I wasn’t supposed to buy the Too Faced Naturals Pallette. I didn’t plan on buying this and yet I couldn’t leave without it because the moment I saw it, I fell in love with the amazing colors in this pallette.
Price: £32.50. I got it from: Too Faced counter, Debenhams, Oxford Street, London. What you get: Nine eyeshadow colors, including 3 matte shades and 6 highly pigmented shimmering sparkling shades. They are presented in a metal tin with an extensive leaflet detailing how you could use these colors.
The reason I bought this eyeshadow pallette was because I adore neutral shades, and I especially love shimmering neutrals (my go-to eye makeup before I got this Too Faced pallette was a blend of the Laura Mercier Baked Eyeshadow in Ballerina and the Bourjois Eye Shimmer Pot in 07 Ambre, both over the top of the Laura Mercier mono eyeshadow in ginger). It’s nice to have more sparkling shades to get a more dramatic eye look for those times when I want my make-up to show up on camera.
What do they look like?
I swatched them on my arm and photographed them, and the only editing I’ve done to that was to write the color names under the swatches, because as everyone knows I hate using photoshop and have to look up tutorials on YouTube every single time I need to do any image manipulation! As you can see in the second set of swatches, a couple of the colors aren’t very visible in the camera although IRL they were a little bit more obvious. I fiddled with my camera settings a lot but those colors just wouldn’t show very well. That’s worth bearing in mind for any events where you might want to look photogenic!
How do they wear?
I’ve only used these eyeshadows twice so far, but both times I really liked the way they came out, the blendability was a complete joy and the color went on creamy-soft, color payoff was maximum! I used the Urban Decay eyeshadow primer under the colors and I feel this gave a lovely blank canvas to make these colors come out beautifully. Next time I use this pallette I will get photos.
What do you think? Do you have any of the Too Faced Pallettes? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!
Since I’ve been using the Revitalash Eyelash Conditioning Serum, I’ve found that they’re not as curly as they used to be, probably because it seems to make my lashes grow thicker as well as longer, and thicker hair curls less easily.
I am dubiously blessed with Elizabeth Taylor’s double layer of eyelashes, which means that conventional eyelash curlers have always struggled to make my lashes curl. When my sister (who has worked on a bunch of different make-up counters at a selection of famous department stores) told me that the Shu Uemura eyelash curlers were the best ones, I cursed my bad luck in living in the middle of nowhere, in a town with only the most mainstream make-up counters and none of the best ones.
Luckily for my cosmetics addiction, I found myself in London recently, so since I had several hours to kill in the afternoon, I went straight to Selfridges where there was a Shu Uemura counter.
I was worried about buying the full-sized eyelash curlers rather than the little ones for doing parts of your lashes at a time, because the big issue I’ve had with other eyelash curlers is that they curl in a weird straight line that looks unnatural and pinched. When the assistant at the Shu Uemura counter curled my lashes for me, he explained that the Shu Uemura eyelash curler curves in the same way that your eyelid does, so instead of getting that straight line across your lashes, you get a curl that looks natural and follows the line of your eye, to give a romantic curl instead of a severe one. There’s a part of me (the part that used to be a chemistry teacher) which wishes more eyelash curler brands would pay attention to Gaussian curvature whilst designing eyelash curlers, because mathematically these eyelash curlers are a thing of beauty.
The curl lasts all day on my lashes (with the other lash curlers I’ve used, usually it lasts an hour at most), which I can’t explain. What I like best, though, is when I’m using them, I feel like my eyelashes aren’t being pinched or pulled. For me, that alone was worth the £20 these eyelash curlers cost.
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers are only available from Shu Uemura counters e.g. at Selfridges.
The Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner is an eyeliner that should last for 24 hours. I’ve been using the brown one for my brows and I was happy with it right until I did the experiment in the shower to find out how well setting spray worked. Then I discovered the 24 hour Felt Tip Liner doesn’t have very much staying power. This disappointed me (I’m on my 2nd tube of the brown one) to say the least. It’s only £2.99 so I suppose I should just get over it, but if I did that, what sort of beauty blogger would I be?
So I decided to do an observation experiment to see how this eyeliner held up over the course of 24 hours, and I took photos to compare. I was very surprised by the results:
Hour 0: When I first applied it:
Hour 8: After a long day inside the house:
Hour 16: As I am about to go to bed:
Hour 24: The next morning:
The Collection Extreme 24 hour felt tip liner doesn’t smudge like a pencil would, but it doesn’t stay put any better than any normal liquid eyeliner. It starts to fade before 8 hours. After 16 hours, it’s really not looking so good. For someone who needs long lasting make-up (archaeologists, for example) this isn’t going to cut it. I don’t think the brown one is fit for purpose, neither as an eyeliner nor as a brow filler, as it only lasts a few hours then fades at an immense rate. The purple one performed a lot better which makes it ok for eyes, but who wants purple brows?? I am now on the lookout for something else to do my brows with.
It’s time for my most epic review of this month; which is better, Revitalash Advanced, Rapid Lash or Grande Lash MD??
I used Rapid Lash for the first five months of 2015. I switched to Revitalash Advanced in May 2015 and used it through November 2015 (I stopped in mid November due to severe pregnancy sickness which was nothing to do with the Revitalash but it did throw my beauty regime down the toilet). As a result I wrote an article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash. I did find out that these lash products are not recommended for use during pregnancy due to lack of evidence about the effects. In February, when I was no longer pregnant, I was going to buy more Revitalash Advanced but then I saw there’s been an explosion of new lash serums onto the market. Scrutinizing the ingredients pretty cautiously (because this stuff is going on my eyes) I selected Grande Lash MD as my new lash serum because it didn’t look like a bad knock-off (a fake dupe – a dupe that doesn’t actually work but looks a lot like the real thing) of Rapid Lash or Revitalash Advanced (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article). I have reviewed a couple of the lash serums that don’t have any proper active ingredients, to see how they compared to Rapid Lash, but spoiler alert, their lengthening effects were instant but those effects washed off again.
That’s not to say these are the only three that work, just the only three I’ve tested and found to work.
All the products I talk about in this review really work to grow your lashes, the question I want to answer in this lash serum review is: Which one is better?
This is what Grande Lash MD looks like:
I really liked the packaging for Grande Lash MD – the metallic orangey bronze colour was a refreshing pop against the Revitalash and Rapid Lash packaging, both of which are silvery. I have noticed most of the cheap knock offs of Revitalash and Rapid Lash have silver packaging as well – presumably to get you to think they’re just as good. I actually chose Grande Lash MD out of a long list of lash serums on Amazon.com because it looked a bit different to the others – it stood out. I liked that it dared to be different with packaging. I know it doesn’t affect the quality of the product… but still… I liked it.
Grande Lash MD works the same way as Rapid Lash and Revitalash. It makes your lashes grow using a special ingredient called a “bimatoprost analog” (an analog of prostaglandin, used in glaucoma drugs and Latisse). When the product is applied to the lashes once a day (usually at night, so that your mascara doesn’t interfere with it), after 4-8 weeks the lashes should be longer. I tried Grande Lash MD for 3 months to see how it stood up against Revitalash and Rapid Lash.
It’s in a long tube with a thin brush inside. You use the brush to paint the product over your eyelashes at the base. The product is colourless and transparent, and it dries invisible with no residue or sticking of the lashes.
And here’s a handy table of comparisons:
As you can see from the comparison table, they all have the same active ingredient. There’s a lot of new lash serums on the market that claim to be good but don’t have any useful active ingredients. Call me a sourpuss, but if people put “eyelash serum” or “eyelash conditioner” on the label of a product, I expect them to have at least made an effort to put something into the product, some ingredient or other, that will actually make my lashes grow. That’s why these three are so great.
Grande Lash MD vs Revitalash:
If you’ve got the money for Revitalash, I’d buy Revitalash for 2 reasons – 1. the results were faster. 2. The results were better. So my lashes grew to their longest overall length with the Revitalash and the results started being visible from week 3. After 6 weeks of using the Revitalash, my lashes were phenomenal lengths. If it was easier to photograph eyelashes on my phone I’d definitely have comparison pictures. When I can afford a Macro Lens I will add some better pictures of my eyelashes.
If you haven’t got the money for Revitalash, your only options for actual lash growth are Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash. I’ve already written a comparison review of Revitalash vs Rapid Lash. Let’s see how Grande Lash MD and Rapid Lash compare to each other:
Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash.
Grande Lash MD is already winning because it’s cheapest of the two, and if money is your main concern you will actually get better value for money from the Grande Lash MD. The results I got were not as good as with the Rapid Lash, BUT there was no irritation (for me personally) with the Grande Lash MD. If you remember my article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash, I complained that the Rapid Lash left a dark line above my lashes and it also irritated my eyes. I have had absolutely no bad reaction to the Grande Lash MD – even when I used it twice a day for a week to see what would happen (which I tried with the other two as well). The effects I experienced with Rapid Lash won’t happen to everyone who uses it, so it’s likely that you will not have this problem with Rapid Lash, but for me, Grande Lash MD is the better option because it didn’t harm my eye area.
Where can I buy them?
I get these from Amazon because they are a LOT cheaper than paying full price. Revitalash is also available from beauticians (their website has a search option) and Rapid Lash is available from some drugstores (Boots in the UK sells it), but Amazon is the cheapest place to get them. Here’s the affiliated links:
Obviously you can’t use them on different days at the same time to test them because the results take a while to show. I started with Rapid Lash, using it once a day (at night) coating the roots of my lashes with it for a few months. I also tried using it twice a day for a week. This did accelerate results quite well but also made the irritation a LOT worse leading to me using it less. I moved onto the Revitalash and used that once a day (at night, as instructed by the packet), covering the base of my lashes, as shown on the video, which is slightly different to the application method described on the tube. The tube says “at the base of the lashes, like eyeliner” but the video that Revitalash made shows that’s not how you use it. I found the method shown on the video to produce good results. I tried using Revitalash twice a day and my lashes did get longer but I also noticed that my eyes were looking more sunken. One huge downside to Revitalash is that it reduces the amount of fat around the eye (I can’t find the scientific study that showed this but Latisse has the same effect) – so if you use too much of it, it can make you look aged while you are using it for the initial 4-6 weeks. Once your lashes have reached their best length, you can scale back to using Revitalash one or twice a week, I found twice a week was best to maintain beautiful long lashes. At this point, your eyes will go back to normal if you were affected by fat loss.
What about Latisse?
I really *really* want to try Latisse for a fair comparison, if the manufacturers would like to send me a sample I would be only too happy to try it out and write about it. There are mountains of evidence from clinical trials that show that Latisse works, but it would be fantastic to see how much better (or worse) it works than these other serums. Sadly, it’s not available in the UK because we have an NHS and so there’s no market for doctor-prescribed lash growth serums, it’s seen as an un-necessary expense. If it becomes more normal in the UK for people on a middle income to choose a private doctor’s consultation, perhaps in the future Latisse will be available in the UK. In the meantime, since 90% of my readers are American, perhaps you could add any experiences you have had with Latisse to the comments to help other readers?
And a warning:
One disturbing trend I’ve noticed on the internet is people are buying Bimatoprost from online pharmacies in America at generic drug prices, to try and get cheap Latisse. Young teenagers are making videos telling people to do this. This is highly dangerous because the concentration in generic Bimatoprost is very high (it’s specifically formulated for people with glaucoma; it’s actual mechanism is designed to reduce eye pressure) and it will cause the pressure in your eye to drop too low, causing a medical condition known as Hypotony which can lead to loss of vision. As with many pharmaceuticals, this will not happen instantly, the effect will get worse over time but once you have damaged your vision it’s not reversible. Please, please don’t be stupid, long lashes are NOT worth blinding yourself for!! That is why, if you cannot afford Latisse or it isn’t available in your country, it’s better to get Revitalash, Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash, these products are made to go on lashes and if anything goes wrong, these companies are accountable. If you buy actual glaucoma drugs on the sly to make longer lashes and you go blind, it is your own fault. As an analogy, using pharmacy-grade Bimatoprost to grow your lashes is like using thick house bleach to dye your hair. Would you dye your hair with the bleach you clean your toilet with??? Of course not, the concentration is far too high! Save yourself the horror and buy a real lash serum.
I will remind readers that I use Amazon Associates because Amazon offers best value. This does not affect the price you pay, but if you want to pay more for your products, I have also offered alternative places to buy them.
This is a set of 4 exercises to help avoid eye wrinkles.
I found these exercises in a book from 1972 called “Secrets of Natural Beauty” by Virginia Castleton Thomas. I think it’s a classic amongst my parents’ generation (my parents would have been 11 when this was published, so maybe a classic amongst people a bit older), because when I cleared their houses after their deaths last year, both my mother and my father had a copy of this book on their bookshelf. I have, however, re-written the description of these exercises so that this post is more readable as the phrasing was a bit old-fashioned.
1. To remove eye tension and strengthen the eye muscles: Sit upright and extend your right arm directly in front of you. Point forward with your index finger and focus on it with your eyes, then move the finger very slowly to the right, until your arm has moved so far that you can hardly focus on it any more, then bring the arm back to centre, slowly, still focusing on the finger. Repeat the exercise using your left arm, but this time, move the arm to the left instead of the right.
2. Keeping your head still, raise your arm upwards to the limit of your vision. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly drop your arm until it’s at the lower end of your vision range. Start by doing this once per day, but after you have done them for a few days, start building repetitions until you are doing a few reps each time.
3. Open your eyes wide and visualize a large-faced clock with the numbers painted just at the edge of your vision. Start at twelve o’clock and very slowly, without moving your head, move your eyes to one o’clock and on around in a clockwise direction, pausing briefly at each (visualized) number before moving onto the next one. After returning to twelve o’clock, repeat the exercise anticlockwise, moving the eyes from twelve to eleven, and so on.
4. Rolling the head without moving the shoulders is a good exercise for improved vision. This movement relaxes the eyes and reduces deepening wrinkles due to eye strain. Learning to do a loose head roll not only improves the vision by increasing circulation to the optic nerves, but can also relax the entire upper body. Personally I find the head roll very comforting and relaxing – it reminds me of yoga and gymnastics lessons at primary school. Do be aware that it’s best to avoid rolling your head backwards as this has been said to be dangerous (I’m not sure if this is a myth but I avoid it just in case, as I was told it during warm-ups by instructors of five or six different physical activities).
I tried these exercises out last night, and I don’t think I look any younger but the head roll was, as I predicted, very relaxing. The eye exercises made both my eyes ache slightly when I moved my eyes from 1 to 2 and from 11 to 10, so I think that might be an area of muscle weakness that I need to work on.
Virginia also writes:
“In addition to exercises for toning eye muscles, there are additional helps to control the marring of skin tissue by wrinkles, dark circles and frown lines. Learn to express your thought without grimacing. Many people are inclined to punctuate, describe or apologize for the contents of their speech by clown-like expressions.
The face should not be used to explain verbal expression. Well-chosen words will convey your meaning and be more appreciated without distracting facial expressions. Frowns, narrowing of the eyes and other manifestations of uncertainty do not present either a pretty or helpful picture. Use adequate speech and save your face.
That is not to say one should not have any expression at all. But these expressions should be relaxed, and show the more pleasant aspects of one’s personality. Laugh lines seldom seem to distress their owners as much as frown lines or wrinkles caused by squinting or habitually downturned lips. Laugh lines add animation to the face. However, the quick to laugh personality often pays for charm with crinkle lines around the lips.” (Secrets of Natural Beauty, 1972, page 133)
It sort of reads like she’s a slightly bossy teacher at a finishing-school trying to impress upon her charges the importance of understated expressions. I’m not sure I agree with the way she’s written it but the fact still remains that OTT expressions will age your face too soon, and apparently this has been known since at least the early 1970s. One thing I will point out is the women who were in their twenties in the 1960s and 1970s seem to have all stopped ageing around their late forties and early fifties, so they probably know what they’re talking about when it comes to beauty. While I couldn’t find any information on the internet about Virginia Castleton Thomas (and the book sadly appears to be out of print), it does say on the back cover that she was a beauty editor, and the introductory chapter shows that she has done a lot of research to find the beauty formulas she presents in this book, so I think she knows what she’s talking about. I will be writing more about this book, and the recipes for home-made cosmetics, as I try them out.
What do you think of these facial exercises? Would you do them? Let me know in the comments!
The spring and summer make up trends for 2016 are a mixed bag – I am in the middle of editing a video for my Youtube channel where I found the 4 worst looks and tried them out on camera. Today, however, I wanted to do a quick review of the best 6 trends in beauty and make-up that are worth knowing about:
1. Long eyelashes. While the no-make-up-make-up is still pretty big, long lashes are definitely the next big thing in beauty. Whether they’re on-set or out getting papped, celebs seem to all have either lash extensions or lash growth serums, giving them long, luscious lashes. This trend is one of my favourites because it’s so easy to recreate at home, you literally just need to buy a good lash growth serum such as Revitalash and in 4-6 weeks you can have those telescopic lashes when you put your mascara on. I love how feminine it is, and it really makes the eyes look more romantic, softening your features. If you have a longer face like me, long eyelashes really help to break up the face without having to have a brow drawn in with a sharpie, and whether I’m feeling masculine or feminine, I think long lashes ALWAYS look good regardless of gender.
2. Natural eyebrows (or, less HD brows): FINALLY!!! The HD brow seems to be waning in popularity and I suspect that, like silver hair, it’s going to die a death this year, having become the domain of scruffy people everywhere. The death of the HD brow is to be celebrated, opening the door to feminine, shapely brows (but not over plucked). I am particularly excited that brow colours are tending towards natural shades again – last year it seemed like, no matter what your hair colour, everyone wore black eyebrows! That was not a good look and I didn’t like it. Eyebrows seem to be getting further apart as well, with the almost-touching-each-other nearly-a-monobrow look of the HD brow being another feature that anyone trendy is going to leave back in the grody dark ages of 2015. On catwalks, one surprising brow trend I noticed a couple of times was the curved brow, that rounded look that hasn’t been seen in several decades. It did look good on the models I saw, but check it suits your face shape by drawing it in with an eye pencil before you commit to getting your brows reshaped. Personally I’m thinking of going for a Marilyn Monroe brow this year after experimenting with it in one of my videos last year.
3. Long flat straight noses: Yes this IS a makeup trend. Before you go calling up the plastic surgeon, go to your local makeup counter and ask them to show you how to shape your nose using highlighter and contour powder. You may be surprised at the results. The downside is that if you have a crooked nose like I do, you can’t switch between a straight or curved nose by using make-up, but I have found a video on Youtube (not one of mine) where this lady shows you how to allegedly straighten your nose using nose exercises. I’ve tried them out for a couple of days and I’ll let you know how they turn out. I didn’t really have a picture for this but they’re everywhere:
4. Freckles: Yup, they’re in again. My suggestion with this one is only go for freckles if you’ve got very clear skin, otherwise (like last time this trend came around) you’ll be walking round looking like you’ve got terrible acne. Any 3D spots on your forehead, chin or cheeks, and faux-freckles are a total no-no.
5. Color-pop lips: If there’s not a lot going on in the eyeshadow department, the lips are the big deal this year. Celine had off-red lips on the runway and Miu Miu had two-tone blue and berry lips (see picture). The theme here seems to be to go for “natural” (or “nude”) eyes and unnatural, experimental lipcolours, which is the complete opposite of the predominant nude-lip trend we’ve been seeing for the past few years. In particular, red lipstick is getting much bigger this year. Blending 2-3 colours (like you usually would for eyeshadow) to create shape and perfection, seems to be on the verge of becoming a trend, but I think we will be waiting until Autumn/Winter for it to really take off because it’s still on the horizon at the moment.
6. Coloured Contact Lenses: OMG I’m so excited that these have started making their way onto the runway, although no-one seems to have noticed them yet. I spotted them on this MAC girl styled by Lucia Pieroni. Brown contacts definitely suit a lot more people than the garish and unnatural blue and green ones that are also available. I can’t wait for contact lens companies to respond to the increasing popularity by designing more realistic contact lenses. Perhaps it won’t be too long before coloured contact lenses become as acceptable as hair extensions and wigs.
So those are the top 6 make-up trends of Spring/Summer 2016, what do you think? Have you tried any of these yet? Would you experiment with coloured contacts?