Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

I am SO late to the party with this it’s unbelievable! What can I say? I live in a miserable backwater in the North whose only make-up counters are the ones aimed at the landed gentry, usually of the over-60s variety!

While I was in London before Christmas, I was SO EXCITED to pick up this eyeshadow primer! It’s been on my wish list for 3 actual YEARS.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original

What can I say about it? It comes in a purple tube that’s shiny with an applicator in the lid, yada yada… I got the large tube because a small one was £10.50 but the large was £16 which was twice the amount of product and I foresee myself using this a LOT and not being able to buy more for possibly 3 more years (actually, it depends where I emigrate to, but Ireland’s not known for its availability of make-up brands, and neither is New Zealand). Having said that, I’ve seen it for sale on US Amazon for a reasonable price (it’s disgracefully expensive on UK Amazon), so now that I know I like it, I will probably just get it off there after I emigrate to wherever I end up going, because aside from delivery to the UK, Amazon.com tends to be pretty good at international delivery.

I got the original; I didn’t ask the counter assistant what the difference was because I got this a few days before Christmas and the stores were literally heaving, and I was all like, “gimme makeups” like some sort of chemically deficient crack whore that needed a hit. If you’re wondering about getting into make-up, be warned that this will happen to you despite your best intentions at moderation and temperance! Joking aside though, the assistants were rushed off their feet and I didn’t want to waste their time and add to their stress by asking inane questions about products, so I just went with original since I was fairly sure I’d be happy with any. …And I am SO happy with this product! If you’re uncertain which version to get, go with the original purple one!

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion glides on the eye easily, turning pretty much invisible once it’s on, and it also does the following things that I liked:

  1. It makes the eyeshadow colors stand out more.
  2. It makes the eyeshadow colors blend more easily.
  3. It makes the eyeshadow colors MUCH easier to remove at night with less crappy residue under my eyes after using my micellar water.
  4. It makes my eye area look fresh and vital.

I don’t know how it does all this, probably some sort of mysterious voodoo magic or something, but whatever it is, I am in LOVE with this product. It was always going to be a gamble, getting a product that I’d wanted for so long, but in this case, it DEFINITELY lived up to all my expectations.

I’ve seen a lot of people claiming that the MAC Pro-Longwear Paint Pots are a better base for eyeshadow, but having used those in the past, I could not disagree more. The Urban Decay eyeshadow primer potion is much kinder to the eye area and looks way better under eyeshadow, and it gives better blendability too.

Thank-you, Urban Decay, for making the most fabulous eyeshadow primer ever!

Kim Kardashian’s Skincare Routine: High-End Cheaper Alternatives!

Kim Kardashian-West has a skincare routine like you would not believe! The lotions and potions she uses all look so nourishing and luxurious, but it’s about the most expensive list of products I’ve ever come across. So I thought I would go through a few of them (there were many more than these) and talk about alternatives. All the alternatives are still high-end products, they’re just not quite as shockingly expensive as Kim K’s skincare recommendations:

Kim uses Tatcha Beauty Camellia Oil. If you’re looking for a more affordable beauty oil, try the Amaki Japanese Tsubaki anti-ageing face oil, which also contains camellia. Any face oil is going to do some good to your skin, though, it doesn’t have to have such an expensive price tag.

For a face mask, Kim recommends the Chantecaille Bio Lifting Mask. A less expensive option (but still high end) is Dermalogica’s Multi-Vitamin Power Skin Recovery Mask, which is used by Natalie Dormer.

Kim also uses Givenchy Beauty le Soin Noir Face Masks (a lace sheet mask), but I couldn’t find these for sale on Amazon. There’s a variety of fabulous Korean sheet masks out there, though, including these Dermal Korea Collagen Green Tea masks.

Kim’s face cream is the SKII Cellumination Cream (an anti-ageing cream), which is also not available on Amazon; a similar product is the Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer a moisturizer by Gwyneth Paltrow’s beauty company.

Guerlain Super Aqua Eye (under-eye patches to reinvigorate the under-eye area); these are only as good as the Skyn Iceland Eye Gels which are 1/3 of the price. As an extra bonus, the Skyn Iceland ones are used by Natalie Dormer, who in my opinion looks better than Kim K.

Lastly, Arcona Eye Dew (an eye cream). Arcona’s active ingredient is hyalauronic acid. My personal favorite hyalauronic acid eye cream is from By Nature New Zealand (and it smells nice too)!

One thing I thought was a little strange about Kim K’s beauty routine is that it didn’t talk about heavy-hitting anti-ageing creams (there were no retinols or peptides on her list), despite her list being incredibly long. I am also curious about how often she uses all of these products. I wonder how long she spends doing her beauty routine on a daily basis?

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream Review

So I read an article about 18 months ago about anti-ageing prevention for those of us in our late twenties. The article had some interesting points that got me thinking about the best anti-ageing strategy for people in our late twenties who haven’t really started getting wrinkles yet. I want to discuss that at some point, but the result was that I bought the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream last year, then never got a chance to try it, so last week I opened it, which is what I’m going to review in this article.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this cult beauty product and the information from Elemis’s website says this:

“Clinically proven*, the powerful anti-ageing ingredients of Pro-Collagen Marine Cream have been shown to reduce the depth of wrinkles, improve skin firmness, tone and hydration in 15 days.

The unique Mediterranean algae, Padina Pavonica has been shown to dramatically increase the quantity of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) within the skin. By special cell communication, these water-attracting GAGs are responsible for skin moisturisation, improving suppleness, firmness and elasticity. In addition, Ginkgo Biloba providing superior free-radical protection has been blended with precious Rose and Mimosa Absolutes, thus creating the ultimate anti-ageing cream from ELEMIS.

*Independent Clinical Trials”   — Source: http://www.elemis.com/pro-collagen-marine-cream.html

Of course, those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know I am renowned for being very skeptical of the claims of beauty products (amongst other things), but I had to admit everything Elemis said about their cream was making it look like a really good option. It basically works by causing your body to produce more collagen in the area you’ve put the cream, and since loss of collagen is one of the signs of ageing, it looked to me like it would be a good choice if you’re in your mid twenties or late twenties and want to avoid or delete those first anti-ageing signs. Since I’m not going to throw my disbelief out of the window until I have hard evidence, I decided to try the cream for myself.

I bought a small sample size bottle because it was £30 for a sample or £100 for the full sized jar (the price seems to fluctuate between £80-100), and I didn’t know if it was going to work out or whether I would want lots of it. 15ml was a good size for a sample (the same size as a full-sized tube of eye cream, actually) and I’ve been using it for over a week and I don’t think it’s half-empty yet. The bottle looked like this:

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.
Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.

A couple of points I noticed when I first got it; I really liked the scent of the cream, it was very pleasant and that instantly made me think this was going to be a good product. Secondly, I really liked the consistency. There are a lot of anti-ageing creams, even “entry level” ones that are designed for those of us in our late twenties, which are far too thick and that annoys me because thick creams clog pores and cause breakouts. They’re just not made for normal or breakout-prone skin. Now, usually, I have very clear skin but that’s because I’m incredibly careful about what I put on my face and I stop using anything that causes me issues. The fact of the matter is, I’m prone to breakouts which is exactly why I have to be careful. The Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream had a nice, medium consistency that wasn’t too watery or too thick.

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.
Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream on the back of my hand.

The cream rubbed into my face easily and the same can be said for my hand. The two indentations in my hand, btw, came from a rabbit bite a few years ago. I don’t normally use hand cream because I hate having damp/greasy hands, so my hands tend to be less taken care of than other people’s. This cream left no greasy residue whatsoever and I didn’t feel the need to compulsively wash my hands after using this.

After I rubbed it into my hand, the skin looked moisturized and plumper than with nothing on my hands, and the rabbit bite scars looked less bad as well. I tried to take a photo of my hands side by side for comparison but had to give up and just photograph this same hand again. I don’t know if I managed to photograph it very well (holy CRAP it’s hard to take a piccie of your hands):

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream 15ml sample.
The same hand after rubbing the cream in (I didn’t put any on my fingers, thumb or arm).

When I tried it on my face, the effect was much more subtle (I really couldn’t get a good photo that showed any difference at all) but I could tell it was definitely making a difference, even if I was the only one who could notice it. The only thing I didn’t like was seeing my normal face when the cream washed off before bedtime!! This cream made my face feel a lot more moisturized with absolutely no greasiness, pore-clogging or breakouts. I am not 100% convinced on the anti-ageing properties but one of my friends (who is over 30 and when I mentioned I was doing this review, she told me she loves this Elemis cream) said it can take a couple of weeks for the long-term benefits to show up. I only wish this stuff had an SPF so I could use it more regularly as a day cream.

Conclusion:

This is a very subtle cream, for people who want to prevent ageing or want to get rid of the very first signs of ageing. I didn’t feel that this cream really deserved cult beauty status amongst older women but maybe their skin responds to it differently to how mine did. This cream absolutely did wonders for the back of my hands but the effect was less noticeable on my face. I did like this cream but I’m not sure I’d pay the full £80-100 for it given that I’m currently a full-time student supporting myself from writing. Having said that, if I was earning enough from my writing that £80-100 was a reasonable price point, I would definitely get more of this cream because it made my face look and feel very nice. If you want to buy the full-sized jar of cream, you can get Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream on Amazon (US) or click here to buy a smaller sample from UK Amazon (I obviously don’t know where you live, so check if they ship to you).

Tried this for longer than me? Tried this at a different age? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to find out more about the long-term benefits of Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream!

Korean vs Japanese beauty BB Review: Clio Water Me Please vs Sana Pore Putty

Today it’s Korean beauty vs Japanese beauty, and I’m testing out how Korean brand Clio’s Water Me Please BB cream stands up against Japanese brand SANA’s Keana Pate Pore Putty BB Pact (which I also reviewed here).

Korean vs Japanese Clio Water Me Please vs Pore Putty BB Pact Cream
Left: Clio Water Me Please BB Cream. Right: SANA Pore Putty BB Pact.

I applied both to my face without any moisturizer or base, to see how they fared just on their own, because normally a BB cream is used instead of layers of traditional make-up. SANA Pore Putty BB Pact SPF 40 PA+++ was on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB SPF 30 PA++ is on the left.

Please bear in mind I am currently ill having contracted Fresher’s Flu at university this weekend, and my face got severely weather battered by going sailing today as well, and it’s past my bedtime but I’m trying hard to make time for you guys today (I’m scheduling it so you can read at a more friendly time of day); so that’s three good reasons why my eyes are so red and puffy!! That makes this the perfect day to test these two products though, because there’s no point testing out foundations on a good skin day when I look great anyway!

My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.
My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.

The Clio Water Me Please gave a much more natural look with less coverage than the SANA Pore Putty. I think I would use this one when I wanted something lightweight that didn’t look like I was wearing makeup. My boyfriend couldn’t actually tell I was wearing makeup.

My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.
My face with a good view of the SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right.
My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.
My face with Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left. There’s a definite line down the middle of my forehead between the two products.

White Cast / Grey Cast:

The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream has been criticized by some beauty bloggers for giving a grey cast, but when I applied it today with a beauty blender (actually, a cheap Chinese dupe; my budget doesn’t currently stretch to an expensive make-up sponge), it did not give a grey cast. In fact, its base tones blended perfectly with my natural face color (NC15-20). The SANA Pore Putty SPF40 PA+++ gave a slight white cast in the mirror but it’s not noticeable in the photos for some reason.

Did they Cause Breakouts?

The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream did not cause any breakouts at all, and never has done, not even the time when I first used it and smeared WAY too much on my face (seriously, dab it on lightly). It’s uber skin friendly.

The SANA Pore Putty has left my skin with very minor breakouts every time I’ve used it, so after using it several times I can honestly say I think it’s the Pore Putty doing it. However, while my skin is usually normal, occasionally it goes on a spree of being sensitive and gets upset at certain products. Just like it occasionally goes dry or oily. Weird, huh? I think it’s down to what I eat throwing my skin out of balance sometimes, but I can’t prove it.

Blendability:

I found that the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream blended exceptionally well on my face (NC15-20) and on the back of my hand (about 2 shades darker). It was practically invisible, which is fabulous for a product with SPF-30 and PA++. The SANA Pore Putty didn’t blend so well, and sort of sits on top of my skin, but it’s only as bad as my L’Oreal True Match, which is to say you can hardly tell.

Creasing:

I don’t have any permanent lines to find out if either product settled in them, so I’m only talking about expression lines here. The SANA Pore Putty made those expression lines more obvious, which made me look older when I smiled or frowned. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact definitely creased more in the under-eye area, making that area look more dry, but the Clio Water Me Please BB cream left a more uneven surface, especially around the (ever-growing) pores either side of my nose. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact worked to minimize these pores, even if the make-up itself was more obvious. I will add that a good primer will get rid of more of this issue, regardless of which BB you use.

Coverage:

The SANA Pore Putty was just much better at covering up red areas, though. In the three photos, you can see the line down my forehead where the SANA Pore Putty is covering up all the redness I’ve currently got from being ill, and the Clio Water Me Please BB cream isn’t covering that up. Definitely if you have clear skin the Clio Water Me Please is a much better choice, but if you have things to cover up, SANA Pore Putty is better.

SPF:
The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact is SPF40 (or possibly 35; they keep changing it), ten whole SPFs more than the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream. More importantly, Pore Putty is PA+++ and Clio Water Me Please is PA++, meaning Pore Putty offers 33% better protection from harmful ageing UVA rays than Clio Water Me Please.

Conclusion:

In general, the Clio Water Me Please BB SPF 30 PA++ is a very good BB cream, good value for money at $11 a tube, and I think it’s got a lot more advantages. However, if you are looking to minimize the appearance of pores, or cover up redness, the SANA Pore Putty BB Pact SPF 40 PA+++ really comes into its own and does those jobs very well. It also has the better sun protection, which is a consideration if you don’t use separate sunscreen year-round. Neither of these BB products are very expensive compared to some other products, and that also counts in their favor. If I had to just use one on an average (non-sunny) day, however, I would reach for the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream.

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil First Impressions + Review

This is a first impressions and review of the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil.
Basically, it’s an oil blend that you rub on your face and it’s supposed to improve the condition of your skin.

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil
Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil

I bought it because my skin suddenly took a turn for the worse about 2 weeks ago and no matter what I do, it just looks dull and unhealthy. I thought I’d try the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil to see if it could help my skin perk up a bit. Here’s what it looks like in the packaging:

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil

Manuka Doctor are famous for their bee venom products, their logo is a bee with a first aid symbol on its body. Because it’s Dr. Bee, which is freakin’ adorable. Anyway, the Replenishing Facial Oil has no bee venom in, but it does contain oil from the Manuka tree (which of course is where Manuka honey comes from, and Manuka honey is apparently really good for you).

Ingredients:
Hazel seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, wheatgerm oil, rosehip oil, perfume, manuka oil, evening primrose oil, cranberry seed oil, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, borage seed oil, plum seed oil, peach kernel oil, blackcurrant seed oil, raspberry seed oil, tocopheryl acetate, beta-carotene, carrot root extract, carrot seed oil, ascorbyl palmitate, citronellol, coumarin, hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, butylphenyl methylpropional, limonene, linalool, alpha-isomethyl ionone.

As you can see, it’s packed full of goodness.

The scent was sort of flowery but not in-your-face-floral; I quite liked it. The bottle had a nice dropper to make application easy, and it was nice to see how much I was using.

I have normal skin that’s very slightly sensitive, sometimes oily and sometimes dry depending on a range of factors.

On my skin, it spread easily and absorbed after about 10 minutes, leaving my face feeling nice even though I couldn’t see any magical improvements to my skin. Maybe something’s happening at a microscopic level, because after a couple of hours I had to concede that my forehead was looking less washed-out and so were my cheeks. I’m going to try it for a few weeks to see what the longer term benefits are, but overall I’m fairly happy that this oil will replace the macadamia face oil I was previously using (which ran out this week), and if it does a better job than the macadamia oil, I’ll let you all know.

Costs: £16.92 from Amazon UK. That’s how much I paid for it and that’s where I got it from. It’s not available on American Amazon.com but you can get it at Skinstore.com.

Have you tried any Manuka Doctor products? I want to try the night cream with bee venom but I don’t know if I’m brave enough!

How moist. Spray on Moisturizer review + roundup.

Today I want to talk about spray-on lotion moisturizers, because moisturizing lotion is important.

I bought three recently, because I wanted to know whether Vaseline Spray and Go was really the best one out there, since a few others have recently been released.

spray on lotion

Up for test are:

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Rapid Moisture Spray $12 (I bought for £1.99 in a discount store)

Balance Active Formula Nourishing Spray Body Lotion (that links to UK Amazon – not available in the US) – I bought for £1.00 in a discount store.

Hydrate and Go Body Moisturiser Spray – I bought for 49p from a discount store, apparently not available on Amazon.

And they’re all being compared to my current favorite:
Vaseline Spray and Go Cocoa Radiant $6.20

First let me start by saying this whole experiment has proved how much I love the Vaseline Spray and Go in Cocoa Radiant.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Spray Lotion:
The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter spray smelled similar to my usual Vaseline one, and I did like it after it rubbed into my skin, here’s a before and after:

spray on lotion
Before
spray on lotion
After

The only issue I had, which reviewers have commented on, was that the spray top didn’t work very well so it was very difficult to dispense product. Normally with spray lotion, I have a problem doing my right arm – because I have to use the hand that’s covered in lotion (from rubbing it in while I sprayed with the other hand) to spray the bottle. With the Palmers one, it was actually impossible to get the spray nozzle to press down with my lotion hand. It was too stiff and the bottle became too slippery. Aside from that, I liked it though, and if I saw it at £1.99 again, I’d buy it, but I’d never pay $12 for it!

Pro’s:
Silky soft skin afterwards
Smelled really nice
Nice thickness
No sticky residue

 

Con’s:
Sprayer didn’t work very well and I felt like I was fighting it a lot.

Balance Active:
The Balance Active one was less pleasant to smell – it smelled like that talcum powder that middle aged women used to use when I was younger, and deodorants with names like “Mum” or “Sanex” when they all smelled the same as each other. The spray also had issues – the actual sprayer seemed to work ok, the main problem was that the lotion separated when it was sprayed, so in the middle there was a white streak, and round the outside was watery colorless stuff. It looked a bit dodgy, if I’m honest, and I wouldn’t want to share photos of that as they’d get mistaken for jizz. Having gotten past that to actually putting the product on my skin, I found that it was moderately moisturizing but a bit too watery to replace normal lotion. It wasn’t sticky, but it didn’t leave my skin feeling as silky as the Palmer’s or my usual Vaseline spray lotions. I did find because the lotion separates when sprayed that it sprayed my carpet and furniture a lot more than my actual legs, so I was spraying it into my hand to rub in, instead of directly on my body, by about day 3. Here’s a before and after on the other leg to the one I did with the Palmer’s (above):

spray on lotion
Before
spray on lotion
After

Pro’s:
It was very cheap when I bought it.
It did moisturize my skin a bit.

Con’s:
It left my skin feeling dry again 12 hours later.
I didn’t see anything to substantiate the “anti-ageing” claims on the bottle.
The bottle’s too bulky for gym or travel use.
The lotion separates when it’s sprayed. This makes it difficult to aim.

Hydrate and Go:
The “Hydrate and Go” one looks like a Vaseline Spray and Go dupe. But it isn’t. I would say it was the worst of the four spray lotions I have tried. Like one or two other things that boast a “non-greasy formula,” this Hydrate and Go was sticky, leaving my skin feeling like I might not want to go outside in case wasps got confused and thought I was a can of coke. It was that bad. I actually had to go shower again after using this, then use my Victoria’s Secret (non-spray) Love Spell lotion to get rid of the sticky feeling. I hate stickiness. I wouldn’t buy it again. In fact, from the dust on the lid, you can see that I never used it again after the first use, and I only kept hold of it until now so I could show you a photo for this article. I don’t have any before or after shots for this one because I just wanted it off my skin.

Pro’s:
It didn’t cause me to catch on fire or get AIDS.

Con’s:
Everything else you can think of.

Vaseline Spray and Go:
I like the way it sprays, it’s a bit thinner than a normal moisturizer but it’s good for when I’m in a hurry. It’s a little bit bulky but nowhere near as bad as the Palmer’s or the Balance Active. It smells nice and is non-sticky. I only really looked for another one because it’s quite expensive to buy this in the UK compared to the prices I paid for the other three. However, I now know it’s also better than the other ones.

Pro’s:
Smells nice
Non sticky
Moisturizing

Con’s:
Expensive.

Conclusion:

I will be using the Palmer’s until it’s empty (if I can get all the product out with that dodgy sprayer) because I really like it aside from the sprayer issues, then I’ll buy more of the Vaseline Spray and Go. It’s the original, and it’s the best of all the ones I tried because it just works.

Have you tried any of these? What did you think of them?

Pink Snow: Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure

Pure as the driven snow, me.” – Me being sarcastic at some point in the past.

This week’s weekly photo challenge is ‘Pure‘ so I found some beautiful recent cherry blossom photos that I haven’t shared before, to spread the purity of pink snow:

Pure Cherry Blossom May Blossom Snowfall Petals
Pure Cherry Blossom
Pure Cherry Blossom May Blossom Snowfall Petals
Pure Cherry Blossom
Pure Cherry Blossom May Blossom Snowfall Petals
Pure Cherry Blossom

Concealer: Maybelline Age Rewind vs MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

I decided to do the ultimate concealer comparison between the two most popular concealers available to cosmetics junkies: MAC Pro Longwear Concealer and Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Concealer (which is also known as Maybelline The Eraser Eye Instant Anti Age concealer as it recently got re-branded for the UK, which is why it says this on my product).

1. Packaging:
While both products come in glass bottles, the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser one is better packaged, with a twist top and a fuzzy under-eye applicator. It took a LOT of twisting to get my twist-top to dispense product, but I had the same problem with the MAC Pro Longwear’s pump top, and I remember with both of them spending ages trying to get them to dispense and wondering if I’d bought duds!! I’m not very patient haha.

Left, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Concealer shade Light. Right, MAC Pro Longwear Concealer shade NC20. Review Comparison
Left, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Concealer shade Light. Right, MAC Pro Longwear Concealer shade NC20.

2. Value for Money:
Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser is $6.99 (or £7.99) but you get 6.8ml where there’s 9ml in the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer although it costs $21.00 (or £17.50), so the Maybelline one is still better value for money.

3. Color:
I’ve done photos of the swatches. I’m neutral toned but I prefer yellow undertones to a product so MAC’s NC20 was matched to me in the shop (as their warm/cool is ass-backwards compared to everyone else’s). MAC Pro Longwear concealers are available in a huge range of colors so there’s something for everyone. The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser lost points here because it only comes in “light” or “medium” and I bought light but really it was very pink which I disliked.

4. Coverage:
The MAC Pro Longwear had better coverage on its own or on top of foundation BUT it came at the expense of looking cakey. Underneath foundation, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser was better. As you can see in the photo below, without any other makeup on my face, both products give similar coverage to each other, but both products have a transparency that appears in bad lighting (see second picture when I’ve fiddled with the camera settings to replicate bad lighting).

Left, MAC Pro Longwear concealer shade NC20, right, Maybelline Instant Anti Age The Eraser Eye review compare
Left, MAC Pro Longwear concealer shade NC20, right, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser (no other make up on face except concealer) in good lighting.
Left is MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC20, right is Maybelline Eraser Eye Instant Anti Age concealer in Light. review compare
Bleurgh Calgon take it away!!!! Left is MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC20, right is Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser concealer in Light. This (purposely badly lit) picture shows they’re a bit transparent in bad lighting and therefore pretty ineffective on their own.

5. Finish:
The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser has a MUCH better finish, it looks more natural where the MAC Pro Longweaer concealer caked into my fine lines and even found new ones that I don’t usually have. Obviously, the old lady look isn’t what I’m going for when I use a concealer so this is a huge dealbreaker for me.

6. How does it work with other make up?
The MAC Pro Longwear works over most foundations although even with moisturizer and primer it really magnifies those fine lines which bothers me. The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser concealer looks more natural underneath foundation, and works well to minimize the appearance of discoloration and skin imperfections.  I put Sana Keana Pore Putty BB Pact (a sort of BB cream foundation crossover) over the two concealers, and added lipgloss because my lips were dry, but didn’t put any other products on, and the results are quite good – although it’s obvious that, even under the Sana Pore Putty, the MAC Pro Longwear concealer has gone translucent and the dark patch is showing through under the eye, whereas the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser has done a much better job of making the imperfections disappear.

MAC Pro Longwear on left, Maybelline Eraser Eye Instant Anti-Ageing on right, under Sana Keana Pore putty, with lipgloss on lips. compare review
MAC Pro Longwear on left, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser on right, under Sana Keana Pore putty, with lipgloss on lips.
MAC Pro Longwear on left, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser on right, under Sana Keana Pore putty, with lipgloss on lips. review compare
MAC Pro Longwear on left, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser on right, under Sana Keana Pore putty.

7. Irritation:
I find the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser to be less drying and irritating to the eye where the MAC pro longwear concealer is both more drying and more irritating, and leaves my eye area sensitive even after I remove my make up. For this reason, I find myself reaching for the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser more.

8. Long Lasting:
I found they both lasted as long as each other, the MAC pro-longwear creased from the moment it was dry so it didn’t really wear very well and its formulation makes it a total bitch to fully remove without micellar water. The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser was easier to remove and didn’t seem to disappear over the course of the day.

Conclusion:
I like the color range, coverage and blendability of the MAC one, but the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Concealer gives a much better finish overall and is more comfortable to wear, so I personally prefer the Maybelline one even though the color is definitely not perfect for my skin, because I can put foundation or powder over the top to correct color but I can’t do anything to cover up the problems I have with the MAC one. I would still use the MAC one, but not on dull, dark days or evenings or any time I might go into bad lighting.  Overall, if you are looking for a new concealer and can’t decide between the MAC pro longwear concealer and the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser, I would recommend the Maybelline one, available here in the US (where it’s still called Age Rewind) or here in the UK (where it’s been renamed Maybelline Instant Anti-Ageing The Eraser Eye) (affiliate links, but obviously I only link to things I actually recommend even if, such as in this case, it’s the cheaper option).

Have you tried either of these? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments!

Review: We Buy Any Car (why I chose to sell privately despite being out of time)

This is a review of We Buy Any Car, discussing why I sold one car privately and scrapped the other car after trying to use We Buy Any Car.

I am writing this on my website because We Buy Any Car has fiddled it so that you have to post an invoice number to review them on Trustpilot (the allegedly trustworthy review site). Of course the problem with that is that only the people who will actually agree that the service was OK enough for them to sell their car are people who will get an invoice number.

I absolutely wouldn’t mind them valuing cars at well below market value if they STARTED with the price they actually intend to pay you for your car when they quoted you online, and you had a clear and transparent decision to take or leave that price, but that’s not what they do, and that’s what I have an issue with.

Basically, We Buy Any Car is a car-buying website with aggressive advertising and tactics which claims to to buy your car regardless of the condition it is in. Obviously we all know they’re going to give you a price below market value, this review isn’t so much concerned with that as HOW they arrive at it and the lack of transparency, coupled with the fact they’re fiddling their reviews to make themselves look good. I tried to use them in 2014 and again last summer and both times I found their whole set-up to be absolutely shocking.

Firstly there’s the fact they claim they guarantee to honour the price they quoted, if the car is in the condition you say it is. Of course, when the guy actually inspects your car, he makes up a bunch of crap that’s allegedly wrong with your car that is untrue, so you can either accept a vastly lowered price (after being promised a quick and easy sale) or have to advertise your car privately.

My 2006 VW Golf was originally valued by We Buy Any Car at £1850. In late 2014, £1850 was about 60% of the market value of my car, but I wanted a quick sale so thought I’d take that. Despite being female I’m not an idiot when it comes to cars, and I knew full well that my car was worth over £2000 so £1850 was pretty much as low as I was prepared to go but I was lured in by their promises of a quick easy hassle free sale (all lies). When it came to it, We Buy Any Car weren’t actually worth the time of day because, despite claiming they won’t haggle over the price, they really, really were doing and it wasted half a day of my life plus the time online in the first place and the fact I had to wait a week to even get that far because they were fully booked. That’s a week I could have been selling my car. If I hadn’t been 100% confident in my self-defence abilities, I could easily have felt intimidated enough by the way they were treating me to accept their offer (they were being very intimidating with the way they spoke to me and were trying to make me feel like I didn’t know my own car).

An example of the things they found “wrong” with my VW Golf:

1. The man was sitting in my car on a blazing hot summer’s day, running my engine and wasting my petrol, so he could sit in front of my air conditioning for over 40 minutes and cover my driver seat in disgusting sweat, while someone on the phone was telling me that my car didn’t have air conditioning.

2. They found scratches and dents on the car that didn’t exist. For example, on the driver door they claimed there was a scratch when it was actually a smudge from the man’s own dirty fingers.

3. The “it’s time for a service” light was on. I had disclosed this. They said this meant the car had an imminent engine failure. It actually means that the car needed its annual service. The picture of the engine, of course, being the “engine failure” light, not the picture of the spanner. Despite the fact I had disclosed this, they decided to further reduce the price because of it.

4. They said my car hadn’t had a cam-belt change, despite the fact I was waving the receipt for it in their faces the entire time and it was also written into the service book for 80,000 miles (which is early on a Golf), having just hit 100,000 miles (hence the picture of the spanner).

5. They said I hadn’t disclosed the one piece of damage to the car, despite the fact that I’d printed out the form I’d filled in and could clearly prove that I had, in fact, disclosed that dent. Then they said that the dent meant the car needed a total respray and used it to further reduce the price.

They amended their quote to £1050, but because I stood my ground and argued with them for over half an hour, I got it up to £1675, proving how little confidence they really had in the “issues” they found with my car. I walked away from that “deal” and sold my car privately, so I don’t have an invoice number for We Buy Any Car, so I can’t add my review to Trustpilot. While measures like this are intended to prevent spammers and fake reviews, all it’s doing in the case of We Buy Any Car is skewing the reviews so that nobody gets to hear the bad stuff. I just reviewed my car insurance on Trustpilot and they didn’t want an invoice number (or other proof) for that. In the end, I got £2000 for my VW Golf from a private buyer via Gumtree, which produced a lot of time wasters but did get my car sold quickly. If I’d held out for full market value, I think I would have got it but I was in a hurry to get the car off my driveway so I could park my new one.

The second time I dealt with We Buy Any Car, they actually refused to buy my 2004 Citroen Xsara Picasso just before Christmas, no reason given. It didn’t start, didn’t work, but had a very clean interior and no damage to the outside. I got the £20 scrappage instead. So “We Buy Any Car” is also false advertising, and I now have 2 bad experiences with a company and no invoice number to write a review on Trustpilot.

The fact of the matter is, We Buy Any Car are misusing spam measures on online review sites to try and improve their poor image. Most of the customer experience takes place BEFORE you accept their offer to buy your car. I would bet that 50%, possibly more, of the customers of this company don’t actually complete the sale due to their shocking tactics. The beauty of this scam, then, is that you can either be ripped off for hundreds of pounds so you can write a review on an “independent” review site, and tell other people about your experience (not to mention giving We Buy Any Car more money when they resell your car to a dealer at profit) or, technically, you’re not a verifiable customer, because no money has changed hands.

The fact that Trust Pilot is complicit in enabling We Buy Any Car to mute legitimate reviewers casts doubt on the trustworthiness of its other reviews. Are they really representative of the customer experience?  Having an invoice number is no guarantee of legitimacy anyway – you can’t prove that companies are not just taking customers’ invoice numbers themselves and getting their staff to write glowing reviews, so requesting an invoice number is no guarantee of authentic reviews.

So the real questions are: Is Trust Pilot really that trustworthy as a review site? and, why does Trading Standards only intervene if you’ve bought something that’s not fit for purpose? They wouldn’t get involved even if you take the obviously dodgy deal being offered by companies such as We Buy Any Car? because you accepted the money after being browbeaten into it by their staff, to avoid having to start the whole car selling process again from scratch.

I think Trust Pilot need to make it harder for companies like this one to falsely skew their results when the rest of the internet will tell you how crap We Buy Any Car is, and I think the law needs to change so that companies like this have to operate in a more transparent way.

 

Raindrops on Roses: Weekly Photo Challenge

I looked out at the ethereal water droplets bathing the garden and I couldn’t help myself.  I had to go out and get soaked taking these pictures. This is my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge since the theme is Spare and the sky had all this spare water in it (so it rained a lot):

Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – tiny snail nestled amidst the petals.
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – an adamant ant.
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – and leaves too!
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – the drip is about to fall
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – screw the roses, give me the thorns (!)
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – the water has turned this rosebud into a glimmering jewel.

Seen anything wonderful today?