August 31, 2009

A haul.

Once in a while, I'll drive for an hour and go to France, that beautiful country that has Sephora in every city! I actually have a friend who is quite addicted to makeup, too and she lives in a very large French city, so we meet there and go makeup shopping together.

Although I am famous for doing very large and expensive hauls every few months, I was quite reasonable this time. Here's what I got:

At Mac, I got:
Jest (duh! see previous post)
Rose Pigment - which is so pretty and very versatile as it looks good on eyes, lips and cheeks
London Life from the Euristocrats 2 collection
and I back to mac-ed for Cyber, a very dark purple - and yes I'm going to wear it!
I picked a retractable lip brush at Sephora, which is always useful with dark lipsticks.

At Bobby Brown, I got a gorgeous sapphire gel liner and a concealer (and boy, this concealer was worth the high price! More detailed review will follow.)

I also got a Benefit cream shadow in Gossip, which is a light purple color; I got it for the name as much as for the shade!

And finally I picked 2 OPI nailpolishes, one is Pampelona Purple and I need to recheck the name for the second one.

So I will be reviewing these products as I get to use them, and will let you know how I like them.

Shame on me... and September challenge

I did some makeup shopping this week-end (more about that later). I stopped by a Mac counter and got a few eyeshadows, and among them was Jest, that I had benn wanting for quite a while, and that kept on popping in the product list for a lot of pretty looks seen recently. You get it: I needed it.

When I got back home and opened my pallettes to put my new babies in their new house, I found out I already had Jest. And that it was untouched.

This is the proof, if I needed it, that I have been in such a buying rut that I don't even have the time to try everything I get at least once, and that I don't know what I have or do not have anymore.

So I think it's time for a little challenge: in September, I'll pick one Mac 15 palette a week (I have 5 of them) and I'll use that palette every day. I can add something from another palette if needed (like neutrals if I need them, or highlighters) or a pigment BUT I will use colors from that palette every day of the week.

Starting tomorrow, then. And I must decide if it will be the Bronze/Gold or the Purple/Pink palettes I'll use first.

Anybody fancy joining me?

August 30, 2009

Foundation Review #5: Avène Couvrance Liquide

A bit of information about Avène: it's actually a French thermal city whose water is helpful to cure skin diseases and problems. A very weird thing is that scientists have analyzed this water and its components and recreated it artificially - well the recreated water doesn't work as well!

In several European countries like France, Belgium, Netherlands, Avene is quite easy to find, mostly in pharmacies, and relatively inexpensive (under 20€, but differs from country to country). It's highly recommended by dermatologist and can be used to hide skin issues or scars. Outside of Europe, it can be bought on the web but is more expensive.

I absolutely adore that foundation, it's the one I turn to when my skin is acting up or when nothing else is working right for me. I wear shade 2 Natural most of the time but if I (fake) tan, I'll use shade 3 Sable. If I use it 7/7, a tube will last me about 4 months.

Oil Free
SPF 15
Extremely easy to apply
Very light feeling but buildable coverage - up to medium in the liquid version (they have a cream version too)
Virtually no risk of allergy
Contains thermal water
Long lasting
Slightly dewy finish
Works on any skintype, which is great when you have combination skin
Great tube packaging: easy to use and hygienic
Not too expensive in Europe

Only 5 shades in the range, which might make it hard to find your match

I highly recommend you try this if you can and if one of the colors work for you! It will be cheaper than a lot of high-end products and your skin will love it.

Wait a minute...

I did quite a nice haul yesterday, and I'll be posting it tomorrow. Sorry for the slow updates the last few days, been too busy to write!

August 26, 2009

My E.L.F. experience

I had never paid much attention to, aka ELF. The products, in my opinion, were too cheap to be good. But after having seen so many YT guru's and bloggers saying that they actually liked the new Studio Line, and after having been told by several people that they loved the brushes from that line, I decided I should give it a go.

Then comes a long list of disappointments.

Firstly, I can't order from the U.S. Nor from the U.K. - they won't ship to me. I have to order from France since they take care of my country.
Problem #1: they don't sell the Studio Warm Bronzer that I wanted to get. And most importantly, problem #2: the coupon codes are not valid on the french site, and the prices are higher. The 30$ studio brush set retails for 35€ in France - 50 USD!

At that time I am pretty much upset already. But there is one brush in that set that I absolutely want to get, so I order that one. And then I add a couple of cheap blending brushes for the regular line.
My order is worth less than 6€, but shipping will be 7.50€. Great. But there's no cheaper alternative.

My order arrived 4 days later, which is pretty much normal for international mail. That's when I discover that the infmaous brush I wanted is not in there: I got a lip primer instead, which is worth less and which I don't need.

So I sent an e-mail and they answer within 24 hours that they're going to resend me the brush with no extra costs.

Three days later, the brush is there. Except it isn't. It's not the brush I ordered, it's another one from the Studio range.

That's it, I am giving up, I am not writing again to ask for the right brush.
Nex time I'll just order from Crownbrush even if it's more expensive.

End of the experiment.

August 25, 2009

Chanel Noir Obscur

I just came across the visuals for Chanel Fall Collection "Noir Obscur". That reminds me a lot of Mac Style Black, and that definitely confirms the Goth/Black trend for this coming season.

The products are just gorgeous, but the prices are sky-high (a lipstick is 30$ for example). I also know by experience that the Chanel eyeshadows are not very long lasting, which is a shame, so I'll probably wait for Mac Style Black for that kind of products.

But those lipsticks... don't think I'll pass on them!

The collection should be available in September.

Blog Sales coming

Nothing bothers me more than unused products. Since I have to buy a lot of brands on the web or have someone CP for me, I do get disappointed in what I get sometimes. And I don't like that those products stay in my drawers unloved.

So I think I am going to hold a blog sales at the beginning of September, possibly around the 4th, I still need some time to gather all my products. Everything will be either BNIB or used once or twice.
I hope you'll be interested and will be willing to give some love to those products!

August 24, 2009

Tag: what I am using right now

Since Magpiesparkles and Lollipop26 tagged everybody and I haven't done this yet, I thought I'd join the bandwagon.

Feel free to do it as well and link back in the comments!

Shampoo: switching between L'Oreal Professional Shine Curl and Color Protect

Conditioner: L'Oreal Professional Liss Extreme (and actually if I don't use my straightener, it doesn't kill my curls)

Styling products: Osis Loopy Form (when I want strong curls) or Sebastian Clay for bangs

Shower Gel: Korres Vanilla and Cinnamon

Body moisturiser: Korres Vanilla and Cinnamon or the Bodyshop Coconut butter

Deodorant: Sanex.

Fake Tan: Xen-Tan for ever!

Cleanser: the Body Shop seaweed cleanser

Exfoliator: Estee Lauder

Moisturizer: Estee Lauder DayWear cream for combo skin

Primer: none really, but I am using a Shiseido Cooling Essence on the t-zone and it does the trick

Foundation brush: my Mac 182 kabuki works better than anything else!.

Concealer: Laura Mercier, shade #2

Powder: T.Leclerc compact powder in beige, my HG powder since at least 3 years!

Blusher: that changes a lot... My all time favourites are probably Mac Nuance and Nars Deep Throat

Bronzer: Cargo Blue Ray but I'll be switching to something lighter in a few weeks

Highlighter: One of the MSF trios from Color Craft

Eyeshadow base: Too Faced Shadow Insurance

Eyeshadows: that changes every day! Today is going to be steamy/plumage/carbon I think

Eyeliner: Stila smudge pot - either bronze or black

Curler: I actually hardly ever use it but I have a Shu Uemura one

Mascara: MUFE Smoky Lash

Lipstick: I am wearing my Illamasqua from the Siren collection a lot, these days

Lipgloss: Illamasqua Move intense lip gloss, I <3 it

August 21, 2009

Mac DSquared

These pics come from Temptalia, I thought they were absolutely gorgeous and wanted to share.

This almost makes me want to be in Winter already.

August 20, 2009

I hate packing

I am leaving tomorrow for a long week-end at the Atlantic coast, where we'll be celebrating the birthday of a relative. So far, that's nice.

But here comes the trick: I need to pack, and this I hate. I always feel like I don't need much and that will be quickly done, then comes the moment I grab my trolley, I get overwhelmed by "what if's". And I end up taking much more than I had planned (and subsequently turning to a bigger trolley).

And of course, beauty is a big part of the problem. What looks will I need to wear? A smokey? Brights? What if I change my mind at the last moment?
But taking along 5 Mac palettes does seem a bit too much, doesn't it?

So I am challenging myself to sticking to a very strict minimum this time. Yes, I'll need to wear some makeup at the birthday party, but other than that I will be either driving the car or walking on the beach, and that doesn't require a full face.
I had thought about taking a 4-shadows quad of some sort, but I think I'll even do better than that: I 'll stick to pencils. Regular pencils or/and my Gosh waterproof eyeshadow pencils (that look like Mac shadesticks) and/or Illamasqua fat pencils. On top of UDPP (of which I have a mini size), they'll last all day and will bring some color. I'll only need one synthetic brush and that's good. That won't take too much space in the small pouch I got for the occasion (the ones I already have are humongous).

As far as the rest of my face is concerned, I can leave (and live) with a liquid foundation applied with fingers, one blush (thinking Nars Deep Throat since this goes with everything) and one highlighter of some sort, one mascara and one lipgloss.
Cleanser and moisturizer of course, that I can put in sample containers. And sunscreen.

Oh and as far as hair is concerned, I am taking along my flat iron to style my bangs, but I'll do with the curly air dried hair. No space-consuming blowdryer this time.

That should be enough, I guess. I'll tell you next week if I could stick to my resolutions and how it worked for me. I wonder if the small trolley will be enough...

August 19, 2009

Me want

This is one of the upcoming Mac collections for this Fall/Winter., it's called Style Black.
I think I want all products (excepted maybe the plain black lipstick, not very office- friendly); the mineralize eyeshadows with a mix of black and a colorful undertone are promising.
I think is awaking the Goth in me.

Are you getting anything from that collection?

Foundation Review #4: Chanel Pro Lumiere

Before I got to try the Illamasqua foundations, I had bought this one.
As I told you before, I have been looking for a full-coverage long lasting foundation, because comes the Winter, I get redness and dry patches on my Oily T-Zone and I need to hide that all.
I picked Chanel Pro Lumiere rather than Mat Lumiere because mattifying foundations might be good for my T-zone, they're quite bad at hiding my dry patches. So I have found that using a foundation for normal or dry skin and treating the oily zones with something else (primer...) works best for me.
Chanel Pro Lumiere is a long lasting foundation for all skin types.

- very good coverage
- very glowy finish, but this can be toned down with powder if needed
- very nice texture, easy to blend and stretch
- quite long lasting, although the 14 hours claimed by the brand seem unrealistic to me
- photographs very well
- packaging: comes with a pump, which is always a bonus
- SPF 15

- it is very glowy: on oily/combo skin, this can easily look greasy after a few hours, primer and/or powder are a must
- it does feel a tiny bit heavy
- it's pricey

I would say this is not an everyday foundation, or at least not one anybody can easily wear. You have to work with the right amount to make it look good, and to know how to work with primers and powders to make it look the way you want. It's almost a pro product, I would say, which explains a lot of people don't like it - I think they haven't used it the right way.

I think I would repurchase despite the high price. It makes my skin look great and I know that in Winter time, it will cover my flaws and won't dry out my skin. And it's perfect for night time, especially if you're going to be photographed.

August 18, 2009

Foundation Review #3: Illamasqua Cream foundation

This is the last Illamasqua foundation I have tried, but certainly not the least. Actually it is my favourite. I have this in 125, which is an ashy beige shade for pale skin, close to an NC15.
It comes with a sponge applicator and a real mirror, which makes it a perfect foundation for travelling or to take along with you for touch ups (I never touch up foundation but who knows).

- medium coverage: won't hide everything and won't replace concealer but will make your skin look good
- quite matte: perfect for combo/oily skin as well
- long lasting: still looks quite good after 9 hours, a bit of powder on my usually oily forehead is all it would take to make it perfect again for several hours
- great base for blushes and MSF's: I have really noticed these stayed on much more longer than usual
- good packaging
- you don't feel it on the skin

- you need to find your shade since you can't custom mix like you would do with liquids
- I wish it had a tiny bit more coverage, but I can still make this work

I give it 5 stars out of 5 : to me it's the best foundation Illamasqua makes and the one that will suit most people, including those who are not very experienced with foundation application. This is definitely going to become an important part of my makeup kit!

August 17, 2009

Foundation Review #2: Illamasqua Rich Foundation (liquid)

I have been looking for a full coverage foundation, especially for Winter when I have a lot of things to hide: dry patches, more redness on the cheeks that prevents me from wearing some blush colors... And I thought this could be the one. Bummer.

- extremely covering, you don't even need concealer, I have never seen that before
- same nice packaging as the light foundation (used to be the black packaging but they're now transitioning to the transparent one, so you might get one or the other for now).
- same nice smell too

- so thick it's hard to apply, even with a brush, even on top of a primer
- you feel it on your skin since it's quite heavy
- flat matte, althoug you can solve that by using either the Illamasqua Satin Primer or a highlighter
- made every imperfection on my skin more visible, not in terms of colors of course, but well in terms of texture since it's so thick, which didn't look natural nor pretty at all
- some people have reported it not being water or sweat resistant, but since my face doesn't sweat easily, I couldn't tell

Would I repurchase?
No, I am actually selling the product I have after only 2 attempts at making it work (once without primer, once with satin primer). I would say it's not a foundation for everybody because applying it is tricky and you need some experience to blend it correctly, I guess. But what turned me off the most is the aspect on my skin. From a distance it does look flawless but looking close, all flaws are very visible and I think this would only make my dry patches more wearable in Winter time.

I got shade 135 for this one, since I intended to wear it in Winter mostly, but I should have gotten 125 because 135 is very yellow. More yellow than an NC15 or NC20 - beware.

I give it 1 out of 5 stars for the coverage, but it's too hard to make it work.
So that's a product I really wanted to love but ended up not liking at all, unfortunately.

August 16, 2009

Foundation Review #1: Illamasqua Light Foundation (liquid)

No particular reason for picking this one first, it's just the one I happen to be wearing today :-)

I told you I have a weird skin shade, I am actually 125 in Illamasqua foundations, which is an ashy neutral color a lot of MUA seem to be scared of. But it's a perfect match for me and I know of other bloggers who use it as well. So no reason to be scared. It's actually very close to Mac Studio Sculpt NC15 - I swatched them side by side a while ago.
So here are my thoughts:

- the packaging is pretty, light and plastic hence won't break on my bathroom floor if I drop it
- at less than 20£, it's actually a bit cheaper than a Mac foundation bought here
- it's very fresh, light and stretchable
- it gives a very light sheen, not too much so it won't make my t-zone look greasy but it's not flat matte, which I like
- you don't need a huge amount of it
- it is long lasting even though I hardly ever use a primer underneath - I just set it with a bit of powder like MSF Natural
- it gives light to medium coverage, you can still see the skin through it
- it smells delicious, some sugary cake dough smell I would say

- well, it is light to medium coverage, so don't expect it to hide every imperfection
- it dries very quickly so you have to apply very quickly too! I use either my hands or my Mac 182 kabuki

Would I repurchase?
I think so. I really like how this looks on me, it's everything I have been looking for in a tinted moisturizer without finding it, I would say.
On the other hand, I think it's a good product for me in the Summer time but I am pretty sure that comes October, my skin will be too dry for this and I'll need more coverage.

All in all, I give it 4 out of 5 stars - just because it dries so fast and that makes the application a tiny bit more difficult.

Foundation Review Series

I seem to be asking too much from my foundation. I want it to feel light but yet cover everything. I need it to mattify my oily t-zone and moisturize my dry cheeks (ah, the joys of combo skin). I want it to last through 12 hours at the office or a night out. I want it to perfectly match my odd skintone (very pale but slightly golden with zero pink undertone). Oh and I don't like strong smells. And of course I don't want it to be too expensive, since I'll be using it every day and repurchasing regularly.

As a consequence I have tried and am still trying a whole bunch of foundations. Right now I have, hum, 12 of them in my drawer. I know, I know, I'm not being reasonable but I always hope I have found my Holy Graal and when I realize I have not, I move to the next product.

So I thought at least I'd be sharing my thoughts on those foundations with you. If that can help anybody making their choice and not being disappointed by the result, I won't have bought them all for nothing.

August 12, 2009

August Favourites

It's that time of the month already: I am going to share my favourites!

  • Illamasqua brow cake in Motto: first time I find a brow powder that has the right color, is easy to apply and lasts all day. I set it with my Essence clear brow gel (which costs less than 2€ and works wonders without flaking) and I am ready to go. The powder color looks a bit greenish, but don't be scared: it's actually a makeup artist trick to use khaki to fill in eyebrows, so this works perfectly.
  • Illamasqua intense lipgloss in Move: the perfect berry color (at least, for my idea of berry color), no smell, no test, not really sticky and very long-lasting. Probably better than Mac glosses. I <3>
  • My Mac 109 brush for blush: never thought I'd find a good use for that one, since it was shedding too much for foundation. Well it works perfectly for a pop of color on the cheeks and even to apply highlighter above the blush.
  • Maybelline Colossal mascara: I am amazed at how good it is, very lengthening and volumizing. I have it in brown only since I wear SexyCurves in black, they're quite different but I love both.
  • BodyShop seaweed cleanser: I already bought backups of this one since I am never going to use another cleanser again - my skin has never felt so good.
Please share your own favourites or link to them!