December 31, 2009

Last 2009 FOTD's...

I have been a busy bee and have not always taken the time to photograph my looks these past days.
However, I have two looks I managed to photograph and I can share.

This one was done with a lot of stuff (all Mac): Artifact paintpot, Sketch, Expensive Pink, Seedy Pearl, Carbon and Fig 1 eyeshadows. And, of course, a lot of blending.

And this is my New Year's eve look, featuring Mac Solar Bits in Bronzescape, and Mac Gilt by Association.

Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you health, laughter, love and beauty in all things!

Best of 2009: eye products

If 2008 was the year I learned how to apply eyeshadows properly, 2009 was definitely the year where I improved my techniques and build up my eyeshadow collections!

Although I do not own the UD Get Baked palette, I have all the colors in other palette and have been using the Bake series a lot. Anything gold or bronze is generally appealing to me.

That is probably why Mac Tempting, which is permanent but was part of the Style Warriors collection, is my favourite eyeshadow ever. I am totally obsessed about it and find myself buying every variation of that color in every possible brand. How many bronze eyeshadows does a girl need?

Although much more golden, Barry M Dazzle Dust #44 kind of plays in the same field. I really enjoy wearing Dazzle Dusts. They're fantastic on they're own but foiled they're absolutely gorgeous - especially this one.This year is also the year where I found the perfect brow product for me: Illamasqua brow cake. This stays on all day, works great, and the pan will probably last until my brows turn grey and I need another color!

And finally, 2009 is the year where I decided to give high end mascaras another try, after years of using drugstore products and swearing they're just as good. YSL Faux-Cils proved me wrong and I just can't be without it anymore.

Fancy sharing your own favourite eye products?

December 30, 2009

Best of 2009: face products

Apparently I won't find peace until I have tried every foundation in this world. Good for you, since I review all my trials here.

But well, if I have to pick just one for 2009, it will be Armani Luminous Silk, because I was totally surprised by this product (never tried the brand before) and it's the first time I have liked a light coverage foundation that much. Plus I have a perfect color match in that range.
Illamasqua Cream would be a close second, though!

Speaking of Illamasqua, their blushes are definitely my favourite now. Amazing pigmentation, great smell, and cheaper than Nars. Lover is one of the blushes I have worn the most this year.

Only thing is: they're all matte. And girls like some shimmer sometimes. But that's fine, because I have also developped a new interest for higlighters!
My favourite are the infamous Mac Mineralize Skin Finishes (mostly the trios) but I also like the BodyShop Shimmer Waves. They look fantastic in the Summer over a (fake) tan.

Those were my favourite face products of 2009 - what were yours?

December 29, 2009

Best of 2009: skincare and lip products

I am glad to report that 2009 has been the year where I found a skincare routine that works and where I started wearing lipstick again on a regular basis!

Onto skincare first:

Fist of all, I found the perfect cleanser: The BodyShop Seaweed cleanser, which balances my oily zone without drying out the rest of my face. I use it every night after having removed my makeup.

Then twice a week, I exfoliate my skin with Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean. I have really noticed that if I skip this step, my skin becomes quite dull within a few days, so this product is really a must have for me now.

And finally, before going to bed, I moisturize with Estee Lauder Daywear Plus cream for combination skin.

I am also happy to report that NOT using moisturizer during the day has helped my oily t-zone.

And finally, I found the perfect Fake Tan: Xen-Tan. No funky smell, no streaks, no orange color - what more could I want?

So that's it for 2009 best of skincare.

Onto lip products now.
I started using UD Lip Primer and couldn't believe how much it helped on creating a smooth base and helping product longevity on the lips!

I developped an addiction for YSL Rouge Volupte lipsticks, because they're so creamy and I love the mango smell. I'm even starting to like the tacky packaging.
I have #1 and 12 but might get more!

And finally, I fell inlove with Illamasqua lipglosses, particularly the Intense one, which are as pigmented and opaque as a lipstick without being drying or sticky.

What are your 2009 favourites in these categories?

December 28, 2009

Crime Scene

And here's the evidence I did finish my 10 pan. Nope, didn't cheat on the pressed powder, but it's kind of old now and the consistency of the remaining product has changed, it's time to toss.

So now, normal activity will resume and new hauls and reviews are coming soon!

December 27, 2009

Best of 2009: Favorite Nail Polishes

The end of the year is near (well, I could even say it's here). So I'm having a look back at the beauty products I enjoyed the most this year, and I will be posting these until December 31st.
Let's begin with nail polishes. I never really was into these before this year. I would put on a nude pink on Sunday evenings and let my nails live their life for the rest of the week? But somehow, since last Winter, I got hooked on color and now don't mind changing my polish 3 times a week.

Let's go chronologically. Last February saw the release of the Hello Kitty for Mac collection, and I got my first Mac nail polish.

It's a very pretty, opaque grey. I am actually wearing it today, as I think it's very elegant and suits Winter quite well.

At the same time, everybody was loving Mac Peppermint Patty, from the same collection, but I instead got its Barry M dupe: Mint Green.

And I am happy I did, because Jade nail polishes are in this Winter and should be huge this Spring, so I am all settled.

A bit later in Spring, I fell in love with the infamous OPI Done Out in Deco.

I absolutely love this shade, I think it's a color you can wear all year round - it's one of the few I didn't put away in the box of "Summer colors" when Fall arrived.

Then came August and the Fall collections, and I got the Lancôme Gold nail polish from the Declaring Indigo collection.

I bet everybody was trying to get the Indigo one, but as much as I love blue polishes, I find them too hard to remove and always end up not wearing them. This one is as easy to remove as it is to put on, a real pleasure.

And then last but not least, although it's not a color issued this year, I got China Glaze Avalanche thanks to a lovely friend in Scotland.

This is one of the prettiest colors ever, with a metallic finish that I love.

Now of course, I have worn a lot of other stuff, from Sephora by OPI Metro Chic to China Glaze For Aubrey, OPI Pretty and Privileged or some amazing Illamasqua shades. But these are the one I feel I have worn the most this year.

What about your favourites?

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas - Project 10 Pan is Over!

Right on time for me to do some Christmas shopping damage, the last drops of the last products were used up this morning.

I will be posting evidence, of course.

Now expect some hauls and reviews from Rouge Bunny Rouge (yes, I changed my mind about their eyeshadows), Aromaleigh Minerals, and who knows what else!

In the meantime, I wish you all a peaceful and merry Christmas, and lot of makeup gifts from Santa!

Why I love makeup

The lovely Lina from The Beauty Look Book asked her readers why they love makeup and what their favourite brands are.
I thought I'd answer here so I have more space to ramble :)

1) Why Do I Love Makeup? I have been fascinated by makeup since as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I would spend vacations at my grandmother's and I remember that my aunt used to apply her Chanel blush and lipstick in bright daylight, in the living-room, every morning before going to work. I would always ask her to put some pink on my cheeks, which she would do sometimes, and I really loved it.

There are other, more rational, reasons of course. Makeup is for everyone, it doesn't matter how old you are, what your style is, what your budget is, even. Unlike fashion, makeup has something to offer to every women.
It's an incredible boost for self-confidence - I feel like myself but better- and a great way to be creative on a daily basis.

It's also what fulfills my need to be different in a world of conformism. Being at work in a business suit with double winged eyeliner is incredibly satisfying.

2) What Do I Look For in a Brand?

I do make a different between brand and product.
In a product, I look for quality: pigmentation, staying power, value for money.
In a brand, I look for something totally different: I look for something the brand is going to say about me, or will allow me to express. And I can find different things in very different brands. I love Chanel foundations because of their quality (which is always the first thing I'll consider) and because Chanel sounds like glamour and elegance. I love Illamasqua just as much, because it says I'm different.

3) What are my top favorite brands?

I am not loyal to one brand at all. I think they all have strenghts and weaknesses and we should pick what suits us in every brand. For example, as much as I love Chanel foundations, I hate their eyeshadows with a passion.

I also find my favourite brands have changed a lot through the years as my needs, wants and budget were changing as well.
Right now I do use a wide variety of brands:

- Mac and Urban Decay are my favourite for eyeshadows because there is a lot of choice
- Illamasqua is my favourite brand for blushes, bold lipglosses and their cream foundation
- Barry M Dazzle Dusts are the best pigments ever
- Armani and Chanel are my favourite for foundations
- YSL is fantastic for lipsticks and mascaras
- Bobby Brown have great basics like gel liners and concealer
- for nailpolish, I like OPI, China Glaze and Rimmel London

And yes, through the years, I have used less and less drugstore stuff because I could afford high end, but I still shop at the drugstore quite often. I like Prestige Minerals, the lipsticks from Maybelline or Nivea Beauté, the Colossal mascaras from Maybelline.
And my favourite brow product is an Essence powder that costs less than 2€.

Feel free to answer the questions in the comment or in your blog and post a link here!

December 22, 2009

Foundation Review #10: Korres Wild Rose

I like the Korres products I've used so far, and have been wanting to try this foundation for quite a while now. From the reviews I had read, I thought this could be a cheaper alternative for Armani Luminous Silk.

The brand describes this produc as a brightening foundation with long-lasting coverage. It has an SPF of 20 and is oil-free. It doesn't contain parabens, as Korres uses as many natural and/or organic products as possible.
The wild rose extract in the formulation is supposed to bring vitamine C to the skin, which would brighten the skin and reduce fine lines.

I got this in the shade WR1, which is the lightest. All shades in this range have golden undertones, not yellow but really golden, which makes it suitable for Mediterranean or Hispanic skins. Since I'm very pale, the lightest shade is a tiny bit dark for me but I can make that work anyway, since this is the color I'd have with a bit of tan, so it looks natural enough on me.

-The light rose scent is not too overpowering (which I don't like) and vanishes quickly.
-The product is easy to apply with fingers or a brush. -Coverage is rather light but can easily be built to medium.
- The finish is really brightening and dewy, so if it's what you're looking for, you won't be disappointed.
- It's moisturizing.

- very dewy, can highlight pores
- although it is moisturizing, if you don't apply properly on dry zones, it can look a bit patchy
- packaging: the bottle is completely opaque so you can't see how much produc is left
- no pump

On me (combination skin, oily T-zone and currently dry cheeks) the result is very nice when I apply, and it's very brightening. But after a few hours, I find the T-Zone is too shiny (even though I set with powder) and my few pores are suddenly very noticeable.
I haven't tried it with a mattifying primer, though, but I will.

I am going to try and make this foundation work but it doesn't compare to Armani LS to me, and I will not repurchase.

December 19, 2009

Looks from this week

I didn't take many pictures during the last week, as I was more busy figuring out how to get to work on time despite the snow - and that involved spending less time doing my makeup.
I must also admit it's the time of the year when I can embrace my natural paleness and use cold colors without looking much paler than anyone else, so I have to enjoy it! I think that in Winter light, a beautiful, slightly glowing, flawless skin with a touch of pink blush works great.
Something like this:

However, today being Saturday, I had time for something more sophisticated, so here's what I did before going out in the snow to find food (they say you need more calories when it's cold).

Mac Vellum, Mac Carbon, Rouge Bunny Rouge Mysterious Tinamou
Foundation is Korres Wild Rose in WR1

And this is the much more pinky, post-shopping version of the look!

December 18, 2009

Foundation review #9: Illamasqua Powder foundation

As you must know by now, I mosly wear liquid or cream foundation. But I had been looking for a powder one for a long time, to use on days where I don't need much coverage or am not going out. I have tried mineral foundations without any luck. EDM caused a big allergic reaction, and Maybelline is great but too drying. Since I love the Illamasqua Cream foundation in 125, I ordered the Powder one in the same shade. The color is exactly the same in both products, which is great, it's not always like that with other brands. The powder foundation comes in a black plastic compact, with a velvet puff and a real mirror in it. It has a vanilla-chocolate cookie-ish smells that I love, but it's not too overpowering and doesn't stay after application. I found that the best way to apply is with a kabuki brush (although the puff does work too) because you can really buff the foundation in and this way, it's unnoticeable on the skin and not powdery or cakey at all, which for me is a first compared to mineral foundation. I haven't had any skin problem after using this despite my sensitive skin. Because of the great packaging, this is easy to take along for touch ups or to use as a setting powder on top of liquid or cream since this is a better color match than any other powder I've ever used. Definitely a very good product that I will be repurchasing.

December 17, 2009

What about Project 10 Pan?

Well, it looks like I can't see the end of this project, because the last drops of my two last products seem to multiply every day so that the pan never fully shows!

So I am still finishing my Bobby Brown concealer and my Orlane eye cream.
But my next hauls are already planned :)

And in the meantime I finished a few skincare products, like my Crealine H2O cleanser or my La Roche Posay Rosaliac makeup remover, as well as my Louis Widmer lipbalm. But as I said, these don't count in the project.

Oh, and I'm hitting pan on my Illamasqua cream foundation! Which kind of makes me sad, because I love it and I'll re-order it anyway. But I'll try and live with the rest of my compact (there's still a lot left) until their Spring collection is released, so I can insert it in a larger order.

10 favourite Mac products

I found this tag on lovely Jen's blog and thought I would do it too.

1. Tempting eyeshadow, I am absolutely obsessed with this color and all its possible variations in every brand.

2. Vex eyeshadow, because I have never come across a dupe, and it's so versatile

3. Soft Ochre paintpot, it's the perfect base for so many looks and for pigments

4. Melon pigment, wich is so gorgeous and works great with my eye color

5. Old Gold pigment, because it's sparkly :-)

6. Nuance mineralize blush: it was my first Mac blush and it's the perfect color for me

7. 217 brush

8. 227 brush

9. Sea&Sky mineralize eyeshadow duo, it has my favourite blue ever

10. Soft&Gentle MSF, it was my first MSF and I like the effect it gives

What are your mac favourites? Unless you prefer another brand?

December 15, 2009

Breaking News on Mac Pigments

Well, if you are a beauty addict, you might know it already, but well...
Starting next Spring, Mac will be repackaging their pigments in new jars, which will look like this:

These new jar will contain 3g less than the current one. Which for me, isn't really bad news since I think I wouldn't have enough of my lifetime to finish up my Mac full-size jars.
But the thing is the price won't go down. 4.5g instead of 7.5g for the same price - come on, Mac, you could have tried to make an effort on this one!

December 13, 2009

Looks from this week

I did try a few things this week but not all of them turned out the way I wanted, or they ended up being too similar to each other. So not many pictures.

I used my Book of Shadows 1 for this one, it's a mix of Baked, Smog and Ransom.

This one is a soft smokey done with the Book of Shadows 2.
I used Sellout and Extasy.

This one I like a lot, too bad the picture doesn't do it justice and it looks a lot like my UD one above. But I used Mac Woodwinked on top of Artifact paintpot.
The burgundy paintpot somehow picks up the gold really well. Then I blended some Cranberry in the crease, and a bit of Smut.

Am planning on trying a few new things this week!

December 8, 2009

About skintones

Figuring out what kind of skintone you have can be quite challenging, but it's really essential in the makeup world. It can be helpful to determine what colors will look good or bad on you, but it mostly determines what foundation you are going to need. And nothing looks worse than a wrong foundation match! So take a deep breath, I'm going to try and help you clarify the subject.

Going by "Caucasian", "African", "Asian" isn't relevant enough because there are a lot of different possibilities within those types. So when we talk about makeup, we tend to divide people in 3 groups: cool toned, warm toned or neutral.
Cool toned skins lean towards pink, while warm tones lean to yellow or olive. Neutrals are more beige and can have either cool or pink undertones.

A lot of tricks are used to determine what your skintone is, like looking at the color of your veins, or checking if you look better in gold or silver (which in my opinion is very subjective), but I find these methods quite confusing. I think the easiest trick is this one:
Pull all your hair back away from the face in a pony tail and thoroughly cleanse the face. Place a white towel or cloth around your neck and shoulders, if you face looks more yellow this would indicate a warm skin tone, whereas a bluish reflection would mean a cool skin tone.
If you think you aren't clearly warm or cold, you're probably neutral :-)
But the great majority of people are actually warm!

Here's a simple illustration :

Now don't be fooled by the fairness or darkness, this is not an indicator of warm/cool tones. You can be dark and cool or warm and very fair.

Same thing with neutral undertones: you can be beige and fair. Perfect example: me.

I am as white as someone can be but have zero pink undertones. I have slight yellow undertones on my body skin, which makes me neutral/warm.
Oh by the way, you can have redness on your cheeks, this doesn't mean that you have pink skin!
Check your skin tone on your neck or chest for a more reliable test.

OK, so now you know what your color is, how does that influence your makeup choices?
Well obviously you need to pick a foundation, concealer and powder that will match your skintone the best. That can be a problem since most brands make their palest shades with pink undertones only. Don't be tempted to go for a pink shade if you're not cool, you're just going to look odd.

The most famous system in classifying foundations according to skintone is the one used by Mac with the NC and NW references. Excepted they reverse the terminology - thanks for confusing us, Mac. So just think about it this way:
- NW = not warm (which means cool, pink undertoned)
- NC = not cool (which means warm, yellow undertoned)

For neutral people, it's trial and error... some will find they look better in NW, some will find the best match is NC. Since I'm clrearly neutral warm, I use NC shades, but sometimes they're too yellow for me.

As far as the rest of makeup is concerned, it's said that warm people look better in earth tones (which are warm as well) and cool people should wear jewel tones (which are cool). But this gets tricky when you have cool skin and warm eyes or the contrary... So as far as eyeshadows and blushes are concerned, my advice would be to try different things and see what works for you. Chances are you can wear shades from both groups, but not all of them. For example, cool eyeshadows look great against my blue eyes but cool blushes are really not pretty on me.

Hopefully this was helpful and clear. If you have questions, ask away in the comments!

December 6, 2009

Looks from this week

In the Summer it's very easy for me to take quick pics of my eyes of the day with my webcam while reading my mails and drinking my morning tea, but now that daylight has become something I never get to see at all, I need to use my camera, and flash. Which then requires some photoshop adjustments. And that is why I don't have time to post my looks on a daily basis, but here's the most interesting things I did this past week!

Quickly done with the Sleek Original Palette
(this pic was taken in daylight, that's my real skintone)

Urban Decay Half Baked, Twice Baked, Flipside under the lower lashes.
Liner: Bobby Brown ink in Sepia.

Urban Decay Book of Shadows 2/ Sphynx, Extasy, YDK
Liner: HIP Eggplant

Mac Parfait Amour and Greensmoke

And my Friday Face (I confess I photoshopped my end of the week dark circles).
I was lazy and wore only Mac Phloof! on the lid and Expensive Pink in crease.
Foundation is Chanel Mat Lumière, Blush is Mac Dainty

I don't know what I'll be coming up with next week, but since I have a lot of meetings I might wear more neutrals... we'll see.

December 3, 2009

Project 10 pan status.

Today is the end of my 4th week into project 10 pan. I can't actually remember when was the last time I spent 4 weeks without buying any makeup, not even one cheap drugstore item when doing grocery shopping.

While the 2 first weeks were easy as I was feeling strong and satisfied, it's now getting harder. I am having withdrwal symptoms and am seriously lemming a lot of stuff! I have been very tempted to stop by the department store on my way back from the office. But I resisted! I don't really need anything, of course, and I would be sad to compromise my project.

But I have decided that I'd do everything to finish this operation by the end of the year!
So, here's the status.

Pan hit on:
- my brow gel
- my YSL Faux-Cils mascara
- my TFSI that isn't finished but is getting too old, oily, smelly and sticky; I am not repurchasing since I have a brand new UDPP in my drawer
- my Rimmel Sexy Curves
- my Maybelline Colossal in brown

Those last 2 were getting old and are now definitely too dry to be used.

Pan is going to be hit very soon on:
- my Bobby Brown concealer (I have a good week of this left)
- my Orlane eye cream, which is the only skincare product I am taking into account in the project
- my T.Leclerc pressed powder, which is widely showing pan

So that will be 8 products done. For the 2 last ones, I am going to focus on my Clarins eye base, and my Clinique Air Brush Concealer that I now use as a highlighter since it's not really working well for me as a concealer.

I think it's manageable. I honestly can't wait for it to be over, so I can at least repurchase my YSL mascara!!
In the meantime, I think I am going to get some needed skincare products as a substitute :)

November 30, 2009

November Favourites

Eeek, where did November go, it's almost over already! Time to post my favourites, then!

China Glaze Avalanche nail polish

I love this color so much that I have re-used it several times, which I never do - I rotate my polishes and hardly wear the same color twice in a month!
It's a perfect shade of plumy taupe, kind of Mac Satin Taupe turned into a metallic polish, greyish and purple-ish at the same time. I ♥ it.

Armani Luminous Silk foundation
I know I must sound silly for having a new favourite foundation every month. I guess I just need to accept that even if I find holy grails foundations, I'll still want to try other ones just in case there would be a holier grail somewhere. I love Armani on the days where I don't need a full coverage, I'm definitely planning on repurchasing it.

YSL Rouge Volupté #1 Beige Charnel.
Don't be fooled by its name, this lipstick is actually very pink. But the beige undertone makes it warmer, hence much more wearable for me. I have been wearing it a lot this month despite my infamous love for dark lips.

Bobby Brown Gel Liner in Sepia.
My love affair with BB liners continues. As much as I love the Sapphire Ink I got last Summer, there are definitely looks that don't mach a blue liner very well, so I decided to get a more neutral shade and got Sepia.
It's so easy to apply even I can do it perfectly in 30 secs, it lasts all day, can be worn on the waterline, and the color is a very nice muted brown.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm.

A friend of mine has been raving about this product for years. But I never gave it a try because I have noticed most lipbalms actually make my lips more dry and peely that they already are, so for years I have sticked to the one lipbalm that worked fine for me: Louis Widmer Switzerland.
But you know me... I can't help trying new products and I finally got this product, which is full of honey and essential oils, and actually so yummy that I could eat the whole jar!! (It tastes like a Christmassy orange and cinnamon drink, to me). And well, it WORKS. I apply it every night, fall asleep with this delicious sugary taste on the lips and wake up with soft lips.
This is also very good to soothe irritated skin around the nose or mouth when you have a cold.
Too bad I didn't try it sooner!

What are your favourites for November?

November 28, 2009

Eye of the day: fall colors

Lately I've been finding that all my looks were kind of blah. I have been drawn to neutrals but the way I've used them kind of make them boring, I guess. So yesterday, I thought what the heck and decided to go bright!

I used Mac Golden Lemon and several Dazzle Dusts from Barry M (I ♥ them): Marigold, Bronze and Chocolate (#41, 44 and 53). I lined the waterline with Mac Khôl Pencil Prunella.

That was a nice change. I think, Winter or not, that I need to use brights more often!