June 29, 2011

Test driving Illamasqua Skin Base FOTD

Goofy face with glasses, do I look like I'm happy to go to work? haha!

I recently told you how excited I was when I heard of the launch of the new Illamasqua Skin Base foundation.
Well of course, as soon as it was available, last week on Thursday, I hit the order button on the Illamasqua website!
My package was with me on Monday, I was very impressed considering it's international and our post don't work on Saturdays. Good point, Illamasqua.

So today I'm test driving it for the first time (yesterday was definitely too hot for any foundation with 31°C/88°F !!) The shade I got is #3. Here it's warmed up with bronzer because I'm fake tanned and it looked a bit pale.

I'll do a full review when I will have worn this for several days and applied it different ways, but so far I am really impressed: the blending wasn't too difficult, the coverage is impressive, the finish is luminous, and it's still going strong after 6+ hours of wear. Plus, you don't see it on the pics, but I do have a few breakouts around the nose and forehead, and this foundation covers them quite well. 
Maybe a new winner in my book? We'll see...

Other makeup featured:
Bobbi Brown concealer kit in Warm Ivory
Nars Exhibit A blush
Givenchy Les Frangipaniers bronzer (LE)
Mac Constructivist paintpot
Shiseido Hydropowder cream e/s in H9
UD 24/7 liner in Bourbon
YSL Faux Cils in black
Guerlain KissKiss Baby in Rosewood Nude

June 28, 2011

Review: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse

Next instalment in my series of reviews for Nuxe products, the Huile Prodigieuse, which means "prodigious oil". This is the number one product of the brand, the first that was created and on which the brand started building its reputation.

Brand creator Aliza Jabès developped this product because she wanted to have one multi-tasking product she could use on her skin, her hair, and on her baby as well.

The Huile prodigieuse contains 30% oil coming from 6 plants : Borage, St Johnswort, Sweet. Almond, Camellia, Hazelnut, Macadamia. It also contains vitamin E. 98% of the ingredients used in this product are of natural origin.
In combination, those ingredients repair the skin and hair and make them feel smooth.
As I said, it can be used on 36 months and older children.

This oil is a dry formula, which means it will never leave your skin or hair looking greasy or feeling sticky. It has a slight perfume, kind of a plant smell, that is very similar to the one I love in my Crème Etincelance. However this isn't overpowering and doesn't last too long.

I love using this in the summer when I show a lot of skin - I put some on my legs, shoulders, arms and decolletage for a subtle glow and to keep my skin smooth and moisturized, it's absolutely lovely, and so quick to use.
Nuxe has an "Or" (meaning "gold") version of the Huile Prodigieuse that is more bronzy and shimmery and will look good on tanned skin but I always use the regular one since I like it so much and I find its subtle glow to be enough for me.

Nuxe Huile Prodigiuse is sold in 100ml bottles for €26 and in 50ml bottled for about USD 20.
It's on the pricey side but for me it's a must have product and a little goes a long way, so you'll keep your bottle for quite some time.

Ingredients list for the geeks: Isopropyl Isostearate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil*, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Corylus Avellana Nut Oil/Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Parfum/Fragrance, Tocopherol, Borago Officinale Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinale (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hypericum Perforatum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool [N1005/D]

June 27, 2011

Currently loving: Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV sunscreen - SPF 50 PA+++

We're enjoying a glorious -and burning - 31°C/88°F outside today, so on days like this my skin needs less makeup and more protection. Enters a SPF I like a lot: Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen, SPF 50 and PA +++ . Wow, that's a mouthfull. But what does that mean?

Your sunscreen primarily protects your skin from the UVB's, these are the ones that burn your skin. The level of protection is indicated by the SPF factor. This factor doesn't indicate any kind of strength level for the filter, it actually refers to longevity. Say you can stand in the sun without protection for 2 mins before your skin begins to burn, well using a SPF 50 will protect your skin for 2mins x 50 = 100 mins. The higher the factor, the longer your skin is protect without you needing to reapply. 

Next to UVB's, there are also UVA's, and even if they don't burn, they do damage the skin, makes it age faster and contribute to potential melanoma development, so it's important to protect your skin from them too. Sunscreens that protect your skin from UVB's and UVA's are called broad-spectrum, so look for that on the packaging.
One of the method used is called PPD and ranges the level of UVA protection from 1 to 5 stars. Shiseido uses their own system where PA +++ is the highest factor.

So in short, this is an industrial strength sun protection lotion, which I do need because a/ I'm über pale and b/ I have sun allergy also known as sun rash. So protection high is mandatory for me (as it should be for everyone, really).
I ordered this from ichibankao  with the idea to use it on my face, under my makeup. This is in fact designed for outdoor activities and swimming, so I figured it would last pretty well on me. It is supposed to be water resistant, altough it's always advised to reapply SPF after a swim.
(Side note: That means you'll need to use an oil-based cleanser to remove it properly at night)

The product is a very liquidy white milk that applies very easily and feels really lightweight on the skin. It doesn't have a smell, it sinks into the skin quite well, and it creates a perfectly smooth surface for your makeup to be applied on.
Through the day, it doesn't make me look greasy, neither does it make my makeup glide or move around. I have to say, though, that on days where I need to wear this, I generally don't wear a heavy base on top - tinted moisturizer or powder are my bases of choice for hot days.

Shiseido Anessa, like other Japanese sunscreens, can be on the pricier side and need to be ordered online, but I haven't found an equivalent in the brands available here that would provide so much protection with such a lightweight formula that doubles up as a makeup primer. Definitely worth a try in my opinion!

Ingredient list for the geeks: 
Active ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 7.494% Zinc Oxide 8.360% Octocrylene 3.000% Polysilicone-15 3.000% Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate 1.000% Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine 0.500% 
Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, water, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, zinc oxide, alcohol, dimethicone, ethylhexylpalmitate, talc, isododecane, polymethylsilsesquioxane, octocrylene, polysilicone-15, titanium dioxide, polybutylene glycol/PPG-9/1 copolymer, trimethylsiloxysilicate, methyl gluceth-10, diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, nis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, C9-15 flouroalcohol phosphate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, gentiana urnula flower extract, sodium hyaluronate, thymus serpillum extract, potentilla erecta root extract, PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, acrylates/ dimethicone copolymer, isostearic acid, sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate/ methyacrylamindolauric acid copolymer, disteardimonium hectorite, alumina, butylene glycol, triethoxycaprylylsilane, trisodium EDTA, BHT, phenoxyethanol, fragrance

June 26, 2011

Sunday Randomness

I have been a lazy blogger this week and I apologize. In fact I was more of a busy employee, if you see what I mean. I also haven't been shopping for makeup since I came back from London and haven't really had anything new to review or share but now I have a few exciting things coming in the mail, hopefully during the coming week so stay tuned.

I have also been doing a lot of "no makeup" makeups lately. Maybe I got inspired by those 2 videos:

or maybe I just wanted to not cover my skin too much, since it looks very good at the moment - I give credit to the Konjac sponge and its micro-exfoliating effect for that.

Anyway, here's what it looks like on me (even though I defined the eyes a bit more on that day):

As you can see I still like to rock the soft curls created with my flat iron :)

On a totally different note, this is the worked DVD I'm hooked on at the moment:

Fantastic cardio workout that will really put your booty, your tights and your core at work! I've been doing this twice a week recently. You can get the DVD here on Amazon.

And then to close this post, a beautiful pic of the even more beautiful Christina Hendrickx, I think I'm going to try that makeup look this week.

What's up with you ladies?

June 21, 2011

Review: Nuxe Creme Etincelante

I have never really reviewed Nuxe products so far even though I have used them for years, but that's because I wasn't too sure of their availability outside of France. Now they have landed in the US, they can be bought online from pretty much anywhere, so I thought it would be interesting for some of you to read the opinion of a long-time user of the brand.

So first of all, a word about the brand itself. It was created in the early 90's by a young French businesswoman . The first product she developped was the Huile Prodigieuse,a multi-tasking oil that is very practical for active women who are also young mothers, like herself. The public embraced this great product and the new brand's ethos: no mineral oil, mostly no parabens, no animal ingredients and the use of natural active ingredients to promote beauty in a healthy and nature-friendly way. That sounds pretty good.

One product I like a lot is the Crème Etincelante, which is resurfacing cream ensuring radiant and refined skin - think light peeling. I'm actually concerned it might be discontinued in France but it's still available online and present on the US website, so I think you guys should enjoy it while you can.

The product pitch, as the brand gives it:

Hibiscus Flower, Citrus Fruit Acids (Lemon, Orange) and Sugars gently exfoliate your epidermis. Poppy Petals have a moisturizing effect and the precious Lupine Flower oxygenates your skin.

Is this product for me?
Yes, if your skin is thick or if you have blemishes (hard spots, open pores). It is also suitable for normal to combination skins, should they be dull or shiny.

In short, this is a moisturizer containing fruit acids and plant extracts, that will help skins with imperfections achieve a more even skintone and smoother skin surface.

Does this work?
This is a pretty active formula, indeed. I need to mention that there is a lotion version for very oily skin, and that the cream version exists for normal skin or for dry skin; the one I use is the cream for normal skin.
I do see improvement on my skin with this cream (hey, I have even repurchased it!), even right after application as it makes a smooth even base for makeup, and keep your skin quite matte for a long while.
The downside: I can't wear it on a daily basis, as it makes my skin get a bit tight and sensitive. That's just me, and I guess that comes from the fruit acids. Just like with any type of AHA, I have found I can still use this a few times a week without issues; so typically that will be what I put on my face on a day where I don't wear any makeup, for example.

I must also say that I adore the texture and the perfume of this produt, I would probably repurchase only for that if it were just a regular moisturizer!

The product comes in a 50ml jar and retails for USD 33 to 44 (check out several retailers!) - £23 - €22 to 30. (For once the conversion factors are quite right).

Full ingredient list (and there are parabens in this one, maybe that's because it's being phased out?):
Aqua (water), octyldodecanol, butylene glycol, glycerin, cyclopentasiloxane, C20-22 alkyl phosphate, boron nitride, hydrogenated coconut oil, C20-22 alcohols, xylitylglucoside, anhydroxylitol, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, fagus sylvatica extract, papaver rhoeas seed extract, hydrolysed lupine protein octenylsuccinate, bisabolol, hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract, vaccinium myrtillus fruit/leaf extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) seed extract, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel extract, adansonia digitata pulp extract, papaver rhoeas petal extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) fruit extract, hydrolysed sweet almond protein, acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, glycine soja (soybean) sterols, tromethamine, hydroxyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, tocopherol, xylitol, phenoxyethanol, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, benzophenone-4 (sulisobenzone), ceteareth-20, polyacrylate-13, squalane, acetylated glycol stearate, cetearyl alcohol, parfum (fragrance), tristearin, behenyl alcohol, polyisobutene, acrylates/C10-3- alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, methylparaben, polysorbate 60, phospholipides, cyclohexasiloxane, disodium EDTA, glycerrhetinic acid, hydrogenated castor oil, ethylparaben, butylparaben, polysorbate 20, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, retinyl palmitate, tocopheryl acetate, ethyl linoleate, ethyl linolenate, ethyl oleate, xanthan gum, beta-carotene, benzyl salicylate, geraniol, hydroxycitronellal, citronellol, butylphenyl methylpropional, limonene, linalool.

June 20, 2011

Review/Rave: the Konjac sponge

What on earth is this mysterious name for a sponge? Well, let me explain.
Konjac is a plant that grows in Asia, in tropical and subtropical areas. I wanted to show you a picture but to be honest it's a really ugly plant, so I'd rather not.
Anyways, this plant has a corm that is often referred to as yam, even though it has nothing to do with the actual potato family. But it's edible, too, and it's used in a lot of recipes in several Asian countries.

Now this blog hasn't turned into a food one overnight, and our Konjac plant is very fibery, which allows the making of sponges that are 100% made of those vegetal fibers. How cool is that?
Those sponges are totally natural, free of additive or color and when they're getting tired they can be made into compost or used to give moisture in plant pots, so that makes them 100% recyclable.

But what do they do for you? Well they're extremely soft and can be used on any type of skin, including on fragile baby skin. People with eczema or psoriasis can use them too.
The sponges can be used on face and body, alone or with a tiny bit of cleanser (really a tiny bit because it will foam like crazy with the sponge).

Through gentle massage, the Konjac sponge is supposed to stimulates blood flow and activate skin renewal, as well as very slightly exfoliating the skin. Now I cannot measure this, of course, but what I know is that it does leave my skin fresh, clean, feeling plumped and looking glowy. So I absolutely love it!

Now you can use the natural version whatever your skin condition is, but there are also a couple of versions that are enriched with different types of clay, that are made for the face only and that help with particular skin conditions :

  • pink clay for tired, devitalized skin
  • green clay for normal to oily skin
  • red clay for dry and sensitive skin, which is the one I am using at the moment as my cheeks are sensitive and kind of dry
  • There is also a version with Bamboo Charcoal for very oily or acne prone skins.
A Konjac sponge costs £5.25 and will last you about 3 months, depending on how you use it and care for it.
I use mine in the morning with no cleanser, and sometimes in the evening to rinse off my Shu Uemura cleansing oil when it's emulsified. I heard it works great with a makeup removing balm as well.
I absolutely adore the feeling of that sponge on my skin, particularly in the morning as it helps me waking up and makes my skin looks fab before I put makeup on. 
I definitely recommend this little guy to everyone as it's such an affordable and natural but effective beauty tool.

Konjac Sponges can be purchased from The Konjac Sponge Company or from Zuneta; both will ship internationally.
If you wish to see the sponge in action, here's a little demo by makeup artist Katie Hugues.

June 16, 2011

Currently using: Lierac Ultra Body-Lift 10 slimming serum

Remember that a few months ago, I told you about this new Nuxe organic Oil I was trying to fight that awful  normal thing that is cellulite? Well it's going to be hard for me to review that one seriously for you. First of all, I've not been that good at following my diet resolutions. Secondly I haven't been very good either at applying the product on a daily basis. And thirdly, somewhere along the road I started exercising again so that interferes as well.
Anyways, as I expected: no miracle; but this is a very nice moisturizing oil that helps with firming the skin a bit, at least that's how it felt.

So now I'm moving onto something else, and it's a product I already used a few years ago - a friend of mine gave me a full bottle of it recently so we're reunited.
It's not Lierac's most recent slimming serum, they have launched several new products after that one, but there's quite a few things I like in this good old product:
- the packaging is very practical to use: twist the cap and squeeze
- it's bubblegom pink
- it's very easy to apply and it dries very quickly without leaving your skin sticky, so you can apply in the morning before getting dressed
- it smells good
- it contains caffeine, which is the most used anti-cellulite ingredient 

Does it work? Well, we'll see, but as you know I don't expect miracles: all women have cellulite, as they're kind of genetically programmed to stock on fat. There's no miracle product that can change that, and all I'm hoping for is an improvement of the skin surface appearance. Massaging the skin on a regular basis does help with that. There are a few other tricks that you can use, and if you haven't seen it yet, just look at this video by the lovely Gemsmaquillage, as she explains them pretty well.

Other than that, while my previous produc was organic, this one contains parabens, perfume, artificial colors... you name it. Not for you if you're into the natural stuff but as you know, I'm not really bothered by those ingredients.

Lierac Ultra Body Lift 10 is 200ml and retails for about 24€ - USD 36.

June 15, 2011

Review : Caudalie Soin Divin - gradual self tanning cream

The sun is coming and going, and to be honest, this year, I can't really be bothered putting on a fake tan on a regular basis. If my legs aren't bare, they don't need to be tanned, right?
However, my skin has gone a bit darker than my neck, and I tend to show more cleavage than in Winter. And if I want to be able to use a bit of bronzer to warm it up my face, I need this whole area to be even.

Enters this gradual self-tanner for the face!
I realize I've never reviewed a Caudalie product before, and that's simply because I am allergic to a lot of them. But I had tried this one a few years ago and knew it was fine, so I picked it without second thoughts at the pharmacy - it costs about 17€ for 30ml.

The product is extremely fluid, almost like a lotion more than a cream. It's pale yellow, so no color guide for application, but quite frankly you just need to apply this like you would with a moisturizer and you'll be just fine.
The result is progressive, indeed, without being almost invisible after one application. Thanks to this gradual system, this is virtually fool-proof. I apply 5 min before going to bed and have never woken up with white streaks on the cheek I sleep on :)

The only downside: the smell. When you apply it smells very nice, kind of like lemon pie, it's very pleasant. But of course, after a couple of hours, while the tan is developping, there's this usual biscuity fake-tan smell that appears and you can't hide it.
Luckily, though, once you've washed your face once it never really comes back.

Do I recommend this? Well if you can stand the AHA in it, I think the Xen-Tan face tanner is at least as good, is a great skincare product at the same time, and doesn't smell at all like self-tanner.
But if you have easier access to Caudalie or are a fan of the brand, this is definitely a good product that won't bring you any bad surprise.

June 14, 2011

Picture tagged by Mira Sundari

Something not beauty related today, but it's because randomness brought up something different!
My friend and fellow blogger Mira tagged me with this picture tag:

1. Go to the fourth folder in your computer where you store your pics (do not cheat).
2. Then pick the fourth picture in the folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

Well, here's my picture.

I bet you didn't expect that kind of picture, uh?

The 4th folder in my computer contains a lot of pictures from the previous generations in my family. I got them last year from one of my aunts who spent quite some time gathering them and scanning them so they could be shared with the whole family.

These people are my great-grand parents on my mother's side. The baby they're holding is my mother's aunt. That aunt actually lived till 93 years old so I have known her well into my late teens. My own grand-mother, whom I haven't known, was the second child in that family and wasn't born yet when the picture was taken. This is what allows me to say that this portrait was made circa 1900.

The very strange thing on this picture, for me, is that the great-grand mother looks a lot like my own mom. Or I guess I should say that my mom looked a lot like her grandma. Apart from the dated hair and clothes, and maybe the severe expression which my mom didn't have, they could have been twins.
The baby, though, was going to grow looking a lot like her dad. And, very strangely, in the last months of her life, my mom started looking a lot like her.

I guess genetics always catches you back, eh? One of my cousins actually looks a lot like our great-grandpa. I like the idea that there can still be a lot of things from a person that will be brought to life again by genes generations later :-)

OK, enough family rambling, I need to tag 4 people now! They are:

Can't wait to see your pictures, ladies!

June 13, 2011

Blog sales!

Before going to London I went through my stash and decided to got rid of some not-well-loved items so I could make room for the new ones to come!

I finally got to post everything, so please go visit the blog sales blog and drop a comment if you're interested in something. There's lots of Chanel and Nars, also some Becca, Guerlain, Lancome and a Burberry perfume.

Review: Real Techniques by Samatha Chapman Brushes

Samantha Chapman, first half of Pixiwoo and creator of these brushes

When Sam Chapman announced the launch of her brushes and the Real Techniques website, I was really excited.
First of all, because I was positive that a professional like Sam wouldn't be putting anything on the market that would be less than fabulous.
Secondly, because these brushes were very affordable.
And finally, because I heard that the manufacturers of these brushes are the same that make the EcoTools brushes and I absolutely love those. (Don't have any official information on that, though, so I could be wrong but I read that several times).

It took some times for those brushes to be available internationally but here we are: I was able to get some from Love-Makeup.co.uk - and I was really impressed by the fast shipping for a reasonable price, I must say.

So I got my brushes a week ago and have been using them every day since so I could review them for you. 
Generally speaking, all brushes are really soft, they don't shed at all, they're not smelly or anything and they kept their shape after I washed them with warm water and Marseille soap like I do for all my brushes. All brushes are made of Tacklon and are cruelty-free, which is great.
The color of the handle indicates the use of the brush: eye brushes are purple, yellow ones are for face and pink ones are 'finishing' brushes. The whole name of the brush is written on the handle, so it's really helpful for beginners.
I also like that all brushes have a flat end to their handles so they can stand on it.

The first set I got is the Starter Set for eyes. 

This one comes with a little poach that is very useful for travelling and can also double up as a holder. I think this is great for beginners, particularly as this whole set is excellent value for money at £18.99/ USD 15.99

The brushes coming in this set are: 
  • Base shadow brush: this one is a wide flat shader brush that works great to apply a wash of color on the whole lid. I find it takes less pigment than an Mac 239 but it's a very nice shader brush.
  • Deluxe crease brush: I love this one, it's round and quite big, I love it for applying crease color and blending it at the same time, or for blending the edges of my crease color into my brow-bone color. 
  • Accent brush: this one is very nice for detailed work like under the lower lash-line. I absolutely love it as I didn't own any kind of smudger brush before and I love how precise this one is.
  • Brow brush: is an angled brush to define the brows - probably too wide to be used as a liner brush I'd say, but it's not what it's meant to be
  • Pixel-point eyeliner brush: I must be honest I haven't tried this one with gel liner yet as I like my Mac 210 so much and this one is quite different. But if you want to use eyeshadow rather then liquid or gel liner, this is great.
For the face, I didn't pick a while set but got 2 brushes. The first is the Foundation Brush.

This brush has relatively firm bristles, a bit like the Mac 190. But its particularity is the angled shape, that allows you to apply foundation very easily around the nose and under the eyes. It seems so obvious that I can't believe there aren't more brands that offer this kind of foundation brush!
There's something you need to be cautious with, though: the brush being quite large, it feels easy to spread the foundation all over the face in just a few wide moves, but if you do that you might leave streaky marks. Make sure to use smaller motions to prevent that.
This one costs £8.99/ USD 9.99

Last but not least, I got the Stippling brush, and I must say it's the one I was the most excited about getting because I had a feeling it would perform well for foundation application.
I decided to put it on a hard test and try it with Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation. This one has the (quite deserved) reputation to be hard to apply, particularly if you don't have the right technique and obviously the right tools. Following the advice I had gotten at the Illamasqua counter, I used a very small amount of product and applied in very soft light strokes with the stippling brush. It worked like a dream, I was really impressed - and if this brush can apply this foundation perfectly, it will work with everything else.
This one also costs £8.99/ USD 9.99

My overall conclusion.
These brushes are very good quality and excellent value for money. Beginners could get along with getting a Starter Set for eyes and the Core Collection set for the face, and be ready to practice with good tools without having made a huge investment.

I'm a bit sad there's no real equivalent of a Mac 217 in the range, at least not that I know of, but I guess that's ok if that's the only pricey Mac brush you have to get on the side.

I'm probably going to get the other face brushes soon, and maybe an extra Stippling brush, so I can alternate when I wash them and let them dry - since synthetic brushes always take more time to dry, that's their only downside for me.

Real Techniques brushes are definitely a great addition to the makeup world!

June 11, 2011

Androïd Cupcakes and other Blues FOTD

This week I've been both revisiting an old favorite look and trying out new or still untried goodies.

I don't know what inspired me to recreate this look from last Summer with Mac Soften The Mood trio.
It's soft, pretty, feminine and still work appropriate.

Although it's not very visible, I also used my flat iron to do some soft curls again. I actually sported this hairstyle all week, and even did this makeup several days in a row (which hardly ever happens).
Lipstick is Mac Blankety, blush is Nars Deep Throat but there's a bit of bronzer underneath.
Base is the Becca Skin Perfecting System that I've already worn in past FOTD's.

After a week of soft work appropriate looks, week-end obviously calls for more drama!
I wanted to try my new Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment.

Going through my stash to find something I could pair it with, I found my mini-size of Fyrinnae Calavera Cupcakes, which is a beautiful greyish light blue

You can't see that in the pictures, but both pigments are very shimmery. It's pretty and it would be perfect for a night out! I actually think it looks like a shimmery version of Nars Underworld. A little bit darker, maybe.
As a base I used my now discontinued Biotherm Aquaradiance Light! foundation. I now notice that in terms of texture, it looks a bit like Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, but definitely with less coverage. Blushes are Happy Together and Nars Penny Lane.

This makes me think of revisiting more old looks in the coming weeks. Who's with me?

June 9, 2011

Refuse to be Everybody, and other Illamasqua news

Guess what, I'm even more obsessed with Illamasqua since my makeover there.
I was really excited to receive the news on their Refuse To Be Everybody Boutique purely because of the name even before I saw the products in it!

I might be rambling here, but the makeup world isn't very daring at all, and lots of women use makeup purely to look polished and office appropriate - which is fine, I do that too. But I find it refreshing that a brand offers an alternative and tells you to express the most unique things in you and to not give a damn what other people will say. Don't you ever feel the need to do that? Because I surely do.

Anyway, the Refuse to Be Everybody Boutique is a collection of 25 products picked for their uniqueness in terms of shade or use, like the silver lipgloss in Galaxy (that I own but have admittedly never worn yet) or the bright orange eyeshadow in Vapour, or the beautiful set of Nail Quills.
You can order those products, but if you order 60£ worth of products on the rest of the site, you can also pick a product from the Refuse to Be Everybody collection and get it for free with the code 'refuse60 '

On other news, Illamasqua is launching a new foundation, which I can't wait to try!
It sounds like it's going to be very different from the existing foundations in the range, because it's based on the famous BB creams that the Asian market is obsessed about (and I blogged about them here, over a year ago).

The thing with the Asian BB creams is that they're not always easy to get - you have to order online, making a choice is hard and there are fakes all over eBay as weel- and they often come in one or two colors only. You may find a BB cream that you like in terms of texture and result but that won't match your skin and will make you look ashy. I think it's probably the biggest reason why this type of product isn't more appreciated in Europe or America.

Illamasqua is bringing a little revolution in the BB cream world by offering 18 shades in their new Skin Base BB cream type foundation, there will really be a shade for everyone since the lightest one is white and the darkest one is almost black.
I'm hoping that, like traditional BB creams, this foundation will be easy to blend and very buildable and will look flawless but still natural (I realize this sounds almost too good to be true but I do have high expectations). So I really can't wait to try it and will of course review it for you (I can't believe how long it's been since I last reviewed a foundation!)

Skin Base will be available online from 23rd June  -   £25  - 30ml, you can sign in to be informed by e-mail when your shade is available for order.

June 8, 2011

Quick and easy FOTD

The dreaded day has arrived where I need to go back to work after 2 weeks of vacation. But well, work is what pays for makeup and other pretties, right?

I wasn't really inspired as of what to wear or to do makeup wise. So I just slightly curled my hair with the flat iron, like I did the other day. And I went for my go-to face: winged liner and bright lipstick.

Clarins Everlasting foundation in Beige
Bobbi Brown creamy concealer in Warm Ivory
Givenchy Les Frangipaniers bronzer
Illamasqua powder blush in Hussy (applied lightly with a dual fiber brush, this is seriously pigmented!)

Illamasqua brow powder in Thunder
Mac Brule
Mac Mulch
Mac Blacktrack fluidline
YSL Faux Cils mascara in black

Mac Lickable, one of my favorite fuchsias

Maybe I'll bemore creative (and will look more joyful) tomorrow.

June 7, 2011

FOTD: graphic liner, and Kim K soft curls

While enjoying 2 last days of vacation before going back to work (boooh), I'm taking my time to play with hair and makeup in the morning!
This look is inspired by this hair tutorial:

and this makeup tutorial:

And here's the result!

For the hair I used my Braun flat iron at maximum temperature, like I always do when I straighten my hair. I then shook the hair and messed it up a bit with my Phyto 9 day cream, and added a bit of hairspray.
I must say it's not too difficult to achieve and I do like this style a lot!

For the eyes I chose to use a navy liner instead of a black one, that's Bobbi Brown Ink in Cobalt.
Working with liner always takes a bit of time, but it's easy to fix mistakes with gel liner if you keep cotton buds and your Bioderma handy!

Have you tried any new FOTD recently?

June 6, 2011

Trying: Shellac!

The above hand is mine, right after I've been Shellac'd. The other pic had a reglar manicure done.

So while I was in London, I got Shellac'd.

Shellac is a new type of manicure by CND,  that has been on the market for about a year. 
The announced benefits are:
- a manicure that lasts for 14 days, glossiness included
- no waiting/drying time
- easy to remove in 10 minutes
- zero damage done to your nails
- "3-Free" products (no Formaldehyde, Toluene or DBP)

Basically, the Shellac products are like hybrids between regular nailpolishes and gels, like the ones used to create fake nails.
The nail technician wil apply a base coat, 2 coats of color and a top coat, and in-between coats your hand will spend 2 minutes under a UV lamp so the layer that's just been applied can solidify. As easy as that.
The whole process takes about 30 min and then you're ready for 14 days.

Does it really work?
9 days later
It does. The result is flawless and shiny, and it stays so.
However, I do have nails that tend to break and unfortunately, 2 of them broke this week-end, causing the Shellac to peel off a bit.
Other than that, it stays shiny and pretty.
The only thing you will notice is a demarcation along the cuticle, as the nail grows.

Removing it.
The product is likely to stay put for more than 14 days, however Shellac does advice to remove it after that time, as leaving it on longer would make it more resistant to removal. I can't help but wonder whether that's true or whether that's just a marketing argument to make you book more appointments.
It's also advised that you get the manicure removed by a nail tech.

Personally I'm not going to do that since there isn't any available in my area and I can't go back to London just for that. However some salons do sell remover wraps so you can do it yourself, and basically all it takes is acetone. Put it on cotton pads, wrap on your fingers with aluminium foil and then wait for 10 minutes.

Would I recommend it?
Mostly, but not for everybody. 

Yes, for special occasions, or if you're a super busy mom and/or business woman who doesn't have much time to take care of her nails. Yes, if you're used to getting a manicure done every week as this is more expensive but needs to be redone less often. Yes, if you're going on holiday or honey moon and don't want to take along nail products.

No if -like me- you like to change your nail color often, or if you like a lot of variety. 
Actually there aren't many colors available at the moment, even though there should be more around September - colors that I usually love (navy, teal...) aren't currently part of the range. Also the finish will always be glossy, so if you like cremes or even jellies, that's not possible for now.
No, if you don't want to spend 50 to 100% more for a manicure, and some more bucks to get it removed if you don't want to do it yourself.

I would do it again before going on holiday, and I think I'd do it on my toe nails as well because they grow slower and don't break easily, so I could keep the Shellac longer there and make up for the high price.

June 3, 2011

May Favorites

We enjoyed a gorgeous, sunny and hot month of May, wich isn't usual where I live. So I've been using lightweight bases and summer shades a lot.

Shu Uemura cleansing oils.

I'm still loving the oil cleansing method, that I do either with my own blend or with Shu Uemura oils. I've been trying the orange one for dry skin recently, and surprisingly it works extremely well for me as it has helped my dry patches getting back to normal. I also love its smell! But I still use the pink one, too - I'm just alternating between all my cleansing oils.

Edward Bess lipstick in Night Romance.

picture from Modesty Brown blog

I've been wearing this a lot, I actually haven't really worn any other color these past weeks, as I love the texture, smell and pigmentation of this one.

St Tropez mousse.
So easy to apply for a quick fake tan, I've used it a lot on my legs during those sunny days. 

Origins Vita Zing SPF 15

Despite the fact that I still don't like the smell of it, I've been wearing VitaZing on its own on the days I'm not working. Add some concealer and you have a glowy, radiant face without much effort.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.

I love how this feels like a second layer of skin. Sometimes I use it only on the center of my face where I have a bit of discoloration, while I use VitaZing everywhere else. 
I've also been adding a bit of Helena Rubinstein Color to Mix  to it to warm it up if I'm fake tanned, because B10 is quite a light color.

Selfridges on Oxford Street, London.

Definitely the place to go for makeup if you're visiting London.

What are your May favorites?

June 2, 2011

The Illamasqua Transformation(s) @ Selfridges, London.

You know I have loved Illamasqua for a long time, pretty much since they launched, not only for their products but also because of their vision of makeup as a tool to reveal the bolder - or darker - you. 
When planning our London week-end with my friends, we decided we should go and meet our Alter Ego's, so I booked appointments at the Selfridges counter.

So we went there on Friday afternoon. One of my friends, whom we'll call Miss B, doesn't wear much makeup on a daily basis. But she loves smokey eyes and has a passion for false lashes, so that's what she went for.

Makeup Artist Albertas creating a smoky eye on Miss B!
Her makeup artist used Surge liquid metal as a base and then blended several lose pigments on top, using quite a lot of Android - which I found so pretty I had to get it for myself as well.

Isn't Android pigment gorgeous??

My other friend, fellow French beauty blogger Une Fille Lambda, had her makeup done by national makeup artist Mika Doll - lucky her! Although I consider myself lucky too since I could watch him work and take a ton of pictures.

National makeup artist Mika is creating Lambda's makeup
Lambda has beautiful hazel eyes, and absolutely loves purple. She did't give Mika any special request, as she wanted to see what he would come up with, but I can tell you she was very excited when he picked purple eyeshadows for her look!

Mika created this gorgeous purple look with what I'd call "reverse" liner: the liner on the upper lid is pale while black liner is applied under the lower lashline and comes up to meet the outer part of the lid makeup in a kind of wing. A mix of matte eyeshadows and shimmery pigments was used. No false lashes were applied with this look.
Also Lambda doesn't like the look of blush too much on herself, and Mika agreed that it wasn't the best thing to enhance her features so he contoured her cheeks insteead.

Isn't she lovely?

After my friends'makeup was done and I had taken a million pictures, it was my turn to sit on the chair. My makeup artist was the lovely Cristina. I only told her I wasn't exactly conservative with makeup and she could do whatever she wanted and be creative. 

Cristina doing my makeup.
Cristina started with the eyes, and told me she would do my base later as she was going to use pigments that would probably fall out. But she used Illamasqua Mat primer all over the face, then did use a bit of foundation on my eyes before starting, though.
As she wanted to surprise me, she didn't let me see much of the makeup before it was finished, but she made sure to explain all the different steps afterwards - and Miss B was taking tons of pics for me to use anyway :)

Cristina used liquid metals in Resolute (red) and Phenomena (silver) mixed together as a base on the lid.
She then used pure pigment in Fervent (a reddish brown with blue sparkles in it) patted on the inner 2/3ds of the lid, and Gimp eyeshadow (matte slate grey black) on the outer third and into the crease. She blended the edges and contoured the eye above the crease with Vulgar eyeshadow (bright orange).
She lined the waterline with Sophie pencil (black) and also used some into the lower lashes, before adding Fervent pigment to line the lower lash line.
Finally, she patted Daemon eyeshadow (matte scarlet red) on top of Fervent pigment, and applied lashes #17 and a bit of black liquid liner.

Cristina used Rich Liquid foundation in 150 under my eyes to hide under eye dark circles, and Rich Liquid foundation in 200 on the rest of my face, making sure both colors would blend seamlessly.
She used Rich Liquid for 2 reasons: to hide the surface redness on my face and create a blank canvas, but also because I tried it a long time ago and couldn't make it work for me - this way I could learn how to apply it. The trick is to use a blusher brush, dip it in the tiniest amount of foundation (and I mean less than a pea size, really a small amount) and then apply with feather-like movements, almost not touching the skin and definitely not rubbing or pushing the product into it. The result was absolutely flawless and not cakey at all.

Then Cristina applied Hussy powder blush, a tad bit of gleam cream to highlight the top of the cheeks, and then she picked Maneater lipstick, which is a gorgeous matte scarlet red. 

the finished look
We absolutely loved our experience at Illamasqua. All the makeup artists were absolutely adorable, very professional and talented and very respectful of what we wanted. If you want to get a makeover at Illamasqua but fear that the look will be too bold for you, I don't think you need to worry as all makeup artists will listen to your wishes and create something that works for you.
If you're interested in booking for a makeover at Selfridges, you can find more information here

me with makeup artist Cristina