Is it really a dupe? Maybelline Colordrama Lip Pencil vs Primark Velvet Matte Lipstick Crayon

One of the most satisfying discoveries for a make up fan is a dupe; a product from a budget friendly line that is almost an exact replica of your favourite high end/luxury make up item. With that in mind, last year I decided to start a series here on the blog called “Is it really a dupe?” I can’t pretend to have discovered many dupes myself – most of my knowledge on this subject comes from taking advice from other blogs, YouTube channels, magazines and friends! In this series I usually test and compare two products widely hailed as a luxury product and it’s more purse-friendly dupe. This time I am proud to say I found this dupe myself while having a rummage through my make up collection. It might have been previously coined as a dupe, but I am yet to read/hear about it:  ‘Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Nude Perfection’ vs ‘PS (Primark) Velvet Matte Lipstick Crayon in 09’.

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The Packaging

Both simple and sleek, both easy to store and both with the handy feature of displaying the shade on the outside, there really is not much between the two products when it comes to packaging. Both need sharpening, and I personally prefer lip pencils with the ‘twist up option’ but that is no deal breaker for me. It is worth noting that the Primark lip pencil contains 3.5 g of product compared with 2.5 g in the Maybelline but you would still get plenty of applications out of each nevertheless (I for one have never finished a lip pencil!)

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The Product

Looking at the hand swatches you might think me crazy for suggesting the Primark lip pencil as a dupe. Both nude perfection from Maybelline (shown on the top in the three photos above) and the less imaginatively named 09 shade from Primark can definitely be described as matte nude shades but as you can see, the Primark product takes on more of a ‘pinky’ tone compared to the brown undertone of the Maybelline counterpart. BUT once applied onto the lips I think you will agree you can’t tell the difference! Of course this may vary depending on the natural colour of your own lips but on me the two shades look almost identical. As for the formula; each has it’s own pros and cons. I found the Primark product applies more smoothly and is creamier, whereas the Maybelline drags a bit on the lips and can cling to dry patches. However, the Maybelline is more pigmented so needs less layering and has a slightly better lasting power.

The Price

I am well aware that this is not your standard dupe post seeing as the most expensive of the products is still very affordable at £4.99 (Maybelline). However, the Primark option comes in at only £2 so is less than half the price and contains a whole extra gram of product. If you buy a lot of make up savings like that can add up over time! And with the Primark lip pencil equalling, if not surpassing, the Maybelline in quality it is a saving not to be sniffed at.

The Verdict

Is it a dupe? Yup.

 

 

Previous ‘Is it really a dupe?’ posts

Mac Painterly Paint Pot vs Maybelline Crème De Rose Color Tattoo

Mac Candy Yum Yum vs Maybelline Fuchsia Flash

 

 

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OOTD – Vintage Fun

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Playing dress up for my friend’s recent vintage themed hen weekend was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on! I managed to create the look on a reasonable budget too. For full details read on…

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The dress was my starting point and as soon as I realised I would be visiting Brighton before the hen weekend, I knew it would be the perfect place to find what I was looking for. On a recommendation I headed straight for Collectif on Bond Street. Specialising in 1940’s and 1950’s vintage style clothing and accessories, I was in heaven! The staff not only looked the part but were incredibly helpful (and complimentary which always adds to the shopping experience!) With their expertise I decided to go with the Lori Gingham Swing Dress  for a very reasonabe £42.50 but even better value right now as it is in the sale for £21.25.

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I had these shoes in storage after buying them over a year ago in a ‘I don’t know when I’ll wear these but I love them and they are a bargain so I’ll get them anyway’ moment in TK Maxx. I knew I would get use out of them one day! I paid around £15 for them. They are from the brand Truffle which you can also buy at ASOS and on Amazon.

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I often think the finishing touches can make or break an outfit and I love how this look came together with the accessories and make up. I borrowed the head scarf from a friend who bought it from a local market. The square shape and 100% cotton fabric made it easy to style and it stayed in place all day. The earrings and false lashes are both from good old Primark at only £1 and £1.50 and for a red lip with staying power I used the Sephora cream lip stain in shade 01 – Always Red.

Finally, a big thank you to the bride to be for taking these photos and being my creative director! You can find her on Instagram https http://www.instagram.com/peapodcarddesign

My Capsule Wardrobe: Most worn this Summer

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I’m now three seasons into my capsule wardrobe experience and I finally got around to shooting some outfit pictures. Summer has involved the smallest switch up so far (partly due to being over-optimistic about the weather when choosing my Spring pieces!) so rather than go through my whole wardrobe I decided to share with you my three most worn pieces.

Pinafore – New Look

Part of the reason I wanted to start the capsule wardrobe was to help me develop a style. However, that doesn’t mean that when a trend comes along you can’t buy into it, and the denim pinafore is definitely the statement piece of my wardrobe this Summer. It’s been nice and cool for the ocassional balmy British summer day and can just as easily be teamed with tights for days when there has been a chill in the air.

Jersey Bardot Top – Primark

I love a basic tee and there have been more than a few in every seasonal switch up of my wardrobe since I began the capsuling concept. This Bardot top has been a great alternative to a simple t-shirt and the stripes keep it looking classic. It’s versatile too; I love it with the pinafore but have also worn it with a high waist pencil skirt, shorts or jeans.

White Leather All Star – Converse

Aside from a two week holiday in a much warmer climate, I’ve barely worn sandals this Summer. Even if the weather has been gorgeous, a rain cloud is never far away in England! Converse have been the perfect alternative for keeping feet dry, especially these leather alternative to the original canvas offering (which I have also found far more comfortable). Bonus – they go with everything which gives them a gold star as far as the capsule wardrobe is concerned.

If you want to read my previous capsule wardrobe posts they are all linked below…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘Un-Fancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe: Lessons & Winter Updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

My Capsule Wardrobe: The Winter to Spring transition

Also worn in this post: Sunglasses – Primark, Bag – New Look (last year’s stock)

 

 

 

 

 

Ladival Sun Protection for Sensitive Skin

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Two days before my recent holiday to the Canary Islands I wandered into Boots for a few last minute purchases including sun protection. I’m no sun worshiper and having learnt the hard way (painful burns) and wised up to the dangers of sunbathing I now avoid it. Unless I’m swimming or involved in some kind of day time activity, you will find me in a shady spot reading a good book (or the occasional trashy novel!) instead. Having been blessed/cursed with fair, freckly skin that is prone to multiple dermatological complaints including eczema, dermatitis and keratosis pilaris, my choice of SPF has to be a careful one, especially as once the temperature soars you can add prickly heat to that list. I’ve previously written about my tried and tested tips for dealing with prickly heat (here) and my breakthrough in realising there are ingredients I should avoid when selecting sun protection (more details in the prickly heat post). This led me to Eucerin as my brand of choice last year but on this particular trip to Boots a different product caught my eye. Ladival not only ticked the boxes for ingredients but was cheaper and on offer. Having used it for two weeks, here are my thoughts including a comparison to the Eucerin products I fell in love with last year…

Like Eucerin the sun protection from Ladival contains no mineral oils or petrolatum (ingredients that trap heat under your skin making certain skin problems including prickly heat more likely to occur). Even better, it contains no perfume or fragrance (some of the Eucerin products do but it is the last ingredient on the list so the amount is negligible). This means the Ladival creams have what I would describe as a slightly clinical smell, although not unpleasant and very subtle. One of the ingredients is titanium, intended to reflect and filter harmful rays. This means the creams, especially the factor 50, tend to leave a ‘white cast’ on your skin which might be off putting to some, but I don’t mind adding reflective skin to my poolside look which otherwise consists of frizzy hair and uneven eyebrows!

The creams are easy to apply, the factor 30 more so than the 50 due to its lighter formula. Both factors need a good shake before use (which is recommended on the bottles) otherwise it tends to flake a bit but if properly mixed this didn’t occur. Once absorbed you don’t feel like you have anything on your skin, which could be a positive or negative attribute depending on your point of view, but I just use a systematic approach to make sure I didn’t miss any patches of skin. I applied this very liberally and didn’t suffer any break outs on the face or body, so it didn’t seem to clog my pores, although it’s worth noting I’m not typically prone to spots. One huge advantage the Ladival has is that I found it far less likely to stain clothes compared to the Eucerin products.

So the big question, what about prickly heat? I still developed it; I’ve never been to a climate warmer than the UK and escaped it completely. However it was far less widespread or severe, and settled down far quicker than previous trips abroad. Overall, I’m pleased as punch with both these brands and will use either for my ongoing sun protection at home or abroad – the best special offer is likely to swing it for me when I next need to stock up!

I bought the SPF 50 and SPF 30 in 200 ml bottles for £13.50 each, on a ‘buy one get one half price’ offer.

Do you have a favourite sun care brand for sensitive skin? I’d love to hear about it in the comments…

Lottie London Soap Star Brush Cleanser – Beauty Blender dupe?

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I’m pretty happy with the ‘oldie but goodie’ method of using simple baby shampoo to deep clean my brushes. However, nowadays when it comes to base makeup my go to application tool is the much hyped (but in my opinion with good reason) beauty sponge. I find that baby shampoo doesn’t quite cut it for getting my sponges looking good as new, and worse still, they can start to tear after a few washes. When I collaborated with the fabulous Leah XL for a YouTube video (watch it here) she recommended using the Beauty Blender solid brush cleanser. The coconut and aloe ingredients apparently mean you get a great result while taking care of the sponge avoiding causing it any damage. At £14 a pop it’s not exactly cheap so when I came across the Lottie London alternative in a Sunday evening browse on the Superdrug website I didn’t hesitate to click ‘add to basket’!

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At £6.99 the Lottie London offering is around half the price of the Beauty Blender version. Essentially it is a small block of soap but with added ingredients such as coconut oil and Shea butter to ensure your brushes (or in my case sponges) are treated to a deep cleanse while staying soft. Simply wet the sponge, give it a good rub onto the block of soap to create a lather, rinse and repeat as needed. With the screw lid and compact size it’s great for travel too.

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I’ve been trialling the product for around a month on all my sponges. I wash them after a couple of uses each and considering I have 5 sponges it’s lasting really well. The cleaning block lathers up really easily so you don’t need much and I only need to give each sponge the once over providing it’s not too caked in foundation. Above is an example of what my sponges look like pre-cleaning session! I’ve used a soft, medium and harder sponge to show you how well the product works on all types of sponges, although the harder sponges do need a bit more work but that’s to be expected in my opinion.

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As you can see, post-clean they look good as new! A tiny bit of staining on the black one but that’s probably down to the colour and potentially how dense it is. A month down the line, all sponges are in good ‘nick’ without signs of tearing. Overall, I’m very impressed and will definitely repurchase. I’d be interested to see how the Beauty Blender soap compares, do let me know in the comments if you have tried it.

 

My Capsule Wardrobe: The Winter to Spring transition

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I am now on the third season of my capsule wardrobe and still loving the experience. I originally started using a specific template from the popular un-fancy.com and I’ve really enjoyed adapting the concept to suit my circumstances and continue developing a style. I will link all my previous musings on the subject at the end of this post, but today I am talking through my tips for the transition from Winter to Spring. The collage above depicts some of the items I’ve updated my wardrobe with (all linked at the end of the post) but if you want to see more pieces in action I’m forever posting outfits on my Instagram account! (thevictoriajay)

Prepare for a bigger switch up

If I’m honest, I found the Autumn to Winter transition a bit of a walk in the park. I had my base wardrobe and just needed to switch a handful of items out to prepare for colder weather, or to replace pieces that just had not worked for whatever reason. This time it was less of a ‘switch up’ and more of an ‘overhaul’. I think this was both due to the changing weather, and the fact I had developed more ideas about what I wanted my wardrobe and style to look like, the longer I had been committed to the process. Practically this meant I needed more time and more money for this changeover, which is definitely a lesson for the future.

Think layers

Talking of weather, being based in the UK doesn’t necessarily mean warm sunny weather throughout the season! With our April showers, unpredictable temperatures and random heatwaves I knew I needed to have variety in a Spring capsule wardrobe. My answer to this? Layers. All my tops can be layered up with each other, and my jackets and shoes have varying degrees of warmth and rain protection!

Consider your patterns

My Autumn and Winter capsule collections were all about block colours. It’s a look I was experimenting with, and I enjoyed it. However, I also love my patterns particularly in the warmer months, so knew I would need some florals in my life come Spring. Part of me wanted to run through the shops grabbing everything brightly coloured and patterned from the rails, but with a love of patterns comes a more complicated buying process for the capsule wardrobe convert! I decided the way forward was to have patterned items on the top half or bottom half only. That way, there was no risk of clashing and my wardrobe kept one of the original intentions of being compact but versatile with almost all pieces being suitable to be worn together. I decided to go with the bottom half meaning I was able to pick trousers, skirts and dresses in as many varied patterns as I wanted, and kept jackets and tops in block colours.

If I pluck up he courage, I’d love to finally get around to doing some outfit posts. If that is something you would like to see, let me know in the comments below…

 

Links to items…

Top Row (L-R)

Avery Floral Trousers – Boohoo.com (no longer available!) Similar here

White All Star Oxford Leather – Converse

Ella Basic Slogan Box Tee – Boohoo.com

Middle Row (L-R)

Grey Sleeveless Jacket – Miss Selfridge

Suedette Waterfall Jacket – Warehouse

Blush Duster Coat – Miss Selfridge

Bottom Row (L-R)

White Knitted Cross Back Jumper – River Island

Tan Pointed Flats – New Look

High Waist Ripped Jeans – New Look

 

Previous capsule wardrobe posts…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘unfancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe: Lessons and Winter Updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

 

Makeup Revolution: Fortune Favours the Brave – worth the hype?

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Typically, when there is a lot of hype around a new make up release, I like to wait until the excitement levels have died down, read or watch plenty of reviews, and then decide if it is a bandwagon I want to jump on. When Makeup Revolution announced the Fortune Favours the Brave palette in collaboration with British Beauty Blogger, I knew I needed it straight away! Why? The brand has to be my favourite budget friendly line, and I am a huge fan of Jane’s (i.e. British Beauty Blogger) posts, so the two combined had to be a match made in make up lover’s heaven. Many people obviously felt the same as Makeup Revolution even released the product a few days earlier than planned due to high demand. Being nearly a month since the palette was released, reviews are ‘two a penny’ but I wanted to get plenty of use out of mine before I posted an opinion.

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At £9.99 the price is in line with the rest of Makeup Revolution’s range (in other words very affordable), and for that you are treated to 30 shades in a variety of finishes (matte, glimmer and sheen according to the website). I like that the packaging stands out from the rest of the range, and is smart yet practical; I love a big mirror in a eye shadow palette! You also get a brush, which I’d say is of better quality than the average ‘free’ brush, but I still far prefer using my own selection, especially for blending. The colour selection is great. Something for everyone I’d say. A decent number of matte neutral shades, gorgeous jewel tones and some really dramatic shades in a variety of finishes.

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On first impressions, the quality of the shadows are certainly of the high standard I’ve come to expect from Makeup Revolution; great pigmentation, easy to blend and hardly any fall out. The swatches above are all just one swipe without any primer, so as you can imagine, they perform even better on the lids on top of any primer. After trialling the whole palette for a couple of weeks, I’ve noticed there is some variation in quality between the shades. The lighter matte colours are great for a transition shade, but I’ve found when used to create a look by themselves, the lasting power could be better. The lighter more shimmery shades also work best in combination with other colours within the palette rather than alone or with the other lighter shades, but this could be down to my fair skin. However, where this palette really comes into it’s own is when used to create a more dramatic look. The darker shades, jewel shades and medium toned shimmery shades can be used to make beautiful looks, especially for when you are ‘going out out’! And when built up in this way, the look will definitely last all night. To see the palette in action you can check out this video on my YouTube channel, or my Instagram feed.

Overall, I wouldn’t call this palette a perfect all rounder. I have other palettes in my collection that I would use over this for the every day looks, especially if you favour matte shades for your day time eye shadows. However, if you are a fan of dramatic eye looks, this is a winner, especially if you are on a budget. Sadly, at the time of writing, the palette is out of stock on both the Makeup Revolution and Superdrug sites (surely a testament to it’s popularity!) I’ve been reliably informed it will be back in stock soon so if you are keen to add it to your collection, I’d recommend joining the mailing list or keeping a close eye on social media so that you don’t miss out!