Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A Review: Boots No 7 Foundation Matching Service

A little while back I decided to try the Boots foundation match service for their no7 range, after seeing copious amounts of advertising for it. Before I begin my review on the service, take a look at the advertisement...

Now, forgive me if I am mistaken... but the actress in this clip looks well, awfully... pale. Even in the natural lighting in the outdoor shots. Perfect! Or so I thought...

I went down to my local boots store in Freshney Place, Grimsby for my reading along with my cousin and fellow beauty blogger Vicky. I have found it's always great to take someone along with you to properly judge the shade. A small machine photographed each side of my face, and within about 5 seconds, I had a reading. My diagnosed shade was unsurprisingly their lightest shade - Calico. 

The sales assistant kindly bottled some up for me to try at home, as I rarely buy a foundation there and then. I like to look at it in natural light, away from the forced environment of a sales assistant holding a mirror to my face waiting for my over zealous reaction. If I find the shade is right for me, I will of course go back to that same counter/assistant where possible so they don't loose out on commission. I know that may sound a little unnecessary, but when you've spent hundreds of pounds in your lifetime on the wrong shades, you soon become distrusting of make-up assistants, and the shades that are "just right" when they are far from it. I don't suggest deliberately messing counter assistants around either, however you have to remember the power whether or not to buy is always in your hands, and as the consumer you should have the right to an honest opinion... and also the right to check the light outside, to be 100% that you are not going to look like you've stuck your head in a bag of Cheesy Wotsits. 

So, here is the bottle of Calico I was given to test at home, and the results of a patch test, that has been blended across and down onto my neck. This is the same technique Bobbi Brown and Mac used on me to find my shade, and Lisa Eldridge also recommended this technique in a recent video. I apologise in advance for having a completely bare face otherwise, and less than perfect skin to photograph.

Calico against my hand
Calico when blended into my face/neck. Yes really, BLENDED!

On the advert, it suggests 92% of people found the service accurate. But do people always know when a product isn't right for them? It's so easy to be sucked into the experience of having your make-up done and being told it looks beautiful and perfect, I think it's easy to let your guard down.

You don't have to be a genius to see that Calico looks far too orange against my skintone, and even blended in is impossible to avoid the dreaded tide mark between my face and my neck. I also found that once the product oxidised, it went even darker.

When I left the shop after having it tested in store, the first thing my cousin and Auntie said to me was "God that is totally the wrong shade. It's nowhere near right". As disheartening as this may seem, it's actually exactly what you need to hear when it really is the case. I thought it was a shame, and so decided to check the boots website to see if they had a paler shade as I did quite like the feel of the foundation. 

This is where I found out that "Calico" was infact the palest shade, and... on the website, looks much, much paler than what it does in real life!  There are only 7 shades available of the particular foundation that was tested on me, and around 12 shades within the other foundations in the no7 range. The 7 shades are (despite how the website samples portray them) are very close together in colour. This leads me to my next point. How on earth can you individually match a persons skin tone, especially someone very pale as depicted within the advert, with such a small, close together range of shades?

I don't know, maybe the Boots no 7 Foundation Match Service has indeed worked wonders for people confused about what shade to pick. However, I feel the advertisement using a pale model, therefore suggesting someone even with pale skin will find a perfect match, is somewhat misleading. However if this had been a custom match service, then it could have really taken off and I would most certainly have purchased a foundation had it been tailored to my skintone. 

If I'm honest, it doesn't take a machine to tell you what foundation shade you are. Just the right lighting, a good range of shades and honest people around you.

Have you used the Boots foundation match service? If so I would love to hear your thoughts!

N.B: Please forgive the state of my skin in the picture. This post was over a year ago now and my skincare routine has changed completely!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Just A Quick Heads Up....

I thought I'd tell you that I currently have a couple of ebay auctions that may interest some of you out there! Firstly, I am selling shades 003/004 of the Dainty Doll Foundation that I featured in a previous post.

You can check this out here for Shade 003:

And here for shade 004:


Secondly, I am selling a *brand new still in box* Rodial Glamoxy Snake Serum Pen. This is a very exclusive product that would normally set you back £78 plus postage from the Rodial Website. I am starting this auction at 99p so this is an amazing opportunity if you are a fan of Rodial, or are just looking for a new eye cream.

You can find the auction here:

As always, thankyou for reading my blog, and stay tuned for the next post!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Busting Beauty Buys!

Today sees the day of the Chancellors budget here in the UK, but what about budgeting when it comes to make-up and beauty buys? I noticed that coincidentally, the items I tend to repurchase the most tend to the cheapest, not simply because they are the cheapest, but actually on quality and performance.

I have tried a myriad of £40 moisturisers, hair masks and the like, and I have also tested what is available in Boots and Superdrug. It's so easy to believe that the most expensive product is best, but I believe this is not always the case. What about students, teenagers on limited pocket money and those who have been made redundant? Do any of us really have the money to only use high end products? I have mixed and matched with many brands in my time, both High Street and High End, so let me tell you, never fear if you want to indulge but you don't necessarily have the cash to do so. 

Here is my top 5 products. You could buy all of them and still have change from a tenner. Take than Redken!

1. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Colour Treatment Mask - 99p

If you are looking to give your hair an extra special boost, then Aussie are a great brand for their sachet's which come in a variety of different treatment options. I have long thick hair, and can easily get 2 uses out of 1 sachet, focusing on the mid-lengths to ends. This is a great buy if you have a special event coming up and want your hair to look and feel smooth and sleek, but don't want to fork out for a huge pot of treatment, which even in Superdrug averages at about £6 across all brands. Sachets are also great for weekends away and short breaks as they weigh virtually nothing, and are less likely to leak in your bag than traditional bottles or tubs.

2. Boots Coconut and Almond Conditioner - £1.29

When I was really young I had naturally long, blonde hair. My Mum used to buy me Boots chamomile conditioner, and I remember how smooth it used to leave it. About a year ago (and now Brunette) I decided to try another conditioner from the Boots range, just to see if it was any good or not. It turns out it was, and I now find I can't live without it. Everytime I use it up (a little really goes along way with this so that's not too often), I find I have to go repurchase it. The smell is devine, and it leaves my hair quite smooth. It also washes out easily and works well in conjunction with other hair products I may occassionally use. I honestly think this product is an absolute steal, and when I got my hair cut recently my hairdresser commented on how my hair was in such good condition. Apart from stopping colouring my hair which I did two years ago now, the only conditioning treatment I have been using recently is this product. For a mini tropical holiday in a bottle, you can't go wrong.

3. Dove Soft Peeling Exfoliating Bar - £1-£1.27 for Two bars

Everyone loves soft, exfoliated skin right? However exfoliators can get ridiculously expensive, even in Boots. The beauty about this bar, is that is not a heavy duty loose scrub, meaning it is gentle enough for everyday use. The smell also fills the whole bathroom, and it's a really lovely classic smell that can only mean it's Dove. I used to have little bumps on the tops of my knees which I had for years, and I was never sure why either. After using this soap everyday in the shower, within a week all the bumps had completely gone and the texture of my skin was really smooth, this is something which didn't happen with other scrubs so I was really impressed. This is not a product that you will see a massive change in within the first use, but give it a few uses and honestly you will be amazed. It's not harsh or scratchy either which means you can use it everyday. Each bar tends to last me about 4 weeks, so £1 or so for 8 weeks of use really is brilliant value.

4. MUA Primer - £1

MUA are a great, low on price but not low on quality brand. I have been using this primer almost on a daily basis for well over a year now, and amazingly I'm yet to finish the tube! I have since tried another primer costing £5 and from the first use it wasn't a patch on the MUA primer, so I shall definitely be repurchasing this once the tube is finished. It spreads well over the skin, and you don't need alot to cover the whole face either. Give it a couple of minutes to settle into the skin and apply your base, it holds the make-up all day and doesn't move. I can't ask for more!

5. Boots Cucumber Eye Gel - £1.50

I think the greatest testament I can say about this product, is that I'm on about my 8th or 9th tube of this. Granted, it's not an all singing and dancing wrinkle buster or dark circle corrector, however it is an incredible cooling and soothing eye gel that has a number of uses. It can be used under make-up as a priming base, as well as over the face in areas of dry/irritated skin. It is also great if you get your eyebrows waxed and are left with red, sore patches that need instant soothing (this was my Mum the other week, don't tell her I included this!). The product is clear and sinks in perfectly, it's not sticky or thick and gloopy. It just works, and again a little does go a long way. There are also a range of similar priced items in the Boots Cucumber range, from moisturizers to exfoliators and clay masks, so I would definitely recommend checking the range out. Out of all the products listed, this is definitely the one I can't live without the most.

What are your beauty bargains? Leave a comment and tell me!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Dainty Doll Foundation

Today I thought I would review the complete range of liquid foundations by Dainty Doll - the cosmetics company set up by Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts. The brand is primary aimed at those with pale skin, after Nicola herself had well documented struggles with her own pale skin whilst being in a girl band whereby she was surrounded by the pressure to conform to the bronzed look. Not only this, but she too also recognised the lack of products (particularly foundations) available if you have ultra fair skin.

I was kindly bought the lightest shade of this foundation for Christmas, but wanted to wait to do this review until I have all four shades to compare. As I have mentioned previously, the problem with buying foundation is that if you have cool tones like I do, you do NOT want any deep orange/yellow tones to the foundation you buy, which is usually the case with shades labelled "ivory" or "fair" and it's often misleading because of that.

Dainty Doll Founder Nicola Roberts

As Dainty Doll has been created by someone who actually has pale skin therefore understands the requirements, I naturally had high hopes. I firstly have to commend Nicola for being brave enough to stand up to the expectations that you must be fake tanned at all times, let alone bring out a make up range to support the idea that pale skin is ok for all those who struggle.

I found the lightest shade 001 to be just a touch too light for me which I found quite surprising. However when you apply it to the face, the colour can look a bit sheer white particularly on the chin. I tend to mix 001 with just a drop of my Mac Studio Sculpt foundation in NC15. This allows me to get the perfect shade. The beauty about 001 is that is does blend beautifully with other foundations you've no doubt cast aside for being too dark like I have. As long as you are careful with how much you add - you can still get the real lightness without changing the pigment too much

The quality of the foundation is really impressive, and I apply it with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush as I do all my liquid foundations. It has a good thick consistency and is easy to blend. It's not one of these foundations that doesn't move well, although I do usually moisturize and prime my skin in advance to ensure a smooth application. I would say overall this foundation is a mid-coverage.

As for the packaging, firstly the product comes in quite a lovely little illustrated box. This means if you are giving it to someone as a present it does look rather special. The container itself is made of quite a sturdy plastic as opposed to glass, making it lightweight and ideal for traveling with. The foundation is released via a pump action as opposed to an open lid, which I generally prefer as it means you can use up every last drop of product and avoid waste... but you can't have everything!

One issue I would bring up with 001 is that I didn't have a concealer anywhere near light enough to use with it. This means if I use it exclusively on it's own, I can't conceal. This is another reason I tend to mix it with another foundation so that my concealer blends a little nicer. If you are going to purchase the lightest shade, it's worth looking at the Dainty Doll concealers because they are more likely to be a perfect match as opposed to another brand.

There are four shades of the Dainty Doll Liquid Foundation in total. In all honesty, only 001 & 002 for me qualify as "pale". Infact 004 is extremely dark in real life, comparable to Yves Saint Laurent shade "BR 60".  I do find it a little odd that Dainty Doll goes as dark as it does considering it is aimed at those with pale skin. I personally would have had the other two shades as pink undertoned shades to cater for all different types of fair skin. Interestingly, I also found 004 the most difficult to remove from my arm after swatching them which proves how strong the dark pigment is.

As for 003, I would say this is a very similar shade to the Maybelline Dream Satin Foundation I used a few years ago in the shade "Ivory". It's arguably fair, but does show up quite dark on your skin if you are extremely fair and don't have the right undertones to counteract it. I personally wouldn't buy a foundation in this shade if I swatched it on my hand, as I would consider it to be too dark for my skin.

Price wise, the Dainty Doll Liquid Foundation retails at £22 normally, however Boots are currently selling it for £14.67 online. If the price has generally come down on this product, then that can only be a good thing as it means it will be more accessible to those who can't afford £22 on a foundation. I do hope the price decrease doesn't mean Dainty Doll are going out of business though! They have taken a well needed step towards colour equality in make-up, making the rest of us feel less self conscious and helping us to embrace our natural skin tone.