December 30, 2010

Best of 2010: Top items by brand

I thought I'd finish this serie by using a little tag I've seen here and there on the web. You are supposed to name ONE item that is the best product of a given brand.  I sometimes cheated and named 2, though

Avène Diacneal (retinoid/glycolic acid) and Cleanance K (AHA/BHA)
Becca Shimmery skin perfector
Bioderma Crealine H2O
Bobbi Brown- Creamy concealers and gel eyeliners
BodyShop - Seaweed cleanser
Burberry- Bronzer if you're fair, matte eyeshadows
Cargo- Blu Ray bronzer and blushes!
Clarins Everlasting foundation
Chanel-  Rouge Coco lipsticks (but I hate their smell), foundations if you can find a match
Dior- Diorskin Nude foundations (all of them!)
Edward Bess- Lipsticks
Estee Lauder- Advanced Night Repair Serum, best thing ever!
Givenchy- Le Prisme Visage (powders, bronzers and blushes)
Guerlain- Lipsticks, they're my favorite hands down
Illamasqua - best blushes ever - powder and cream; brow powder
Lancome- Artliner
La Roche Posay Cicaplast, Anthelios sun protection
Laura Mercier- Tinted moisturizer
Mac Brushes, and a lot of their permanent eyeshadows are staples for me
Makeup For Ever- Aqucreams
Mario Badescu - Silver powder
Nars- Sheer Glow foundation, blushes, eyeshadows are hit and miss but some are gorgeous
Rouge Bunny Rouge Eyeshadows
Shiseido- Skin care, lip crayons
Shu Uemura- Eyeshadows and blushes
Urban Decay- Eyeshadow palettes, 24/7 liners
Yves Saint Laurent- Mascaras

Brands I didn't mention are either unavailable here, not yet tried by me, or not liked - if you have questions about particular brands, mentioned here or not, add them in the comments.

Best of 2010: Top Five Nailpolishes

The thing with nailpolish is that they're really fun, and rather cheap (at least compared to high end makeup, and if you can buy it on the web when you're European) so I did get quite a lot of new colors during the past months and found it hard to pick just five!

1. OPI Absolutely Alice

This came out in Spring with the Alice in Wonderland collection. This is basically glitter in a blue base and it does look fantastic on the nails (2 or 3 coats, though) but is very difficult to remove. (I know there are apropriate methods but they're time consuming and I'm lazy). So I tend to wear this on one finger, on top of a regular nailpolish, rather than on it's own.

2. Essie Playa del Platinum.

This one nourishes my passion for greige (in the true meaning of the word, greige being a greyish beige and definitely not a taupe - I've never seen a greige mole!), I find it very elegant and it's definitely trendy though not wearable for everyone in my opinion.

3. Essie Merino Cool
 This one was mistaken for Chanel Paradoxal by a Chanel SA. Can you tell it's a winner?

4. Essie Sew Psyched.

Yes, I've been into Essie this year! Sew Psyched was a color I was really unsure about, in fact I didn't plan on getting it, but then I was offered it as a compensation for another nailpolish that had gone lost during shipping, and I was very surprised to find out I really like the color! I was afraid it would give a sick look but it doesn't at all.

5.OPI Ski Teal We Drop

This one is part of the Swiss collection and it's just the most beautiful teal color I've seen. It's actually what I hoped OPI Suzy Says Feng-Shui would be and although I do like that one, this teal is absolutely gorgeous, modern and elegant - definitely a favorite.

What did you like wearing on your nails this year?

Best of 2010: Top Five Lip products

One thing I noticed while preparing this post is that I haven't been wearing a lot of lipgloss this year.
I've always loved lipstick, I started wearing it at age 16 - there's something about lipstick that I find very feminine and timeless. I'm a lipstick kind of girl, all the way.

1. Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm.

For me that's the best lip balm in the world: it smells and tastes great (think honey, sugar and orange) and it keeps my lips in perfect condition. Nuxe is now available in the US as well so everyone can enjoy this great product.

2. Guerlain KissKiss Baby in Rosewood Nude.

I can say enough how disappointed I am that this line has been discontinued, although the remaining stock can still be found here and there. This is my perfect "my lips but better" color, with a nicely moisturizing formula and the lipstick I can wear with everything and under any circumstance. Replacement hunting has started (although I still have some left in my current tube) but it's not going to be easy.

3.Mac Girl About Town.
My most worn color this year: bright fushia! Although I have a few others, Girl About Town started my love for this color and it's a classic from the permanent line.

4. Mac Morange

Yes, pale girls can wear orange lipstick - you can top it with a lechee colored lipgloss to tone it down but I love it on its own.

5. Nars Niagara
This is  a beautiful pink coral that I've really enjoyed wearing this year, I find it gives a lot of luminousity to the face and suits a lot of skintones.

What were your favorite lip products for this year?

December 29, 2010

Best of 2010: Top Five Eyes Products

I think I went through a major change this year in terms of eye makeup. I used to wear tons of crazy colors, but I do think now it's a phase you go through when discovering makeup (so many colors! so many possibilities!) and for me at least, things evolved. I now mostly wear neutrals, bronzes, golds and stick to some colors that really compliment my eyes like corals, peaches and certain blues.
I've also learned to appreciate matte shadows as well, even though I still think that a mix of finishes is what looks best on the eye, but I've been using mattes a lot this year.

1. Urban Decay Naked Palette.

Of course I have to mention this one, I think that's THE palette of the year and I'm so lucky I got it almost right after it was released, especially considering how hard to find it is now (even though it's not a limited edition). I took it with me on vacation, I'm reaching for it a lot, it's definitely a good investment if you like warm neutrals.

2. MakeUp For Ever Aquacreams.

These were a fantastic birthday gift and I've been wearing it a lot. They work on their own, they can be layered a bit, they make a great base for powder shadows... I absolutely love them! I think cream eyeshadows are perfect when you are in a hurry or just feeling lazy, and these have amazing pigmentation and fantastic lasting power (on top of a primer, if your lids are oily like mine, though).

3. Becca Enigma palette.

The reason why I'm mentioning this palette that I got recently is because I absolutely love the texture and pigmentation of the eyeshadows, and I think that in 2011 I'll be getting more Becca eyeshadows, and products in general.

4. Mac Mystery eyeshadow.

Just the perfect matte crease color to give definition to the crease when you're not wearing much on the eyes.

5. Nars Smudgeproof eyeshadow primer.

In my opinion the best primer available, as it has a much better formulation and texture than TFSI and doesn't make shadows impossible to blend like UDPP. And it does perform perfectly in making your eyeshadows last. I'm reaching the end of my first tube after I think 7 months of use, and I already have a backup!

Special mention: tightlining technique.
For a long time I thought that tightlining meant lining the upper waterline of the eye. Wrong: it means pushing liner between the upper lashes, at the root, to give definition to the lashline. You can see a very good detailed picture tutorial here. You can use cake liner or regular liner, and a flat square liner brush is the perfect tool for this technique. I can say that if I were to wear no mascara, doing this would almost give the illusion that I have some on.

Did you change your eye makeup style in 2010? What did you like?

December 28, 2010

Best of 2010: Top Five Face Products

Before we start, I have to say that Nars Sheer Glow is always my HG foundation and that I've been wearing it all year long (I even own it in 3 different shades because I can't live without it!). However it was in my 2009 favorites already and I thought it was more interesting to mention products I discovered or started using more in 2010, so I'm not mentioning it in this Top 5.
Also I can definitely say that, after a lot of foundation disasters in 2009, this year brought mostly great findings so I do mention quite a lot of foundations.

1. Mac Strobe Cream.

My most used higlighter because I find it very versatile (works under makeup or on top of it, can double as a moisturizer), I love the effect it gives on the skin, and I love its cucumber smell! In the Summer it works great for shoulders or collar bone higlighting as well.
I'm seeing the end of my tube and will definitely be repurchasing!

2. Clarins Everlasting Foundation. 
This was as excellent surprise, the first foundation that really lasts 12 hours on my skin without budging, even though I don't wear a primer underneath. This lives up to its name! The packaging and formula are really nice too and the coverage is medium. My must-have for the longest days in my week.

2. Biotherm Aquaradiance Light!

This one is my perfect Summer foundation: better coverage than moisturizer yet a very light feeling and a sheer, natural result. I'm a bit worried, though, because it looks like Biotherm makeup isn't available anymore in my area or at least not as widely as it used to be. Which means I have another Summer worth of product in the current bottle but would then have to find a replacement, which I'm really sad about.

3. Diorskin Nude and Diorskin Nude Freshglow Powder foundations.

Yes, that's 2 products, I'm cheating. Sue me :)
These were also nice surprises. I had tried Diorskin Nude over a year ago and hated it (to the point that I now wonder if I was sampled the right product when I tried it) now I absolutely love that 020 is a perfect match for my Winter skin and that it's buildable enough to hide most of my cheek redness. It's also very long-lasting.
The powder version is brilliant for Summer, on its own or on top of a tinted moisturizer. I like that the finish isn't flat matte so it looks really natural.

4. Givenchy Le Prisme Visage - Les Frangipaniers.

This was limited edition, I'm sorry about that, but this really was my favorite bronzer for this year so I had to mention it. I like the result obtained with the mix of different colors, the finish is really luminous, I adore the frangipani smell and I find the little brush good enough to use if I don't have a real brush with me. I'm glad I'm far from hitting pan on this one!

5. Illamasqua cream blush in Promise.

I was actually going to mention the powder blush in Lover as my most worn blush of the year, but it was in my 2009 favorites already, so I thought I'd change it to my other well loved Illamasqua blush.
I definitely think Illamasqua cream blushes are the best on the market. They are amazing in terms of pigmentation and blendability (I'd say they're fool proof), you can easily apply with fingers and they do last all day. Promise is a gorgeous warm candy pink that does work fabulously on warm skintone, which is exceptional enough to be mentioned. I've been wearing it lots since I got it and have to thank Jennie for the discovery of this great product.

December 27, 2010

Best of 2010: Top Five Skincare

1. Biorderma Crealine H2O

Really, this isn't new to me as I've been using it for years but it still is the best makeup remover on the market for me and it never irritates my skin.

2. Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Exfoliator.

I have tried lots and lots of face scrubs and I find this one to be the best: unscented, not irritating at all thanks to the very fine beeds in it and it really makes a difference in the look and feel of my skin. I can really tell when I've spend too long without using it as the result is really visible.

3. Avène Cleanance K

This is marketed as an Acne treatment, but this moisturizing gel contains AHA and BHA. I have been using this for several months, about every three nights (not on the nights I use the Estee Lauder scrubs, obviously) to get some chemical exfoliation. This really helps keeping the skin smooth and luminous and does reduce imperfections overnight. On the long term it does reduce little scars and marks as well.

4. Mario Badescu Silver Powder.
 I can't believe it took me so long to find this product! The ingredients are very gentle and natural, and yet it is so efficient against blackheads and so easy to use! I can't think of anyone I know who tried it and wasn't impressed by the result. Definitely a must-have if you suffer from black heads.

5. La Roche Posay Cicaplast.

My official skin saver for Winter, this heals chapped skin within a few days and makes a great makeup base at the same time so my foundation won't look flakey. I've also used it on my hands when my handcream couldn't help anymore. For less than 10€, this is miracle for cheap.

A special mention to the "Lotion Mask"

Not a product, but a method to insert in your skincare routine, the lotion mask as described in The Japanese Skincare Revolution works great and is super easy to do (with any lotion you like). I've been doing it more often lately, using cotton masks bought on eBay, it's super easy and quick and leaves the skin glowing and plumped. I really recommend it and it will work for everyone, you just need to pick the lotion according to your skintype.

Have you tried anyone of these? What products would be in your skincare favorites for this year?

December 26, 2010

Christmas FOTD and introducing Best of 2010 Series

Christmas always calls for red lips! This is Guerlain Rouge G in Geisha, a beautiful color and a great formulation, satin, quite long lasting and non-drying.

I hope you guys had a lovely Christmas and nice beauty gifts! What makeup did you wear?

Now, during the last week of the year, I'll be taking you through my favorites products of 2010. To make sure I don't end up rambling and mentioning a million things, I'll be limiting myself to a Top 5 in each category (skincare, face, lips, eyes and nails) - so don't worry, that won't be too heavy ;-)

December 24, 2010

Best Wishes

Wishing you all a happy, joyful and peaceful Christmas!

Image property of - Hopefully Dustin won't mind (<3 Dustin!)

December 23, 2010

Review: Oskia Get Up And Glow

Ladies, if any of you finds it half as hard as I do to wake up early in the morning, you will understand why I felt attracted to a product called "Get Up & Glow". Because really, I wish I could get up and glow and be out of the door, this all in five minutes. So I bought it from Zuneta as a Christmas present to myself (because it's pricy) and am now going to review it for you.

What this is:
A serum that doubles as an illuminator and can be used on its own instead of moisturizer, or on top of makeup as a higlighter.
The packaging is a very pretty transparent bottle that comes with a pump.

As described by the brand:

Get Up & Glow is deliciously lightweight revitalizing and energising serum that increases cell respiration and ATP energy. It is also enriched with clinically-proven youth-boosting nutrients and polypeptides. OSKIA’s unique dual approach actively brightens and firms, evens skin tone, smoothes the appearance of fine lines, protects against everyday environmental, seasonal and lifestyle damage, while also providing essential cell nutrients to help improve cell health long term. This refreshing serum leaves skin looking revitalized, healthier and smoother with a youthful, radiant glow.

Product claims:
  • Illuminates and brightens the skin through improved cell respiration.
  • Helps increase the skin's own energy bank (ATP) to energise and help improve cell efficiency.
  • Provides nutrients to help rebuild cell health for long term improved skin health and function.
  • Lifts and plumps up fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Leaves skin feeling soothed and smooth.
  • Protects skin DNA and against free radicals.
  • Water-based

Active ingredients:

Enriched with not 1 but 12 beauty-boosting actives including:
  • Riboxil™, known as The Beauty Sugar, energizes, revitalizes and brightens by boosting oxygen intake to recharge cell energy ATP to benefit all cell processes. Reduces wrinkle area by 30.1%.
  • Natural light reflecting pigments add lustre to tired skin.
  • Galactoarabinan, a vegetable alternative to collagen, reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
  • MPC Milk Peptides™ immediately lift, firm and tone the skin leaving a natural sheen and radiance by increasing the thickness of the epidermis, stimulating collagen synthesis by 40%, increasing cell-to-cell communication, boosting key elements of the Dermo-Epidermal junction making nutrients more available to the skin, increasing Hyaluronic Acid production by 1900% and reduces wrinkle depth by 35%.
  • Soothing Butterbur reduces redness and irritation.
  • OSKIA’s MSM complex aids collagen production and keeps skin strong, supple and porous.
  • Phyto Cell Tec Mallus™ (Swiss Apple Stem Cell culture) help renew and prolong the life of healthy skin cells, protect DNA, reduces wrinkles and fine line depth by 15% (after 4 weeks) and stimulate cell proliferation by 80%.
  • O3 Stressed Yeast Lysate™, a live yeast cell derivative,  increases cell respiration to promote wound healing and strongly protects fragile cellular DNA, RNA and skin lipids after sun exposure.
  • Our elite grade Hyaluronic acid and biosaccharides provide long lasting hydration, plump up the skin, stimulate the production of Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), making skin appear plumper and smoother.
  • Prebiotic Oligosaccharide protects and stimulates the skin’s defense barrier by preventing colonization by harmful flora.
  • Powerful antioxidant Inula Viscosa, Vitamin E and prebiotics protect against free radicals, harmful bacteria and UV damage.

My thoughts on the product.
First thing I noticed about this product is that it spreads extremely well on the skin, so one little pump is more than enough to do your whole face and neck. 
The consistency doesn't feel oily at all, but it definitely feels like a serum and I don't find it extremely moisturizing. I would say that in Summer it would be great used on its own but in Winter or if your skin is on the dryer side, you'll need to use a moisturizer on top. (My Becca hydrating primer works well on top of this).
The product is infused with little particles that do reflect the light once they're applied on the skin. I'm not talking glitter, obviously, but it's like a fine shimmer that shows through the serum and gives you a nice subtle glow. I really mean subtle, to the point that, if you put moisturizer or foundation on top, I find this practically disappears. Bummer, because you lose the "glow" part of the "get up and glow" concept. 
But I need to say that the product has other benefits, and that spending that kind of money for an illuminator would be too much in my opinion, so let's focus on these other features.

About the active ingredients:
As you read, Oskia claims this serum is infused with tons of natural and efficient ingredients.
I did ask for my friend Jessica Allison's opinion, because as a skincare nerd (and professional makeupartist) who used to work for Lauder among others, she's always well informed over the novelties and well documented on ingredients and scientific research on their actual action.
What Jess told me is that the fact that hyaluronic acid is very high in the ingredient list indicates there's a high concentration of it in the product, and this is good because we love hyaluronic acid for its anti-aging action. She also said that the glycerin, also in high concentration, is a good thing.
The Yeast extract are also used in the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum that I love so much, so that's good as well, and that the MSM is said to contain sulfur, which has clarifying properties.

On a negative note, Jess pointed that there's benzyl alcohol in the formula, which can be drying, but personally I haven't had any problem.

So I would say this product is packed with a lot of good ingredients and that I think it makes a good daytime version of my Advanced Night Repair, also with a texture more suitable under makeup.

The "negative" point.
Oskia (London) position themselves as a high-end brand with scientific background and innovative ingredients coming from nature, as such, they place the price tag quite high. 
At £ 64,50 ( € 76, USD 99) this is an expensive serum, less so than the Estee Lauder one though. But it's definitely a nice treat.

Will I repurchase?
I don't know just yet. So far I know it gives me a nice glow and doesn't irritate my skin or break me out. I like the product a lot but I think I will be able to judge only when I have used this for several months, also in more normal weather conditions, and if I do notice the benefits for my skin I'll gladly keep on using it.
Right now, unfortunately, I still need to put more stuff on my face in the morning before I leave the house.

December 20, 2010

Two reviews and a FOTD

I tried some new eye products that I really liked, this week-end, and thought I'd do a quick review.

In a recent Zuneta order, I got this New-Cid eyeshadow palette called Mocha.

I had been eyeing New Cid products for a while, since I know Zuneta only stocks premium stuff, but was unsure about it because I hadn't heard any review on these products. Until this palette got mentioned in a Pixiwoo video.
(Note #1: I couldn't find said video. Maybe that was just a dream? or it was someone else?
Note #2: if I want to stop buying makeup, apparently, I just need to stop watching Pixiwoo and Lisa Eldridge since I mention them all the time on here as my enablers.)

Zuneta offers 2 palettes and the one I picked is called Mocha (the other one is a mix of greys and blacks for smokey eyes).
The palette costs 20£. It's a white plastic packaging that is quite sturdy (actually I dropped it, so I can tell you it did resist well), has a real mirror in side but still feels very light and practical. It comes with a double sponge-tip applicator and a dual ended brush for liner and smudging. Not sure they'd be easy to use, though, since they're so small.
There are 3 matte colors: a creamy light tone that looks a bit like Mac Brule, a taupe and a cool dark brown. There's also a shimmery brown with bronzey tones.
All 4 colors are nicely pigmented, easy to apply and to blend, and I found they lasted all day on me on top of my Nars eyeshadow primer.
I think this set of color is perfect for a neutral, work-appropriate eye, but can be used for nice smokeys too. For the price, the quality is excellent and honestly, if you're looking for a nice quad for every day use, this really beats Chanel or Dior in terms of value for money, in my opinion.

My other product is Illamasqua Precision Liner in Alchemy, which is a glittery gold that came out with this Winter's collction, Art of Darkness.
This, I find, is a very unique product. While a lot of glittery liners are just a mix of clear liquid with glitter, this one is actually really gold, liquid and glitter. The felt tip makes it rather easy to apply, at least for me, but you could use a liner brush and dip it in the tube if you wanted.
This lasted extremely well and even though I had no major difficutly in removing it, I did feel I needed a good makeup remover to get rid of it!
This costs £16.50 and the Precision Liner also exists in plain black, if you prefer a more classical version. I do think this is going to be very pretty for the Holidays, on its own or on top of a black liner.

And here's me wearing both products together - not a look I'd really go for but I wanted to try it all and I only have one set of eyes, unfortunately :)

Have you tried these products? Did you like them?

December 18, 2010

Special Christmas gifts.

I've seen a lot of blog posts suggesting Christmas presents these past weeks. While I do appreciate those bloggers put time and effort in it, and it's a lovely thought from them, I'm not really going to jump in the bandwagon this time.

I don't like to receive beauty gifts (excepted from a few beauty addict girlfriends who really know what I like and what I don't have already or would be happy to have back-ups for) because most of the time they're useless for me since I already have so much. Perfumes, I'm so picky with them, I am yet to receive one that I like and haven't chosen myself. I know, I know... I'm hard to please, beauty wise.
The result of this is, I hardly ever give beauty gifts and when I do, it's after careful research to make sure I score. I never ever approach something as personal as fragrances. So I don't feel qualified at all to make recommendations for you guys :)

But there are a few suggestions that I would like to share.

If you're ordering gifts from Illamasqua, please consider spending an extra 2£ for a SOPHIE wrist band to support the Sophie Lancaster foundation. They're nice stocking fillers that will help a good cause and that you can even put in envelopes with your gift cards.

If you are looking to get beauty products to offer, consider an auction on the Beauty Bloggers for Charity website. About 40 famous beauty bloggers have donated products that you can buy in the form of an auction Auctions end on Monday, you still have time to bid this week-end. All the money made will go to Doctors Without Borders.

And finally, if you do get beauty gifts that you know you won't use, consider putting them in a shoebox for Give and Makeup. This initiative gathers essential products (toiletries, baby product and beauty products in general) for women who left their partner and left their life and belongings behind to escape from violence and abuse. Some people will find it sounds shallow but if you had to leave your home for ever, I'm pretty sure you'd quickly need shampoo and shower gel, and that a bit of makeup could be useful if you need to find a job to support yourself. Give and Makeup is a UK based initiative that works with Refuge,  but if you're outside of the UK there are probably local associations who do the same job and would find these products useful too.

So that's for my suggestions. The gifts don't need to be big, it's the intention that counts, and I believe Christmas is also about giving to people we don't know if we can help them out.
Merry Christmas, my beauties!

December 17, 2010

I was really inspired to recreate this look by Pixiwoo :

Sam called it a Christmas/Evening/Date makeup but since I'm rarely scared by names I wore this for work. I must say also, that as I'm working full time during the Holidays, I do allow myself to do some festive looks. My nails, for instance, are currently covered in glitter:

OPI Sparkleicious; on ringfinger: Orly Tiara

Anyway, here's the recreation I did - I'm not happy with my pictures but it's the best daylight would get on that day, so you'll have to excuse me for the poor quality.

What I used:
Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi
BB cream concealer in Ivory
Illamasqua Illuminator in fondle (peachy pink with gold shimmer)
Nars Orgasm blush

Mac Vanilla all over the lid
Becca Silesia - which is the dark matte grey in the Enigma palette
L'Oreal liner intense in sprakly black
YSL Faux-Cils in black
Brows: Illamasqua brow powder in Thunder

Nars Niagara lipstick

I had a lot of fun recreating this look, it wasn't that hard really, it just requires a lot of blending and when it comes to blending there's one thing to remember: you need not to swipe hard, you need to brush softly and take your time.

Any looks you had fun recreating lately?

December 15, 2010

Review: Becca Silky Hydrating Primer

What the brand says:
Silky Hydrating Primer, with anti-oxidant vitamin E, works to moisturize and prepare the skin for foundation by creating a soft, even surface. Helping the skin retain moisture and creating a silky smooth texture, it allows liquid and cream based products to glide on easily, and stay fresh looking, longer. 
  • Visibly improves the look and texture of the skin by smoothing fine lines and pores
  • Provides a protective barrier, sealing in moisture 
  • Allows liquid and cream based products to glide easily over the skin and stay on longer
  • Keeps makeup looking fresher longer
  • Prevents moisture loss during air travel and in air conditioning
  • Doubles as a moisturizer 
  • Provides the perfect base for eye shadow to glide over

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Ceteareth-25, Ceteareth-6, Phenoxyethanol, Stearyl Alcohol, Allantoin, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance)
 Price: $39 - £30 (yes, you read it well, odd conversion factor syndrome strikes again) for 50ml

Why I got it.
I decided to get this primer for Wintertime. I do use LRP Cicaplast when my skin is damaged but since there's a medicinal active component in it, I rather not use it as a primer when my skin doesn't need it. So, I wanted something that would still protects and moisture my skin, and at the same time be a good base for my foundation.
Also, most of Becca primers are mattifying and I didn't want to take the risk of drying out my skin.

What I do not like.
  • The product comes in a tube and tends to ooze out quickly, probably even more so for the first uses, so you end up with way too much product on your hands, which is a waste. I find that storing the tube upside down rather than on its cap does help.
  • You have to apply this quickly as it sets really really fast.
  • Although it's called silky, I don't find it to be really smooth or siliconey-feeling and I don't think it makes your foundation application go smoother.
What I do like.
  • You don't need to wait very long before applying your foundation, I only give it a couple of minutes and it's sunk into my skin already
  • It is moisturising and apparently protects my skin well from the central heating and the temperature changes. Also it doesn't feel or look greasy and it effectively doubles as a moisturizer - I do use this primer on its own (you know I tend to limit the amount of layers on my skin anyway).
  • It does make your base last and look fresh all day, which is a very important point since it's the primary reason why people use primers. I also notice my blush tends to last longer as well.
  • Although the ingredient list mentions perfume, I don't really think it really smells, which is nice when you have a sensitive nose.
  • Even though I'm not a huge fan on the packaging for the reason above, I do appreciate that it's compact and light, and practical to travel with.
  • Haven't had any breakout or skin problem/sensitivity, but then parabens and silicon usually don't bother me.

My overall impression.
This is an excellent product. It's not what I expected in terms of feel after application and making a smooth base for my foundation, but other than that it does exactly what it claims to do.
I'm tempted to say I will try another product instead of repurchasing this one, although I will definitely use this one all Winter - but I am not a specialist in primers and I need to explore the market more to know if I like this one better than the others or if there's something else out there for me.
Also it is certainly not a cheap product, especially if you live in Europe, and I wish the packaging didn't make me waste some product every time I use it.
I would say if you have dry skin and need something that will double as a moisturizer and make your foundation last longer, this will do the job perfectly.

December 13, 2010

Making Illamasqua lip products work.

You know how much I love Illamasqua products. I regularly come across messages on makeup forums about how hard their matte lipsticks (which are 90% of the range) can be to work with, which is really a pity since they're so pretty and pigmented. That always break my heart a little! But I do understand that, being matte, these lipsticks can be tricky to use, so I thought I'd share my recipe for making them work.

A first solution that is very classical, consists on moisturizing your lips really well 15 mins prior to application, then exfoliating with a cotton bud if necessary and finally, applying the lipstick with a brush. But if you're anything like me you never have the time to go through all these operations in the morning!
So I found another way, a much easier one: I use another, creamier, nude lipstick as a base. (I would say something like Mac Creme d'Nude excepted I find Creme d'Nude horribly drying on my lips so I wouldn't pick that one, but you get the idea in terms of color). If you pick one that is a bit frosty, the pearl might show through the color and make it more satiny that matte, which can be great for some looks.
So I apply that first base color, I blot slightly, then I apply my Illamasqua lipstick on top and usually I don't blot again since the formula is so dry.

I also find that the non-matte lipsticks by Illamasqua, even though they're dry in texture, are a bit easier to wear than the matte ones. I own one called Melt, which is a gold nude with shimmery finish, and I very often use it under another Illamasqua lipstick, as I love the way the combination turns out.

Another lipproduct category I love is the intense lipglosses.
They are everything their name claims: glossy and very intensely pigmented. They're not really hard to wear, but they can look too much for daytime, and the glossy texture isn't everyone's taste. So what I do is apply a nice layer that I spread with a brush, or with my finger if I'm on the go, and then I blot with a tissue.
This way I get more of a stain that has a high pigmentation level, a slightly moisturizing feel, but that will last longer and will look more dramatic than the freshly applied intense gloss.
This makes dramatic colors like Fume or Petulant totally wearable!

Voilà, guys, you know my little secret, now go have fun with your Illamasqua lip stuff!

December 11, 2010

Beauty Icons, inspiration, and Holidays makeup and style

Today I've found the dress I am going to wear for the Holidays (which includes a family Christmas Dinner and New Year's Eve abroad with other relatives, so I can wear the same thing twice, haha!). I don't care for all the black stuff covered in glitters most shops are trying to make us wear at that time of the year, year after year. 
Plus they always make party clothes light and transparent as if we were all going to Australia to celebrate, and I always end up frozen, in an outfit I'm never going to wear again because it looks too Christmas-y.

Not this year, guys, not this year. This is what I'm going to wear.

Mexx, 2010.

And of course, now that the clothing issue is solved, I can focus on the most intersting part: what style am I going to rock with this, and what makeup am I going to do.

This dress definitely has a retro vibe, and you all know how much I love the 60's looks. So I have been browsing the web for inspiration.

New Burlesque icon Dita Von Teese - the ultimate pin-up. I know that isn't technically a 60's look, but she's always a good inspiration for retro looks.

The Mad Men ladies - how much retro and how much prettier than that could you get?

I wanna be January Jones when I grow up. And I think I'll be wearing a pearl necklace with my dress.

Hello, Mrs Holloway - the always beautiful Christina Hendricks.

picture property of Aina, click on it to go visit her blog

Don't think the 60's looks are dated - my friend and fellow blogger Aina rocks the Mad Men look like nobody's business, up to the pin curls!

picture property of Ashley aka HollywoodNoir, click on it to visit her website

Canadian blogger and YouTuber HollywoodNoir is the specialist for pin-up and retro looks, and she makes a beautiful modern Sophia Loren.

Who are your beauty icons? What is inspiring you for this year's Holiday looks?