So you may have seen my long rambling post about some of the amazing Autumn releases out in the shops right now that manage to be truly dirt bloody cheap. I mean honestly, you can’t get a donut, cronut, coffee or magazine for cheap anymore, hell I saw someone say chickatees are 90c now when I remember them for 12p (Irish crisps that made up many a 90’s childhood), so it’s hard to get a truly satisfying treat that’s also a bargain. I’m hoping my post scratched many an itch as there were so many deadly products I had the pleasure of trialing but if you fancy something that will leave both you and your bank card feeling light-headed, I have a load of pricier products that may do the trick instead.
Right so there’s a mix of new and newish in here but hopefully something will catch your eye. Nothing is extortionate price wise but it’s not spare change either, especially if you fancy a couple of bits. Right enough dithering, let’s get to it!
I’m in the very enviable blogging position where MAC just send me random new products. No warning, just a delightful plump envelope of excitement that arrives unexpectedly. A few such packages have arrived in quick succession so I’m going to tackle them here. First up is the ‘In the Spotlight’ collection which will appeal to anyone like myself who’s obsessed with glowing skin. There’s a selection of Extra Dimension Skinfinishes to delight over and MAC have also decided to overhaul their iconic Strobe Cream, both changing the original shade name to Pinklite and bringing another four differently hued variations into the mix. I tried Goldlite (€34) which has a gentle golden sheen that’s an easy match for all skin tones. My face loves a good glow but also hates an awful lot of products, including the original of this. There’s something about my combo of dry skin and big pores that when combined with liquid highlighters manages to reveal every uneven aspect of my skin. However, it’s been a few years since I last attempted using a Strobe Cream so I was willing to give it another go. It wasn’t half as bad as I feared, in fact I was a little impressed. It did give a softly refined glow to my skin and perked it up a little, giving me a slightly sunkissed glow without messing with my skintone. On the downside I felt my pores weren’t quite as covered using it but it’s actually a very nice product and far more flattering than I had dared to hope. I’m going to keep at this and see how I fare so you may see it again on the blog in the New Year.
The Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Beaming Blush (€31.50) had quite a few of you hepped up on Twitter and it isn’t hard to see why when you take a look at it in all its pinky-golden glory. This is not a tame highlighter and wants to stand out so you need to want to stand out with it. I like a really natural glowing look so this is at least 1km outside my comfort zone. It’s an intense haze of gold and a hint of pink on the skin and manages to be both beautiful and refined and bold as hell. It did reveal all the lumps and bumps on my cheeks that I didn’t even know was there so there’s that to take into consideration, but it was bloody sensational at night-time and oozed glamour and glow. The powder itself is super soft, glitter free and wonderfully longlasting. This isn’t a shade I’d wear but it doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s gorgeous. I just think it’ll be gorgeous on someone who’ll fall deeply in love with it in all its bold and brazen glory and I’m just not that girl.
Finally, I was also sent their incredible looking Nutcracker Sweet collection which is aimed squarely at the festive season. The packaging is simple but sensational and it ticked the boxes for creating stupid levels of excitement before I’d even swatched these three. I’ll start with my least favourite which is the eyeshadow in Dark Lullaby. In the pan this is a shimmering plum but it turns into a pretty basic dark plum with brown undertones when you use it. It’s grand but not even slightly worth €24 in my book and I think if it had been a little more multifaceted it probably would have sparked a lot more love in me.
The eye kohl in Prunella (€21) and lipstick fair better although again, the eyeliner is nothing you haven’t seen before. Still it’s well made, soft and easy to use but I’m still slightly underwhelmed with it. The very obvious showstopper here that can justify a higher price tag is the lipstick in So Good For You (€21.50) which is light and bright and distinctly different from other reds I have. It appears to be a full on medium red matte lipstick but it has such cool pink undertones that it makes it a little extra special. It’s not one for really dry winter lips but for longevity it was decent and stains the lips nicely.
I’ve also been trying out the new ARTDECO Crystal Garden release which a collaboration with Swaroski Crystals and is inspired by wintery gardens. All these products (and there is a good bit more than you see here) are limited edition and the crystals pop up on the blusher and eyeshadow cases (which are all reusable with other ARTDECO products) and on the eyeliners. The two lip products centre around something I normally steer well clear of – glitter. The Limited Edition Crystal Lip Finish (normally €19.70 on sale for €13.70 on Beauty Bay) is a frosty shimmer fest which sounds horrific but actually translates in a nicely subtle way. You can see it above in action on the left and it just gives a little something to the lips without looking like you’re 9 years old again. Pushing my glitter boundary one step further is the next product I tried, the Limited Edition Powder Lip Finish (normally €16.70 on sale for €11.70) which is a sparkling pigment for the lips that you can layer over any existing lippie you have. I was VERY suspicious of this and only tried it on a rare day we weren’t heading out, but strangely enough it didn’t bother me at all. In fact it was rather pretty. You can see it layered over the gloss in the picture above (2nd in from left) and it definitely jazzes things up and creates a pink, shimmering finish without looking insane. It definitely wouldn’t be something I’d use on a regular basis and won’t suit all tastes, but it’s a fun little product. Finally, the Crystal Garden Limited Edition Blusher (€23.80 down from €34) is as pretty as a picture, with a cute crystal adorned case and a very pretty embossed blush inside. I think ARTDECO would do a lot better if their price point was a bit lower and I’d rave far more about this if it were under the €20 mark but I think €34 is too much. It’s very nice though, buildable and soft and although it’s paired above with highlighter it has a soft satin finish that’s easy to play down on its own or jazz up with some glow if you feel like it.
I also wore the ears off you with my blubbering post about the beautiful Makeup Forever Pro Light Fusion Luminiser (€37) and Artist Rouge Collection lipcolours (€24) so allow me to briefly blubber again. The highlighter is one that has to be checked out if, like me, you are slightly addicted to buying any product that promises glowing skin. This is a beautifully made, cream/powder hybrid that’s soft and creamy but works and sets as a powder. There are two shades – gold and rose gold (which I have here) and this baby is great for pale girls, with a cool pinky gold sheen that gives a really shimmering pop of glow that’s very pigmented and buildable without being a nightmare on pores. It’s a step above what I’d use for daytime wear but I have to add I’m a wuss and love really tame highlighters. Either way, it’s a gorgeous thing and while it doesn’t knock my top highlighter off its pedestal it’s a worthy contender and will definitely be someone’s idea of perfection.
The relaunched, repackaged and reformulated Artist Rouge lipstick collection is expansive, with 33 cream and 15 matte shades (plus 2 limited edition) that come in a divine mix of bold, shows topping hues. I was sent shades C209 (cream) and M501 (matte) and both were beautiful and intense. This slightly dreamy bold pink is my type of shade and the soft, creamy finish makes it so easy and flattering to wear. If you fancy something a little darker and daring, the matte M501 caught many of your eyes. It’s not hard to see why as it’s such a flattering, vibrant berry shade that manages to be rich but very wearable. It’s a soft matte that will stain the lips and have excellent wear time while still maintaining a slightly glossy satin matte finish. In short, all three are worth a whopper of a swatch.
September’s release of the Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics palette was either met with a rapid pulse rate of excitement or a steady rate of 60 because you couldn’t give a toss about it. I will tell you now as I have been telling you for 4 years of blogging, I adore neutrals in all their tame, subtle glory and I can never have enough. Mattes on the other hand I’m slightly more dubious of, that was until I tried the original Naked Basics palettes and realised just how baby soft and flattering they could be. This palette is no exception, it’s as buttery as a croissant and the shade selection is spot on. I’ve been wearing this almost every day since I got it and I still love it just as much as I did on day 1. It’s €47 but that’s a steal for 12 eyeshadows and a fantastic little double ended brush that actually gifts me the ability to do a smokey smudge with zero effort. Oh and a quick shout out to UD’s Perversion Liner Pen which I also picked up. This newbie replaced my previous liner from UD that I adored (and was devastated to see discontined) so I’m happy to report that not only is this as good, it’s actually better. I’ll cover it in another review but basically it’s jet black, waterproof and has an incredible fine nib that even allows me, who is truly shite at liner, to create a decent looking line. At €21 it’s worth every penney.
My new most beloved under eye concealer also had to make an appearance here even though I only reviewed it at length last week. It’s seriously tough to find a concealer that will brighten under the eye without looking cakey or heavy (or just doing feck all). We all know the horror (I’m assuming) of having a concealer age you by a decade in the space of 10 hours so stumbling upon this (well Too Faced invited me to an event and I went) has been a slight eye bag revelation. Infused with hyaluronic acid, this aims to be seriously moisturising and bright while lasting all day. It does exactly that and once I set it with powder it manages to look remarkably well at both 9am and 9pm. It conceals admirably all around the face but I’m naturally oilier around the t-zone so I’m using the virtually waterproof MAC Pro Longwear (which is too prone to creasing under the eye) for touch ups and a good swipe of Born This Way under my eyes. I was matched to the lightest of 10 shades (very fair) and honestly, I’ve used it every day since I got it, it’s just seriously good. If you’re fed up with your current concealer this is one to try ASAP.
Well that’s your lot, hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought, although it is of the more upmarket M&S variety! If you fancy more of a budget friendly LIDL style treat, get your good self over to my Autumn Budget post here
MAC Strobe Cream / MAC Nutcracker Sweet Collection / MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish / ARTDECO Crystal Garden Collection / MUFE Highlighter (www.makeupforever.ie or 38 Clarendon St, Dublin) / Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics
So girls is anything here doing it for you or are you in bargain hunting mode?
*Samples but no b******t