April 28, 2010

April Favourites

I have been an eclectic this month, I'm finding it hard to think about product that I wore more than usual - I'm in a phase where I want to try so many different things that I would do three looks a day if I could!
But there are, as always, a few items I particularly liked.

Illamasqua Nailpolish in Prism.
So wearable, so unique and so pretty - what more can I say?

Hourglass Superficial Lash mascara.
I had to throw away my YSL Singulier because it was getting old and it irritated my eyes. Before opening something new I decided to use this mini mascara that I reviewed a while ago, and well, it does a good job, I'm liking it enough for daytime.

Chanel Tan de Soleil (aka. Bronze Universel).

I have been using this cream bronzer a lot and this is probably going to be my holy grail bronzer for this Summer, I really like the finish, the color, and how easy it is to apply and blend into foundation.

Illamasqua lipstick in Abandon.

This is a very particular lipstick. It's like a pale pinky gold, with an extremely dry (you can't even blot) and overly frosty finish. Sounds scary, right? Excepted that, if I use it as a base, and put a more creamy, darker pink colored lipstick on top, the effect is fabulous.

Mac Guilt by Association Mineralize eyeshadow.
Remember this black eyeshadow infused with gold veins, that was issued with the Style Black collection last Fall? Well, it does make a perfect outer V color with the bronze and gold tones I love to wear in this season.

What about your favourites? Tell me in the comments, or link to your post!

April 26, 2010

Review: Nars The Multiple

I'm late on that bandwagon, uh? I have always regarded Nars Multiples as an expensive version of cream blushes and didn't really see the need for these.
But as I got more into Nars recently, I got curious. But I was still reluctant at paying 43€ for one product I couldn't even swatch or test out!

Then I found this on the Nars website: a set called Plein Eté Mini Multiple. For 44€, I would get 3 different mutiples to try, and that sounded like a much better deal. So, in my cart it was!

Here you have: Copacabana (a pearly highlighter), Orgasm (do I need to explain about this?) and South Beach (a peachy bronzer).

The products are teeny tiny, like each tube is like 2 inches high. That makes them very easy to take along for touch ups during the day, or even when you're travelling.
They apply easily, you blend them with your hand, and voilà, you're ready.

Now what I didn't like as much is that they aren't very pigmented, and for example using Orgasm alone as a blush doesn't give much effect.
South Beach is great for fair skin like mine, but it's also pretty shimmery, so it's not appropriate for all circumstances.

I'm still not sure I would spend that much money for one full size Multiple, but I'm glad I got this set because it's so practical when you're on the go, and they make nice cream bases for other products, or very subtle touches of color.

Did you try one of the Multiples? What color? Did you like it?

April 22, 2010

My little Body Electrics by Illamasqua haul

Beauty addicts must know that Illamasqua released their Spring/Summer 2010 collection on April 4th. I had been waiting impatiently for that day so I could place an order before the products would be sold out.

I didn't get much, though. The stars of this collection are:
  • the liquid metal palette, but I already own 2 of them. So I picked the new color, Surge, in its single version instead.
  • the bronzers, but I own a bronzer/highlighter duo from last year that is still pretty much unused
  • the Illumine oils, which are a kind of product I know I'm not going to use, as a highlighter never did anything for pasty white skin
  • the Gleam Cream, that hadn't been released yet when I ordered but that I think is comparable to Mac Strobe Cream, which I like a lot
So I ended up ordering only 2 products.
The first one is the nailpolish in Prism.

I am totally into bright and dark nails but when I saw the swatches for this one, I thought it would be nice - and I haven't been disappointed as it's even prettier than I imagined. It's an almost transparent color, slightly milky, with tons of blue and purple reflections going through it. It really deserves its name, Prism.
I have been wearing it for a week now and have noticed it requires a base and top coat to last, but it's absolutely gorgeous and would be fantastic on tanned hands (or feet) or on top of a color. Definitely a must have for the nailpolish lovers.

And then I got the liquid metal in Surge; since I already own 2 colors from last year as I explained above, no point in getting the whole palette.

Surge is the most gorgeous metallic pewter I have ever seen. It has a bit of shimmer running through it but not big chunks of glitter.

Now I read a lot of reviews from people complaining that the liquid metal crease when used on the eyes. This actually isn't an eyeshadow, it's a multi-use product you can use on face, lips, body... So it's not really meant to be crease proof, but there are ways to make it last.
I use UDPP as a primer, as it's dryer than TFSI and holds cream products better. On top, I use a pencil liner in a neutral champagne color - make sure this pencil isn't too creamy. I use Illamasqua Fat Pencils for that purpose. Then I apply a very thin layer of liquid metal by patting it onto the lid with a finger.
That's it, and it will last 6-8 hours without any problem. Plus, as Sam Chapman from Pixiwoo would say, makeup doesn't have to be perfect all the time, and I don't mind if this one creases a bit at the end of the day.
I have also been using it as a liner under the lower lashline, still on top of some UDPP, and it adds a very nice metallic touch to a discrete office eye look (not that I care much about wearing discrete looks at work, but you get the point).

That's it for now!
Did you get something from this collection or are you planning on ordering? Let me know your thoughts!

April 21, 2010

The best invention since sliced bread: Helena Rubinstein Color to Mix

If you read this blog regularly, you already know I own about 12.458.789 foundations. And of course, they're all matching my ghostly fair skin.
But, as you also might know already, comes Spring and I dig up the fake tan! Which means all my babies don't match me any longer.

Possible solution: get another foundation in my Summer color (which is barely an NC20, mind you) but that just increases the insane number of bottles in my drawer with a product I'll only use for a few months. Plus: which one to chose? I like different finishes and coverages for different looks, so I'd have to get like 3 different ones!

There comes a solution, and the friend who told me about that will have my eternal gratitude: Helena Rubinstein Color to Mix!

What's that? it's a "tailor made shade creator" aka a very pigmented cream you add to your foundation to darken its color. You can also add it to a moisturizer to make it tinted, or even to your sunscreen when you're not wearing anything else!
They have a light and a dark version of the product so you can chose the intensity you want according to your skintone.

How does it work? So easy: add a very little amount (rice grain size) to your usual amount of foundation, mix, apply - done.

Price: it's not cheap, it's actually almost as expensive as a new foundation, but it offers a lot more possibilities. The tube is quite small (10 ml) and is sold €29 in Europe, and I think about $50 in the US. But one tube will last you a whole season since you really don't use much.

Do I recommend it? Would I rebuy? Yes, and yes! I'm very pleased about this product, I enjoy using it and I like the result I get.

What do you do when your skin goes darker?

April 19, 2010

Hair Product review: Phyto 7

I have crazy wavy lion hair when I lit it air dry. So of course, I hardly ever do that, because, well, I couldn't get out of the house that way. And even if I do, there's some styling involved to make it wearable.

And when I say styling, I mean blowdry and straighten. I know - bad. My hair isn't nearly as dry as when I was regularly having platinum blonde highlights, but the heat styling will make it a bit dry and cause split ends. And altough I do use masks twice a week, the split ends bother me.

I saw Phyto7 in a drugstore and remember having seen a positive YT review on it (don't ask me from whom, I don't remember, might have been lollipop26) and what caught my eye was the description: daily hydrating cream. Of course! A daily moisturizer for my hair!

It contains 7 plants that are supposed to improve your hair condition, like rosemary, calendula and willow. So that's a quite natural product.
I've been using it for a few weeks and here are my thoughts:

- non sticky
- very easy to apply: spread a nutsize amount of cream in your hands and comb through your hair with your fingers, insisting more on the dry ends - litteraly takes a minute
- I apply after having styled/straightened and it makes my hair look great (I don't use any other product)
- the split ends are actually improving!
- my hair feels smooth and looks shiny

- it has an earthy smell that is unusual for haircare products, but since it's made of plants AND the smell fades within 30 seconds, I can live with that.

It's a fantastic product that I will keep on using and that I strongly recommend. If you have thick hair, or if your hair is ectremely dry and damaged, you can use Phyto 9 instead, which is an even more nourishing product.

April 14, 2010

Foundation review #16: Clarins Everlasting Foundation SPF 15

It feels like I haven't reviewed a foundations in a very long while, doesn't it?
OK, probably not. But I had been eyeing this one for a very long time and I finally decided to splurge and get it, under the perfect excuse that I needed a darker foundation now that I'm self-tanning. (Since then, this excuse got killed by another product I'll review soon, but the foundation was bought already).
So I got this one in the shade 07-Beige, which is about a NC20 (yeah that's me when I am faked-tanned to the max!).

The Packaging:
A very pretty frosted glass bottle (breakable, thus, but still pretty) with a pump. A gold cap that is slightly tacky but we don't care.

The claims:
This foundation claims to be 'everlasting' as in 'lasting up to 15 hours'. It's non-oily and suitable for oily skins. It gives enough coverage to hide minor flaws and has a matte finish.
Thanks to its active ingredients, it should keep your skin hydrated and radiant. The SPF 15 and anti-oxydants will protect your skin from external aggressions.

The Pros:
- I never wear my makeup for 15 hours, more 12-13 hours, and I must say that it DID stay on that long. I'm not really oily right now but I had used a bit of moistiruzer underneath (which I don't do with moisturizing foundations), no primer, and wow - this doesn't move! You can even blow your nose a couple of time without it transferring to your tissues - I was pleasantly surprised about that.
- Medium coverage that does cover minor imperfection
- A flawless finish that is extremely matte and doesn't settle in fine lines. No need to set it with powder to keep it matte.
- You don't feel it on the skin, it's very light
- At $35, it's reasonably priced for a high-end French product

The Cons:
- My skin felt a bit tight when wearing it so I checked the ingredients and ouch, there's alcohol in it. Dry skin-types, stay away!
- It sets very quickly so you need to be quick as well when applying it. But hands and brushes work well.
- It is very very very matte on the skin, which can look a bit unnatural or ageing it depends what kind of finish you're going for. On the other hand, that allows you to place a cream or powder highlighter exactly where you want and avoid looking greasy.
- It's scented, which you may or may not like; the scent fades away quickly though.

Definitely a very good foundation for combination and oily skins, if you can stand the alcohol in it. It will keep you matte and will stay on all day.
I am going to use this on hot days when I need to wear makeup on top of sunscreen (which could make you look greasy), but will definitely not be able to wear it in the Winter when I have dry patches and my skin already feels tight. I will also need to use a highlighter with it.

April 12, 2010

Tanning season has begun!

Mind you - I am NOT talking about sunbathing or laying on the tanning beds! Of course I avoid doing that because I don't want to have premature ageing, nor cancer, but also because I have sun allergy. For me, sun means high SPF and staying home from noon to 4PM!

The only thing left for me, apart from staying ghostly pale, which I don't always enjoy, is fake tan! And I must tell you that over the years, I have tried practically everything on the market, from drugstore to high-end. Only last year I think I bought 7 different products - mousse, cream, gel, spray, progressive, dark... You name it, I tried them all.
And then I found the Holy Grail of fake tans, which I have repurchased recently and am starting using now. And that is Xen-Tan.

What products do I use?
I get 2 different products, the Dark Lotion for the body, and the Face Transform for my face. You should never use a body formulation on your face as it's too rich and could break you out.

Why do I like these better than any other?
For many many reasons!
  • the color you get is olive-toned, hence very natural and not orange at all
  • there's an instant color in the Dark Lotion that allows you to see where you place it; this goes away when you shower but gives your skin some nice warmth while you're waiting for the fake tan to develop (which takes about 4 hours)
  • it dries quickly, no need to walk around the house naked for half an hour
  • IT SMELLS GOOD! Yes ladies, the body product smells like marzipan and the face one like pineapple or some sweet sugary thing
  • the face product is full of vitamins and good stuff for the skin
  • it's pretty much fool proof and if you apply well, you won't get any streaks or patches
How often do I apply?
The face product is translucent and I use it every other day instead of night cream. It dries quickly so I don't really have to wait before going to bed and I never woke up with pillow streaks on my tan :)
The body product I usually apply 2 days in a row, apply again after 3-4 days, then after another 3 days I would exfoliate and start the cycle again.
You can build more layers for more color, though, and apply twice a day for 2-3 days for example.

How do I successfully apply it?
After failing at it for years, I finally managed to apply the right way, and Xen-Tan makes it very easy.
For the face, just use the product as if you were applying a face cream, but make sure you blend it into your hairline, on your ears, on your jawline and in your neck. I usually put my hair in a pony-tail and use the face product down to the base of my neck, including on the back.
For the body, you actually need very little product! A nutsize blob is enough for a whole leg! But then you need to blend well, moving vertically in strips, adding a bit of product when starting a new strip. Do the articulations (knees, ankles, elbows...) LAST with what's left on your hands, this way you won't get dark patches where your skin is thicker.

Wash your hands very well with warm water and bar soap, for a couple of minutes.
If you need to apply product on the back of your hands and wrists, do it after washing hands, using a cotton pad and a tiny bit of product.

And voilà: you're tanned.

Where do I get it and is it expensive?
I get the products online, it's available on several e-retailers sites like Beautybay.com or Hqhair.com but you can also get them from the Xen-Tan website (there is a US and a UK website).
On those sites, the face product is about £12/$19 and the dark lotion is about £20/$39.
Both products will last you several months, and if like me you just enjoy fake-tanning for Summer, you'll probably buy just once for the year.

As far as I am concerned, this is the best product on the market, certainly not the most expensive one although it's not cheap, and I love the results.

April 11, 2010

Sharing some love -2- and an award

I was awarded a Sunshine Award by the lovely Caro, and I'm very flattered (merciiiiii Caro - mouah!).

These are the rules for the award.

1- Post the logo within your blog or post.
2- Pass the award onto several other bloggers.
3- Link the nominees within your post.
4- Let the nominees know they have received an award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to the person whom you received this award from.

That's great because I was planning on doing a "Share the Love" post!

Here are the blogs I'm passing the award to:

Kara Genki: is the blog of an Asian beauty products addict, very informative for a newbie like me!

Pudderkvastrabagat: don't ask me to pronounce it, but go there to see the FOTD pics of the lovely and pretty Aina (the girl has the prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen), and Google can take care of the translation!

Jellyminx Thinks: another pretty and lovely blogger from the UK, who likes beautiful things just like I do

A beauty and fashion blog: Jen works for Mac and is super talented, she posts fantastic LOTD's

Pink Sith: that lady has an incredible sense of humour, is reviewing tons of products, and is obsessed with Taupe eyeshadows (I blame her for several recent purchases!)

So go visit those blogs and give them some well-deserved love, ladies!

April 10, 2010

Pigments stash

I used to have all my pigments in a huge box, but I got really tired of that storage unit. Everything was mixed up, it wasn't practical and it was taking a lot of room in my drawer.
So I decided to reorganize, and thought I'd share with you!

Here are my Mac pigments, some full size and quite a few samples:

I sorted the other pigments by color. Here are my neutrals:

Scary to see how many browns I have - do you see a pattern there?

And here are the more colorful ones:

Those pigments are mostly Barry M, with some Gosh, Fyrinnae and Aromaleigh.

I also have a stacker from Calypso Mineral I got a while ago and don't use often, but I like to have the option to use very bright colors once in a while.

And I also have a dozen of Fyrinnae and Aromaleigh samples in there, they're a mix of shimmery neutrals and some brights.

I hope that I will use my pigments more often now that they're kind of easy to grab - I haven't given them enough love, especially considering the amount I have.
I also need to get into pressing my favorite ones, so I can reach for them more often in the morning without it being too time consuming.

Do you use lose eyeshadows or pigments? Do you press them? How do you store them?

April 9, 2010

On the road again

Hello ladies! My silence of the past days is due to the fact that I was travelling, I took a much needed break abroad.
I have plenty of things to write about but right now, I'm going to tell you about what I took along with me for my trip. I must say that deciding what to take and what to leave behind is always a dilemma for me, but I really tried to stick to a minimal amount. Maybe that could help some of you when packing for a few days?
So here's what I picked:

  • eye cream and Eucerin Aquaphor moisturizer (that I could use on my hands if needed)
  • Bioderma Crealine H2O and Hydrabio Mousse (which can be used instead of soap for the body as well)
  • Illamasqua cream foundation - very compact, has a sponge and mirror
  • Bobby Brown concealer
  • Mac MSFN
  • Nars Laguna/Orgasm duo - 2 in one, and a mirror in the compact
  • 2 Nars eyeshadow duos, Habanera and Egea
  • the Kat Von D Beethoven palette - 8 colors that work for daytime or nighttime in a very compact palette
  • 4 brushes: 239, 217 and 227 for the eyes, 169 for the face - in their brushguards
  • brown and blue pencil liners, and brow pencil
  • mascara
  • 3 lipsticks (Nars Niagara, Mac VG GaGa and Guerlain KissKiss Baby Roswood) and lipbalm
  • shampoo and my straightener - hotels always have blowdryers and even if they don't, I can fix any bad hair morning with my straightener
I ended up using only one lipstick, and none of the liners. But I did appreciate to have some options with the eyeshadows and the palette didn't really take any space.
This was all packed in a week-end case like this one:

Not bad for someone who can't cut down to less than chest of drawers full of beauty products, uh?

April 1, 2010

March Favourites

Thanks for visiting, month of March: you chased the snow away and resurrected my Spring clothes! But what did I enjoy using during the month?

Nars Niagara Lipstick.
Yes, I've been on a Coral kick, and this is one of my favourites - it's actually my first Nars lipstick ever. It's a Coral with a lot of pink in it. The texture is creamy and it's well pigmented.

Bobby Brown Luminous Hydrating Foundation (in warm sand)
I finally found the best way to apply this foundation: with my 190 brush. I can layer it where I need more coverage, and I love the dewy finish it's giving while still feeling light on the skin.

Majolica Majorca Lash Enamel Mascara.
I just reviewed this and I love it for the intensity it gives!

Prestige Total Intensity eyeliner pencils.
Love, love, love these: they're creamy, not irritating, über pigmented and stay on the waterline. Plus, they're drugstore items!I could buy every color!

Phyto 7 daily hydrating cream.
This last one is... a hair product! Yes, it's a daycream for dry hair. An in-depth review will be up soon!

I'd love to read about your favourites of the month in the comments, or post a link if you wrote about them on your own blog!