July 29, 2011

Perfume review: Guerlain Aqua Allegoria - Flora Nymphea

Earlier this week, I saw this review of Aqua Allegoria by Katie Pucrick (and if you aren't subscribed to her YouTube channel, your loss, you should go there and hit the yellow button right now - or rather after you have finished reading this).

I thought: a frangrance based on honey that doesn't smell like candy? I need to try that! So I ran to get a sample of this.

Well, Katie didn't lie to me. When I spritzed it for the first time, I got some citrusy notes - coming from the orange blossom, I guess- and thought 'ewww, noooo!' because citrus is really something I can't wear without getting nauseous. But it disappeared almost instantly, and there came the honey. Lots and lots of honey. And it stayed there.

I mean, hours after I had sprayed this, I still could smell it but it wasn't like simple honey, more like honey surrounded by a field of flowers - honeysuckles, maybe? It was like having a heavy smelling bouquet near me, not in a way that was overly sweet or would induce migraine (thanks heavens!) but definitely, there were flowers and bees in the hair and despite the rain, I could feel Summer around. Which is quite surprising for me as I tend to not associate seasons and perfumes too much, but definitely this one is Summery.

Unfortunately, for me, it kind of stopped there. Katie talked about a hint of salt, a sunkissed skin smell that would be kind of animal, and I was curious about that. However on me, it took hours before I could smell this and even then, I really had to keep my nose on my arm and take a few sniffes to get that. And it's such a shame because, doing so, I did recognize the salty note and then the lovely, velvety, orange blossom that I hadn't perceived so far. And I do find this sensual without being overly sexy, I'd say  grown-up, confident, not needing to invade all the room sexy.

Some people have mentioned a musky scent in the background, but for once I didn't get that, and that's alright because I'm tired of bringing up the musc in everything when I don't enjoy its smell that much.

So I am kind of torn about this perfume. I love love the base notes but I can barely smell them and clearly, nobody around me would be able to smell them. What everyone -including me- would get is the honey/honeysuckle smell and that is not me - a field of flowers is, I think, the last thing I evoke (and that's fine by me). I don't think that getting a 60€ bottle of Florea Nymphea so I can sniff the base notes on myself once in a while is a reasonable. Oh well, that's what samples are for!

July 26, 2011

Battle of the curling irons: regular barrel versus conical wand.

Let's take into account that I'm an average girl when it comes to hair styling: I haven't learned how to do hair (I'm already glad I learned on YouTube how I could dye it myself!), I don't have eyes nor extra arms in the back (that would be convenient) and I don't have a million hours in the morning to do my hair. Or then I'd have to skip doing my makeup but we know that will not happen.

So I have, over the course of the years, bought an arsenal of hot tools in the hope that they would magically make me look like a fairy tale princess (translate: a girl with the prettiest lose curls) in no time and with no pain. All in all, the one I use the most is my Braun Straightener, which also means that I wear my hair poker straight more often than not - that one is pretty easy to use.

But when it comes to curling, I've tried different things... First, there's the regular curling iron, with a small barrel (I have a large barrel one, too but I won't talk about that one today).

Random picture from Babyliss - the curling iron I own is a generic brand from a pro supplies store.

Believe it or not, getting used to this one also took a few YouTube videos, but now I got the hang of it.
Plus sides of these: warm up quickly, often come with different temperature options so you can control the level of damage (hum) you're doing to your hair, and quite easy to use once you know how to do it: use the clip thingy to pinch the bottom of a hair section, roll, release and slowly pull out. You have a nice tight curl which you can later brush out to give it a more natural look. Repeat, in 10 minutes, you're done.

Now the past few years, another type of curling iron has been spreading on the market: the conical wand.

Advantages of this one: warms up quickly, adjustable temperature, but also a conical shape that allows you to play with different sizes for curls, and no clip thingy in your way so you have more flexibility in what you're doing.  Comes with 2 mini gloves that wrap your thumb and pointing finger so that you won't burn yourself in the process. Sounds good.
Excepted it's not that easy...

First of all, my hair just won't stick to the one part I've picked, it tends to always glide back to the finest part of the wand, which can results in poodle hair - not an attractive look, I'm telling you. Also, in order to keep your hair in place, you tend to use the wand in a particular angle that will not be the same all around your head, but that will definitely impact your curls placement!
Secondly: who decided you only needed 2 fingers to use that stuff? I have burnt myself several times because of stupid reflexes that made me use a non-protected finger to grab my hair! If this needs to come with heat-protecting gloves, said gloves should protect your whole hands. Possibly your forearm, too.

My conclusion: the conical wand mostly stays unused and unloved in my drawer. If you are just like me, a regular girl with only 2 (heat sensitive) hands, I do think the regular curling iron is going to work the best. Also, make sure you don't get too large of a barrel, the largest it is, the harder it is to use and the loser the curls will be - if you don't have super long hair, it's likely to be harder to use than a smaller one.

And now I'm off to go get a set of heated rollers. What wouldn't I try in the name of Beauty...

July 25, 2011

A (lazy) girl's guide to exercising.

I must have told you already that I never really liked exercising. When I was a teenager, I was playing tennis and doing Modern Jazz dance, but outside of that, gym classes were a nightmare and I just wasn’t into sports much. After that, there was university, then the first job, then moving out to live on my own... I had a million things in mind and exercising wasn’t one of them.

If I am perfectly honest, walking has been the only kind of exercising I’ve done for the past 10 years.

A few months ago, I saw Nathalie Portman in Black Swan, and read articles on how she had been training for a year to prepare for this role. And I realized that I was missing my dancer’s body, the one I had when I was a teenager. I wasn’t that muscular but my back was always straight and I had killer abs and now, well... I looked more like a big bag of chips, if you know what I mean.

So I decided to find a way to start exercising again - away that would fit into my busy schedule and would be doable at home because let’s be honest, I’ll never go to the gym 3 times a week even if I’ve paid a million bucks for the membership.

So if you’re like me and want to get back on the fitness track without investing much time or money, read on.

First thing I learned: beauty gurus are not the only gurus on YouTube. There is a Fitness community out there and they’ll share the knowledge with you.

Second thing: long aerobic/cardio sessions are out, HIIT (high impact interval training) is in. These are short but intense - even brutal- sessions that will boost your metabolism and burn tons of calories while developing your strength and flexibility. They’re perfect when you don’t have much time because there are tons of circuits that can be done in 10 min. You go for it, you sweat a lot and it’s over before you know it, so you can go on with your life. Exactly what I wanted.

Third thing : if you like dancing and music, there are now tons of disciplines that will make your exercise sessions more fun. Zumba is a very trendy one right now, and if you have a Wii there are Zumba games available. However I don’t have a Wii, I felt like I wasn’t fit enough to start with Zumba immediately, so I looked for DVD alternatives and found a ton of them, I particularly like the ones from Acacia where they have a large dance workout section.

My current routine.

I never thought I’d say that but I’ve been exercising again for 3 months now and I do enjoy it. Sometimes I feel lazy and have to kick myself to start but I always love the way I feel after a session, so that motivates me.

During the week-ends, when I have more time, I do a Bollywood Dance workout. Instructor Hemalayaa is fun and beautiful, the moves aren’t too complicated and I love this kind of workout so much I’ve bought all the DVD’s available so I can get some variation. If you want to target particular body areas, there are a “booty” and a “belly” DVD’s that are among my favorites. You do these workouts bare feet and need zero material.

Now during the week I don’t have time for that. Don’t tell me I could get up early to exercise because I’m already getting less sleep than I need so that won’t happen. And doing an intense cardio workout at night might interfere with your sleep. So I do short Pilates sessions. I found 2 instructors on YouTube that I like a lot: Cassey from Blogilates, who added fun music to her sessions and calls that POP Pilates, and Sarah from The SarahFit Show.

Cassey from Blogilates.com

I do about 3 sessions of 10-15 minutes during the week. I alternate between different workouts that target different areas. You don’t need any other material than a yoga mat and maybe a medicine ball, you don’t need to warm up much and you won’t even sweat much, but you will really feel your muscles burning, and the results are getting visible after a few weeks!

If I wake up early enough or if I don’t have enough time to do a Bollywood workout in the week-end, I will do a HIIT workout. There are tons available from BodyRock.TV; let's be honest, they're pretty hard, but there are always modifications for beginners that are explained, and I love instructor Zuzana because she’s always very joyful. So even if I can't do everything, I do learn some great exercises. You can always mix and match them to create your own workout, 10 exercices is a great average for a beginner.

Zuzana from BodyRock.tv

The results? I haven’t lost weight by exercising only (repeat after me: abs are made in the kitchen), I haven’t transformed into a muscle beast and I still am not a huge sports fanatic. But I am having fun, my abs are definitely more toned, I look better and I feel really good.

So if you want to start exercising, you know what to do! Who’s joining me?

July 23, 2011

The cheapest and most efficient anti-cellulite product ever.

I wrote several times on here about how I don't really believe in anti-cellulite products and about the fact that it's the massaging in of any product that will have some kind of effect. 
Also, I chronically fail at using those products on a daily basis, I just don't know why but I can't be bothered.

However I recently found a little something that does make a difference.

It's a bamboo massage brush. I got it for a couple of euros at the local drugstore, thinking I'd give it a try considering it was so cheap.
Well, it works.

Now let us be realistic: cellulite is the visible mark of the fat we stock, and women are kind of genetically programmed to stock fat (to be able to have babies and feed them). Over 95% women have cellulite, the only way to fight it is to reduce the fat mass considerably and even this way, we might never get rid of it completely. So that's something we need to deal with and make peace with.

But if something can improve the aspect of skin and make it feel smoother and firmer, I say let's go for it. That's what that little tool will do.

You use it under the shower, or right after showering, but I find it works more easily on wet skin so I use it while showering. You can use it on your tights, butt, tummy and hips. The longer the massage, the most efficient this will be; however I have more interesting things to do in life and usually I spend like 1 minute on each leg and that's it.
I've been using this for 2 weeks and I have noticed a difference in skin texture: it does feel smoother and tighter. I don't look cellulite free, but I look better, and I'm happy about that.

So I totally recommend this. If anything, it will activate your blood circulation and exfoliate your skin a bit, and it's super cheap so you have nothing to lose. Let me know what you think if you try it!

July 22, 2011

Born Again

Illamasqua just released their newest mini film, starring once again BAFTA winning actress Vicky McLure.

The movie is about the path of a young woman who wants to embrace her alter ego and let go of her past self, and so to be born again, she must, in a way, die.
I find it's a dark but realistic metaphor for a very true fact in life : moving on for something better often implies that you need to let go of a part of you. (Let's say this is philosophy Friday.)
So, as per usual, I'm quite impressed with their vision and inspiration, and how much deep thoughts can be translated into makeup - or is it the opposite?

This is the short version of the movie, but you can see the uncut one, as well as the making of and an interview of Vicky McLure on the Illamasqua YouTube channel.

And if, just like me, you're curious about what Illamasqua’s Head of Professional, film and TV make-up artist Spob used to create Vicky's stunning look, all products are gathered in a collection on the Illamasqua website.  It features my all time favorite powder blusher, Lover :)

There's also a great competition that you can enter on the Illamasqua Facebook page to experiment with "social sacrifice". I don't know about you, but I'm entering!

July 21, 2011

Hair product review: L'Oreal Professionel Play Ball Wax Smoothie

I usually don't use many styling products, unless I wear my hair curled, in which case I'll need some kind of spray to hold them all day long. But I do like how those curling sprays add texture to the hair and wanted to find something (besides regular hairspray, which can feel cardboard-ish) that I could also use on straight hair.

I had heard about wax sprays (I only knew of regular wax pastes, great for short hair) in a Pixi2woo video so I looked for something like that at my local hair and beauty supply stores, and found this L'Oreal Play Ball Wax Smoothies.

What the brand says.
Spray wax.Whether you want sleek and sexy or funked-up and spiky hair, play ball's your game! It gives structure, definition and texture to all hair types. L'Oreal Professionnel Techni Art Play Ball Wax Smoothie offers a medium hold so it works in tandem with your hair and leaves it smelling deliciously of pears.How to use:Shake well and spray L'Oreal Professionnel Techni Art Play Ball Wax Smoothie over dry hair and sculpt with your fingers.
My experience with the product.
I don't know if I'd say it smells of pears, but this product smells really good and very fruity. It reminded me of some kind of red pomegranate soda I used to drink when I was a kid. Now the smell doesn't linger  around for too long but if you're sensitive to smelly products, this one could be too much for you.

Secondly, the text on the bottle mentions that you can use this Wax Smoothie spray on damp hair, before styling, as well as on dry hair. I like that you can spray as little or as much product as you want to increase hair body - probably to a point where it's too much!
When working with this product, it's safer to go with light sprays though. After a few seconds, the wax is really starting to work and you'll feel that the hair gets a bit tacky, and holds its place if you scrunch it at the roots to give it more volume or in between layers to to give body to the lengths. You'll be safer adding more product bit by bit.

It's super easy to remove by brushing the hair and definitely by washing it. Beware though that L'Oreal labels this as being holding strength 3 out of 6, so it's not the strongest fixing spray and if you have very coarse or thick hair that requires industrial strength styling products, this will probably not be enough.

All in all, a nice little product to quickly add texture, volume and body to the hair, I do like it a lot.

L'Oreal Professionel Play Ball Wax Smoothie - 150ml -  starts at about 9£-12€ but lots of sellers have very different price, so make sure you do a bit of research for the cheapest one!  You can find it on lookfantastic for 10£ and free shipping.

July 18, 2011

Review: Maybelline The Colossal - Cat Eyes mascara

I have honestly lost track of all the versions Maybelline has launched of their Colossal Mascara. I wonder if they made such investments in developping that tube that they need to maximize the return at all costs?
(Just kidding, it's actually the brush that requires the biggest research investment in a mascara, did you know that? Even more than the product itself!)

Anyway, I spotted this at my local supermarket on a day where 1/ I was bad-moody (I blame men) and 2/ my Faux-Cils was on its last leg (I blame YSL) and I didn't have time to go pick another one (I blame work).
So I thought I'd try it.

The brush is made of soft bristles, not spikey latex ones - which I hate, as they hurt my eyes. It's curved, in the style of Lancome Virtuose, with about the same width. It's not nearly as big as a Max Factor 2000 calories, for example, and I don't feel like it's twice the size of my eye!
The formula is quite wet, which I like - not that it will smudge everywhere but I don't like formulations that are too dry as I find them harder to apply.
The color is a very nice black, not greyish at all.

Now these brushes are always a bit weird, most people don't know how to use them. The natural reflex would be to apply with the rounded shape up, parallel to your eyelid, but I have actually read somewhere that you're supposed to use them the other way.
What I do, anyway, is alternating between both sides of the brush. I find that one side will catch the lashes at the roots and make them look thicker, while the other side will coat the lashes and give them length.

The overall result: well this is a nice mascara for lengthening, but in terms of volume it doesn't go anywhere near YSL Faux Cils. I can understand the "cat eye" claim as you can build length at the outer corners quite easily, but with "the collossal" products I always expect more volume and I think this one doesn't deliver as much as the original.
It's a nice mascara, nothing super fancy, but efficient.

I don't think it's already sold in the US at the moment, and in EU it retails at about 13.50€ like the other mascaras from the range.

July 15, 2011

Girls with Glasses!

One question that is asked over and over on makeup forum is definitely "how should I do my makeup if I wear glasses". Even some YouTube beauty guru's have done videos on the topic as they were getting so many requests.

Well I have been wearing glasses since I was 16, and even though I occasionally wear contacts, I still wear glasses most days - my contacts don't agree with harsh lighting, air conditioning and me staring at a screen for 8+ hours, all things that are my life when I'm at work. So, for most office days, glasses will do.

So I feel enough of an expert in glasses wearing to tell you this: you don't have to wear special makeup because of your glasses. If you do a bold look, glasses will tone it down a bit. If you look tired and have undereye circles, glasses might hide them a bit. And if you don't do anything special, your glasses will still "dress up" your eyes in a way. To me glasses are a winner, and you can't go wrong doing any kind of makeup you like. Hey, I've even worn super dramatic falsies with glasses, and even that looked good!

This week we had a little "FOTD wearing glasses" challenge on a makeup forum, so I did try very different looks and I took lots of pics - I thought I would share them with you!

Monday - dramatic and graphic black liner.

You see the look with the glasses on, but it cuts out a tiny bit of the drama.

Tuesday - soft eye, fuchsia lip.

The lipstick is Mac Girl About Town, and the whole look is about it and the orange dress. So the eyes only needed a bit of definition (I always always put at least a soft brown in the crease to give depth!)

Wednesday - neutral eye and red lips!

Tightlining and softly lining give definition to the eye in this look, without competing with the red lips.
Lipstick: Guerlain Rouge G in Geisha.

Thursday - dramatic aquas and teals.

I LOVE this one. It keeps its intensity even with glasses on. I used Mac Steamy and Plumage, and Illamasqua Gimp (gorgeous matte charcoal with a blue undertone, super pigmented and very blendable).
That's a look I'd also wear for a special occasion (maybe adding lashes or a brighter lip) if I couldn't wear contacts for some reason but still wanted to bring some focus on my eyes.

Friday - Purples, and a different pair of glasses. 

This is my backup pair of glasses, I like them but they're very heavy, and at the moment they're not adapted to my current prescription.
On the eyes I'm wearing Mac Naked Lunch, Trax and Shadowy Lady for a soft, blended purple look with some outer corner definition.

I had a lot of fun taking my glasses into account to create these looks. But my point is that the rest of the time, I never do, I wear what I'm in the mood for, and the glasses don't really do anything against it.

Who's a glass wearer and how do you deal with that?

July 13, 2011

Perfume Biography

I randomly found this Perfume Biography tag on a fashion blog a few days ago, and thinking of all the perfumes I wore at some point was a nice trip down memory lane, so I thought I would share it with you, and it would be lovely if you posted your own Perfume Biography  either in the comments or on your blog if you have one.

Late 80's - early 90's.

Is there a teenager from my generation who hasn't been wearing Cacharel perfumes at some point? I tink I started with Anaïs Anaïs when I was 12-13, as this is the eatly teenager perfume, but I wasn't too keen on such a floral scent (that hasn't changed since) and I preferred Loulou, also because it had a more sexy image and it was a bit more oriental.

I like this ad image a lot because back then, Cacharel was also selling makeup, and I liked it a lot, particularly the lipsticks and the "bitten lips" shade that is used in this picture. I did wear that one a lot.

At about the same time, Trussardi released Action, I did get a sample of it and fell totally in love with it.

I found the leathery bottle a bit masculine, and I was in my "be a tomboy to hang out with the boys" stage (clearly, I had it all wrong, thanks heavens, I was already wearing makeup and sporting long hair, that helped a bit). 
The top notes were supposedly floral but then it developped in something more woody and spicy, and I really loved it, although I think now that this wasn't a 13 year old appropriate perfume. Oh well...

Mid 90's.

Later in my teenage years, I fell in love with 2 perfumes. The first one was L'Eau d'Issey, and that was when it was first released.
It was fresh and feminine, floral but edgy because it was also watery in some way. I literally bathed in this one, since I also got the body milk and gosh knows what other scented products from the same range.
Today it makes me pretty sick, that's really weird.

My other perfume love was YSL Champagne. Since YSL's legal forgot to check if they could use that name, they then had to change it and it's now called Yvresse. But the original bottle was looking like a champagne bottle and I did feel that, in between the fruity sugary notes, I could sense the smell of champagne bubbles. This is the frangrance I was wearing when I turned 18 and started College - clearly I was much more into gourmand/sugary smells back then.

Late 90's - 2000.

When I entered the workforce as a young graduate, I wanted to wear something that wouldn't be intoxicating for my colleagues and that would stay fresh through my long days. I picked the original "Les Belles" by Nina Ricci. This was described as " citrusy freedom " and indeed, it was fresh and I thought it smelled like grass and kiwi!
But after my first bottle of that one, I got interested in the variations that had been launched (there were 3, if I remember correctly) and totally fell in love with the blue one, Almond Amour.
If you're familiar with Cantuccini, the hard almond biscuits made in Tuscany, this is exactly what this smelled like: sugary and almondy. And back then I did travel there and brought back these Cantuccini, so that smell was like my favorite thing in the world. I went through several bottles of this one, and at some point my mom was wearing it as well.
This perfume doesn't exist anymore and it's one I'm really missing, but I kept my love of almonds from this one.

Mid 2000 - in Perfume Limbo.
For some reason, after my love story with Almond Amour, I was unable to find something else that I liked. Lots of things gave me headaches, or then I would love them on others but not on my own skin... I kind of gave up on perfume and wore a lot of "barely there" natural frangrances, mainly those 2:

 The Body Shop Lemon Tea: since lemon tea was my drink of choice and this smelled exactly like it, it felt like a safe choice. I did use up a few bottles of this one.

Korres Body Water in its Vanilla Cinnamon version was the start of my love for spices. I still adore this one, but it's been discontinued and I'm on my last back-up bottle (I went through many many of them over the past 6 years!). I usually wear it on week-ends when I'm doing nothing and stay home in comfy yoga clothes. It puts me in a good mood. I'm going to miss it a lot.

Circa 2009, back to perfume.
At some point I decided to find a new perfume again, and I researched everything and anything that would have my beloved Almonds in it. My choice was Kenzo Amour EDP.

I like the mellow feeling the rice gives to it, and still there's the almond in the background. I think of it as a cozy winter perfume, not the one I reach for every day but one I like to have.

Since I discovered Serge Lutens last year, though, a new world of fragrances got open for me, but I told you about that already. I'm now more aware of the notes I like and don't like, and keep on researching less mainstream perfumes to find new things I'll love, so I'll be sure to keep you updated.

July 11, 2011

Foundation Review #28: Illamasqua Skin Base foundation

So as you know I've been trying the new Illamasqua Skin Base foundation since I got it right when it was released. It's time to give you more information on how it's been working for me!

What the brand says about it:

Inspired by the cult Asian market Beauty Balm creams, Skin Base Foundation is a brand new, refined formula unlike anything on the UK market. Easily blendable, it effortlessly creates a perfect complexion, and like the entire Illamasqua foundation range, is undetectable in a professional HD environment. Suitable for all skin types, it smoothes, softens and conditions your skin whilst providing natural, buildable coverage. The Ultimate 'Skin Realism' Foundation

The BB cream factor.

BB creams (as in Blemish Balm cream) were reportedly created by a German dermatologist to protect the skin of patients who just had cosmetic procedures done, but it's the Asian market who got the hold of them. They developped a wide range of BB creams whose common points are: claiming to be an all in one product that requires no primer nor concealer, a high SPF factor, skincare properties - mostly whitening- and very few shades available, wich is often a problem for Caucasian skins.

Now what Illamasqua claims to have done here is develop a product inspired by BB creams but with no SPF (so it's still camera friendly), no whitening properties and a wider variety of shades, from paper white to the darkest black. For me, on some points, the product is exactly that, but on some other it's very different.

First of all, the BB creams I tried were quite thick (since they're full coverage) but easy to spread. Illamasqua Skin Base is more runny in texture but extremely pigmented and not as easy to spread and blend as a BB cream would be. I think that's the bottom line: Skin Base Foundation is a foundation, not a BB Cream. Once you accept that idea, you can start loving the product for what it is: a very good foundation.

The things I like in it:
  • Insane pigmentation, I wouldn't say it does cancel the need for concealer but it does hide a lot of things
  • Extremely lightweight feeling on the skin: once it's blended properly, you don't feel like you're wearing anything despite the huge coverage
  • Gorgeous finish : let it set for a couple of minutes, look at yourself in the mirror, and you'll go "wow". At least that's what I do every time I wear it. Weirdly, right when I'm applying, I'm kind of thinking "meh" but once it's set, I'm always amazed at how beautiful my skin looks with this on. The finish isn't dewy but isn't flat matte, I'd say it's really skin-looking and despite the coverage, it never looks like you're wearing a mask. (Yes, MUFE HD, I'm talking to you.)
  • Longevity: although I find this evolves a bit during the day and my skin oilies will show a bit through the foundation, this does not budge and I still look great 8 hours after applying, which is something I can't say of many foundations.
  • Packaging: easy to use, unbreakable transparent plastic bottle with a nose. You see how much is left, you get the right dose easily.
  • No smell. I love the usual vanilla scent Illamasqua puts in their products (boy, I could sniff my Lover blush all day long) but this one doesn't smell much of anything and for those who are bothered by perfumes in products, this is definitely a good thing.
  • Of course, the shade variety is a big plus. Shade #3 is a perfect match for my natural skin (I'm 133 in other Illamasqua foundations). With a fake tan on I'd probably need #6, but my point is I do believe there's a shade for everybody in this range.
  • At 25£ for 30 ml, its reasonably price compared to a lot of high end or professional foundations.
So far, this sounds pretty much perfect. There are, however, a few things that I didn't like as much.

Firstly, I don't think this would work for dry skin, despite the fact Illamasqua claims it to be suitable for all skin type. I do see that if I have a dry patch, the foundation does enhance it. I also need to say that I feel it goes on better on very well moisturized skin or on top of a silicone rich primer that makes a very smooth base for it. However when I used it over my Becca Silk Hydrating Primer, I found it didn't last as well or as long. My best working base for this foundation is Mac Strobe Cream, as it's lighter than my Estee Lauder Daywear moisturizer.

I also have a feeling that, due to the high pigmentation and the product texture, blending can be tricky. It's not impossible but it does require some work. I found that for me it was a bit easier to blend with my hands (because of their heat) than with a brush. I would say that, typically, a professional makeup artist wouldn't have any difficulty working with this, but for us mere mortals it can be a bit harder and it's definitely requiring more time than applying more mainstream foundations would do. (As a comparison, my Nars Sheer Glow is on in 30 sec and looking perfect.)

So, do I recommend this product? Well, it depends on what you want to use it for.

If you're a makeup artist or someone who gets photographed a lot, then it's a huge yes. If you're someone like me who wants a foundation that makes you look flawless for special occasions and long evenings out, and maybe for being photographed, then it's a big yes too.

If you want that flawless long lasting look for an every day use, of course this will work great, but be prepared for it to be a bit of work. If what you're looking for is something that can be quickly slapped on in the morning and save you from the burden of using primer and concealer, then no - rather turn to an actual BB cream, if you can find a match. 

Also, if you're dried skinned, I think there are better options available for you in the form of cream foundations - and the Illamasqua one is an excellent product, by the way.

EDIT: Sam from Pixiwoo just demonstrated how she uses this product on her dry skin, that includes a good moisturizer and a stippling brush - check it out!

July 7, 2011

Fire! FOTD

Ok, I'll admit it's not that hot today, but it's a beautiful sunny Summer day that definitely called for sunglasses (these are Vogue and are prescription glasses)

I felt like wearing a Summery look and I haven't worn a red in a long while - I actually have a lot of cool reds that I mostly sport in the Winter. But I remembered I got this one a little while ago, it's Illamasqua Ignite.

Isn't that the most beautiful matte orange based red? (and as a bonus, it makes teeth look whiter!) I used it without liner and applied straight from the bullet.

Other products featured:
Nars Sheer Glow foundation in Santa Fe
Bobbi Brown creamy concealer in Warm Ivory
Givenchy Prisme Les Frangipaniers bronzer (LE)
Kiko Milano Sun Bronzing Trio in Highligting Coral (this is a gift from my BFF Lambda that I need to review) topped with a bit of Bobbi Brown shimmer brick in Nectar

Mac Patina, Tempting, Mulch, Mylar (browbone) and Nylon (inner corner) on the eyes, with Maybelline Colossal Cat Eyes mascara.

Do you have a favorite Summer red lipstick or lipgloss?

July 6, 2011

Another old favorites FOTD

Back in the days where Mac wasn't available in my country, (heck, back then I didn't even know what Mac was nor that makeup brushes existed, ) I got 3 Mac eyeshadows as a gift from a friend : Era, Wedge and Contrast. I must admit that I didn't really know how to use them.

Fast forward a few years (4, probably), these are colors that I still like, and I'd definitely recommend them in a basic kit for anybody with blue eyes. Here I replaced Era by All that Glitters for a more peachy look, but basically the kind of look you can achieve is the same, with Wedge in the crease and Contrast on the outer corner. Blue is my favorite color, and Contrast is probably my favorite blue eyeshadow. Here I paired it with a bit of Mac Blooz khol in the upper lashline to intensify it.
I guess you could call this one a signature look of mine, even though I seem to have many :-)

Other products featured: Nars Sheer Glow in Santa Fe, Dior Aurora bronzer, Illamasqua Lover blush and Nars Happy Day velvet gloss pencil. 
Mascara is the new Maybelline Falsies Cat Eyes (which I'll review after a few more uses) in Gloss Black.

I still haven't gotten more sleep, but at least I had my brows done and I'm feeling much better!

July 5, 2011

FOTD - good old favorites

Every time I wear Nars Sheer Glow, I wonder why I trying any other foundation, as it makes my skin look just so perfect. (I couldn't part with Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, though, and  probably not with Diorskin Nude which has the best longevity of the trio).

Now that I'm fake-tanned to celebrate the sunny week we're having, I'm wearing Santa Fe instead of Gobi.

The eye look is also the resurrection of an old favorite combo: Mac paintpots in Rubenesque and Coral Crepe; I added a bit of UD 24/7 in Bourbon, and done!
On the cheeks: Dior Aurora and Nars Orgasm
On the lips: the fuchsia Guerlain Rouge G Serie Noire from this Spring (who's too sheer for my liking in general but good enough for today)

Other than that, I'm due a brow trim and I seriously need more sleep - it's only Tuesday!

July 4, 2011

June Favourites

I can't believe it's that time of the month already, but then I do say that every month, don't I?

The Konjac sponge -  I'm absolutely addicted to it! It makes my skin clean, soft and glowy, what more could I want?

Caudalie Teint Divin self-tanner for the face: a must for my pale skin if I want to look warmer during the Summer days.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse : since I'm showing more skin when the weather is kind enough to get appropriately warm for the season, I like this to keep my skin moisturized but mostly, soft and glowy.

Real Technique by Samantha Champan brushes: I like all the ones I have and have been using them a lot since I got them.

Becca Luminous Skin Color: my skin has been mostly clear enough for me to wear this only, with a bit of concealer. It evens out my skintone very well and is perfect for a glowy summery look.

Givenchy Prisme "Les Frangipaniers" (LE) : I think I've been wearing this one every single day in June! It's natural, pretty, long lasting... I love it, I'm really desperate that it was a limited edition but at least there are permanent Givenchy Prismes whith which I sould be able to replace it if needed.

Makeup For Ever Aquacreams: Every Summer I turn back to cream eyeshadows for quick shimmery and long lasting looks, and this year is no exception. I've done tons of looks such as my quick smokeys with the Aquacreams and I know I'll be using them all Summer!

What were your favorites this month?

July 1, 2011

Favorite look of the moment: quick creamy smoky eye! (FOTD)

And when I say creamy, it's because I do it with cream eyeshadows - not because of the color!
I love how easy and quick it is: you get some cream eyeshadow on your 217, you blend it on your outer corner and into your crease and then you add a shimmery light cream eyeshadow on the rest of the lid and voilà.
You can leave it there, but I like adding a bit of pencil liner at the roots of the lashes and to actually line the eyes and make them more defined. That adds like 30 sec of work to this already quick look.

And if it smudges a bit, well, it's even better - it's Summer and it's nice and sexy to be a bit messy isn't it?
And yes, I've worn this look all week, just changing the colors -even though that doesn't show much on pictures. I'm glad I'm getting to use my drawer of cream eyeshadows (yes, they have a special drawer, that's how much I like them!)

Featured in these looks:
Mac lipstick in Gullabi (LE) and Guerlain Blush G Serie Noire (LE) on pics 1-2
OPI Too Hot Pink To Hold'Em (Texas collection) on the nails
Dior Addict in IT Pink and Nars Orgasm blush in pic 3
Cream eyeshadows: MUFE AquaCream# 15, Benefit Skinny Jeans, Mac Constructivist and Shiseido HydroPowder H9.

Do you have a favorite look at the moment?
Favorites of the month will be posted this week-end!