July 31, 2012

July Favorites

Given the Summer only really started after the 20th, I didn't get to use really summery products for most of the month, so I can't really say my routine changed a lot compared to the previous months.
Hence a few products that aren't new at all...

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.
I can FINALLY wear this again a few days a week without my skin being bothered by the alcohol it contains and OMG, I love it so much and I have missed it a lot.  I love the finish, love the buildability, it's just my HG foundation, there's nothing I can say. I was actually reunited with it during the hotter days at the end of the month, because I had fake tan on and VA is the only foundation I own in a darker shade (B30), so I decided to try it again and am so glad I did.
I still do alternate between this and Estee Lauder Invisible or Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturizer.

Illamasqua Naked Rose and Jemma Kidd Pawaw blushes.
Seriously, I have worn no other blush than those two for the whole month. Quite unusual for me so it shows how much I love them. I particularly like that the Jemma Kidd one really lasts all day, and that Naked Rose goes with absolutely everything.

Givenchy Noir Couture mascara.
I think it's about two months since I started using this mascara. I am happy to report that even though the formula is now thickening a bit, it's nowhere near being dry yet, and there's still quite a lot of product in the tube, so I can still get a few weeks of wear out of this one. (I never keep mascaras more than 3 months, though, and usually my eyes get itchy around that mark if I don't change it, so I always get a reminder).

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre - Mirifique.
This is really the easiest product in the world to mimic the effect of slightly smudged black liner, and the brush that comes with it makes it so easy to apply. If you get only one of these shadows, it should be this one!

What were your favorites this month?

July 27, 2012

So I aged, hauled, and ombre'd (in pictures)

Got a perfectly timed birthday package from a special friend.

Went makeup shopping and decided to invest in hair care to protect the new hair.

Got ombre done...

... and tried my new Shiseido Snow Shadow trio.

Am now officially 35.
(And damn, this weather is now really too hot!)

July 24, 2012

Let The Sunshine In!

FINALLY, Summer has arrived - fingers crossed it stays around for more than a week. But one thing is sure, though: now is the time to dig up the fake tan, wear sunny looks and pretty dresses!
I am wearin this simple look today, which focuses on being bronzy and long lasting! A touch up in the afternoon with my Clarins Ever Matte compact powder will ensure a perfect not-too-shiny look till night.

Base: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B30 (on top of fake tan!), Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer in#2
Cheeks: Dior Aurora bronzer (LE - 2011) and Jemma Kidd Pawpaw cream blush
Brows: Shiseido pencil + Mac Omega + Essence clear brow gel (that's my standard routine)
Eyes: Mac Brule and Wedge, Mac Superslick liquid liner in blue (LE), Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Fantasme patted over the lid on top of everything else for more sparkles!
Lips: Dior Addict in Miss Dior
Nails: Essie Clam Baked
Fake Tan: Xen-Tan dark lotion.

Hope you are all enjoying a sunny day!

July 19, 2012

Everyday smokey eye, the Viola (aka KillerColours) way

Today I'm wearing this look:

that I created with this palette:

And the result looks like this:

I took me about 5 minutes and one brush (a Mac 217), really it's nothing complicated, perfect for everyday or for any kind of occasion if you add black liner or intensify the colors a bit.

I used the third shadow from the right (matte mid-tone brown) all over the lid, the dark slightly shimmery blue (third from the left) on the outer corner and the shimmery white as a highlight.

I usually prefer a matte highlither, I find shimmery ones look a bit dated and this one is quite shimmery for my liking. However I really wanted to create a full look using this palette only, and the two light shades are both shimmery. I think it's pretty nevertheless.
The pencil I used on the waterline is Mac Chromographic in NC15-NW20.

Other products used: Chanel Vitalumiere in B30 (because I'm wearing a bit of fake tan at the moment so I can PRETEND this is Summer), Gyvenchy Les Frangipaniers bronzer, Illamasqua Naked Rose blush, Dior Addict Extreme lipstick in Silhouette.

Do you wear smokey eyes during the day? Do you create them with a special technique?

July 17, 2012

A warm EOTD and an attempt at some hair thing.

I suck at doing hair. That's why 99% of the time you'll see me with poker straight hair, straighteners have changed my life because they're the only tool I'm able to use correctly. I have curling irons, waving irons, hot rollers and all that jazz but I rarely manage to do anything presentable with them. If I'm lucky, on a warm day where I let my hair air dry, I'll have natural curls and that's it.

However last week-end I was inspired by this tutorial and thought it was something I might try.

You will definitely notice that the result isn't quite similar on me (Julia has more hair and longer, too, which plays a role of course).

I wasn't even going to tell you about that experience, but my lovely friend Kate aka The Driveller asked me to explain what I had done and how, so I thought I could give you some information here.
DISCLAIMER: I told you, I'm no hair expert, I have no idea what I'm doing, you might not want to try this at home.

Step 1 : wash your hair at night. Late, preferably. Blowdry 70% of it because you're too tired to do it nicely and go to bed.

Step 2 : when you wake up, your hair is a mess. A volumized-slightly-curly-at-places mess, though. Grab your stratightener and straighten what absolutely needs to so that you don't look like a deranged witch anymore. That would mostly be your bangs and the kinks at the crown of your head.

Step 3 : grab your styling products. All 3 of them. (I told you, I don't do hair!)

Step 4: add volume at the roots, I used BedHead Cocky Paste. Why I ever bought that kind of product with that kind of name is a mistery but yeah, let's make the best of it. Massage it at the roots and shake your head like Julia does in the video. (If you're like me, you end up looking crazy again, so sort it out before you go on).

Step 5 : make your tresses look piecy with some kind of wax. I used L'Oreal Professionnel Tecni Art Play Ball Wax Smoothie Spray. It doesn't work as good as a paste, but it's all I had and it smells like a red fruit smoothie for real.
EDIT : I happen to have found a jar of Sebastian Matte Clay in the back of a drawer. Considering I started using that clay back in 1999 and haven't had a wax-needing haircut since 2007, I don't know if this is safe to use anymore anyway.

Step 6 : when you're happy with the general look, spray it all with hairspray. 

If you're me, don't really expect it to stay in place all day. I must say, though, that this kept my hear from getting greasy at all on the second day, so that might be a plan!

Now makeup: really simple eye using Mac Indianwood pp as a base, Mad Woodwinked on top and Shu Uemura ME Red 160 on the outer corner and in the crease (Mac Cranberry would be a good dupe).
Base : Nars Tinted Moisturiser in Finland, Jemma Kidd PawPaw cream blush.
Nothing complicated :)

July 16, 2012

More Generation Q Pictures!

The next model for this collection is the 39 years old Mairi, from Edimburgh. Isn't she gorgeous?

"I was fascinated with make-up at a very early age, I started copying looks on myself, icons like Brigitte Bardot, Edie Sedgewick, Marilyn Monroe and Debbie Harry (one of my favourites!) and I loved experimenting with colours and always wearing my “cats eyes”. I love finding new products and experimenting with them."

July 13, 2012

Introducing Illamasqua Generation Q (Autumn-Winter 2012)

Normally I absolutely despise talking about any kind of Autumn-Winter collection when it's not even mid-July. But I make an exception this time because a/ given the weather, it's virtually Autumn already and b/ this is Illamasqua, ladies, and I always find the announcement of their new collections so exciting!

I was actually invited to come and discover this collection a couple of weeks ago, but not living in the UK, I couldn't arrange a mini-trip to London on short notice and was unable to attend, which I'm even more sad about now that I've seen everything that was introduced there!

Illamasqua is presenting Generation Q as a celebration of ageless and unrestricted beauty. In a world where we value youth above all and dictate rules on what you should or should not do past a certain age, this is certainly a daring approach. Every day I hear women around me telling me that they keep their hair short because "you shouldn't have long hair past a certain age", or they wear makeup according to so-called rules that have been spreading like the plague: "use matte products only on a mature skin", "give up on liquid liner" etc...

With Generation Q, Illamasqua is blowing away these rules and telling us to wear what we want to wear. 

“Illamasqua customers will not be told what to do and when to do it” Julian Kynaston, Illamasqua Founder

This is the end of putting a sell-by date on beauty, self-expression and creativity.

This is, of course, perfectly illustrated by this makeup created by Alex Box on the lovely Evelyn, 72 years old model for this collection.

"I am originally a country gal, born in Dorset in May 1940. I was not academic or sporty at school and would gaze out of the window and dream of the bright lights and big cities. I have always loved make-up; from a small girl using Mother's lipstick. I loved those beautiful women in the 1930s and 1940s films and tried to copy the looks. I get such pleasure every day from just putting my face on, and even more so now - thank you, Illamasqua!" 

Isn't she just looking radiant and gorgeous? I do wish I will sill wear makeup that proudly and confidently when I am 72!

As a "slightly older than average beauty blogger" (understand: in my mid 30's), I do notice how younger beauty bloggers and people in general strongly associate age with issue. I cringe every time I read someone telling they " will gladly consider botox when they turn 35 or something". Well look at my pics on this blog and tell me where I should have botox now? It's high time a company stands up and talks about age as something that's not a desease but rather a normal and process that can go hand in hand with beauty!

The products in this collection all look absolutely stunning. Two new eyeshadow palettes are offering a combination of 2 powder eyeshadows, one cream pigment and one pressed pure pigment. The shades look perfect for Fall, definitely suitable for dramatic looks as well as more daytime ones (if you do make a different between your daytime and nighttime makeup, of course). There is a new shimmery blusher in the range, and if it's as good as my beloved Ambition, it will definitely be a must have. The nails and lip products also look fabulous and I do think they will look good on anyone.

I am definitely looking forward to discovering more visuals from this collection and buying some of the products as soon as they launch in September! I do think the chance is high I will get most of the products, at least the 2 palettes and one blush for sure!

What do you think of this collection? And of Illamasqua's vision on beauty and age?

July 5, 2012

Review : Pure+Simple face masks and treatments (three of them!)

I told you a little while ago that after having read the Pure+Simple guide to ayurvedic skincare, I had agreed to try a few products to possibly review them.
Today I am going to tell you about the masks and treatments that I used.
A little foreword on the packagings, thoug: they aren't the most fancy things on the market for sure, however the brand makes sure that they're as sustainable as possible. If you live near a Pure+Simple spa, you can also join the recycling program and bring back your empties, which will be re-used.

Calming Cucumber Mask (50ml, $25.25)

This is a nourishing mask meant to cool and soothe the skin. It contains antioxydants, vitamins and Sea Algae that is supposed to be very moistirizing.
You apply this on clean skin, leave it on for 30 min (or overnight if you want), rinse off and you're done.

How I liked it : I initially made a big mistake with this product. It's actually a jelly type of product, and I got this stupid idea that putting it in the fridge would make it even more cooling and soothing. The truth is I ended up with what looked like semi-frozen cucumber jello. This does really smell like cucumber, by the way, real cucumber, not some chemical imitation. Application of the cold product wasn't very easy, definitely something you shouldn't do :)
Other than that, when applied properly, this is a very pleasant gel-type mask. It does really need to be rinsed off, though, because of its texture. While I often tend to not rinse off lotion-types mask and leave them on all night, I find that this leaves some kind of film on the skin while drying and that I prefer removing it and applying something more creamy for the night. The one time I left it on, I had it peeling off my skin in little gum like particles in the morning. No big deal, but not what I prefer.

Is it really calming? Well, my skin hasn't been much irritated lately, not the way it was last Winter, so I can't really judge how this performs in extreme conditions, but it did leave my skin soft and refreshed. I really like the gel texture, which is not that common or easy to find, and I find it very cooling indeed, which does feel *right* for irritated skin.

Skin Restoration Mask (one use, $ 16.45)

This is an instant facial that you can do at home. Great before a special event or to boost your skin. Comes in the form of a sheet mask soaked with product, you apply it on clean dry skin and leave it on for 30 mins at least. This can be stored in the refrigerator for an extra relaxing effect (that's what the PR told me, I didn't make it up like I did with the cucumber mask!)

How I liked it: I did store this in the fridge and decided to use it as a treat to pamper myself on a Sunday night. The sheet mask is folded up in the package, with some kind of plastic sheet in the middle so that the different parts won't stick to each other. It is very richly soaked with some kind of plant-based lotion that has a slight smell but nothing overpowering. Using this cold really makes it relaxing in my opinion.
After having used it, you don't need to rinse off the remaining product, you can gently remove it with toner or massage it in, and then you add a serum or oil or moisturizer on top to seal in the moisture. I was left with fresh plum baby soft skin!

Refining Peach Enzyme Treatment (50ml, $44.95)

This is a chemical exfoliating product containing fruity acids. You use it once a week to gently exfoliate the skin and brighten it.

How I liked it: believe it or not, I had never use a fruit enzyme treatment before! I'm more used to using creams containing AHA/BHA but this is different. The texture is very liquidy, it feels like a serum. You apply all over the face and neck and leave on for 10-15 mins (if your skin is really sensitive, start with 10 mins and see how it goes). It smells nice, fruity but not sickly sweet. Then you rinse off and apply your skincare - do not forget SPF if you used this before going out!
I didn't exeperience any stinging or tingling at all when using this, so I did leave it on for 15 mins at first use already. It did leave my skin feeling soft, and I didn't have any post-use reaction, no redness or irritation or anything.
I never really feel that chemical exfoliants are enough for me, once in a while I do see dry patches that only mechanical exfoliation does get rid of so I generally use a good old scrub once every week or two week. But since fruity acids are good anti-ageing products as well, and do fight pores and blackheads, I do think it's good to use them regularly. I find this one very nice - not overnight miracle kind of nice, though, you always need to be consistent with those things - and I appreciate that it didn't irritate my skin at all or dry it out.
Side note: I was told by the PR that you could leave this on overnight on condition that you add a rich moisturizer on top. I haven't tried that, though, and don't think I will as I rather stay cautious with fruit acids.

Bottom line for those three products
Very nice natural products, they do what they say and they're very gentle to the skin.
A bit on the pricey side - I wish the sheet mask was less expensive but on the other hand it's cheaper than a facial. This is, however, the price line of most natural brands.

July 3, 2012

Illamasqua Naked Strangers Haul, FOTD and Review!

Recently Illamasqua released a small capsule collection within the Naked Strangers Spring-Summer collection. This consisted of 2 blushes, 2 lipglosses and 3 nailpolishes.
Some of these items definitely fitted my mood of the moment, so I got the 2 blushes, the wearable lipgloss called Intimacy (not this time, gold, not this time) and one little extra from the regular line.

Can you see a pattern here?
It looks like I couldn't get enough nakedness! On the pic you can see: powder blusher in Naked Rose, cream blusher in Zygomatic, and powder blusher in Beg (which is a darker dusty rose).
Naked rose is described as a neutral beige pink, while Zygomatic is naked pink brown. You can wonder what the difference is between those two, but they definitely not look alike on the skin!
Here are a few swatches for you:

In natural daylight: Naked Rose on the left, Beg in the middle, Zygomatic on the right - which is very nude as you can see.
Now let's have a look at how they wear.

On this first picture I am wearing Naked Rose blush and Intimacy lipgloss. I absolutely love how Naked Rose looks: it's neutral enough to go with any look and suit lots of skintones, including the palest ones. It applies and blends like a dream - which is the case for all my Illamasqua powder blushes!
The lipgloss is sheer, not too sticky, and it doesn't taste bad despite the relatively heavy smell (which is the usual smell of Illamasqua glosses). A great color for everyone. Bonus: this one comes with a brush applicator, which is new to the brand's glosses.

Those two pictures were taken the same day, the lighting is just a bit different (though natual in both cases). Here I am wearing Zygomatic cream blush. I did apply quite liberally, however you can see that the effect is very subtle. On the first pic, you actually see more natural redness than you do se blush.
Although this is a lovely color and a perfect neutral nude, I would really only recommend this to pale skintones. Slightly darker skins could replace this by Nars Douceur blush, in my opinion.

All in all: an extremely wearable and pretty capsule collection, definitely suitable for pale skintones. Naked Rose powder blush is the must have in it.

July 2, 2012

June Favorites

The whole month of June looked pretty much like a long rainy day. Nothing that makes you want to wear any Summer makeup looks. I didn't even bother to fake tan as my legs were never on display: I had to wear tights every time I was wearing dresses. It looks like the temperatures are rising a tiny bit now so hopefully this will improve.
So, onto the June favorites!

Illamasqua Naked Rose powder blush.
More information coming soon on this one, but I've been wearing it almost daily since I got it a the beginning of the month. It's just a perfect beige pink that goes with anything.

Jemma Kidd PawPaw cream blush.
On the days I wasn't wearing Naked Rose because I wanted a more peachy look, I was wearing this one. Still completely in love with it: it's easy to apply, long lasting and beautiful!

Nars Ramatuelle eyeshadow trio
Even though I'm sure this would look prettier on bronzed skin, I have worn it anyway and I really like the soft and pretty looks you can create with this palette.

Nars Tinted Moisturizer.
I've said anything I could say about this product already. I just love it.

Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara.
Still enjoying this very much after several weeks of use, and it doesn't look like the formula is drying at all at the moment.

Real Techniques Blush Brush.
I got this in Norwich in May and have been using it a lot this month to apply my Naked Rose. This is a big fat brush that is perfect for a soft blending of the color. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for a very pigmented brush that requires light and precise application, but to give a pale or natural color a soft blended effect, it's absolutely perfect.

What were your June favorites?