Review: More Clinique Pop Lip Colours (Bare Pop, Ruby Pop, Icon Pop)

Hi everyone!

It’s about time I shared these, for the first review of 2019!

You all know I love and ADORE the Clinique Pop Lip Colour in Cherry, which is plush and comfortable and stains beautifully. So, I bought this set of minis, including a spare Cherry Pop, during the Boxing Day sales in 2017. I didn’t get around to using them until late 2018, and I think I’m finally ready to give a verdict on them.

I like that the base of the packaging matches the bullet colour. These lipsticks go at the front of my lipstick storage rack so I can store them upright and still see the colour, but if you’re storing them in drawers it may be best to store them upside down in order to see the colour you are choosing more clearly.

 

Here’s a link to my little post gushing about Cherry Pop. I will hold back from gushing about it even more and focus on the other three shades that are new to me!

Bare Pop is a subtle light nude that shimmers. It’s comparable to Rikugien of the NARS satin lip pencil line so, if you prefer a bullet lipstick, this might be up your street. Unfortunately for its name, I think it’s *too* bare and I don’t really reach for it. However, when I do it’s to add it on top of a deeper nude to add interest, or to look like I am wearing nothing which is almost never.

Ruby Pop is a quite bright red. It is in the matte part of the collection, and this shade is delightfully summery. I think I can imagine this at a beach party or festival of sorts. That said, I wore it to work during the late summer to really feel those vibes.

Icon Pop is a delightful deep red, not dark enough to register as burgundy but it’s a delightfully rich shade that I think is very flattering. There are two photos of it below and the bottom one better expresses how this shade translates in real life.

The matte collection is interesting – like the original line, they are vivid in colour, glide across, stay put and are fairly smoothing and forgiving, but there is something about mattes that make you look like more effort has been put in other than just slapping on a lippie.

The matte colours are great in their own right – however, I just don’t reach for them over Cherry Pop. Most likely because I don’t really wear mattes anymore. BUT I have been wearing a lot more red lips recently so hopefully I use them a bit more over the coming months. If not, I’ll have to pass them on to a new home.

Bare Pop is definitely being put on the rehome pile, and I might keep Icon pop if it were not for the fact I own a few similar shades already. I am also particularly torn over whether I’d wear Ruby Pop a lot in future.

This is one of those occasions where buying a whole set of lipsticks just doesn’t work out. I expected at least one total dud (which is Bare Pop for me) but that the other reds are also not wowing me is a little disappointing. Maybe it’s just that Cherry Pop made me hold the entire range to a really high standard, or that my tastes changed between buying and using the set as I definitely lean away from mattes now.

Another reason I am unlikely to buy these lipsticks again – even Cherry Pop – is the fact that the Clinique brand isn’t cruelty-free which docks them of points in my book these days (it was not a priority to me this time last year). But if that is a lower-priority criterion for you, I’d still pick the regular Clinique Colour Pop lipsticks over the matte ones. They’re a great, foolproof range.

So, long story short, these newer lipsticks and I obviously sort of get along but we aren’t each other’s types… if that makes sense at all.

Until next time,

X

Four Years of Twenty Swans!!!!

Hi Everyone!

Another year has passed and we are at 20S’ FOURTH year! That’s insane. I know, I say this every year, but that’s really just amazing. Life for me is getting much, much busier now but I am hoping to keep up the blogging at least – I’ve realised this blog is how some people keep up with me and I think it’s important to keep in touch.

Here are some of this year’s blog stats!

Following stats:

  • 427 WordPress followers (steady as I have not been as interactive!)
  • 120 Instagram followers (give or take a few bots)
  • 304 Twitter followers (dropping as I am not really a tweeter)
  • 42 Bloglovin followers (HI.)

I’ve been much less stringent about social media promo so my views have actually dipped a bit this year. I just don’t put aside the time for it so it’s kind of a no from me. I enjoy the blogging most and the view count is a bonus, really. I’d like to post more on Instagram as a micro-blog for all the posts that don’t make the cut, too. In terms of views, I didn’t hit 20k again this year and I’m sitting at 17.5k.

I’ve posted just a little more than last year, and while my overall views have decreased, my blog engagement has been a lot higher! I got 293 comments this year (up from 85) and 728 likes (up from 342). As far as I know, though, I don’t have a system for accepting comments outside of WordPress. Maybe that’s something I can work on this year.

My top five posts overall this year are:

  1. This sheet mask post, again (2015) which now has over 10k views???
  2. My review of the Kose Suncut Aqualy UV Sunscreen (2017)
  3. My review of the Mamonde Balm Intense (2017)
  4. My review of the Canmake BB Cream (2017)
  5. A post about pH testing my cleansers (2016)

My top five posts from 2018 ONLY:

  1. Battle of the Velvet Teddy Dupes #1
  2. My review of Skinfood’s Avocado and Honey Lip Serum
  3. My review of Primark’s PS… Nudes palette
  4. My Snap review of the Primark Hydrogel mask
  5. Lipsticks in Rotation: February 2018

I’ve been a little more creative with photography this year and making use of the aperture and background blur for my photos. I’ve tried to be more flexible and more creative with my setups and develop a more airy and warm style whilst trying to remain colour-accurate for swatches.

Here are examples from throughout the year:

Check out this post on my photography process for a bit of my older photography!

I’ve just discovered Canva for title cards (including the one for this post!), although I am having a few teething problems with getting to grips with it I like all the custom options it has for my blog posts!

Update on Last Year’s Mindful Things:

  • I didn’t write a lot at all.
  • I joined the gym, so more cardio is being done.
    I think I still gained weight and got bigger, but I don’t feel ready to die after running for the bus anymore, which is very nice. Becoming healthier and losing weight are not the same thing to me and I am proud of the strides made in improving my fitness level.
  • I don’t think I spent more or less money on snacks, but overall I think I’ve been healthier which was the intent behind this.
  • I’ve become much more comfortable with being the manga/k-pop person and I think that it helped that I’ve surrounded myself with a group of friends who are the same which helps me normalise it – in short, I’ve found my crew at uni and it’s doing me a lot of good!
  • My wardrobe hasn’t changed much, really – there have been very little purchases through the year apart from some key items. But it may have to change, and more purchases made out of necessity because I’ve gotten a bit bigger in size again.

This year’s mindful things:

  • Try to be more a eco-friendly and ethical shopper in small steps, by:
    • exploring more veggie/vegan food options (that I started this year and I want to continue with that).
    • replacing my cotton rounds with reusable ones as soon as my current pack runs out (I don’t use them that often anyway). I don’t buy coffee often at all so I find I don’t need a travel cup at the moment.
    • moving towards being more and more cruelty-free with my beauty purchases, with exceptions which I hope to outline in a later post.
    • considering more small, indie and local (UK) beauty brands.
    • At the moment I don’t NEED or even WANT much of anything (kicking those consumer habits!!!) so I’ve just done a ton of research to prepare for the year.
  • Continuing to visit the gym and improving my fitness level – I’m trying not to be bothered about my size and weight, and the focus is just on being healthier. This will probably become really difficult as my placement year approaches, but the point is that I’ll TRY.
  • I want to draw more, but due to my book challenge the focus this year is on reading. I just want to do more of both, but I know I’ll be very busy.
  • Continue to blog during the summer.
    It’s my biggest weakness, blog-wise – I do next to nothing here in the summer and I always regret it afterwards. No particular reasons why, just that my life outside of blogging becomes busy or less interesting around then that even a trip to Vietnam cannot cure.
  • Use up a lipstick or cull my collection to a steady 30.
    Despite a year-long ban I still didn’t really fully finish a lipstick, and although the aim is 30, my storage rack holds 40 which doesn’t help. I am filling the other 10 with lip liners and other things that fit and I’ll aim for ‘one in, one out’. I can imagine this going haywire if I end up travelling for Placement year, though.

I feel like I should mention again that these aren’t really goals, hence the name, as I revisit this post a lot myself to remind myself of what I can do to improve myself. No point in making goals I’ll forget about, right? Plus this means less pressure on myself to achieve said goals and more gratification when things do improve over the year.

Once again, thank you for reading.

X

Review: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita

Hi everyone!

I was pretty determined to put out a final post of the year, and here we are.

Can you believe 2019 is tomorrow??

2019 will also mark the end of my 2018 lipstick ban. Technically, it was exactly a year since my last purchase on Boxing Day but I wanted to hold back during that sales period until the new year. I will, of course, be putting up some posts about it in the coming year to reflect on that.

So, a while ago, I was fortunate enough to receive a few lip products from a friend I hadn’t seen in ages! She’s getting married, which is kind of insane to hear about – it feels like only yesterday she was practically lending me her entire bookshelf and fuelling my early bookworm tendencies. I didn’t know she read the blog, but she knew I was on a lipstick ban and I hadn’t considered that this blog is also a way of keeping in touch!

She handed me this lipstick and three glosses. Whilst I did like the glosses, I ended up rehoming them in a makeup trade with my university friends, but I kept this lipstick on hand! She said she fell out of using them compared to her Tom Ford and Bobbi Brown – and some of you know the Crushed Lip Colors have been on my wishlist all year but now I can say I know exactly what my first lipstick purchase in 2019 is going to be!

The packaging is a sleek matte black, and as it is metal, it is cool to the touch. The NARS logo is decorated all around the side in glossy type, quite understatedly. I love the magnetic clasp in the packaging that whirls the lid around until it’s shut, which I think is snappy and really cool.

The winter chill giving me slight goosebumps…

NARS Audacious Lipstick in the shade Anita is a satin finish shade in a nude pink. It’s very similar to Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate in 08, which was a smudge too light for me but in comparison this pulls a little darker and pinker on my skin tone and is just a bit more flattering. I normally wear a darker liner under 08 to make it fit me better but I don’t feel the need to do that with Anita. It is still a lovely understated nude that I like to wear to work if I am keeping things low-key.

The formula is pretty light, super comfortable and lasts very well through a shift at work or lunch. It layers without a problem too.

I think it is safe to say that this has just casually completely replaced Rimmel 08 in my collection, which is great, and I think I’ll be wearing this a lot throughout 2019!

Until Next Time,

X

Lipstick & Chatter: Can We Stop With the Late Night Fireworks Now?

Everyone, can you believe its November? The German Market is just around the corner and so is the end of the year. I feel like it’s flying by quicker than I would like.

Shopping

These days, I get to come home to a great cinnamon scent in my room. I’ve been revisiting TK Maxx a lot waiting for a classically autumn scent like cinnamon or pumpkin in a reed diffuser. I own a few candles but I’m not allowed to use them upstairs for safety reasons, so the best near alternative for my room is a reed diffuser.

Now that I have my hands on a cinnamon scent, though, I think I would have preferred vanilla pumpkin or something without cinnamon as the scent is a bit strong. I’ve tucked away the reed diffuser in a corner where the scent will be less strong so hopefully, it won’t be so bad.

On the other hand, some of you may know that I love the Paper Place A4 Spiralbound notebooks from The Works. I’ve noticed that they’ve made their notebooks less pages recently although ultimately the same. I don’t know whether to be sad or happy seeing as it took me ages to get through them but now they’re less value for the same price!

University

I feel like I’m juggling so many things recently. Beyond university coursework, I’m also part of two societies, a language exchange group, a Japanese class and an extra module. I also have a gym membership and have been aiming for two days a week. I’d previously felt drained at most times during the week and at one point I started missing lectures and workshops in order to recover from my really long Tuesdays.

(This post goes out on a Tuesday, so rest assured I am probably dying at Uni as you read this.)

Until a few weeks ago, I also had two jobs. I’ve since quit the second job in order to have more time to fit all of these extra-curricular things with time to relax. The Tuesdays haven’t changed, essentially, so they’re still too long and tiring for the moment but I’m glad to have my Fridays and Sundays back – a few days where I can take time off and get ready for the next week. I feel as if I can still cramming in too much though and I’m still struggling to make it to the gym. I am hoping to change that this week.

NaNoWriMo

All this said, you’ll understand now why I’m finding it so hard to blog. You’ll be even more baffled to hear that I’m also adding NaNoWriMo to that list this year. For those of you unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month is a writing challenge to get 50k words done throughout the month. I’ve only succeeded once in 2015 and not reached 10k in subsequent years since. So, of course, I’ve set a small goal for myself of at least reaching 10k. Right now, I’m at 1k.

On top of that, I haven’t concretely planned my novel at all, whereas I have attempted plans for most of my previous projects. This is because, in my mind, I am still in the mindset of getting to know the characters and setting and when I try to write with a plot I quickly lose the plot (pun sort of intentional).

So I am actually approaching the novel more like a plan, and hopefully all those words will help me become more familiar with my characters. Case in point is that I started this month with only three characters and simply by writing about their setting I’ve now got at least eight characters.

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Lipstick Spotlight

Recently, the lipstick I have been wearing the most is my Smashbox Be Legendary in Legendary. I know I did review this lipstick a little negatively saying that it was not fully opaque and a bit patchy at times, but it means I’ve fully embraced a messy lip look.

I want something bold this autumn and winter as well as not too drying, so I have been wearing this two ways: popping this in the centre of my lips on top of Skinfood’s tinted avocado lip serum, or using the lipstick first in the centre and using a lip brush to line my lips in lip balm and soften the lip lines. I don’t have defined lips so softening lipstick lines really improves the look in my opinion. The result is this super plushy and glossy-ish look that I like wearing on a daily basis.

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The lasting power of the lipstick is not great so depending on food type it may have to be retouched. However, with just a drink or so, it will last well and only lose some vividity, fading to a more blotted look.

I did wear a liquid lipstick or two recently but I couldn’t handle just how drying they felt so I think I am back to bullets, pigmented balmy products and glosses for life. I picked my recent gel polish to match – it’s Halo Gel Polish in Apple Red, which is slightly orangey yet not too bright. Ask your local nail salon if they offer it, and if not they’re sure to know a trade stockist that does.

And Finally…

On a random note, I find myself picking more and more vegetarian options recently when I am going out for food. I recently picked up a jar of pumpkin seed butter to try out – it’s the one option I saw that was not nut-based (my sister is allergic) so it was an impulse buy! I just look at what interests me and many times it happens to be vegetarian. I told myself in this regard that I would never force myself to eat vegan or vegetarian, and focus on what I like, and it’s interesting to see what I naturally gravitate to and what I could easily give up.

Until Next Time,

X

Snap Reviews: Lip Creams from NYX and Collection

Hi everyone!

It’s taken me this long to finally try out the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream. Not surprising, to be honest! It was one of those things I meant to buy and try as soon as NYX landed in the UK a while back but for some reason, I never got around to it. But here we are now… I also picked up the Collection Velvet Kiss and after seeing how similar the two products are, I thought I would feature them in the same post.


NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

£6.00 – Available from Boots, Debenhams and many online stores like FeelUnique, Cult Beauty and LookFantastic.

I really liked this at first – it goes on the lips quite pigmented but might need more than one dip in the tube if you’ve got bigger lips. It even goes on with a bit of a sheen before it sets compared to the Collection Lip Cream which already applies quite dry.

It appeared smooth at first but cracks showed up in my bottom lip later when I smiled. However, it was a lot less drying compared to the Collection Lip Cream.

Cannes is a cute pink shade that is like Bourjois’ Nude-ist to me, but a little deeper and warmer, perhaps. It just seems way more flattering on me than Nude-ist, and I can actually imagine myself wearing this shade a lot, so I’m going to try and find a very similar one in a formula I like.

Zurich is a lighter, coral ish shade. The coral tones prevent this colour from being too light and bland on me. This particular shade was a gift from TrayTray and I don’t think I would have bought this colour to try myself otherwise, so I was surprised to find this to be a cute colour for the spring and summer seasons.

 

Okay, this picture doesn’t seem strange at all on my phone but my laptop shows it as super dim and cool-toned. Anyone else?

 


Collection Velvet Kiss Moisturising Lip Cream

£2.99 – Available from Superdrug

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This product was very obviously made to be a dupe of the Soft Matte Lip Cream – the tubes are almost identical apart from the slightly different finish on the lids.

Caramel is a very pretty nude brown shade I often struggle to find in stores because it’s all sold out. The price makes it a pretty irresistible pick-up if you like any of the small range of shades. This is the only nude brown shade. It has a very strong sweet smell that smells both delicious and slightly off-putting… sickly, maybe.

I’ve previously compared this to Velvet teddy in this post, so I’ll share the same photo below. It wears decently but I feel as if it is quite drying. On top of that, the tube feels quite empty and the applicator doesn’t pick up much product even when it’s new. Collection’s Lip cream only holds 5ml whilst NYX’s Lip Cream holds 8ml, so that might explain that.

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Overall, I think I’m going to conclude that these lip creams aren’t for me – they didn’t really live up to the hype for me and whilst they’re not awful, they’re also not mind-blowing but I can see why the NYX ones are a favourite.

Until next time,

X

Review: Skinfood Avocado & Honey Lip Serum

Hi everyone!

Now that I have established a lip care routine of sorts, I am looking into exploring other options for the steps I have. One of these steps involves using a thin ‘lip serum’ type product in the morning. It has to be really quick and easy to use and play well with my lipsticks and lip liners without compromising them. So for this, tubs are a no and sticks are okay… But I really love tubes as there is no time taken to ‘melt’ any product onto the lips – lanolin products being a sort of exception.

 

By the way, lip balms were not part of my no-buy. Tinted ones… well, I didn’t realise this one was tinted… I certainly don’t wear it in lieu of a lipstick, so I wouldn’t count this particular one… I don’t normally buy/wear tinted ones at all…

 

The product I used for this step prior was Dr Organic’s Hemp Lip Serum. It’s an oily gel sort of texture, in a tube, and in a thin layer, works really well for what I need it for without being too runny. But lip ‘serums’ are a rare product category and I wanted to see what other options I had. Lip essences are interesting too and I think the two terms might be used interchangeably and of course, lip oils are not to be ignored although true oil consistencies are not what I’m looking for.

I bought this product for £3.97 for 10 ml from RoseRoseShop on ebay, a known reputable seller of Korean cosmetics and skincare. As usual, it took about two weeks to get to me here in the UK.

This appealed to me as a morning lip balm because it has a little sun protection at SPF8 and has a tube packaging. to be honest, as I pat off the lip balm later the SPF is not a deal breaker as it won’t stay on. The avocado and honey extracts are supposed to help keep the lips moist. It smells of a typical lip balm in a stick – I think it’s lypsyl that comes to mind or the classic Nivea lip balm scent. That means it also doesn’t taste very nice.

I was really surprised to see the product come out so dark – a very deep berry colour! However, once I spread it on the lips this colour all but dissipates into a not-even-noticeable tint. It doesn’t appear too glossy or too matte – just a creamy shine.

When I am only wearing this balm during the day at home, the product lasts two or three hours on the lips before I have to reapply it again. This is with drinking water and a bit of snacking in between. It won’t last a meal, but as the tint is so light you’re not going to notice, visually, that it’s gone. At the same time, the tint makes my lips look healthier and less washed out. If you have more pigmented lips, though you won’t notice a difference.

It plays well under lip products. I usually press my lips against the back of my hand to remove excess and leave a thin layer. It doesn’t cause my lipstick to go on patchy and I can use my lip products as usual.

I wasn’t sure about this lip serum at first. I’m not sure I would still call it the kind of serum I was expecting. It’s definitely more just a thin balm. However, it’s really grown on me and I do enjoy using it now, especially the healthy flush it gives to my lips even if I do pat it off later on. I don’t think I will repurchase this again, though.

Until next time,

X

Review: Revolution Conceal & Define Liquid Concealer

Hi everyone!

Like every other makeup enthusiast I was super excited to hear about Revolution’s new concealer and its shade range. It was something I insisted on buying in person but its popularity proved so immense I couldn’t even find teasers in store, let alone the actual product! After its launch, it took almost two whole months for me to get my hands on the concealer to try!

Revolution Conceal & Define costs only £5 and is available at Superdrug’s stores and website, as well as the Tambeauty site.

Not surprisingly, the packaging is a very trendy rose-gold, and the tube a little bulky compared to my other products. It’s pretty and looks lovely in photos, though.

The doe-foot applicator is nice and really pleasant to use, although sometimes I find it picks up a little too much product. This is a minor gripe, though, and I find the amount plenty for the areas I use base products on. The product doesn’t set too quickly either so it’s not a problem that I’ve got way too much concealer on one side of my face.

I don’t use foundation all over my face normally, and in hindsight, I actually use foundation and concealer the same way – mostly around the centre parts of my face where redness most often shows. I am also not fussed about concealing my dark circles – I am a student after all, and it’s a perfectly normal thing in the exam season! With this in mind, my base products have to match well to the outer parts of my face.

The swatch below shows the concealer next to my two favourite current matches in concealer and foundation- the Maybelline Eye Eraser in Light and the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1W2 Sand. Both of these current products I want to avoid repurchasing if I can find cruelty-free alternatives, which is unfortunate as they match really well and I have found that I do have a difficult skintone to match – a neutral – yellowish tone that many products fail to match by turning too orange. Oxidisation also really annoys me so I’d much rather my base products didn’t do that, too.

 

I always get define and conceal mixed up and corrected it three times on this blog post alone…

 

I liked the match for C6 against my skin. Surprisingly, Superdrug labels C6 for ‘medium skin tones with peach undertone’ although I have never labelled my skin tone as such and C6 doesn’t obviously seem like that kind of shade either. It’s also surprisingly light and less yellow compared to Maybelline Eye Eraser in Light and Double Wear in 1W2 Sand. It blends out well with a natural, very slight brightening effect due to the difference in shade whereas 1W2 is perhaps the darkest I could go without it looking horrible.

In terms of lasting power, it fares pretty well. I have oily skin and this will inevitably break down on the nose despite a generous dusting of powder. However, it looks far better after a few hours than the Eye Eraser does especially on the upper lip and beneath the chin where the product can also break up at times.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and would probably repurchase this again over my other options. Let me know if you’ve tried this and what you thought of it!

Until next time,

X