July 4th 2016
From Zoella to Tanya, Fleur de Force to Ruth Crilly, it's not unusual to see beauty bloggers' names on the shelves of our favourite beauty boutiques - but are their own brands as good as you'd hope? They live and breathe beauty, having reviewed everything from the most prestigious brands to the cult budget must-haves, so when it comes to creating their own product, expectations are high. We put them to the test to see which ones deserve a rave review...
Price: From £2 to £4.99
Feedback: “When it comes to dry shampoo, I think I may have found my new favourite. Refreshingly cheap and chalky feeling-free, Ruth Crilly (aka A Model Recommends) offers both simplicity and efficacy in equal measure - either ‘Extreme Volume’ or ‘Sheer + Invisible’ varieties to spritz onto roots and give your 'do a day’s more longevity. To test, I parted my hair down the middle and applied one to each side. My roots were given a visible boost by ‘Extreme Volume’ (in fruity scented ‘New York,’ £4.50) while ‘Sheer + Invisible’ (in freshly scented ‘Monaco,’ £3.50) left my hair feeling cleaner and noticeably reinvigorated. The brand’s Glossing Hair Fragrance, £4.99, left my hair softer and more supple (albeit not hugely glossier), however, I wouldn’t necessarily hold that against it, as when used together the latter made for a great complimentary cohort to offset the havoc that some dry shampoos can cause to the moisture levels of my ends. When it comes to this model’s particular recommendation, it’s definitely worth trusting in my opinion.”
Feedback: “Estée Lalonde (a.k.a. Essie Button) meets The Body Shop to bring us a nail art kit with a difference - a muted and highly wearable trio of polishes along with a handy dotting tool to give even the shakiest of hands a chance at pin prick precision! From a raspberry Deeply In love to a moody Gorgeous Grey and dusty Got The Blues, this palette works well together or apart for a subtle and sensible A/W mani. The formula is rich and achieves good opacity in just two coats, although the dots do require some emphasis depending on your colour combination. The how-to guide and dotting tool inside are a handy starting point, but after a trial or two with those you might be ready for the next challenge. All in all a good looking, easy to use and highly practical answer to nailing your art!”
Price: Up to £10
Feedback: “Vlogger, blogger, makeup artist, author, cover girl (she was recently on the front of Glamour magazine) and actress-in-training, it’s no wonder Tanya Burr has topped it all off with a beauty range. The range is as you’d expect - as glam and colourful as she is, from the golden mirrored packaging to the products themselves; false lashes are of course in there, as well as lip gloss, nail polishes, palettes and even a manicure kit. But do they work as well as they look? Most impressive for me were the nail colours - they didn’t last too well, admittedly (chipped in less than two days) but the shades are spot on, and so glossy I abstained from adding a top coat (perhaps why they didn’t last). Lip glosses, meanwhile, are divisive, I find - you either love them or you hate them, but if you’re of the former then you shan’t be disappointed as they feel moisturising, yet with minimal stickiness - but they are very, very shiny. The Rosy Flush Cheek Palette, containing a bronzer, blusher and highlighter is a great kit so long as you don’t mind a little glitz - there’s shimmer in each one, which you can definitely get away with by night but may want to step back from by day. However, this girly, sparkly trait sums up the range as a whole - if you’re after that doe-eyed, big-haired, glossy look, then it’s for you. And who wouldn’t want to look like a cover girl for under £10?”
Price: From £6.99 to £8.99
Feedback: "Full disclosure: I am a huge Fleur de Force fangirl. I’ve been watching beauty vloggers since my teens, and Fleur was always my go-to girl for makeup tips and tutorials. In that strange intimacy of the internet, I felt she was the older sister I never had. Finally getting the chance to rifle through her makeup bag was a dream come true, but I was also worried - would this be a case of never meet your idols?
"I’m happy to report the capsule collection is absolutely spot on. Inspired by the cosmos (Fleur loves stars; she even has a tattoo of three little ones on her foot #FanFacts), the range is small but perfectly formed. I haven’t stopped reaching for the eyeshadow quad in ‘Lunar Rose’ since I got my hands on it. The colours are super blendable, perfect for creating a soft, smokey eye in rose gold and mauve tones. The lipglosses are a fantastic dupe for high end liquid lipsticks and smell delicious. My favourite shades of the six are ‘Starry Starry Night,’ a beautiful berry shade, and ‘Written in the Stars’ the perfect just-there pink. The makeup bag in Fleur’s signature watercolour is spangled with rose gold stars and detailing, making it blogger catnip and an ideal Christmas gift for any beauty obsessed 20-something in your life. Now all I need is a herd of adorable pets and a book deal."
Price: £5 - £15
Feedback: "If I could put a theme tune to the Zoella collection, "Sweets for My Sweet" would hands down be it. I found myself unwrapping each product à la Charlie Bucket, half expecting to find a golden ticket shimmering underneath the pink polka dot wrapping. While it turns out a trip to the Chocolate Factory isn't to be, the flourish of floral and vanilla fragrance that laces the entire collection, along with the quirky way the products have been presented (the bath fizzer is divided into Cadbury cubes, while the fragranced soap is set onto an ice lolly stick) satiated my candy craving quite nicely... thankfully I took heed of the Do Not Eat stickers.
"The fizzer fizzed and the bath soaker bubbled, and while my skin was certainly left with a veil of the signature fragrance, I can't say I felt the promised moisturising effects of the products (which include shea butter and aloe vera). However these products are a true example of how well Zoella knows her adoring audience; it’s a bath and skincare collection best suited for giggly sleepover fun - it's playful, pretty and very girly, if perhaps a touch 'style over substance'. The Wonder Hand cream is the exception, though, and it could definitely find a home in my handbag. While it took a little while to absorb into my skin, it left them feeling really soft and supple but not at all greasy, and with a much more delicate fragrance, it would make a great everyday go-to."
Feedback: "I’m a long time lover of Real Techniques brushes; they’re affordable, easy to use and honed to perfection by expert makeup artist and one half of Pixiwoo, Sam Chapman. The Core Collection is a four piece set, which is mind boggling value for the high quality finish of the fluffy (non-shedding) synthetic brushes. While I wouldn’t normally use this many brushes to apply my base, this lot multitask very efficiently; the buffing brush works well for blusher and the detailer brush is great for eye makeup. Each brush picks up both powder and cream product evenly and works makeup into the skin without streaking or dragging, making subtle contouring quick and simple. Applying foundation wasn’t quite such a speedy endeavour however, as the brush is very small in terms of covering a large area. On the other hand, it gets into nooks and crannies like no other base brush I’ve tried, so it’s really just a matter of preference. The buffing brush was my overall favourite - whether for blusher or foundation, it blends in product seamlessly and feels silky and oddly relaxing to use. If you need me, I’ll be stroking my face in the corner…"
July 4th 2016