September 29, 2010

My new favorite powders: 2 Givenchy Prisme Visage

I have to warn you in advance: one of the products I'm going to write about was a limited edition and isn't available anymore (unless you can find a counter where they still have left-overs from the Summer collection in the back drawers). But don't worry, the other one is in store right now.

At the end of August, I impulse bought the Givenchy Prisme Visage Les Frangipaniers. Don't ask me why, I have no idea, I need another bronzer like I need a hole in the head.
I think I got trapped into thinking it would disappear for ever soon, since it was limited edition, and I was trying to keep Summer from leaving... So I bought it in the shade 2, Island Tan. Shade 1, meant for pale skins, was actually very pink and not appealing to me.

I was really impressed with this product as soon as I tried it!
First of all, it smells delicious! The smell of Frangipani flowers, actually, which is very present in one of my perfumes, Kenzo Amour.
The compact is very well conceived: it has a mirror and under the powder there's a little drawer that contains a large flat brush (that I have actually used when travelling, and it does the job when you don't have anything else handy) .
This product is actually not a bronzer at all, it's a face powder, and I'm tempted to call it a Beauty Powder since it gives a nice subtle glow to the face - I have had lots of compliments on how luminous I looked while wearing this.
I have been wearing it a lot, applied lightly all over the face with my EcoTools powder brush, which is wide and fluffy. Then I put some more in the hollows of my cheeks for a slight bronzing effect, before applying blush. Very pretty.

It's a good thing I was happy about this purchase because this little pretty thing costs no less than 42€ -48USD!
In spite of the price, when the weather started to change and I felt I couldn't wear this color anymore, I felt the need to find a Fall/Winter equivalent to it! So I headed to the Givenchy counter and found this:

It's called the Blooming Prisme Visage, and it's part of the Fall collection.

It works exactly like the Frangipanier one does: same packaging, same application technique, same beautyfying effect - same price, unfortunately. Only the fragrance is slightly different.
Again the lightest shade is very pink and looked almost white on me, I was afraid it would look ashy so I picked the shade 02 Apricot (which is the one on top on the picture).

I'm as happy with this purchase as with the previous one.
Yes, it's an expensive powder but not the kind you use to set concealer or blot your t-zone - just a light dusting all over your face is enough, which means this product will last you a very long time.

This really got me into thinking that Givenchy is most definitely underrated and underhyped, at least for this type of product (haven't had the best experience with the eyeshadow prisms though). Is there anything from this range that you particularly like?

September 28, 2010

How to: wash your brushes.

I have seen dozens of videos on how to wash your makeup brushes.
(Because you do have to wash them. YO DO know that, right??)

Even though the method is virtually always the same - use warm water, don't wet the metal part, let them air dry either hanging upside down or laying - the opinion very often differ on what product to use.

When I started buying brushes, I asked for advice to several Mac makeup artists at several free standing stores (both pro store and regular one), and I always got the same answer:

Marseille soap, the most basic, obviously unscented one, in bar form (liquid has additives).

Marseille soap is made of 72% vegetal oil, most often a blend of olive oil and a couple of other oils. That's why it does condition your brushes as well as it cleanse them.
You gently rub the wet brush on the soap, you'll see the dirt go out, you rinse and that's it. If necessary, like with very dirty foundation brushes, you do it twice and it works perfectly. This works for synthetic brushes as well as for natural hair ones.
Then you put brush guards around your brushes and you're done. My oldest brushes are 2 years old and they're still as good as new!

You can buy Marseille soap from, it's pretty cheap and a big bar will last you for months.

If I need to spot cleanse a brush between 2 deep cleansing sessions, I use the Makeup For Ever brush cleanser because it works great and dries almost instantly.

Happy brush washing :)

EDIT: since this got mentioned in the comments and it's a very widely spread method, I need to add that the Mac artists I talked to regarding this subject all stronlgy advised against baby shampoo. One of them even told me that if I had to use shampoo, I should rather go for a regular one than for a baby product.

September 27, 2010

An FOTD, and test driving some new products

My face of the day is actually looking like a giant haulage, today, which means I'll be reviewing some new products in the coming days/weeks - e.g. the ones marked in blue in my makeup breakdown:

Mac Pro Longwear foundation in NC15
Bobbi Brown concealer kit in Ivory + Pale Yellow powder only on concealed areas
Burberry bronzer in 01 Warm Glow
Nars Zen blush for contouring
Shu Uemura Peach P47 blush

Illamasqua brow cake in Motto
Nars Smudgeproof eyeshadow base
Burberry Gold Trench e/s on the lid
Burberry Taupe Brown e/s on the outer 1/3rd and crease, and under the lower lashline
Mac Mylar as a higlight
UD 24/7 YeYo on the waterline to brighten it
YSL Faux-Cils mascara in black

Burberry Lip Cover in Rosewood

Since Monday is my longest day in the week, I'll be able to see how all these lovely novelties perform on the long term!
To be continued...

September 25, 2010

Summer Moved On

Fall officially began yesterday. As a matter of fact, the weather kind of switched overnight and we are now back to the usual heavy rain and lower temperatures that are typical of northern Europe.

There were signs, I must say, in my wardrobe and in my makeup stash, that Summer was going away:
I finished my Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in shade 2, which is my Summer color.
My darker (NC20-25, hum) foundations don't match anymore, unless I get happy with bronzer.
I stopped using self-tanner because I am not showing that much skin nowadays.
There's no daylight yet when I get up, so I have to put my makeup on under lightbulbs.
I'm wearing my hair straightened because it's too cool for me to let it hair dry to get it curly.
I feel like wearing berry lips and dark nailpolishes.
And, well, yes, Fall collections have arrived in stores.

So I'm reuniting with my old habits, digging up pale foundations and pinkier beauty powders.
I'm wearing with nostalgia some of my favorite looks from past summer, knowing that I now must transition to Fall colors - at least by adding some darkness on the eyes.

I think it's working.

A tiny bit of black liquid liner on the upper lash line -
I ended up adding a deep berry lip color :)
Don't tell me I look like a stewardess, I know :)

A more casual-cute look with the braid and pink lips!
I'm wearing my favorite blush combo: Illamasqua Unrequited and Lover layered.

Foundation is Nars Sheer Glow (Fidji) in all pictures.

How does Fall feel like, beauty wise, for you?

September 24, 2010

Makeup4All online beauty magazine - Fall Edition

The lovely Marina at Makeup4All presents the newest issue of her online beauty magazine. I particularly like the detailed presentations of Fall collections of course, but there are also interviews of the Pixiwoo sisters, Sam and Nic, and of Marlena aka the MakeupGeek, as well as details on how to recreate Mad Men looks!

Enjoy, and go visit Makeup4All to let her know if you liked it!

September 23, 2010

Little miracle in a bottle: Pure Aloe Vera gel

You know how we are all smart grown-up girls who never a) pick at the zits on our face, b) go to the beach without an high SPF protection c) never cut ourselves when shaving ?

Well, we all fail at being smart and grown-up sometimes, at least I know I do, and when that happens there's a product that is natural, cheap and can make miracles: Aloe Vera.

I never investigated it but since Aloe Vera Gel was appearing somewhere and I had vaguely heard it could greatly help with little skin wounds, I got this one at my local drugstore. The 200ml tube was about 3.50€ if I remember correctly - it was cheap anyway.

Aloe Vera comes from a plant and has healing properties on burns, scratches and little skin wounds. You can apply as much as you want and as often as you want.
I have been using this one on my face to help with *cough*spots I had picked at*cough* and I must say it does work: it soothes the area quickly, helps it drying and healing, and I have found that it makes the whole healing process shorter.I have also been using it post-waxing or shaving to soothe the skin, and it works wel. The gel smells good and isn't sticky, and it dries within less than a minute.
I also read Aloe helps with exzema so I'll be trying it as soon as that nightmare that is my Winter skin returns.

Now as I said, I hadn't researched it before buying and it turns out the product I got isn't the best quality. Although it contains 98% Aloe Vera, the remaining 2% aren't very natural and further research has taught me that you should be looking for an Aloe Gel that:

  • has the biggest possible percentage of Aloe in it, with a minimum of 98%
  • doesn't mention water (Aqua) in the ingredients
  • is organic, if possible
  • hasn't been pasteurized
  • contains less than 0.1mg Aloin
  • doesn't contain citric acid, E202 or E211 since these can cause allergie and damage the gel quality
  • doesn't contain carbomer, carbopol or parabens but is made of natural jelly like Xantham
The aim being that you get as much Aloe as possible and as less crap as you can when using the product. (Chemists and ingeneers are welcome to comment if they have more information though, since the results of my researchs aren't very clear to myself).

Anyway, considering the price and the benefits, I think this is definitely worth keeping as a staple in the skincare drawer.

September 22, 2010

Naked face!

How comfortable do you feel with your naked face? This is a question that is often asked on makeup forums, probably because a lot of people think that makeup is used as a mask behind which we hide.

Well it wasn't always true, but I'm now quite comfortable with my naked skin.

Actually, learning about makeup and how to use light, shadows, contrast... helped me learn a lot about my own features. So it sounds like a contradiction but since I've been wearing makeup, I feel much more confident going out with nothing on my face - even though I think I do look better if I can use a bit of concealer and fill in my sparse brows :-)

I also think skincare does make a lot of difference since it's easier to show your naked skin when it's in good condition. I do know the joys of pigmentation marks and surface redness but overall I can't really complain about my skin.

So the reason I put on my makeup every morning isn't that I couldn't go outside with my naked self, but much more because it's fun, it allows me to play with my image and, well, it's my motivation for getting up way earlier than I like to!

I'm curious about what you do: do you always wear makeup to go outside of the house? What's the minimal amount? Do you feel comfortable going outside with your face naked?

September 21, 2010

How to use: Mac Woodwinked

The very first time I went to a Mac freestanding store, right after it opened in my country, I bought 3 eyeshadows: Ricepaper, Sketch and Woodwinked.

In my book, Woodwinked is pure gorgeousness in a pan: it's a gorgeous gold color with bronzey undertones, which looks quite different once applied than it does in the pan.
However, I often read messages on makeup forums from people who can't make work Woodwinked for themselves because if you're very fair-skinned or cool, it is going to look orange. Not the best result.

Now the good news is: nobody has to give up on Woodwinked, there is a little trick that makes it work for everybody: use a colored base underneath.

As you can see on the picture (my bare NC15 fair olive cool undertoned skin, with flash) the orange undertone tends to disappear when you swatch Woodwinked on top of a paintpot.

From left to right: Indianwood (which is very orange on its own, so it's weird that it makes Woodwinked look more gold, but it works), Artifact, Blackground and Constructivist.
Top line: Woodwinked used alone.

I particularly like to use Woodwinked with Artifact, and maybe with some Mac Cranberry in the crease (a look shamelessly stolen from the lovely Lollipop26), the 2 colors work particularly well together.
If you want to completely cancel out the orange undertone, a black base will work the best, but it will transform the color into an almost antique gold with quite a bit of green undertones.

I recently used it in this look, on top of Indianwood and combined with Mulch, and I think it looks pretty good!

What do you think of Woodwinked? How do you use it?

September 19, 2010

FOTD's from the past week.

Neutrals and Blue-Greys have been the theme of this past week for me. Nars Sheer Glow in Fidji is my base on all pictures.

Here I'm wearing Mac Retrospeck in the inner corner, Satin Taupe on the lid, Clinique Rhum Spice in the crease and a bit of Mulch on the outer Corner. Blush is Illamasqua Lover layered over some Nars Laguna bronzer.

Nars Underworld is one of my favorite duos, which I am wearing here. Blush is Mac Marine Life and it's actually a bit too light - that's an issue when days get shorter and I don't have any natural light to do my makeup. In my bathroom I look like a clown and then in natural light I can hardly see the color. Ligthing mirror is on its way to me to solve that problem :)

I had one lazy day where I turned to my favorite easy combo: winged eyeliner and a bright lip, not featured here but I wore Mac Morange with a tiny bit of fuschia lipgloss on top. Blush is Illamasqua Rude.

Then on Saturday I fell inspired to recreate the latest look Lisa Eldridge did a tutorial on:

I used the exact same products: Mac Artifact paintpot, Mac Graphology eyeshadow. A bit of bronzer, no blush, and Mac Blankety lipstick. Here foundation is Illamasqua Sheer fndtn (new formulation) in 133.

The nailpolish is China Glaze First Class Ticket.

What have you been wearing this week?

September 15, 2010

Illamasqua Powder Blushes: swatches

Since I have mentioned these in the past and have been asked in the comments to post pictures and swatches, I'm happy to oblige :)

May I introduce: Unrequited, Lover, Expose, Create, Harlot and Kiss.

The swatches are on bare skin, NC15, and natural light.

All these blushes are matte, and they all have a slight vanilla scent that I like a lot (it doesn't linger on too long anyway).
Lover is undoubtedly the one I wear the most, it's the one blush I always take with me when I travel. I also like to wear it layered with Unrequited.
I tend to wear Create to contour and Expose on top of it for a Summery bronzy look (but it works well all year round, I find).
Harlot and Kiss are gorgeous and although they look scary in the pan, they can be worn on pale skin if applied with a light hand - and a skunk brush!

What are your favorite Illamasqua blushes?

September 14, 2010

If I only have 5 minutes...

This is the look I will go for, aka my "Saturday Morning post sleep in" face. I leave the eyes bare because I want to take my time later in the day to try some new eye look, or I may as well not do anything at all to my eyes and just wear my glasses.

I am wearing:
  • Estee Lauder Daywear Tinted Moisturizer in 01
  • Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 02
  • Diorskin Nude Freshglow mineral foundation dusted all over as a setting powder
  • some mineralize BodyShop blush in a peachy pink shade
  • a tiny bit of Illamasqua Glint&Writhe bronzing duo
which literally takes less than 5 minutes to apply.

Do you have a minimal routine for those days where you don't have time or feel lazy?

September 13, 2010

New Illamasqua Art Of Darkness collection available at the online store!

Illamasqua's newest collection, Art of Darkness, is available now on the online store.

The visuals for this collection are stunning, as always. Here are my 2 favorites. They're very contrasted, one being soft and romantic, the other one being bold and dark.

The collection includes a lot of new products, including 2 new bright liquid metals, a new lipstick in Disciple which is a beautiful dark blue shape, a new intense lipgloss, new pure pigments and nailpolishes, and the brand new Precision Ink eyeliners.

I am going to be getting the intense lipgloss for now but I think I'll be going back for more later, probably the liquid metals and the eyeliners.

Are you getting something? What do you like in this collection?

Review: Makeup For Ever Aquacreams

I mentioned these in my August favorites, but they deserve a proper review.

What are they? The Aquacreams are cream shadows that were created for the French Nautical Ballet with the aim of being as waterproof as any shadow will ever be. Some of them are matte, some are iridescent.
They can all be used on eyes, lips and face, but for "normal" use, the colors are obviously more adapted for using on certain areas than others!

EDIT: Not all of the creams are multi purpose. The MUFE website says that shades 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 are only suitable for Lips & Cheeks -

How do they compare to other cream shadows? I have used Mac Paintpots and Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows; the MUFE Aquacreams are definitely waterproof unlike the 2 other products.
However, like any waterproof product, they are easily removed by oil, which means that if your lids are oily, they will crease. You can easily solve that by using a primer underneath.

The color pay-off is great, as you can see on the swatches, and the product can be build up for more intensity. There are 24 Aquacreams available, which offer a wider variety of shades than competitors do.

Being waterproof, the Aquacreams do set very quickly, which means you have to work really fast because they are impossible to blend after a dozen of seconds. I find that using your fingers in a patting motion is the best way to work fast and get an even result.

Pricing: although the jars look small, they contain 6g/0.21 oz. while Mac paintpots only contain 5g. However, there is a price gap, with Mac paintpots retailing for $16.50 and aquacreams for $22. Benefit creaseless creams retail at 19$, which is also cheaper, but only contain 0.16 oz.

Do I recommend them? Yes, particularly if you leave under a hot/humid climate, if you want to wear makeup to the beach or if you're looking for a wide variety of colors suitable for multiple uses.
However, considering the price tag and the fact they're a bit harder to work with, if you are only looking for neutral shades for everyday wear in normal weather conditions, the Mac Paintpots or Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows might be easier to apply and are cheaper per jar.
Nevertheless, Aquacreams are an excellent product and I have enjoyed them all Summer. I'm pretty sure I'll like them as much in the Winter when the wind blows and my eyes water :)

Have you tried them? Did you like them or not?

September 9, 2010

Vacation makeup bag

Since I had a few posts ready in advance, you probably didn't notice that I was (finally!) away for my Summer vacation, and I came back yesterday night.
I was in Sicily, where the weather wasn't at its warmest, but still, it was really Summery and I can tell you that staying under the sun at noon without burning was impossible!

I found it very hard to pack makeup because I knew I was going to have dressed-up evening events and I wanted to have options. Here's what I did wear a lot:
  • Mac Strobe Cream
  • Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer
  • Laura Mercier secret concealer (under the eyes) and MUFE Full-Cover (face)
  • Mac MSF powder
  • Illamasqua Lover and Unrequited blushes
  • Givenchy bronzer and Fleur de Frangipanier powder (Limited Edition)
  • Bobbi Brown shimmer brick in Nectar
  • Nars eyeshadow base
  • Urban Decay Naked palette
  • Mufe Aqua Creams #2, 15 and 16
  • Mac blacktrack fluidline
  • YSL Faux-Cils
  • Mac Girl About Town, CB 96, Dubonnet, O lipsticks
  • Revlon and Chanel glosses (one pink and one peach)
  • Brush roll
I also took along some skincare, of course:
  • La Roche Posay matte SPF 30 (face)
  • Avene mineral SPF 50
  • Bioderma Crealine H20 cleanser
  • Bioderma foam cleanser (great for body too)
  • mini Estee Lauder Daywear cream and sample Advanced Night Repair
and finally, a small spray bottle of my Serge Lutens 5 O'clock Au Gingembre perfume.

What I did not bring and ended up wishing I had:
  • hair mask - I let my hair air dry every day (I didn't even take my blowdryer with me) and got very dry ends, which would have benefited a mask
  • face scrub - I thought I could live without exfoliating for a week, well I was wrong, my skin got dull by the end of the vacation and it really improved when I exfoliated last night
What I brought and didn't use at all:
  • a bunch of pencil liners, when one would have been enough
  • after-sun cream: since I used my SPF religiously, that stuff really was useless
  • Nars Sheer Glow foundation - too heavy for the weather, and layering some MSF on top of my tinted moisturizer gave as much coverage
Do you bring along a lot of things when you go on vacation? What are you staples?

September 6, 2010


I can be quite non creative sometimes. It took me almost 2 years into my makeup adventures to think of the idea that products could be layered, and now I can't figure why I didn't try this earlier!

I actually started with blushes, layering Nars Deep Truth over Orgasm, and really loved the result (Orgasm alone didn't look that great on me). Suddenly, the sum equalled more than the addition of the components, if you know what I mean.

Since then I have been wearing two blushes in an almost regular basis, and doing more creative combinations like layering a bright pink over a true apricot. I often love the result. I also sometimes wear a cream blush and a powder one on top.

Then recently I decided to try layering cream eyeshadows. Well, I absolutely love the effect! Put the #15 taupe Aquacream on top of Benefit Skinny Jeans, and you get a gorgeous smokey eye in 30 seconds. Have a look:

After reading Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadows can be put on top of powder eyeshadows, I also gave this a try and really liked the effect, the eye is more glossy and, frankly, with a bit of practice, this can work with any kind of cream eyeshadow.

And finally, I do layer lipsticks too. If I want to give a matte or satin lipstick a shiner finish, I will use a frosty lipstick underneath (yes, underneath, not on top). Or I will tone down a color by putting a lighter one underneath again. I like this much more than the usual lipstick and lipgloss combination, which I hardly ever do (I wear my glosses alone).

So, even if I often jokingly say that I layer products so I get more use of my ginormous makeup collection, I mostly do it because I love the result.

Do you layer? What are your favorite combinations?

September 3, 2010

Book review: Kevyn Aucoin Making Faces

Kevyn Aucoin was certainly one of the most talented makeup artist the world ever knew, and although he died in 2002 at the young age of 40, his work is still very contemporary and a major influence for today's makeup artists and brands.
You might not be aware of that, but Kevyn Aucoyn was the first makeup artist to develop foundations with yellow undertones while he was working for Revlon in the early eighties. Previous to that, there were pink foundations and black foundations, all in-between skintones were left out. He was the one who put the skintone at the centre of makeup products development.

Kevyn Aucoin also worked with the most beautiful women of his time: Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Winona Rider, just to name a few. He did countless shootings for the covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and other major media.

In 1999, he published Making Faces.
This book is an interesting mix of "ordinary people", who were Aucoin's friends and family, and of stars. It is also a mix of everyday looks and of stunning transformations, like Courtney Love transformed into Marilyn. That's a good way of explaining how to create classic, timeless looks.
The photographs are beautiful and every look is explained in detail. The products are referred to in terms of texture and color, not brands, so that you can find something in your collection that will fit without feeling like you have to go buy a ton of new things.

Smokey eye technique applied on Julia Roberts.

Get this book if... well, just get it! You'll be able to look at beautiful pictures of beautiful people, both famous and anonymous, and you'll get some inspiration from these.
Also, the explanations on how to get the look will guide you through recreating them.

Don't get it if... you're looking for a beginner's makeup manual. This isn't where you're going to learn very basic techniques with very detailed explanations, I find the looks breakdowns are illustrated in a way that requires a bit of experience to be understandable. However as I said, it's a gorgeous coffee table book that you should get for the gorgeous pictures.

September 1, 2010

August Favorites

Another month goes away, and with August, Summer is moving on. Here are the things I have used and loved during this past month.

Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen mascara.
Honestly, I didn't like this mascara when I first tried it. I got it because of its traditional big fat brush but it didn't really give me the volume I expected. I was hoping it would give me the same results as my YSL Singulier when I found out I was allergic to it.
I must say, though, that I've been using it anyway (didn't want to waste it) and that I like it a bit better now that it's a bit 'ripened'. It doesn't do any miracle but it lengthens nicely and it's very black. I won't be repurchasing it (now that I'm sure YSL Faux-Cils isn't irritating my eyes like its little cousin, I'll be sticking to that) but it's doing its job.

Mac CB96 lipstick.
I never expected to like this one, I must say I was probably turned off by the weird name. But when I swatched it, I fell in love: it's a gorgeous peachy orange with a pink duochrome, infused with gold. And it's a Frost, which is one of the finishes I like a lot for Mac lipsticks. It looks a bit scary in the picture but I find it very easy to wear and if you blot it a bit, it's definitely wearable even if you're shy!

Cream eyeshadows.
I have worn tons of cream shadows in August, as they're so easy to wear and apply, and long lasting if you chose the right ones.
The products I have been using:
MUFE Aquacreams

These were created for the French Nautical Ballet, so describing them as waterproof is an understatement! They come in a wide variety of colors that can be used on eye, lips and face. Obviously, for non-nautical use, some colors are more appropriate for certain areas than for others.
I own 6 of them that I received as a birthday gift, and I'll be posting pictures and swatches at some point.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows.
I like these a lot, the ones I own are all metallic and some have some serious sparkles going on, but they look absolutely gorgeous. The texture is really creamy and easy to use.

What about you? What were your favorites for August?