Shimmer is good. Bronze is even better. When the two get together, it’s sizzling. I’m referring to the Body Shop’s new shade of Shimmering Dry Oil from their Honey Bronze collection. Anything which draws attention to or evokes the feeling of summer is always going to be put me in a good mood as does this beauty.
It is gorgeous just to look at from the bottle alone and should the sun ever make a return to ol’ Blighty, it is the perfect companion to glam up a tan for a night out or a daytime sun-kissed glow.
It’s a lightweight oil that glides onto the skin, doesn’t leave a sticky feeling and has a beautiful golden shimmer with a hint of a honey scent. Do you know the honey flavoured chocolate in Milk Tray? That is exactly what this shimmering oil smells like. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of this on my legs when they welcome their first sun tan in almost 18 months next week (Marrakech, baby!)
I adore the packaging too -it’s solid and is aesthetically pleasing. Available in store and online, the Shimmering Dry Oil costs £16 for a 100ml bottle.
Other products from the range include a lip gloss, a bronzing gel for the face, an illuminating Brilliance Powder, a bronzing powder and a bronze shimmer lip balm (in a cute little ridged pot).
As with all Body Shop products, they are sourced with the Community Fair Trade programme. In this case the honey comes from the Western Ethiopian Highlands and the collaboration the Body Shop has is with the Beza Mar honey producers to support the sustainable use of the forest in its natural state and help provide the beekeepers with a reliable income.
There’s a new cosmetics name on the scene and it’s for brown-faced girls like me. EX1 Cosmetics is the first ever mass market make-up brand in the UK specifically formulated for Asian and exotic skin tones.
The brain behind it is British Asian Farah Naz who came up with the concept to create a line of cosmetics suited for skin tones like hers after becoming fed up of the limited choice on the high street.
I know exactly how that feels. When I first started exploring make-up in my late teens, my first stop was my local Boots store where I was met with a very restricted selection. Clueless and pocketless too, I settled for an apparent match which I later discovered had pink tones and was completely wrong for my yellow/golden undertone. Well, how was I to know?!
To get the right match, I had to move up to the high-end spectrum and pay about 4 times the price. Ah, I remember the day clearly…it was the MAC counter in Selfridges… Ever since I’ve always purchased high-end foundations because as the girl at MAC pointed out, there are only about 5 shades on a high street brand and about 30 with the likes of MAC.
With a background as a biochemist, Farah’s philosophy was simple: to design the highest quality collection of products for exotic-skinned women, using only the best in cosmetic technology and to keep it affordable.
Two years in the making, the results are five foundations, five mineral powder foundations, three powders, three concealers and four blushers formulated to mimic the natural yellow/golden pigments found in Asian skins. By ‘Asian’, I mean Pakistani, Indian, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern skin tones.
I was sent EX1’s ‘Invisiwear’ Liquid Foundations in two shades: F200 and F300. The latter is slap bang in the middle and in fact a pretty accurate match for me, whereas F200 is too light.
The style of packaging is generically identical to some other foundations I’ve used (plastic bottle with a pump). It doesn’t look or feel expensive but for what it costs, I think it serves its purpose more than adequately.
It is priced at the very favourable £10.50 and is a lightweight and luminous liquid base with light diffusers to cover imperfections and provide a natural, soft finish. It’s been clinically and dermatologically tested, and is 100% oil and fragrance-free and non-pore clogging.
The formula is quite thick but very easy to work with. I have been wearing it every day to work and the coverage is remarkable; I’d say it’s medium but easy to build up to full. I have to say one thing though – when I used it over Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil, I noticed a profound difference in the foundation’s appearance. The use of Hydra Veil really enhanced it, giving a far superior finish. Compared to its competitors, EX1 Cosmetics is in a league of its own because I’ve not found any other high-street brand that has made a foundation with these results:
And that was taken with a flash… OK so I’ve got a full face of make-up but without a decent base, your face will look a mess – no matter what fancy products you’ve used.
My one concern is the limited number of shades. With only five currently available, I do wonder those who fall in-between or outside this spectrum will feel left out. By no means is it an easy task to do what Farah has accomplished, and it is positive to see things are moving in the right direction with (here’s hoping) the scope to expand for a skin group that is no longer considered a minority.
For more information, visit their official website EX1 Cosmetics.
20 Questions this week is a special one. Pretty Green Eyes is nothing to do with the song but all to do with my friend, Rhian who writes this new beauty blog. I say ‘new’ because Rhian’s blog is a baby in the beauty blogging world. Please give this Welsh rarebit a warm welcome and I guarantee if you meet her, you’ll adore her.
Why did you start your blog?
I’ve always loved cosmetics and beauty products, and my lovely friend Sheenie thought it would be a good idea for me to start one…. so I did.
How long have you been blogging for?
Not very long at all, just over a year. But if we were being precise 1 year 5 months (ish).
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Sharing my thoughts on products and people responding to what I have written and hopefully. It’s nice helping people make decisions based on my thoughts.
What frustrates you most about blogging?
Trying to find time to blog – does that count?
What do your family and friends think of your blog?
They love it! I am always having to apply their make-up and paint their nails. It has even got to the stage they send me links to looks that they want me to try on them.
How frequently do you post?
Not as often as I should… trying to balance a busy work life with blogging can be difficult. Especially as I sit in front of a computer all day.
What’s your day job?
I’m a buyer for a department store. (Seriously Rhian gets paid to shop! – Sheenie)
How many bottles of nail varnish do you own?
100+ That’s easier than having to count them all.
Do you set yourself a budget, or do you buy on an as-and-when basis?
Budget? Ummm no. If I want it, I buy it.
What is your favourite make-up brand, and why?
Ooooo hard question, it’s difficult because I like to pick between a few, but if I were to say what brand I have most of within my collection it would be between MAC and Illamasqua.
Do you ever leave the house without wearing make-up?
What’s your favourite beauty treatment to indulge in?
I love a deep exfoliating facial.
Tell us about the best holiday you’ve been on.
That’s a hard one! There has been a couple of memorable ones for a number of reasons, and I loved Florida but I went to Barcelona last year, and it was one of the few places that I’ve been to that before I had even left Barcelona airport I was thinking about when I was going back.
What would be your ideal day off?
A theme park provided it wasn’t raining.
What is your favourite TV show?
Currently I would have to go with The Big Bang Theory, but if we were saying of all time it would be a toss up between The Office and Phoenix Nights.
What music do you enjoy listening to?
Everything and anything… no particular genre, if it sounds good – I like it even if it’s the height of cheesiness.
What is your favourite food?
If I were to pick one thing then probably King Prawns, but if it were a type of food then Chinese.
Where would you most like to go in the world? (money no object)
I have always wanted to go to Barbados so I would have to say there.
Which 3 guests would you invite to dine with you and why?
Ricky Gervais, controversial but I love him. Britney Spears because I grew up loving Britney and even through the questionable times I would still say she is pretty iconic to me and finally my best friend Bethan because it wouldn’t be the same without her.
Tell us a secret…
I have a crush on The Rock and I’ve had that crush for the last 13 years. *cringe*
Oh dear. Well thank you for telling us a bit about yourself, Rhian. Don’t forget to drop in on Pretty Green Eyes here.
The danger of going to Superdrug for painkillers is loading the basket with make-up often not paramount. It doesn’t help that they are positioned just at the entrance and if your branch is anything like my local, half of the huge store is a labyrinth of cosmetics.
One of the items that contributed to my £30 spend in under 5 minutes was Maybelline’s latest mascara, Volum’ Express The Rocket. Normally I don’t flutter my lashes at Maybelline’s mascaras because they’ve never impressed me but I had to try this one after seeing the dramatic results on other blogs.
Maybelline promises “explosive volume in rocket time” and clump-free lashes. The special patented wand has short bristles spaced out to ensure application glides through. I did find some of my lashes stuck together with the wet formula but using the wand to separate them gave me ample time before they dried to a dramatic finish.
It is proper jet black which is how I like my mascaras. As for how it performs? Epic! It makes my lashes appear even longer and thicker particularly after two coats. If I am going to wear mascara, I like it to show since my natural lashes are black any way.
(Apologies for the slight clumping in the pictures, I was lazy in tidying them up!)
I really like this and for £7.99 it’s brilliant value (and you know, I don’t mind spending £20+ on a mascara that performs) – definitely one of my favourite products of the year.
Maybelline’s The Rocket Volum’ Express Mascara in Black usually costs £7.99 but it’s currently on offer for £5.99 in Superdrug. Also available in water-proof.