Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to Spot Fake Mary-Lou Manizer by The Balm

Hi!

It's no secret that I buy a hell of a lot of makeup online. I tend to stick to Brown Thomas, House of Fraser, Cloud 10, Simply Foxy, MUA, and I've bought the odd bit off Adverts when I can be fairly sure that the seller isn't trying to flog a fake.

There are a host of websites out there selling MAC, Lorac, The Balm - only they're not. When I was a little younger and didn't really know much about brands and where they sold, I found websites like Ali Express, Everbuying, and Tmart. I saw them selling high-end products at rock bottom prices and wondered how they did it. Same goes for market stalls - there's always a bottle of Chanel or the odd MAC foundation or Urban Decay Naked palette knocking around.

Only - they're not. What's on the label - that's not what's in the box. I have a serious issue with stuff like this - apart from it all being bad for your health, I hate fake makeup with a passion. If you want a Naked palette, save up and buy one. What are they, around €40? Save €4 for 10 weeks and enjoy your palette. Why would you spend €15 on something you know is not real? Something that could potentially damage your face? I'm not lecturing here, we all deserve nice things, but if you want them - buy them from reputable sellers, like proper shops that have counters in-store and brand sections online. Take advantage of discounts and collect beauty points. It can be hard sometimes when you're tight on money and you see blog after blog full of nice new things - but don't put your health at risk just so you can have a brand name on display, it's not worth it. There are so many fantastic budget brands out there at the minute - Catrice, Rimmel, Essence, Makeup Revolution, L'oreal, Wet n Wild, Maybelline, Seventeen, Natural Collection, MUA, NYX - we're spoiled for choice.

TL:DR? Don't buy shite from Chinese websites or Facebook pages, they could contain poison.

I was browing Ali Express a few weeks ago for some nail wheels and a few other storage bits when I saw THIS AD. A choice of The Balm Mary Lou Manizer, Cindy Lou Manizer or Betty Lou Manizer for $5.63, around €5.36. I bought one so I could show you how to spot a fake - because stuff like this is doing the rounds all the time at market stalls, car boot sales, and on facebook selling pages and it can be bloody convincing if you've got a good salesperson. "yeah they're 100% real hun x" my arse.

I bought my own Mary Lou Manizer on Cloud 10 Beauty here - it costs €20.50 but Cloud 10 run regular promotions and discounts so you could pick it up even cheaper.

Outer Packaging


The fake outer packaging is really convincing. It actually looks more real than the real one - it's slightly faded, and has a vintage look because of that. No immediate differences on the front apart from clarity. The little white lines in the black box are barely visible in the fake. The real box is more of a pink, whereas the fake box leans towards purple. In the fake, the grey lines around the box are darker.



The fake box is ever so slightly smaller than the real box.


There are a few visible differences between the back of the boxes, so that's what you need to look at before buying.


The fake is really professional - the QR code even leads you to the same tutorial featured on the QR code on the real box - but there are a couple of things that stand out.

1. The fingerprints are totally different. If you look at the first one on both the top and bottom row, you'll see that the real one features a very dark fingerprint on the first box, and an almost-double fingerprint under that. The fake ones are faded, they're different shapes.

2. Look to the right of the bar code - the real one has the product expiry information, the tiny pot with 12m on it to say that this product is good for 12 months after opening. The fake doesn't have that.

Inner Packaging


Here's where this really falls down - I was actually shocked when I took the fake out of the box. Mary-Lou is not supposed to be wearing a red top, nor is she heavily tanned, nor does she have very brassy hair. The picture on the real one is supposed to be pale, vintage-y, with a pink top. If your Mary-Lou looks like she went a little heavy on the bronzer, leave her where she is.


A couple of main differences here.

1. Again, the little pot with "12m" is missing on the fake.

2. Also missing (and really hard to see on the real one) is the little "R" for registered trademark at the top right corner of "Mary-Lou Manizer" on the top line.

3. The holes in the packaging are different - the one in the middle under POIDS/NET is deeper on the fake, creating a groove.

There are two different batch numbers - but when I entered the numbers into checkfresh.com, they both came back as being manufactured in late 2014, so they've obviously copied a genuine batch number.


Leaving aside the actual product for a minute, take a look at the compact. The real one is very, very slightly more raised around the edge, making it look like it has a lip in the photograph. The fake doesn't have this extra tiny bit, making the corners less rounded. The fake is also hard to open.

Product


The colours are different. The fake one looks more matte and leans towards peach, whereas the real one is lighter and looks more shimmery.


The difference is obvious here. The real one has that shimmer and is heavily pigmented, whereas the fake is matte, has no pigmentation worth talking about, and is chalky.

The worse thing of all was the smell. The real one has a powdery, talcy smell. The fake one smells like varnish or a cleaning product of some sort. There's no way this would go on my face.

I know that you can accidentally purchase a fake - but when I was researching this post, I found youtube videos and blog posts from girls who were proudly flaunting their "cheap" versions of Naked palettes. Jesus Christ on a bike - WHAT ARE YOU DOING. What makes you think you deserve to pay 75% less than everyone else and get the same product? Do you need to fit in that badly? Do you think that the blog police is going to come round to your house and fine you if you don't have a Canon, Michael Kors watch, and a Naked palette? I love a good nosey storage video or haul - but I don't sit thinking "ah she doesn't have such-and-such".

If you can't afford a Naked palette, buy a NYX one. Or a Wet n Wild one. Or a Catrice one. Or a L'oreal one. Or a Bourjois one (the Smoky Stories quads are to die for). For fuck sake, cop on. This is poison. Do you know what has been found in fake makeup? Rat poison. Urine. Faeces. Would you walk into a public bathroom and rub someone else's wee all over your face? What about formaldehyde, do you want that near your eyeballs? Just don't do it, please.

And for the record - there is no such thing as a Naked 4.

Blogger Tricks

Bratz Makeunder - Inspired by Sonia Singh

Hi!

Have you heard about Sonia Singh and her Tree Change Dolls®? Sonia is a Tasmanian artist who decided that she wanted to "rescue discarded and forgotten dolls, and give them a new lease of life". You can read more about her on her Tumblr page here. She has started a bit of a doll revolution in some circles - tribute and copycat groups are popping up all over the place. People are making moulds for feet (Bratz don't have feet - did you know this?! When you take their shoes off, they're left with stumps), knitting outfits, and dousing dolls in acetone like there's no tomorrow. I picked up a few (okay, eight) Bratz dolls on Adverts.ie a while ago so that I could rescue them from their awful makeup and clothes. Here are the first three I received:


Look! No feet. I find that really bloody weird, to be honest.


 To remove the makeup from the dolls, you'll need pure acetone. Sonia suggests a mixture of acetone and eucalyptus oil, but I just used acetone and it worked fine. I got mine in my local Salon Supplies shop.


Now - pop some acetone on a cotton pad and remove her makeup.


Totally reminded me of this Buffy episode:


Wash the doll's face in warm soapy water. Wash her hair too and if it's very badly tangled, you can cut it (woohoo! my total pleasure as a child) or try and soften it with conditioner. To make clothes, try the method my sister and I used to use when we were little and make patterns. Lay the doll on a piece of paper, and draw around her: 


Cut the pattern out, lay it on your material (I used old pyjama bottoms), cut out a shape, then reverse the pattern and cut out another piece. 


Join 'em together and sew inside out. Turn the right side round and you're good to go - now what I totally forgot was the width of her hips, so I had to split the dress up the back to get it up over her thighs (a problem I've run into myself on occasion) so in future, I'll make the clothes to fit the widest part.


You'll need some acrylic paint to paint your doll's face. I picked mine up in Mr. Price for a few euro - they're readily available at any Euro shop or Craft shop. Here's how the blonde doll turned out - complete with the dress above and a jumper made from a stray fluffy Penneys sock. 


I outlined her eyes a little bit after those photos - I did it with the small end of a double-ended Sharpie. The rest of her face was just acrylic paint and a small brush. To seal the face paint, you'll need some matte varnish. I just had a matte topcoat from Wet n Wild, so I used that, but you can get proper craft varnish anywhere that sells art supplies. 

Here are the three girls after! 


Some difference, isn't it?




I like these a lot, and they were fun to do. There's so much you could do - if a child has a scar, or port wine stain, or birthmark, your doll could have one too. You could match the eye colour, the teeth, the freckles - these three were a very rough attempt when I couldn't wait to get started one evening and kinda rushed them - so I'll take my time with the next ones.

What am I going to do with them? Not a baldy notion. I'll pass one or two along to little cousins and I'll keep a couple for the boys - as important as it is for little girls to have positive images around them, it's just as important for boys.

This was so much fun - keep an eye out in charity shops and at car boot sales for poor neglected Bratz and give them a bit of a helping hand. Give them their youth back!





Monday, May 25, 2015

Urban Decay Afterglow 8 Hour Blush in Score

***Disclaimer - Item provided for consideration of review. Opinion 100% mine.***

Hi!

Would you believe me if I told you that this is my very first ever Urban Decay product? I think I must be one of the only people on the planet who doesn't have some incarnation of a Naked palette.

I was kindly sent this to try, it's one of the new Afterglow 8 hour blushes. The 12-strong range comes in various finishes from matte to shimmer and in some incredibly vibrant colours, so I was wary - but the shade I received is lovely, it's called Score and it's a peachy pink with a slight shimmer.


The packaging is gorgeous - the compact has a "fishnet" design on the front that lets you see the colour through the lid, so you don't have to open lids if you have a few different variations.



Here's my big round face without any blush: 


And here's the blush: 


The shimmer is not full-on disco ball, it was subtle. The blush is really pigmented, so it would be very easy to go overboard, but I used a big fluffy Real Techniques brush and I had no Bosco issues. If you're in any way heavy handed, take your time. Especially with some of the brighter colours. 


Did it stay put for 8 hours? It did indeed, it was still firmly in place when I went to take off my makeup around 10 hours later. 

I was really, really impressed with my first foray in the world of Urban Decay. It is a brand that I've wanted to try for a long time but I didn't want to go for the obvious products so I'm delighted that I was able to try this.

The Urban Decay 8 Hour Afterglow Blush range is available at House of Fraser in Dundrum Town Centre, select Debenhams, and also online at houseoffraser.co.uk and debenhams.ie at a recommended price of €28 (£19/€26.50 in the UK). 

The other shades in the collection are here: 


Have you tried any of the more vibrant shades? Or has anyone tried that peachy one up top, Indecent? That one is catching my eye for my next HoF order. More importantly, aside from eyeshadow, what do I need to try from Urban Decay next?




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday - A Story By 16 Year Old Me - Part One

Hi!

If you are one of the poor crathurs that follows me on Snapchat (find me at sharonleavy) and sees my snaps then you may have heard me do a very bad American accent while mentioning this. This is a story that I wrote when I was about 16/17, madly in love with Pacey Witter, and a bit obsessed with America, High School, being American, being in High School, and the whole Ugly Duckling-into-Swan concept. I will add my Sharon-aged-31 comments in italics. I'm going to type this exactly as it's written. I think I may have plagiarised Clueless a bit. And Dawson's Creek. And a bit of Buffy. Possibly She's All That too.

******************************************************************

Westbury, Michigan, Summer of 1989
Westbury wasn't particularly interesting in Summer. It wasn't, in fact, a very interesting place to be at any time of the year. It was a pretty average sized town, with a few shops, garage and three cafés - The Lions Paw, The Chef's Fancy (!!!), and the Café Royale. All the popular kids at Westbury High School went to the Café Royale (because it sounds popular and French). At Westbury  HS, it was easy to distinguish between the different social groups which existed between the students. There were the rich, snobby Beverly Hills types, with their Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Fendi and Prada, there were the computer nerds who talked about megabytes and RAM all day, and there were the lounge lizards (Oh Sharon) who listened to rock music and never went to class. And, of course, there was Elise.

Elise Owen was fifteen years old and was not very popular, although she wasn't a lounge lizard either. She wasn't ugly, but she wasn't exactly pretty in comparison to the Beverly Hills Wannabes. She had long, straight, brown hair with bangs. (Bangs!!! It's a fringe!!) She wore steel-rimmed glasses, and a metal retainer on her teeth (are those not just for night time?). Her only friend was Faye Adams, they had been best friends since before Junior High. Faye was one of those girls who would say anything and speak her mind. She sorta acted as a minder for Elise, which suited them both fine as Elise liked to have a brave friend when the BHW's started their daily bitching sessions, and Faye loved to be in control.

One particular day, in mid-June, Elise was heading for the school science lab for a tutorial when she was stopped on the school entrance steps by a group of BHW's. They were Shannon Clinton, Daniel Burke, Josh Matthews, Lucy Samuels and Emma Watkins. Shannon stepped in front of the door. "Well, well - what are we doing with notebooks at lunch, Lice?" Elise stopped on the bottom step. "Um - I've got some - ex-extra work to do" she mumbled. Shannon looked at Megan and laughed. "Ooh, hear that, Meg? Extra work! How passé!" (what. the. fuck.) They continued to giggle as Elise nervously ventured up another step. "Um - excuse me. Please" she whispered. Daniel grabbed her book from her hands. "Didn't your Mommy ever tell you not to talk with your mouth full, Lice?" he laughed. "My mother is dead" she replied. This created an air of tension around them. (I'm laughing). Josh was new in the school, and he hung around with Shannon and her gang. Elise always kinda had a feeling that Josh wasn't entirely snobby like the rest of the BHW's, but Shannon was doing a good job of playing the tarty-wannabe girlfriend role. Every time Elise saw them, Shannon was latched onto his arm like a leech.

Meanwhile, Josh had taken Elise's notebook off Daniel and held it out to her. "Um - sorry about him. It's Elise, isn't it? I'm Josh. I'm new." (and yet Elise knows you long enough to know you're a good egg under an arsey exterior?). Elise liked the way Josh smiled when he spoke. (you know that grinning yellow emoji? That). In fact, she liked it so much that she stood there staring at him while the others lapsed into laughing comas. (!!) "Oh my God!" Emma was screeching. "Would ya look at the little puppy dog! What's wrong, Lice, your retainer caught?" They continued to laugh as Elise finally clicked with reality and took the book off Josh. "Um - thanks" she squeaked. "No probs" he replied. Shannon, Daniel, Emma and Lucy walked off, calling Josh. "C'mon, Josh, you might catch something." He rolled his eyes at Shannon. "Lovely girl" he remarked. Elise smiled. "Well, um - bye". She headed for the school door, and was almost inside when Josh called out - "Hey, I might see you down at the Royale at lunch?" Elise smiled. "You might". Josh turned around to join the gang as Elise skipped off down the hall. (skipped. SKIPPED.)

Later that same day, at lunch, Elise and Faye were heading out the front door. "Hey, Ellie, what are we doing now? You wanna go play ping-pong?" (I have no explanation. None) Faye asked. Elise pointed to the gang beside the piers at the school gates. "Nope. Josh practically invited me to the Café Royale." Faye held her back. "Excuse me, what do you mean by 'practically'? He did or he didn't. Which?" Elise replied nervously - "Well, he said 'I might see you at the Café Royale'. Faye put a hand to her head. "Geez, Ellie, c'mon. Let's just go play ping-pong." Elise shook her head. "No, come on, Faye, it'll be fun." She headed in the gang's direction. Faye walked in front of her and stopped her dead in her tracks. "Are you mad? Do you have a death wish or something? Can you imagine what the flying monkeys will do to us if we attempt to enter their lair?" (I thought Faye was supposed to have big lady-balls?). Elise pushed Faye aside. "I'm going, whether you come or not." Faye was getting mad. "Now is not the time to get all brave. They'll stone us."

Elise marched over to where Shannon was standing and looked at Josh. "Hi!" she said brightly. Shannon turned around to face Elise. "Ex-cuse me? What do you think you're doing? How dare you interrupt me!" Elise was getting nervous but she didn't let it show. "Josh invited me to the Café Royale" she said. Shannon threw her head back and laughed. "Oh, Lice, Lice, Lice. Josh told me what happened. He felt sorry for you, God knows why, but you just got mixed up. You - eat with us - oh, that is a good one!" Faye came over to Elise. "Come on, Ellie. Let's go." Elise felt like boxing Shannon. "That's right, Lice. Go with your bodyguard. God knows, she's the only one who'll have anything to do with you." Elise was really angry. "Put your claws back in, Shannon" she quipped. "Look," Shannon walked right up to Elise so they were practically only inches apart. "Just take the hint and go away. Nobody wants you. Nobody likes you. You're nothing. And you'll always be nothing. Because your kind always are." (Hello Harry Wormwood) With that, she and her gang sauntered off down the street, leaving Elise in tears and Faye shocked (why?! They're all bitches!!). Josh took a glance back at Elise, but Shannon grabbed his arm and attached herself to him once more. Elise turned to face Faye. "You gonna tell me 'I told you so'?" she asked. Faye sighed. "No. I'm sorry. That Shannon is such a cow." "Yeah. And I thought there was hope for Josh." Elise replied. But as Elise and Faye watched Josh laugh and mess with Shannon, Daniel, Lucy, Emma and Megan, they knew there was no hope for him.

**************************************************************************

So...what's going to happen ? Will Josh see the error of his ways? Is there any hope for him? Will Elise ever get to have her lunch at the Café Royale? Does anybody give a shite? Find out next Thursday!




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Glossybox May 2015

Hi!

The months are flying, aren't they? Nearly half way through the year already. This is my fifth Glossybox, the theme this month is "Summer's Calling".




I got two full sized products in my box, one mini, and two samples. There were four makeup products in last month's box, so I was glad to see something different this time.

MeMeMe Enchanted Eyes Dual Ended Eye Wand - Full Size, £6.95/€9.63




This was the product I knew I would be getting from the sneak peek last month. Blue is not a colour I'd ever buy for myself, but I'll give it a go. I like that there are two shades of blue, the darker one looks like it could be better on me than the teal. I left this on the table and Edward drew all over his face and hands with the dark blue side - it has good staying power, I'll give it that...

Etre Belle Aloe Vera Ultra Moisturising Gel - Full Size, £15.93/€22.08



At this point I almost shudder when I see the words "Aloe Vera" - everyone and their Granny seem to be trying to sell it - this is a moisturizing gel. Apparently it can "deliver moisture deep below the surface" - I'm not sure I believe that, but I do know that Aloe Vera gel is a lifesaver if you've caught the sun. If we ever do get sun again, this will go straight in the fridge to help cool skin down.

Zerreau Towel Off Shampoo Foam - Mini Size, £3.99/€5.53


This is interesting, and I don't think we've gotten a hair product yet this year (apart from the mini Dove things that nobody seemed to be impressed by) - this is a shampoo foam that you massage into your hair to clean it, then you towel dry your hair to remove residue. I gave this a go this morning and I was pleasantly surprised - My hair is just below shoulder length at the minute, and I had to use nearly half the bottle, but this is a mini size. When I put it in, it felt like using Shock Waves mousse, I was sure my hair would be crispy - but when I roughed it up with a towel, it was clean, it dried normally, and it had a nice apple scent (the foam also comes in Strawberry). I like this - it would be nice for travelling or festivals. Or laziness. It's not going to do a stellar cleaning job, but it will see you through another day.

SASS Intimate Perfect Skin Concentrate - Sample Size, £3/€4.19 approx



I saw people giving out about this on twitter on reveal day but to be honest, I was hoping I'd get it. This is a gel in a pump, containing Salicylic Acid, Aloe Vera (aaagh) and Kelisoft (a hair growth minimizer). It's for your "intimate area" and it's for use after shaving or waxing to minimise regrowth and help prevent ingrown hairs. I'm going to go into TMI territory here so feel free to move on to the last product - I have had two c-sections. Around my scar, it's still pretty numb and strange - it'll probably always be that way. When I do a bit of.....lady gardening, the regrowth around that particular area is a bitch, because no matter how itchy it gets, there's basically not a whole pile I can do - scratching that numb area is about as useful as tits on a bull. Can't feel it. This product seems to have similar ingredients to the Waxperts wonder pads, which I only started using recently for the KP on my arms (they're really good) - if this helps that horrible painfully itchy regrowth in any way, I am one happy lady. Yay for fanny products!

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Refreshing & Refining Moisturizer - Sample Size, 7ml. £3.80/€5.26 approx



I've never tried anything from Philosophy before, so it was nice to be able to try one of their well-liked products. This feels lovely on my skin, I used too much though so this sample would probably last 5/6 applications if I hadn't squeezed loads out. The full size of this is €45.10 at Boots - I think I would purchase it, there really isn't anything I dislike about it. It might be a nice treat to save points up for. The sample could have been a bit bigger, but I am glad that it's just a moisturizer and not some specialized treatment.

The sneak peek for next month tells us that every June box will contain flash tattoos. I don't think I've worn a fake tattoo since the whole barbed wire/chinese symbol craze in the late 90s, but anyway - we'll see.

Here are the stats for the May box:

Total Cost:     £13.25/€18.66 (5c cheaper than last month's box)
Total Value:   £33.67/€46.69

Verdict: I'm happy enough with this box. I always judge a box on what will actually be used - and I can see the Aloe gel being used after sun, plus the moisturiser, shampoo and Sass gel. The only thing I wouldn't be mad on is the colour of the eyeliner - but I'll give it a shot anyway, so overall this was a good box. This is why I signed up to Glossybox - to try different things and different brands, not for Dove and Carmex - so if it continues in this way I'll definitely keep my subscription.

Did you get Glossybox this month? Did you get anything different in your box?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#IrishBloggerCollab Week 6: Recent Pinterest Finds

Hi!

This week, I'm talking about Pinterest. I go through phases with Pinterest - sometimes I don't go near it for months, then at other times I click through to a link and four hours later I'm still sitting there looking at people who have furnished their homes with pallets or made nostalgia quilts from generations worth of clothes. Oh okay, and face swaps and someecards.

Most of my favourite boards are based around crafts, cross stitch or nails/hair - generally stuff I can make or want to make. I had a great time at Christmas making stuff I found on boards, and I find it so handy for Birthday party and Halloween inspiration too.

You can find me on Pinterest here - and here are my top ten current favourite pins:

1. DIY Comic Book Print Shoes [Source]



I'd break my neck in them but they are SO PRETTY.

2. Downsize your DVDs [Source]



This is going to be my project for June. I have hundreds of DVDs and I never watch them, because I spend so long looking through them that I end up watching nothing. The big plastic cases take up too much space, they're absolutely no use, and I'm sure the plastic sleeves are easily available on eBay or AliExpress. Excited for this project!

3. The Upside Down Braided Bun [Source]



I've tried this a few times and even though it always turns out messy, it keeps those annoying little stray hairs at the nape of my neck in check. Love it!

4. Buffy-Inspired Cross Stitch [Source]



Featuring a quote from Spike in the episode Tabula Rasa, who wouldn't want a piece of Aida fabric that says 'Sodding, Shagging, Blimey, Knickers, Bollocks" on it? I've started to chart this out already (just those words, not the rest of it), I was thinking it would make a great coin purse or mp3 holder if I doubled up and put a zip on it. 

5. Negative Space Foil Mani [Source]


I love the simplicity of this, and the little tattoos. I think this would look gorgeous done with Essie's Penny Talk too. 

6. Printable To Do List [Source]


I love things like this, I have a couple of organisers but I think this one is nice and compact, has everything you need on one sheet, handy to stick on the fridge or cupboard. 

7. Kindle Cover From an Old Book [Source]


I love this idea - charity shops are like treasure troves when it comes to hardback books, so it would be fun to track down a favourite book and make this cover. I need a hot glue gun!! 

8. Wicked Witch Bookmark [Source]


Staying with the book theme, I have been wanting to make this for a very, very long time - I've bought the clay and paints, then lost the paints somewhere in the abyss of the spare room. As soon as I get it sorted out, I'm going to tackle this! It's incredibly impractical but it's so, so cool.

9. Disney Princess Stained Glass Cross Stitch [Source]


Pinterest is a cross-stitcher's dream. I've been stitching for nearly 17 years now (YIKES) and I love bigger pieces. I'm currently in the middle of completing this one, but this Disney one is next on my list. It's gorgeous, and it has so many different elements that I think it would be really fun to stitch. 

10. Happiness Jar [Source]


Even though we're in May, this is still a good idea for the rest of the year. You write down one happy thing every day or one funny or happy thing that happened, then read them all at the end of the year. I think I will use one of my empty yankee candle jars for this and get started ASAP! 

So that's it - my top 10 pins at the minute. If you're on Pinterest please let me know so I can follow you! 

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers involved in the #IrishBlogCollab here:

Catherine
Denise
Marie
Lara
Cat
Maeve
Cathryn
Eimear
Aoife