite finds this year, I've been converting anybody who'll listen! 

9. Rodial Glamoxy Snake Serum (£35 for 10x 1ml sachets, Boots). My little sachets of miracle juice! I finally invested after a Glossybox sample left me pining for more. Its one of the few products I've tried where the instant results claim actually stands up. My skins looks fresher & smoother when I use this & it really does plump out lines even if it is only temporarily. I'm actually contemplating splashing out on a 25ml pump, at £125 its an investment product but trust me when I say, I think its worth every penny.

10. Yves Rocher Tradition De Hammam Oriental Shower Oil. This was a Christmas gift & so has only been in my life for a week but it was LOVE at first use. A thick argan oil infused with oriental scents, which turns to a rich milky lotion once wet. Each shower feels like an indulgent, luxurious treat when using this, it leaves skin so wonderfully moisturised but not at all greasy. The scent lasts but doesn't over power any fragrance applied afterwards. I've already vowed never to shower without this! 

So there you have it, my 2012 in 10 products. It was harder than I thought narrowing it down to ten but that's the final cut. I'm only sorry that Clinique Chubby Sticks, Jemma Kidd Dew Me & Yves Rocher Hydra Vegetal Instant Anti Wrinkle didn't make the final cut!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Excitement on all fronts

There's plenty to be excited about in the Queendom of Esme at the moment. The arrival of Clinque's Chubby Sticks for eyes has me counting the days to their February arrival. The chubby stick wasn't an instant hit with me but they've become a daytime staple over the last month & I do love an eye crayon so expect a review on Massive Midnight & Whooping Willow towards the end of February.

Whilst on the topic of new releases I'm having a complete girly moment over the Dior Cherie Bow Collection for spring. Its just so pretty, ultra feminine with a nod to quirky in its bow shape. tipping its hat to the iconic bow that was the final flourish on Christian Dior's designs. Love that the packing was designed by the in house jewellery design too. I can feel an indulgence coming on when this super cute palette is released. By the way, the rest of the range is just as lovable.

Nip+Fab have recently entered my bathroom. I've been looking at this range for ages & managed to get a heavily discounted gift set so I could try a few of their products. I'm already in love with the Hydrating Mask & Face Scrub after just 2 uses so will be scouring sales for some more from this range. There a review in the pipe line so won't ramble on too much here.

I happened to find myself on the illamasqua website the other day & the sale was pretty good so dropped a Cream Foundation,  Fundamental eye shadow palette & a Medium Pencil, in a deep candy pink (Manic) into my basket. Can't wait to have a play with these, I love their powder eye shadows and have had good results from the Skin Base foundation in the past. Here's hoping they help me get over the Liquid Metal saga!

I'm lucky enough to have an amazing friend who gifted me a Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Ultra Violet. Now my world is complete. My favourite liner in purple, what more can a girl ask for! Just like the others, this limited edition is uber smooth when applying and last all day and night without moving a millimetre. Love it with my Badgal Plum mascara as it lifts my eyes in a way black could never.

Well I think that's enough about what I'm currently enjoying. Its time to look towards spring and explore the pretty pastel-ness of the new collections whilst dreaming of bright (& hopefully drier!) days. Would love to know what you're enjoying on these cold dark nights and grey damp days.