December 31, 2012

2012 Favorites

This year has been an exciting one, beauty wise. You wouldn't think you can still discover new things when you own so many already, but there are novelties all the time.
The skin issues I had back during the Spring made me revisit my skincare routine as well as my makeup, and with the Pixiwoo course and the shopping in England, I definitely discovered more great makeup products.

However I don't want this favorites list to be hopelessly long, so I am going to limit myself to (sort of) 12 products that really stayed with me all year, and possibly that were discovered this year as well!

Taaj Micellar Water
Although I am still the biggest fan of Bioderma in the world (and have been for SEVEN years, that's quite a commitment), I do enjoy the Taaj micellar water and its fresh smell, particularly in warmer weather. I also love that it doesplum up the skin!

Alpha H Liquid Gold
I certainly can't use this daily, but a couple of times of uses of this each week are great for chemical exfoliation, making the skin baby smooth and keeping little blemishes at bay!

La Roche Posay Cicaplast B5 Balm
Definitely a skincare revolution for me, this cured my Winter dermatitis and I have used it on my face every time it has gotten a bit too irritated for my liking. This is just so efficient, and you can wear it under makeup too.

REN eye contours
Perfect combo of day and night products for me. They help me keeping the area smooth, helped making dehydration lines disappear, and the gel one is just perfect under makeup. REN was definitely a great discovery of 2012 for me and these products have become staples in my daily routine!

Tosowoong cleansing brush
It's really a funny thing, that little brush, nowhere as fancy (or expensive!) as a Clarisonic but extremely effective at keeping pores clean! Can't be without it anymore!

This Works Perfect Look Skin Miracle
Half way through a skincare product and a tinted moisturizer (a very light one, though), this is just perfect for Summer and gives you the perfect glow! I wore it on its own all Summer, sometimes with a bit of foundation just around the nose and chin to help with discoloration, and it made my skin look just perfect. I can't wait to be able to wear it again next Summer. And I love the caramel smell :)

Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
A fantastic launch of this year, this tinted moisturizer evens out the skin very well and makes it look smooth and flawless. It's, in my opinion, more covering than most tinted moisturizers while still being very lightweight. Too bad that all the shades seem to be very yellow so it's not for everyone, but it's a great product that I've been using a lot.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua
Not a new one, but definitely a much loved one that I actually had to repurchase this year after using up (wooot!) a whole bottle, which never happens to me. My only complai is that it has alcohol in it and I can't wear it when I'm very dehydrated, but I haven't found another foundation that looks as beuatiful on me or that I love as much.

Inglot eyeshadows
This first palette was a gift and since then I have been hooked!  I now have 3 of them. I do think that the quality, pigmentation and texture of these shadows can't be beaten, especially for the price - and the freedom system is just great. Too bad I don't have direct access to it but I definitely want to get more. This has to be my most used brand of eyeshadows this year.

Illamasqua palettes
After my Inglot palettes, the Illamasqua ones are the ones I've used the most. Illamasqua used to lack on the eyshadow front with chalkiness issues, but they haev greatly improved and there's nothing not to love about these palettes. The liquid metals in the 2 palettes released with Generation Q (best collection of the year in my opinion) are also gorgeous bases. I am absolutely in love with these 3 palettes and hope they release more next year!

Illamasqua Naked Rose blush
Most worn blush of the year, and this picture isn't doing it justice: Naked Rose is a pink with a hint of beige that is just so wearable for every skintone. It goes with any makeup. You could practically live with just this one blush and be set for life (I love blushes too much to do that though). If you can purchase one blush from Illamasqua, get this one!

Jemma Kidd cream blush in Paw Paw
Sadly, Jemma Kidd is going out of business so I'll never be able to purchase this again but I wanted to mention it because I've used it so much: the peachy color is beautiful and the cream to powder finish is gorgeous and easy to blend. Really sad about not being able to further discover this range.

That's it for 2012. I'm excited to discover more new things next year. Are you, too? And what were your favorites this year?

December 29, 2012

Femme Boulevard: Ushering 2013 With Style

Femme Boulevard is a group of beauty bloggers that post monthly themed looks. That's not unlike us Lipstick Bandits. Well guess what: the Femme Boulevard members invited other blogers, among which some of the Lipstick Bandits, to join for a New Year stylish celebration!

The mission: metallic eyes and vampy lips. I was too happy to accept this collaboration and create a dramatic face.

What I used to create this look:
- Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi is my base of choice for special occasions, so of course I picked that one
- The vampy lip was only a question of deciding which color to pick in my large collection. I opted for the very classic Mac Rebel!
- For the metallic effect on the eyes, I used the beautiful Nars Etrusque single eyeshadow, that I applied wet for a more metallic effect. I then blended a  matte brown in the crease to give more depth. Etrusque is also applied in the inner corner and under the lower lashline.
- A blush that I love for dramatic looks is Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita. This is really scary in the pan but is so pretty and subtle when applied. It goes with any vampy lip.

Check out the other beautiful looks created to start the New Year in style!

A Little Bit Of Everything
Beaute Fabuleuse
Bronzer Bunny
Eye Heart It
Messy Wands
Mostly Sunny

December 24, 2012

A Christmas with the Bandits

At Christmas, you exchange gifts with your friends.
Us Lipstick Bandits, as we're spread all over the world, decided we would exchange looks between us, in a kind of Secret Santa Swap way!

So each of us was given the name of another Bandit, and a request for a particular kind of look that is typical of them.
My mission, as I received it, was: "Jenny (from My Funny Valentine) - must do bloodred lips" (someone actually mentioned using real blood but I have chosed to ignore this part)

I was absolutely thrilled because a/ I love Jenny and she's been a blogger friend for a long time, and b/she's the quintessence of dramatic eyes and red lips looks, which I absolutely love. She has something of a modern Marie-Antoinette or of a real-life Jessica Rabbit that I find completely stunning.
Oh and if I may add a little c/we do own quite a lot of the same products and share some makeup favorites.

However, and I'm stating the obvious here, we don't look like each other at all, so those products we share are obviously going to deliver very different results. I was curious as how different they would be, and so I decided to re-create a full look of hers and I picked this one (Jen, I hope you don't mind me borrwing your picture)

Here Jenny used the Illamasqua Neutral palette, which I adore, and Illamasqua Box lipstick - shock horror, I don't own that one! Plus, I had to have bloodred lips, remember? So I went for something glossier and bluer (it's a discontinued Dior lipgloss)...And here's my recreation!

This looks much more dramatic on me due to my paler skin and the cool Winter light, but it looks very nice nevertheless and I got tons of compliments on those eyes!

And of course, Jenny being an optometrist and a fellow glass-wearer, I had to do a specs shot just for her!

Merry Christmas, Lipstick Bandits and everyone!

Now go and discover the other Bandits looks, I can't wait to see who recreated one of mine!

And a new Bandit this round:

December 19, 2012

Dior bits: Nude Compact Powder, and Foundation Brush

I realize there are a couple of Dior purchases I made a little while ago but didn't tell you about, so it's time we rectify this!

1. Diorskin Nude Compact Powder.
You may remember that last Spring, I bought the Clarins Ever Matte powder and that I was liking it a lot.
Well when I started to reach the bottom of the compact in the centre, the whole thing just broke in a thousand pieces. Which means I lost about 50% of the product, and I was a bit upset about that. When I went back to the dept. store, I heard that this compact wasn't refillable, so I decided against repurchasing the Clarins product even though I found it lovely.

I was advised by the SA to go for the new Diorskin Nude compact. This one is refillable, which is a good thing. The less good thing is the price, though: €52. Huge - more than for their liquid foundation. But they'll tell you that you pay for the compact and then next purchase will be cheaper.
In the compact, you have a nice mirror, a sponge that has different textures on each side for different coverage levels, and there's a little flat powder brush in the velvet pouch the compact comes in.
As usual, the palest available shade, #20, is very pink toned. That means I had to go one shade up and get #30.

My overall experience with the product.
Well first of all, of course, shade #30 is a bit too dark and *shifty eyes*
I bought in a rush because I needed a powder and I should have looked into this longer, I suppose.
Then I can't determine if this product is really a compact powder, as in finishing powder, or if it's a foundation. The SA told me it was a powder but I keep reading blog posts about people considering this to be a powder foundation. This, in my opinion, influence the powder texture so you might want to double check on that.
I find that the product is not extremely mattifying and that when I apply it on top of my base, as a touch up powder at the end of my long days (which is the only use I have for a compact powder, really), it can easily look cakey. Even on top of tinted moisturiser.

All in all, I'm not too happy with this. I'm going to use it (and it's probably going to take a long while since it's just for touch ups) because I can't accept the loss of 52€ but I won't repurchase. I kind of regret not having gotten another 30€ Clarins powder instead, even at the risk of it breaking again.

2. Dior Backstage Full Coverage Liquid Foundation Brush.

I was attracted by the sleek design of this new brush, released at the same time as the new Nude base range,  and I had been thinking for a long time of getting another flat top dense brush for foundation, as it's the kind I like best. I had thought about the Shiseido one for the longest time but it's not available in my city, and since the Dior one looks a lot like it, I thought I had found a perfect dupe.
This one is definitely expensive at a 51€ mark, good thing I got it with a gift card. It is, however, extremely soft and it applies foundation beautifully. Dior markets this one for a high coverage application, while they have another, regular flat paddle brush, marketed for lighter applications. Regardless of coverage, I prefer this kind of brush with which you can buff the product as much as you want.
I have actually used it with Illamasqua Rich Liquid foundation which is THE hardest foundation to apply EVER - and it worked like a charm. That's kind of the ultimate test for me.
I have to be completely honest and tell you that the Real Techniques Buffing Brush will do as good of a job but if you want to invest in a luxurious foundation brush that does the job perfectly, this one is ace.

December 17, 2012

Winter blues. And pinks.

The real Winter blues hasn't hit me too hard (yet) this year, so that's not what I'm talking about.
I rarely wear pinks because I don't think they suit me, but this time of the year - I mean, December-January- when the light is very cool, I suddenly suit cooler tones better than warm ones. Hence this combination of pink and blues that is very unusual for me!

The pink is a Shiseido Shimmering Cream Shadow called PK214 Pale Shell, which was launched past Spring as a permanent addition to the line.
The blues come from this Clarins palette, another launch from last Spring:

I had passed on it back then, because even though it looked pretty I just didn't want to add yet another quad to my collection. But I recently received this as a gift, so now I can indulge :) I used the top left blue in the crease, very lightly, and the darker bottom left one as a liner and blended up in outer V. That's actually a very good smokey eye technique for hooded eyes.

Base is Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi. Blush is Illamasqua Hussy, another one that doesn't get enough love from me - although it's gorgeous in Summer as well.

I find it really funny that I'm now, at the heart of Winter, wearing things that were ment to be worn for Spring. But hey, that's the beauty of makeup: there's no rules :)

December 12, 2012

Perfume review: Diptyque Volutes

A couple of months ago I was wandering about the Diptyque counter in a French department store where I had gone for makeup shopping - what else - and I was intrigued by the name of their newest release: Volutes. In French, Volute refers to a swirl of smoke. And since I usually like woody smokey leathery scents, I thought I might like this one.
The first sniff was interesting but it wasn't love yet. I only manage to get a few samples of both the eau de toilette and eau de parfum more recently and that's when my love for Volutes developped for real.

The notes for this perfume are quite compelx: iris, honey, tobacco, dried fruit, pink pepper, black pepper, saffron, hay, immortelle, myrrh, storax, opopanax and benzoin.
But the overall result is quite smokey, like cherry tobacco, and on me at least it's very dry and woodsy but the softer notes like the iris and honey are rather lost and I don't get much sweetness at all.

I have, however, noticed a difference between the EDT and EDP. While lots of people have said that the EDT was drier, for me it is really the opposite: the EDT has a creamier softer quality to it, that can become a bit soapy musky on me just like Lutens Chergui did. Actually, there are some similarities between both fragrances, as they have a lot of notes in common. I think it's the iris and immortelle that are giving it its creamier softer edge. The tobacco background is still very much there, though.
The EDP, however, is very dry on me, a bit harsh and masculine but I find that infinitely warm and sexy, and so when I decided to purchase a bottle, I went for the EDP (which has a black label). I totally have this image in mind when smelling this perfume:

Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire - illustration by Russel Patterson
No, this doesn't smell like an ashtray at all, but it has something of a mix of feminine perfume and warm smoke that goes so well with this flapper imagery, at least in my mind!

Diptyque being a luxe niche brand, it's not cheap - but in my opinion their perfumes are so well composed and so high quality that they are absolutely worth their price.
100ml Eau de Toilette (82 €), 50ml Eau de Toilette (62 €), and 75ml Eau de Parfum (95 €) .

December 3, 2012

Glowy nude skin, pink lips FOTD

That is it, we have entered the depressing part of the year. I know, I know, there's Christmas, but that's just one day.  I'm talking about humid weather, icy roads, and the lack of light that makes it impossible for me to take a picture of my face even at high noon. Today, I was able to see the letters on my keyboard from 11AM to 3PM that's pretty much it - even though I'm sitting by the window.

So, this is not a recent look, but I found it back on my camera and realized I had never shared it. Pictures were taken at the end of October, where you could still hope for a bit of sunlight once in a while.

Keys to this look: Nars radant tinted moisturizer for its lovely flow, Jemma Kidd dewy glow higlighter for extra glowy cheeks, and Makeup Geek Delightful lipstick, which is an intense pink with a creamy moisturizing formula.
To contour and give shape to the cheeks (and a little bit to the eyes), I used Illamasqua Skin Base in Au, which is a bronze color infused with gold - lovely for a bronzed look, but I love it on the high point of the face just to give definition even on my pale skin.

So, let's face it: it probably will be March before I can wear that kind of face again, uh?