Sponsored Video: Benefit Criminal Eyes

Post sponsored by Benefit, all views are my own 

As you all know I am a sucker for eye-liner, I’ve pretty much tried them all from solids to pencils but will always go for a liner pen to create the perfect cat-eye flick. I have also been a big fan of Benefit since discovering the brand when I was at uni, bye-bye student loan and I still have all the original pin-up girl make up cases which I adore. I have seen many of their products come and go, wearing BadGal chubby eye-liner pencil for years, perfect for a smudgy eye. But these days I much prefer a perfect flick of liner which needs a precision pen so I was really excited to hear Benefit had created one. My current staple liner pen is Bobbi Brown which I can’t fault so Benefit have some tough competition, but I am more than happy to give it a try. Anther thing I have always liked about Benefit are the friendly girls on their counters who are happy to doll you up so you can test out the products before you commit to buying. So what does the new eye liner promise, besides a get out of jail free card? It claims to the be the first ever lash-hugging gel liner in a pen – which should mean no running or smudging. One problem I always have is getting transfer from liner onto my lids before it dries so this is something I want to test. It also claims to be smudge and budge free, with no drying out so it shouldn’t move an millimetre all day. It certainly packs a punch in the video, those are some killer wings! Will keep you posted when I go to try it out!

“ItÔÇÖs the FIRST EVER lash-hugging gel liner in a pen! This matte black gel formula wonÔÇÖt smudge, budge or dry out, and the innovative soft AccuFlexÔäó Tip hugs your lashline from corner to corner. The closer the line, the bigger the eye!

ÔÇó 91% said it was longwearing*
ÔÇó 81% said it was waterproof*
ÔÇó 88% said it hugged the lashline*
ÔÇó 84% said eyes looked visibly larger*

*Results observed in a consumer panel survey on 32 women after 2 weeks”

Time for a Change!

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Fancied a change so went for the chop and a colour change! Inspired by Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin and Karen Gillian. After spending my entire teens and early twenties with a rainbow variety of hair colours from bleach blond to pink I went back to my natural dark ┬áand have had it that way for the past ten years. Always a control freak and hair dresser phobe, freaking out if they chopped of more than a millimeter I have cut my own hair for the majority of that time too, only going for the odd visit when my fringe got too lop-sided from my own doings. I have been letting my fringe grown out since September but wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it until yesterday when I ┬ádecided to go for it and just let the hair dresser do what she thought was best after I waved the below pictures at her. I had it done at Hair Kandi in Sheffield, my stylist was Loren and I can’t recommend them highly enough. I chose the salon as it had paintings of pin up girls on the wall, not sure if that’s the best way to go about choosing a salon but seems to have worked for me! The colour looks different depending on the light but its lovely and shine with lots of depth. I’m really happy with it!

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Beauty: Empties & Rebuys

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A favourite blog post theme for beauty bloggers is ’empties and rebuys’, products that have been used up and those that have been bought again and again. I ended up at that stage where everything runs out all at once and have had to stock up on a fair few products so thought I would share my empties pile.

Make-Up staples:

SmashBox primer; Bobbi Brown Long wear foundation, Creamy concealer and Retouching powder are my make up basics. This will be my third rebuy of them all since I started using them about 18 months ago, they are all really great working products that last a good while. The version of Smashbox Primer I use is the SPF Orange one which is actually recommended for older skin however I find this one works better than the original version. The Retouching powder is ultra fine and leaves the skin looking airbrushed, its a tiny pot for the £25 but you only need a tiny bit and the result is so much better than a regular finishing powder which I can find too heavy and a bit dull. I usually buy the Concealer Duo which has the cream and powder, however have found I use a lot less of the powder so just went for the single this time.

I don’t like to go anywhere without a bright red lip and Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood has been my favourite, however after hearing the Lime Crime Velvetines hype I gave their Red Velvet a go. I have to admit I was so impressed, this stuff does not budge and my Old Hollywood hasn’t been picked up since. I have just bought the Suedeberry Velvetines to try which is a lighter, more orangey-red, will do a full review soon.

Skin care basics:

Clarins Beauty Flash balm is another much hyped product, I have to agree with its rave reviews. I use it when my skin is feeling a bit dull either as a mask, over moisturiser or as a primer for the perfect skin pick me up. I have reviewed MayLash before on the blog, it is an eyelash serum which you apply at night. This is a real WOW product for me, it has made my skinny lashes, longer, darker and thicker as well as conditioned. I always have a collection of hand creams and L’Occitane ones come in handy little tubes. The Date was my absolute favourite but sadly they don’t make it any more, I’ve tried other and haven’t been as impressed to be honest, they are nice but there isn’t one I would rebuy besides the Date. Sally Hanson nail care products are old favourites, I buy the all in one base and top coat all the time, its a great all rounder. Lush Honey Trap lip balm is just fantastic, I’ve tried the Creme de la Mer one and much prefer this. Its a great formula with a hint of honey and mint, it also doubles as a cuticle balm. E45 Intensive Recovery cream comes in one ugly ass bottle, I throw it in a draw rather than have it deface my dressing table, however its what’s inside that counts. This is the best body moisturiser in the world! Well so far as I have tried, it leaves even the roughest skin soft and velvety. If they put it in fancy looking pots I’m sure they could charge ┬ú100 a go!

Fragrance:

Vivienne Westwood Boudoir, I keep a stock pile as it is one I never tired of. I can’t imagine how many bottles I must have gone through in my life! Chanel Jersey is my other favourite and I have found it overtaking Boudoir on a day to day basis, but I think they will both be at the top of my list for a good while yet.

That’s it, my ultimate everyday staples!

First Thoughts Bobbi Brown Holiday Collection

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Pretty little shiny black boxes stamped with silver crests… yep it’s the Bobbi Brown Holiday and Old Hollywood Collection! Hitting shelves just in time for Christmas and New Years celebrations. I have been testing out the collection and have already shared some of my looks created on Instagram (@SuperElevated). I don’t have any special skills when it comes to make up but have always found Bobbi Brown products straight forward and easy to use. This is one of the main reasons I have been happy to support the brand over the past few years. I also appreciate that you can stop by any counter and get expert advise with no pressure to buy. I find myself going back on a regular basis to see what’s new and ask for tips on how I can use my products in different ways.

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Old Hollywood Collection

‘This season Bobbi Brown introduces a collection that celebrates the glitz and glam of iconic American screen sirens. This sultry collection offers something for every type of woman, ensuring that you will always be red carpet worthy.’

As soon as I heard whisper of this collection I got super excited, my favourite every day red lipstick is Old Hollywood red (┬ú22) so I couldn’t wait to see what Bobbi had envisioned. I wasn’t disappointed all dressed up for parties was my classic red, same lipstick but in a limited edition glitzy gold case. Accompanied by the new precision Ink Liner (┬ú20) for the perfect cat eye flick. To make a sultry smoky eye the Old Hollywood palette (┬ú59) has shades ranging from grey to gold and three Long-wear Cream Shadow Stick (┬ú20) colours are just the thing for a sweep of shimmer. There is an array of lips glosses (┬ú18) one in slick Siren Red and three High Shimmer glosses in pink and golden sparkle. For nails there are four shades in Tuxedo Black, Siren Red, Chrome, Solid Gold, the latter two are limited edition Glitter Nail Polishes (┬ú11).

I’ve been lucky enough to have been given the Palette, Ink Liner, Lipstick and Tuxedo Black Nail Polish to put through their paces. I confess I usually run scared from palettes, I have had countless where I have only used one shade the rest going to waste. Determined this would not be the case again I consulted the girls at Bobbi Brown and the amazing Goss make-up artist’s Youtube channel and paid close attention. Now I am still no expert however I am now behind the concept of building up the colours and blending. I have managed to create a lovely golden sunset eye, a smoky dark brown eye and a shimmer soft silver eye – as soon as I can manage to get both eyes to match I might show you some pics! All in all I think this is a really fantastic palette for using everyday it even included my beloved Sparke Eye Shadow in Chocolate Brown which has been my go-to everyday shade for over a year. The Old Hollywood lipstick will need no introduction to regular readers, since Chanel ruined my life when they discontinued Fire I was left in red lipstick limbo until I discovered Old Hollywood. Since then I have gone through countless tubes and I wear it most days. It is that perfect shade of red with slightly blue undertones, long lasting and well everything you could ever want in a red lipstick. I have a love-hate relationship with eye liner, I love how it looks but hate having to apply it, getting two even flicks is no mean feat! This liner was easy to use, it was just the right consistency not too wet, not too dry and didn’t run or smudge. I found the tip gave a nice sharp tail to my flick too. I have also sang the praises of the nail polishes before, they are a long wearing formula and chip resistant. The Tuxedo Black is actually more of a dark grey, really perfect for winter.

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Holiday Collection

 In contrast the Holiday Collection is a real winter wonderland mix of shimmer and sparkle for day and night!

‘Looking to glitz it up? This holiday season, Bobbi offers a beautifully edited collection of luxurious lip and eye palettes, lip glosses and brush sets for the beauty enthusiast who wants to get – or give – the gift of glam. Featuring an assortment of shimmery shades in silver, bronze and golden tones, Bobbi’s Holiday 2013 Gift Giving Collection is a must when it comes to stealing the spotlight.’

It really is full of perfect gifts, my mum really agreed, so much so she took half the products off my hands to test out for me. The full range includes Twighlight Pink Lip and Eye Palette (£59), two Eye Shadow Palettes in a choice of Smoky Cool and Smoky Warm (£37), two Lip and Eye Palettes in a choice of Everyday Pretty and Date Night (£24), Lip Gloss Trio in shimmery sugar shades (£18), Sequin Shimmer Brick Eye Palette (34.50), Nude Glow Shimmer Brick (£35), Old Hollywood Travel Brush Set (£89) and Old Hollywood Mini Brush Set (£55).

My absolute favourite thing from the entire collection is the Date Night Palette. Forget saving this baby for nights out, I’ve had this with me all day. It is such a great array of colours, the Ivory shadow perfect as a base or highlight, Storm Cloud is a heather shimmer and Caviar is a rich black which I have used as a liner or a smoky over tone. The lip colours are Sandwash Pink a natural shade and Berry Punch a lush hot pink so you can dress it up or down. To top it all off is Diamond Pink a minty fresh shimmer gloss. This has been my constant handbag essential and I think it would be a fabulous gift too. The Nude Glow Shimmer Brick I am all over too, it features a range of gold and bronze shimmers to warm the skin and leave a halo of golden glow. I have been using it as an all over high lighter but you can also use the individual shades as eye shadow too.

All in all I can really recommend the new collections, do go down to your nearest counter for a play around. I can promise you one thing though, if you buy any as a gift you will find it hard to part with them!

Pearl Hearts Shadowlands #2 – Confetti

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Details:┬á Sunglasses – Shadowlands After Hours in Confetti; Necklaces Vivienne Westwood; Make-up Bobbi Brown LongWear foundation, Retouching powder in white; Illamasqua Fundamental eye pallet, Raven Masquara, Kate / Ambition blush duo, Mahogany eyeshadow for brows, Nude pink blush, nail varnish in Pink Valentine┬á

Here is Part 2 of my Pearl hearts Shadowlands posts. We saw the dark and delicious Highway in Cherry Cola in Part 1, today let me introduce the ultra glamorous After House in Confetti. From the 50s vamp triangular frames to the wonderful Tuti-Fruti inclusions, I have to say I am crazy about these sunglasses. I can just see myself pairing them with a flirty vintage frock and heels this summer, all to sip Martinis in of course.

N.B. The first photo is for my mum, talented photographer and mocker of my unsmiling ways!

Pearl Hearts Shadowlands #1 – Cherry Cola

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The Details: Sunglasses Shadowlands Highway in Cherry Cola*; Vivienne Westwood bone necklace; Make up -Nails: Chanel Malice nail varnish, Lips: Tom Ford Cherry Crush lipstick, Eyes: Illamasqua Fundamental pallette and Chanel Mirifique Illusion d’ombre, Illamasqua Raven masquara mascara; Face: Bobbi Brown Long Wear foundation, Retouching power in White.

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In the first of two post I want to introduce my friend Pete Woodwards amazing sunglasses label Shadowlands. The brand ethos is to offer boutique quality without the extravagant price tag. Those who are regular readers will know I am the pickiest person in the world when it comes to sunglasses. Due to my wonky nose I can’t wear any that aren’t correctly balanced, light and well shaped on the bridge or it is very painful for me. None of those issues here, both styles are perfectly comfortable. The other thing which is hard to find with sunnies is crystal clear quality lenses, good lenses should be so clear that you forget you are wearing them yet still offer high protection from the sun’s glare. These have incredible clarity and I got to test them out in the glorious winter sun we had here this week.

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What is most exciting about Shadowlands are the innovative designs and ‘colours’ available. Colour is perhaps the wrong word, rather the way the material of the frames is made up, the last photo here shows really well what I am talking about. The Cherry Cola (here), Tuti Fruti (see next post), Graphite and Tortoise shell are made with this remarkable technology. Each style is offered in a variety of colours so you can customise your look. The frame designs too are certainly not something you would find on the High St! The quality surpasses many of my designer pairs with 3x the price tag, even the velvet lined cases are pure luxe. The best part all styles retail at ┬ú90 – no I couldn’t’ believe it either, I wouldn’t have blinked at a ┬ú200 tag. Since Shadowlands is so new and exclusive they are only available in the UK at Kokon to Zai, London. If you aren’t local and NEED a pair you can email me and I will put you in touch for lookbooks / if you are lucky you might talk them into a custom mail order, you can also stalk designer @_stpeter and search
#Shadowlands on Instagram to see more styles / ask questions. We would love to know what you think of the sunglasses and stay tuned for part 2.

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*Disclaimer: I’m sure it was obvious in the post that my friend sent me these as a gift, I loved them so naturally wanted to blog it. Due to the ridiculous ASA regulations I now have to point that out. I’ve no idea how complicated blogging Xmas gifts is going to be!

Beauty: Bobbi Brown Smokey Eyes

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As you know Bobbi Brown is one of my favourite make up brands and they have let me into a few secrets on their up and coming launches. The first is one you can already get your hands on, the Smoky Eye, as seen here on the beautiful Katie Holmes. As always Bobbi wanted to make it easy for everyone to create the perfect smokey eye themselves and so introduces the Smokey Eye Mascara (┬ú22) and Smokey Eye Kajal Liners (┬ú18). I went to Selfridges to have a make up lession in recreating the look myself – anyone can book in for a free lesson at their local counter. I love a smokey eye and often just smudge on a dark brown shadow with my finger for a quick fix. Bobbi Brown shadows have been my staples for the last couple of years so I was excited to try out the new liners. I was equally thrilled with the gorgeous colours available especially Black Amethyst and Jade, as I was with the soft formulation. They are wonderfully pigmented and have great staying power. I have been wearing the amethyst on the top lid and jade below and on the waterline for a modern, colourful take on the smokey eye. The Smokey Eye Mascara promises to give lashes high impact, volume and length with out smudging. To top of the smokey eye look their is also a new Ink Liner (┬ú20) which gives brilliant precison and smudgeproof definition. I have already been enjoying creating new looks with the new liners and will can say they have become a permanent feature in my make up bag. Lots more Bobbi Brown news to come so stay tuned!

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New and old favourites

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Black Amethyst and Jade Smokey Eye Kajal Liners

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The Smoking Hot look at Selfridges Bobbi Brown

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Me after my Smokey Eye lesson

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Beauty: MayLash Eye Lash Enhancer Review

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If there is one thing I have always hated it is my stubby eyelashes. Because of them I’ve spent my life trialing mascara after mascara and always ending up disappointed. I have tried an eyelash serum before and can’t say I saw greatly impressive results, however I am always game to try a new products so thought I would give MayLash a go after receiving a sample. The product is only recently available in the UK after proving popular in Scandinavia. It promised darker, thicker and fuller lashes in 6-8 weeks.

I admit I wasn’t expecting miracles here, however I can now say, hand on heart I was blown away by this product. I now have long, thick and full lashes and will use this product FOREVER!

The product comes like a clear eyeliner, you just sweep it on the base of lashes before bed and that’s it. I was surprised to notice a difference the very next day. My mascara went on smoother and left my lashes nicely spread out instead of clumping. I would say the MayLash had the effect of applying a conditioner to hair or a serum to skin, it gave it a nourishing effect. I kept on using it and the conditioning effect remained however it wasn’t until a few weeks later I noticed one day my lower lashes looking darker. Over the next week I really started to see the difference in my lashes, they looked so much longer, thicker, darker in colour and even curled. I can actually say for the first time in my life that I have perfect lashes. I have included a before and after photo on my naked lashes below:

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I think you can really see the difference however when I am wearing mascara. I’ve been asked a few times now what mascara I am using – it is the same one. Before I would get so frustrated with every mascara I tried but now I realise it was my lashes that were causing me the problems not the mascara. Below are before and afters wearing mascara. From stumpy little lashes to long fluttery ones,I also find I need less coats of mascara now:

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MayLash’s charms don’t just end there either, you can also use it on eye brows. I’ve had a random bald patch on one brown for ages now and I have to conceal it with pencil which is annoying. But I applied a drop of the MayLash on to the bald patch st night and that too has now gone!

I don’t often make a big deal about beauty products but I cannot recommend MayLash enough, it sounds silly to say but it really has been a life changing product for me. I now find I can just use it once or twice a week to keep my lashes on top form so I think one tube will last a really long time, at least several months. The only snag? It is expensive at ┬ú49 but I’ve spent more that that each month on the latest mascara trying to achieve these kind of lashes so I can honestly say it is well worth the money. MayLash were lovely enough to offer my readers a ┬ú10 off coupon because I told them how much I loved the product and thought you all would to so if you do want to try it you can purchase on the MayLash Website and enter the code pearl10 at check out to get the discount. If you have any questions about MayLash let me know, or have you tried it?

Here is the link to their website Maylash.co.uk

I also talk about MayLash in my current top beauty products video on Youtube:

Is there a cost to being beautiful?

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The unloved pile including – Dior,Chanel, YSL, The Body Shop, Benefit, Topshop, Clinique, Butter, Cargo, Illamasqua, Bobbi Brown

I hold my hands up and admit I am a total beauty junkie. I can’t resist a shiny new nail polish or the perfect lipstick to update my look each season and also as a little treat. Even designer make-up products don’t come with the eye watering price tag as a pair of shoes from the same brand so I never feel guilty about it and I never really see it as a big purchase. You can buy a lipstick and┬áyou hardly notice the money going out. In fact I always protest I hardly have any make up, in truth I should really say I hardly use any make up. It wasn’t until clearing out my dresser this week, when I emptied out all my make up stash onto my bed and saw it all there in one huge pile that I realised how much I really had, and how much it must have all cost! Granted the majority of things are in current use, I tend to use things up before I buy new but I do like to have a good selection. What I did find annoying was the pile of unloved products, ones I’ve bought and been disappointed with or simply didn’t suit me. The slippery and smudgy YSL lipstick, the crumbly Bobbi Brown eye shadow, the gritty Dior lip gloss, the pore settling Illamasqua highlighter…┬á it all adds up to a fair amount. I’ve since learnt that one of my favourite brands Bobbi Brown will actually exchange unsuitable products, putting them even higher up on my hits list but I don’t know any other brand that does that. So even though I know all these products won’t get used, because they were so expensive I can’t bring myself to throw them away.

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My life in lipstick!  Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Tom Ford, YSL

On the other hand there are all the products I absolutely love! Above you can see my rather predictable choice in lipsticks, the majority Chanel for their incredible colours, 2x Bobbi Brown which are my everyday essentials, 2x YSL my summer brights, 2x Tom Ford for special occasions. I don’t know what I would do without my red lippie!

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Empties! Much loved products from past and present

Before lipsticks I was a gloss girl through and through, this Clinique Cherry Spritzer was my absolute favourite and must be about ten years old, the Dior pretty pink and Chanel shimmery bronze also much loved all nearly empty but still hoarded. The Benefit Rush Hour, Chanel concealer, The Body Shop lip line fixer (please restock this) and Hemp lip balm are all empties that I really loved – why keep them empty tubes I ‘ve no idea!

I’ve now managed to bin the empties and those which are well past sell by date, apart from the few mistake buys I have to say that yes beauty comes with a cost, but a girls make up bag is about far more than buying beauty. Its that extra bit of confidence a dab of concealer can bring, that pop of colour a bright lippy gives an outfit, those carefully manicured nails polish off your look, sexily flicked eye liner, super fun nail art. There are many things that money can’t buy, but a little cheerful make up treat is always worth every penny to me!

Are you a make up hoarder?

Review: Chanel Coloured Mascara + Video

One of the most talked about beauty products this summer are the coloured mascaras by Chanel. For the L’Ete Papillon Summer 2013 collection the Inimitable Waterproof mascara was recreated in four shocking colours:

Blue Note – vibrant blue, Zest – pollen yellow, Lime Light – mint green, Aqua Blue – shimmering pale blue

As a total Chanel beauty junkie I couldn’t resist going to try them out.

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From top: Aqua Blue on nude lashes, Zest over black mascara, Blue Note over black mascara, all worn with Stylo eyeliner in True Blue

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 Blue Note on naked lower lashes with Blue Bay Stylo Eyeshadow

I didn’t try the Lime Light but did try the other three. First up is Aqua Blue worn on upper and lower lashes, whilst the colour looks very pretty here as I am looking up head on it made me look like I had no eye lashes against the blue liner. I think it would look better with a contrasting liner and shadow.

Zest has been the most talked about colour, yellow mascara does sound shocking, however at Chanel they suggested using the colours on the tips o the lashes as a highlight over black mascara rather than full cover. I do like the yellow highlight but it was hard to see until you caught the light, far more subtle than I expected.

Blue Note was my favourite by far and the only mascara I actually purchase. Over black mascara it gives a deep, almost indigo flash. Alone it is a vivid sky blue, I have been wearing it just on my lower lashes which really opens up the eyes.

All in all I think the coloured mascaras are a fun product for summer, giving a fresh and colourful look. I would recommend going down to your local Chanel counter and giving them a try.

What do you think, love or loath?