Review: Japonesque Concealer Brush

This is a review of the Japonesque concealer brush, which I will compare to the Sigma F-70 concealer brush.

japonesque concealer brush vs sigma f-70 concealere brush review
Left: The Sigma F-70 concealer brush. Right: The Japonesque concealer brush.

I really wanted to like this brush as it seemed like an interesting shape and overall idea, although when I saw it online I wasn’t sure how it would work with liquid concealer. I kinda thought that would fall into place once I got it, or maybe (since it’s such a weird design for a concealer brush) that the company would have put instructions on the back or at least said what sort of concealer it was good for in the product listing.

When it arrived, I opened it up and put it side by side with my Sigma F-70 concealer brush, which is my single favorite make-up brush in the universe, it’s got the perfect firmness and soft texture, and it applies concealer fantastically well.

japonesque concealer brush vs sigma f-70 concealere brush review
Bristles close-up. Left: Sigma F-70 concealer brush. Right: Japonesque concealer brush.

I still wasn’t clear on how the Japonesque concealer brush could be used to actually apply concealer. So I got my color corrector pallette, which had cakes of semi-solid color corrector and concealer, all of which had the texture of lipstick, and I swirled my brush.

It refused to pick up any product at all.

I tried again, for longer. The tiniest bit of product got onto the bristles, and when I tried to apply it to my face it refused.

It looks like a brush but it doesn’t act like one.

Thinking that it might do better with liquid concealer, I tried it with the Mac Pro-Longwear concealer. Oh God, bad idea, don’t try that it makes a huge mess. And it still doesn’t really apply it to the face. When I look at the brush, it screams “powder brush” so I don’t understand how it’s supposed to work with concealers, which are almost always liquid. It doesn’t have the flat base or bristle texture for buffing a product into skin, either. It would probably work well as a blusher brush for a very small face, i.e. a 6 year old child. I’ve tried it with the Body Shop powder foundation (which I sometimes use as a concealer) and it left a huge unblended shapeless blob of product that was far too big for the area I was trying to conceal.

The thing is, in order for something to be called a concealer brush, I feel that I should reasonably be able to use it to… I don’t know… apply concealer. So regardless of how well it might work for applying some other type of make-up, I paid £10 for a concealer brush that doesn’t apply concealer (it’s $13.30 in the US). I will have to buy another Sigma F-70, which is really annoying because of the amount of money this Japonesque brush cost, it was almost the same price as the Sigma F-70 and I seriously don’t have a use for it.

So, since I just had a bad experience with the Japonesque precision lash curler, I’m going to take Japonesque off my list of companies to buy products from, because two in a row is just disgraceful at the prices they charge for their products. I’d expect better from a £1.99 drugstore make up brush.

100% do not recommend.

Review: Chanel Nail Varnish in Ballerina

So, I spent all week stressing about not having enough money, then I decided to make myself feel better… by spending money. So now I’m the owner of a bottle of Chanel Longwear Nail Colour in shade 167 Ballerina. I wanted some China Glaze but I couldn’t find any in TK Maxx so I went to the Chanel counter at John Lewis and bought this instead. I have never had high-end nail polish before, but I bought it because I read this article where they said it’s one of the best (along with China Glaze, Essie and Opi) for not chipping. I’ve had the same nail varnish for about 2 years as I liked the color, but it chipped SO BAD that it looked like it had been on a week after a day, which is why I thought I’d go for the best this time.

This is not only my first high-end nail varnish, it’s also my first Chanel product, and the very first time I’d ever been to the Chanel counter.

The Chanel counter assistant swatched Ballerina for me on a piece of clear plastic sticky tape on the back of my hand, alongside Organdi, because I couldn’t decide between the two colors from looking at the bottles. Organdi is a neutral nude in a generally flattering shade, whereas Ballerina looked almost white when swatched. I bought it and they wrapped it in a piece of paper scented with Chanel No. 5 then put it in a bag that was fastened with a piece of ribbon that says Chanel along it. Two days later the perfume is still making me smile (I love Chanel No. 5; if there was a room spray I’d totally get it, but the perfume never mixes well with my skin, and it produces a weird scent, so I can’t wear it despite how much I love the smell in general).

As soon as I got home I put it on my fingers and it took AGES to dry because I kept moving and smudging it. Also, I’d been doing the layers too thinly (because my old nail varnish was a one-and-done kinda nail varnish). Ballerina is really sheer and needs 2-3 thick layers, so I ended up with 5 thin layers on one hand and 4 medium ones on the other, and I still managed to smudge it again on one finger!! It was only a little smudge so I decided to do nothing about it.

It came out a really pale pink and I love the color.

Two days after I put it on (and bear in mind I’ve done SO much housework and cleaning and reorganizing which is usually certain death for nail varnish) it’s still got no chips at all and it’s still super shiny!

Chanel longwear nail colour 167 Ballerina review
You can’t tell that this is 2 days later!!

Conclusion: This is the best nail varnish I ever got! Five out of five for longevity! Usually when things say “longwear” it’s code for “sub-standard and never comes off” but in this case, it really, truly does what it’s supposed to! I’m thinking about getting another one when I next get paid, in a darker color. Obviously I can’t say that it’s the best high end nail varnish because it’s the only one I’ve tried, but I still completely love it and think it was worth £20 just for the fact I feel more confident wearing nail varnish now that I can touch things without chipping it! I’m definitely going to get some China Glaze as soon as I can find it so I can do a comparison review.

Nature Love Sea Algae Eye masks

I discovered that Home Sense also does beauty products this week. Like, they have similar stuff to TK Maxx (because they’re basically the same shop, only Home Sense does housewares and TK Maxx does fashion… even their price tags are designed the same). So, when I discovered their stunning range of Korean sheet masks (which kinda aren’t on a discount) I decided to try some, especially since I need to figure out where I’m at with K-beauty before I move to Asia in August.

As you all know, I suffer from blue under-eye circles (which are actually sometimes purple circles) due to allergies and find myself constantly working hard to get rid of my blue circles, so under-eye masks are something I’m always willing to try when I see them for sale.

It’s cheaper to get the Tony Moly ones from Amazon… BUT only if you want 10 face masks, which comes to about £10. If you want 1 face mask… yeah Amazon doesn’t do that. So while they were £1.99 per face mask at Home Sense (twice the price of Amazon), I still thought it was worth it to try out some of these masks (more on Tony Moly in a future post). The ones I tried out today were eye masks that were £3.99 for a pack of 5 pairs, and are by an obscure Korean brand called Nature Love, who aren’t on Amazon but if you see them for sale anywhere, they seemed pretty nice.

nature love sea algae eye masks review
Nature Love Sea Algae Eye Masks

Today I’m going to talk about the sea algae eye masks that I bought. They came in a pack of 3 and I hoped they’d be super hydrating and moisturizing for my normal-to-dry skin.
I put them on for, like, half an hour (it said 10-20 mins but you’re not supposed to wash the stuff off after so I thought it would be fine). One issue I had with them was that they kept sliding down my face. I don’t normally have this problem with eye masks (I quite like the Montagne Jeunesse re-usable ones, which currently live in my fridge), so that was surprising.

nature love sea algae eye masks review

nature sea algae eye masks review before after

After I took them off, as you can see, the area that had eye mask on was… whitened? I’d been out in the sun that day so the contrast is quite obvious; all my face was the same color before I used these eye masks. I’m not sure it’s a useful effect for my skin, given that I’m already fairly pale. What I wanted was for the indentations around my under-eyes to be less obvious. However, the skin tone certainly seemed firmer and blue circles were somewhat reduced. How long that will last is anybody’s guess.

Have you got a go-to under eye mask? I can never decide if they’re worth using, or if I should use them more regularly than once in a blue moon to get some better results, but they don’t take up much space so I don’t mind buying them occasionally.

Stay tuned next time for a review of the Tony Moly I’m Real Face Masks! This means I can’t forget to use them before I next write a blog post (I have a bad habit of buying face masks and forgetting about them).

Review: Outlandish Scotland Journey Part 1 and 2

When I read Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager)*, I thought to myself, “I really want to go to those places and see those things.” I often wish it was easier to find stuff in Scotland but there’s so many things in Scotland that it can be hard to know where to look for anything specific! Anyway, that was before they made a TV show out of it, and now there’s even more Outlander locations in Scotland!

*Book 1 was retitled Cross-Stitch in the UK for some stupid reason, and they wonder why it was initially less popular over here; it’s still the same love story between Jamie and Claire.

Another rainbow in the West Highlands of Scotland on the way to Loch Ness.

The first guide, Outlandish Scotland Journey part 1, covers the Outlander sites between Edinburgh and Inverness, while the second, Outlandish Scotland Journey part 2, covers Inverness and a whole plethora of sites around the city. In both cases, the sites are marked on a map so you can see the route that goes between them all.

If that’s not enough, there are also very clear directions explaining how to get to each location, and the guides are very clear about what you will find in each place, with lots of details to help you make the most of your holiday. One thing I especially liked was the thistle icons that rated each location, and showed whether a location was worth visiting or not, so I could see at-a-glance how many sites to spend time visiting (nearly all of them… now I just need a reliable vehicle to travel in).

Another thing I liked was the author has found pictures of what the places look like, and put them alongside what the places looked like in the TV series, so you get an idea about how similar the places are in real life (for example, some buildings in Culross were painted for filming so in real life they’re a different colour).

One more thing that I liked about these guides is that they give you the disabled access information, so if you are traveling as a disabled person or if you’re taking someone who is disabled, you have a good sense of whether you can get into any specific place. I’ve talked before about why that’s important to include in travel guides as it can make or break some people’s trips.

It was also useful to know how much time to schedule for each aspect of the trip; for example, it tells you how much time each itinerary will take, depending on whether you want to do it faster or slower, so you have a good idea of how much time to budget.

Other things that you will find in these guide books include: Where to park, for sites where parking isn’t immediately obvious; whether any individual attraction is worth a visit or not (and an explanation and references showing why not, if it’s bad, so you can make an informed choice); how much they cost; and there are even lots of extras, such as places of interest that weren’t in the books/TV series but are still worth a visit while you’re in each area.

These Outlandish Scotland Journey ebook guides also really make use of being in an electronic format, by linking to additional useful information, which basically means it’s like someone went out and painstakingly researched your holiday for you, so all you have to do is follow the route and have a great time! Or, if, like me, you’re the sort of person who likes to go out and discover things, these guides have a lot of mileage in them as well; I would choose the most interesting locations, and see what turned up in the space between them while I was traveling (because Scotland has a LOT of space).

If you live in Scotland, you could do some of these locations as a series of day-trips at the weekend, rather than a long holiday, and it would certainly be a great way to spend your days off! If I still lived in Edinburgh, I would definitely do that.

These guides are useful for a wide range of readers, both locals and further afield, and my overall conclusion is that they are well worth a buy if you are going anywhere in Scotland this year or researching a future trip.

Find the Outlandish Scotland Journey guides on Amazon here: Part 1 and Part 2
Or find out more here: Outlandish Scotland Journey website

Review: iPhone SE 16GB

So I decided that I’d review my iPhone, since I’ve had it for a few months now. First, let me start by saying, I’ve never owned any Apple product before in my life. I had no idea what to expect when I bought this phone, and I only went by whether it would do what I wanted it to.

I spent ages looking through phone reviews of Sony, Alcatel, Samsung Galaxy and some weird brands I’d never heard of. The thing was, they were all very, very expensive or the reviews implied they were incredibly crap BY DESIGN. Seriously? Who spends R&D money designing a phone to be awful? The iPhone SE was the only phone at the mid-range price point. I’m not really interested in paying £400 or £500 for a phone, and when some phones were selling at up to £900, they can fuck right off. I didn’t spend that much money on my LAPTOP and that was essential for working.

I bought the 16GB phone rather than the 64GB phone for one reason: Price. The 16GB was £289.99 second hand (unlocked) and the 64GB one was over £400.00 at the time (they’re probably a little cheaper now), so it didn’t make sense to spend so much extra money. If you’re the sort of person who likes to store films and music and whatnot on your phone, you might want to get the bigger phone. I upload my photos regularly and I don’t tend to download many apps, so the 16GB suits me because it’s realtime data (eg. mapping, Facebook and Snapchat and Kindle for iPhone) that I need my phone to handle. The iPhone SE does these things comfortably, without an overcomplicated interface or installation system. I had never used an Apple phone before, and I was amazed by how easy it was to get everything to work straight out of the box.

Another thing I like about this phone is that there are a lot of nice phone cases available for it. I currently have a Cinderella phone case with moving glitter inside that’s like having a snowglobe on the back of my phone. I also have one that has the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter. I really love that there is so much scope to customize my phone and make it look unique.

The camera is quite good; not as good as my DSLR, of course, but it gets some nice pictures when I just want snapshots of things. The front camera is only 2.1 Megapixel and I thought that would be awful compared to the 8MP camera on my old Huawei, but Apple have done a lot with a little and the camera is better than the 8MP one I used to have, and the colors on things come out much more accurately. The normal camera is 12MP and both cameras have produced decent shots.

I also liked the battery life. People complained about it, but given that I’m used to my old Huawei Ascend’s battery lasting less than a day on a full charge when I don’t even use the internet on it, I was pleasantly impressed that my iPhone lasts 2-3 days on a charge, even though I have Wi-Fi or Mobile Data switched on pretty much 24/7.

The thing that stood out the most though was the commonality of it. When I was choosing a new phone, I literally asked everyone I met about their phones. So many people were cursing the day they spent large amounts of money on their Android phones, but everyone with the iPhone SE was telling me how much they liked it, and showing me how it worked, and so on. Everyone with an iPhone SE was happy to spend the time talking to a complete stranger about how well their phone handled Pokemon Go or how many photos they’d stored on it. I liked that, because I figured that if anything went wrong with my new phone, there would be a hugely supportive and knowledgable community of iPhone users who were able to help me out.

In fact, every time I’ve not known how to do something on my phone, my friends with iPhone SEs have showed me how it works. Usually, it’s because I’m used to everything being over-complicated on my previous Android phone, and I haven’t found a single thing that was harder to do on an iPhone. It’s nice when one little aspect of life is a bit easier. I don’t like overcomplicating things; my brain does enough of that anyway.

So, after 5 months, I’m finally ready to recommend the iPhone SE. If, like me, you want to get a second hand phone, Amazon are selling a few reconditioned iPhone SEs in 16GB and 64GB like this one.

If you already have an iPhone SE, I highly recommend the Kindle for iPhone, because it lets you read all your ebooks on your phone (and if you don’t own a Kindle, I also recommend the Kindle for PC free app from Amazon to read ebooks for free).

Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream

Don’t you just love discoveries? The perfect face cream was right in front of me this entire time, and I didn’t know it! I am so in love with the Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream (the day cream) that reviewing it has been really hard! I don’t know how to talk about this cream without just raving about everything I love about it.

Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream day cream review
Olay 3 Point Regenerist Day Cream.

Consistency: Thick but not too thick, and still easily spreadable. I lightly run my finger over the surface of the cream and gently rub a small amount onto my face. Scooping it out and plastering it on would be a bad idea!

Scent: It is perfumed, but it’s a pleasant scent that doesn’t overwhelm you or irritate skin, and once the cream is absorbed, the scent disappears. When I have a cold, the scent doesn’t irritate my sinuses.

Effects: Firstly, it obviously moisturizes skin. My skin is usually normal-to-dry, and I find that a layer of this cream makes my skin look less dry. Secondly, it plumps out expression lines aka fine lines. I don’t know what it does on deeper lines or full blown wrinkles because I don’t have any to test it on. I like that it also seems to help with the redness I get between my brows, and I would say that it does seem to give me a more even-toned complexion when I wear it. Another effect of this cream, which I’ve mentioned before, is that it helps get rid of blue under-eye circles (I don’t think they intended this use for this cream, but it’s a life-changer), and I discovered recently that it also works well on brown under-eye circles (I’ve got some other fixes for those, so I’ll write an article about that soon). I’ve been using it under my eyes for about 18 months but I hadn’t really used it on the rest of my face much until I ran out of Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden cream and now I’ve been using the Olay regenerist 3 Point cream regularly on my face and neck, I have so much love for this cream! There was an instant anti-ageing effect, and it took about a week for my skin to start showing noticeable results. When I stopped using it for a week, my skin looked tired again.

Feel: It doesn’t sting my skin, but I use it sparingly because it’s quite potent stuff. It makes my face feel fresh.

Compared to other Olay products: I’ve had some bad experiences with some of Olay’s other creams, with their Beauty Fluid being about as ineffective as not wearing face cream, and I was a little hesitant the first time I bought this, but from the first use I really liked it and will keep buying it. I buy mine from Amazon, and it always arrives in a plastic-wrapped sealed box, with an outer lid and an inner lid for the jar of cream.

Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream day cream review
Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream consistency.

Compared to other face creams: It was a bit like the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Active Reverse Day Cream, except the Olay 3 Point Regenerist doesn’t have any SPF. This is the biggest problem with the Olay 3 Point Regenerist, and for this reason I use it with the ROC spray on sunscreen, which I will review separately, but it’s not the ideal solution. UV damage can cause all sorts of beauty problems and I like to keep my skin protected even in the Miserable North of England where I’ve been stranded for a few years.

It was thicker than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine cream and I thought the Olay 3 Point Regenerist was better than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream in a couple of ways. Firstly, it makes my skin feel more moisturized. Second, it makes my skin look better overall.

It wasn’t as thick as the Manuka Doctor Api Nourish Night Cream, and I liked the thinner Olay 3 Point Regenerist better because it glides on easily and doesn’t need to be teamed with an oil or similar to keep my skin hydrated.

Science: The Olay 3 Point Regenerist cream is a peptide cream that contains pentapeptide (matrixyl). This increases collagen production in the skin and thickens skin, helping to plump out lines and eliminate veins and blue circles. When used with an exfoliant (such as glycolic acid, which dissolves dead skin cells and increases cell turnover in the skin) the effects are even better.

The bottom line is, this is my favorite face cream, and definitely replaces the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden cream I was previously using. The only thing I don’t like about it is the lack of any SPF. You can get it here on Amazon.com

Have you tried Olay Regenerist 3 Point? What did you think of it?

Too Faced Naturals Pallette

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.

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette
Too Faced Natural Eyes 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.

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette

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.

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette
Those colors… sooo good!

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!

Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette swatches
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette Swatches
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette Swatches
Too Faced Natural Eyes Pallette Swatches. Heaven is the whitish one; Silk Teddy hasn’t really shown up (I took like a million pictures so oh well).

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!