Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Review: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

Ah the famous Shu Uemura eyelash curler. It has a huge amount of amazing reviews and a reputation for being a fantastic eyelash curler, as well as being a cult classic. After having my eyelids pinched by cheap eyelash curlers (eek $2 ones), probably about more than a year ago I decided to purchase the Shu Uemura eyelash curler! I got it off eBay but I can't remember how much for- but it was a bargain. Did I have qualms about it being fake? Definitely. But the performance has been excellent and my doubts subsided. I'm not too sure how much the curler retails for in Australia though (maybe around $30?), if someone can enlighten me then I can include it here in the post!

 Anyone read Japanese? :P Designed and made in Japan!

Oops the rubber is a little dirty!
The Shu Uemura eyelash curler is designed best for Asian eyelids but this does not mean that it won't suit anyone else! The curler is curved more than conventional eyelash curlers and this is what minimises and prevents any pinching.
Let's talk about the cheap eyelash curlers I have used before. Pinching was awful, and the curve definitely did not suit my eyes. When you attempt to "curl" the lashes, you have to apply pressure and the eyelashes  become kinky and very unnatural looking- it is obvious where the lashes have been curled at, shown by the kinks. Not only that- they had the tendency to pull out lashes, definitely not ideal! I got sick and tired of using a subpar curler, and after reading many amazing reviews for the Shu Uemura, I really wondered if it lived up to the hype. Here is what the website says it offers:
The emblematic, best-selling and award-winning shu uemura eyelash curler featuring enhanced design and upgraded features for ultimate precision that delivers the perfect curl.
  • upgraded silicone pad in a new "mushroom" shape provides a protective, stay-put edge for improved safety and optimum curl.
  • upgraded patented hinge with precise engineering applies perfect amount of pressure on eyelashes
  • curved angle suits all eye shapes
  • calculated shape and size of frame length and ergonomic handles ensure stability and control
What I like to do before using eyelash curlers is to heat them up a little by using my hairdryer. Before I curled my lashes I blasted the curler for about 4-5 seconds, tested the temperature on my hand then used it on the lashes. PLEASE don't immediately put the curler to your eyes without checking the temperature first as you might burn yourself! So here is a before and after shot (excuse the messy eyebrows- I got to do something about them....and the blurry shots, my phone isn't too good at close ups)
The photos speak for themselves. WOW! Such a dramatic difference in my eyelashes. It was such a pleasure to use the curler- absolutely no pinching as the shape was perfect and I did not have to apply pressure at all, which I did with the cheaper curlers. The curl was smooth with no sign of kinkage (haha is that even a word?!). How well did the curl hold? Very very well. I actually took several attempts to take photos of my eye but they turned out super blurry- so instead of using the other eye (I don't know why) I decided to flatten out my eyelashes again to take a before shot but they were very stubborn! The curl held very well (I ended up curling my other eye's lashes in the end haha).

After using the curler for more than a year, it is still in excellent condition! And if I ever need to replace the pad, the curler comes with one replacement one. Overall, a delightful eyelash curler to use with wonderful results.

Who's tried the Shu Uemura curler? If not, which curlers do you use?

Friday, 5 October 2012

Essence Haul and reviews

The first time I saw Essence at Priceline I thought, ooh what is this new brand? Essence is a European brand with very affordable prices (they start from $1.95 in their range). Here are the purchases I made from Essence. Shame the nail polishes were for a gift... but I took photos of them anyways because they are just so pretty!

Such pretty colours! L-R: C'est la vie!| Iced strawberry cream| Fateful desire| Where is the party?| Choose me!| Shiny godness 
Gel eyeliner brush| Smokey eyes brush| Eyebrow pencil| Gel eyeliner
How beautiful are the nail polishes? At only $2.55 a pop they are amazing! My friend who received the polishes said the quality was quite good and that the colours were amazing. "Where is the party?" is a unique colour which can be either purple or a nice dark teal colour depending on where the light hits the nail. "Choose me!" is a lovely blue glittery polish. I have fought the urge to purchase some myself as I don't even use nail polish that often but I might give in soon... :)

For myself I purchased:
-Gel eyeliner brush $2.95
-Smokey eyes brush $2.55
-Gel eyeliner $5.95
-Eyebrow pencil $2.95

All definitely great prices. But my question was, are these products good? 

Gel eyeliner in 02 London Baby:

Lovely dark brown colour, not as harsh as black
I took this a picture of the gel liner on FIVE different occasions and in all of them it appears grainy! But now I think it's not a grainy picture, my benchtop is patterned like that and the gel liner has very minute shimmers in it! This is the first ever gel eyeliner I have tried so I don't have anything to compare it to. At $5.95 it was a bargain. Other gel liners are definitely $10+ so I'm pretty content with the price I paid for this. I didn't choose black because I find that black eyeliner looks too harsh on me- and this colour is just BEAUTIFUL! The photo doesn't really show how lovely the colour is- it is a dark brown with very subtle shimmers in it throughout (lol that was awkward wording, too lazy to fix it up). I used the gel eyeliner brush (I will go on about it later in the post)- I thought I would have trouble applying it on as it was the first time using it but I was very surprised. It was so easy to apply, nice and creamy (much easier than liquid eyeliner) and it was so pigmented. Amazing! I tried to take photos but they didn't turn out so great but here is a swatch:

How is the staying power? No fail, my eyeliners ALWAYS smudge on me, even when I apply a primer. This has had great staying power although sometimes a little does somehow transfer to my bottom eyelid (how did that happen?). I am definitely very impressed with this gel liner though and maybe I'll buy one from another brand and compare it to this one someday.

Gel eyeliner and smokey eyes brushes:

The gel eyeliner brush was a breeze to use, and applied my gel liner wonderfully! At just $2.95 it is doing a good job. The smokey eyes brush is nice and soft and doesn't pick up too much product at a time (which the applicators that come with eyeshadows tend to do). I haven't really used this much basically due to my laziness. The width is a little too large for my small eyelids though which is a shame.

Eyebrow pencil:

And lastly, the eyebrow pencil! Also my first eyebrow pencil so there isn't anything I can compare it to, however I can compare it to swatches I have done of other eye pencils in store (Priceline yay!). I have tried many different ones -Bourjois, Australis, Prestige...-and the hardness and colour have all been very similar. I probably will try other brands once this one runs out. This eyebrow pencil  had the right amount of hardness and was a good shade of brown. Disappointingly it didn't stay on for the whole day and when you smudge it, some does go away. However for $2.55 it was worth a try!
Building intensity-  one stroke, two strokes and three strokes.
 The only other products I am wanting to try from the Essence range are their lipsticks and not really anything else. The eyeshadows and mascaras didn't appeal to me much. Overall though I like Essence due to its affordability :)

What products have you tried from the Essence range? What is your favourite?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Review: China Glaze Nail Strengthener & Growth Formula

My nails have always been in great condition- they never break or split, and aren't weak. However my index and thumb nails have been splitting a lot lately which is annoying the hell out of me! I think it might be because of me bumping my nails onto things and maybe from removing pesky staples from prescriptions at work....
Well anyways I went to Cosmetic Fragrance Direct at DFO the other day and found this little beauty! It was $10, and normally retails for $18.95 so I guess I did save a bit! It was an impulse buy, although I have heard great things about China Glaze nail polishes so I didn't think this strengthener would be any different :)

And as I always do, just a little description from its website:
Nail Strengthener & Growth Formula is vitamin and protein enriched to promote healthy nail growth
-Promotes the growth of healthy, beautiful nails in 8 weeks  
-Vitamin B and wheat protein strengthens and protects nails
-Protects against splitting and cracking
-Great after removal of acrylic nails
          -DBP & Toluene Free (contains Formaldehyde as a nail strengthener & hardener) 

 Lol the "formaldehyde" scares me... having dealt with it in labs at uni and having warnings about it being toxic if inhaled or consumed (not that I will be eating it anytime soon) but if you use it in a ventilated room I guess we will be fine! I've always wondered how nail strengtheners work and if they actually work. So I was eager to try this and see if my nails improved over time.

I have been applying this to my nails for a few days now and I am loving the sheen it is giving to my nails! It has improved the look of one of my split nails, and I can definitely feel an improvement in the hardness too especially in my "healthy" nails. Quite surprising results for something I didn't really believe in initially.

Do you use a nail strengthener? What brand is it and are you happy with its results?