Thursday, 7 May 2009

at the beauty counter

Took some time out from my food shopping the other day to check out some of the newest products to hit the makeup counter, and got a few surprises along the way. You'll be pleased to hear, perhaps, that this was IN the supermarket, so credit-crunch-busting prices and brands abound. Your credit card can stop screaming for the moment.

First up, I went to have a looksee at Revlon's Beyond Natural Skin Matching Makeup. An imitator of Avon's Personal Match Barely There Makeup, it's a tinted moisturiser that starts out white, then adapts cleverly to your skin tone. Sadly for them, Avon's version is just that bit cleverer. Both contain an SPF, but even though Avon only offers three shades (light-medium-dark), while Revlon offers five, Revlon have got the colour so very wrong (at the lighter end of the spectrum at least). I smoothed some of the 'light' shade onto my hand, and it was far too dark - it reminded me of the muddy look Nivea's tinted moisturiser gave me when I tried it last summer. Bad batch? Possible, but unlikely (this is rare). I'd therefore advise the pale and interesting among you to stay away from Revlon's attempt at this product until they've got it right and go for Avon's instead (which at £7 is £2 cheaper than Revlon's too).

I then moved on to Maybelline's counter to see what all the fuss surrounding the new Dream Satin foundation was about. Ladies, it's all true - it blends seamlessly, the colours are great, and it moisturises beautifully too. Reminded me a little of the new DiorSkin Nude range, which is great for the old bank balance. However, I was shocked at the contrast between Dream Satin and another Maybelline foundation, Wonder Finish - it was really incredibly runny and was just in a completely different league in terms of quality. Always try before you buy, and don't necessarily rely on how other foundations from the same brand have worked in the past (I also took a look at Maybelline's new Liquid Mineral foundation, but seeing that the list of ingredients was as long as my arm AND contained parabens, I was less than impressed). However, in perhaps better news, I've also heard that across the pond Maybelline has recently added to the arsenal of vibrating mascaras. Can't wait for it to come out here and see how it compares to its more famous competitors.

In terms of other new mascaras, the one I've found most exciting to date also comes from the high street in the form of L'Oreal's new Telescopic Explosion mascara. Imitating Givenchy's Phenomen'Eyes with its spiky-balled brush, it should be a hell of a lot more affordable than the £17 Givenchy asks for theirs. Also on the L'Oreal front, they have their new Studio Secrets range, which consists largely of primers but also features eye and lip colours as well as a foundation with a built-in brush. While this all sounded very exciting at the first listen, close up it seems that it's nothing that you can't get from other brands. What is fairly attractive, however, is their new range of Shine Gelée Lipsticks, which takes advantage of their recent Royal Jelly technology (as seen in their Royal Jelly shampoo). The lipstick comes in 5 shades, is ridiculously cheap at £6, and to me really seems to provide a cross between a lipstick and a gloss, providing the cohesive colour of the former and the shine and moisture of the latter. Top.

Finally, there is of course the classic straight-from-the-salon French beauty brand, Jean-Claude Biguine. It's common here for high-end hair salons to also sell their own line of makeup, and Biguine's is good (I own one of the pressed powders - luminosity galore!) - as well as being fairly and affordably priced, it's also environmentally friendly, allowing you to buy refills for your products as well as buying them new. Very few brands seem to do this - EyesLipsFace (ELF) does, as do Elysambre (another French brand) and Bobbi Brown, but examples are generally few and far between. Jean-Claude Biguine products are generally on sale in supermarkets and at selected branches of Monoprix as well as in the Biguine salons, and it's already available in most of mainland Europe as well as in the US, Japan & Canada. Perhaps one day they will hit Britain too :)

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