September 28, 2012

Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream - SPF15

Caudalie has been getting quite a lot of hype recently on the beauty blogosphere. Yet, it's nothing new where I live, we've had these products around for years and to be perfectly honest, I did have some issues with the ones I tried many many years ago - issues that I attribute to the heavy frangrance contained in those products.

However I felt like giving this product a try, because while I was researching what I could use instead of my beloved This Works Perfect Skin Miracle (which is tinted and too dark for me now),  it came up as something with similar effect and properties.

What the brand says:
A correcting, perfecting, and nourishing face cream.

This luxurious face cream is rich in patented vine sap viniferine and has a remarkable effect on existing blemishes—pregnancy stretch marks, scars, age spots, marks due to sun damage, and hormone imbalances. It contains a concentrate of active ingredients to treat and correct and revives the radiance of the complexion in an instant. Day after day, the skin seems transformed: imperfections and dark spots are diminished, the skin texture is refined, and the complexion becomes more even. The texture of the fluid melts onto the skin for a naturally perfect and luminous result, leaving skin remarkably radiant.

Formulates without:  Parabens - Sulfates - Synthetic Dyes - Petrochemicals - Phthalates - GMOs
 - Triclosan   

My experience with the product:

In a few reviews I was able to found, this was described as a product that would make you look like you were wearing foundation, so my expectations were relatively high.

This comes out of the tube as a peach colored fluid, that isn't oily at all and is absorbed really quickly by the skin. In fact, you have to use a good amount for it to spread easily. I should say too that there is a very light smell but it disappears quickly, so it shouldn't bother anybody.
The skin is left radiant and I would say mattified as well, but other than that, there is no way I could get along with wearing this only. It's definitely not a replacement for a foundation or tinted moisturizer, not even the way Perfect Skin Miracle was.

I would say that this is a good primer for makeup, and I did find that the foundations I used on top did last a little bit better, and my T-zone would be shine-free a little bit longer.
However I have not been able to use this for more than a few weeks because I don't find it moisturizes my skin at all. Now that we're in Autumn, I do need a bit of moisture, and my skin was starting to feel tight from using this daily.
I also have no idea if it does work against dark spots, uneven texture etc as I haven't used it long enough, but my guess would be that those issues would be tackled better with more active ingredients like glycolic acid or retinol.

Probably a nice product if you're combination or oily and are looking for a day cream that doubles at a primer - but not moisturizing enough if you're normal to dry.
The price isn't cheap either, particularly in the US, and I don't know if I would recommend spending USD 72 on this - unless you're a die hard fan of the brand.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream : €38 - £30 - $72 

Ingredient list for the science nerds:
Active Ingredients: Octocrylene 10%, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate) 7.5%, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) 3%, Ethylhexyl Salicylate (Octisalate) 2%. Inactive Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone), Ethylhexyl Salicylate (Octisalate), Squalane*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit*, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, PEG-20 Stearate*, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil*, Tocopheryl Acetate*, Bisabolol*, Panthenol, Parfum (Fragrance), Dimethicone, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Palmitoyl Grapevine Shoot Extract*, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Tocopherol*, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract*, Cyclodextrin*, Citric Acid*, Phospholipids*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate*, BHT, Sodium Hyaluronate, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

September 24, 2012

When Lipsticks Bandits do Nudes

I may have cried a little bit when the Bandits suggested to do nudes for September, because I don't do nudes, and my brain ran into panick mode: I don't have nude lipsticks, and nudes look no good on me.

Well actually, thinking further, that is actually true if you think of those very pale concealer-like nudes. Remember 2008 when all the fuss was about Gosh Darling or Mac Creme D'Nude? I got both back them and they looked AWFUL on me. That kind of nude is just a big no-no for a girl like me, who needs contrast to look alive!

But if you define nudes as "barely there", then I can play along. Although I always tend to favor a bright lip, some looks just look better with a more discrete lip color. For me, those shades will invariably be brown-based, I have no idea why, but I think they suit me better, and they look closer to my natural lip color than anything pink-based.

Enters Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew sheer lipstick in Perfume of His Gaze

I don't think the swatch looks particularly pretty, and to be honest the bullet isn't much more visually appealing, but once it's applied on me, it does work (in my opinion).
And as you can see I have it paired with a glowy, rather neutral face, and a neutral taupy eye, so it's all variations around brown-based colors even if they are at different places on the cool/warm spectrum.

I will just add that this lipstick is quite moisturizing and comfortable without slipping too much, and that it has a slightly minty smell and taste.

Rouge Bunny Rouge lipsticks are €27 and are available from Zuneta.

Discover other Nudes you Need on the other Bandit's blogs:

Beauty Reflections
Eye Heart It
Getting Cheeky
Glitter Geek
Messy Wands
My Funny Valentine
My Women Stuff
theNotice: a beauty blog

September 19, 2012

Foundation Review # 36 : Urban Decay Naked Skin

You know how I can't resist testing a new foundation, and it's been a while,so when I heard about this one, which claims to be a water-based skin-like formula (which I love), I HAD to try it.

What the brand says:
Coverage Without Compromise:
- Flawless ultra definition finish
- Natural radiance without shine
- Weightless buildable coverage
- Packed with nourishing ingredients
Naked Skin is a buildable formula that allows you to customize your look. From light to full coverage, it feels like wearing nothing at all, yet transforms complexions. Skin looks natural, illuminated and bright: like the beautiful skin you were born with.

My experience with the product.
First of all, there was the matching issue, since I had to buy online. The UD website has a "switch" tool that converts your current foundation in a Naked shade, however the choice of foundations there is very limited. The closest I found in their list was MUFE HD in 117, which translates in 2.0 in Naked skin (the .0 shades are yellow toned while the 0.5 shades are pink toned). However, a friend who had swatched them told me that 2.0 would definitely be too dark for me and I ended up getting 1.0

I tried a few different applications and I found that, probably due to the high silicone percentage in the formula, this goes on quite streaky if you use a flat foundation brush. A buffing brush or your hands will work best for a good finish.
The silica is quite high in the ingredients list, so the finish will be quite matte. There's a very slight dewiness to it, but it's definitely not luminous, it's on the satin/matte side of the spectrum in my opinion.
The coverage is light to medium but easily buildable if you have redness or patchy areas to cover.

Here's me wearing it:

As you can see, the color is a rather good match, however I find the result a bit flat, and not particularly flattering on me. So much for the "radiance without shine". Maybe that's because I usually enjoy more luminous finishes - that could be corrected with a liquid or cream higlighter, although I find that quite boring to do.

My main concern with this foundation is that it promises to be weightless and natural. And yes, it is weightless, you really don't feel anything on your skin, yet I find it fails at looking like skin. As light as it is and even if you use just a little, you won't like "it's your skin but better" - you will look like you're wearing makeup.

All in all: not a foundation for me. The finish isn't luminous or natural enough, and I find I look too flat.
Also if you're sensitive to silicones and/or silica, this one is not going to be for you.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation - 30ml - $38 - €34 (bad conversion factor strikes again)

Ingredient list for the science nerds.

Aqua (Water/Eau), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tribehenin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol. All shades may contain: CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/77492/77499 (Iron Oxides).

September 17, 2012

My favorite eye skincare by REN

At the beginning of this year, I got the 2 products REN offers in the eye skincare department: the Active 7 radiant eye gel and the Lipovector smoothing eye contour cream. I was then suffering from dehydration lies around the eyes, and unfortunately Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair had done nothing for me. (I had been using a mini jar received in a gift with purchase for a couple of months).

I have been using the gel in the morning, as it is a very refreshing texture that sinks in very quickly and makes a perfect base for makeup. It is supposed to help with puffiness and dark circles, two issues that don't affect me too much but it really smoothes the area so that's perfect for me. 

The cream product is the one I use at night. It works on reducing the appearance of wrinkles, firms the area and moisturizes really well. It really really improved my skin condition around the eyes, and got rid of the dehydration lines I was suffering from.

Now the reason I didn't tell you about those products before is this:

The packaging. Although it looks good and you can see how much product is remaining, the pump is awful and dispenses way too much, especially for the gel. As you can see on the picture, even though I have used the cream more often (sometimes morning and night during winter), the gel has ran out faster because you cannot control the pump, but you get way too much at each use.
This was so frustrating for me to waste so much that I had actually decided against repurchasing, even though I loved the products.
That was until I noticed on the REN website that the packaging had been changed :

So I e-mailed REN customer service about my issue, asking if that had been solved with the new packaging, and they confirmed that yes, the new pumps were much easier to control and I wouldn't waste product anymore. So I happily re-ordered!
Indeed the new pump is different, you have more control on it and anyway, it dispenses way less product that the previous one. Now, since this isn't transparent anymore, you can't see how much is left, which is less practical, but I rather have a good pump than an transparent tube.

So as you can see I'm gladly keeping on using these two (the cream has been renamed but it's the same product) and I would totally recommend them!

REN Active 7 eye gel - 15ml - £20
REN Keep young and beautilful eye cream - 15ml - £26

September 15, 2012

Illamasqua Generation Q FOTD - take 3 : Sophie blush and Magnetism Lipstick

It looks like my Generation Q faces and reviews have turned into a trilogy, and this is the last installement. I got the eyeshadow palettes when they were released early at the end of August, but I had to wait till the official release to get those two: Sophie blush and Magnetism lipstick.
They were in the mail yesterday so I'm rocking them together today with the shadows from Empower palette on the eyes?

First, the blush: Illamasque describes it as a golden coral with shimmer because yes, this one is shimmery unless most of their blushers. However, just like with Ambition from last Fall, I don't find that the shimmer translates in the cheeks so much. I'm also a bit hesitant to call this a coral in fact, but I don't know how else I would name this color. It look a bit sunburnt in the pan, which is scary, but it wears beautifully.
It's not the creamiest formulation I've encountered for a powder blush, but it blends well nevertheless, and I do find it looks pretty even on my pale skin. I can also say that it doesn't look like any other Illamasqua shade of blush, and probably not like anything I own either, so it's definitely a good pick for me.

Then, the lipstick. This is a very pretty deep raspberry color, but the texture is much creamier than it usually is with Illamasqua lipsticks. This being said, it's still long wearing and crazily pigmented. Definitely a great formulation going on here. I find the color is perfect for Fall but not as hard to wear as a blackened red or plum, it's a more mainstream color in my opinion.

Sophie blush - £18
Magnetism lipstick - £16

September 14, 2012

Illamasqua Generation Q FOTD: Take 2 - Complement Palette

So this is the second eyeshadow palette in the Generation Q collection, and definitely a must have for all lovers of aubergine or plum colors.
This palette consists in a liquid metal in Focus, which is a cool metallic brown, and 3 powder eyeshadows: Slink, a gorgeous shimmery champagne, Forgiveness, a matte plum, and Queen of the Night, a gorgeous shimmery blackened plum.

Here I used the liquid metal as a base, then Forgiveness on top, Slink in the inner corner but also on top of Forgiveness in the centre of the lid, and Queen of the Night in the outer V.

You could definitely create more drama by using Queen of the Night in a more intense way.
Although the powder eyeshadows are beautiful, I find it a little bit sad that there's not pressed pigment in this  palette, as I find this is such a cool concept. I also think that this liquid metal is less easy to work with but also less unique than the gorgeous charcoal one in the Empower palette. But all in all, this is a very pretty quad and if you have green eyes or are a purple lover, you are going to love it - for natural or dramatic looks. All eyeshadows are pigmented and easy to work with, as they are in the other palette.

Illamasqua Complement palette - £34.

September 11, 2012

Current Skincare Routine

Yesterday I told you about my cleansing routine, now here's what I follow up with.

I should have told you yesterday that I don't cleanse in the morning anymore. I know, what a shock. While my skin was really bad a few months ago, I heard somewhere that cleansing in the morning was just destroying the skin barrier that had repaired itself during the night. I'm not too sure about the science behind that but I decided to give it a try, and now my morning cleansing consists of wiping away the night with an alcohol-free toner (La Roche Posay Physiological toner, mostly) and a spritz of Avene Spring Thermal Water.

Then I apply my moisturizer, which is currently this one : 

It brings just enough moisture for now, doesn't leave me greasy and preps my skin beautifully for makeup. A no-brainer. I don't know yet what to replace it with for colder months, when the tint in it makes it too dark for my pale skin.

After my cleansing routine, I will apply this long time favourite:

The good old Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum.
I may alternate with another serum later in Fall (a Vitamin C one for example) but this is always a great choice as it does so many great things for the skin.
I then follow up with a basic moisturizer. This is currently Louis Widmer Switzerland moisturizing fluid.

Every three days, instead of using the serum and moisturizer, I use this:

The famous Alpha H Liquid Gold. Now this deserves all the good things I've heard on it all around the beauty blogosphere! It's a very liquidy lotion that contains 5% glycolic acid. You pour it on a cotton pad and wipe it all over your face (not around eyes, though). It stays tacky for 5-10 mins while it sinks in. It can tickle a little bit too but I noticed that it mostly did the first time for me, then not anymore.
You should use this on its own, and every other night at the most. I chose to use it 3 times a week, as my skin can be a little bit sensitive. If you're even more sensitive than me, you can add moisturizer on top when your skin has absorbed it, but ideally you should use it alone: nothing under or on top of it.
I make sure I do not use this on nights where I've used the Osmoclean, as that would be too much exfoliation. What I find works particularly well is to use the Osmoclean the day after I've used Liquid Gold, this way I get chemical exfoliation from the glycolic acid, then a bit of mechanical exfoliation for any dry patch that wouldn't be gone yet. Also, the Liquid Gold would dry up any little whiteheads, and the Osmoclean would exfoliate the dead skin the next day.
Liquid Gold isn't a cheap product (around the €35 mark) but it's the cheapest in the Alpha-H range and in my opinion, the one that you need.

Like for cleansing, I find this is a very minimal routine in terms of the amount of products I use, but it's a very effective one. The Liquid Gold has definitely added something to the routine, but I also know the good old favorites are doing a good job at keeping my skin soft and moisturized.
All in all, I don't think I've ever had a skin that clear, and I have been wearing little to zero foundation for the past month, which says a lot. I would never have thought this was possible, especially not with years going by - so this is the proof a good skincare routine really does a huge difference.

September 10, 2012

Current cleansing routine.

I've been performing a new cleansing (and, more generally, skincare) routine for the past month and have been really impressed with the results. It's nothing very complicated, but it has made a big difference in how clean my skin looks and how clear my pores are on the T-zone.

First step: I remove my makeup with micellar lotion (Biorderma and/or Taj): that hasn't changed.

The first thing that changed is that I started using this:

While I was contemplating the expensive purchase of a Clarisonic in the hope of getting rid of my sebaceous filaments, my friend reviewed this little guy and said that it had done a better job than her Clarisonic at cleaning her pore. Bonus: the price is much cheaper too.
This is the Tosowoong pore brush, a little brush that fits in the palm of your hands. It's made of synthetic anti-bacterial hair, thousands of them, and it's extremely soft. Yet it does a great job at cleansing your skin.
It can be purchased here for $25. A bargain.

The way you use it is that you wet it, put cleanser on it, and then use on your face with circular motions. Any cleanser will work, and I took this opportunity to try another one :

This is REN Mayblossom T-zone control cleanser. It's a clear foaming gel that comes in a 150ml bottle with a pump dispenser - very easy to use. You can get it from REN for £17. 
The gel foams quite a bit when you use it with the brush, then you rinse off easily with warm water. It has a slightly herbal scent to it, a fresh one, but it doesn't linger for too long.
I got this because I wanted something for my pores and T-zone, however this is more suitable for combination to oily skin and I know already that in Winter, it will leave my skin feeling too tight. But for now it's working well and my skin does feel soft after I've used it.

Twice a week, instead of cleansing with the gel and brush, I would use this:

This is Esthederm Gentle Deep Pore Cleanser. It looks like a thick balm, which thickens even more and becomes all white when you rub it onto your skin. This needs to be used on dry skin, I must add, and this way you gently exfoliate. No beeds or anything, this is really soft but very effective, and it leaves your skin perfectly smooth.
I got this from Beautybay, 75ml cost €30 as Esthederm is never cheap, but it is a brilliant product and you really don't need much so it will last me a long time. It smells really nice too.
The Osmoclean range also has a gel cleanser that I will probably get in the Winter as a replacement for the REN one.

So that's for the cleansing part of my routine. I'm pretty happy, especially as it doesn't rely on a million products, yet the results are impressive. Stay tuned for the second part on skincare.

September 6, 2012

First face of the day with Illamasqua Generation Q

Illamasqua Generation Q collection is realeased today, and without lying I can tell I haven't been as excited for a makeup collection in a long time, possibly years. Of course, with all the stunning visuals that were released through Summer, the anticipation has really built upt!

Last week Illamasqua had an early release for 3 products that were voted most popular on all social networks, and these were the 2 eyeshadow palettes and the illuminator in Gleam.
I had my mind set on the palettes already and knew that they would be out of stock pretty fast, so the minute I got the notification of their release by e-mail, I placed my order. I received it yesterday and was absolutely thrill. So of course, today, for the big launch day, I'm able to sport my first Generation Q look.

Illamasqua Empower palette

My choice for today is the Empower palette. This one contains a gorgeous dark stormy blue cream shadow (liquid metal in Slick, described as a charcoal) that I used as a bas all over the lid. Then, a matte eyeshadow in Blink that looks like a boring beige nude in the pan but it has some rosey undertone that makes it absolutely lovely on my skin; I used it to blend up above the crease. The other eyeshadow is a glittery pink one, Synth, and the one I don't like as much in the bunch as I rarely wear pale pinks, but it is nice for a highlight on top of the rest or in the inner corner. The other star of the palette, for me, with the liquid metal, is the pressed pigment in Fervent, a reddish brown with blue duochrome. I actually own this one in its loose form bu I love that I now have it in this palette.
And here's the result:

As I said I used the liquid metal as a base (on top of Nars primer to avoid creasing) but also as a liner on upper and lower lashline. On top of it, the pressed pigment adds a lot of dimension with its duochrome, and the nude matte shadow completes the gradation really well.  Blush is Nars Douceur, Lipstick is Chanel Rouge Allure Enivrée.
Although this looks like the kind of color I don't often wear, I do love the final result and I find it's warm enough for me to not look washed out with it on. I would love to add more drama to it, and I could do so by using more of the liquid metal so that the overall looks appears darker.

I can't wait to get more products from this collection, specifically the Sophie blush and Magnetism lipstick!
What are you getting?

September 4, 2012

The best body scrub in the world.

I hate body scrubs. Honestly, I just can't be bothered.
However, when you've spent a month piling on the fake time, there comes a time where you just can't leave your legs full of beigy patches of crocodile skin, it's just not appealing.
And so, over the years, I've used-but-not-really-liked quite a lot of body scrubs. 
Until this one.

I read about it in Sali Hughes' column and since I was ordering other stuff from Ren, thought I'd give it a try. Plus, I like the idea of Guérande Salt, it sounds premium in a foodie way but very natural at the same time. (Have you tried Guérande Salt on a carpaccio? It's to die for).

What the brand says:
A gently exfoliating body balm which removes dead cells and will leave your skin moisturised, renewed and glowing.
Gently exfoliates, moisturises and nourishes
Skin feels renewed, glowing and smoothed
How to use:
Massage onto dry skin before bathing or showering. Rinse off.
My experience with the product.

I was quite surprised to read that you should use this on dry skin, although you can use it on wet skin if you want. But I decided to follow the recommendations. This indeed looks more like a balm than like a pile of salt (which I did use at some point in my exfoliation adventures). You don't need much and it's very easy to work into the skin.
Do it in the bathtub, though, because you'll loose some crumbles during the process and that wouldn't be nice on the bathroom floor. Then, shower and rinse off.

Result: not only is this effective as a scrub, but it leaves the skin so smooth and hydrated that I didn't even put on moisturiser after using it. Real bonus! I hate moisturising my body as much as I hate scrubbing it.
Also, there's no strong smell to this product, especially as you rinse it off (it's a bit herbal when you apply but that doesn't last long), and I don't like heavy smell on products, especially when I apply them before going to bed.
Finally a body scrub I'll be happy to keep using.

Ingredients for the science nerds:
Maris Sal (Sea Salt), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Ethyhexyl Palmitate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Laureth 3, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Tocopherol.

REN Guérande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm : 330ml, £20 - from REN