Archive | June, 2011

Benefit – Love it or Hate it?

30 Jun

I’m really not too sure where to begin with Benefit!! I lusted after their products for years, but could never really afford them. Then a few years ago I decided to splash some of my birthday cash at the Benefit counter in my local Boots. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted (as in fact I just wanted EVERYTHING!). The lady sat me down, and she had the most amazing rainbow eyeshadow going on.

I thought about what I needed in my make up bag… a primer perhaps? So she sold me Dr. Feelgood… she said it was a great base for make up, filling in fine lines (I was 20 at the time!!!) and it would make my look last all day long. I fell for it and splashed out £21.50 (a lot for a poor student!). Then she asked what I would be using on top of it, I said my usual foundation… she suggested You Rebel Lite Tinted Moisturiser as it has SPF 15 in it, to protect my skin. I went along with it, they only had one shade and I felt wary that with my (although fair) Indian skin tone it wouldn’t match. She convinced me it did… so I bought that too (£23.50 – ouch!). Then I still had a few more squid to spend and I love a good bit of blusher… so I said I tended to use pink and fancied something a little different. So I was encouraged into purchasing Georgia, a peachy blusher (£23.50).

So bedazzled by the rainbow eyeshadow and bright lights of the counter, I had spent over £70! So excited, I took them home and tried them all out, only to find the Dr. Feelgood didn’t make me feel good at all, in fact, it didn’t do anything. In the light of day, the You Rebel was all wrong for my skin tone and made me look a ghastly shade of grey, and the peach was so light that with my skin tone, it worked more as a powder than a blusher.

I was shocked and distraught, all those years of me worshipping their beautiful packaging, loving their slogans, their quirky products and the personality of the brand, this is what they did?!?! Obviously I haven’t been back to the Benefit counter again.

I mean it’s never a good thing to have nearly full expensive make up still in your make up bag four years later:

Then when I was in the lovely Sephora in the US, I couldn’t help but spot a mini trio of Benetint, High Beam and Posietint. It was only $18 (£12), cheap as chips considering in the UK a normal Benetint is about £24, so I added it to my basket, feeling wary but at least I wasn’t getting ripped off this time. (I actually came home to find they were giving away the solo mini’s in this month’s Glamour Magazine!)

I was so pleased when the Benetint actually showed up on my face and did something worthy of spending money on! I love using it as a lip and cheek stain, particularly on a day to day basis. And I was even more pleased when I deduced that High Beam was the best highlighter I’d come across (particularly good on the cupid’s bow). Posietint on the other hand blended away on my skin tone, potentially even washing me out.

I don’t know if I’ve just been unlucky with Benefit, perhaps the sales lady had only just started working there at the time… or she didn’t know much about other skin tones, but with the price of their products, it’s not really a risk I want to take again. What do you all think of Benefit? Are there any products you’d highly recommend? I still love their brand identity and would like to be persuaded.


16 Jun

Sephora is one of my favourite beauty shops but alas is no longer in the UK. So when I came across one in Union Square (Manhattan), I rushed straight in! I absolutely love their eyeliners which come in every colour you could ever need.

I honestly couldn’t decide which one I wanted, and it all got very complicated when they had about 16 different types of eyeliner as well!

So I created this piece of art whilst testing out all the colours/types I liked:

And I whittled it down to six (I had to stock up until my next visit to the States obviously!)

Not the best photo but you get the idea!

And swatches:

Top to bottom:

Crayon Jumbo 12HR wear in 09 Kaki – lovely creamy crayon which smudges on beautifully (not impressed with the American spelling of khaki though!).

Long-lasting Eyeliner in Glitter Kaki – subtle glitter liquid liner but the glitter doesn’t show up much in this photo 😦

Retractable Eyeliner in 16 Teal – fab waterproof eyeliner, comes with smudger but is really soft as it is.

Liner Electro in 06 Electro Marine – this is a bit harder and more of a pencil rather than my usual kohl, but I loved the colour.

Nano Eye Pencil in 17 Lagoon – this metallic blue is gorgeous, and the pencil is really soft and easy to apply.

Retractable Eyeliner in 19 Shimmer Navy – (as above – teal)

Prices vary from $8-$12 (much cheaper than MAC, my usual eyeliner haunt).

And I’ve already tried out a couple of looks:

Here I used the two khaki liners to create a metallic smokey eye look which I love! For the day I just used the kaki crayon along the lash line, smudging it with a bit of black eyeliner and in the evening added a line of the glitter liquid liner under my eye and on the lid too. It was pretty and dark at the same time!

I also attended a wedding last weekend and the Nano in Lagoon matched my sari perfectly:

I do apologise for the scarily intense glare…! I teamed the lovely liner with Barry M’s Dazzle Dust on the lid (it’s a blue-y teal colour… but the product number has rubbed off! I’ll try and track it down and edit this ASAP). I used my E.L.F. black gel liner, YSL Faux Cils mascara and E.L.F. fake lashes to finish the look.

I also splashed out on a few new ‘professional’ brushes (eeee!):

I bought (top to bottom) rounded smudger, smudge and all over shadow. They were $15 each but well worth it with the amount of smudging/blending I get up to these days! The brushes are really soft to the touch, but just the right hardness for a good smudging. The all over shadow brush is pretty massive, but really good for applying even eyeshadow.

How I wish Sephora would return to the UK… but I guess my bank account is much better off without it! Have you got any Sephora favourites? Are you an eyeliner fiend like myself? I’d love to know!

Screaming Mimi’s!

15 Jun

As promised I’m continuing to document my New York vintage shopping experience. This time it’s the FABULOUS Screaming Mimi’s which can also be found on the Lower East Side.

I couldn’t help but love this place from the moment I walked in. I mean who doesn’t love being greeted by shoes?

And I can’t help but mention the signed Manolo Blahniks they have on their site for $1800! Their selection of jewellery is amazing, and all colour coordinated:

There is pretty much everything you could ever want from a vintage store, from organisation by era, a great selection of designer pieces and even the odd top hat ($75):

I also loved the simple but effective decor in store, it’s actually pretty massive, and a real treasure trove:

Being the magpie I am, I couldn’t help but spot this sparkly suit (I think it was around $80), I would’ve snapped it up if I could think of the right occasion!

And I also found this gorgeous YSL scarf which was in superb condition ($150):

Kind of wish I’d bought it!!! But I was being very controlled.

As you can probably tell I loved this place. It also might have helped that I’d just eaten a yummy crepe and thus was in a really good mood, but I honestly thought the selection here was brilliant and the pricing was pretty reasonable. Also, the quality of most garments was excellent. I didn’t feel pressured by any of the staff, who offered help and were generally smiley. I’d definitely recommend you stopping by this place if you’re in New York, and do let me know if you buy anything!

The X-Factor Style-Off Begins!

14 Jun

Well it’s that time of the year again… the X-Factor auditions and the build up to the style-off of the year. My favourite part of The X-Factor was the moment the judges stepped on stage and we ooh-ed and aah-ed about what Cheryl and Dannii were wearing. Now we’ve got new judges, I wasn’t sure what to expect! But I haven’t been let down, check out this amazing outfit from the lovely Kelly Rowland (my favourite Destiny’s Child member I must add!).


She dresses up a reasonably casual t-shirt and skirt look with a saffron blazer (which compliments her colouring) and killer quirky shoe boots. And is that a McQueen clutch I see? (Do correct me if I’m wrong!) I’m not sure about the sunnies, but overall she looks fab! Totally stylish without overdoing it.

Now there’s Tulisa, and to be honest, I REALLY wasn’t sure what to expect. She’s not exactly known for her style, even though several magazines I’ve read try to portray her as fashion forward. I can’t help but think of her N-Dubz trackies and one shoulder mini dresses, but I am willing to give her a chance (I mean do you remember what Cheryl used to wear pre-X-Factor?!). So here it is:


I knew she was going to face the Cheryl comparisons, but she’s done a great job avoiding these with her outfit choice. Yes Cheryl has worn white, and yes, she has worn red lipstick, but which woman hasn’t? Comparing Tulisa to Chezza for those reasons is absolutely ridiculous *cough*Daily Mail*cough*.

I actually really like the styling, the hair and make up along with the playsuit and red heels give the look a real retro vibe, stepping away from her N-Dubz image. One thing I have to pick on… where is the handbag? Without it, for me the outfit feels incomplete. A nice clutch (I’d have gone with patent indigo blue…) would have gone beautifully, and broken up the ‘matchy matchy-ness’ of the outfit.

This time around Kelly wins it for me (I’m a sucker for a good blazer), which look do you prefer?

Vintage on the Lower East Side

13 Jun

I’m a bit of a vintage junkie so I did my best to find vintage haunts in New York. My first stop was the Lower East Side, walking distance from where I was staying (how convenient!).

I set my sights on Edith Machinist, I’d read and heard a lot about it and couldn’t wait to get my mitts on the some vintage goodies.

Walking down the stairs everything looked so well organised, I felt I was in a boutique rather than a vintage store:

There was a particularly brilliant selection of shoes, bags and belts. However, I missed the ‘rummage’ and the joy at finding something at the bottom of the $1 basket. The boutique-ness of it meant the prices were inflated (in my opinion) and I kind of felt like the sales people were watching my every move, and I felt a little pressured to buy something.

I tried on a few pairs of boots but luckily (for my bank balance) didn’t find anything in my size. I totally fell in love with these bad boys though!

To be fair, they were selling rather a lot of vintage designer which might have been why the prices were a bit more than I’m used to. I really liked this Jean Paul Gaultier dress, but just couldn’t justify the $180 price tag:

I’d say if you’re looking for a particular vintage piece, or have a lust for designer vintage this would be a great place to go. It’s also a good place to go for design/styling inspiration. But if you’re more of a jumble sale veteran/bargain hunter this isn’t the place for you.

Take at least $100 if not $200 (£60-100), if you’re on the hunt for something here… it could be well worth it if you find a vintage Dior dress or Chanel sunglasses.

There’ll be more vintage from the Lower East Side coming tomorrow fellow shopaholics! xxx

Hello NYC!

10 Jun

If you’ve been following my Twitter lately, you’ll know that I’ve been in the fabulous New York visiting my friend Shoshana, who lives on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I’ve spent WAY too much money, and I don’t think I’ve ever walked so much! My beautiful (and comfy) Dune ballet pumps are nearly falling to bits 😦 but it was totally worth it!

Touristy photos are obviously a necessity so I thought I’d keep you all in the loop:

View of the NYC streets from the 22nd floor

Yes! A Lady Gaga train! Truly amazing.

Ellis Island (on left), Me and Manhattan

Lady Liberty – did you know she was a gift from France?!

An awesome roof party I went to 🙂

I went a bit mad vintage shopping in New York, so will be blogging all about that. As well as a few other interesting ‘stores’ I came across. And product review day on Thursday is going to be a good one!

Wish you were here,

LDNshopaholic xxx