My beak and claws

Blogging about makeup instead of buying it! I can be contacted via liseyduck@yahoo.com.

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Superdrug Swiss Apple skincare

FYI, for the time being I can’t upload pictures as my internet connection has decided to eat bandwidth at twice the original rate, so the pretty pics of various eyes and nails (and the odd lip) will have to wait until that problem gets fixed somehow or other. If anyone wants to suggest a payg internet plan that does actually support the odd photo upload without emptying, that would be great. For now, I’m sticking to posts that don’t require pictures!

Anyway, I have the Swiss Apple day cream (bought first, because it was on an obvious special offer) and night serum. They’re both a bit out of my normal price range - my normal go-to products for the last decade or so have been Superdrug’s Vitamin E range, with one not-very-successful diversion into Natural High when it was first released. (I do like some of the products in that range, just not the day and night creams!) But I’m not 19 any more (thank f***, that was an era of spots and caring what totally pathetic people thought of me…) so I was already starting to wake up to the possibility that my skin *might* need something stronger. And as I said, this was on special offer, so it was a good time to give it a go. I’d had the day cream for a few days when I decided that I also wanted the night serum.

The day cream is very Posh and Becks, which is to say it is rich and thick. The serum is a bit thinner and milkier. I’m not sure whether the change in my skin over the past months or so have been entirely down to a change in product, or to being more careful about actually using the stuff, or just because my life has been less stressy since teaching finished. Either way, there has been an improvement that coincides with using the Swiss Apple products.

I’ve heard it said that more expensive products (ok, this is hardly premium stuff, but it is a bit of a jump from what I was using before) are less effective because you end up rationing them and using less than you need. I honestly find with these that they spread better and give better coverage, so less is needed. The serum is visibly going down, but the cream still only has the smallest dent in it.

In terms of practicalities, I’d suggest giving the day cream time to soak in before putting any makeup over it, as it can encourage slippage. (also, I was interested to find out, the eyelids don’t have pores so any moisturiser there can cause problems) The night serum makes a better base for makeup if those are the only two things you have to hand.

An unexpected bonus with Swiss Apple is that, unlike with Vitamin E or Protect and Perfect cream (Natural High was before his time), my boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind the smell. Your mileage may vary…

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Superdrug cherry and fig shampoo/raspberry and macadamia nut conditioner

Sorry, no pics for this one, my hair is overdue a dye and the bottles themselves are pretty boring. Anyway, I’m always on the lookout for decent shampoo, and since moving to Scotland (which has soft water) volume has been an issue. The first time I washed my hair here with the shampoo I’d been happily using before, it was totally lank after a couple of days.

Here’s the rundown!

Intial attraction: cherries, raspberries and macadamia nuts are among my favourite things. The shampoo was supposed to help with volume (see above), while the conditioner offered ‘intense shine’ and smoothness. Superdrug products are approved by the BUAV, which demonstrates a decent animal testing policy. Both these products were also labelled as vegan.

The smell: divine! I wanted to drink it. Obviously I didn’t.

The wash: The shampoo got my hair from totally minging to clean in two goes but left it feeling a bit stiff and clotted. The conditioner, to its credit, fixed that effect.

Does what it says on the label? I’m in the habit of using a volume spray when blow-drying, so can’t tell for certain. I didn’t notice any special extra volume like I do when using shampoos higher up the food chain, but for two quid you can’t expect that. My hair hasn’t gone lank a day and a half later, anyway. I wouldn’t call the conditioner’s effect ‘intense shine’, but my hair isn’t as knotted and flyaway as it sometimes gets.

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Gosh Holographic - interesting enough to drag me out of a loooong stretch of not posting! I picked this up in the reduced basket at Superdrug the other week, Gosh being a brand I tend not to buy at full price but certainly like enough to pay attention to what’s going at half price. I have to say, I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for it, as the good points *just* outweigh the bad at the moment.

The good:

  • The holo effect - it is the first such polish I’ve used, and the little rainbows that flash across my nails under the right light are amazing.
  • The wear - this is something other bloggers have complained about, but it was actually ok for me. It survived a couple of days of dishwashing and didn’t come off too badly after a skirmish with the veg peeler.
  • The novelty value - I doubt this is a polish I’ll be putting on every week, but it’s great when I want a bit of a change from alternating between the large number of dark reds in my collection
  • It dried fast. That’s a massive plus.

The bad:

  • The formula. It needed four coats and still had a few bald bits - frustrating!
  • The fact that it looks like an average silver polish under the wrong light. I’d mind this less if silver polish suited me, but it really, really doesn’t.
  • The huge lid (with bonus sticky bits after removing the security label thingy) and ickle bitsy brush. One needs to be bigger and the other smaller!

Overall this is a very ‘me’ polish, great under some lights and crap in others…

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Apologies for the frankly shoddy webcam pictures, I am in a different city from my camera this week! This is just a quick look I put together the other day and liked enough to document. The products used are all Collection 2000 and 17.

I should mention, for anyone who hasn’t been keeping track elsewhere, that in the next few weeks I will be rather bogged down in submitting my thesis and moving house: both need to be done by the end of August. Then I’m off to Scotland! So my blogging will be a bit scattered and/or non-existent for a while. However, any updates I make will likely be posted on twitter, so feel free to follow me there (@liseyduck) if you’re interested.

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I did put today’s post up for a twitter vote, but since nobody responded *sulk* I’m just going to go with what is already on the computer. I am a bit too tired to cross the room and get the memory card out of the camera!

Anyway, this glammed-up neutral look largely involved the Collection 2000 Sin City eyeshadow trio which I have used before for similar looks. The most distinctive thing about the look was my attempt at conturing - I used my usual 17 Bramble Frost blusher on my cheekbones, with the pinky-gold shade from Sleek I-Divine ‘Storm’ immediately underneath. I think it does make a difference, even in photos. Excuse the bingo wings in the last one, I wanted to show off my dress (unsuccessfully) and spangly brown scarf.

I did this look for some friends’ wedding - the first church wedding I’ve ever been to! In the Orthodox church, by the way, wedding services are conducted with everyone standing up the whole time. Ladies*, if you aren’t used to standing around in high heels on a stone floor, do not make an Orthodox church wedding the exception. It will hurt. It was a beautiful ceremony, though. This being Oxford, the couple then left the church in a rickshaw!

*the advice probably applies to gentlemen too, but while I know several men who wear heels I don’t know any who are likely to wear properly high ones in a church. Just sayin’…

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Dear MAC, way to be tactless to the point of sick…

I have no general axe to grind with MAC. They don’t test on animals, they’re relatively eco-friendly insofar as cosmetics can be. I’ve heard variable stories about the quality of their products. I don’t buy them because they cost about three times what I’d spend on any given item. I could have been tempted to spend the money if I’d had it. Could have. The fact that they name a makeup line after a location famous for sweatshops and femicide - surprisingly enough - puts me right off doing so. I’m not a fragile little flower. I base fancy dress costumes on historical murders that have entered film noir history. I have a pretty sick sense of humour. I used to read embalming books on the train to school, to ward off perverts from sitting next to me and being pervert-y. Long story short, not easy to shock. But this did.

Apparently “Rodarte designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy had road-tripped from El Paso to Marfa, and were struck by the ethereal landscape and impoverished factory workers floating to work at dawn in a sleepy, dreamlike state.” And, what, that’s something to base a makeup line on? Not impressed. I have no idea what was running through these people’s minds, whether this is a Benetton-like attempt at shock-horror controversy or just genuine cluelessness, but it is so bizarre that someone at some point didn’t pick up on what a seriously bad idea it was.

Mizz Worthy and Helen have written way more and way better on this should anyone wish to know more.

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Hmm, I should probably put a disclaimer up that the bright orange nails I was sporting last weekend have absolutely nothing to do with football! Although my really, really local team, Diss Town, are orange, and my supervisor has the Netherlands in the department sweepstake so them winning is in my interests for keeping him in a good mood… nonetheless, neither team was doing anything of particular interest at the time I applied this polish, so the disclaimer still stands. ;)

Anyway, this is Hip Hop from Collection 2000’s Hot Looks range. I will come out and say I love the colour. I wasn’t sure I would - it is so different from anything I would normally wear. But it is bright and vibrant and summery, and - naff though this sounds - one of those colours that can cheer me up a bit each time I look at it. In technical terms, I was impressed with it. The first coat looked a bit patchy, but the second was great. It lasted from Saturday night through to Tuesday afternoon with just a bit of tip wear - not bad going as I wasn’t wearing a top coat.

Taking it off, eurgh, different story. Suffice it to say my nails - after several goes with extra-strength remover plus plenty of immersion in soapy and shampooey water - STILL bear a disturbing resemblance to those of a hundred-a-day smoker. I used exactly the same procedure with this as I do with anything that goes on my fingernails - a coat of Barry M 3-in-1 as a base, Boots Quick Off remover when the time comes to say goodbye. I rarely get staining. I have no idea whether this is an issue with the particular colour (or just my bottle?!?) or with the range as a whole, but it doesn’t inspire me to try the others…

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This is the makeup part of my Black Dahlia costume for a friend’s party last night! (The theme was movies, and let’s face it I am not going to be a Disney princess for anyone…)

1: Eye closeup - I used the beige, pale gold and black shadows from the Sleek Storm pallette.

2: Creating the all-important Glasgow/Chelsea smile with Prestige lipliner in Auburn. (nb I have used this precisely twice, having owned it for over six months. The other time was for my partner’s works Christmas dinner. I guess that makes it a versatile product…)

3: Filling my lips in with rosy tint from either Beauty UK or 2true (the writing has scratched off the bottle, the products are nearly identical and I have random items by both companies dotted around). This is to maintain some colour when drinking, although sticking to red wine also helped that effort.

4: The whole look, including a slick of Barry M Lip Paint in 141.

5: Another whole face shot, backed off a bit to show my hair since that took as much effort as the makeup. I curled it with rollers that were heated in the microwave - I’ll blog about those soon!

The foundation I used was Collection 2000’s 3-in-1 in Cream. The ‘3’ in question amounts to foundation, concealer and powder. This is the best match I’ve found for my skin colour, but I haven’t used it much because I’m not fond of the powdered look. It is, however, a good look when trying to resemble a 40s murder victim!

On another note, I was quite impressed with whatever force of makeup or sheer luck kept my eyeshadow in place during one particular catastrophe which fortunately took place before leaving home. Last time I put my contact lenses away, I was pissed as a fox’s fart. This isn’t unusual, as I tend to only wear them to go out in the evening. Trouble is, I put them away in the wrong compartments, so ended up putting them back in my eyes the wrong way around! Luckily I realised quickly (albeit after applying makeup) what had happened and didn’t go through the evening with my sight all blurred…

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Nails of the weekend - Barry M Fuschia. I have blogged this one before when worn just as tips (which led to me getting id’d and refused service for a bottle of wine, dammit!), but never on its own. It’s been on my toenails for about a week, and for the weekend I thought I’d do my fingers to match. I have several hot pinks collected over a few years, but this is my favourite. I think I first saw it blogged by Sheenie last year in the context of an 80s party, and since I also go to such events (although not half enough!) I felt the need to go and get a bottle. It isn’t one I would be brave enough to wear in the classroom, but it just about cuts it for a trip to campus to use the library and drink coffee.

In the photos, for anyone who is curious: my pink travel cup, bought when I did mobile event catering, in a colour designed to stop blokes borrowing it - still useful today because I walk 50-odd mins each way to and from work and sometimes like to drink coffee en route! - and part of a stripey blanket I’m making by knitting extra-long/wide scarves and sewing them together. I know knitting in this weather sounds awful, but it isn’t so bad with thin acrylic and it means I’ll actually have the blanket for autumn.

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Bath night post! Montagne Jeunesse Blemish Mud is one of the products I use to keep my skin in decent nick - being on the pale side, every imperfection is clearly visible. And imperfections of various sorts seem to be what I get instead of tanning these days. :( So instead of getting mad, I get even, and this face mask is one part of that. (The others are home microdermabrasion every week or so and a half-decent sunblock, in case anyone was wondering) I should warn you that the mask is quite drying, so have your favourite skin oil and night cream to hand after use…

PS why yes I am modelling the mask in the slideshow. I didn’t feel the need to put flowery things over my eyes like the girl on the packaging though, as the rational part of my brain told me this would cause problems enough just for taking a photograph in the mirror, let alone for the other things I needed to do like loading the washing machine. Oh, and shaving my legs - doing that blind could cause problems…

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