Monday, 11 August 2014

Beauty Reviews – The Best Cosmetics for Less + The Latest Products - Updated

Neutrogena Compact Makeup It’s hard enough buying beauty products online unless you’re repeating something you already know and love, but as an easily tempted beauty products collector (watch me go into CVS or Target in Dallas and NOT slip an eyeliner, brow set or blush into my cart because I ‘need’ it for my handbag, or the gym, or to replace something I’ve run out of?).  Work it out.

So I’ve become somewhat of an expert on some  cosmetics and skincare for less, and you can tell when they’re really good as they’ve ended up on my shelf over here, regularly stocked up on, and sitting next to the Trish McEvoy, Nars, Bobbi Brown, Lancome et al.  And you can order most of these in the UK. 

Don’t expect your local Tesco or Boots to carry the full range of even the larger brands, annoyingly they never seem to, but online they’re nearly all available.
Neutrogena Glow Sheers
I'm going to start with the new product launches which you may have some difficulty finding here at the moment (annoying, I know) but if you're planning a visit to the US or you have a friend there who would send them to you they're well worth the effort.  They're as follows:

Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Compact Makeup SPF 55 - a blissfully textured compact foundation (top picture) that offers lots of protection for the outdoors.  You'll find it at CVS, Target and in the UK  (limited colour range) at Amazon.  Buff is the most popular colour as it suits many complexions.  Compare with Clinique Even Better Compact Foundation in Cream Chamis (not so much SPF) but great coverage.

Then, again from Neutrogena there's Neutrogena Glow Sheers SPF 30, a lightweight radiance inducing tinted moisturiser, fine enough to use under foundation if you want to but L'Oreal Visible Lift Blur Foundationoffering enough coverage if you don't.  I bought Light to Medium - note this is not, as they say for some reason in the description, a bronzer unless you went for a colour darker than your skintone.  Again you'll find this at all major pharmacy's in the US, and I've linked through to Amazon.  Compare with Lancome Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser.

L'Oreal have just brought out a new foundation, L'Oreal Visible Lift Blur Foundation - in the US it's rocketing out of the stores but hasn't made it here yet.  I'll let you know when I find it.  It gives a lovely smooth finish, with the aim of blurring out imperfections.  I bought it in neutral Nude Beige.  Get this if you're in or you go to the US.  Compare with Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour Foundation which I also use and love.
Maybelline The Nudes Eye Shadow Palette
Finally Maybelline have brought out a seriously good and very well priced eye palette, called  Maybelline The Nudes.  Priced currently at $9 and containing 12 brighteners, shadows and liners this is a must-have.  The quality is excellent and when you compare what you pay with other brands it's wonderful value.  No there's no mirror.  No there's no proper brush but so what?  And I'm not parting with mine.  Target or Target Online is the best place to buy this as so many places have sold out (they've advertised it in all of the glossies).  US only again for the moment.  Compare with Urban Decay Naked II Palette which is also excellent but more expensive.

Here's my list of what you can find in the UK and where to find it.  And I'll be updating this after my next visit.

Maybelline Smoky Shadow Pencil This soft Master smoky eye shadow pencil from Maybelline which you can also use (carefully) as a liner is much lower priced then similar mainstream products and very good.  It comes in violet, navy, grey and chocolate.  Buy it with its sister Master Drama khol liner.

Maybelline also have an excellent brow pencil in the same series, Master Shape by Eye Studio which comes in soft or dark brown, a good textured pencil with a shaper brush on the end.

All three of these will set you back about £14 in total, although Boots has a special offer at the moment.
L'Oreal Volume Building Mascara
Having worn contact lenses for more years than I can count I love this volumising mascara  from L’Oreal which is specially for people like me.  Then again L’Oreal have many other mascaras (and liners) to choose from including waterproof mascara.  These retail for about half the price of the super brands. 

Having read the top 10 mascara reviews from most of the major glossies very recently I decided that the sky’s the limit where mascara is concerned.  And if you want to play it safe you’ll probably go for L’Oreal or Lancome, or repeat your favourite. 

Milani Baked Blush My favourite blush of all is Nars’ Orgasm, however, as always on the search for something similar but less expensive I came across Milani’s Baked Blush which comes in a little pot with mirror and brush hidden inside making it extremely handbag friendly.  There are several colours, Rose d’Oro and Corallina being my two favourites.  Yes they have gold flecks for added radiance, so if you want something a little more mat try L’Oreal True Match Blush which also has the mirror and brush inside the pot.

Olay CC Cream I tried Olay’s CC cream when it came out in the US and have never looked back, the other brands sit waiting on the shelf.  The texture, colour, lack of scent and effect make this a must for every makeup loving girl.  It contains sunscreen, moisturiser, serum and a hint of colour, and I use it over moisturiser (little) and under foundation.  I wouldn’t be without it.

The best place to buy this unless you’re in the US is Amazon, as unfortunately it seems to be overpriced in many other places.  You will also find it in Boots.
Olay Regenerist Wet Cleansing Cloths
Although the Olay Regenerist range seems to be readily available here I haven’t found these exfoliating wipes anywhere other than Amazon (and in every pharmacy and supermarket in the US).  So on Amazon you buy a pack of three at a little more than they are in the US, but not that much.

These are excellent cleansing cloths, or wipes, perfect for travel, and for when you’re in a hurry.  They exfoliate, refresh, cleanse and do everything they say.  The pack is resealable for freshness.Physicians Formula Mineral Glow

Physicians Formula Translucent Mineral Glow Pearls is just one of the products from this fun cosmetics brand which includes organic and mineral lines and products such as Sexy Glow Blush and Va Va Voom Volume Mascara. 

They don’t ship directly to the UK, however you can find a good selection at  I have also tried their pressed powder, bronzer, and shimmer strip.  They’re quite bulky products on the whole, but contain the mirror and brush underneath the product.

ELF Brush Collection Eyes Lips Face (or E.L.F) has been over here for a while and is again available widely in the US.  Some of these products are priced to look too good to be true.  Brushes for $1??  No way.  Then they brought out their ‘expensive range’ at $3 (they’re more expensive here, of course) and always on the lookout for a bargain I dipped in. 

Particularly good are the powder brush, blush brush and the brush collection which contains everything.  Go for the higher quality black handled brushes and eschew the white.

In the end it’s not really about the price but just how good the product is, and does it compete with the major ‘superbrands’? And does it do the job?   These truly do, and at a time of year when we all need a treat they’re worth giving a try.  Incidentally some others I have tried have fallen by the wayside, these have lasted the test of time.