I perused the aisles of my local pharmacy last week with a friend, stopping at the Barry M stand, as per usual. This range of polishes caught my eye. Their website describes them as: “Hi shine Gel effect Nail Paint [that] provides an extra glossy finish”. I mean, who can turn that down?
Except. Except, well, it’s awful. I invested in the colour above, Key Lime, as I can’t turn down a bright varnish. My friend told me, she told me that they were awful but would I listen? Hardly.
The varnish goes on lumpy, with bubbles forming in the varnish. It takes about eighteen hours to dry (that’s an exaggeration but you know what I mean) and when it does finally manage to dry, it’s too thick and scrapes off easily.
Yeah, it’s cheap enough, so you shouldn’t expect much. But, for me, it’s a pity since I have other varnishes in this brand and they’re pretty good, in fairness. Really disappointed this time around.
Verdict: Please, for the love of god, don’t buy this.
I have been using this mascara for a while now, so I thought it would only be right to share the greatness of this inexpensive gem of a mascara with the world. The name is quite a mouthful, I know. But perhaps it’s to make up for the fact that this mascara is cheap as chips and ridiculously good quality for such a low-low price (€3.49!)
So here is what Essence says about this particular mascara on their website:
the i love extreme mascara’s “crazy” sister – for even more volume! the deep-black, creamy texture covers each individual lash with color and the extra-large plastic brush provides sensational volume. opthalmologically tested.
Now I can’t really say anything about this mascara’s less than crazy “sister”, but on its own merit it’s pretty gosh darn good. Just as Essence claims on its website, every lash is easily covered, the colour is super inky black and it does provide a fair amount of volume. I tend to prefer a lengthening mascara rather than a volumising one, so I’m please to say that this mascara provides the best of both worlds with regards to that.
As for negatives, there isn’t many. However, I found that this mascara did dry out somewhat quickly, maybe faster than other, more expensive mascaras that I have owned in the past. I didn’t mind much, but it could be a point of contention for someone else, so bear that in mind.
This isn’t the best mascara I have ever used, but considering the price, you really can’t go wrong. It’s a testament to how much budget brand make-up has improved since my teenage days, when similarly priced mascara would basically do nothing when applied. While it’s no Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara (sure, what is, really?!), this mascara could still be a worthy addition to your make-up bag if you’re in need of a decent volumising mascara without a hefty price-tag attached.
Last night I went on a little trip to Eddie Rockets for some delicious burgers with a friend, so i thought why not share what the heck I put on my face since that is the nature of this blog! Sorry for the quality of my phone camera, it isn’t the best. Sorry also for the somewhat weird angles, I could not resist the urge to give myself a fringe and I’m not sure if I’m quite loving it right now.
Revlon Colorstay Foundation for combination/oily skin in Ivory mixed with NYC All Day Long Foundation in Classic Ivory
Essence Fix and Matte Translucent Loose Powder
Bourjois Blush in 54 Rose Frisson
Soap and Glory Eyeshadow Pallette – Mudhoney and Smokin’
Rimmel Glam Eyes Black Liquid Eyeliner
Maybelline Gel Eyeliner in Black
Rimmel White Eyeliner Pencil
Gosh Eyebrow Pencil in 01 Brown
17 Lasting Fix Lipstick in Hawaii Pink
Perhaps unlike a lot of the other products that I’m likely to talk about in the old favourites section of this blog, MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation has been a firm favourite of mine ever since I was eighteen. That’s just over six years now, which is like, a billion years in make-up land. It was the first high-end item of make-up that I ever purchased. The price frightened me at the time, but eventually it seemed worth it for a powder that didn’t melt off my nose about half an hour after first applying it (I don’t know why it did this, my skin was far drier back then – damn you, crazy face!)
What’s great about this powder is how versatile it is. It’s buildable and is suitable for most skins types. If you have dry skin, just apply a tonne of moisturiser to your face before application and you’re set. If you’re a bit of an oily baby like me, this won’t be necessary. It can be worn on its own, over a bit of concealer, or over a light layer of liquid or cream foundation for extra coverage. If you’re in a hurry and your skin’s looking a bit peaky, grab a kabuki brush, slap it on your face and BAM – you’re good to go in about a minute.
The way I wear it has changed somewhat over the years. I really can’t believe the speed that that I used to go through this stuff back in the day; I had to buy one every month or so. I must have been caking it on SOMETHING FIERCE. I wince at the expense too, how on earth did a part-time job in the local cinema keep my MAC powder addiction going? Nowadays I mainly either use it on its own when I don’t have time for liquid foundation, or just mainly for touching up my face throughout the day or night out (mainly my nose, make-up still likes to melt off around there like there’s no tomorrow). Now it lasts me up to five months, making the 32 euro price tag a little bit less daunting.
Did I mention that it’s available in a about a billion shades (note: slight exaggeration). That’s also what appealed to me about it as my skin tone is basically a shade paler than Casper. My local Boots just did not cater for my kind and MAC essentially saved me from several more years of enduring the dreaded foundation neckline. Thank the gods for NW15!
So, whether you are paper-pale or a more dark skinned individual, oily skinned, dry skinned, or somewhere in between; this powder has more than likely got you covered.
To celebrate the summer season (I’m a bit late with this, many apologies), in May the budget friendly make-up brand, Essence, launched their limited edition Guerilla Gardening Collection. Presumably they were following the logic that even if one isn’t the most green-fingered of individuals, they can always mimic the sentiment of doing a nice spot of gardening in summer through the medium of make-up. As someone who is absolutely useless at gardening that is also a sucker for affordable make up, I appreciate their efforts.
The collection includes a multi effect nail brush, eye shadows, cream to powder blushes, brow gels, lip creams, nail varnishes and velvet nail effect powders in a variety of earthy and bright shades, you know –colours that scream BOTANY. Feeling spoilt for choice at my local Essence stand; I decided my nails were in dire need of a summer makeover. I ended up purchasing a nail polish in Floral Glam, the nail effect powder in Mission Flower and also the multi effect nail brush.
You’re probably wondering if they’re any use. The answer to that would be that they’re fine. They’re absolutely fine, if a bit gimmicky. I’ve long been a fan of the Essence nail polishes, they’re cheap as chips, good quality and available in a variety of colours, so adding a tomato red shade to my collection was a nice treat. I’ve always been a bit sceptical about velvet textured nail powders, so this was my first time venturing into the world of fluffy nails.
Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed. As per the instructions, I sprinkled the powder onto my nails while the nail varnish was still wet. Following that, I removed the excess powder using the nail brush. My nails dried and they looked red and pink and furry – for about an hour. I didn’t even need to wash my hands for the powder to come off. Within a few hours my nails were basically red again, albeit slightly textured. The nail brush was just plain unnecessary, the excess nail powder easily fell off my nails, rendering the fan shaped brush pointless.
Had I paid more for the products I would be quite annoyed. However, since I bought everything for less than ten euro, I won’t be spending too many sleepless nights lamenting my purchase. If you’re at all tempted by the nail products in this collection, my advice would be to bypass the gimmicky stuff and stick with some good old fashioned nail polish.
So, for a while now, I’ve ventured to the Benefit counter in my local pharmacy. I’ve purchased a few products and have been given others as gifts. For the price, I have contemplated whether or not the products are actually worth the money. Clearly, the packaging is beautiful and really gives a nice impression as a gift but, besides that, why should one buy this brand? Following, there is some of the list that I have collected and my reviews of each (because I know you clearly care about my opinion), enjoy…
My first foray into Benefit was with their ridiculously popular mascara They’re Real. (£19.50/$23.00)
One of their cheapest products and, as far as I’m concerned, one of their best. It separates. lifts and accentuates lashes, while not looking too clumpy. It’s somewhat drying – as I have found with a lot of mascaras – but that isn’t a huge deal in my book. Better it’s a bit of a pain to get off, instead of creating the dreaded ‘Panda Eye’. It’s very dark black, of which I’m a huge fan, and gives great volume. All in all, it’s pretty much worth the money and lasts for quite some time. (I still sometimes use the brush for other mascaras, even though this particular one has run out.)
Verdict: Worth the money.
Up next, Erase Paste, according to their website: “brightening camouflage for eyes and face“. ($26.00/£19.50)
Now, this one I’m torn on. It comes in three shades, 1. Fair, 2. Medium and 3. Deep. However, there isn’t that much of a difference between them. (Clearly they aren’t in the act of having this concealer for darker skintones.)
Anyway… It’s very creamy and silky, with great coverage. My mum loves it for just this reason, she has a number of blemishes on her skin; age spots, wrinkles and some broken capillaries. Erase Paste leaves them almost non-existent. “BUT THAT’S GOOD, RIGHT?” I hear you cry. It is good, it’s brilliant and she is delighted with it. However, I feel that for the delicate eye area, it is too heavy and, as you try to blend, it can crease and pull at the skin. I think that’s pretty detrimental to younger skin and isn’t all that necessary unless you have some extremely visible blemishes that you would like to conceal. So, by all means, use this if you are looking for OMG!COVERAGE but if you’d rather a lighter feeling concealer, this isn’t for you.
Verdict: Somewhat worth it, depending on what you are looking for.
But fear not, because Boi-ing might just be the concealer for you. ($20.00/£17.50)
Boi-ing comes in five shades, a lot more variation than that of Erase Paste and it’s cheaper too. For me, this would be more suited to younger skin. It’s lighter and easier to blend, great for under-eye areas. Having said that, it’s a bit drying and there are a ton of concealers – much cheaper – that do pretty much the same thing.
Verdict: Not worth it, plenty of cheaper concealers that do the same job. (See: E.L.F. Studio Complete Coverage Concealer, £3.75, at www.eyeslipsface.co.uk)
Lemon Aid is a “colour correcting eyelid primer“. ($20.00/£16.50) It’s yellow, hence the name, and its apparent appeal is that it can be worn with or without eyeshadow over it.
This is okay. It’s definitely suited to paler skintones and it does give a wide-eyed look but I personally don’t feel that it’s brilliant as an eyeshadow primer. It’s average, at best, and there are a number of non-yellow dupes for people who aren’t into that look.
Verdict: Not worth it, cheaper primers available that work just as well, if not better, and suit more skintones. (See: Essence I Love Stage Eyshadow Primer, $1/€2.50, www.essence.eu)
That Gal face primer ($29.00/£22.50) was something I bought spontaneously.
Acquired with a makeup voucher that was burning a whole in my purse, I trawled the Benefit counter for something I had yet to try. I was looking for a good primer and the TOO ENTHUSIASTIC Benefit person was all over this product like a fly on shit.
Yep, it’s brightening and it smells good but, really, that’s it. It didn’t smooth my face or even out foundation as much as I would have hoped. It’s a bit pink for my liking – since I’m already too pink naturally – so I think this may work better on someone with slightly darker, oilier skin.
And that bitch said it was for dry skin. I felt like I’d put water on my face -_- Fool me once, etc., etc.
Verdict: Not for me. (See: Gosh Velvet Touch Foundation Primer, €19.99, www.goshcosmetics.ie and at Superdrug).
High Beam is like the Holy Grail of Benefit products ($26.00/£19.50).
Okay so, admittedly, it’s good. In fact, it is very good. It highlights one’s features like a dream – although is a tad on the shimmery side – enhancing those loverly cheekbones and eyebrow bones… As if your face has been licked by a unicorn. I don’t really have any problems with this, except the price. I, personally, don’t think that it’s worth it. Considering the previously mentioned E.L.F. does a dupe for pretty much all of Benefit’s highlighters; High Beam, Moon Beam and Sun Beam. Check them out here: http://eyeslipsface.co.uk/en/restofworld/shimmer/shimmering-facial-whip/invt/1200
Verdict: Nope, not when E.L.F. is on their case with a fabulous product that does EXACTLY the same thing.
So, if you are interested in Benefit products, buy them, I wouldn’t tell you not to. But, basically, there are a huge number of duplicates out there for a literal fraction of the price. Obviously Benefit‘s packaging is prettier and all that but I, personally, would rather spend the money on other brands.
That’s all folks!