December 31, 2013

Last Empties of 2013

Ah, ending the year with a good clean-up of the bathroom... Right in time for the sales, as it means I'll have to re-purchase some trusty favorites!

Neutrogena Body Balm for Very Dry Skin 250ml.
Used up in 2 months of daily use and I think it's the first time in my life I stick to a routine of moisturizing my body, and use up a body lotion before it expires! I'm a bit upset because I can feel there is some product left at the bottom but I can't get it out anymore.
Will probably repurchase but I have 2 other products from the range to use up first.

Nuxe Creme Fraiche de Beauté Serum.
Love this serum, it's fantastic for dehydrated or dry skin. I am tempted to try something else next (what?) but on the other hand I know this works great for me so I might as well repurchase... not sure yet.

I may have mentioned it in my last empties already? I managed to get some more out of the tube but now it's really completely empty.
Have already repurchased, as I cannot live without it in Winter, it's a real skin savior for me!

Rituals Rice Foaming Shower Gel.
I got this in a gift set so it's a mini, and I really enjoyed using it. This comes out as a clear gel that immediately turns into a foam, it's a bit weird but very effective. The smell is light and non-offensive but still there.
Might pick a full size when I'm around a store.

REN Cleansing gel - T-Zone Control.
I use this once or twice a week with my Tosowoong brush to keep my pore clean, particularly on the t-zone. It works really well, doesn't strip off the skin, its smell is non-offensive. Will most likely repurchase.

Phytojoba Shampoo.
It smells great, lather wells, moisturizes my hair without making my roots greasy. I love everything about it excepted the price (around 8€ if you buy it in France, more like 12€ here) but I have repurchased again.

YSL Faux-Cils mascara (not pictured).
You know it's my ultimate favorite, I'm never without a backup of this.

Hopefully in 2014 I will show you some makeup empties? But I'm not too sure about that yet.

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas FOTD

Eyes: Chanel Ombres Matelassées in Charming + generic black liner and YSL Faux Cils
Blush: &OtherStories Cire Red
Lips: Rimmel Kate in Kiss of Life
Base: Clarins Extra Comfort #105

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 2, 2013

November Favorites

Makeup wise, this month hasn't been very different from October. But with the gloomy Fall weather upon us, I've felt the need to update the lips in order to see some color in all that grey, and I've done that mostly with this lipstick:

Maybelline Color Sensational in 520 - Fatal Red.
And boy, does it wear its name right! It's the perfect ruby red lipstick, it's pigmented, it's creamy and comfortable, it's long-lasting. There is nothing I don't like about it.
I love that you can wear this kind of shade with a bit of pink blush (or red, or neutral, whatever floats your boat) and a very light eye, and you're all dressed up.

Other than that, due to the colder weather, I've had to focus on skincare much more. Because, as they say, Winter is coming.

During the day I boost the hydration on my face with the Nuxe Serum Crème Fraîche. It makes a huge difference in keeping my dry cheeks not too dry and not flaky and chapped.

At night,  I use a good layer of Hydraluron gel between my Advanced Night Repair and my moisturizer. This helps me getting up with plump hydrated skin in the morning.

My Winter moisturizer of choice is still Kiehl's Ultra Facial cream, and I have repurchased the supersize jar! I use it mostly at night, but sometimes in the day too. I love its fresh texture and its great moisturizing properties.

For the body, I've been really good at using my Neutrogena body lotions and balm daily for the whole month, and for the first time in the history of myself, I don't suffer crocodile skin anymore, and don't have eczema on the back where it shows up every Winter. I hope these products allow me to keep things under control for the whole Winter.

December 1, 2013

The new Makeup Geek brushes : review

Foreword: Ironically, after I had drafted this post, my house was broken into and ALL of my brushes were stolen, among many other things, excepted some of these that were still put aside in my photography corner. So I'm going to be re-building my brush collection from these...

Makeup Geek recently relaunched their brush line. Unlike the previous line, the new one is 100% custom made following Marlena’s requirements.
There are currently 6 face brushes and 10 eye brushes in the line so almost anyone’s needs can be met.

The Face Brushes.

These are my favorite in the range.  The foundation brushes and the buffing brush, particularly, are really great. They’re made of synthetic hair that is incredibly soft ! The buffing brush is a great multi-tasker that will also work for cream blushers or bronzers.

The blush brush and contour brush are a bit different than what you might expect : their size is smaller than most face brushes. I personally don’t mind, as I tend to like really small round brushes for blush application (Mac 109 or smaller) and I also think a nice little brush for contour gives you more control than a regular angled blush brush. But I can imagine they might not be everyone’s taste.

The highlighter brush is the one I haven’t really used, as I don’t tend to use an highlighter often,  or I apply it with fingers. It is however small enough to be precise and very soft.

The Eye Brushes.

Here I think the strength of the range lies in the various crease brushes, outer V and pencil brush. These are great for precision work, and there’s a format for everyone in there, whether you have little or much lid space.  They’re nice and soft and they keep their shape well.  I think it’s something that no brand currently offers.

I do regret, however, that there’s currently no stiff flat shader brush, and no blending brush that has the shape I like. There are, however, a few brushes for eyeshadow application and blending, so the range might fill all your needs.

Not featured in pictures (because it was with my dirty brushes and I forgot) : the bent liner brush, which has a very nice thin point and is just stiff enough to keep its shape perfectly while you’re using it. If you like a bent liner brush, this one is excellent.

November 21, 2013

Neutrogena Body Creams

I was recently given the opportunity to test out 3 Neutrogena body moisturizers.
I’m sure you all heard at some point of the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula which is great to protect your skin and keep it moisturized even during Winter’s coldest days under the worse climate.
The uniqueness of this formula lies in an ingredient called 'Jasparello', which is a synthetic copy of a very protective fish skin oil. This, combined which glycerin (which we know is a great humectant) makes for the efficiency of Neutrogena's products.

Since my body skin is usually a bit dry, prone to eczema, and gets extremely dry, itchy and uncomfortable during Winter (which is partly my fault because I’m lazy with moisturizers) , I thought I could surely benefit from using this range.  So I’ve been using it daily for almost 4 weeks now, and I can share my thoughts !

The moisturizing balm
My favorite of the bunch, although it’s not the most moisturizing one. This is a gel cream formula in a jar, that is very light, feels very refreshing on the skin, and has a light fresh smell. I think that’s why I like it the most : it’s so fresh, so light, and also, it sinks into your skin within seconds. I don’t have to wait before I can get dressed.
Great bonus : you can wear this on the face, too ! So it’s a fantastic multi-tasker for dry skin.

The Intense Repair Body Cream
If your dry skin has fallen on the very problematic side of dry, e.g. you look like a crocodile, you’re itchy, your skin has no natural protection film left whatsoever and has lost all of its moisture, this is the product for you.
This is a thicker cream, and it still has a quite fresh, non-offensive smell. What’s great about this is that it does sink into the skin quite fast, too, but it does create a protective film on your skin that really keeps the moisture in for 24 hours, until your next shower.
I am really impressed by this product. It does require a few more seconds than the balm to blend in and to dry, but it’s incredibly effective.
Another bonus point : the bottle with the pump make it really easy to use hygienically.

The Deep MoistureBody Lotion 
This one is meant for dry skin, not for extreme conditions. I did find, however, that it felt thicker and more sticky than the intense one, and that its smell was a bit more chemical as well, which I found a bit unpleasant. For me, I rather use the intense lotion that I feel gives me better protection but that will sink in faster and won’t be sticky.
This being said, it’s not a bad product at all, it will moisturize your skin well, but given the choice within the range, it’s not my favorite.

The overall conclusion.

Great range, great result, and very affordable prices : €9.95 to €11.95 for these three products.
Really, what’s not to like ?

November 1, 2013

October Favorites

I haven't done favorites in a long time, mostly because I wasn't rotating many products and there was no point in showing the same stuff month after month.
But with the change in season, I really changed my routine in October. And this week we even got a sunny day so I could shoot pictures!

Clarins Extra Comfort foundation (reviewed here) is definitely the base of the month! I have been using it religiously and my skin really likes it as it's very comfortable. Coverage is great, and you can also get along with just a little bit on discolored areas if you want - leaving the rest of the skin bare or using a tinted moisturizer (the Nars Radiant one is great).

Korres Multivitamin Powder for Oily/Combination skin (shade 12N) : I got this in my beauty box subscription at the end of September and have used it daily since. It's mattifying without being heavy or cakey, it has no smell, the color is perfect for me. The compact has a real mirror too so you can use it on the go. 

Illamasqua Naked Rose and Bourjois Cream Blush in 01 have been on my cheeks a lot, although I'm currently working on re-trying every blush in my (huge) collection to re-assess which ones suit me or not, so I can hopefully get rid of a few things and find some much needed room in my storage unit.

Clarins Instant Light lipgloss (pink shade) : I'm not a huge gloss fan anymore (stickiness, long hair, windy month... you get the picture) but this one is easy to wear. You can apply without a mirror, it's moisturizing, it's flattering and it smells good (vanilla). So I keep it in my bag and apply on the go.

YSL Faux Cils mascara : what can I say, this is still my favorite mascara in the world

On the eyes, I've been using a limited amount of shades, mostly in the way I illustrated here.
My favorite shadows for this have been:
- the pale side of Nars Dogon duo, which is a gorgeous duochrome shade, a taupe-mauve with a blue green shot through
- Nars Lahsa, a more purple mauve
- my trusty palette of cool toned Inglot mattes, particularly the mauve and beige shades.

I forgot this one in the picture, so forgive me for the random image. As a liner along the lashline, I've been liking Mac Powerchrome Pencil in Polished Jet, which is a kind of steely blue green with glitter in it. It's looking fabulous with the pale shade of Nars Dogon on top!

And here's me with most of these on my face!

What were your favorites in October?

October 19, 2013

On my face at the moment

After a Summer of wearing minimal makeup, partly because of the heat, partly because I was uninspired, I felt a strong need to re-invent my makeup a bit.
Nothing wrong with wearing a cream blush and a cream eyeshadow day after day after day, but at some point I got bored of it. And possibly, the size of my stash just felt overwhelming rather than inspiring. I had to dig into it and found some loved-then-forgotten stuff that I should start using again.

After having found a foundation that works for me and my current skin needs,  I moved on to the eyes. 

I have found a technique that I like and that is a great compromise between being quick, looking fresh and giving a lot of definition. It is perfect for daily wear, for office wear, and for a night out you can easily vamp it up.

What I use:
- a light to medium shadow on the mobile lid, it can be matte or shimmery
- a medium to dark color in the crease, that I blend up, but that I do not join with the outer corner
- a khol pencil applied between the upper lashes and closely to the lashline before applying mascara
- a matte highlight shade under the brow, which for me is usually identical to my skintone

Favorite products for this look: my Inglot palette,  my Burberry shadows - Pale Barley, Gold Trench, Midnight Brown and Taupe Brown- or my Makeup Geek shadows. For khols, nothing beats the Mac ones in my opinion, Teddy, Prunella and Sense of Style being my favorites.

If you want to make this more dramatic, you can:
- add a dark shade on the outer corner, either just on the crease and blended a bit down, or joining the outer corner
- more khol, possibly smudged, for example on the lower lashline, or in the waterline

Colors can be picked according to your mood, clothes (if matching is your thing), eye color...

With that, flawless skin, defned brows, fresh looking blush (Illamasqua Naked Rose, of course) and lipbalm or very natural lipstick. I currently enjoy the Clarins Instant Lip Perfector in the pale pink shade. On the whole this takes me 15 min and I don't rush into it at all.

What is your current favorite look?

October 11, 2013

Foundation Review #38: Clarins Extra Comfort

I can't believe I haven't reviewed a foundation in almost a year! I was not completely happy using what I have,  because my skin wasn't perfectly happy until Summer began (and it didn't begin before late June!) but I couldn't find something better on the market and thought it was pointless to try.

After a great Summer of wearing next to nothing, or anything I wanted, just like a clock my skin started freaking out as we hit the October mark. Dehydration, redness, tightness, little inflamed breakout on the cheeks and on the other hand, a very oily t-zone: it was a disaster.
I tweeted the lovely Stacey @PixiwooHQ and she recommended trying the new Clarins foundation, Extra-Comfort. I ran and bought it without trying it, out of despair.
Out of despair as well, I bought shade 105 Nude because my country doesn't carry 103 Ivory which is normally my color in Clarins foundations. I'd rather fake-tan my neck in Winter to match my face than not know what to wear at all.

What the brand says.
Treatment foundation: illuminates the complexion, nourishes the skin.
Its exclusive anti-ageing formula plumps, moisturises and nourishes the skin deep down with a combination of organic Argan oil and the Global Age-Defying Complex. The skin instantly feels suppler and more comfortable. Wrinkles and fine lines are smoothed. The complexion is left glowing with youth. AF
My experience with the product.

Let's start with the obvious: the packaging. A glass jar. Seriously, Clarins, couldn't you fit this cream texture in some other kind of container, like the Ever Matte's tube for example? It's bulky, it's heavy, not travel-friendly and not really hygienic, although you get a spatula with it. 

The formula is a thick cream. I was worried that due to its thickness and to the Argan oil in it, it would be too heavy for my T zone, so I decided to do 2 things: not moisturize the T-zone, and apply with a stippling brush (Real Techniques) so I could use the smallest amount on that area. Clarins recommends applying with hands but I was afraid it would make me apply too much.

Now this foundation is obviously much more coverage than I usually like to wear, I would say it's medium to full. But let's face it, when your skin is angry and red, a sheer foundation doesn't hide it anyway, you end up piling on the concealer and you might even not succeed at hiding everything you want to. With this foundation, everything is evened out pretty well. Where I am red and need more coverage, I just stipple a bit more, and redness gets covered. But you can use really a smaller amount and blend it very well to get a really thin layer where you don't need much coverage. I did not build this up to full coverage and still used concealer under the eyes and on a few zits.

The finish is satin, I would say, slightly luminous but not dewy. I do set up with powder on the T-zone only. The product doesn't look heavy on the skin at all, nor does it feel sticky or extremely hydrating (if you're dry, this won't allow you to skip moisturizer at all).

And here's how it looks like.

Luckily, the color ends up blending rather well with my neck!

Well, after 2 weeks of wearing this daily, I can tell you: I am in love. Not only does this look really well right after you applied it, but it still looks really good after 8 hours, and it doesn't turn into an oil slick at all on my t-zone. I just touch up my powder a tiny bit mid-day but it's not even that necessary.
Another very important thing: this doesn't aggravate my skin, which now feels much better. I wouldn't say it cured it, but a lot of foundations would just destroy during the day the good results I was getting from skincare during the night. With this one, after 4 days of night treatments and this during the day, my skin wasn't irritated at all anymore. 

A little downside, though: titanium dioxide being very high in the ingredients list, this will flash back in flash photography. I personally don't care too much, I can wear something else once in a while if I have my picture taken.

Bottom line: if this weren't in a stupid packaging, and were available in more shades (only 9 in total), it would be perfection.

 Clarins Extra Comfort foundation - 30ml - £35 - $56 -€43

September 22, 2013

Pores and wrinkle no more? Nanoblur versus Garnier Perfect Blur

Oh hai, long time no see. I wasn't intending to take a hiatus, but with the Summer being over and me being busy starting up a business, shopping for a new car, keeping up with 98 beauty blogs a day and about a million other things...I just didn't have the time to blog.
But I'm back with a comparative review!

So it looks like "optical blurring" is the new thing in cosmetics these days. With products that claim to visibly smooth every pore or fine line so that you visibly look fresher and younger in a few seconds, I felt equally interested and dubious. The only way to know was to try.

The contestants.
1. Garnier 5 seconds Perfect Blur. I got a full size (30ml) in my beauty box subscription but this retails for € or £ 11.20 (bad conversion rate strikes again) so the high end spectrum of drugstore skincare.  

It claims to be a smoothing and perfecting primer with optical effect. 5sec Perfect Blur takes 5 seconds to apply and improves the look of your skin immediately.

2. Indeed Labs Nanoblur - that's from the makers of Hydraluron. 30 ml as well. Retails for £19.99 - I might be wrong but I think it was a bit more a few months ago.

This claims to immediately reduce the appearance of skin ageing, including the look of lines, wrinkles, crow's feet, sagginess and enlarged pores. The packaging talks about taking 10 years off your face.

How to use them.
Both products don't work the same way. Perfect Blur is marketed as a primer, so you should use it under your makeup and on top of your skincare. The brand says you can also reapply during the day, on top of makeup, if needed.

Nanoblur is a finishing product that you apply on top of foundation. The brand clearly states that it is not a primer. You can also use it on top of your skincare if you're not wearing makeup, and if your skin is very dry, you can mix it with the moisturizer and apply in patting motion.

My experience with both products.
I started with the Garnier Perfect Blur. It comes out of the tube as a white, rather solid cream, looking a bit like some matte primers. It goes on very smoothly and you can definitely feel that it is very siliconey. It makes a great base for your makeup and indeed, it does blur imperfections.

But... it does feel a bit oily, because it's very siliconey. And after a few hours, it starts to actually look oily! Which isn't a great look, especially around your nose. So I must say I wasn't really a fan anymore after the first couple of hours. I also didn't try to put more on top because really, it was feeling to greasy for me to want to add something on top.

With the Nanoblur, I applied on top of makeup. The product had a very similar aspect, like a white solid-ish cream that looks mattifying, but the feeling was very different and not at all greasy this time. I found, however, that this was moving my makeup around a bit, so you really need to pat gently. Right after the product was applied, I did feel a tightening effect. It was a bit surprising, in fact, because the optical effect was there, but you could feel your skin being more tightened. 
I did a little experiment the next day and tried to apply this under makeup, so my foundation wouldn't move around. The tightening effect was the same, and I actually don't think that the effect was bad or that this wouldn't work, even if this isn't how you're supposed to use Nanoblur.

The verdict.

Does Nanoblur make you look 10 years younger? I don't know. It does definitely have a tightening and blurring effect and it doesn't impact your makeup negatively. But I find it hard to measure how much of a difference it makes, or if you do absolutely need this. I like it and will use it, probably not on a daily basis but more for special occasions, but I don't know yet if I would repurchase it.

Garnier feels like your regular pore minimizing primer, but is very siliconey, and I would definitely not recommend this for (even slightly) oily skin, or even for normal skin because this didn't work well on my cheeks either even though they're not oily.

I am afraid the pricier product is the best working one.

August 28, 2013

Illamasqua Sacred Hour haul

Illamasqua just released their Fall collection called Sacred Hour.
I was thrilled to discover that there were lots of new and innovative products in this collection, and decided to get two of them (that a lovely friend purchased for me when they were pre-released at Selfridges, and sent me over across the Channel).

Introducing: Reflection Eye Palette, and Velvet Blusher in Peaked.

The palette is made of 4 shades that are the new generation of cream gel shadows, which were released this Spring with a very bright colorful palette. This new release is much more my cup of tea in terms of shades, so I was very excited to try this new palette!

The shades are beautiful and complex, with a lovely sheen to them. They are extremely easy to apply and to blend and you can create a sophisticated look in a few minutes, even using just your fingers.
The one down side of them is that they will crease after a 5-6 hours, even with Nars primer underneath, but I do want to try them with other primers and see how they behave. 

The blush is also a new texture of cream, that is very different from the usual cream blushers in the range. It has more of a matte satin finish, but the pigmentation is still incredible and the longevity is excellent. Peaked is a dusky rose that is quite dark, but it is blendable and I do think pale skintones can make it work.

I'm very excited about this collection and those new goodies, and I already know I'm going to wear them loads for Fall, probably with a vampy lip!

Have you tried anything from this collection?

August 10, 2013

Recent Empties

I didn't make a favorite post this month, because I pretty much said it all about my July favorites in my Instructions for a Heatwave post. But I have a few empties for you and thought I'd talk you through them.

Taaj Eau Micellaire that I reviewed last year : this was a travel size bottle I got for free. Still a nice product to use in Summer with its citrusy smell.

Eucerin DermatoClean Micellar Water : another travel size, which I received in my Deauty beauty box a couple of months ago. I would say this works pretty well, and it's unscented. But I do find it stings my eyes a little bit, which Bioderma never do. I don't mind removing my face makeup with a cleanser and a cloth, but I do want to remove my eye makeup first with a micellaire, so if the products stings my eye, it doesn't really work for me. Good makeup remover for the face, though, but I won't purchase.

The Body Shop Shea Scrub for the body. I recently raved about some Body Shops products, and I need to add this one to the list. I got this mini size in a Deauty box as well, it had enough in it for 3 full body scrubs and I used it before self tanning. It leaves the skin feeling really soft and moisturized.
It's not as abrasive as the REN Guerande Salt scrub but if you have sensitive skin it's probably better. Also, it's not really scented (unless the REN that smells a bit weird), which can be a good thing.

Diorskin Nude foundation sample : this foundation was reformulated last year, and I got this sample to try but as usual, it was too dark for me so I put it aside to wait for Summer so I could wear it.
I must say that I am not really liking it. In terms of coverage, it's very similar to Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, but it is much thicker in texture and I don't really like that. It's harder to apply and it does look like makeup. Also, it does contain alcohol so I couldn't wear it in Winter. This being said, it lasts longer and better than the Chanel VA, so that is a good point. 

I know, I'm cheating a bit with all these minis, but I thought the small reviews would be useful to some.
Have you used up something recently?

July 31, 2013

REN Satin Perfection BB cream : the one BB cream that I love

No, I have not changed my mind: I still hate most of the BB creams on the market. But I have find one that I really like and no surprise: it's from REN, a brand that has yet to disappoint me.

What the brand says:
A silicone free BB cream that leaves the skin looking flawless, even toned and luminous with a perfect non-oily, satin finish. This true multi-function cream provides flawless coverage that banishes imperfections, gives SPF and anti-oxidant protection while photo-rejuvenation technology offers a toning, firming, anti-ageing effect.

  • Skin looks satin smooth, matte and flawless
  • Corrects imperfections
  • Protects against UV damage
  • Revitalizes and boosts radiance
  • Skin looks firmer and more toned

My experience with the product:
The first thing about this product that I like a lot is the texture. Where lots of BB creams have a very rich texture that I find hard to blend and quite dry, this one is a much lighter texture that almost feels like a mousse. I do apply it on top of moisturized skin, though, otherwise it can still feel a bit dry when spreading it - but nowhere near as much as all the other BB creams.

The second thing is the color: where lots of BB creams are either greyish or frankly orange (yes, L'Oreal and Garnier, I'm looking at you), this one gives a bit of a healthy glow that does remind me of Origins VitaZing. It would probably look like skin on an NC20, if you are lighter, it will give you a bit of color, but in an non-orange non-offensive way!

I found that it is more satin than matte (which I like) and that through the day it can be a bit too dewy if you don't powder it - but that's what I experience with most products. 

The coverage is very light, if you want to hide redness or discoloration, you will need to add some concealer. What I like to do during Summertime is to use a product like this one or This Works Perfect Skin Miracle all over, and then dab a light foundation like Chanel Vitalumière Aqua around the nose and chin where I want more coverage.

When it comes to packaging, this is an airless pump, which is really hygienic, and you can always see how much is left as the tube is transparent. Little bit of a negative there though: the pump isn't always working great, and also you need a good couple of pumps to do your whole face, particularly as it doesn't dispense the same amount every time. That would be my biggest negative point about this product.

Finally, this product has SPF15 with broad spectrum. It's really not enough in the Summer time, unless like me you spend your days working behind the computer inside the house - otherwise, you'll need a stronger SPF underneath.

Ingredient list for the science nerds:
Aqua (Water), Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Zinc Oxide, Oleyl Alcohol, Camelia Oleifera Seed Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Silica, Yeast Amino Acids, Sorbitan Olivate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Myristyl Myristate, Sucrose Palmitate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Oryzanol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Isopropyl Myristate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Mannitol, Lactic Acid, Yeast Extract, Mica, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Tocopherol, Carbomer, Isostearic Acid, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Limonene, Morinda Citrifolia Extract, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Glycogen, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Propylene Carbonate, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Linalool, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, CI 77492/ CI 77491/ CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)

As per usual, REN avoid using as many nasties as they can, which is a great bonus.

Have you tried this cream and did you like it?

REN Satin Perfection BB Cream SPF 15, broad spectrum SPF 15 - 50ml - £26

July 27, 2013

(Makeup) Instructions for a Heatwave

If you haven't read that excellent book y Maggie O'Farrell, I really recommend you do. However it does not, sadly, give any real instruction on how to deal with the kind of weather we've been having these past weeks. Nor on how to keep your makeup from melting off your face. 

But I have found, I think, I routine that works well - and interestingly it does involve a lot of cream products, as you can see on the picture above.
Mind you, I don't use them all at the same time, here's what I'd have on my face on one typical day:

And that would be:
- some kind of tinted moisturizer, which is usually This Works Perfect Skin Miracle. But the REN BB cream (yes, you read that well, more to come on that subject) does work as well
- a bit of foundation around the nose and chin to hide discoloration
- powder bronzer of some kind, this one is the Dior Skin Nude Glow one
- cream blusher - and I love those Bourjois ones, they're easy to apply and blend and stay on all day
- a wash of one cream eyeshadow with mascara :  Maybelline Color Tattos are fab and inexpensive, but of course Mac Paintpots or cream shadows from Shiseido, Bobbi Brown or other brands are great as well. I use Nars eyeshadow primer underneath and they won't budge
- a chubby stick type of thing on the lips, this one is also by Bourjois and a great little product.

The result: a face that stays on all day through the heat, with just a bit of Chanel Les Beige to touch up the T-Zone mid day.

Bonus: it takes less than 10 mins to put on.

Do you have a makeup routine for hot weather? 

July 22, 2013

SPF reminder

We've been under a really hot sun for more than 2 weeks now and it's not foreseen to stop any time soon. Though this long awaited Summer is welcome, it means that you have to take a few precautions, like drink enough water (2 litres a day is recommended in this heat), avoid physical exercise during the afernoon, and of course: wear SPF.

This video from BodyTalk daily is a great reminder of the basics:

Little summary:
- SPF doesn't add up, putting 2 SPF 15 products in top of each other does not make an SPF 30
- the SPF is an indication of how long your skin is protected. SPF 50 protects your skin longer than SPF 30. So don't think that an SPF 50 will prevent you from tanning or will be too heavy for you: it's a question of time, nothing else

And as a side note, if you have young children, a sunblock, which is a mineral filter, is better than a sun protection with chemical filters. Avene has a great SPF 50 mineral filter (see picture above) that is great for the whole family

Stay protected and hydrated, and enjoy the sun!

July 17, 2013

Current loves from The Body Shop

Although they don't have any store in my immediate area, I'm always happy to give The Body Shop a visit when I come across one of their shops. There is something comforting about their body products, as they are so nice to use and so reliable. I also like to browse their makeup even if I don't own many of those products, but I did find some little gems in the past (particularly in the blusher section) so I am always happy to give their new products a look or a try. So I thought I would tell you about 2 little products that I currently love and use daily.

The first one is the Olive Body Butter. I got a mini jar of it in a beauty box and at first I was a bit surprised by the idea of using olive - not that they're not rich and moisturizing, but because you'd think their scent is quite far from the usual sweet Body Shop body butters. I must admit I thought this would smell a bit like pesto.
Well, not at all. Although the butter itself is definitely green (a nice peppermint green I would say), I don't find it smells of olives at all. In fact, it smells rather fresh, a bit like bamboo shower gel if that tells you something. So it's a really nice fresh smell that is very nice to use in the current heat.
I know, I know, it might sound weird to use a body butter in the Summer. I should really do that in the Winter more, but I can't be bothered when my legs don't see daylight. But in Summer, I want everything to look moisturized and firm, and body butters are great for that, giving your skin a slight sheen that looks very healthy. Perfect for arms and legs!

The second one is the All In One Concealer. I was sent this one to try by The Body Shop in the shade 01, which is the lightest and slightly pink/salmony in tone. I wasn't sure I would like it because I often find nothing compares to my Estee Lauder Double Wear, and also because it's not the kind of shade I usually go for. 
Again, I was pleasantly surprised. You actually see a different color in the center of the product, it's a bit like a two-in-one moisturizer and concealer. The whole formula is really emollient and easy to blend, but also lightweight. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a dry undereye area, as it would be very comfortable to wear. Despite the moisturizing ingredients, it doesn't slide around at all, I just set it very lightly with my face powder.
The salmony color is surprisingly brightening. On good days I use it on its own, mainly on the inner and outer corners of the eyes. If I didn't sleep enough, I use a little bit of the Double Wear on top, but much less than when I use it on its own, and the All In One Concealer acts as a corrector - but with a much lighter texture than, say, the Bobbi Brown one.

Olive Body Butter - 200ml - £13 - €17 - $20
All In One Concealer - 2.3g - £8,50 - €11 - $12

These two little products are going to stay with me this Summer. What are your favorite Body Shop products at this time of the year?

July 6, 2013

Caudalie Jambes Divines - Divine Legs body bronzing fluid

First of all, let me apologize my lack of posts recently. My MacBook started to act really weirdly, which made it very hard for me to work and to blog, and I spent hours trying to fix things until I realized that my hard drive was about to die.
Hence more time spent in HD hunting (not my usual kind of shopping), playing with screwdrivers, but mostly reinstalling everything which takes hours and hours.

After this whole debacle, I feel it'a s a bit too late to talk about my June favorites, so I'd rather jump into reviewing something new I've started using.

For the record, I am a very pale creature, nevertheless I have cool olive undertones which give my pale yellow skin a green tinge. That means I would rather not have to expose my bare legs. Heck, I'd rather not see them myself. 
For years I've spent time exfoliating and fake-tanning my skin, but as years go by I find I can't be bored anymore. And this year it's been even worse because we have had so few sunny days that going through the whole routine for just one day of going out bare-skinned.

Enters this new product, released in May, bought in June and pretty much useless until now: Caudalie Jambes Divine. This is a bronzing fluid that will make you look like you are fake tanned yet will go away with soap next time you will shower. Perfect when you wake up and see it's sunny and want to wear a skirt, much easier than planning in advance and going through the whole fake tanning process.

The product comes in a glass bottle in a pump. You will need a couple of pumps to do a half-leg. It smells a little bit sweet but I have found that you don't smell it at all anymore after a few minutes so nobody is going to ask what your perfume is. 
It sets in a few minutes too, so you won't have to walk around the house without being able to sit down for 15 minutes and you won't feel sticky. Once it sets, it feels like a lightweight moisturizer.

The result: bronzed legs. The color is not orange at all, it is even a little bit yellow for my taste (I usually go for the more olive fake tans) but it is nevertheless very natural and really does the trick.

Is it foolproof, then? Well, yes and no. You can actually build up the intensity by using more product, which means that if you don't apply as much on both legs, you'll have a tan that doesn't match on both sides. For this reason I recommend applying in daylight and not in a dark bathroom. You can apply with your hands but be careful to blend well, especially around the ankles and feet, or you will end up with stains like you would with badly applied fake tanned. I have not yet tried to use a mitt but I suppose that might help.

Does it last well? Again, yes and no. If, like me, you are crossing your legs a lot when sitting, and particularly on one side, you will notice after a little while that there is a white patch on the knee where your leg was resting. Probably even more so if it's really hot and you are sweating but I did experience the problem under circumstances that were not that extreme.

The verdict: this is a good product, that I will definitely continue to use. As it's light and natural, you can also use it easily on your arms and chest, it's a perfect all-rounder. You need to be a bit careful when applying, though.

Caudalie Divine Legs is 100ml and costs €28. It is made of 92% of natural ingredients.

June 28, 2013

Illamasqua Hydra Veil

When Illamasqua launched their Paranormal collection a couple of months ago, Hydra Veil was the one product that caught my attention.
I was probably not the only one to be intrigued because it was sold out for quite a while and I had to wait a long time before I was able to finally order and try it.

What the brand says:
Create a radiant finish with Hydra Veil's instantly rehydrating, gel formula. Providing the optimal base for your make-up, apply before foundation with an Illamasqua Brush.

Ok, I feel I need to add more details here. This product is in fact a kind of jelly that has water and glycerin as first ingredients, which means it's going to be quite hydrating. Great if you have dry and/or dehydrated skin. You only need the tiniest amount as it spreads really well, and using too much can give a bit of a tacky feel (due to the glycerin). 
In giving your skin this rehydration boost, Hydra Veil will make its surface a smooth base for makeup application. In this sense, it does prep the skin for makeup, but it's not a primer in the sense that it would  necessarily make your makeup last longer.

In short: this is a skincare product designed to prep the skin for makeup rather than to be used on its own.

The packaging:
This jar was smartly developped: once you open it, you see a little secondary lid to which a little spatula is attached. The lid is also attached to the jar so you won't drop it. The spatula is perfect to get exactly the amount you need and cut out that amount from the jelly block in the jar. Weirdly, the jelly expands again and regains its smooth surface within seconds.
Good pictures here, as I'm sans camera right now.

My experience with the product:I think this really keeps its promises: first of all it does give a hydration boost to your skin and my dehydrated cheeks are loving it. Secondly, it does create a perfect base for makeup and it makes my skin feel soft and look perfectly smooth and velvety. 
I would definitely recommend it if you have issues with hydration and with a skin surface that isn't smooth enough.

On my oilier areas, it didn't make my makeup last longer but it didn't make things worse either. 
I must say that I first tested this on a day where the temperatures were over 30°C, and my makeup still looked good after 12 hours, excepted where I usually get oily - but it was definitely not that bad. So I wouldn't use Hydra Veil if what you're looking for longevity or have a very oily skin, as it tackles skin surface and hydration much better.

Ingredient list for the science nerds:

June 24, 2013

Givenchy Hydra Sparkling Mat Luminescence Moisturizing Fluid

What a mouthful, this name, eh? But don't let it discourage you, stay with me on this one as it's an interesting product.

You probably know that any skin can be dehydrated, even oily ones, because dehydrated skin lacks water, not oil. 
My skin tends to be more dehydrated as the years go by. In Winter, it's normal to dry at the same time, then in the Summer it is more combination with a slightly oily T-zone and cheeks that stay a bit dry, definitely a bit dehydrated as well and overall dull. 

Givenchy is, once more, and under-hyped brand. Not only does their makeup not get the credit it deserves, but you hardly if ever hear about their skincare - even though they have a range targeted for all kinds of dehydrated skins. Which I don't think is the case for any other luxury brand.

The Hydra Sparkle range is consequently about giving back some glow to your dehydrated skin while being suited for your skin type. With the Summer being back (officially, in the facts not so much but that's another story) I wanted something that would control the oils as well as give moisture and luminosity back to my cheeks, and that is exactly what this Mat Luminescence Moisturizing Fluid does.

The packaging is very pretty and sleek, with the blue color evoking water. It's all made of plastic so is light and not breakable - but can feel a little cheap if you like to have a solid glass packaging for this kind of price. This particular product comes with a pump, which is very hygienic, and one pump is perfect for your whole face so you won't waste product; it's also quite easy to control how much you dispense.

The fluid itself is white, has a light fresh, slightly sweet scent that is not overwhelming at all and that disappears quite fast. Once applied, the product sets really fast and makes your skin smooth, so it's a perfect base for makeup.

The result is really luminescent. The one thing that bothers me a bit here, is that it will make your T-zone equally as luminous, even though on the touch it will feel matte and not oily at all. So I personally wouldn't wear this on its own, I would at least powder my T-zone so it doesn't look shiny. But of course on my cheeks I love the effect. 
It does compare with the result you would get from Mac Strobe cream, but with a lighter texture, or the Oskia Get Up and Glow serum I used to use, but then the glow would still be present after makeup application, which wasn't the case with the serum.

All in all I would recommend this product, and I would advise you check the range if your skin is dehydrated.
It is a bit pricy though -  this fluid is 50ml and £38 - €54 - couldn't find a US price.

Have you tried Givenchy skincare?