Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Kiko Show and Tell Part 1: Swatches, Reviews - Brushes/Face/Lips.

I'd seen this brand a few times in a friend's makeup bag a few years ago and was informed that it was a brand she had purchased whilst in Portugal the summer before. I thought they seemed nice, but never actively went searching for any of their products. I found out that Kiko is an Italian brand and is really only readily available in the likes of Italy, France, Spain, Germany etc. Fast forward about a year later and my friend in France was raving about their nail polishes. We decided to track down the Kiko shop along the Champs Élysées but couldn't find it anywhere. It was like it had disappeared off the face of the earth, I was so disappointed! A few months later, she sent me one of their polishes to try and I fell in love. The formula was great (I talk about it a little more here) and I was so eager to try more of their products! When I went to Rome earlier this month, a lightbulb appeared above my head that since it's an Italian brand, there had to be a Kiko somewhere near us. Surely enough, with the help of my boyfriend's Google Maps, we found 8 in Rome alone! We looked for the nearest one but couldn't find it anywhere on the street it brought us to (it actually said that Kiko was in the national museum...) I thought this was Paris all over again and that Kiko and me just weren't meant to be. However, we soon found another store nearby and I was set free like Augustus Gloop in a sweet shop. I suppose you could say I was a little (very) excited... I hadn't heard much about the brand other than a few friend's recommendations and so I spent my time looking at everything and swatching products (I may or may not have made 2-3 trips to 2 different Kiko shops).

With that all out of the way, I wanted to do a big show and tell type post telling you a bit about all of the products I bought - from face to lips to eyes and even brushes. Its going to be a general overview of the brand with my opinions on these products now that I've had some time to play with them. I was halfway through this post and saw how long it was (sorry!) and so I decided to do this post on everything for the face and lips, and then follow this post up later in the week with the eyeshadows. One thing to keep in mind about Kiko is that their stuff is very affordable for the quality. The most expensive thing I bought was the brush at about 12 euro. Most of their foundations are in around that price point with their lipsticks and eyeshadows ranging from €3-8. They also do a whole host of skincare that I didn't get a chance to look at and they have an amazing range of nail polishes in some amazing colours and finishes. I decided to pass on the nail polishes this time because I plan on picking some up when I go to France in August! The only annoying thing about Kiko is the fact that their products go by numbers and not names, similar to Inglot. This may not seem like a massive problem (and it isn't, in the grand scheme of things) but it makes colours of eyeshadows/lipsticks very hard to remember and means you could easily pick up a second one of the same lipstick/eyeshadow by accident.

I should really apologise for the state of this brush but at least I can say I've tested it out - the proof is in the dirty makeup brush! This is a synthetic haired flat top kabuki brush that I picked up from their limited edition Spring/Summer collection. When I first saw this brush, I thought that it would be perfect for foundation because I typically use flat topped kabuki brushes with my base. However, the hairs are very short and extremely dense - so dense that it doesn't quite work the foundation into the skin. Instead, it moves the product around different areas of the face and almost removes the foundation previously applied (I swear that sentence made sense in my head... basically, I don't like this brush for foundation!) But, I have found that it works amazingly for cream bronzer and blush. Although the hairs are dense, because it is so tightly packed, it applies just the right amount of cream blush without looking heavy or stamped on. If you're looking for a foundation brush, this is not your guy. A nice brush to have and I've definitely found a use for it, but not one of the star products I've tried from Kiko.

Boulevard Rock Face Brush
 Continuing with another (slight) negative here, but that means I'm ending on a high note! The brush cleanser was just under €6. At 50ml, you don't get a huge amount of product but brush cleanser isn't something I come by very easily from a makeup brand so I thought I would give it a go. This is definitely not my favourite for spot cleaning brushes. I spritz a little of this onto my brush and wipe/massage it into a face cloth/tea towel, but it just doesn't remove all of the excess shadow from my eye brushes and I'd rather spend the money on my trusty MAC one. One upside to this product though, is the packaging. I do really like that this bottle has a spray top and will definitely be decanting my MAC cleaner into this one in the future!

Kiko Brush Cleanser

When I asked on Instagram about Kiko recommendations, my friend Sinead suggested I try their soft light powders. While I was in the store, I swatched them and they looked gorgeous on the back of my hand - they had a soft sheen that resembled a mix between a MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. Unfortunately, they didn't have my shade in stock so I decided to just give their regular powder compact a go. The shade range isn't amazing and runs more on the yellow side but it is a nice powder that also has a glow to it (this is most comparable to the MAC MSF Natural which I LOVE!) It has a little bit of coverage to it, too, so you could definitely buff this over the skin with a kabuki brush for a more natural look. I really like this as a setting powder, and is a cheaper alternative to the MAC MSF. I got mine in the lightest shade (#100) It is a tad bit too yellow for me but nothing too Simpson-y!

Compact Powder - #100

The Rock Attraction blush in #01 Pearly Rock was one of the first things I picked up upon my initial trip to Kiko. This is also part of the Spring/Summer collection but I'm pretty sure these collections are stocked in stores for months so you have plenty of time to pick this up! There were a couple of bright summery blushes and bronzers in the collection but the highlighter really caught my eye. It's a silver pink with a gold reflects to it - so unusual but an absolutely stunning highlight for fair skin! You could also layer this on top of blush for a more brightening, glowy look. The texture is really nice and reminds me of the MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinishes. You can get a sheer wash of colour with a bigger brush but when I took a MAC 252 brush and swept it across my cheeks, it was clear that you can definitely get a more dramatic look with this and the right brush.... I mean, I also just think that the denim jean embossing on it is also super cute (Shane was highly amused by this also)

Rock Attraction Blush - Pearly Rock

Lipliners probably aren't the most exciting thing in makeup but I always try and use them because they make such a different to how your lips look/how your lipstick applies and lasts. I decided to pick up 2 colours, a pink and a coral orange (the latter being very out of my comfort zone) because they were less than €3. The formula is quite creamy and they glide on the lips without tugging, but still last pretty well. The pink (#714) has a lot of lilac/purple to it and would go great under a lot of lipsticks and the orange shade (#702) is a beautiful summer colour that I wouldn't normally go for at all but I thought would go well with a certain Kiko lipstick I'd bought. Their 'Smart' lip pencils come in quite a few interesting shades and are the formula I'd recommend sticking to. I did swatch one of their 'Ultra Glossy' lip liners and they looked awful on my hand - I now see why they were reduced to €1!

Smart Lip Pencils - #714 (pink), #702 (orange) 

Of course I raided their lipstick stand like I'd never seen another lipstick ever again. They have about 6 different types of lipstick formulas but one thing I will say is that they are all very similar - very creamy/boarderline glossy shades in a lot of pinks and reds. Not necessarily a bad thing, though. I found some gorgeous colours and the price point is brilliant... I'd just like to see them with more mattes in their range.

First up is their Smart lipstick in #909. My friend Aishling recommended this to me as its one of her go-to reds and I can see why. It's a beautiful cherry red with a creamy finish. I don't have a red quite like this in my collection... and I have a lot of reds! It's so opaque and comfortable to wear, and it only cost €3.90.

Orange/coral lipstick and I had never really been pals. A nude with peach in it was generally as close to orange as I got but I picked this up (#806) in the store and thought it was something different and maybe (just maybe) it would go with my tan that I, the milk bottle, apparently thought I would miraculously get in Rome. Anyway, I tried it on when I got back to the hotel and ended up loving it! I wore it every night out for the rest of the holiday. It's a beautiful tangerine shade with a very glossy finish. It's pretty pigmented but definitely needs a going over on the lips once or twice with the lipstick. I paired it with the Smart lip pencil for longevity. These lipsticks are very comfortable to wear and nearly feel like a balm - very similar to the Revlon Lip Butters. I'm so happy I picked this colour up because it's made me want to try more orange shades on the lips! It also has an SPF of 15 which is great because the skin on your lips can burn just as quickly as anywhere else and it's important to keep them protected and hydrated.

The Unlimited Stylos are a fairly new range of lipsticks to Kiko, I believe. They come in a beautiful silver bullet and have about 13 shades in total. They have both shimmers and creams and are a long wearing formula. Personally, I didn't feel they wore any better or worse than the other Smart lipsticks but the colour range is beautiful and very bright! I picked up a deep fuschia shade in #07 and it was very opaque, glossy and comfortable to wear.

L-R: Smart Lipstick, Ultra Glossy Stylo, Unlimited Stylo.

L-R: #909, #806, #07

Continuing on with the lipstick theme, these next 3 lipsticks come in possibly the coolest Totally Spies-esque packaging I've ever seen! The tubes are slightly holographic and come in a rose gold (Velvet Matte formula) and silver (Luminous Chrome formula) casing. You push the bottom of the lipstick, it pops up and you pull it out... okay, so I'm very easily amused but they are just so cool.. Kiko marketing: 1, Grace: 0. My boyfriend also thought that this was just the coolest thing since sliced bread and bought his sister one the next day! They're around €7, so more expensive than the previous ones. I won't lie, its probably all the cool James Bond style packaging.

The first shade in the Velvet Matte range is a beautiful mid tone burgundy mauve (#614) and the second is a pinky red (#607). I do wish they had more colours in the Velvet Matte formula. They seem to be different variations of reds or mauves/browns but there are some nice colours already available. They're not a dry matte lipstick and go on more like a satin by MAC. They last very well and have great colour payoff.
Next, is the Luminous Chrome Metallic lipstick in #713. This was the only shade that I really liked in this formula and is pretty much a dead on dupe for MAC Pro's Show Orchid. It's a bright fuschia with a subtle blue/purple sheen. I'm not a huge fan of metallic or frosty lipstick but this is a nice shade for Summer. This and the Ultra Glossy lipstick had the least amount of wear time out of all the shades I tried.... BUT ISN'T THE PACKAGING SO COOL?! Okay, okay... I'm done. Overall, I would highly recommend you check out their lipsticks. Even if you're more of a matte lips person, I'm sure you'll find something you like... especially for the price! I'm definitely going to pick up some blushes next time I visit a Kiko shop, as I wasn't really paying attention to cheek products when I was there last.

L-R: Velvet Matte, Luminous Chrome, Velvet Matte

#614, #607, #713

Stay tuned for the follow up post showing the Kiko eyeshadows I purchased on my trip to Italy. In the meantime,  if you have any Kiko product recommendations I can add to my French shopping list I'd love to hear them! You can purchase Kiko online at http://www.kikocosmetics.co.uk/ They're currently having a big sale and I would highly recommend the lipsticks and eyeshadows. To keep up to date with future posts, you can follow me on BlogLovin' Twitter and Instagram :)