Category Archives:Review

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

Tagged: , , , ,

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

Tagged: , , ,

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

Tagged: , , , ,

applepear
Sep. 01.

Tried Tuesday: Twinings Fruit Tea

tt-twining-thI’m typically a builders and milk kind of girl. In other words I have very simple tastes in tea. It also helps, as that is usually what you get when anyone asks you “Do you want tea? Ah go on go on go on!” Recently though, I saw good things about fruit teas (I’m not sure who, or where from, such is the way information flies past on my social media accounts) For that reason, while I was at Tesco over the weekend, I picked up two boxes of fruit tea from Twinings. Their Apple & Pear, and Cherry & Cinnamon.

applepear

The first one I went for was the Apple & Pear, as they are two of my favourite fruits. It is delightfully simple to prepare, as you put a bag into a mug, and add boiling water. Leave it to infuse, and you’re done. My first impressions of it were not great. Being so used to regular tea meant it was a little difficult to adjust to something different. That said though, by the end of the mug I was enjoying it. Really liking it. It was something I could get used to, and I already have.

cherrycinnamon

The second one is the Cherry & Cinnamon. Having already become used to fruit tea from the Apple & Pear, it was immediately possible to get stuck in to this. It is a lot more warming than the first, thanks to the cinnamon, and I am really enjoying drinking it in evenings, while the Apple & Pear is better during the day. Both are delightfully fruity, and exceptionally easy to drink.

A couple of things I have learned though, and deserve to be mentioned. While the infusing time is listed as 2-3 minutes, they really benefit from longer, up to 5 minutes to really build up the flavour (I really dislike things that purport to be a particular flavour, which you then can’t taste). Also, the longer infusing time allows it to cool off just enough to allow you to get the flavour, and not the “Ouch, I just boiled my tongue” sensation. Finally, if you were drinking a lot of normal tea, and then go to something like this, which is caffeine free, you may want to not cut caffeine fully. I actually got a really bad headache, which was cured by regular tea. Wean yourself down first.

At €2.25 ish for 20, they are not the cheapest teas ever, but they are on offer at the moment (2 for €3.50 in Tesco). So, what kind of tea drinker are you. Are there any flavours you would recommend. Please talk to me in the comments.

Robyn

 

*Image credit: www.twinings.co.uk

Tagged: , , , ,

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

Tagged: , , ,

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

Tagged: , , , , , ,

matte me swatch
Jun. 02.

Tried Tuesday: Sleek MakeUP Matte Me Lipstick – Rioja Red

tt-sleek-thYou may have heard of Sleek MakeUP. For such a long time it has been a brand often heard of, but not often seen. That was a pity, as their products have always been great quality at a great price. Here on Robyn Rants and Raves, we are fans of the well known i-Divine Palettes, and the overly tinted, super powerful Pout Polishes. Well today I have another product to try out. It is one of their Matte Me Lipsticks, and is in the shade Rioja Red.

matte me tube

Rioja Red is one of six in the range, and has the usual suspects of nudes, pinks and a very interesting looking purple in addition to this red. The tube, in line with most Sleek products is very understated. The only way you know who makes it, aside from picking it up from a Sleek stand is to look closely at the contrasting black on black of the lid. I am a big fan of products that aren’t overly showy, especially if they are able to back it up with something to make you go wow. Does this do so, or does it fall flat?

matte me wand

As you can see from the wand, the product is amazingly pigmented, and well, a little shiny. It also looks smooth and silky, which is a good sign. Mattes tend to be very dry, and some can look dry even directly from the tube. This doesn’t. It invites use. The flat sided wand makes it a doddle to apply, and carries a lot of product. I somehow don’t think you will need to go applying multiple coats of this.

matte me swatch

Here is a simple swatch of colour on the back of my hand, so it has been spread a bit, and you can clearly see just how vibrant the colour is. While some products can look highly pigmented until you spread it out, this one delivers in a very impressive way. It also looks shiny here, but that is my fault. I took the photo of this swatch too soon after applying it to my hand, which didn’t allow it any drying time. But, to make up for it, let me show you the finished look.

matte me lips

Now in all of its matte gloriousness! This is it after it has set, and with a couple of stray marks from where I tried to tidy up a little (pro tip: clean it up before it has a chance to dry!). If you are thinking it looks a little orange, you are right. It is an orange toned red. I wouldn’t let that put you off though. While it is not my perfect red, I would wear this! You do need to give it a little respect, as it is a matte, and mattes are drying, but this is not overly so. If you take good care of your lips (and you should) you will not have much of an issue with this.

These are available online and through selected pharmacies (but to make life easier an interactive stockist finder is here) for a pocket friendly price of just €6.49! Now, bring me Fandango Purple, next on my list!

Robyn

Note: Product was provided for review

Tagged: , , , , ,

lashes-tube
Apr. 21.

Tried Tuesday: Max Factor Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara

tt-lashes-thThe search for a holy-grail mascara is never ending. I find different ones do best for different tasks, and my choice is influenced by how I want my lashes to look on any particular day. So, today I am looking at a mascara that offers three things – volume, length & darkness. It comes from Max Factor, and is their recently launched Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara.

Instant Impact Wand

Instant Impact Wand

The wand included here is what Max Factor call their “instant Impact Wand” saying that it is counter intuitive to think that a bigger wand means more volume, and that a smaller, more slender wand allows for greater precision in use. It certainly lives up to its slender billing, as you can see. There is really very little to it. It’s in no way dense, and has quite few rubber bristles.

The formula the wand delivers contains many fantastical, wonderful bits and pieces to deliver on all the promises it makes, including “volumising prills” which form spherical wax particles, that act as spacers between lashes to make them appear fuller, and in tandem, each tube contains over 30,000 (I pity the person who has to count all these) carbon black fibres in each tube, which blend into the formula providing the lash extension effect and the intense darkness. Now that we have the marketing blurb telling us what it does (if it makes sense to anyone), let us see if it actually does it.

1 coat

1 coat

lashes-2coats

2 coats

It does! Well, mostly it does. I don’t think these are the most voluminous my lashes ever were, but it works out quite well, especially for daytime wear. For night, I think I would want it to offer some more volume, but it does deliver the length and darkness. For a day to day look, I love it. For a night time mascara, I guess the search continues.

Max Factor Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara is €13.99 and is available now.

Robyn

Note: Product was provided for review

Tagged: , , ,

O! Wow ft
Apr. 09.

Tested Thursday: Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush

tt-O! Wow-thRecently I was approached and asked if I would like to try out some products from an American company called Cailyn Cosmetics, which are exclusively imported into Ireland by LV Essentials. Always being one to try something new and interesting, I was all over it, and was given three items to try, their idifine liquid eyeliner, which is a felt tip pen affair, but is quite pleasant to work with, their BB Fluid Touch compact, which looks really innovative (it dispenses liquid from a compact – I might feature this when I have a tan and the shades match up better) and the most interesting item of the three, a brush. Their O! Wow Brush, which is the subject of today’s Tested Thursday.

O! Wow box

First things first, this is like no brush I have ever seen before, unless I count my toothbrush. It looks so strange to look at on first glance, and that in part is why I was so interested and excited to give this a go, once I got over the whole “what do I do with this” thing. I am so used to my Blank Canvas F20. It is my go to foundation brush, and I would feel wrong cheating on it. Sometimes you have to do these things though. The blurb on the box tells me:

“Through its velvet-like bristles and densely packed ultra fine fibers, this amazing brush is made to ensure an airbrushed effect, with an immaculate streak-free touch. This brush features an oval and angular surface that is beautifully crafted to blend liquid, cream or powder seamlessly into your skin. The flexible tilted handle of the brush is designed to reach every contour with precision and offers easy and stable grip. “Oh, wow” is what you’ll say. No kidding”

Just to reinforce that, it lists its four features again:

  • Compatible with any type of foundation, BB Cream, powder, blush etc.
  • Super densely packed ultra fine fibers delivers streak-free flawless coverage
  • Oval, angular surface offers effortless application and seamless blending
  • Flexible tilted handle for precision and stability

That is quite a lot of claims to make, so lets dive in and see what is what.

Head:

O! Wow head side

O! Wow head angle

The head, as you can see from the side on and angled shots is jam packed with super dense, really short, and super soft bristles. It is oval shaped and has a domed head. While the head is quite small compared to some foundation brushes, it is still very effective, and once I figured out how to use it, it was a joy to use.

Handle & Neck:

O! Wow Brush

From the full length photo, you can see two things, a flat handle and a thin tapered neck. The best thing I can say here is hold it like a toothbrush. Thumb on top, fingers wrapped around and you’re good to go. The thin neck is really a clever addition to the brush. It is super flexible. I could not for the life of me put enough pressure on the brush to make it uncomfortable or to splay the bristles. The neck took all the pressure out by flexing as it moved across my face, and undulated beautifully across every contour. Once you get used to how to hold the brush, it is amazingly comfortable to use!

How it actually performed in use:

This bit features half a completely bare face. Just FYI!

O! Wow Face

On the left is a bare face, on the right is just my Max Factor Skin Luminizer foundation, nothing else, applied using the O! Wow Brush.

I’ll admit it now. The “Oh, wow” thing. I said it. I honestly did. I followed the instructions on the box (pick up choice of product with the brush, start at the centre of face and apply with “push & pull” motions, before finishing with light circular motions over the face) and the more foundation I applied, the happier I was with the O! Wow Brush. The finish it gave was phenomonal. Sometimes with the F20 I have to go over again, or apply powder to help even things out. Whit the O! Wow there was nothing. It was flawless! At this point I must also apologise to my beloved F20, but I may be cheating on you with the funny looking new brush more often!

The Cailyn Cosmetics O! Wow Brush is €29.99 and is available online from LV Essentials.

Robyn

Note: Product was provided for review

Tagged: , , , ,

loreal-ft
Apr. 07.

Tried Tuesday: L’oreal Color Riche Blake’s Red

tt-loreal-thEvery woman should have a go to red lipstick. It’s that simple. It looks classic and elegant, and you don’t really need much else to go with it. So, after their Color Riche Collection Priveé nudes collection, each named after a celebrity and to flatter a particular skintone, they gave the same treatment to reds, this time called Collection Exclusive. So, I picked one up, and today I am sharing Blake’s Red with you.

loreal-tube

There are four in the Collection Exclusive range, two for warm tones, and two for cool tones, and are inspired by Eva Longoria, Blake Lively, Julianne Moore & Liya Kebede. All ate described as matte but hydrating. I’m a cool toned person, but I am not one to stick to the rules, so I went for the one that called to me the most, and that was Blake’s Red.

loreal-colour

Blake’ Red is described as a pure ruby red that is designed to suit warm skintones, with a matte finish and hydrating texture. Looking at it in the tube you can see why it was drawing me to it. It is such an intense colour, that acts effectively as a siren song, dragging beauty lovers to it. I saw it, and couldn’t wait for it to be mine! And so it came to be mine, so I can show you how it looks on the lips.

loreal-lipsHere I have it on over a Revlon red lipliner, and I am very impressed with it. It is super super pigmented, applies beautifully with a brush and lasts! The claims about hydrating texture are a bit off though. It is a matte. It will dry your lips somewhat, and you should make sure your lips are in good shape first. I do love it though.

I’m now tempted to hunt down Liya’s red though. It is the cool toned sister of this, and I would be interested to put them to the test to see just how it compares. Coupled with the fact that as a beauty blogger, I can never have enough red llipsticks!

Robyn

Tagged: , , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: