Friday, 31 January 2014

January favourites & fails

Ah, January. The month where the festivities of Christmas have ended, leaving behind only aching purse strings, and the realisation that winter still has a few dark and frigid months to go. The saving grace for me is that it's my birthday month, though the closer I eek towards 30, the less of an upside this seems to be!

Aside from my recent naughty purchase of the NARS NARSissist eyeshadow palette, I've put a hault on makeup buys this month. These favourites are things that have been hanging around a while but recently made a mark (you know, shopping your stash and all that).


NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in shade Deauville - I've had this hanging around for a few years now, which probably violates some beauty blogger rule, but let's be real. I'm human. When I first got this I was a bit meh. My skin was considerably more oily back then and the supposed 'glow' veered a bit too much towards shiny for my liking. So in my collection it sat. Well, I recently ran out of my Dior Diorskin Nude Healthy Glowing Makeup (which I love) and decided to give this another go. The formula is more pigmented than most foundations that claim to be dewy (which is nice) - the coverage is medium, and can be applied with fingers or brush. The finish definitely has dimension (it's not matte/flat) and it is glowy, but it's not what I would describe as dewy, tacky, slippery, etc. I do powder it though, and it lasts well on my skin without feeling heavy. I won't say I prefer it over my more recent acquisition - the YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation that I featured in my Top 13 of 2013, but the shade range is definitely more extensive, and overall I'm enjoying it. I added a pump to my recent NARS order to get free shipping and this little makeover really seals the deal.

YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch - another one I wasn't particularly smitten with when I first got it. To be honest, I really didn't get the hype. But I whipped this out recently to try to 'use it up' and have been surprisingly impressed. I use this over concealer as an undereye highlighter and it does work to brighten. I do need to make sure my eye area is well hydrated or it can look a bit crepey and separated throughout the day. nice. I think this is why I was initially unimpressed. But, as long as you're working with well prepped skin it is really quite nice. I'm usually not a fan of click pen packaging because they can get quite messy or clogged up. This is an exception - the packing is excellent which is really a selling point for me over cheaper alternatives.

NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Charade - A dusty mauve on the left and a muted plum on the right - both completely matte. This is something I would have never chosen on my own but it came strongly recommended by Ingrid from missglamorazzi a few years ago. I  put the mauve on my lid and the plum through my crease and I find it compliments my blue eyes perfectly. I usually find it really difficult to pull off pink-toned shadows because they can make my eyes look bloodshot but this problem is nowhere in sight with this duo. Both shadows are perfectly silky - they apply smoothly and even and almost blend themselves. I seem to re-fall in love with this duo each winter.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Empire - A dark matte blue/grey toned purple (e.g. not a violet/red undertone)  - it almost reminds me a bit of MAC's smut eyeshadow in a pencil formula that stays put. I smudge this along my lower lashline - it's not as harsh as black but still well-defined and can be easily smoked out. Looks great with Charade, too.

Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in #30 Wheat - I use a colour like this every day on my eyes to blend out the crease and give some warmth to my eye look. Lately I've rediscovered this one in particular and I'm really enjoying it. This shadow is totally matte, looks cool in the pan but applies slightly warmer (but not orangey) and has a silky smooth texture. All my mac shadows are in palettes and it's been really nice having a single that I can use despite what other shadows or palettes I reach for.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo and Effaclar H - My skin has been acting up a little lately near my jaw line (lovely) and these two products have been my go-to to deal with it. Effaclar duo is more of a spot treatment - for me it's been fine to use over large areas as well but I know they've just released the Effaclar Duo+ which is more targeted for this purpose. This isn't a miracle worker but it does make a noticeable difference to the healing time of spots. The Effaclar H is a moisturizer in the same range which is specifically aimed at oily skin that is dehydrated from harsh skincare treatments. When I'm using the Effaclear Duo I put this on top and it's a perfect no-nonsense, non-irritating, but nourishing moisturizer. Skin sorted.

My final favourite is this ginormous houndstooth scarf from Zara, which could double as at throw blanket it's so damn big. It makes me look slightly crazy and I love it.


Fig+Yarrow Cardamom + Coffee Body Scrub - OK. So I feel a bit harsh calling this a fail. I love to see smaller and independent brands do well and the line really does look beautiful. But, this product really just hasn't worked for me. I initially saw Estee from essiebutton talking about this. I'm a coffee connoisseur (Melbourne, peeps - it's in our blood) so this sounded extremely, over the top amazing to me. So, what's the deal?

First, let's start with the pot. I love the look of the branding, but the product is housed in a very large glass jar. It's not make or break for me if I like the product but it really isn't practical for a tiled shower. Next, the smell. Yes - this smells strongly of coffee, or more accurately, used and slightly stale coffee grinds. It smells like the bad dishwater 'americano' coffee that you find in diners stateside. Not very luxury. To be fair, when you're actually using it in the shower the generic coffee smell is enjoyable. My main gripe though is the scrub itself - it smells like coffee because it is coffee - this means it's not too harsh, slightly abrasive, but for the most part fairly gentle - good. But, the texture is sooo weird! On the one hand it's crumbly - like they haven't added enough of a carrier oil like shea butter, etc. It's hard to take out and apply because it doesn't stick to itself. But, once you get it on and scrub away it has the opposite problem - it doesn't wash off! The oils in this do not rinse away easily. Not too dissimilar to some of the moisturizing films that are left behind by some other scrubs. Except sugar and salt both dissolve in water. Coffee doesn't. So you end up with coffee grinds stuck on your skin, that don't rinse off with water. Both times I've used this I've had to wash it off with a separate shower gel to get it off, which totally defeats the purpose, removes any nourishing residue, and overwhelms the scent. And I've missed spots so I get out of the shower with coffee patches that look like dirt on my skin. Sexy. Oh, and it stained my shower curtain. Rant over. Phew. 

I love the idea of this but it falls flat on the execution. I've just noticed Cult Beauty has stopped selling this line, so perhaps the intense warning is redundant anyway!

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