Monday, 23 June 2014

Product review: Barry M, Cor Balmy!

Friends, I've finally found it.  After 15 years of searching for The One, I've found the perfect tinted lip balm.  Enter Barry M's Cor Balmy!

Some background - I have a love/hate relationship with my lips.  I have a big mouth in literally all meanings of the expression, and while I often think my naturally plump pout is the best of my ramshackle collection of facial features, I'm aware that because of their size, wearing lipstick is an easy way to look overdone.  I still wear lipstick for nights out - though I'm jealous of women who can do the more common smoky eyes and bare lips combo, sadly, I've long since realised that there's no point attempting to emphasis my small, shapeless, asymmetric eyes - but the sage words of wisdom spoken to me by a stranger when I was still only 15, or 16, "Your mouth makes you look like a prostitute", ring heavily in my ears when it comes to daytime.  And so, I hit upon the idea of tinted lip balm as the perfect way of playing up my best feature without anyone asking me how much I charge for blow jobs.  Fast forward several years and I'd been through about half a dozen brands (I've never found tinted lip balm to be a particularly popular product, and don't often see it in shops) without finding one I liked.  I don't know about anyone else, but I've never found a tinted lip balm before that actually had a visible colour - until now.

I'm a big Barry M fan, but not a regular purchaser of their products; while they're usually referred to as a budget brand, a lot of their products hover around the £10 mark, which is a bit steep in my opinion when truly budget brands such as Miss Sporty or NYC Colour will have something similar for nearer to £3.  However, killing time in Boots on Friday, my eye was caught by Barry M's brand new range of tinted lip balms, Cor Balmy!, and at a surprising £3.79, I decided to give it a go.  I'm SO glad I did.  There five are shades, a very pale pink, a bright pink, two reds and a deep plum, and I plumped for the bright pink, called Rosie Lea, as that's my go-to lipstick colour for most occasions,

First things first, Cor Balmy! smells gorgeous, sweet and sherbety, like all the best Pick 'n' Mix counters of your childhood put together.  Sometimes I open it up just to sniff it, even if I'm not planning on applying any,  Plus, the 'moisturising core' (the centre of the stick is the white, moisturising part, the colour around the outside) really is deeply moisturising and soothing, something many tinted lip balms fail at monumentally, often being greasy or thin.  Bit the best thing about Cor Balmy! is that you get exactly what I was looking for for this Summer, a pop of sheer, shiny colour that's very visible without looking obvious or overdone.  Rosie Lea doesn't come out quite as bright as it looks in the tube, but it's still a true fuchsia shade, so much so that so that I'm definitely going to invest in the darker red shade (bright red doesn't really suit me) for a hassle free glam look, and the dark plum one will finally allow me to experiment with a colour I've always liked, but felt was 'too much' for me.  I'm seriously considering investing in the pale pink one too, even though it's not a colour I'd usually wear (light colours make large lips look bigger), because I think the sheerness of the shade could be key to achieving the no lipstick look of my dreams.  Probably the only thing holding me back from buying up all five colours in one go is that owning the entire collection could be considered excessive/obsessive.

was going to illustrate this with a picture of my suitably shiny, tinted lips, but as it turns out, my so-called best feature is not at all photogenic and I'm actually just plain hideous, plus I wasn't getting a good representation of the colour, so I've forgone the "here's a little something I prepared earlier" demo photo in favour of this classy shot of all the shades arranged in a glass for some unspecified reason; hopefully it's just as good.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Product review: Magnifibres

Let me tell you a secret that probably wasn't a secret to anybody who has had the misfortune to see my face in real life - I don't spend a lot on make up.  I love make up, and enjoy wearing it, when I'm going out, sometimes for work, but not just to pop to Tesco (I live in Essex, they don't deserve my full effort).  I think I've got a good balance.  But much as I enjoy make up, I'm usually strictly a budget - mid range kind of gal.  I'll go to Miss Sporty and Collection 2000 first, and stretch to Rimmel or very occasionally Barry M if the circumstances warrant it (I appreciate this is undermined slightly by my reviewing a BB cream recently that cost the same as two days return to travel to London, but I swear, it's a rarity).  Oh, and my Urban Decay Naked pallet, which was expensive in initial outlay, but not usage, as I wear it pretty much every day and night that I wear make up.

However, there's one area of cosmetics in which few holds are barred for me, and that's mascara.  You see, I've always hated my eyelashes.  They're white, they're thin, and they point downwards - no natural curl for this gal.  Clearly when God, or Morrissey, as he is properly known, was handing out luscious lashes, I absent from the queue.  I've been offered many opinions over the years as to why I'm still single, and being that I have fabulous hair and unimpeachable taste in music, I've come to the conclusion that it must be my faulty eyelashes which are to blame.  I usually have about three different mascaras on the go, because whenever a new ones comes out, making all sorts of wild promises about length and volume and curl, I fall for it.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Call me an optimist.  I probably still don't go crazy with how much I'm willing to pay for a single mascara, but I splash out occasionally.  I spent £30 on a Guerlain mascara years ago in Berlin; hated it.  Max Factor disappointed, as did Urban Decay.  I have a sample size Smashbox mascara I got in a free gift which is only OK.  Which brings me to my latest extravagant miracle purchase - Magnifibres.  

Magnifibres promises to add volume, plus up to 5mm in length.  The product is described as "brush on false lashes" and one thing I'll grant them is it's certainly unique.  Once you slide open the extravagant cardboard cylinder, inside is what looks like an ordinary tube of mascara, but unscrew the cap and it reveals a fairly slender mascara wand, covered in what looks like spider webs.  These are the titular fibres.  This is how it works: you apply one coat of mascara, then immediately apply the Magnifibres (your lashes need to still be tacky), as you would regular mascara, then wait for 30-60 seconds for the fibres to bind and apply a second coat of mascara, to cover them up.  The fantasy result?  Supposedly, longer, thicker lashes, without resorting to falsies.  The reality?  Well, judge for yourselves.  If my technological skills stand up to the challenge, then below top you'll see a photo of my largely unimpressive left eye, dressed up in two coats of Rimmel's Scandaleyes mascara (with a brief intervention from some eyelash curlers), and below bottom, my right eye (see what I did there), with two coats of the same mascara and the Magnifibres applied in between, also with a touch from the curlers.

The difference, as you can see, is....infinitesimal.  The Magnifibres packaging says you can apply just to the tips pf your eyelashes for a more natural look with added length, or all over for volume and up to 5mm increase in length.  I used Magnifibres all over, and if you look hard, you'll see the lashes on my right eye do appear to be very, very slightly thicker near the base, but that's it.  No extra length or curl, and I do not look like I am wearing false eyelashes.  The biggest difference between my left eye and my right is that my right is now quite weepy and sore, because every time I've used this stuff, the fibres have fallen into my eye and irritated it.

Magnifibres costs £22 (although who pays full price for make up anymore?  I got mine for £13 from eBay), and for the difference it makes it's not worth it.  If it cost £5 I'd tell you to save your money.  To be honest, it's so fiddly to apply, and adds so much time to the already time consuming process of doing your eye make up, that if it cost 99p I still wouldn't think it was worth the hassle.  My quest for lashes worthy of love, sadly, continues.


Two coats mascara

Two coats mascara, plus Magnifibres