Friday, 8 October 2010

Chanel Paradoxal Nail Polish dupe??

A few months ago everyone was rushing out to buy Barry M Mushroom when it was discovered it was pretty similar to Chanel's Particuliere..  But I think Ive discovered another!

My blog post a few days ago which included the new Barry M Dusky Mauve, was actually the first time I'd applied it properly.. but after seeing it on the nail, something was bugging me..

Now I don't own any Chanel nail polish, for me the Barry M polishes are right up my street in terms of price.. But if you Google Chanels Paradoxal, or if you've already seen it in some beauty blogs you'll probably see what I see.. just how similar they are!

Paradoxal is a really pretty colour for Autumn/Winter.. its a beautiful purple/grey/mauve!?!!  Yeah, Im terrible at descriptions.. So courtesy of Google, here it is:

And here is Barry M's Dusky Mauve:

Not bad, eh!?  I know Paradoxal appears to be more purple toned, where as the Dusky Mauve is more grey toned.. but its certainly not bad for £2.95, instead of the £16.50  price tag on the Chanel!

What do you think?

Try it for yourself :)

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish

About 2 weeks ago I was on my own, my fiance was working, I was bored out of my tree, I had far too much time on my hands and there was nothing on TV!   But during my channel hopping I came across the Beauty Day on QVC.

..Yep, the dreaded people there that could sell ice to an Eskimo, suckered me in!

I went for item # 212054 the Cleanse/ Polish and tonic set.  This is priced at £24.52 (and was spread out over 4 payments).  The set comprises of the Cleanse & Polish 100ml and the Skin Tonic 200ml, 2 muslin cloths and a waterproof bag.

Picture taken from

(I apologise for the stock photo, but a) no one wants to see my manky muslin cloths.. and b) well, I'll get to that later..)

In my defense I'd been wanting to try the Cleanse and Polish for a long time, probably even before I purchased my Clarisonic, but the 'Easy-pay' option made it seem like a good idea to try it, plus I thought about their 30 day money back guarantee.. I didn't have much to lose!

The first thing I noticed, as do many, was the smell.. notice how I said smell there, rather than scent!  I hated it!  What I do like is that it smells of eucalyptus, that always evokes thought of cleanliness and germ fighting, but I really didn't care for the scent of any of the other ingredients..
The tonic, does that smell any better?  To me, that smells even worse!  I was expecting some uplifting, fresh, Summer scent.. but instead I got something the smelled sort of old fashioned, and ever so slightly musty.  I was really surprised that I didn't love the 'scent' of this, as so many people have raved about how lovely it is.. sadly I didn't find myself agreeing with them at all :0/

Did I see any results?  Nope..  not any positive ones anyway!

I used it each night, I took off the majority of my make up with a Boots Botanics cleanser, then applied the Cleanse & Polish, did the whole hot cloth jobby.. patted my face dry then went ahead with the toner.  Over time, upon waking up I expected to see something.. maybe some brightening of the skin, perhaps fewer blemishes, maybe a more even tone, smaller pores?   Just.. something..  Instead I woke up to more and more spots that got steadily worse over time.  Now I know sometimes your skin will get worse before it gets better, that was certainly the case with the Clarisonic, but what I consistently noticed was that the Cleanse & Polish never got my skin totally clean, this is probably the biggest factor in why I don't want to see it to the end of the bottle.  I switched cleansers in the hopes it would take off more makeup beforehand.. I applied two pumps of the C&P instead of one.. I was more thorough with the muslin cloth.. Nothing I tried got my face as clean as the Clarisonic does.  Each time I go over my skin with a cottol wool ball and toner I see my face is clean, theres no residue or any trace of makeup.. but with the C&P there was always some grime left behind. Ewww!   I hated that, that and the fact it took lots of the toner to remove it.. what a pain!

I also dislike that I feel I have to run the muslin cloth through a wash cycle before each use, thats just something I can't be doing with.  Again, with the Clarisonic I just rinse off the soap after use, then spritz with a dettol solution afterwards, and bam, clean for the next use! :op

I don't like that theres Cocoa Butter in amongst the ingredients either (I believe its the next ingredient after water!), I don't feel that most people with oily, spot prone skin, actually want (or need) something as rich as Cocoa Butter on their face.  I'm not sure of the amount thats inside this, but to me its a pretty heavy moisturizer for oily skins.  It makes me wonder if Liz Earle and her people are working on something lighter, perhaps more deeper cleansing for us oily peeps!?

I don't know if this is a Marmite thing, you either love it or you hate it, but I definitely hate it.. With a passion!

I normally hate QVC too, the rubbish they spout sometimes is truly laughable and Im sure some of them live in La La Land (for example, a £100 set of cotton sheets "Is a good teachers present to say thanks"  Alrighty then..), but on this occasion I'm glad I purchased it via QVC because I will be making full use of their 30 day returns policy on this one!  Which brings me onto the other reason for the stock photo.  Reason b) that I don't have it to show you as its currently packaged up and ready to go back!

So sadly this didn't work for me and I really didn't get the hype about it at all :0/

I still wouldn't advise anyone not to give it a go, as always.. what doesn't work at all for one person, may well work wonders for someone else!

Have you tried it, do you love it or hate it!?

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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Nail Paints for Autumn/Winter

 I have many, many Barry M nail paints.. (Far too many infact!).  I just think theyre incredible value for money as they come in really pretty colours, they apply really well and can last for anywhere up to a week if applied properly.. if you dont get bored of it first that is!

I bought 3 from the Ice-Cream collection (the Strawberry one looking suspiciously similar to the previous pale pink one.. but anyhoo..).  I have to say I didn't touch any of them this Summer!    I did however pick up the latest editions - the Instant Nail Effects at £3.95, and Dusky Mauve at £2.95.

I love looking at all the pretty colours on people, and I think that women with perfectly manicured nails look really well put together.. I on the other hand am just terrible at applying it!  I look at the pretty bottles in my case, paw them.. then close the lid!  Nail polish (and blending eyeshadows) are a very scary prospect for me!

But I have vowed to keep trying and hopefully, get much better at it!!

So I have picked out 5 colours for Autumn/Winter.

Left to right:
293 Grey
313 Dusky Mauve (New)
310 Mushroom
115 Red Black
129 Chocolate Brown

(Apologies in advance for a couple of these being out of focus.. It wasn't till the last few pictures that I figured out what I was doing wrong!  Durrrr..)

This is 293 Grey.  I feel this is coming up more blue toned on the nails than it is in R.L, I'm not sure what it will appear as on your computer screens, but its a lovely true grey.  
You can get away with one with this..  What I do find is that some of the nail paints seem thicker in consistency, and ever so slightly harder to work with.  This is one of them!

This is Dusky Mauve, only released about a fortnight ago on the website I believe.  Hopefully you can see the purple shot through it?  Its one from the mud family.. a lovely grey/brown/mauve.. it really is a beautiful multi toned polish!

I'm pretty sure we all saw this weeks and weeks ago, but I think its a nice colour for Autumn, esp if wearing the darker colours just aren't your thing :)

This one will be a nice colour for (dare I say it..) the Christmas parties!  Its a lovely deep red colour, that with more coats (3?) does turn to its namesake - Red Black.
This is one of the more sheer, easy to apply colours.. Its not one of the one coat wonders, a factor that I actually like because I find it easier to work with.

And last but not least.. Perhaps one that doesn't stand out for most people, is Chocolate Brown.  A lovely chocolate brown (funny that!!).. Again, this is one of those that I find a little bit gloopy and harder to apply, but on the plus side - a one coat wonder!

All are priced at £2.95 each and can be purchased from the Barry M website here  :)

What will you be wearing this Autumn/Winter?

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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Live XXL... Color B4.. Hair dye disasters!

About 2 months ago I decided I just wanted a change with my hair.  Did this come at a time when my hair wasn't doing as it was told, or maybe at a time where the colour just looked horrible?  No!  So why oh why did I do it!?  I have no idea!  I just decided one day that I wanted a change.  I was pretty happy with my hair at the time, the dark brown had lifted to a Summery light brown, it was long enough to wear it wavy like I love to wear it.. I think what I was looking for was to lift it a little more, or perhaps to add some highlights..

So one day whilst out shopping with my Mr I began looking at the hair colour aisle.  I browsed the colours and just couldnt decide.  Jokingly I pointed to a box of Live Color XXL with the brightest red Id ever seen!  Then a little voice piped up 'Do it!  Go on, you should do it red'  Never one to pass up on a challenge, I picked it from the shelf, worryingly asked 'Are you sure?' then stuck it in the basket and paid!

That evening I applied it.. I figured if I waited I would no doubt chicken out!

The last time I dyed my hair red was when I was 18. I actually liked the look of red hair... Id been mahogany, copper, rich red.. any shade of red I no doubt tried back then!  But the one thing I always found was that it never really lasted, it just faded so quick and in the end I got bored of re-colouring every couple of weeks, of course it was also pretty damaging to my hair.  Another thing I found was that it never ever gave anything close to the colour on the box, so I wasn't expecting anything different with the Live XXL..  But actually, I was wrong!!  This came out the most brightest red I'd ever been, pretty close to the colour on the box!!

The first 2 days of this my hair was a lovely vibrant red colour.  After that it all went downhill!  They aren't kidding when they say this is waterproofed, the silicone in this baby was here to stay!!.

It was already fading on the ends, but on the roots to mid lengths it just wasn't shifting.. so the top of my hair was a rich red shade, the ends were orange!  Yet nothing I did seemed to make it look ok, even putting my hair up made it ovbious there was a bad home colour situation going on (think orange ponytail against deep red roots.. yeah, horrible!!).  I basically tried everything in the book.. lemon juice mixed with conditioner and left on my hair for an hour, out of desperation I tried pure lemon juice.. I also tried Vo5 Hot Oil treatment, I tried washing with anti dandruff.. but none of these were shifting the colour, the roots were red, the rest was orange and thats just the way it was staying!!

I started looking online for other suggestions, then found the Colour B4.  I was worried about putting a colour stripper on my hair (how damaging does that sound!?!), I'd also read about the ginger tones that your hair was likely to be left with..  Yet the more I thought about it, the more I had to do it!  I wanted this orange gone, and fast!!

Off to Boots I toddled, picked up the Colour B4 in extra strength (due to the silicone in the XXL) and an Ash blonde Nice & Easy 24 wash dye..  In Boots (a big one at that) the 24 washes was all they had, there were no 8 wash dyes, so I figured the 24 would have to do..  Apparently theres no peroxide in the 8 wash dye, and thats what you need, so I never actually used the 24 wash one, yet it was needed as a back up incase I was left with Ronald Mcdonald hair!

I followed the lengthly instructions on the Colour B4, I spent an age in the bathroom that day!

Unfortunately I have no pictures of my hair with the red, or after the Colour B4.. So I guess you'll just have to trust me!

But what I was left with a gingery light brown/blonde colour, something I was prepared for.. Infact, I was prepared for it not to work at all, so I was quite suprised that it had taken out all the red, and some previous colours too!
When I spotted the gingery tones in the mirror I remembered I had a John Frieda violet based conditioner somewhere in the depths of my bathroom cabinet!  I dug it out, slapped a load on and left it on for about 15-20 mins.  This actually helped quite a bit in taking out some of the brassiness (a few more applications over the next few days helped a lot too).  I did dash out to Tescos to buy the John Frieda violet based mousse, this helped a lot too!!   So I recommend those on stand by if you do decide to do this!

My fiance really liked the light colour on me, which softened the shock a bit!   I think I lasted a month with it too.. But in the end I just couldnt take the lack of shine and the fact the damage was so obvious.

If you have had a real hair colour disaster, if its something that going over with a semi colour wont fix, then give the Colour B4 a go.  However, if your hair isn't in great condition (like mine), if its been coloured a lot previously, then think long and hard about it!  I have seen plenty of people post pics of shiny hair afterwards.. sadly mine didnt turn out like that, I think the 15 or so years of home colouring haven't helped!!

My hair was seriously damaged after all this.  It still is, after weeks of washing every 3 days, using  the Naked 97% natural shampoo and an intensive conditioner after each wash!  Its ended up really frizzy, it was snapping off and its gone really quite thin and was extremely unmanageable for a good month or so.  I even bought the Phtyo 9, and the Phyto shampoo and intensive condioner for extremely dry hair.. but even the richness of those didn't touch the severe damage.

Ever since the Colour B4 Ive been using a semi permanent, just because I needed some richness and shine putting back in there, plus I felt I looked really washed out with light hair.

But guess what!  Yesterday I used 81 Nice and Easy Mahogany.. a colour that was meant to turn out a nice dark warm brown (judging by the guide on the side).  But what has it really turned out as??  You guessed it - EXACTLY the colour the Live XXL turned out!!!!  I AM SO P*SSED about that!  I applied the dye yesterday, rinsed it, let it dry naturally then looked in the mirror and just could not believe my eyes!!

I can't get over how unhappy I am with my hair at the moment, which is probably a factor in why Ive been messing with it so much.. trying to get it to a colour I can live with again, trying to style it to hide some of the damage, buying no end of oils, serums etc..   Ive gone from having hair I was really happy with, to hair thats breaking off, falling out, is frizzy and terribly dry, hair that now won't hold colour and will rarely look ok..  I even chopped off the fringe Id been growing for months, in the hopes a new change would solve things.. But nope!  All that did was make me realise I don't suit a fringe, and ever since that chop its looked even worse!
I dont think I can face a hairdresser.. they would be appalled with the condition of it at the moment!

I think i just need to live with this colour, hope and pray this time it will wash out of its own accord, then perhaps just try and learn to live with it.. Its just that Im quite grey now, so I need to dye it, rather than want to dye it.. But the condition of it now.. Urgh!

The lesson Ive learned from this?  If you think 'Oh, well my hair never turns out bad, and its not in that bad a condition, it can take it..' Dont be fooled!  There really is only so much your hair can take, and it can actually turn out quite bad!  I never dreamed it could turn out so dry that it wouldn't do anything, wouldn't style, wouldnt look right up or down, or be left with hair that scares me to brush or style incase even more breaks off!

So Im going to take a break from the colouring and just hope that I can fix it (ie make it look in better condition than it really is!) until its long enough to be chopped off.. I am trimming the ends, but even thats not enough at the moment!  What I really need to do is cut it to shoulder length to get rid of some of the damage.. but I can't bring myself to do it as I dont suit shorter hair..


On a happier note, I really recommend you give the Naked hair care range a go :)

(all photos nabbed from Google \0:  )

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Saturday, 2 October 2010

Barry M Instant Nail Effects

I know.. I'm a very bad girl *looks up with puppy dog eyes, in the hopes of forgiveness*..

Its been an age since my last post!!

But here I am, still present and I haven't dropped off the face of the earth!  So I'll dip straight in and tell you about the new Barry M Instant Nail effects that I purchased last week.

Barry M say:
Instant Nail Effects is a simple to use nail paint that creates this amazing effect on your nails in one simple stroke. Or play around with it to create different effects.

I purchased mine through the website as my local Superdrug take an eon to get anything new in there.. I half expect to find cobwebs on the products in there sometimes!  Anyway, I don't feel that the delivery was all that quick, infact I completely forgot I'd ordered it!  (OK, so I just checked, and I ordered on the 24th (A Sunday), and I got the 'Dispatched' email on the same day, then my order arrived on Thursday, so not bad, but I've received orders quicker with Feel Unique (free delivery on all orders) and HQ Hair for example..)

When I first applied it, in haste and with excitement, it was over 4 days old OPI Tickle My France-y!  I actually quite liked it over that.  If you love the look of dark nail polish, but are perhaps worried about carrying it off, or you feel your skin tone may not suit, then the Barry M  I.N.E might be the perfect way to try it out as it gives you the overall look of a dark nail polish, but as its not solid it allows your natural nail to peep through, breaking up the whole look.

Oddly, I really enjoyed watching it dry too  In the words of Forrest Gump; "Barry M Instant Nail effects is like a box of chocolates.. You never know what you're gonna get.. "  Sort of!  
The thicker the application, the less it breaks up and the bolder it looks, the lighter the application, the more crackled it appears.. so theres some playing around with this.

What I did find, and this may be because I applied it over old varnish (ie there may have been some oily residue on my nails perhaps) I found that the I.N.E polish wore off on the tips of my nails, this happened on the 2nd day, keeping in mind I applied it very late in the evening the previous night and went straight to bed pretty much, this got steadily worse though and by the 3rd day it was ready to come off.  A proper application of a base coat may well solve this though.

I also found that you have to work fast with it.  The longer you take, the more it begins to thicken.. You can tell that the excess polish on the brush and the bottle rim is thickening up from the moment it hits the air, so I strongly suspect that I won't see half of the polish because it may well become unusable.. again, time will tell on that one, but that is my first impression.

I was expecting it to be glossier than it was, but with some Seche Vite topcoat that one can be solved.

All that said, this is quite a fun thing to have a play around with, and its something pretty new to me..  Although I seem to remember Changing Rooms and Carol smiley - Smillie going through a phase of slapping on a similar crackle paint to everything they encountered!  Does anyone in the UK remember that programme!? lol  ..Trust me, if you didn't get to see it, or aren't from the UK, then you didn't miss a thing!

Today I had another go (in haste as it was a last minute decision.. I know I know, one day I will apply my nail polish in the correct manor!).  
This time I used Glitter Red with the I.N.E over the top.  

(picture taken from the Barry M website)

Theres quite a difference when you apply this over a glitter based polish.. instead of the effect you get with a smooth-non glitter polish (similar to the example given on the bottle, although I should add its not as neat  as that pic in R.L either!), you end up with smaller crackles, crackles that give almost a leopard print look to the nail.

So here it is, and please excuse my really shoddy application.. 

Nail polish is a pretty new experience to me!  It's only in the last  month or so that Ive taken a real interest in it actually.  I've always had plenty of bottles, but have always avoided actually using them because Im so bad at making it look neat.. 'practice makes perfect' though, right!?

Oh, and I also don't recommend you stick silver stars on your pinkie either!!  It was total overkill.. I was just playing around!

I purchased this for £3.95 from the Barry M website here

Heres hoping its not another 50 years before I make another post!
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