Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Huge Haul & Swatches: Escentual Beauty

I've mentioned (more than once) that I had a big beauty haul brewing and finally here it is. I have to admit, I didn't realise just how big it was, until I started editing all 133 'final' photos (yep, so I must've taken around 300 initially). Now I realise why my camera shut down mid-shoot complaining of being overheated! I wasn't sure how to publish so much information...should I split it into parts, go by brand or type? However looking at the photos, they can't really be separated, it makes more sense to splurge the whole entire caboodle at once, so prepare yourself for a lengthy post. Photobucket have rather unhelpfully muddled my photos upon upload and I've got 5 pages to sort through, so I hope I don't forget any!
Ok, so Escentual. Escentual have become my bestest friends. I was not aware of how fabulous their site was, until recently. It's the type of site that you almost want to keep a secret, because it's just too good and you want it all to yourself!  I'm pretty confident there is enough of everything to go round, so will spill the beans.  Selfless person I am!  They have the most wonderful blog where you can find out more information about their products and they do amazing swatches, which as we all know is just brilliant when you're buying online. I really like this more...'personal' isn't the right word, maybe interactive approach. They can get feedback on what the customer likes or would like to see on the site and we're able to voice our opinions and ask things before we buy.  As a thrifty gal, I pretty much know the prices of beauty products and Escentual seem to have discounts on almost everything.  The brands I looked at (Dior, Clarins..) were around 20% cheaper than elsewhere, plus there's brilliant special offers such as a whopping 1/3 off French Pharmacy during June.  Anyway, you'll maybe remember I took part in the blind micellar water trial set by Escentual and as a thank you for participating they sent me a 15% off code ("uh-oh" says my purse, "yay" says me), so with that discount on already cheaper products, I just had to majorly splurge. Fyi, I do still have my 'notes' from the results of that trial but wanted to wait until we found out which was which before you all started wanting/not wanting certain ones.  
This little lot (above) were free samples (yipee), I also got free shipping (on any order over £30) and my order arrived quickly. So here goes on the haul. Escentual have YSL fragrances (although unfortunately not cosmetics) and you know from this post, that I've been lusting after Manifesto for ages now. Well, Escentual have 15% off the rrp, plus I got my discount on top of that. I was going to buy the 30ml, but realising it was much more savvy to get the bigger size (plus they had this adorable (and very large) notebook free with the bigger size-don't see it on the site now), I went with the 50ml. It cost £46.24 when you'll pay £47 for the 30ml elsewhere. Oh the joy!  I smell gooood! 
Now Clarins, they have the whole range.  I maybe rather predictably picked up two more Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors.
I've raved time and time again about these, they are just the most brilliant, smoothest, comfortable and yummy things ever to grace my lips!  I consider myself a beauty brand dream, because the obsession with this Clarins balm started with a little mini I got as a gift with purchase.  I loved it so much, I've since bought the full size version and then almost every other colour it's available in.  I'm a loyal dude, if I like it, I'll spread the word and keep buying!  All from a little freebie! So, this time I picked up 02 Apricot Shimmer from the original line up.
I also got 06 Rosewood Shimmer, one of the three colours recently released (I already got the new 04 Petal Shimmer here).
These are now £17 each (I'm sure they've popped up in price, but perhaps not) and I had been excited getting 10% off at Debenhams on the Petal one the week or two before, but Escentual have these at a special price of £13.60, that's 20% off! Mine comes in just under £12, so I'm already thinking of stocking up on some more (how many would be too many ethically speaking)?
Apricot is as the name suggests a soft apricot shade.  All colours are named 'shimmer' despite the majority not having all that much shimmer in sight.  The new Rosewood actually does have shimmer you can see straight out of the tube and when blended.  The colour is again named very well as it's a warm rosy brown.  
Next, a Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick. I've been torn with buying one of these. Nude Rose (01) and Sweet Rose (02) look stunning in online swatches I've seen, but when I tried them at my nearest counter they didn't thrill me. I'd wanted to suss out 15 Nude Caramel, but typically my counter didn't have it. I ordered it regardless (again it had 20% off, then my 15%). Nude caramel is just that...it's not an ultra light nude, there's a little depth to it, so it's not going to make you look deathly. I could see it being the perfect nude on tanned or olive skinned ladies.  Thankfully it isn't too brown on me, which I worried about. I wore it last week on my lipstick challenge and while it's nothing unique, it's a lovely nude.  I've swatched all my lipsticks in one go, so that image will be further down the post.
I don't know how Too Faced La Creme lipstick has escaped my attention for so long. I was really struggling to narrow it down to just one of the beautiful shades to buy.  At £18 a pop, they are more like high-end prices though (and it worked out a few £'s more than the Clarins one). I went for the lightest nude, cutely named Naked Dolly. First, take a look at how pretty the box is, all the way around!
The packaging of the actual lipstick is a little more refined and less fancy than usual from the brand (box aside). This lippie is a lighter nude than the Clarins one, so it could make you look a little washed out depending on your skintone. It can also settle into lines and/or look streaky, so I would suggest applying with a light hand. That said, it's just the most beautiful milky, pinky nude colour, that gets a nude lip lover like myself all excited.
Now as if those weren't nude lip-enough, I'd been lusting after the newly reformulated Dior Addict Gloss. The glosses are split into different finishes (Shimmer, Pure and Pearly) and this is where my order gets slightly complicated. At the same time as ordering from Escentual, Debenhams had an offer where if you bought two Dior products, you got a free mini Addict Extreme lipstick. It looked cute, like really cute and so even although it would cost more to order from Debenhams (even if I counted the 500 bonus points I was getting as £5 off), I wanted that lipstick! So I was prepared to pay the £3 odds extra to get it (it really shows just how decent Escentual prices were that there was a difference of £8.17 when buying the same two products here or there). I'd also been looking at the new Bird Of Paradise summer colour collection, so split my order by ordering two glosses from Escentual and a lipstick and gloss from Debenhams (I needed to get the more expensive lipstick there in order to benefit from the 500 bonus points offer).
So Escentual first and I got, Dior Addict (Shimmer) Gloss in 413 Eclipse. The shimmer is truly beautiful and I wasn't really expecting this one to be very nude, but it is.
The other one I was going to get was 216 Beige Songe (Pearl). However I noticed it looked very similar to the same number (216) Lace Beige in the older Addict Gloss. I can't find the old one on the site now, but it was slightly cheaper and I figured colour-wise Beige Songe was just the updated version, so went ahead and got Lace Beige. In the reformulated glosses, I'd class this as 'pearl', the old packaging says 'Glow'. The white you can see below is on the outer bottle (it was a hot day), not the pearl or glow inside!
 Both glosses look amazing and from experience I've found Dior glosses to be moisturising and feel smooth on the lips, plus the shine always makes lips appear a little bigger.
I'm well aware my Escentual lip products order would be sole evidence to convict me of a nude lips obsession, which probably comes with a mandatory 'red lips for the rest of your life' sentence, eeek! Can we just appreciate their prettiness before the cell door clunks shut though?
The Ultra Gloss I ordered from Debenhams was 223 Angelique which is a 'pure'. This means it's a gloss without any shimmer or pearly finish. It's a gorgeous pale peach....eh yeah totally not nude at all ; )
Now for swatches of all the Dior glosses (from top to bottom or left to right 413 Eclipse, 216 lace Beige and 223 Angelique).
Let me surprise you with the limited edition lipstick I got from their summer collection though. It's an Addict shade 471 Flamingo, a bright cool toned (blue) pink. All the shades in this collection were fun and colourful, but there was something about Flamingo that really appealed to me. I'm looking forward to using it on my lipstick challenge this week.
I'd say this was the only colour that isn't really a true representation on camera. It's much brighter in real life as you can see on the Escentual blog post here. On the lips, the colour isn't quite as bold, there's a sheer element to it, although it's still pigmented.  As I mentioned earlier, the Debenhams order came with a mini lipstick, it was Addict Extreme in 536 Lucky. It looked identical to the YSL mini I got before, but when swatched there is such a difference! The YSL is solid and so pigmented, the Dior is much more sheer and actually more pinky on the lips and hand.
Like I said the mini packaging was so cute, just exactly like the bigger one would look. I've compared it to the full size lipstick and gloss here. The actual lipstick inside is super tiny.
Now for all the lipstick swatches from this post including that YSL mini I spoke about, for comparison.
Now I've just realised I can split my haul here and leave you with the Escentual/Debenhams one and the rest will follow soon.  I've also just placed yet another Escentual order (told you I was loyal), which arrived today and includes a lot of skincare as I'm trying to find a replacement for my beloved discontinued Baume Eclat (Lancome) cleanser, but there's a couple of makeup items in there too.  Have you ever purchased anything from Escentual?

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