January 31, 2010

In and Outs

January In's.

Short skirts and high boots.

Working from home when being snowed in.

Sales (including on Makeup and Skincare)

January Out's.

One huge out: Winter. I'm tired of being cold, having to find 17 matching layers to wear every morning, having über dry skin (my poor hands!), looking grey, spending daylight hours at the office and driving back home on slippery roads. You made your point, Mister Winter, now please go!

January 29, 2010

Let's get (fake-) tanned

Being as pale as humanly possible (or close to that anyway) AND allergic to sun, I have to deal with the burden of looking pasty white 365 days a year (even more, sometimes).
Don't give me any of the "embrace your paleness" lecture, when Summer comes and everybody around me is getting a lovely caramel color, I'm jealous.

That's how I got into fake tan, back when I was a teenager (although I need to confess I didn't know how to apply it properly until I was in my 30's, hum). I'm not going to talk about self-tanners today because the lovely Tali from The Gloss Goss already told everything in this post after she tried Xen-Tan on my recommendation.

There's another kind of product into which I got more recently: bronzer.
For years, I was a snob and thought all bronzers looked orange. I blame Guerlain Terracotta for this misconception, and I changed my mind 2 years ago after having seen a sales assistant applying a Sisley bronzer on a lady who was as pale as I am. Of course, I had her put it on me too and ended up buying the (expensive) thing.

I have been hooked on bronzer since then, and I think this is a product everybody can wear for the biggest part of the year, even with no fake tan on. I just don't wear it in that limbo period between December and February because everything looks so grey, including myself, that bronzer really looks odd.
When I have a bit of a tan on, I use bronzer to emphasize some parts of the face. When I don't, I use it to contour or in combination with blush. I love the versatility of bronzers, and I love the variety of products available. And you know I like variety in makeup.

Last Summer I used a full Cargo Blu-Ray bronzer. I liked it a lot, obviously, but since Cargo is nowhere to be found in my country (I had received it as a gift from a friend), I looked for a dupe and found that the best match in terms of shade was Lancôme. So this one is my Summer, on top of fake tan, bronzer.

This Illamasqua Glint/Writhe bronzing duo was part of my Sirens collection haul. I like that it has 2 parts, the lightest one being a highlighter, because I can mix and combine to get the desired result. I mostly use this as a blush or in combination with it.

The Chanel Soleil Tan Bronze Universal is a unique gel-cream formula that I really love, and discovered very recently. It's now marketed as a makeup primer, but I apply it after my foundation with an Illamasqua blush brush (comparable to Mac 109). I do think, however, that it helps any product put on top of it in staying longer. It's very blendable and buildable, and very soft on the skin. Surprisingly it looks very natural even on my pale skin. This is a product that can be used all year round, as a contour product or as an all-over face bronzer, I think it's great and unique, and it's not as expensive as a lot of Chanel products.

The Stila duo was a limited edition last Summer and I must confess I haven't used it at all, because I got this as a gift and have no clue as how to use it correctly. Feel free to enlighten me.

The Givenchy Prism'Again Mango bronzer was also part of last Summer's collection but I love love love this one for... other seasons than Summer! You can custom-mix the 4 shades and use some of them as a blush. It can come out cool enough to be worn in Winter, and is not too pigmented (but buildable) and the smell is absolutely delish.

Last but not least, the infamous Nars Laguna/Orgasm duo. Honestly, Laguna isn't my favourite bronzer and Orgasm isn't my favourite blush used on its own. But I like the practical aspect of having both products together and they do an OK job. Plus, Orgasm is gorgeous when I layer it with Deep Throat, so I can make this work anyway.

So I can wait for Spring to come so I can wear bronzer again without looking like I'm trying too much.
Do you wear bronzer and what is your favourite?

January 26, 2010

January Favourites

Listing this month's favorites has been really easy since I have been wearing some products consistently the whole month!

Nars Exhibit A Blush

Yes I know, it looks bright, it's a matte poppy color and it's absolutely gorgeous even on very pale skintones like mine, providing you apply it with a very light hand of course. I use my Mac 188.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Bejeweled Skylark eyeshadow

This is a very warm brown with a lot of red and even a purple undertone in it. I never ever tried an eyeshadow before that compliments my blue eyes so well. And it's also very versatile: I have been wearing it on the outer corner with a wash of champagne eyeshadow for an office look, but it also works great for a smokey eye or in combination with bright blues. I absolutely love this color!

Nars Sheer Glow and Mac MSFN

Do I need to remind you of how much I love this Nars foundation? It combines perfectly with my MSFN powder for a long lasting flawless satin skin.

YSL Rouge Volupte #2

This is such a pretty nude (says the girls who used to hate nudes) and I love the creamy formulation and gorgeous smell of the Rouge Volupte lipsticks.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel lipbalm, handcream

Rêve de Miel is the best range hands down for those very cold Winter days. It's extremely nourishing without being greasy or heavy, and it smells delicious. And it's got honey in it :)

What are your favorites of the moment

January 21, 2010

Foundation review #13: Makeup For Ever HD

The same day I had ordered Nars Sheer Glow, I also ordered MUFE HD.
Why order 2 foundations at the same time, you will ask. Why not? I guess I had been wanting to try these 2 for a long time and since the reviews were so good, I kind of expected to be disappointed by at least one of them, and then I'd have the other one. Silly, uh?

Courtesy to the local MUFE online store, I had to wait over 2 weeks to get my order, and in the meantime I had fallen in love with the Nars foundation (which had arrived from abroad in 3 days, hum) and didn't see the point in trying HD anymore. But you know me, I'd do everything for my foundation reviews encyclopedia. So I gave it a try.

First things first, I looked at the packaging: this one comes with a pump, and that's always nice and handy. The bottle is transparent, so you can always see how much product is left, that's convenient too. It's not glass and doesn't feel easily breakable, which is good when you're clumsy or still asleep.

I applied with a Mac 190 and I thought it felt a bit heavy. But I tried again with a Mac 182 kabuki, which is the brush I usually use for all liquid foundations, and it worked much better since I didn't need as much product.
The finish is very nice, not totally dewy but certainly not flat matte. The coverage is medium and very easy to build up to full.

The result was flawless and beautiful. Probably as beautiful as Nars Sheer Glow. Damned, here I was with very similar products that I liked a lot! Once applied, the only difference was in the shade. Since MUFE HD in 117 was reported to be very yellow, I was afraid it would be too much for me and ordered 115. This is a fair beige with a tiny bit of pink in it but it's still a very good match for me, slightly less warm than Sheer Glow in Gobi.

But I finally found a slight difference: HD starts looking oily on my t-zone quicker than Sheer Glow. It still lasts a reasonable 6 hours before I need to touch up with powder, but since the Nars lasts particularly long on me (which is great), HD doesn't do as well.

This being said, it still is an excellent foundation, something I can rely on if I have a long day or if I am going to be photographed (don't know how Nars performs in HD pictures) and I would definitely recommend it. I am glad I have it even if Nars works slightly better for me, because it's really a brilliant product.

January 18, 2010

Skincare routine

I posted about my skincare routine a couple of months ago, but my routine has changed a bit since then, so this is an update.

I must say that I have been asked several time what I use for my skin, since it doesn't really look as old as my body is (my hair, however, looks much older, hum). My first answer would be that I am blessed with good genes and avoiding the sun, since I have sun allergy. I have never suffered from acne, I have occasional pimples and the boring blackheads like everybody, but I don't have any scarring or marks that I need to hide.

This being said, my skin doesn't take care of itself and I do believe my routine is very important in keeping my skin at its best. If I skip the makeup remover or don't exfoliate for a while, my skin will look dull very quickly. And since it's combination with an oily t-zone and dry cheeks, using the right dose of the right moisturizer is important to maintain the balance.

In the morning, I wash my face with water only, I just can't skip that step to get awake! Then I apply Estee Lauder Idealist serum, which helps keeping the skin hydrated and reduces pores where needed. It leaves the skin very soft and dries within seconds. Then I apply my Estee Lauder Day Wear Plus cream for combination skin. Unless it's very cold and my skin is very dry, I don't apply on the t-zone. In the summer I can even skip the moisturizer altogether and that helps me not getting oily. Also if I use a primer (mostly Korres silicon free), I use it instead of the moisturizer.

At night, I always use my faithful Bioderma Crealine H20 to remove my makeup, and the La Roche Posay Rosaliac make up remover, which is a micellar jelly, for my eyes since I like this texture better for that zone.
Then I cleanse with The BodyShop Seaweed cleanser. I moisturize either with Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum and the same Daywear cream that I use in the morning, or I use a deep moisturizer alone - like Vichy Aqualia Thermal mineral mask (which isn't mineral at all)- but that's in Winter only.
Twice I week I exfoliate with Estee Lauder purifying exfoliator.

I recently started to use a new eye cream that I like a lot: La Roche Posay Redermic. It's marketed for women over 40 years old, but since it basically contains retinoids and vitamin C, known for keeping the skin young, I feel totally comfortable using it 10 years early!

You must know by now that I love Estee Lauder products for skincare. I discovered them less than a year ago, and although they are pricey, to me they are totally worth it because my skin has never looked or felt any better. Since this routine is working so well for me, even though we have had freezing temperatures for several weeks now (which never fails to ruin my skin), I am totally planning on sticking to it and staying faithful to Lauder.

January 17, 2010

Beauty Icon: Diana Rigg

I mostly find beauty inspiration through movies and pictures. I collect them on my Tumblr but I thought I'd share favorites with you on here.

I have been watching The Avengers lately, which I had never bothered watching before. I probably wasn't mature enough to enjoy classics :-)
Anyway, I am really liking Dame Diana Rigg in the role of Emma Peel. I think for that time, she was pretty daring with her outfits, and Mrs Peel is definitely a strong woman and a different kind of role model if you consider the options women had in 1961!

I also think Dame Diana Rigg can be considered a beauty icon. We mostly mention Brigitte Bardot or Audrey Hepburn when thinking about that decade, but for me she deserves the same iconic status.

January 14, 2010

Products I'm using right now

I know, I know, I am totally MIA right now, but the job that pays for my makeup is pretty demanding these days, and until the end of this month I am not going to have a lot of free time for blogging or other fun stuff.

I thought I'd just do a quick "products I'm using right now" for you, and also announce that my next posts will include a review of MUFE HD foundation and a detailed explanation of my skincare routine.

On to the faves, now!

Shampoo: L'Oreal Professionel Color Protect

Conditioner: L'Oreal Professional Absolute Repair mask

Shower gel: Vichy Lipidiose (for very dry skin)

Styling products: I am not using many but when I do, it's Sebastian X-tah clay

Body moisturiser: The BodyShop cocnut body butter

Deodorant: Sanex

Fake Tan: no fake tan at the moment

Nars Sheer Glow in "Gobi"

Powder: Mac MSFN in light medium

Concealer: Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Ivory

Blush: this changes every day but I still like Illamasqua Lover a lot, sometimes on top of Illamasqua Rude cream blush

Bronzer: Chanel Bronze Universal (will review this as well!)

Highlighter: not wearing any at the moment

Mascara: YSL Faux-CIls

Lipstick: I reach for YSL Rouge Volupté #1 a lot

Lipgloss: have been using the Style Black Glimmerglasses by Mac a lot

Nail colour: "Done Out in Deco" by OPI

January 9, 2010

Looks from this week.

I had planned a much needed cut and color at the hairstylist's today, but instead, I'm snowed in. So I decided to play with some of my Aromaleigh mineral eyeshadows that arrived yesterday.
Here's my look for today:

As a base, I applied Constructivist paintpot, which is a nice brown color.
On the lid, I used Barry M Dazzle Dust #68, which is a gorgeous light blue infused with tons of yellow gold, which is why it appears greenish on the pictures.
In the crease, I used Aromaleigh Bête Noire e/s in Colette, which is an improved version of Mac's Blue Brown to me. I blended it well since it's daytime, it could have been much more dark. I lined the lower lash line with Aromaleigh e/s in Calendula.
Big mistake: I used UD 24/7 Bourbon liner pencil on the waterline, and it's too red - I need to invest in a true brown like Mac Teddy eyekhol.

I am going to use my Aromaleigh a bit more extensively, and I am also waiting for a Fyrinnae order that will bring e the infamous Pixie Epoxy - really curious about the effect it will have on my eyeshadows. So expect reviews on all these mineral eyeshadows and pigments in the coming week, and more looks using them!

Then another EOTD from last week, that I did with my Kat Von D's Beethoven palette. I used the light pink and the purples, but was actually surprised to see that the shimmery purple looked much more blue once applied, which wasn't what I wanted, but it kind of worked anyway.
It was a nice office look.

Did you try something new and interesting this week?

January 7, 2010

Foundation review #11: Nars Sheer Glow

I must have been lemming Nars Sheer Glow since I first heard about it on YouTube like 6 months ago. But I was trying to be good and not crazily increase the amount of foundations piling in my makeup drawer, so I waited. (Which was useless since I haven't finished any of my foundations since then.)

I already knew of a few of this product's downsides. No pump, that's not really handy. A misleading name: it's not sheer nor particularly glowy, so I didn't really know what finish to expect. A runny formulation, so you need to apply with a brush, which for me takes more time than using my hands.
But it didn't turn me off and I am really glad about it.

First time I used it, I applied with a 190 foundation brush on top of my Korres silicone free primer. And it was just OK, nice but not exceptional. I was a bit disappointed.
Then I tried it again without putting a primer underneath, and applying quickly with my 182 kabuki brush (which is the fastest way ever to apply liquid foundation). I still wasn't amazed but by the time I had applied my concealer, I noticed the foundation had set and...Bham! Perfect, flawless skin. I couldn't believe what I was seeing in the mirror.
I added Mac Mineralize Skinfinsh powder on top (a bit randomly, since I had been using my matte T.Leclerc pressed powder exclusively for weeks) and left the bathroom satisfied.

Satisfaction turned into happiness when I looked at my reflection again after 8 hours at the office, and my face was close to flawless - which never happens for me after so long.

I decided to be cautious because sometimes I have one or two lucky days with a new foundation and then it doesn't work so good anymore, maybe because my skin adjusts to it and find new ways to bother me.
Well, not this time! I've been wearing it again and again and it looks perfect. And it combines perfectly with my Mac MSF. I don't use any primer and still, not a square inch of my foundation has moved by the end of the day.

I would say the finish is satiny, certainly not matte nor glowy, but it makes my skin look very luminous and brightened. I got the shade Gobi and it is a very good match for me, which is very nice - no hard blending work. The coverage is definitely medium and I can build it easily on my red areas to get a perfect coverage.
I think Nars Sheer Glow does compare with my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk, but with more coverage and more lasting power.
I can already say I'm giving a Holy Grail status to this product!

January 4, 2010

Test driving yet another foundation

This one can be crossed off my wishlist: Nars Sheer Glow. I got this in the shade Gobi, which is a light one with yellowish undertones.
Review will follow after more extensive use, but I do think it looks really good:

On the eyes I was wearing a quickly improvised look: Barry M Dazzle Dust 44 foiled, with Mac Cranberry and Sketch.