Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tomb of the Unknown beauty blogger

 Last Friday I went to the Grayson perry exhibition at the British Museum. It was the first time I've been there since an exhibit on Ancient Egypt caused me to have a long period of night terrors as a child. Luckilly I did not relapse :P The exhibition was great, I love a lot of Perry's work (especially pieces with lots of Alan Measles) and it was interesting to see it juxtaposed with real artifacts. But I got very stressed and panicked and it reminded me why I don't often go to art galleries. My Mum and Dad (yeah I went with my parents like a cool kid) loved it though so that was good.

Here's my face:

Face: Homemade powder foundation, Illamasqua powder blush (I'm pretty sure it is Hussy but the name has worn off)
Eyes: Illamasqua powder blush in Intrigue, Darling Girl Eyeshadows in Rudolph and Comet (The eyeliner is Comet foiled using ELF Makeup Lock and seal), Illamasqua Medium pencil in Vow on the waterline, Benefit They're Real mascara
Lips: Homemade lipgloss

It's Alan Measles' stunt double! :D

You guys are probably very bored of me apologising but I thought I'd just say pre-emptively that I might not be posting too frequently for the next month or so. I think I've mentioned before that I feel constantly exhausted feeling and it's getting worse and worse so I'm finally trying to get it sorted out with blood tests and doctors appointments and scary things like that :( I also have some stressful personal stuff coming up. So sorry for that, but I'll try my best to keep posting as it makes me feel better.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Conjurer Cosmetics: Eyeshadows Part 1

One of my Birthday presents this year (I turned 24 in January) was a distance learning course about making your own makeup. For a few years now I've played around making some eyeshadows and lipsticks and things using premade bases but this is the first time I've ever made my own from scratch and it is so so much fun! I just love playing around with all the powders and waxes and oils and pigments, it reminds me of how, when I was a little girl, I would make 'potions' by mixing loads of spices and various things from the cupboards together into a big horrible slurry, only with this I get pretty stuff at the end! 

Conjurer Cosmetics is my made up makeup company (based on my love of magicians and secular magic and stuff.) I'll be reviewing the actual course later on when I've completed all the modules. The first module is actually lip products (my favourite!) but I'm sharing some eyeshadows (from Module 2) with you first because there's more pictures to share at the moment. When taking these swatches I stupidly forgot that I own a light box so they're not the best.
I hope you enjoy them anyway!

These were (nearly) all made using the very basic base recipe from the course. First these shades are made using only Mica for the colourant:

Left to right:
Odd greeny taupey colour with reddish sparkle, green with gold shimmer, very sheer gold with a hint of violet sparkle

Sparklypinkish purple, multicoloured sparkly blue, blue with a red duochrome

My favourite colour, a gold with a slight green tint and a strong red duochrome.

These were using only oxides:


red-brown, deep amber, cream (hard to see as it nearly matches my skintone)

These are all pinks and lilacs increasing in depth of colour.

These were also using only oxides but I added some Titanium Dioxide which made the formula smoother and more opaque.

And these are using both oxides and Mica's

Sparkly rusty red (has a weird blue shine in the photo, it's not there in real life), light grey with gold sparkle.

None of these shades have names because they're just experiments with no fixed recipe.

Here I'm wearing two of the oxide only shades:

(please excuse my insanely bloodshot eye!)

My next project is to try and perfect an eyeshadow base. The recipe that came with the course is actually very good but I just want to see if I can better it :)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It's my face again!

Hooray my laptop (Pinkie) has made a full recovery so I have access to all my photos again! But I'm not very well at the moment (nothing seirious so don't worry) so posts will still be sporadic for a while probably until I stop being pathetic (oh no, that will never happen! D:) 

Here's some photos from early January (ohhh I suck)

Eyebrows: Sugarpill Love +
Eyes: Black eyeliner and mascara
Face: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 02, ELF Studio HD powder (can't remember what my blusher is)
Lips: Darling Girl holo-gloss in Jolly Holly over a red lipstick (can't remember which one!)

Here's my outfit, check out my mighty post-Christmas belly!

Cardigan: Debenhams
Dress; River Island
Tights: Henry Holland for Pretty Polly
Shoes: Office

And I have black hair now :P


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

My besties of 2011

Right it's time to step away from the negativity and go onto something positive! I thought I'd finally share my favourites of last year, i'm only just in February so not as bad as last year where I just never got around to it.
(I stole the catergories from jennifaes awesome blog, because I am too lazy to make up my own! I did add a couple of things though and removed some that i don't have favourites of though). Some of the categories have contenders which are products that only just didn't make the cut.

Best High-End Beauty Brand
 A lot of my favoutite products come from Illamasqua, they tend to have really high quality, beautifully packaged, excitingly coloured and richly pigmented makeup.  I also just love Illamasqua as a brand! Here's why. 

Best Drugstore Beauty Brand
ELF tends to be a bit hit and miss with their products but the majority of those I have tried have been really brilliant, particularly those from the Studio section of the brand. The prices are fantastic (basically everything is under £5) and the packaging is really nice considering how cheap it is.

Sleek are another great Drugstore brand. I love that they have very pigmented, bright and interesting shades and exciting products like their Molten Metals and Pout Paints. Their shadow palettes are also fantastic and (even with the stupid price hike) great value.

Best Indie Makeup Brand
Darling Girl
Darling Girl is one of the newest indie companies I've tried but they've quickly become my favourite. All the products I've tried have been fantastic quality and come in lots of gorgeous colours. The prices are fair and Susan (the owner) is one of the nicest, most helpful people you could hope to deal with. I've never had a problem with an order and TAT are always reasonable. I have a proper review coming up soon :) 


The reason Sugarpill didn't win is that they have fewer products to choose from and also I find it hard to catergorise them as an indie company! The packaging, branding and quality of the products is absolutely amazing and wouldn't seem out of place in a High End brand. 

Best Pressed Eyeshadow
Sugarpills pressed eyeshadows are just the bees knees. They're insanely pigmented, bright and true to colour and also apply smoothly and blend easily. They're also really reasonably priced at $34 for a palette of 4 huge pans of shadow or $12 each. At the moment there are 9 fantastic rich colours and a tonne more are coming out soon!

MUA Pressed shadows
MUA shadows are nice, particularly the pearl finish ones which are creamy and easy to apply, but not amazing. However as they cost £1 each they're a fantastic bargain!

Best Loose Eyeshadow
Darling Girl, Shiro, Sugarpill, Venomous Cosmetics, Fyrrinae
I couldn't choose just one brand for this. All of the above make amazing shadows, pigmented, creamy, easily blendable, great range of colours, long lasting etc. I'd say they're all about equal in quality. Sugarpill tends to have the brightest, boldest colours, Fyrinnae the most complex, Darling Girl has fantastic unusual neutral shades and lovely duochromes, Venomous has great sparkle and Shiro has wonderful soft shades.

Illamasqua pure Pigment, Barry M Dazzle dusts
Both of these are lovely too but more expensive (particularly the Illamasqua)

Best Pencil Eyeliner
Illamasqua Medium pencil
I really like these because they come in a multitude of colours and you can use them anywhere on your face, which means you can finally have a pale green lipliner or bright red eyeliner if you wanted! I also just really like them, they're soft enough to leave an easy line but not so soft as to break or smudge easily and they last longer on my waterline than the average eyeliner.

Best Liquid Eyeliner
Illamasqua Precision Ink
 This eyeliner has a really great applicator, it's a felt style one (not a felt-tip pen style though) but is a bit longer than average (I think? Something's different anyway) which makes it really easy to apply precisely. The formula is great, completely opaque and slightly glossy. It dries quickly and does not fade or smudge at all.
It's only available in 4 shades which is a bit of a shame in one way because I love coloured eyeliner but in another it's great because I love this stuff but my bank balance does not :P

Best Glitter Eyeliner
Collection 2000 Glam Crystals Dazzling Gel Liners
Just the best glitter Eyeliners ever. These are packed full of glitter which means you don't need to layer it over and over to get a proper glitter liner look (unlike some glitter eyeliners *coughUrbanDecaycough*). They come in lots of lovely bright colours including some holographic ones and also dry quickly.

MUA Glitter Eyeliner
These are almost as good as the Collection 2000 but have a worse brush (it's too long and splays and is just a bit odd) and only come in about 3 shades, but they're also just £1 yay!

Best Mascara
Benefit They're Real
I've been using this as an alternative to my absolute favourite mascara (Lancomes Oscillation) since I discovered that lancome test on animals (or support animal testing or something, it's hard to tell :/ ). It's a really good mascara giving wonderful length and volume (doesn't add much curl but my lashes are naturally curly so I never bother with curling mascaras) and it doesn't flake or clump easily. The brush is a plastic one which I always prefer to bristles and has a cool little spiky top part that helps to lift the lashes up and coat them right to the roots. I have found that it's dried out a bit though and is not as good or easy to use as it was when I first bought it.

Best Lip Balm
Models own
When it comes to bog standard lip balm used just to moisturise your mouth I don't really have a favourite, I'll use anything as long as it doesn't taste disgusting, but these Models Own ones are amazing. Look here for a full review but these are highly pigmented, lip softening, super shiny, delicious smelling little pots of joy!

Best Lipstick
MAC Amplified Creme Lipsticks
My favourite ever lipsticks, these are creamy, soft, not at all drying and easy to apply. They glide over my lips and are beautifully pigmented with a slightly shiny finish. They come in lots of pretty colours and while they don't have any very unusual ones like blues or greens they do have bright oranges, pinks, purples and reds. 

Mac Matte Lipsticks
I tend to just like Mac's lipsticks in general but only have a few that aren't either Amplified Creme or Matte formula so Matte would be my contender. A couple of the shades are hard to use (Ruby Woo i'm looking at you) but in general they tend to be slightly dry but not bad and not drying to the lips. They're very pigmented and have a lovely retro finish.

I have swatches of all my Mac Lipsticks here

Best Lipgloss
Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses
I just looove these. They're super opaque, ultra glossy, smell delicious, come in fantastic shades like grey and molten silver along with pinks and reds and last longer than any other gloss I've tried. See my full review here and swatches here

Darling Girl Holo-glosses/venomous cosmetics Lip Poisons
Darling Girls Holo-glosses are fantastic (generally) clear or sheer glosses packed with lovely glitter. They last beautifully and are amazing layered over lipsticks. Venomous Lip poisons are actually quite similar to the Illamasqua Intense glosses, they're opaque and long wearing and lovely but just not quite as good (in my opinion) You can see some lip swatches here.
Best Blush
Illamasqua powder blush
Amazingly soft and blendable but ultra pigmented. You need a light hand with these! They last all day and come in a myriad of colours to suit every skin tone (from the palest pink to deepest plum). The majority of these are matte but a couple of shimmery shades have just been released and have a lovely hint of shimmer but not over the top sparkle.

ELF Studio
ELFs blushes are also incredibly pigmented, easy to blend and cheap at £3.50 each but I find them just slightly chalkier and the sparkle in some shades can be a bit brash for me.

Best Bronzer
ELF Studio Cool bronzer

I don't generally use bronzer to look bronzed or sunkissed, I just use it occasionally to  contour my face. To do this properly it's best to use a matt contour shade as the sparkle in bronzer reflects light (and when you're contouring you want to create shadows, which should not reflect the light) and this bronzer is great for that! It's matte and has 4 shades in the one pan that you can mix together or use seperately to get the right depth of colour. It's very pigmented though so you need to use a light hand. 

  Sleek Contour Kit

Sleeks contour kit has a beautiful formula which is really easy to apply and blend. It comes in a few shadesto suit different skin tones. I use the 'light' shade and it works well with my ultra pale pink skin. It's not super pigmented but I find that a good thing because it looks more natural. However it has shimmer in it which as I said before is not brilliant for contouring (for me anyway). 

Best Highlighter
ELF Studio Blush in Gotta Glow/Illamasqua Illuminator
 Gotta Glow is a pearly white pressed powder with some golden sparkle. It's great for adding a bit of shimmer to the face and highlighting large areas like the cheekbones however it's not very pigmented. Illamasqua's Illuminators are cream highlighters that are insanely pigmented and really reflect light. They have fantastic sparkle and dry really quickly. You can apply them sheerly for a hint of a glow or more thickly for a real sparkle with more opaque colour.

ELF Studio Radiance Enhancer
This is a highlighting cream that comes in a handy brush applicator which makes it really easy to apply (especially to places like the cupids bow where you only want a hint of highlight). It gives a nice glow but is not very pigmented and takes a little while to dry.

Best Liquid Foundation
Illamasqua Skin Base 
I love this foundation (though ignore the claims that it's like a BB cream, it isn't) it's buildable from sheer to full coverage, easily blends on my skin, lasts brilliantly and gives a really lovely natural looking finish to my skin. You can see my full review here.

GOSH X-ceptional Wear

A great foundation that blends easily into the skin, leaves it looking matte and lasts all day.

Best Powder Foundation
To be fair I've only tried 2 powder foundations, BFTE's and Physicians Formula. The PF one is pressed, I find it quite hard to apply and the lightest shade is too dark for me whereas the BFTE is a loose powder which applies beautifully and comes in lots of shades (Alabaster suits me well). It's super easy to apply, you just buff it in, and it leaves my skin looking flawless. You can see me in it here.

Best Setting Powder
ELF Studio HD powder
This is just a good, bog-standard powder. It's colourless so should work for most skin shades (though if you're very dark skinned I think it could make you look a little ashy as it could leave a white cast) and sets foundations brilliantly, leaving you with matt skin. You only need to use a little bit and it's cheap at £6 (or cheaper in the US or with one of ELFs millions of codes).

Best Makeup Brushes
ELF Studio
I love the ELF Studio brushes, they're really cheap (generally £3.50), synthetic and thus cruelty free and just work brilliantly! I can honestly say these are on par with my Illamasqua brushes that can cost up to 10x as much. It's hard to explain why they're so good, they just work! I have a video about them here

Illamasquas brushes are great, synthetic, soft, easy to use and apply and blend makeup easily.

Best Nail Varnish
While Illamasqua nail varnishes are among the priciest I've ever bought at £13.50 each (though I always wait for a sale or discount code as I am cheap :P ) they're probably the best quality too. They're generally very pigmented needing only 2 coats to be fully opaque, come in beautiful colours, dry really quickly and last for ages without chipping or wearing.


Models Own, Lynnderella, GOSH
Models Own and GOSH polishes are great and dry quite quickly. I generally need 2-3 coats but the finish is smooth and glossy and lasts for days. Lynnderella polishes aren't quite as quick drying but they are so unusual and gorgeous that they're worth it!

Sorry for the lack of posts everyone, My laptop is being fixed so I have to use claire's and don't have access to my files and photos. I'm getting it back soon though.

If there's any other catergories you'd be interested in knowing my favourites of then comment and I'll add them in :)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hi Fi Cosmetics - MIA or AWOL?

So I mentioned that I was having trouble with an indie company. Unfortunately nothing has been fixed yet and there's nothing I can really do about it. The company in question is Hi Fi cosmetics. I've reviewed them in the past and absolutely love their products and the owner, Veronica, was always really nice and helpful so I'm really saddened to have to write this.

I ordered from the companies artfire page on the 27th of November and paid via echeque which cleared on the 2nd of December. It was during their black friday sale so I made a rather large order coming to about £40 ($60) Since then I've heard nothing. I know that earlier in the year they'd had a big problem keeping up with orders because of a Heartsy deal but that seemed to have calmed down. I expected to have a bit of a wait with the turn around time and then international shipping so, even though I got other Black friday orders in a couple of weeks, I didn't think much about it. But then New years came and went and there was no sign of my order. No shipping confirmation, no apology for delay, nothing. So I sent Veronica an email, just enquiring politely when my order was. No reply. I asked around on some facebook groups and was told by several people that while Hi Fi orders often take a while to arrive they always DO arrive. I also heard that Veronica was pregnant so i thought maybe that was why she hadn't replied to my email and thought I'd give her the benefit of the doubt and wait a while longer.

Since then I've sent two more emails and a message over artfire and have had no reply of any kind. The Hi Fi cosmetics facebook page has been deleted and their twitter hasn't been used since Christmas but the Artfire shop is still up without any kind of announcement about delays etc.

For some reason I  thought I'd ordered later than i actually did so when I thought I was coming up to paypals 45 day limit to make a claim I was actually over it :(  so now there is nothing I can do to get back my money (and £40 is a lot of money for me) and as I can't get in contact with Veronica I very much doubt I will ever see my order.

So... yeah that sucks! If anyone has any ideas what I could do please say. I can't file a claim with my bank by the way as I can't use the phone and my bank doesn't seem to have email customer service :( I really don't mind long TAT times, I'm in no rush to get my makeup, I just don't want to be ripped off!

The thing is, while of course I am pissed off and want my order or my money back part of me is worried about veronica. When people just disappear from the internet I can't help but think that something bad has happened, especially as the last few tweets from Veronica (from December) say that she's been sick and had
other problems to deal with. So it's really hard to know what's happening. Veronica could be ill or something bad could have happened but there's no way of knowing!

So I'm out £40 and  very unhappy. As I said before, if I knew my products were still coming I wouldn't even mind waiting this long but as my emails have remained unanswered and the company has basically disappeared I can only assume that my money has been stolen. And because of this I do not recommend Hi fi Cosmetics. Their products are genuinely great but there's been too many problems with TAT in general and now my order has not been honoured. If you are going to order then please at least wait until Veronica reappears because if you order now then who knows if it will even be acknowledged?

Just a word to indie sellers, if you're ill or have some kind of problem then announce it. Most people are going to be fine to wait for their stuff if they know you're having a hard time, or at least will want to know what's going on. Just disappearing without any explanation is frustrating and suspicious. Perhaps give someone you trust the log in to your facebook account or similar so if any emergency happens they can take care of the business.