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Friday, 9 September 2016

Nair Nourish Upper Lip Kit Review

Nair Nourish Upper Lip Kit Get Lippie 20160903

Hello! My name is Get Lippie, and I have a moustache.  If you're reading this, you've probably got one too, man, woman or child.  Don't worry, there's no judgement here, but there is shedloads of judgement out there, this I know.  I had someone recently say in an email that they loved my choice of lipsticks on instagram, but my upper-lip hair was making them feel a bit sick, and could I do something about it? Didn't even say please!  So, I did the right thing, and blocked them on Instagram, so now hopefully my hirsute and ever-so-ugly-as-a-result-apparently mug won't be ruining their breakfast every day.

However,  I do actually occasionally de-forest my upper lip.  I say occasionally, because I am (of course), a big fat lazy bugger, who can't be bothered removing any body-hair on a regular basis (this summer has been so cold, for example, that I don't even slightly begin to remember the last time I shaved my legs.  And the least we say about my armpits the better: I haven't been able to raise my left arm properly for about 18 months, so there's probably bears or raccoons living in there now), but yes, when you take pictures of lipstick on a regular basis, and people start commenting on your facial hair rather than the colour on your lips, then maybe its time to take action.  Or not. Frankly, if this package of Nair Nourish Upper Lip Kit Hair Remover hadn't arrived completely coincidentally a day or two after the aforementioned email, I'd probably have just invested in some moustache wax and had at it.  Hey, it's a look!

But I thought I'd give it a go, mostly because the box promises it only takes three minutes, is designed for sensitive skin (there's nothing worse than removing your moustache hair only to leave yourself with a fluorescent pink skin-moustache that takes a week to die down, in my experience), needs no mixing, and comes with an aftercare moisturiser.  You apply the hair remover to clean, dry, product-free skin, wait three minutes then remove.  I found that my puke-making hair needed just a little extra time, around four minutes in total, but the hair was removed completely in that time.  

And no stinging!  At all!  And NO PINK SKIN-MOUSTACHE! I didn't particularly notice any smell, either.  In fact, my skin was so little irritated by the process that I didn't even bother using the post-removal moisturiser. Truth be told, I'd actually forgotten it was in the kit, and only realised when I came to photograph it for this review ... anyhoo, it's a winner in my book.

Here's hoping it's still as effective the next time I come to take it out of the box, which will be around mid-2018 by my reckoning .... 

The Fine Print: PR samples.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essense and Ultimate Moisture Review

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence and Ultimate Moisture by Get Lippie 20160903

 It's hard work being a beauty blogger with sensitive skin, sometimes.  I'm a big fan of results-led, science-based skincare, and I have a clear preference for doctor brands that have a philosophy of really caring for skin, rather than just using skincare as line extensions for their other product ranges.  This isn't to say that there isn't good skincare coming from other more nature-based, or makeup-based ranges (there are excellent products in some unexpected places out there), but, when your skin is sensitive, finding products that are both results-led, and yet still bland enough not to cause flare-ups can cause problems.   Essential oils such as orange and lavender, used in a lot of "unfragranced" natural products, are a particular problem for my facial skincare routine, and I've found that I have far fewer issues with lab-based synthetics than many organic ranges as a result.

All of which is a long way around of saying that I really like the Murad Hydro-Dynamic range of products.  I'm both oily combination and sensitive-skinned, and at times I'm also very dehydrated, but I've found that the Hydro-Dynamic range helps on all counts.  The Murad Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence is a product I was introduced to last year, and I admit that I was a little underwhelmed with it at the time (it's more of a serum than I was expecting an "essence" to be - not a liquid at all!),  but I think I was a little less stressed and dehydrated last summer than I have been this year - the house move a few months ago took a lot more out of me than I was expecting.  This time of using, however, I like it much more, it adds hydration without loading the skin with too much oil, or that silicone-y feeling or being a gel, and leaves a lovely, velvety texture behind after applying.  It somehow just feels like it lasts longer on the skin than either a liquid or gel hyaluronic acid-based hydrator.

The Murad Hydrodynamic Ultimate Moisture is pretty much how I would describe my perfect moisturiser.  It feels luxurious and rich when taking it out of the jar, but it spreads and sinks into the skin beautifully, disappearing completely, but leaving skin feeling hydrated and supple, and ready for anything else that you want to apply afterwards.  It never overloads the skin, never triggers a reaction (despite what I might have applied first - in fact it's an ideal cream for using when trialling other products that you fear might cause a reaction), and hydrates without being greasy, clogging pores, or causing redness.  I love it.  It's bland, unscented, and inactive (in a good way), having only one job to do (hydrating), and it does it exceptionally well. So for those of us with over-excitable skin, it's a perfect cream.   I don't always get on well with Murad products, they have a habit of being just that little bit too strong for my skin issues, but  in this duo, I've found my happy Murad place.

At £59.50 for the Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence and £55.00 for the Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture, they might not be the cheapest products on the market, but for me and my stupid skin, they're great.  If you only get one, get the moisturiser, it might not set your world on fire, but you won't regret it. Your skin will love you for it.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Monday, 5 September 2016

Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12% Review

Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12% Review by Get Lippie 20160903
Niod has exploded over the blogosphere recently, and, whilst slightly intrigued by the good press they've been getting, the overly-complex names, and overly-simplistic product descriptions have been confusing the heck out of me, so I've largely avoided them.  However, a few people I know and trust on Instagram have had good things to say about Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12%, so I figured I'd take my first plunge into the brand, albeit in a very small way.
Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12% Review by Get Lippie 20160903

Designed to make you look wonderful in photos (I've heard it described as an "instagram filter in a bottle"), it's an opaque white liquid, but it is suffused with microscopic gold particles which both reflect and refract light which lessens visible flaws and gives the optical illusion of "perfect skin".  So, is it a foundation or a primer?  Actually, it's neither, but in practice it turns out that it's a little bit of both.  I use it underneath foundation or tinted moisturiser, but couldn't personally recommend wearing it alone. It doesn't particularly extend the wear of a foundation (something I really expect a primer to do), but it definitely does enhance the look of foundation.  However, if you're a fellow sufferer of redness-prone skin, you might want to read on.

Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12% Review by Get Lippie 20160903

Housed in a an amber-glass apothecary-style bottle complete with dropper (which I despise), the liquid is thick and opaque initially, and oddly, rather dry.  However, three or four drops of the product blends away on the skin fairly easily, leaving a visible golden "glow" behind it.  I am rather pink-skinned, and the yellow-gold of Niod Photography Fluid 12% Opacity hides it beautifully.  Seriously, it might be the best redness-disguising product I've ever tried.  Personally, I find the glow that Photography Fluid leaves, whilst it evens out your skin beautifully, it doesn't actually give nearly enough (in fact, any) coverage to be worn alone without another base product on top. However your mileage might vary on that one - but I'm so pink that the thought of leaving the house without at least popping a smidge of tinted moisturiser on is horrifying to me! - but it is designed to be worn with other products at least. And as a layering product for redness disguising, it's second to none.  Genuinely.

Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12% Review by Get Lippie 20160903
left side, naked skin.  Right side: with Niod Photography Fluid 12% Opacity blended.
 The effect is hard to see in photos - which is pretty much as it should be, otherwise it'd look like a mask, and who needs that? - but skin does look "better", more polished and even than it otherwise would do, with or without other base products.  In person, the effect is even harder to see, there is no actual coverage built into Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12%, so if you have visible flaws that you would normally see when not wearing foundation, that can't be disguised with refracted light (open pores, for example, or scarring), then they would still be visible IRL, without the "soft focus glow", that a camera lens gives to the product.

Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12% Review by Get Lippie 20160903
Lipstick is Burts Bees crayon in Napa Vineyard.
 And yes, it does photograph beautifully, it can't be denied.  Even on my oily-combination, pink, open-pore-plagued, nearing-fifty-ish skin, it looks dewy and glowing, even whilst I'm scowling in strong sunlight. 

On the downside, the texture is oddly dry and surprisingly thick (lots more gathers on the outside of the dropper than ever gets into the dropper, making replacing it into the bottle a very messy business), and it can occasionally stick on drier patches of skin meaning you have to be careful about blending, and the dropper is beyond annoying because of the texture. All of this would be less of a problem if the product was supplied in a tube.  But for me, the redness-disguising benefits (with or without a camera) outweighs both of those problems.   Niod have also introduced Niod Photography Fluid 8% Opacity which addresses one of those issues (texture), and I'll be reviewing that in a future post, but the glass bottle with the dropper remains a bugbear.

If you don't spend much time taking selfies, you might not need this, but if you have worries about redness and uneven skintone, then you definitely do.  I've certainly been happier with my selfies since I bought this.

The Fine Print: Purchase

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Monday, 22 August 2016

Urban Reivers - Damn Rebel Bitches Fragrance Review

In Edinburgh, at least until the 29th August, Urban Reivers is holding a pop-up shop at 46a George Street, and (yes, I know it's late notice) I do urge you to pop along if you have any interest in Scotland, Scottish history, or (I almost hate to mention it), Outlander, because Urban Reivers have developed a very interesting fragrance based on Scotland's rather, um, tempestuous past.

Called Damn Rebel Bitches (inspired by the book by Maggie Craig, which tells tales of the women who took part in the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745), and created in partnership with Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays,  the fragrance  utilises ingredients, both rare and everyday, that would have been available to women during the Jacobean era. Combing blood orange and hazelnuts leads to a very creamy citrus effect (if you've ever heard of an Orange Julius - it's the smell of one of those on a hot day) at first, which is compounded by a warm and conforting malty (Ovaltine!) undertone.  The pink pepper  adds a slight prickle of fizziness to the creamy effect, which sounds rather odd, but works very well on the skin, and there is apparently clary sage underpinning the whole thing, but my nose can't pick that out at all (my problem, rather than the fragrance's though, to be honest).  It's really rather lovely, and it's one of those fragrances that seems familiar, without ever being able to put your finger on what precisely it reminds you of, which is an effect I enjoy.

Easy to wear, but not in the slightest bit boring - Mr Lippie is a fan of this one - Damn Rebel Bitches might not be quite as big in effect  as it's name suggests it will be (it plays far too close to the skin for that), but it's a gorgeous fragrance all the same.  I've used up my sample bottle already, and miss it very much.  If you're into a little history with your perfume, then you can't really go wrong with this one.  If you can't get along to Edinburgh for a sniff, you can buy it from the Urban Reivers online shop, here: where it will cost you £70 for 50mls.

The Fine Print: PR samples.

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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

DHC Rich Eye Zone Care Pack

I'm old.  I'm tired.  I don't get enough sleep.  I stare at computers too much.  I read a lot.  I rub my eyes a lot, and did I mention that I'm tired?  My eyes are definitely starting (ha! "starting") to show the signs of ageing these days, laughter lines get deeper each day, and dehydration lines take longer and longer to disappear once they arrive too.  So eye masks have become a slight obsession recently.  It started with these Rich Eye Zone Care Pack eye masks from DHC, but I'll show you the others some other time.

Used to other sheet-style masks that are soaked in a serum, or other liquid, it was a surprise that these were rather dry and stiff, then it turned out that the masks were put together in pairs with a "proper" eyecream in between.  Once you pulled the masks apart the cream - and it really is a cream, not a serum - is revealed.  The masks remain rather stiff, however, and positioning them can be tricky.

I struggled a bit getting the upper strips into a comfortable position, but I persisted, and wore them for around 20 minutes/half an hour or so, and found when I removed them that my eyes definitely felt more comfortable and hydrated, and the skin was plumped up.  They contain multipeptides which they claim stimulates collagen, olive fruit and hyaluronic acid.

I liked them a lot, actually, and will use them again, particularly as they cost £15 for six treatments, and the clever packaging (a resealable bag, which contains a resealable clam-shell package) means they will keep fresh for a while without drying out.  I think best used as a treat before a big appointment or a night out rather than a weekly indulgence, but good for a quick boost when you need one.

You can buy them direct from DHC here.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Aquis Lisse Luxe Long Hair Towel Review

My hair. It drives me nuts.  You know this, I've written about it endlessly over the years, and after recently buying it a hat to keep it quiet during the night, I thought it was time to treat it to a new towel too, so I got in touch with the lovely people at Aquis and begged them to let me trial their new, and rather lovely, Lisse Luxe Hair Towels. Luckily for me, they said yes, and now I'm the extremely happy owner of one of their long hair towels.

Now, those of you with long memories will remember that I bought my hair a special towel last year too, one specifically designed to encourage curls which is deliberately not that absorbent, but the Aquis Liss Luxe is designed to dry your hair super-quickly without damage. Also, to dry it superquickly without being made of those nasty really cheap microfibres, which, if you're anything like me, set your teeth on edge and just have that "squeaky" feel against skin.  I have a few (cheap) microfibre turbans, but they are just so horrible to the touch that I can't bring myself to use them.

Made of a blend of polyester and nylon called Aquitex, Aquis towels are super light (literally a few grammes, even in the larger sizes, rather than a pound or two for terry-towelling) and actually feel wonderfully luxurious to the fingers. They're slightly textured without that horrific squeaky microfibre feel.  They're amazingly aborbent for such a light towel, too.  I have a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of hair, and it takes hours and hours to dry naturally even after an hour or two wrapped in a normal towel usually, but I've found that the Aquis Lisse Luxe towel can cut that drying time at least in half, if not more. In fact, after around half an hour in the towel last time I used it, my hair felt more than halfway dry already, just about perfect to start heat styling.  If I could ever be bothered blowdrying, that is, which I can't, usually.

Unlike my curl-towel, which at £19 I thought was expensive for a clearly cut by hand with scissors and unhemmed piece of stretchy cloth (even though it does a sterling job, frankly), my Aquis Lisse Luxe towel at £30 seems priced correctly, even though it is on the pricey side.  The quality of the cloth, the finishing details of an envelope to keep it in when dry (it even comes with a pony tail band!), and best of all, the time saved from not having to use a hair dryer to rough-dry before styling all make me happy. And no squeaky microfibre!

The website for Aquis claims that using the towel after every wash for three weeks will improve the health of your hair - I'm still a little sceptical about that, but then I never ever rub my hair with any kind of towel anyway, my hair just doesn't need that kind of help creating frizz, frankly.  However, for drying my hair gently, but quickly, and without having to carry around several pounds of heavy terry-towelling on my head for a couple of hours, it's already definitely a winner in my book.  Any improvements to the health of my hair will just be the cherry on the cake, frankly.

You can buy the Aquis Lisse Luxe Long Hair Towel here for £30.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Monday, 15 August 2016

Amouroud Safran Rare Review

Oud.  It's a funny old ingredient, essentially it's the smell of infected tree sap, and yet it's one of the most prized (not to mention that it's currently hugely trendy) and expensive fragrance ingredients around.  When I heard that a new range of entirely oud-based fragrances was launching, I'll be honest, my heart sank a bit "another oud range?" I thought, how ... utterly predictable.  But I'll be honest, I was completely wrong, the Amouroud launch is definitely something to love, and, even though it's rather embarrassing, I shall tell you why.  

First, a little about the  brand.  Amouroud is the brainchild of the people behind Perfumers Workshop, whose previous masterpieces include the 80's hit "Tea Rose", which was, allegedly, the favourite fragrance of Princess Diana.  Not that well-known in the UK, Amouroud represents a concerted effort to bring Oud-centric fragrances out of their rather niche ... um ... niche,  and showcase the ingredient as a supporting player in a range of wonderfully crafted, beautifully longlasting fragrances that can be worn even if the idea of wearing rotting tree product leaves you a little cold.

To wit, there are six fragrances currently available from Amourod, all of which feature oud as a key player - if not always the star - of the scents.  They're all very different, and very lovely, but my heart decidedly belongs to Safran Rare, which I'll get to momentarily, but first, some sketches of the other fragrances in the range:

Miel Sauvage: a blend of honey, bergamot, jasmine, incense and sandalwood (and oud), Miel Sauvage begins bright and frisky from the sprightly bergamot,  then mellows slightly into a less animalic honey than expected, and slowly warms into a gorgeously narcotic blend of jasmine and sandalwood.  It's more floral and ladylike than expected from the name Savage (or Wild) Honey, and is unexpectedly easy to wear for an oud.

Santal des Indes: I couldn't smell this one very well at the launch, but it's absolutely beautiful to me now.  Woody and complex, it appears to open with an almost aniseedic whoosh, at once both slightly medicinal and slightly intoxicating, before settling into a woodsiness that smells at once green and brown, and just alive with leaves and grounded by earth covered in cedar wood chips.  Smelling it again now, for the first time since the launch, I could happily smell this one forever.  I can easily picture MrLippie wearing this, and me never letting him out of the house in it. It's astonishingly clean for an oud fragrance, and it's an amazing composition.  I'd buy a full bottle of this in a heartbeat.

Midnight Rose: Supposedly opening with lychee and pomelo, this is a rose both jammy and dark.  I don't get the fruit at the beginning, and fall straight into what initially appears to be a slightly sour rose.  When this dries down, the sour-bite of the fruit wears off, the rose blooms into a jammy loveliness, surrounded by amber and resin.  it's a big, and gloriously 80'sesque (in a good way!) wear.

Dark Orchid: As the name pre-supposes, this is another bold floral.  This time opening with a sweet citrus accord, Dark Orchid soon turns into something darker and deeper, and more intriguing. Beyond the citrus there is jasmine and gardenia alongside ylang ylang, which creates a creamy note which works well with the smoky patchouli and vanilla in the base.  It's a powerhouse fragrance, which has parallels to a certain other "dark" orchid fragrance which I shan't name, but it's a perfect one for night-time wear. 

Oud du Jour: Sadly, my sample of Oud du Jour has gone missing, and at the launch there was something in the formula that triggered my parosmia, so Oud du Jour is the "lost" fragrance in this collection to my nose.  The notes make it sound interesting though, and I look forward to trying it again one day, as my parosmic recovery continues.

And finally, as promised, Safran Rare:  as many of my regular readers know, I lost my sense of smell a few years ago, and my recovery from that anosmia has been both a long and an extremely difficult one at times.  Even now, more than two years later there are things that I can't smell, and still things that trigger my parosmia, but on a day to day basis, I'm almost entirely recovered, if maybe a little underpowered in the smelling department compared to life in the great "before".  But, that  day I lost my sense of smell, I also lost another "sense" that I'd come to rely on, one that assisted me greatly in writing about fragrance, and that was my synaesthesia.  On smelling things for the first time, back in the day, my mind would draw a picture of the fragrance for me, and that would usually be the first impression of the fragrance that I would draw any subsequent reviews from.  I'd get impressions of colours, of fabrics, of coloured fabrics, or of unexpected scent memories ("It smells like a hug from the seventies" is one of my favourites), but since the anosmia: nothing.  Even with the parosmia and the cacosmia: nothing.  My life has truly been less colourful since anosmia, in an almost literal kind of a way.

Until Safran Rare. At the launch, Safran Rare came to me in a blinding flash of yellow chamois leather, so vivid I could almost reach out and stroke it with my fingertips.  It was so an unexpected sensation that I began to cry, because I hadn't realised just how much had been missing from my life, was still missing from my life in spite of my recovery, and I realised just how much further I still had to go.  An odd mixture of happy ("It's back!), and sad ("I've missed it so much") tears, but genuine tears nonetheless.  I am, as many people are aware, a massive wanker, and crying in the Soho Hotel because a fragrance "smells yellow" just confirms it, really.  Luckily, the gentlemen behind Amouroud were very understanding, and I'm incredibly grateful for both their discretion, and their creation, because Safran Rare is a great perfume, as well as being a yellow one. 

It's funny that Safran Rare doesn't list leather in its ingredients list (which includes cedar, jasmine, olbanum, saffron, vetiver and benzoin), because Safran Rare is very definitely a sexy leather fragrance.  If not quite Raquel Welch's chamois leather bikini in One Million Years BC, that's definitely the ballpark we're playing in.  Ballsy and not very sweet, Safran Rare is beautiful, even though it's probably not Amouroud's easiest wear.  Sexy on a man, it's incredibly memorable on a woman.

So there you have it.  Amouroud have pulled off an incredibly neat trick, an oud for everyone whether you like big, in your face oud, or prefer cleaner, fresher, lighter fragrances, and its something to be applauded.  Something else to be applauded is their generosity, at counter (currently exclusive to Harrods), when you purchase, you'll be asked which is your second favourite fragrance, and alongside the fragrance you buy, you'll be given a generous size sample atomiser (one big enough for several weeks of daily wear) of your second choice to go alongside your full-size bottle.

And did I mention the price?  £145 for 100ml.  When standard mass-produced fragrances these days come in at around £70 for 50mls, that's practically giving it away.  Amouroud is currently exclusive to Harrods.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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