13/02/2010

Review: Lily Lolo Mineral Cosmetics

This review has been a long time coming. I've actually been using most of the products I'll feature in this post for over a year. I read about Lily Lolo several times on various online forums before I decided to purchase some foundation, concealer, highlighter and finishing powder samples. Lily Lolo as a company is widely recommended to people in the UK who are interested in mineral make-up because their products are some of the cheapest available. Lily Lolo is also recommended a lot on forums to people who are either really pale, or have darker skin than is properly catered for by the chain store brands.

I am really pale, and I've actually gotten paler over the last year - I blame the absence of a proper summer for the last two years. Before I used Lily Lolo I tried various Rimmel foundations (whichever was the cheapest in the shop when I needed some) in the shade 'Ivory', which always looked orange by the end of the day, especially on my forehead. I only used to use foundation on special occasions (ie. if I was going to a ball or clubbing or something), the rest of the time I'd just use the 'Ivory' Rimmel concealers and when I did use foundation I'd put loads of concealer on as well because it was slightly more pale. I used their 'translucent' (read: a pale shade of ORANGE) powders on top, until I found the L'Oréal True Match powder range, their 'Ivory Rose' shade was much better, but I used to have to put masses on to combat the orangeness of the foundation.

Foundation

Discovering Lily Lolo solved all my foundation problems. First of all, you can order samples, which are generous enough to last a few weeks. This means that I could check my face in natural light, artifical light, mix shades, work out my best match. My best match at the time was mostly 'Porcelain' with a pinch of 'Candy Cane' thrown in just to darken it a bit. However, I just ordered a full size of 'Porcelain' because I decided the sample of 'Candy Cane' was enough to last me ages if I only went for the best match on special occasions (balls, nights out clubbing, etc!). You can only order samples of each product/shade once. I think it was in September 2009 that I stopped using the 'Candy Cane' at all because I'd become so pale that 'Porcelain' on its own was my best match.

The foundation is really cheap, in my opinion. £12 for 10 grams of foundation may sound like a lot but one pot lasted me over a year. I think of it like a deposit paid for a year's worth. L'Oreal Pure Match foundation would be £19.99 for 10 grams but they don't sell it in sizes that large. At this point I think I should say that various companies in the USA do sell mineral foundation that is cheaper. But then you have to pay postage, and your order can't be more than £18 or you're liable for customs fees.

I really like this. When I'm wearing it it feels nearly the same as wearing nothing. It controls the shine and gives good coverage when my skin's being blotchy. Multiple win.

Concealers

I use 'PeepO' and 'Blush Away', I had a sample of 'Blondie' but in my opinion, if you've got the correctors and foundation you don't really need skin-tone concealer. I'll start with 'PeepO'. I have found this more effective on the dark part under my eyes than anything else, but unfortunately it's still not perfect. It's a yellow concealer to counteract the blue and purple skin under the eyes and it does quite a good job however I do have to be very sparing with it as it can look yellow and powdery if I'm not careful. Sometimes I carefully brush some of my foundation or 'Blondie' over the top to make it look less obvious. All these concealers have to be used extremely sparingly - if you can see lumps of concealer on your brush that's too much, you want a thin dusting. Too much 'Blush Away' will look obvious and white, but with a gently-applied dusting I can cover most of my spots. My face looks about 70% less red thanks to this.

Because you only need such miniscule amounts of these powders to cover anything, the 4g you get for £7 will last absolutely ages. I've had my full-sizes of these concealers for over a year and it seems like I've hardly used any.

Finishing Powder

I have tried two of Lily Lolo's finishing powders, 'Translucent Silk', and 'Flawless Matte', and I have the former in full size. They are pretty similar, but 'Flawless Matte' contains kaolin to control oil, whereas 'Translucent Silk' is just mica. It doesn't really do anything for me, the finishing powder. It's handy if I've gotten oily, because then I can get rid of the shine without adding on more foundation I don't want or need, but otherwise I don't use it. I don't want to use it that much as you only get 4.5 g for £12.00!

Highlighter

I got a sample size of the 'Star Dust' highlighter and it's lasting me ages because a little of this light, sparkly, gold stuff goes a long way. It's really nice and makes a decent eyeshadow too. I have swatched it along with the eyeshadow, see below.

Eyeshadow

I bought the "Deep Purple" eyeshadow to treat myself with my second order. Having never tried mineral eyeshadow before I was disappointed by it because I didn't realise you needed to use primer or something else to get it to stick. Finding that out has changed my life, and my opinion of this product. It's a dark, slightly sparkly purple, looks good as eyeshadow or eyeliner, I really like it. Each shade of eyeshadow from Lily Lolo is £5, you get 2.5 grams for that, but I find I have to put about twice as much of it on as I would if I was using Aromaleigh eyeshadows.

Here are some swatches, but please don't go by the colour of this. It does not look at all brown in real life, it is actually purple. It is a fair guide to intensity though.


It goes on brightest if you apply it over a cream eyeshadow or primer that is slightly tacky. A cream eyeshadow that dries quickly is better than nothing but it won't look anywhere near as vivid. I find that it doesn't really work applied wet as a shadow, it's harder to work with than when it's dry, but if I'm using a fine damp brush to put it on as eyeliner, it's okay.

The Lily Lolo eyeshadow range is pretty limited, they've only got a few shades of each colour, but as they don't offer samples of the eyeshadows, they probably don't sell so well. There aren't any swatch photos provided either, just images of the powder in the pots. Hell Candy reviewed the Indigo eyeshadow, which I think looks lovely, and I'm looking forward to getting that one at some point in the future, but until some photos of the other shades in action make it onto the web I won't try any of the others.


Top eyelids: Lily Lolo 'Deep Purple'
Crease: Aromaleigh 'flutura's cloud'
Below eyebrows: mobile-phone-shaped Superdrug gift set white
Bottom eyelids: Aromaleigh 'dormant dream'


Powder Packaging

All the powder products come in plastic pots with screw top lids and removable sifters. They are pretty to look at and work well, except that the jars are frosted/translucent plastic, which makes it impossible to see a) the true colour of the product through the pot and b) how much you've got left! It's really hard to judge looking through the sifters at the foundation and finishing powder because the product makes them translucent too. I have to remove the sifters to see if I'm running out which makes a mess, even if I am running out, because powder gets trapped around the sifter and goes everywhere when you move it.

There isn't any information about whether the containers are recyclable.

Super Kabuki Brush

The brush is really soft, I love it, and often swipe it over my face about thirty times more than is necessary because it feels so nice. I haven't worked out how to get powder onto it the best way as it's fuller than the brush I used before (funnily enough, as it still has all it's bristles) and doesn't really fit into the lid with enough room for me to swirl it around properly. I might have to find something else to shake the powder into.

Concealer Brush

Wow, does this make applying concealer fast or what? It's kind of stiff, it'll probably loosen up as it's washed but all I need to do is get powder on both sides and swipe a couple of times and I'm done. I ordered this with my "Complexion Perfection" kit because I'd had enough of the rubbish Argos-catalogue-make-up-kit eyeshadow brush I'd been using to apply concealer before, and I am very happy with it.

General Comments

Lily Lolo's base products seem to me to be pretty much no-frills. They only do one kind of foundation, three finishing powders, three skin-tone shades of concealer and two correctors. Other brands usually give you a choice, offering different properties. As a comparison, Aromaleigh offer two different types of foundation, and several different types of finishing powder. But Lily Lolo are in the UK! I have recently become addicted to Aromaleigh's eyeshadows (I made three orders within five weeks. Reviews coming as soon as I've had time to try them all and get some decent photos sorted), and as much as I am intrigued by the options for face products I can't see myself using up most of the £18 I can spend on an order on one single product. Plus I tend not to realise I'm running out of foundationy stuff til the last minute, so it would be hard for me to remember to allow 10 days plus for the products to arrive.

I made my third and most recent order to Lily Lolo on the 15th of January. I was almost out of finishing powder already, and then on, if I remember rightly, the 13th, the brush I had been using to apply my foundation powder...how can I put this...well, it exploded, basically. It was already shedding so much I had to put make-up on in my underwear but at that moment it reached the point of total unusability, dropping bristles everywhere. Then, when I found another brush, way too small, to put my foundation on, I discovered that actually, I needed some more of that too.

I was really pleased. Needing those three items meant I could order the "Complexion Perfection" gift set, which gets you foundation, finishing powder and gorgeous kabuki brush for a bargainous £35! It comes in a box, photograph below. If you've ever had any of the little Benefit box sets with the mini products in, it's like a giant version of that with the magnetic bit on the lid to hold it closed. Lovely.

When I placed my order, I expected it to be a couple of days, so I steeled myself for putting up with the tiny brush for a while. I only paid for first class post, but I know from my second order that they seem to upgrade you to recorded delivery if you're spending a fair bit. I don't know how much, only my sample order came first class, but I spent over £30 in my second order. The Lily Lolo website says you should allow 48 hours for dispatch. My invoice says 13:43. I got an e-mail saying that my order had been completed, with tracking number, at 14:18. My package arrived at about noon the next day. My purchases were at my door less than 24 hours after I'd placed the order. That's practically teleportation! I was impressed.

Lily Lolo's products are mostly vegan (products that aren't are listed in their FAQ), and are BUAV approved.

Just so you know, readers, I paid for all this stuff!

06/02/2010

My Top Five Lush Products of the Moment

I've been drafting several make-up reviews that I will post as soon as I take pictures to go with them, and I thought that whilst I'm in review mode, I'd do a quick review of some of my current favourites from Lush.

5. Pied de Pepper

This is a lovely peppery cinnamony warming lotion intended for feet. I love the smell and it's really strong too, which means I can mix it with olive oil to make it more moisturising and last longer. It actually mixes with olive oil really badly, I mix it up and then it separates again within a few minutes, but I put up with having to stir it every time I want to use it because it does the job so well. After working on my feet all day for a couple of months they were in a pretty bad state but have been recovering fast thanks to this. I always put some on if I'm chilly and it makes me feel better.

4. The Olive Branch

It smells beautiful, like oranges, lemons and olives, and is meant to be used as a shower gel, but at the moment I've been using this every other hair wash as shampoo. I wouldn't use it all the time as it eventually makes my hair greasy but as I only use soap and Reincarnate on the other washes it makes up for the little bit of dryness I get and leaves me with smooth soft hair that is still light and styleable. It makes a great shower gel too and lasts ages as a little goes a long way. It's not really a gel consistency, it's very runny in fact, but a few splashes of this lather up really well.

3. Reincarnate

I've been using this solid shampoo for about three years now. It was the first product from Lush that I tried, and I still love it. The smell is very earthy and a lot of people don't like it, though I do. It also takes hard work to get to lather and isn't a brilliant cleanser on its own - living in a hard water area I find that I have to use conditioner after or wash my hair with soap and/or another shampoo first or I'll get build up.  But it has made my brown hair more reddish, people actually compliment me on the colour of my hair quite often. If I flip the ends up onto the roots you can really see that they are completely different colours, the ends are lighter and redder, but when my hair is down it doesn't show because it's a natural, subtle gradient.

2. Vanishing Cream

This moisturiser is so light, I've definitely gotten less spots since I started using it (couple of years now). It's expensive but a little goes a long way so I only have to buy about two pots a year. It also is perfect to wear under mineral foundation as it isn't oily, it means that wearing a full face of make-up feels about the same as wearing none at all. It smells mostly of lavender in my opinion, which some people find offputting, but I've learned to like it.

1. Love Lettuce


photo from the Lush website

If I was only allowed to buy one Lush product for the rest of my life, I'd probably choose this one. I had these really annoying tiny little spots on my temples for several month, too small to really do much with but they wouldn't go. A couple of weeks using this mask and they were gone. I ran out, and they came back. Bought more Love Lettuce and a couple of uses later they were gone again. It exfoliates my skin really well without being harsh and drying and I don't need to actually use it as a mask all the time, what I do is scoop a little bit out with my fingers whilst I'm in the shower and use it as a scrub. That way it lasts a lot longer. However, it still gets used up quite quickly, plus it is fresh so it has to go in the fridge, and is £6.45! If you have five empty black pots from Lush you can exchange them for a free fresh face mask, which I've done once, but I don't use up the other products fast enough to get enough free Love Lettuces. I've run out again though, so I'm just going to have to fork out the cash.

Do you like Lush's products? What are your current favourites? Other products I use regularly include: Enchanting Eye Cream, Lemony Flutter, Porridge soap, Angel's Delight soap, Rub Rub Rub and Let Them Eat Cake. I'm trying out one of the sugar scrubs at the moment, I got it in a set, and I love the scent, but it is really quite scratchy so I don't think I'll buy one.

They've got some new products out for The Cursed Day ('Cursed' pronounced 'Cer-SED', natch), including a ballistic of a little blue man called The Ex Factor. It's a shame that it's vanilla, which I don't really like, because the whole idea of dissolving it one body part at a time sounds fun, it reminds me of the way I used to eat Pom-Bear crisps or Jelly Babies as a kid, biting off the legs, then the arms, then the body, then the ears, then the head! I'm bad to the bone, obviously... I've been looking longingly at the Something Wicked bath melt (it's purple) and at the new apple-scented Temptation soap. I love apple scents and use the Nina perfume by Nina Ricci, but £7.30 for a soap is a lot too much for me!

01/02/2010

Make-Up For The Recession

During the Great Depression sales of make-up rose whilst sales of pretty much everything else dropped, a phenomenon known as the lipstick effect. When the current recession began, several magazines and newspapers predicted a repeat of this trend, using it as an excuse to recommend a few tubes.

One major difference between this recession and the Great Depression is that clothing is a lot cheaper now. I wonder how many people are actually buying make-up instead of clothes these days – I’d imagine that quite a lot just buy fewer items of clothing now that lipstick and clothes are pretty close in price. I find that I come across enough nice charity shop clothes whilst volunteering to keep myself warm and entertained, so the only items of clothing I’ve bought new instead of from charity/vintage shops for months and months have been hosiery and socks. Most recently I got a couple of pairs of tights from M&S and three pairs of socks from Sock Dreams as I needed long socks that fit my big feet for work (way overdue for a review).

I bought hardly any make-up over the last academic year as I was self-financing my MA*, but over Christmas, I had a temporary full-time job**, and I went a little crazy. I didn’t buy any lipstick. But I bought three GOSH brushes, and two eyeliners and an liquid eyeshadow from Bourjois in the Superdrug 3-for-2 sale, the Sleek Graphite palette (basically, a must have for anyone in the UK who likes to dress/do their make-up on the dark side, especially as it’s £4.87), and I placed THREE orders to Aromaleigh. Yes, really, THREE. Within 35 days. I am going to review them properly in their own post, but the short version: amazing.

Right now, I would much rather spend £18 on 24 eyeshadow samples plus shipping than on one or two items of clothing. I love the possibilities that make-up brings. I adore the glittery powders and soft brushes. I find hours of entertainment out of making my eyelashes lilac and my eyebrows pink, sprinkling my cheeks with gold, staining my lips with Benetint, and doing all kinds of wonderful things on my eyelids. I like that when I do my make-up in the morning I’ll be re-enchanted every time I pass a mirror and check out my work. I like it when I finally master a trick I’ve been trying to get right for ages or discover a new technique. Even if I have to wear dull clothes that day for some reason I can always have sparkly eyeshadow!

I stayed in all day today but made up for it by doing this in the morning. I have finally learnt how to take make-up photos in which my eye make-up actually shows up. Three things I've discovered I need, in case you're interested:
  1. A camera with "super macro"
  2. To be standing facing a window when the sun is up
  3. To raise my eyebrows, yes, I look like someone's just stood on my foot, but if I didn't do it you wouldn't be able to see anything above the crease.
Eyeliner: Bourjois Contour Clubbing Waterproof in blue remix 45
Eyeshadow: Aromaleigh tangled tinsel (Holiday Blast collection, discontinued) on upper lids, morphing moon (Les Papillons collection) in crease, not so silent night (Holiday Blast collection, discontinued) on outer corner of crease and lower lids
Mascara: Rimmel 100% Waterproof Mascara in Black Black over Natural Collection (Boots) clear mascara - I usually put this on under mascara and somehow it's less clumpy.
Foundation and concealer by Lily Lolo


I seem to have phases of preferring either make-up, clothes, or accessories, right now I'm going through yet another make-up renaissance, and have forbidden myself from obtaining any more make-up until I use some of it up, but I don’t know how long I will hold out as I really really really want to try the Aromaleigh Rocks! and Bête Noire ranges, and I absolutely have to get a full-size of aqua nightmare because it is my favourite eyeshadow in the whole world.

Have you contributed to the lipstick/eyeshadow effect? Or have your shopping habits remained the same since the recession began?

*Why this blog has been quiet from 2008-2009 **Why this blog has been quiet since I finished my MA
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