Category Archives:Beauty

nails-noflash
Oct. 05.

Manicure Monday: NYC Foil Explosion Nails

mm-nyc-thIt is October. The nights are drawing in. The weather is getting worse, mostly. I am starting to root out the darker polishes that just work with this time of year. And yet, with the unseasonable (can we talk about seasons in Ireland?) warm weather, I don’t want to give up on brightness too much too soon. That is why this is a perfect polish to work with this week. This week’s Manicure Monday is from New York Colour, and is from their Foil Explosion range, called Power of Elements.

nails-bottle

I’ve had the Foil Explosion range in my collection for a while now. I think I got them in 2013, but the internet is telling me that the set of 5 is still available. In addition to Power of Elements, this purple, there is a pink, green, blue and a copper coloured one. As you can kind of pick up from the name too, they are all a metallic foil finish. Now, let’s look at Power of Elements a little closer.

NYC, as a brand, has almost always punched well above its weight with me. There was only ever one product, a foundation, that I didn’t agree with. For a budget brand, that is good going. I would reasonably expect this to be no different. The lid fits in my hand well enough, without it being anything special, and the brush is, well, a brush. It flexes and spreads just as it should. It does the job. The polish, on the other hand, is something a bit more worthy of talking about. It is PIGMENTED! Some polishes claim to be one coat, and yeah, you would get away with it. This really is a one coat polish. From the moment it it my nails, they were colourful. Out of habit I went for a second coat, just because, but if I was in a hurry, I could go without. Then there is the finish of it…

nails-noflash

nails-flash

You are buying it for the metallic foil finish, right? That is what you get, no doubt about it! It delivers what it promises, and then some. Not only that, but it has staying power too. I once did my toes with this polish, and it was still there weeks later.

When you get a pocket friendly product, sometimes you are willing to put up with it being only okay. With this one, your €2.99 (if memory serves me correctly) gets you much more than that. It can be difficult at times to impress me, but this did impress me!

Robyn

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primer-bottle
Sep. 15.

Tried Tuesday: Flormar Illuminating Primer Base

tt-primer-thPrimer is a love or leave product. Some love it. Some wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. I happen to be in the former camp here. I love a good primer, and for a long time my go to primer was the GOSH Velvet Touch primer. I ran out of it though, and have been looking at different ones for a while now. Which brings me to the subject of today’s post. Today’s post is my trying another primer. In this case the primer I am trying is Flormar’s Illuminating Primer Base.

primer-bottle

First things first. I am used to seeing compacts in tubes, in tubs, and occasionally in compacts. Not so in this case. In here we have a bottle. A bottle with a pump top. Curious. I am used to seeing primers as being quite a bit thicker, and not being able to be passed through a pump. This isn’t right… Or is it? Have I been using a thick primer by mistake all along?

primer-pump

Rooting through my makeup drawers led to three other primers being pulled out:

  • Makeup Revolution Ultra All Day Prime & Anti Shine Balm (middle left)
  • Benefit The Porefessional (middle right)
  • Wet n Wild Coverall Primer (far right)

primer-samples

Here we have four different primers, and all four are different. Two, the Makeup Revolution & Benefit are thick, gloopy, and quite siliconey in texture. The Wet n Wild & Flormar are lighter, and more liquid.

primer-spread

As you start to spread them out, you see exactly what I mean. The two exceptionally thick ones are very slow to move about. They are better off being used for particular spots that need help. The Wet n Wild is something in between. It is able to move around more. The Flormar one is something of a wonder. As you start moving it, it melts and flows across the skin really beautifully. A little goes a long way with it. A single pump will happily do your whole face. But, when you add a foundation on top of it, how does it do? I’ll show you how it does.

primer-skin

It made for a really beautiful application of foundation (this is Max Factor Skin Luminizer). It couldn’t be faulted in any way. I loved how it looks, and well, I think I am converted to a new way of looking at primers.

What is your favourite primer? Do you prefer thick, or thin primers? Please do let me know.

Robyn

Note: Product was provided for review

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garnet-bottle
Sep. 14.

Manicure Monday: Champneys Nail Polish in Garnet

mm-garnet-thIt can be very difficult to enamour me with a red nail polish. I have a few I know and love, and I am fiercely loyal to them. But at the same time I am a blogger (or a collector, or a hoarder) and that means every so often I have to try another one. So, after having it on my desk for a long time, I finally got around to trying Garnet, from the Champneys Nail Polish collection.

garnet-bottle

This came as part of a set of six in a Christmas gift set in 2014. I picked it up in January 2015, when Boots were selling them off, and as it is more of an Autumn/Winter shade I didn’t do much outside swatching it for my nail polish board. It was time recently to start looking at those colours again (goodbye summer, we’ll miss all 3 days of you) and this was the one to try out.

The bottle, and the brush, is the same as that of the Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers. I quite liked the brush of them, and I quite like the brush of this. The formula was workable, but, especially on the first coat, not very spreadable. It fared better on the second coat, but it really took three coats to really build up the colour intensity. I locked it in with a coat of their own base/top coat, which was part of the set.

Here’s how it looked.

Garnet-noflash

garnet-flash

I could be harsher on this, but I wont be. It is a nice enough colour. I quite like it, but I have similar from China Glaze. Obviously, with the CG being much more expensive, I expect, and get more out of it. This however, as a set of 6, had a box price of €15. I paid half that in the sale, so it was great value. It lasted 4 days before chipping too much to last any longer, and it looked good on my nails. If you are the kind of person who will gladly spend €20 plus on a single polish, you may choose to give these a miss. If you gotta have them all, or are buying as a gift for someone (that season is coming, y’know) then this is definitely something to consider. It’s not great, but it is certainly not bad either.

Robyn

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nails-flash
Sep. 07.

Manicure Monday: Flormar Jelly Look Nail Enamel

nails-flormar-thI was recently at the Irish launch of Flormar, an Italian makeup brand, founded in the 1970’s in Milan before going global. While there I was told there is a choice of 1,000 nail polish shades to choose from. Yes, you heard that right, 1,000! (Yes, I do want all of them). Fortunately I have the first in my collection, in this case shade JL10, simply called Turquoise Green, from their Jelly Look collection.

nails-bottle

Turquoise happens to be a great fit for me, being the December birthstone, and it helps that it is such a bright blue green, considering we are rapidly running out of good weather. The brush included is quite wide and quite flat, allowing great movement of the polish. The polish itself though concerned me a little. After one coat the coverage left a lot to be desired. It was patchy and streaky and wasn’t looking promising. The second coat though made things so much happier. Having a base layer of the polish really allowed the coverage to pick up, and the difference was plain to see. I added a third coat though, just to ensure that the colour was perfect. I’m glad I persevered, as the finish is spectacular. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves though.

nails-noflash

nails-flash

It is gorgeous, isn’t it? I am annoyed with myself for trying it so late in the year when I will end up switching to darker colours, but I am thinking that this will be high on my spring list, and that I need to find a Flormar stand soon to check out the other colours! I will let you know when I find out more about stockists and prices (though this particular range of polishes is about €4.50 IIRC), but the EXCELLENT news is that these are very pocket friendly!

Have you tried, or seen Flormar? What do you think of this colour? And do you follow the whole bright in summer, dark in winter thing? Please do let me know!

Robyn

*Product was provided for review

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mascara-name
Aug. 25.

Tried Tuesday: Wet n Wild Max Volume Plus Mascara

mascara-thI’ve talked about Wet n Wild mascaras before on Robyn Rants and Raves, and they haven’t necessarily been top of my list. I remember one I tried started off very wet, before eventually becoming usable. I’m always willing to try out another product though, so today for Tried Tuesday, I have their Wet n Wild Max Volume Plus mascara.

mascara-tube

This bills itself, as the name suggests, as a volumising mascara, but there is something more to it. It took me a while to figure out what exactly that was, but then I paid more attention to the brush…

Here is the brush in all its spindly rubbery bristleyness (I did just make that word up, but it may yet catch on), and I realised it. It is quite reminiscent of the brush from my beloved They’re Real, minus the end bristles. Okay, it is a bit more sculpted than the Benefit brush, but as I love what They’re Real does for my eyes, I was interested to see what this does for me. There is of course only one way around that, and that is to wear it.

For these product photos there is nothing else on my eyes. I wanted all the focus to be on the lashes. To start with, here is a bare eye.

mascara-eyenone

It’s plain, dull, uninteresting. Now, lets get some mascara on there. One coat first.

mascara-eyeone

Hmmm… We may be getting somewhere. After one coat there is already so much going on. My lashes appear fuller, blacker, lengthened and curled. So far so good. One more coat should do it.

mascara-eyetwo

And with the second coat, there is no huge clumping that you can get with some mascaras, there is yet more volume, and the length and curl are still there, not dragged down by the weight of product.

This is a great result from Max Volume Plus. I’ve worn it for a full day on a couple of occasions, and it performs admirably. It doesn’t flake and scatter over your face, and it doesn’t transfer, unless you are really rubbing at it.

For a reasonably cheap mascara (Max Volume Plus is €5.49, above some others in the cheap ranges, but still a fantastic price) it punches far above its weight. I do see myself happily reaching for it time and time again that I want a nice everyday mascara, and I thoroughly believe you should too.

If you haven’t yet found your nearest Wet n Wild stand, you can find your nearest stockist here, but if you have, what do you think of their mascaras. Am I missing anything? Let me know in a comment.

Robyn

 

* Product was provided for review

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nailsinc-noflash
Aug. 10.

Manicure Monday: Nails Inc Optic Collection – Optic Wave

mm-nailsinc-thToday’s Manicure Monday is brought to you courtesy of toothpaste. I was shopping in Boots, and noticed that you could get nail polish free with toothpaste. As the toothpaste is much cheaper than the nail polish, it was a good deal, so I picked it up, along with Optic Wave, from the Nails Inc Optic Collection, which was made exclusively for the toothpaste offer.

nailsinc-bottle

One of a small handful of colours available as part of the Optic Collection (The Colgate Facebook page has a picture of three, a pink, a red and this blue), Optic Wave was the one that jumped off the shelf at me, as it is a really striking rich blue. It isn’t shimmery or sparkly, like some of my other blues are, but is really creamy. I generally find Nails Inc to be fairly pleasant to work with, and this was no exception, applying nicely with two coats, looking opaque and even. It dried in a reasonable space of time, which is ideal as I was applying it not too long before bed.

And this is how it looks on my nails. As usual, presented without, and then with flash, for comparison purposes.

nailsinc-noflash

nailsinc-flash

I really like this colour. It is a little brighter, and doesn’t sparkle like my all time favourite blue (Sinful Colors Blue By You) but is one I can see myself wearing quite often when looking for something summery. What do you think?

Robyn

P.S. My research tells me that this is the second time this offer has been done, as it was also done last year. Last year was also a pink, red and blue, but the red and blue shades are different. Interestingly, they carry the same names through both years. Here’s images of 2014 (top) and 2015 (bottom) from Colgate’s Facebook page.

2014 optic

2015 optic

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shellac-flash
Jul. 13.

Manicure Monday: CND Shellac in Lilac Longing

mm-shellac-thI love my nail polish collection. I really do. Sometimes though, I prefer to leave my nails to professionals. And when I do leave them to professionals, I hate using polish that chips after a couple of days. So, on my recent trip to get my nails done I went for something more long lasting, that would look good for a while. I went for CND Shellac, in Lilac Longing.

lilac longing

Shellac has been around for a while now. I remember discovering it and going WOW! It was glossy, perfectly smooth and remained chip free for ages. Expanding from its original (very) limited range of colours, there are now a huge variety of colours and finishes available. Being summertime, I wanted something fairly light and bright. I was originally thinking of a blue, but when Lilac Longing was put in front of me I was sold!

My nails were tended to, shaping them (I prefer round nails), removing ridges and tidying up my cuticles before applying the Shellac. It includes a specialist basecoat, colour and topcoat, cured under a UV light. The whole process took under 30 minutes, and leaves you with perfect looking nails for two weeks. I personally think that it was worth the €19 I paid for it!

So, here is how it looks. You can see some regrowth at the bottom of the nails, but that is due to 11 days of growth. Aside from that, they still look perfectly finished.

shellac-noflash

shellac-flash

What do you think of the finish? Do you love the idea of Shellac, or are you a do-it-yourself kind of girl? Let me know below!

Robyn

Bottle pic credit: CND.com

 

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giveaway-th
Jun. 15.

We have WINNERS!

giveaway-thLast week I was celebrating my third blog birthday (blogiversary, whatever the term is) with a giveaway. There were three prizes on offer, and you entered in your hundreds! And now, without much waffling from me we have to announce the WINNERS!

Prize 1:

prize 1

The winner of prize 1, the Kiss nails prize is Eleanor M Powell!

Prize 2:

prize 2

Possibly the most hotly fancied prize of the three, the Wet ‘n’ Wild goody bag, goes to Helen Battle!

Prize 3:

prize 3

The person who will be very happy to receive the little bit of everything prize is Claire Samuel!

Unfortunately that’s all I have to give away at the moment, and I offer my apologies to everyone who didn’t win something this time around, but it just means that I’ll have to rustle up another giveaway soon!

Until then, congratulations to our winners!

Robyn

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glossybox-ft
Jun. 11.

Tested Thursday: The Glossybox

tt-glossybox-thI was lucky enough recently to win a three month subscription to Glossybox, the British monthly subscription beauty box. I was happy, as I had never subscribed to any of these before, always wondering if they did really work out as value for money. I was late applying for the May box, which arrived last week, and luckily, the June box arrived today, which, for Tested Thursday, gives me a chance to compare two months side by side.

glossybox-boxes

The theory behind Glossybox is quite simple. You pay for a subscription (monthly is currently £10 per box, conversion needed to Euro for a rough cost each month) and each month you get sent 5 products, typically deluxe samples, with some full sized products thrown in too. You should be able to find a product each month that you love, and get more than what you are actually paying. It sounds great, but I have always been doubtful. Some months can look amazing, while others solicit an emphatic MEH! Let’s see what was in the May & June boxes though.

May 2015:

glosssybox-may

  • SASS Intimate Perfect Skin Concentrate (30 ml sample)
  • Zerreau Towel Off Shampoo Foam (70 ml sample)
  • Etre Belle Aloe Vera Mousturising Gel (40 ml Full Size)
  • MeMeMe Enchanted Eyes Eye Pencil (Full Size)
  • Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisturiser (7ml sample)

Seeing these products arrive in the May box made me hopeful  that all boxes would contain a healthy mix of full sized products and generous samples of products that I would want to try. The shampoo looks like a great idea, while the others invite me to at least try them. For a box to start on, this was a good one I thought!

June 2015:

glossybox-june

  • MONU Spa Rosewood Reviving Mist (50ml sample)
  • Glossybox Flash Tattoos (Full sized product)
  • Halo Fragrance Free Facial Wipes (Travel size)
  • Kueshi Anti Cellulite Booster (Full sized product)
  • Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss – Pretty In Hibiscus (Full sized product)

And here it all falls apart. 3 full sized products they say, including a sheet of temporary tattoos and an Essence lipgloss. I have nothing against Essence, but this is not what I was expecting. The facial wipes will end up getting used on my hands eventually as a quick tidy up product, the tattoos may sit around for ever, and the only product that I am really interested in is the MONU Spa mist.

Okay, if I’m being honest, I won this as a prize. I have not lost anything here. The May box looked impressive, but the June one was distinctly underwhelming. Come on Glossybox! You are vying for my hard earned money, and you have one month left to WOW me, because based on what I have seen so far, I am very unconvinced by the hit & miss nature of the game you are playing!

Are you a Glossybox subscriber? What did you think of recent boxes? Leave me a comment and help me make my mind up!

Robyn

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giveaway-th
Jun. 07.

Third Birthday Giveaway Spectacular!

giveaway-thOn Monday, I proudly announced that I had been blogging for three years, and I also announced that I was due to do a giveaway to celebrate! Well, that time has come. It is time to announce the Third Birthday Giveaway Spectacular!

Being a third birthday, it is only fitting that I have three prizes to give away, and they are…

Prize 1:

prize 1

A selection of products from Kiss Nails, including:

  • Gel Fantasy Nails (Painted Veil)
  • imPRESS Manicure (Working Girl & Starstruck)
  • imPRESS Pedicure (Shooting Star & Color Me Happy)

Prize 2:

prize 2

A Goody Bag from Wet ‘n’ Wild, including:

  • Mega Rocks Nail Polish (Waiting For My Solo)
  • Idol Eyes Shadow Pencil (Techno)
  • FOUR Mascaras (Mega Plump, Mega Protein, Mega Impact & Max Volume Plus)
  • Coloricon Lip Pencil (Fab Fuchsia)
  • Glassy Gloss Lipgloss (Glass Confusion)
  • Megaslicks Balm Stain (Nudist Colony)
  • Megaslicks Lip Glosses (Strawberry Ice, Seedless Watermelon, Cherry Glaze & In A Tutu)

Prize 3:

prize 3

A bit of everything, including:

  • Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo
  • bBold Flawless Legs tan (dark)
  • Sinful Colors Nail Polish (Blue By You)
  • Physicians Formula Super BB Concealer (Medium/Deep)
  • Sleek i-Quad (Medusa’s Kiss)
  • Max Factor Excess Shimmer Shadow (Copper)
  • Mondss Underarm Wear patches
  • Ziaja Natural Olive Cream
  • Prairie Charms Hair Tie
  • Prairie Charms Purple Heart Nail Vinyls

There may also be other little surprises included in every prize, but to find out, you are going to have to win one. How do you win one I hear you ask? Well, it is very simple! The giveaway opens at midnight tonight (07 June) and lasts for seven days. To enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below. It’s that easy!

Thank you for being such wonderful readers and I hope to be congratulating some lucky lucky people at the end of next week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Robyn

Note: Due to postal restraints this giveaway is open to UK & Ireland entries only. Should an ineligible winner be selected another entry will be chosen. This is also the case where contact cannot be made with a winner. I hate adding additional rules to things, so we will leave it at that. Have fun!

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