날 따라 해봐요 (Try to follow me)

Yup, first post in a long while is a 2NE1 song title! Nothing like a little bit of K-Pop to introduce a post. Anyway...


Google Reader is retiring today, and you guys need another way to stay updated with my blog (and it's highly infrequent updates, apologies!). I suggest Bloglovin, but you can also follow me on twitter (@SeptemberLena) and stay updated that way.

Ironically, I've finally reached 500 followers on Google Friend Connect (thank you all so much!) so I can tie in that long promised giveaway into the changeover.

Exams are finally over and my gap summer/year has begun, so expect more frequent posts!

Why MUA are the Worst New Company of 2012.

Harsh words? Maybe. If you've come here thinking this post will be a rant soley on their 50% off sale fiasco, you're wrong. MUA began irritating me long before then.

Why am I unhappy with the way I've been treated by MUA, then?

Unsanitary Products

We'll start here. MUA had a 35% off sale (free postage) sometime in November or early December. Naturally, I ordered. I wanted to get my hands on the (relatively) newly released Nail Constellations and various basic bits and bobs.
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I don't recall recieving any confirmation that my order went through, but it arrived after about four, five days of waiting. I opened it up, everything was fine. Except the fact that my 'Sugar Lips' lipbalm had a hair in it.
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Ew.
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Ewwwww.
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EWWWWWWWW.

The hair was only partially embedded in the lip balm, so I'm guessing it fell in while the lids were being put on (so at the last stage of production) as opposed to being present while the lip balm was actually being created. Even so, I'm fairly grossed out. I don't know if MUA do their own production (unlikely) so I'm not placing the fault for the contaminated lip balm with them. What I AM blaming them for is their complete inaction over my complaint.

I emailed their Enquiry address (mua@fbbeauty.co.uk) on the 21st of December, 2012. My email:

 Hi,

I recieved my order from you a week or so ago (order number: #1********)
One of my ordered items was a Love Hearts lip balm in 'Sugar Lips'. The outer packaging was sealed as usual, but upon opening I noticed a hair in the lip balm that must have got there during manufacture. Please could you send me a replacement lipbalm? I've attached a photo of the item in this email. Lena.
Attached were the pictures of the lipbalm in this post.

I am aware that many businesses were beginning to shut for Christmas around this time, so I wasn't expecting a response until the 28th or so. When I did not recieve one, I tweeted on January the 3rd. I emailed again on January the 11th. I wrote on Mr MUA's newly created Facebook page (so it was likely they'd see it) on the 22nd. Nothing. None of this got any response. As of the 12th of February, the mua@fbbeauty.co.uk address is no longer on their Facebook page under 'contact' details, so I guess they've retired it. Their website now directs you to the built in 'Contact' form for enquiries. This I have used to request the whereabouts of my subsequent order, and have recieved no reply thus far.

I opened a PayPal dispute two days ago in order to sort the mess. Funnily enough, they responded to that. I've now regained my £1.30. It's not like I requested a replacement in my emails, or anything.

Social Media
 I've had a problem with the way that MUA conduct themselves on Facebook (mainly) and Twitter (less so) for some time now. They've always struck me as...incredibly informal. This is entirely a personal preference, but all the other brands I follow on Facebook seem to respect that boundary and MUA seem different, especially with this whole 'Mr MUA' thing. E.L.F, Revlon and Sleek don't try and convince me that they're a charity working for my benefit as opposed to a money-making business.
When I read posts like, "Another massive effort from the MUA Team today." "...the BIGGEST Facebook REWARD to Make Up FANS!" (you're lying anyway, plenty of brands can manage a 50% off sale, don't try and make me feel guilty because yours went wrong)
"Wow...Thankyou to all of you for your support and patience. This remained a Facebook Offer to our friends that supported us...a thanksgiving and reward..not a commercial exercise. Anyone who know our brand, our products, and what we stand for in passion, innovation and attitude to customer service..will kow that was the case. Clearly this offer has grown out of all proportion..." I'm not filled with confidence that this is a business that knows what they are doing. The terrible written communication doesn't help, either. Call me picky all you like - I expect standard English from a commercial enterprise. It's rude to expect me to decipher yURcrayzeiiie misssspeliiiings if you're trying to take my money. Can't spell? That's absolutely fine. But your business consists of more than one person, so leave the Facebook postings to that person that can spell. OK? OK.

THAT 50% off Sale
Where to begin?

I did experience this a few years back, with Sleek (and a lot more profanity). I think everyone did. For those of you that weren't into beauty blogging back then, Sleek MakeUP held a 50% sale to celebrate reaching 21,000 Facebook fans and the website crashed. It crashed bad. I personally spent the best part of a day trying to order, taking it in tandem with my Mum, and I wasn't the only one. Sound familiar?

Fast forward three years, and MUA are trying to do the same thing. This time, they're trying with MORE THAN DOUBLE the numbers of fans (50,000 versus 21,000) and what appeared to be a quarter of the server space. The MUA website is not particularly high tech or fancy. But unlike Sleek, who annoyed us greatly with their actions but not much with their words (excepting the pizza tweet)
(photo @LipsticksandLightsabers)

MUA took to the Internet to slag us all off. Apparantly it was our fault as customers that the website wasn't working. How dare you guys try and shop? Off the page, NOW. We TOLD you this would happen!

Unfortunately, MUA appear to have deleted the original, pretty damn offensive posts. Wish I had the presence of mind to screenshot them at the time, but I was so shocked by their angry response that I didn't do so. If anyone out there does have screenshots, I'd love to borrow them!
 I've never had a company outright post so rudely to its customers, who had done nothing wrong. The blame for the fiasco lies squarely with MUA. If you're going to try and host a sale of this magnitude, look to the good (Models Own, E.L.F) and not to the terrible (Sleek) examples of how. Upgrade your server space. If you openly acknowlege that you're low on stock in some products, for goodness sake order more stock! Don't be surprised and moan at customers when things sell out quickly. And buy some more bloody server space. Apparantly no one at 'MUA Towers' had the presence of mind to go 'Oh, we've advertised this thing for x months and we're very popular on Facebook. Might be an idea to invest in a little more server space and a little extra stock for this sale?'

This post is too long already, so I'll cut it short here. I ordered on the 22nd of January, and as of the 12th of February, I've not recieved my order. And this is why I believe that MUA are the worst new company of 2012.

Did anyone else make an order during the sale?

Presents to Myself

In the run up to the Christmas period, Superdrug were having their (apparantly annual) 3 for 2 on all cosmetics. Naturally, with the help of my NUS card (and 10% student discount), I indulged.

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I bought two of the pressed powder compacts as it's currently the only pressed powder I use. The rectangular palette closest to you is the new Concealer palette in the darkest shade. And although I have far too many eyeshadow palettes now, I basically collect Sleek ones so picked up their three newest releases - Snapshots, Respect, and Supreme.
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MUA were doing a sale on their website - 30% off, I believe, with free delivery? So I got some of their new Pro items - namely the nail constellations and the lip glosses - as well as the Love Hearts lipbalms that I've blogged about before and their felt eyeliners. I did have some issues with this order though. Firstly:
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I ordered from Models Own, Superdrug Online and E.L.F during the same period, and all three companies shipped me my order in a box, however small. Yes, I know postage was free (for that promotional time) but I found it slightly strange recieving the order in a jiffy bag. This may well be unreasonable, but I just don't feel it a) looks very professional and b) is necessarily the best way to keep items intact. The most breakable things, the Nail Constellations, were wrapped up in bubble wrap seperately from everything else, but still.

Secondly:
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I opened up my (completely and utterly sealed, by the way) Sugar Lips Love Hearts lipbalm to find a very visible hair staring back at me.
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Yeah. I won't be using that.

Emailed MUA on two different email addresses to inform them of the situation back long before Christmas - haven't recieved a reply since. Tweeted a reminder a few days ago - again, no reply. Unimpressed.

I also made a small E.L.F order, which I was pleased with. An eyebrow pencil was way too light for me, but other than that it was fine.

Did anyone else pick anything up in the run up to Christmas or in the January Sales?



Normal Service will resume shortly.

Exams and a laptop break down mean I haven't been able to post! Many of my photos are on the laptop and I'm having trouble retrieving them from the corrupted hard drive.

Hopefully I'll be able to have some content for you guys shortly :)

Post 2012 Round Up/Analysis - Mascaras

I sampled a few more mascaras this year. Some good, most bad. Mascaras are the one makeup item I'm more than content to be unadventurous with, seeing as about three work for me and no other do, so why not stick with what works?

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Maybelline "The Colossal" Volume Express Waterproof
This was good! It's a sufficiently wet-but-dry formula that it doesn't end up all over my eyes, and it certainly is waterproof. The brush is chunky style, which I don't usually get on with, but it works perfectly with this formula.
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Thumbs up from me.

Benefit BadGal Lash Mascara
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This was a sample sized picked up from when Glamour magazine were giving away free Benefit bits and bobs, so perhaps not completely comparable with the real deal as it were, but I found this sample to be fairly bad.
It seeks out my eyelids and glues itself to them, ruining any eyeshadow/primer there. It doesn't really have any lengthening or curling effect, and doesn't even really do much in the way of volume. The only thing I can see it doing well is making my lashes darker, but I'd much prefer it did what it was meant to do first.
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No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara
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Seeing as I've repurchased this three, maybe four times (in fact, it was featured in one of my most recent posts) this mascara is clearly doing something right. It doesn't flake, is reasonably easy to apply, and the brush is in segments which means you can use different parts for different areas of the eye (i.e, shorter bristles on the lower eyelashes). I do think it's a triumph of mascara design. I hope Boots don't discontinue it any time soon.

Am I the only one with this problem of getting mascara all over my eyelid? Feeling rather clumsy!

Post 2012 Round-Up/Analysis - Eyeliners

Good morning and welcome to my blog in 2013! It feels so strange to be entering yet another year...

I focused a lot on lip products and brushes in 2012, but there was a product family that I was continually hitting pan on, repurchasing, and then just never blogging about. Yep, you guessed it: Eyeliners! Admittedly, the clue was in the title ;)

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Maybelline 'Master Drama' Kohl Liner
I actually own this in black and brown. I bought the brown first on a whim, as during the Summer Maybelline released a load of new products and these were included in the line up. As I was going swimming later and was fully aware that a certain rugby player male type of eye-candy would be there, I decided to invest in some waterproof cosmetics. You know, just completely coincidentally.

Anyway, after a long discussion between myself and a friendly sales assistant in Boots who told me she owned this very pencil and used it on her eyebrows, I walked home with this. And it is incredible - so, so robust and waterproof. It lasted me two hours of swimming, which I was more than impressed with. On the hand, it persists for about a day with just casual handwashing.

I haven't actually tested out the black on the waterline yet, but I'm hoping it'll be more of the same story. Best part? This liner was about a fiver, and as Maybelline was 3 for 2, it worked out to be considerably cheaper.

The only downside for me is just how soft they are - it's easy to overapply if you're a little heavy handed (as I often am). I end up having to sharpen these fairly frequently, maybe every four or so uses. I'd still recommend them to anyone looking for a budget, waterproof kohl liner.

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MUA Extreme Felt Eyeliner

This was my first felt liner (yes, I am always late to the game, and what?) so I have a little soft spot in my heart for it. It doesn't last too long, usage wise. Perhaps three weeks to a month of use before it dries out and the ink gets grey. But at only £2, it fits squarely into that "cheap and cheerful staple" category.

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MUA swatch

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Maybelline Swatch (closest brown to camera)

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Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner - Black
This Maybelline offering is my second gel eyeliner (the first being Sleek's InkPot) and it has left a much better impression on me than my first.
It looks like the sort of thing that will stay moist for a long time - the lid is sturdy and seals tightly each time, and the frosted glass looks quite classy and evokes ideas of higher end brands such as Bobbi Brown. So I'm more than happy leaving the pot on my makeshift vanity.

For me, this is not a 24 hour liner, though. Out of all the liners I've posted, this gel liner actually survives the least amount of time before running; about six, seven hours. By the end of my college day, I end up with visible smudges by the corners of my eyes. It's quite disappointing. I've tried to remedy the problem by extending my eye primer over the parameters where it'd usually be, but it doesn't always stop the smudging. Boo.

Not pictured: Maybelline New York Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner in Black 
MUA's older, more expensive but more talented cousin. I purchased this at the same time I bought the brown kohl liner and it's still going strong, the liner as dark as ever. It's correspondingly more expensive though - 2 1/2 times the price of the MUA offering. Oh well. Compromise...

Honorary mention: Sleek InkPot
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Runs faster than Usain Bolt. No thank you.
Looking back at this post, I've almost exclusively purchased Maybelline eye products :/ I promise you, I'm not sponsored!

Apologies for the font/coding weirdness in this post. I'm still trying to work out what's going on.

Inglotified.




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In an attempt to cover all my unfinished business before 2012 sadly leaves us...The results of my trip to Westfield all those many moons ago. Et voila.

This five colour palette cost me £23.50. The sales woman was bitchy as well. And Inglot was sold out of many of the things I wanted to purchase. Overall, fairly terrible experience on their part.

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Still, the mattes are pretty. It ultimately comes down to the product in the end. Does the product deliver? You bet it does.

Unlike most of the other mattes that I own, these don't require a white pencil base to be vibrant - though it does help, I won't lie. But a thick primer and maybe a cream shadow, and these will show up pretty true to colour on the lid with not many passes. They're easily blendable and aren't terrible on the fallout front (though they're not the best, but they're much better than my Sleek shadows, for example).

Would I repurchase? I don't know. I have tonnes of eyeshadow and let's face it, very few people regularly hit pan on eyeshadows unless they're doing makeup professionally. So I tend to spend less on powder eye products anyway. These were quite a steep price compared to my usual choices (Sleek shadows, Urban Decay box sets on promotion etc.) but the quality was quite improved. I'm undecided.

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