February 29, 2012

The ultimate guide to Illamasqua foundations.

Recently, the funniest makeup artist on YouTube aka the talented Dustyohunter released a series of videos meant to be a guide to Illamasqua foundations.

This video is actually the "master" one, that links to other videos showing the application for each Illamasqua foundation available.

I did find it a very interesting series, and thought I would share it with you, but I also thought it would be a good opportunity for me to summarize my thoughts on those foundations, since I have used all of them myself. Of course, I did review them, but as time goes you sometimes find new tricks or make new comparisons. Also, my opinion and my application tips sometimes differ from Dustin's, so even if you saw those videos, you might still learn something new :)

Rich Liquid Foundation.
This one is definitely the trickiest of the bunch, to the point that I would almost say it'd better be left to pros. But if you are looking for the fullest coverage ever and you apply with the right technique, this is simply stunning.
Dustin talks about how you can mix it with moisturizer (yes, it will make the product easier to work with, but for me, also less long-lasting) and about how he applied it alone using quite a large amount.
For me what works best is the way I was taught at the Illamasqua counter in Selfridge's, London: use less than a pea size for the whole face, and use a blush-type brush and very light, feathery strokes. That will give you the best flawless result and yes, that little amount will be enough for a full face. (My favorite brush for this is the Real Techniques Stippling brush). Since the texture is quite dry, make sure your skin is well prepped, especially if you're dry skinned.

What I do most of the time with this foundation is use it in conjunction with a lighter one, concentrating this on the areas where I have hyperpigmentation issues or redness. It acts like an eraser on top of any other foundation.

Light Liquid Foundation.
Sheer dewy coverage, easy to apply with hands or brush, this one is a no-brainer but it's also comparable to lots of other products on the market. I also find that, as it is water based, the feeling on the skin can be a bit plasticy - which the new generation of water based foundations like Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua doesn't do anymore. I feel this is a more pigmented equivalent of Mac Face & Body, but not as long-lasting (and so maybe not suitable for body use).

Cream Foundation.
Dustin complained about the lack of coverage of this one. I find that if you apply it with a sponge rather than a brush, you do get more coverage. I use this one in very cold weather, as this gives my dry cheeks a nice dewy finish and some protection. I wouldn't use it all year long because I find the application takes quite a bit of time. When I don't want to use a sponge, I'll go with a flat top brush - but that always takes more time than slapping on liquid with your hands.

Powder Foundation.
This is my least favorite of the bunch. I don't use powder foundation unless we're in hot summer and I want to top a tinted moisturizer with powder on my T-zone for longevity. This one smells good, but other than that it flies everywhere (you can see that in the video too) and I find it doesn't last too long. I'm using it up as a powder for touch-ups. However if you want to use this as a foundation, make sure you use a good flat-top kabuki for good coverage and buff it in a lot.

Skin Base.
The best of the bunch, in my opinion, and one that anyone can use as it's foolproof. It's almost as covering as Rich Liquid but the texture is much easier to work with and the finish is flawless and slightly dewy.
The only reason why I'm not using this is because it broke me out - I made several attempts and it always did. I'm very upset about that. Also, it didn't have the best longevity on me, but I must say I never powdered it, so I might have improved that with a bit of powder on the t-zone.
As Dustin said, beware of the color chart: these run really light. I am a neutral NC15 wearing 133 in their other foundations, I ordered shade #3 and it looked ridiculously pale on me! I had to go with #6 to have a perfect match.

Hope this is helpful! Feel free to add your own tips and tricks or experiences in the comments.

February 27, 2012

Warm Pink Bronze FOTD

Recently the lovely Tanya Burr aka Pixi2woo on YouTube did recreate the makeup from this beautiful Tom Ford editorial picture.
I used her video as my inspiration to recreate a warm eye look mixing bronze and cranberry colors.

Makeup Breakdown.
Clarins Ever Matte foundation in 108 - review coming soon
Estee Lauder Daywear concealer in Light under the eyes
Clarins Eclat Minute Liquid Blush in 02 (Coral Tonic)
Burberry Bronzer in 01
Clarins Ever Matte Mineral Powder in 01 on T-zone - review coming soon

Mac Tempting as a base
Shu Uemura ME Red 160 (similar to Mac Cranberry) on top of it
Mac Romp in the crease
YSL Faux Cils

Toned down for daytime, so gloss only: Mac Lap Of Luxury (LE - Fabulous Felines)

A word on the Clarins Eclat Minute Blush.
For some reason, the pink color 01 is not available in my country, so I cannot make any comparisons, but I am quite disappointed in the Coral I got. This is so so sheer that even on my pale skin, it's hard to make it show up. I have patted it on and layered it as much as I can, and you do end up seeing there is "something" on the cheeks, but there is no color a all.
The only thing this blush really brings to this look is that it adds some light (because it's a bit glittery) to the cheeks on top of the matte foundation. Other than that, it doesn't do anything - I'm really sad about it.

February 24, 2012

New glasses FOTD

I got a new prescription for my contacts and glasses earlier this week and thought it was time for a change of style in eyewear!
Lots of large retro nerdy frames on the market right now, some very pretty ones from Chanel and Ray Ban amongst others, but these didn't really suit me because of the very straight top line.
So to stay within the same vibe and find a more flattering shape for my face, I went for these Marc O'Polo "butterfly" navy frames. They're very light and comfortable, which is important when you wear them non-stop!

Being as wide, they do show eye makeup reasonably well, so I had a bit of fun this morning creating a very strong winged liner look.

And here it is with the glasses on:

Makeup breakdown:
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B10
Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer 01
Mac Brulé, Vanilla and Nars Lola Lola on the eyes, liner is Mac Blacktrack Fluidline.

Lips : Illamasqua Ignite, which I then dropped and smashed/broke on the ofice parking! It was, however, starting to smell funky so it's time for a new one now!

Cheeks : Burberry bronzer in shade 01 to slightly contour
Givenchy Bucolic Poppy blush topped with some of the lipstick to make the tone more orange.

What are you wearing for Friday?

February 22, 2012

Springy Orange FOTD inspired by Mac Call Me Bubbles quand

But most importantly, inspired by this look done by the lovely Keiko Lynn yesterday on her blog! I loved it right away and HAD to dupe it!
However I don't own the quad. I do, though, still own my Spiced Chocolate quad from Fall 2008, which has Brash e/s in it, just like this one. And I also have a few other oranges in my collection, like the one in the Shiseido Fire trio. I thought it would work!

I took a couple of pics at home but the rising sun light was so bright that they're a bit washed out!

So I took a few more later, car style!

Chanel VA B10
Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer 01
Illamasqua Brow Powder in Motto

Rubenesque paintpot as a base
Orange from Shiseido Fire trio on lid
Crease is a mix of Paradisco and some other orange
Outer corner: Brash
Liner: UD 24/7 Bourbon
YSL Faux Cils Mascara in black

Nars Zen to contour
Illamasqua Hussy (could have used a bit more, oh well...)

Nars New World lipgloss pencil (I wanted to wear Nars Niagara but couldn't find it, boo!)

This works great with blue eyes, much more so in real life than in pictures, so I'll definitely be wearing that again!

Have you got the Call me Bubbles quad? How do you feel about orange eyeshadow?

February 20, 2012

Lipstick Bandits: Starter Lipstick

Love Affair with lipsticks have to start somewhere. One moment, one color, one particular texture, and you're hooked for life!

For me, that very particular lipstick was Nina Ricci in #13 - Les Sépias.

We're talking about the early 1990's here... I was 15 when I bought this lipstick (with birthday money, if I remember well). I chose it mostly because of the gorgeous packaging, and picked the color because it was a kind of sophisticated "my lips but better", with a slight brownish tone that was a must for lips at that time! I think the name attracted me a lot too. "Sepia" always reminded me of pictures taken in the Summer in the South of France or in Italy... fields of gold turned brownish for a romantic touch.

But then I really fell in love with that lipstick because it was flattering, visible enough for me to stand out from the teenage high school crowd without looking inappropriate, and the texture was creamy, not drying and long lasting.

I loved this color so much that I wore it every day and used up two full tubes of it. Then I got daring and bougt #14, wich was a bit more red and more bright. As you can see, my love for statement lips isn't new.

Finding a dupe for this long-gone color is hard, but Mac Charismatic, which you can see me wearing here, is definitely reminding me of Les Sepias.

A huge thank you to the lovely Sara who was able to take those pictures and swatch the lipstick for me. She was more sentimental than I am, I guess, since she kept the product all these years. Seeing those pictures was a blast from the past for me!

Find out what other Lipstick Bandits picked as Starter Lipsticks!

February 18, 2012

Edward Bess Quad Royale (South of France / Summer in Capri)

Right before I had seen those two products popping all over the blogosphere, I had come across them on Zuneta, and well, had impulse-ordered, as you do.

The product description wasn't extremely complex or even innovative, though : 
A lovely, creamy powder in shimmery pastel shades that glides on to skin perfectly, this is every girls must have in their make up bag. Sweep together for allover luminous color. Mix and match to highlight cheeks and dress the eyes too. Complete with travel brush for touch-ups on the go.

But, their pictures looked just too good to resist!

South of France, a very pale shimmery quad (even paler than it looks here, in my opinion)

Summer in Capri , which does look a bit darker and brighter in real life
When I got them, I was very unsure about my purchase, though. I don't know why, I think I was turned down by the packaging which, even if it's black and sleek, felt too plastic for my liking.
I guess that at about €42 per quad, I was expecting more luxury, like you get with Givenchy Prisme Visage powders.

But obviously, the products counts more, and trying them was what mattered. So I did, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Can you see the shading and glow?

Of course, what's harder to show than a powder on a FOTD pic? But well, here I am, wearing Summer in Capri in the hollows of my cheeks and South of France on the top of the cheeks and lightly swept over the high points of the face.
These powders are an absolute pleasure to work with. They're easy to apply and easy to blend. Capri, even though it can look scary in the pan, is just perfect to warm up a pale face in cool Winter light. It may even be used as a blush if you want. And South of France, despite the little particles of shimmer in it, doesn't look over the top at all and gives to your face that soft focus effect that I love so much and that, so far, I only found in Givenchy powders (yes, them, again).
The mirror in the compact is quite large, which is nice, and even though I prefer using my own powder brushes, I did try the little brushes coming with the quads and found they worked quite well. I have to admit that even though I'm not crazy in love with the packaging, it is thin and light and very portable.

As I was raving about these powders on a makeup forum, and telling how surprised I was that I ended up liking them so much, someone replied "See, that's the thing about EB products. They just work, and I use mine all the time."
And frankly, what better thing is there to say about any product?

Note: a third color, Summer in Monte Carlo, has just been released. It would be a more suitable bronzing quad for skins darker than mine.

February 16, 2012

Hands/LRP Cicaplast Balm B5 update

Lots of people reacted to my post about dermatitis and trying this new LRP product to soothe my hands, so I promised I would give an update.

This picture was taken on Monday, after less than a week of treatment. As you can see, things have improved a lot!
I must explain that it's recommended to use the product twice a day but I only used it a night, because I have to wash my hands too frequently during the day for it to be on my skin long enough. So I suppose this lenghtened the healing process.
Even this way, things inproved greatly within 48 hours on the itching front, and after 3 days the itching had completely disappeared. That was a huge relief already. My skin also became less sensitive to washing and warm water, which would always make the irritated area very red and itchy.
After about 5 days, my left hand, which wasn't as badly affected, was completely cured. On the right hand, you could still see some redness on the areas where the raised bumps were but all the symptoms have disappeared.

I do believe that with a twice a day used I would have been completely healed in 4-5 days. I'm very surprised at how effective this product is despite the absence of cortisone derivates in it. You do experience a bit of dryness on the treated area but it's part of the healing process, I guess.
So I would definitely recommend this product, and I hope it's as helpful for some of you as it was for me!

February 13, 2012

Ren F10 Smooth and Renew Face Mask

How come I never reviewed this for you even though I've had it for months (it was a birthday gift from a dear friend), I have no idea. But since I used it this week-end, I remembered I really needed to tell you everything about it.

A word about Ren.
Ren is an UK-based skincare brand that wants to use the most innovative bio-active ingredients but has removed all the (supposed) nasty stuff from their products. The list of stuff they won't use is so long I won't put it here but basically, parabens, mineral oils, silicons or synthetic fragrances are no-no's for them. (More information here). So if you're after natural ingredients, this is a brand for you.

What the brand says.
Formulated to gently exfoliate and detoxify, this gel mask will promote skin renewal and leave the complexion looking smooth, toned and radiant.
Gently exfoliates and renews the complexion
Skin looks smoother, brighter with a healthier and more even skin tone

How you use it.

The mask is a thick paste that looks a bit like honey. It smells of citrus, kind of orange marmelade, and maybe a bit of honey as well (at least in my mind) and I must confess that if I use this before breakfast it makes me really hungry :)
You apply a good coat of this (about 2-3 pumps I would say) all over your face, let it sit for 10 minutes, then remove it with a cloth -which is provided in the box- and warm water. Simple and easy. The only thing you might dislike about it is that the texture is quite sticky, but I don't really mind.

The result.
If you have sensitive skin, you will know that lots of brightening/smoothing masks can be irritating because they often contain ingredients that aren't tolerated well by everyone, like fruit acids for example. With this product you will not feel any tingling or discomfort, and you will be left with plump and glowy baby-soft skin. The only redness I get after this is because of the warm water I use to remove it :)

My overall opinion on the product.
I absolutely love it. It's a nice treat, it feels really good and it leaves your skin feeling fresh and soft. Definitely a no-brainer for me, unless you have issues with some of the essential oils used in it.
Being on a skincare kick right now, I'm seriously considering trying out more Ren products.

Ingredients list for the science nerds.
Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Lecithin, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Tocopherol.

Ren F10 Smooth and Renew Face Mask, 60ml, £20, €31, USD 36 - available from Sephora online, Amazon or from renskincare.com.

February 10, 2012

Life is a Peach FOTD

Peach is an easy color I can always rely on when I am in a hurry, as I have a good few quick-and-easy to use peach favorites!

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B10
Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer 01
Kate Brow Liner 003
Mac Rubenesque paintpot, with a bit of  Mac Wedge in the crease
Liner: Nars Larger Than Life pencil in Via Appia
YSL Faux Cils mascara in black
As a blush: Make Up For Ever Aquacream #5 - this one is actually not eye safe, and it looks a whole lot like Nars Orgasm blush, with a bit more glitter.
Lips : Mac CB96 (weird name, I know)

Do you have one color you can rely on for quick and easy looks?

February 9, 2012

Currently testing: La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm B5

Not that I wanted to test this, really, but here's what my hands are looking like at the moment (apologies, it ain't pretty!) And I'm pretty sure many of you have the same kind of issue in Winter.

See that I'm not exagerating when I complain about what Winter is doing to me? This, my friends, is dermatitis. I get it purely because of the cold, and it's aggravated by, well, everything: warm water, soap, detergents... And since I make a point of washing my hands regularly, especially in Winter when viruses are all around, well... that's the result. 
It looks bad and wait for the fun part: it itches like crazy, particularly at night.
I used to be able to get rid of it with my Nuxe Reve de Miel handcream, but that was before they changed the formula so now, I'm screwed. So I went to the pharmacy for advice and was given this:

This is a brand new product by La Roche Posay. Cicaplast balm B5 claims to "favors the recovery for sensitive skin after irritative dermatitis and epidermic alterations thanks to its formula associating Panthenol 5% with Madecassoside with a highly-cosmetic texture. Suitable for the entire family: babies, children and adults."

Indications, according to the brand:
  • Skin irritations in adults, children and babies (chapping, rough patches…).
  • Cutaneous heating sensations in adults.
  • Can be applied to body, face and lips.
  • Optimal tolerance, suitable for sensitive skin. Paraben-free. Fragrance-free. Lanolin-free. White-mark free. 

My experience with it.
I've only been using this for 2 days so I'll have to get back to you on that. What I can say now is that the balm sinks in quickly but I do find it's a little bit sticky for a while. It makes the treated areas feel a bit dryish, just like when you use hydrocortocoids.
Speaking of those, they would actually get rid of my dermatitis faster but a/ they're prescription only and b/ they make the treated skin very fragile and thinned, therefore pharmacists prefer this less risky alternative.
After two days I find the raised bumps have diminished a bit and the itchiness has lowered but I'm curious as of how long it will take before I'm completely cured. I'll keep you updated.

Ingredients for the science nerds, you'll notice there's Copper, Zinc and Manganese as well in the mix.


LRP Cicaplast Balm B5 - 100ml - about €8 / USD18.

This is advice I was given by Finnish and Estonian friends (those girls can do Winter, I'm telling you): DO NOT apply creams or lotions before going out. If there's water in them, that's going to make your skin worse. Apply most of your treating skincare at night and if you need to apply during the day, make sure it's an hour before you go out.

February 7, 2012

Mixing Warm and Cool

I randomly found this picture on the internet the other day.

It's a promo picture for the Jill Stuart Spring 2012 collection.
What I found really interesting is the mix of peach cheeks and pink lips, as the usual "rule" is to match your lip and cheek wardrobes. Well, what are makeup rules for, if not to be broken? 
I decided to give this particular look a try.

Due to extremely cold weather, foundation is currently Illamasqua Cream in 133, applied with a Real Technique stippling brush.
I started with Nars Sex Appeal on the cheeks but it wasn't showing up enough for my liking, so I added a bit of Illamasqua Lover on top. 
The eyeshadow is... my Givenchy Lune Rosee Glow Blush! I don't own pink eyeshadows anymore, I don't find they're very flattering on me. I used Mac Typographic as a liner. The pink gloss is a random one. I don't have strawberry pink lipglosses in my collection, really.

Not too sure about the pink eyes, I decided to try a different warm/cool combination. This one was actually inspired by Jennie over at Sailboat.

Same foundation, same peach blush, but on the eyes I'm wearing Nars Etrusque, Illamasqua Bronx, and Bobbi Brown Chocolate Shimmer Ink liner.
The lipstick is Mac Lickable.

I must say that I am much more comfortable with that second version, I find the warm eye and fuchsia lip much easier to wear than a pink lid.

Do you mix warm and cool shades in the same look? What are your favorite combinations?

February 3, 2012

The girl who never uses up anything...

That's how I think of me.
Especially when I see people blogging monthly about the products they finished in the past weeks.

Excepted, apparently, I do use up some stuff, too.

So we have:

  • A YSL Faux Cils mascara - I get through one every 2-3 months, which is the lifecycle of a mascara anyway.
  • A Nars eyeshadow primer. I think it's the third tube I've used up to the last drop, which takes about 9 months of almost daily use.
  • Mac Fix + : this was the lavender version that came out at least a year ago, but I didn't start using it right when I got it. It took me a long time to use it up, though -  I do use it daily but only for a couple of spritzes
  • Esthederm Eau Cellulaire : unfortunately this one gets empty much faster than Fix +! But I got a new one for Christmas.
  • Bioderma Hydrabio cleansing foam: this can be used for face (which I rarely do) and body, it's excellent for dry skin and I do go through a bottle of this every couple of months
  • Not pictured: Bioderma Crealine H2O - I got distracted and threw it away before I could feature it in the pic. I go through a 500ml bottle every couple of months as well
  • Not pictured either: Avene Cleanance K, a AHA-BHA moisturizing gel that I use twice a week as chemical exfoliant. The tube lasted about a year, I think.
Also, can you see it? I HIT PAN ON AN EYESHADOW! I think this has never happened to me before!
This is Mac Brulé, that I use as a brow highlight most of the time, and I've bee using this for a good 2 years!! I really wonder how other people ever finish eyeshadows...

Next things on the use up list: Estee Lauder Daywear cream and Advanced Night Repair Serum. Unfortunately, two must haves for me, and two expensive ones.

What have you used up recently?

February 1, 2012

Beware of the Lipstick Bandits

... I told you I'd be one! :-)

What I used :
Rouge Bunny Rouge Milk Aquarelle foundation in Almond Parfait
Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer
Makeup Geek Corrupt eyeshadow
Illamasqua liquid metal in the gold color
Illamasqua Sophie pencil
YSL Faux-Cils
Beauté Masochist liquid lipstick

New Lipstick Bandit adventures coming soon here!

Want more Lipstick Bandits? Check out the other members' masks:

Jessica, at Getting Cheeky
Arianne, at Glitter Geek,
Dani, at Call It Beauty.,
Danielle, at Bloomin' Beauty Blog,
Jen, at My Funny Valentine,
Larie, at Eye Heart It,
Makeup Morsels, at, erm, Makeup Morsels,
Monika, at Rocaille Writes,
Paris, at My Women Stuff,
Rae, at theNotice: a beauty blog,
Tracy, at Beauty Reflections, and finally,
Xiao, at Messy Wands.