August 29, 2010

Review: Mario Badescu Silver Powder

If you've been reading me for a while, you'll know I can't really complain about my skin. However, my T-zone tends to get oily, which is why I have to live with those usual little flaws that are blackheads, occasional whiteheads and visible pores. Nothing dramatic, excepted if you're a beauty addict obsessed by flawless skin.
AHA's and BHA's have done a great job on making my skin smoother and more even, and keeping those whiteheads mostly away. Estee Lauder Idealist serum does help with the large visible pores. But the blackheads? They're just stubborn and they have been hanging on in the area for so long that they won't think of leaving.

A good friend of mine, who is the biggest skincare addict I know and has tried everything, recommended that I gave Mario Badescu silver powder a try. Since it's a/ easy to order online, b/not too expensive (about 12€) and c/ a jar lasts you for ever, I thought it was worth trying.

How does that work? First of all, I recommend doing this after you showered, since your pores will be more open thanks to the warmth. Now, the jar is full of a white powder. You take a slightly damp cotton pad and lightly touch the powder in the jar. The cotton pad will grab some of the powder, and you might want to shake it a bit so the excess falls out. Don't worry, you're not going to do anything to the rest of the powder.
Then you apply the powder, which you'll notice is turning into a paste, to all areas where you have blackheads and congested pores. At that stage, you look like a clown with white makeup on. Now you just have to wait 10-15 minutes: go read your favorite blogs or watch youtube videos.

To remove the product, simply use another cotton pad damp with water or with toner. You will notice that some of your blackheads are gone already, and some other are closer to the surface of the skin, which makes them easier to extract (yes, that's attractive, I know). I tend to use water to remove the product because if I use a toner, extraction will be more difficult, so I tone later. What some people also do is using a pore cleaning strip right after the powder, but I don't find these to be too effective.

Does it hurt, does it have side effects? No and no, at least not on me. The product doesn't tingle, isn't hard to remove, this is an easy and painfree procedure.

Does this work? Yes, it does, you will definitely notice improvement. But you have to use the product several times before the difference gets big (you can do this treatment twice a week) and unfortunately, if you're prone to getting blackheads, they don't disappear once and for all. So you know you'll have to commit to using the product on a regular basis.

Do I recommend it? Yes, totally. It's affordable and it works well, what more do you want?

PS: Mario Badescu US regularly offers free sample kits so check that on their website if you're interested.

August 26, 2010

The Best eyeBrow Brush - By Bobbi Brown

...all those B's - haha!

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will most certainly have heard me complaining about my eyebrows, or rather about the lack of them. They're sparse and they were butchered by beauticians a long time ago, and would never grow back on the right places. Which is why I do fill them in every day. For the record, eyebrows frame your look and your etire faces so that's one of the few steps you should never skip if, like me, you haven't been gifted with perfect brows.

Until recently I was using a Mac 266 brush to fill in my eye brows. This is actually an angled liner brush but it does the trick pretty well.
However I have found a new brush that I like even better: the Bobbi Brown Eyebrow brush.

It doesn't look much different, it's still an angled brush. BUT, it's much more thicker and the bristles are very very stiff. That makes a lot of difference in the way the brush picks the powder (for the record, I use Illamasqua Brow Cake) and applies it. I find with a soft brush like the 266 one, sometimes you would apply too much or get an uneven repartition of the powder. With the BB one, it just applies the right amount everywhere.
Also, since it's a bit thicker, it covers a bit more surface at once and make the whole operation a bit quicker.

Are there any downsizes? Yes, there are two. The first one is that the brush can be a bit scratchy since the bristles are so stiff. But I do have extremely sensitive skin and didn't experience any redness, so that means it's a miner flaw I can totally live with.
Second thing is the price: 25 USD or 23€ if I remember correctly. But I do think buying good brushes is an investment - none of mine are older than 2 years but they look like new since I take good care of them. So if this makes my life easier and my face prettier, it's worth it.

What's your favorite brow tool/brush?

August 24, 2010

Is Greige the New Taupe?

That's the question, my friends. We spent a couple of Winters wearing taupe nailpolish (You don't Know Jacques, anyone?) but apparently, greige is going to be the new thing, if we judge by Lady GaGa's nails on the September issue of Vanity Fair

Now, what's greige? (or, as we would say in French, grège). Well it's a mix of grey and beige, and typically a dirty-looking color.

I have actually heard some people comparing greige to a light taupe, but I think it's a mistke - greige is dirtier because there's the grey in it, which the basic taupe doesn't have. See?

Anyway, how does that translate into nailpolish? Well, this way, for example:

This is Ciate Paintpot in Cookies and Cream (what a delicious name, isn't it?). You would actually need 3 coats to make it totally opaque and less sheer than it is on my fingers here.
I find I get a more intense color, with a bit more grey in it, using Essie Playa del Platinum.

Unfortunately, these aren't the most flattering colors on my because of my skintone, but I like that greige color nevertheless and will most certainly wear it this Fall.

Other greige nailpolishes to check out: Essie Chinchilly, Butter London Fash Pack, Deborah Lippmann Waking Up In Vegas, Essie Body Language, Mecca Cosmetics Perdita, Ciate Sharp Tailoring.

Are you wearing greige this season? What's your greige of choice?

August 20, 2010

Xen-Tan Mist Intense (probably the last fake tan review for this year).

I told you a couple of weeks ago I had tried the Nivea quick tan spray , which definitely has good points but also has an afwul smell that almost made me sick.
Still, I really liked how easy it was to use a spray, so I decided to turn back to my old favorite, Xen-Tan, to check what they have to offer in that field.

Well, they have a spray, called Mist Intense, and I got it from

  • the spray smells a bit like beeswax, but the smell fades quickly and there is absolutely NO fake-tan smelled involved! yay!
  • the product has a dark greenish color, which serves as a color guide when you apply and blend the product - always easier than a transparent liquid
  • it dries very quickly on the skin, a few minutes and you can get dressed, so it's really great when you're in a hurry
  • the result isn't orange at all, as Xen-Tan specializes in olive fake-tan
  • the result isn't really intense, that's good because that's fool proof, but one layer really doesn't make much of a difference. I tried using more product to see if I could get a darker result but no, it's very very subtle. Definitely not a life saver if you need to tan really quickly
  • it is a simple spray bottle, not an aerosol like the Nivea one, which means the spraying isn't even at all and you need to blend with your hands. That also means you can't use this to spray less-accessible areas like your back. Too bad.
  • I know the result is supposed to be olive, and I have olive undertones myself, but I kind of find this makes me look even greener
How I would recommend using this: as a touch-up product, for a quick fix in the morning or to take along with you for the week-end, if you already have a solid fake tan like the one Xen Tan lotion provides.

August 18, 2010

some random FOTD's

I did well at taking pics these past days! So here are a couple of looks:

Winged liner and bright lips - one of my old time favorites!

Clarins Everlasting Foundation in 7 - Beige
Illamasqua powder blush in Kiss (very lightly applied)
Bobbi Brown Sapphire Shimmer Ink (discontinued)
Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Petulant

Naked, once again! I can't give this palette enough love!

Clarins Everlasting Foundation in 7 - Beige
Mac Marine Life blush
UD 24/7 in Whiskey along the lashline
UD Naked palette shadows: Half Baked (inner corner), Naked (lid), Smog (outer lid), Buck (crease), Darkhorse (outer corner).

Any looks you've been loving a lot recently?

August 17, 2010

Tzarine: empress of Russia ... Nars Fall 2010

I know, I know, I previously told you Rajasthan was the only appealing duo for me in the Nars Fall collection. Well, I changed my mind, and I had to have Tzarine as well.

The light shade is a slightly peachy champagne, which for once is quite pigmented and makes a great all-over shade.
The darker shade is a very unique blue, that I like to call "stormy" - you know, that greyish blue tint that clouds can take right before a storm?

I don't have any swatches, but I do have a FOTD:

I am wearing Nars Douceur blush. I did darken the outer corner a bit with some Graphology, but other than that all I'm wearing on the eyes is Douceur.

By the way, the mascara I'm wearing is Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen. I hated it at first but after having ripen a bit in my drawer, it does the job much better and makes a nice daytime lenghtening mascara.

August 16, 2010

Eyeshadow Primers comparison, and review of Nars Smudgeproof Base.

Until I heard about eyeshadow primers and got my first one a couple of years ago, everything creased on my lids. Powder, paintpots, creaseless creams and even waterproof products. Having deep-set eyes doesn't help, I guess.

Since I tried them, my makeup life definitely changed for the best, but I must say I have used different products have noticed quite some differences.

Usual suspect #1 : Urban Decay Primer Potion.

PROS: Nothing will move around if you put this one underneath.

: I find it very sticky and for me, it makes powder eyeshadows very difficult to blend, they can even look patchy.
And of course, there's that crazy bottle that doesn't allow you to get all the product out, which makes it not very cost effective.

I use it for
: a base under cream eyeshadows, as I know they won't move on top of it, and there isn't much blending involved with them.

Usual suspect #2 : Too Faced Shadow Insurance.

PROS: Nothing will move around if you put this underneath! (bis).
It's very easy to blend on top of it, it makes the colors very vibrant and your makeup will last all day.
You really need a very tiny amount to do both lids (using too much would cause creasing, that defeats the purpose).

CONS: The formulation is a bit oily, so if you have extremely oily lids, it might not work that well for you.
I find it doesn't work as well as UDPP under cream products, although it's still good.
It has a tendency to separate, so the tube will regularly ooze some kind of oil, which is gross and unpractical. The smell is a bit weird, too.
Since you don't need much, chances are it will turn bad before you finish the tube, I find it makes my eyes itchy after about 6 months.

I use it for: looks that involve powder eyeshadows and lots of blending.

The new guy in town: Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base.

PROS: Nothing will move around if ... yadda yadda you get it.
The formulation looks like a white cream that dries clear within a few seconds, and has no smell.
You can blend very easily on top of it, whatever product you're using. It works great under powders and creams and doesn't impact the color pay-off negatively. It lasts all day.

CONS: The applicator being white, it can get a bit dirty if you rub it on your lids after having put on foundation (which I do).
It's more expensive than its 2 competitors, with a price tag of 22€/24USD.

I use it for: everything. I havent' been using anything else since I got this one.

My personal preference:
Although the Nars product is the most expensive, for me it's the best of the bunch. It works in all circumstances and doesn't have any of the disadvantages that bother me in the other 2, like the weird formulation of TSFI or the stickyness of UDPP. If I can replace those 2 by one product that works perfectly, I think it's still a winning operation.

Have you tried the Nars base already? What's your favourite eyeshadow base?

August 14, 2010

One FOTD, and what I've learned from beauty blogging!

Yesterday, my fellow beauty blogger Lipglossiping wrote a funny but oh-so-true post about what she's learned from beauty blogging.

I must say everything she wrote totally applies to me, but it made me think about what I learned and I thought I would share.

A lot of very smart women love makeup - old clichés will tell you that interest for beauty and brains never walk hand in hand, and I have to disagree. I have met very good friends through beauty blogging, and they do have it all, getting Ph.D's and Engineering degrees with lipgloss and eyeliner on.

Taupe is a color, wait - it's a lot of colors - I think I had used the word "Taupe" twice in my life to describe a color, and I had no idea Taupe could be brownish, greyish, purple-ish, light, dark... Actually I think I just learned a lot about colors in general.

Makeup is a universal language - I watch YouTube videos in English, French, Italian, Dutch, and sometimes German (that I don't really speak). I read blogs in Spanish or Norwegian although I don't speak these languages a lot. Pictures are obvious and Google Translate does the rest of the job.

I have good skin - compared to a lot of people, I really can't complain - yet I find lots of flaws in it, and make sure I get lots of products to get rid of them! At least I've learned about proper skincare, and what things like AHA or Retinoids are about.

When using self-tan, you need less products an more blending - after years of orange streaks, I can finally look good with a fake tan on!

Beauty comes from confidence more than from the actual products - two years ago, my makeup fit in a pouch and I didn't really know how to apply it properly. One million products later, I feel perfectly confident going out without makeup on, not because of all the products, but because learning how to use them properly and knowing what I look like with them on made me discover my own features. And I know they're still visible when I am bare faced.

When a movie is bad, there's always the makeup you can look at - self-explainatory I guess :)

Now onto a quick and dirty FOTD picture that I took in my car with my phone. The theme for that day was obviously the color orange (excepted for my rain jacket, I suppose).

I am wearing:
Mac Coral Crepe Paintpot (lid)
Mac Coppering (crease)
Shiseido hydropowder cream shadow in H9
Illamasqua Lover blush
Mac CB96 (Frost) lipstick, which I think is really gorgeous

What did you learn thanks to beauty blogs?

NB: BritishBeautyBlogger posted about what Makeup Brands didn't know before blogs, it's a very interesting post, too!

August 13, 2010

Perfume: Serge Lutens Five O'Clock Au Gingembre

Hopefully I am not on the verge of developping a new addiction for expensive fragrances, but after having acquired my first Lutens, I came back for more (and asked to receive the second one as a birthday gift!)

Five O'Clock au Gingembre first seduced me with its name: there's something I can't resist in the idea of an old school 5 o'clock tea in a warm, cozy and leathery 19th century salon. Then there's ginger which is a bit spicy when it's fresh but deliciously sugary in its candy form. And the first taste of this Lutens frangrance didn't disappoint me at all.

At first, you get the gourmand notes. It's heavy, it's sugary, but it's complex - nothing to do with the sweet scents teenage girls like. This one is realistic: there's tea, and there's bergamot.

Quickly, the heart notes show up, and there's a smokey woodiness all over the place. The ginger appears but it's not alone, it comes along with cinnamon and on me, there's a cedar note that makes it quite masculine.

Then you get the notes that would typically linger around a cup of tea: honey, cocoa, a bit of ripe plum. But there's some pepper there, too, so it's not sickening at all like gourmand fragrances can be sometimes.

As I said, on me, the woody and smokey notes stand out more than the rest. It makes the scent a bit masculine (men could definitely wear this, in my opinion), but the light sugar touch keeps me coming back for more because I find it's quite unique, and very different from what women around me are generally wearing. A bit of a statement, I guess.

However I was quickly tempted by a little experiment, that turned out better than I would have hoped: I layered Un Bois Vanille on top of Five O'Clock. I was totally wowed by the result: the vanilla in Un Bois Vanille and the Pepper in Five O'Clock combined together are just the perfect marriage. They let each other exist and stand out in a perfectly balanced combination where none takes the lead, and yet you can distinct them and the complexity of the mix makes it wonderfully addictive.

Five O'Clock Au Gingembre, with its spiced tea and sweet gingerbread, is a beautiful scent. I would never have thought I'd love a woody/spicy oriental, but I really do. It has some mystery to it, and yet it's comforting and cosy, and in my book that qualifies as sexy and very feminine, though as I said I think it's a fragrance that can work for both genders.

See? I can talk perfume language well when they are inspiring enough :)

August 12, 2010

In's &Out's!

I haven't done one of these in a long time and am feeling like it today!


Clarins Everlasting Foundation : it couldn't deserve its name better, when I come back from work 12 hours after application, it's still 95% perfect without any tuch up. Fantastic for long days!

Sulfate-Free shampoo: my hair feels soft, the split ends haven't returned since the last trim (almost 3 months ago) and I notice I could wash every 2 days instead of every day (if I weren't addicted to washing my hair, that is).

Serums: they're my newest addiction, I now make sure I regularly use Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair and Idealist regularly, and also Lancôme Genifique (which I got as a birthday gift from a friend - you know who you are). I'll make sure to report the long term effects!

Peach and Apricot: are my current favorite colors for blush, lips and even eyeshadows. I'm glad orange is going to be in this Fall!

Contact lenses: they're not a 100% perfect solution for me, especially at work with the aircon and intensive staring at the computer screen, but it's so nice to be able to wear them for outdoors activities or evening outs... and also to wear fancy sunglasses again!

Vacation: my mediterranean break is coming soon and I'm looking forward to enjoying lots of sun, good food, and hopefully some local makeup findings!


Not getting enough sleep: there's always more stuff I want to do while I'm awake, so I go to bed late and wake up early, and I'm really starting to feel the consequences of it!

YSL Singulier mascara: it looks like I'm definitely allergic to it. Thanks Heaven, the formulation of Faux-Cils is different and doesn't bother my eyes, so I've been able to get back to this one, even though you have to replace it quite often.

High nailpolishes prices: with OPI priced at 14€ or more, and China Glaze at almost 10€, nailpolish is an expensive habit around here :(

What are your current in's and out's?

August 11, 2010

Brow products: the great, the ok and the ugly.

I am not blessed with great eyebrows. Part of the problem is genetic, as they've always been sparse, the rest of the damage was made by beauticians when I was younger (and had brows done by them so it wouldn't turn into a disaster, good call...) and never grew back the same way. So of course, I rely a lot on my brow products, and thought I'd review them for you.

Mac Brow Pencil in Fling.
The pros: This is a great product that's pretty much fool proof. It gives a very natural result for filling brows and there is a good variety of shades available. You don't need to sharpen it, and the texture is a bit waxy and easy to use, with good lasting power.
The cons: It looks a bit less natural if you have to fill larger patches. You go through the pencil quite quickly and it's not a cheap product so on the long term it's not a cheap solution. I have used up 4 or 5 of these in the past year without using it all the time.

Illamasqua Brow Cake in Motto.

The Pros: this is a traditional brow powder that you apply with an angled brush. The color Motto is a light taupe with a hit of khaki in it - yes, khaki, I swear it won't look green, it's actually the most natural color to use if you're a dark blonde. You can use this alone or add a drop of eye seal, I prefer using it on its own and setting with a brow gel because I find it gives a more natural result. This has excellent lasting power and you can use it to make your brows thicker without having them look fake.
The cons: none - it takes a bit more time to apply than the pencil but it gives a fantastic result.

Essence Brow Set.

The Pros: a very cheap product (about 2€) that does the job nicely. You get 2 shades, a little brush and stencils. I find the brush and stencils pretty useless but the powders are good and easy to apply. I like that there are 2 colors you can mix and match, and when I dye my hair darker I don't need to get a new product. I don't think it's as good as the Illamasqua one, but it's certainly a very good product for that price.
The Cons: it's a bit powdery and needs to be set with a brow gel or wax, or it wouldn't last.

Essence brow and lash gel.

The Pros: this is the only brow gel I ever use as it works well and costs about 2€. It doesn't make the eyebrows sticky or hard, it just sets them into place in a very natural way.
The Cons: at some point it gets gross because of the powder that gets into the tube from the brush, but that's the case with all brow gels anyway and this one at least doesn't cost much to replace that's fine.

Makeup For Ever Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector #2.

The Pros: you need the tiniest amount to fill in your brows and with a bit of practice, you can get nice defined brows.
The Cons: a lot, unfortunately, this product is quite a disappointment. First of all, it takes some practice to apply as you can easily use too much. So it's not foolproof and it's not quick. Secondly, there's a huge gap between shades #2 and 3, but #2 is very reddish and just looks unnatural on me - #3 is way too dark. That means not everybody can find the right shade.
Finally, and that's a big issue, it's not waterproof at all, it evens comes off if you rub with your finger. So all in all it's the product with the less staying power in my collection, when it was meant to survive any weather condition. And of course, since it's 19€, you expect it to work.

That's it! What are your favorite brow products? Anything I need to try?

August 9, 2010

Picking a hair dye.

If you have ever bought a hair dye, particularly in a supermarket, you probably noticed the result wasn't matching the picture on the box exactly. That lead many a women to hair disaster - a colleague of mine once hated the blonde she had just done and thought she would correct it with a bit of chestnut, which resulted in an ashy blonde with green reflects. That she had to cover with black, which kind of defeated the initial purpose.

Although I never dared to experiment myself with those infamous boxes until a year ago, I went through a few disasters myself for the simple reason that pros don't speak the same language as you do. Ask them for a light brown and you'll end up dark chocolate because what you called a light brown, they refer to as medium blonde.
Which is why I ended up learning to speak the colorist language: now I get what I want, and I can buy a dye knowing what the result will be no matter what picture is on the box.

1. Level.
The first thing you need to pick when you're going to dye your hair is the color level, that is, its lightness or depth. That's where most misundestandings happen. The ladder goes from 1 to 10, with 1 being the darkest (black) and 10 the lightest (lightest blonde).

The color I'm currently using, which you can see in my latest FOTD posts, is a level 7. Yes, I know, it doesn't look blonde, you have to take into account that the lightest your hair, the more intense the color is going to appear. I used level 5 last Winter (see here) and on me it looked as dark as a level 3-2 on the picture above.
In doubt, always go for a lighter level because going darker afterwards is always possible while going lighter is always tricky.
By the way, going more than one level lighter than your own at home with do it yourself products is always tricky, generally not recommended, and done at your own risk. You will need to bleach your hair first and that's a part that is better left to professionals.

2. Tones. (edited with the help of my friend Chloe, hairstylist)
One level of color can have a lot of appearances, depending on the tone you are going to pick. Tones are the hues of the hair color, and they can be either natural or artificial (think purple). You can be dark blonde with golden reflects or with red reflects, and the result will be totally different although the level is the same.
There are 7 tones that can be mixed to achieve any color you want:

  1. Blue Ash
  2. Mauve Ash (Violet, also known as iridescent, especially when used as a secondary tone)
  3. Gold
  4. Copper
  5. Mahogany
  6. Red
  7. Green Ash (sometimes known as metallic)
Like the colour wheel, opposites cancel each other out, Mahogany would sit between copper and red.

The mixes are done using the good old color theory. I'm usually using a 7.23 (medium blonde, iridescent with a bit of gold) but for Summer I switched to a 7.32 wich means I now have more of a golden, slightly iridescent tone and that means when my color is fading away I'll be more golden than usual (since there's less Ash to counteract the blonde base). This is also why my colleague got green reflects: she shouldn't have used a color with Ash in it on top of her previous color, as the mix turned green.
: If the hair has a lot of grey (or a few strands of the coarse wiry kind that poke out), you wouldn't just use the colour with tones (eg, 7.32 or 6.45) as you wouldn't get coverage. You'd add a flat base of the same depth.

I know, I know, it doesn't sound super easy, and I'm not always sure how to make the right choices myself. However, I know I don't like when my color fades leaving me with reddish reflects, so I obviously avoid any dye that has Red or Orange in it. And if you buy your hair dye from a supply store like I do (I use L'Oreal Professional products, most often the Richess range), the store staff will be able to help you.
Important: the numbers explained here are supposed to be a universal numbering system, and it is used for all professional products. However, some drugstore products use different numbers or refer to a level number with a different name.
3. Picking a developer.
You will need a developer to mix with your dye so it creates the oxydation process. There are different concentrations in developers and the rules are quite simple here:

Cream Developer% O2Colouring Result
Cream Developer2.1 % (7 vol.)Intense Dye
Cream Developer3 % (10 vol.)Grey hair coverage
tone on tone and darker shades
Cream Developer6 % (20 vol.)Grey hair coverage
Lift 1 to 2 tones
Cream Developer9 % (30 vol.)Grey hair coverage
Lift 1 to 2 tones
Cream Developer12 % (40 vol.)Grey hair coverage
Lift 4 tones and more

For tints, you generally use the 10 volume (the semi/quasi permanent) or 20 volume (permanent). (I do use a 10 in general). Occasionally you use 30 volume, for brighter colours but usually 30 and 40 volume are reserved for prelightening.

When you buy drugstore boxed dyes, you will typically have the right developer in the kit, in the right amount. Otherwise, instructions will be provided with the dye - I typically use 1 measure of dye with 1.5 measures of developer.

4. Testing.
Before using a new hair dye, you need to make sure you're not going to have any kind of reaction to it, even more if you never used hair dye before. The procedure is very simple, and this is a process I copied from the Herbatint website:

A skin test is quick and simple to carry out. A small amount of tint and developer (the size of a pea) are mixed and dabbed behind the ear or elbow using cotton wool. Ensure you immediately seal the bottles after pouring your pea sized measures. The test should remain 48 hours, initially it is common to feel tingling or slight irritation from the tint and the skin may redden subtly. However, these sensations should disappear within a maximum of 60 minutes. If, once applied the test causes severe burning, itching and or begins to inflame rinse the skin immediately with cool water. In addition, if the skin is still reacting after several hours and appears patchy, a reaction has happened. People may initially find the skin shows no response to the tint. However 12 hours after initial application it may suddenly become inflamed and swollen. In this case you are very likely to be allergic to tint, and a scalp application must not be carried out.
Another test you might want to make is using the dye on a small patch of hair (on your neck, for example) to see how the color turns out before proceeding with the whole hair.

5. Application.
A video will be more effective than a thousand words, and this is the one I learned from - using this technique I got things perfect from the first time I dyed my hair at home!
Hope you found it all helpful! And Thanks again Chloe for your help :)

August 6, 2010

Neutral gorgeousness, aka Urban Decay Naked palette

I know, I know: by now you must be tired of seeing this all around the blogosphere. So I'm not going to post one more description of this palette, or one more arm covered in swatches.

I am only going to tell you that I absolutely love it. That practically all colors, if not all, do work well on my neutral-cool skintones, even though they look warm. That it's perfect for travelling and that it has everything you need for a daytime makeup AND for transitioning to a nighttime look. Oh and that it might be out of stock right now, but it will be back since it's permanent, so no need to pay crazy prices on eBay to get it.

And as a picture can be worth a thousand words, let's look at some FOTD ones I took yesterday.

I must mention the fact I got complimented on that makeup by male colleagues. Very unusual, so worth mentioning.

Are you getting it?

August 3, 2010

Book review: François Nars - Makeup Your Mind

Makeup Your Mind by François Nars is a very well-known and appreciated book in the beauty world. The only reason I didn't get it earlier was that I was having a hard time finding it - since it was written over 10 years ago, I guess it needs to be re-edited sometimes.

This is a very particular book. Along with detailed explanations from François Nars on his vision of beauty, the way he works, the things that inspire him... you find mostly pictures. They're always close-up of faces, like the one on the book cover, and they're always the "before" and "after" pictures of the model. Between the 2 pictures, there's a transparent sheet on which the products used are mentioned, as well as the area where they were applied. This way you can watch the "after" picture either on its own or with these explanations on top.
The models are beautiful women with very different features: cool toned, warm toned, Caucasian, Asian, women of Color, with or without freckles... so there's a variety of looks suitable for all of us.

The book is divided into different themes, such as Eyes, Lips, Neutrals, Brights... It covers pretty much everything. At the end of each chapter, you find a summary of how the products were used on the models, which makes it easier to try and recreate the looks. Although all products used are obviously by Nars, the colors are always described, this way you can find dupes in what you already own. Unfortunately, as the book isn't really recent, some of the products used back then no longer exist (like the Gel Fraîcheur for example) so these descriptions also help you finding substitutes for those.

This is one of the best and most interesting makeup books I've ever read/seen. I spent several evenings browsing through it and felt that it gave me a lot of inspiration and ideas.
If you are totally new to make up, you might find it complicated to recreate most of these looks, but you can still enjoy watching the pictures and observing how the looks were done. However I think this is not the book to get to learn basics from scratch.
If you have practiced a bit already, this will give you ideas and will help you with color choice and placement. You can of course mix the different things illustrated - it's all about being creative and having fun.

This is also a lovely coffee table book, as the pictures are so beautiful, so you might want to get it only to look at it.

August 2, 2010

Review: Nivea Sun Touch Quick&Easy spray

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I swear by Xen-Tan and have practically vowed to never use anything else.
I've had this spray sitting in my drawer unopened for over a year, and this week-end I decided to give it a go for 2 reasons:
- I still have to figure out how to apply lotion or foam to my back
- I was lazy and didn't want to go through the whole blending/drying process - "quick & easy" sounded exactly like what I needed.

I need to mention that this was applied to my pasty white skin, since I haven't been using fake-tan for the past 2 weeks and have been good at exfoliating so any old patchy residue would disappear.

- The product claims to give a natural golden tan to the palest skins: true. It gave me a very light golden color, not orange at all, after one application - then you need to reapply and build up if you want a more intense color.
- The spray is easy to use in any direction, you can use the bottle upside down or whatever, the spray will still work.
- It's pretty much fool-proof! The products comes out nicely and evenly, you then just need to blend with your hands quickly (at least, on reachable areas). No streaks, no stains.
- It dries quickly: give it 5 minutes and you can put on your clothes without being afraid of streaks.
- It leaves a nice moisturized dewy look to your skin, very sexy.
- It develops nicely in about 4 hours.
- It's widely available in European drugstores for less than 10€.

Sounds like a pretty good product, right?

- It smells. Like fruity sweet artificial perfume, that I found almost sickening.
- About an hour after application, it starts developping and again, it smells. Awfull - the fake tan smell in all its splendor.
- You might find the result is really subtle if reapplying new layers bothers you.

All in all: because of the smells, putting this on in the morning before leaving the house isn't really possible. You're going to need a shower to get rid of it, so you'll need to apply at night. That's too bad, really, because it gives the skin such a pretty look right after application, that I would have loved to use this before I go out.
However, this is a quick and easy fix when you want a bit of color without having to work too much on it. It's pretty much fool-proof and gives a natural result. If you don't mind the smell, then it's practically a perfect product for fair skins.

August 1, 2010

Share the Love.

I was awarded this Sunshine by the lovely Kat O from the Click & Makeup blog. Since I was planning on doing a "Share the Love" post to tall you about my recent discoveries, I thought that was a perfect opportunity!

So, every blog I'm mentioning here can consider themselves awarded by me :)

♥ Put the logo on your blog in your post.

♥ Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.

♥ Link the nominees within your post.

♥ Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blogs.

♥ Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Of Faces and Fingers is my friend's Musicalhouses'blog. Other than very informative posts on makeup for Asian eyes and figuring out your skintone, she also posts a lot of swatches (on her NC20 arm) and uses pretty nailpolishes.

The eyes have it is a diary where JoeyBunny goes on a journey through her too many eyeshadows (I'm quoting her, I wouldn't judge, I have almost as many myself) and the looks she creates with them.

Planet Martha features her author's faces of the day and wow, she has the prettiest face and the best blending skills! Definitely check it out for inspiration.

Blushes on Display is the place to be for the blush addicts among us. That's where Cheri shares her fantastic collection with swatches and comparisons.

Makeup by Ansa's lovely author shares her faces of the day, hauls, reviews and nails of the day.

Jessica Allison is a friend of mine and a professional makeup artist. She previously worked for a lot of high end brands and knows skincare products very well. She posts very well documented articles and also has weekly sales lists.

Pink Sith is the meeting point for the Taupe eyeshadows addicts, plus Elvira is an excellent writer and I often find her posts hilarious, especially on Thursdays. The previously mentioned JoeyBunny also guest posts there on a regular basis.

Lacquerized is the only nail blog I follow, I like to check it for the accurate information on upcoming collections and gorgeous swatches.

I am supposed to link to 4 more blogs, so I'm picking 4 more favorites I already told you about in previous posts: The GlossGoss, MizzWorthy's stuff, Rocaille and Jellyminx thinks.

Now it's your turn to share some love, ladies!