Saturday, 28 February 2009

Cor! Branded train cases by Urban Decay.

Browsing the US Urban Decay website's "New" section, I noticed something exciting - a metal-framed traincase with UD logo and two choices of skull patterning. I can't see any pictures of the interior, but presumably there are shelves and trays like in your regular train case (or if you're me, in your makeshift LIDL fishing tackle box). I like the grey one best.

Here they are.

Presumably these will also come to the UK. I will post again if I hear more.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Review - MAC Studio Sculpt

[caption id="attachment_15" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Studio Sculpt lines up for inspection"]Studio Sculpt lines up for inspection[/caption]

This was the week I finally bit the bullet and spent my Christmas MAC voucher. I elected to visit the Covent Garden branch (NB - MAC's gift vouchers are only redeemable in free-standing stores, not in department store concessions or online). One of the items in my sights was the new Studio Sculpt foundation from the Well Defined collection.

The general noises made online are that Studio Sculpt is a love it or hate it product. Some find it cakey, heavy and comedogenic. Others love the gel-based formula and medium buildable coverage. I was attracted by the addition of SPF 15, the easy application, and the packaging - a squeezable toothpaste-type tube with a wide screw cap and a precise nozzle. (At £22 a go, it's nice to know you won't be wasting any product.)

Isn't there something about the light in MAC stores? Something at once halogen-bright and candlelight deep. Maybe it's tungsten bulbs or maybe just the aura of cosmetic prestige. I don't know. But it makes everything look just a little more intense and perfect than it actually appears on the grey British street outside.

For this reason I enlisted the help of one of the makeup artists in choosing my shade of Studio Sculpt. There's a great range to choose from - the usual gamut from porcelain to espresso, with warm, cool and neutral casts catered for. My shade was NC15, and it was applied deftly by my makeup artist with a foundation brush. Out on the street, a hand mirror confirmed that the shade was spot on and the coverage thorough but happily natural-looking.

At home, I replicated the matte, smooth effect easily enough with fingertips, and was pleased to find that it lasted all day and wasn't too prone to transferring onto collar, gloves and other nearby fabric items. As a not-at-all-morning person I'm not a great wearer of foundation, preferring to just conceal and run out of the door. However with coverage good enough to stand alone without powder or concealer, I could definitely see this becoming a habit.

Verdict - a versatile foundation with plenty of coverage and easy wear

See and buy at

High Street beats MAC - liquidlast-style eyeliners.

[caption id="attachment_6" align="alignnone" width="421" caption="It's OK, it comes off with oil-based cleanser!"]It's OK, it comes off with oil-based cleanser![/caption]

Anyone who's ever tried MAC's Liquidlast eyeliners will know exactly what I mean when I say that you CAN have such a thing as too much staying power.

The range was released in the summer of 2006, with the flagship shade Aqualine, a stunning gold-pearled bright teal, featuring prominently on advertising and in magazine pages.

Liquidlasts are eyeliner with a psychotic degree of staying power. They cling to your lids (and oh yes - lashes, fingertips, and anywhere else you accidentally get them) with the tenacity of a desperate ex-girlfriend. They are bright, beautiful, steadfastly reliable, and on the other side of the coin, pretty much impossible to remove without surgery.

The nub of the matter appears to be in the formula. The Fluidlines are not water soluble like regular liquid liners, nor oily or waxy like pencil liners. They aren't vulnerable to tears or body heat. Instead, the pigments are suspended in some kind of acrylic polymer, in the same vein as Blinc mascara with its little non-smudge tubes. Unlike Blinc, however, they're not removable with warm water and a little pressure. Instead, you need a lot of oil or oil-based remover, cotton wool and patience.

So MAC went in on the polymer-liner attack with all guns blazing, to mixed acclaim. Since then, however, the high street brands appear to have been getting their chemists on the case, and both good old Boots No. 7 and Superdrug-franchised Danish colour-fiends GOSH have developed Liquidlast-a-like products at very modest prices.

Best of all, they both seem to have toned the formula down for ease of use. Having tried both brands' offerings, I can confirm that both GOSH Extreme Artliner(not yet online) and No. 7 Stay Perfect Eyeliner are smoother and less goopy to use than Liquidlast, dry out less quickly in the tube, and best of all, offer a window of opportunity for tidying up application errors with a cotton bud before they set into the rock-hard steadfastness you bought them for. You can take them off with any oil-based remover, and they take a lot less work than Liquidlasts to eradicate when you've finished your Amy Winehouse impression.

Colour-wise, No.7 are offering a range of five shades in metallic colours from white-gold to royal blue (no black however - they missed a trick there). GOSH have a broader range with a spectrum of brights, basic black, browns and bronze shades. Both have produced a dupe of blazing teal Aqualine, and pretty convincingly too.

GOSH currently have a 3 for 2 offer across the range at Superdrug. And Boots are currently offering one of their lovely free gifts when you spend £18 on No. 7.

So if you've ever fancied having eyeliner that stays on without smudging, creasing, running, or generally misbehaving, or if you've tried Liquidlast and found it a little too zealous, give these babies a go.