Friday, 28 February 2014

February favourites & fails

February was an unusually successful month in terms of beauty finds. A DIY that beats its commercial competition, a 'best ever' discovery, and a few renewed love affairs with products already in my stash. See what products had me coming back for more all month long.


DIY 'good for you' deodorant - I don't want to blow my own horn here, but the discovery of this DIY deodorant concoction this month has been seriously life changing! It's free of nasties, easy, cost effective and works better than any deodorant I've ever used - chemical or otherwise. I really surprised myself with this one. And best of all, the hunt is over.

Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara - No surprises here if you read my review earlier in the week. This is hands down the best mascara I've ever used. Volumizing, lengthening, super easy to apply and no smudging or transfers, it was love at first sight. Ticks all boxes, and as the name promises, has become an absolute essential in my makeup world.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain #10 Red - I re-fell in love with this in February. It all started when I wore it out to a Copenhagen Fashion Week event... The perfect glossy red, that is both sophisticated and sexy. The applicator is precise and unfussy, the formula stays in place, does not budge or bleed, and re-applies over itself perfectly - no need to wipe away and start over. The perfect, not too high maintenance, bold lip.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation in Rose Ivory - My skin has not been its best lately - The odd breakout combined with an, um... hair removal mishap, left my skin a bit irritated and uneven in places. When I need full coverage without looking like I've piled on the slap, my go-to is Laura Mercier silk creme. Unlike my fail for this month (see below), this foundation is seriously pigmented which means a very small amount goes a long way. The result is high coverage without wearing layers and layers of thick, heavy foundation, leaving skin feeling light and looking satin. Disaster averted.

Benefit Bella Bamba - The sun finally decided to grace us a few times this month, and it's got me hanging for spring-time makeup. I reached for my Bella Bamba blush one morning on a whim - a brightening watermelon pink. It contains very fine shimmer but once on the cheeks just gives the most incredible glow. It gave almost a porcelain effect to my skin - smooth and flawless but glowy at the same time. I does not look at all glittery nor does it emphasise texture or pores. The colour is beautiful and the effect had me wearing it for days on end, daydreaming of longer, sunnier days.

NARS Narsissist eyeshadow palette - I have a feeling this will me making an appearance in many a favourites videos this month, but it really is bloody good. From subtle to smoky, warm to cool, this palette really covers all bases. And any reservations I had about texture and pigment when swatching initially have totally vanished since wearing these shadows on the eyes. It's what is with me all month in New York. Check out my review with swatches here.


Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Gel Foundation - I'll save you another rant on this - I reviewed it earlier in the month where I give my full thoughts. Suffice to say it thoroughly let me down, which for the price (£58) is inexcusable in my books.

I'll be in New York all of March so if I'm lucky with my purchases you may see some stateside standouts gracing these pages next month.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

In-flight beauty

As you read this I'm on a trans-atlantic flight from Copenhagen via Heathrow to New York, where I'll be spending the month of March. One perk of being an academic is that when I'm not teaching I can basically do my research work from anywhere. So Dean and I decided to set up shop at my parents place in NY for a working holiday and to catch up with our friends and (my) family. Expect to see some North American inflected posts over the next few weeks.

To start off though, I figured I'd show you what I take with me on a long-haul flight beauty-wise. We all know the recycled air wreaks havoc on skin - meaning you arrive at your destination looking horrid just in time for the reunion with the loved ones you haven't seen in way too long (in my case). Worse still, this desert-inspired situation can sometimes take days to remedy. The following products act as beauty ammunition in my carry-on to keep things looking (and smelling) reasonably refreshed.

First port of call on a long-haul flight is to rid my face of makeup. There is no need to suffocate my face and on the contrary, it's a decent time to treat my skin. A mini bottle of Bioderma and some cotton does the trick - perfect for makeup removal, an adequate on-the-go cleanse, and no need to rinse. Next up is a facial spray - the Caudalie Beauty Elixer is also perfect for this step but for this flight I've got the Therapie Restore Aura Spray. A beautiful herbacious naturally scented spray with the finest mist I've come across. This can be used as a toner or doubles as a relaxing mist a la This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. (I'll also be taking the This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less Rollerball - not pictured). I always use some kind of hydrating overnight mask - in the past this has been the Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask, but this time I'm trying out the Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Mask. I cannot attest to it's efficacy yet but I do love other products in the Rodial Dragon's Blood line up so I have high hopes. Just remember you are still in public so you want a mask that is clear or fully absorbs into skin, and that can be applied as a leave-on treatment from your seat rather than rinsed away with water. Anything to avoid the awkward and sometimes acrobatic disruption of your aisle-mate to head to the 'lavatory'. A hearty lip balm (Fresh Sugar lip treatment in a mini size) and hand cream (Soap & Glory hand food) are also essentials to keep things hydrated.

Tissues or some kind of wipes as well as hand sanitizer are in-flight essentials (This Soap & Glory Hand Maid smells good, is non-sticky and does the trick). Just good to have on hand, especially before or after touching your face (with the ungodly proportion of coughing people on most planes it's worth taking any measures you can!).

For a refresher before disembarking and as a way to distract from my excitement during the final descent, I typically apply a spritz of deodorant (this Aesop number is herby, non-aerosol, and unisex), a swipe of perfume (Le Soft Perfume solid perfumes are perfect for travel), and a very basic face of makeup. For skincare after removing the mask with more Bioderma, I just grabbed some samples - the Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum and the REN Vita-Mineral Radiant Day Cream. My NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla really does the trick in terms of base, but I threw in a cute sample of Jouer's Matte Moisture Tint as well. Next up is Benefit High Brow for some highlight around the eyes, and a liner for some definition (Urban Decay 24/7 dual ended liner), finished off with a slick of my new-fav, Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara (sample size). The Becca Beach tint has both lips and cheeks covered, and no brushes required.

With any luck I'll arrive in NY looking just a tad more human. Winning.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Review: Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara - i.e. The best mascara ever

This mascara has been catapulted to my top pick of all time. Find out why on earth I'm so in love with this magic tube of lashy goodness.

No Mascara + 1 coat of Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara (top lashes only)

Lucky for me I'm blessed with fairly good natural lashes. Though a bit on the light/ashy side, they are fairly voluminous and long and don't need much help holding a curl. So, on one hand I may not need a mascara to do as much heavy lifting as some others, but at the same time it's easy for me to see the effects (or not) of any said mascara offering.

I received a sample tube of the Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara as part of the Christmas Wishlist gift with purchase from Space NK. I had not really read anything about this mascara and so did not reach for it with much gusto after I ran out of my Origins Fringe Benefits. So, I tried the sample without expectation. Until... WOAH! I have never been so immediately blown away by the results of a mascara. From the very first application it was love. There was no um-ing and ah-ing. The formula was not too wet or too dry. There was no stinging. The brush was not awkward to manoeuvre. I did not have to go over my lashes a million times for effect. It was so so easy.

The brush is slightly curved with different length bristles on each side, which is good for getting the base and tips in equal measure. I start by wiggling at the base of my lashes before shimmying upward. The formula itself contains visible fibers which work to thicken the lashes without any hint of a clumpy or spidery look. My lashes looked more voluminous than ever, and they were longer than I even knew they could be. The perfect brush, the perfect formula, and the perfect effect.

And? The real test? Because I have long lashes and slightly oily skin, it is typical for mascaras to transfer to below my inner brow throughout the day so I'm left with a black smudge more attention grabbing than my actual eye look. Not cute. This stuff has lasted full 12 hour work days and nights out and has not so much as flaked, smudged, transferred, or made any other unsightly migratory move.

The only downside is the staggering price - £26. But, the proof is in the pudding and I've already purchased the full size because the thought of being away in NY for a month without this beauty was simply too much. My lashes have never looked so good. End. Of. Story.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Review: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer and Scalp Stimulating Mask

A complimentary hair treatment duo that targets woes of the scalp and lengths alike. So, how did I get on with this pair of Philip Kingsley pre-shampoo products?

Philip Kingsley Scalp Stimulating Mask

OK - so the back story to this purchase is that ever since going off the pill for medical reasons a few months ago I've experienced a significant amount of hair shedding. The absolute last thing my already fine hair needs. Now, the pill I was on (Yaz) turns out to be known for improving skin and hair, so from what I've read shedding akin to post-partum hair loss is a fairly common side effect of going off of it. Would have been seriously nice to know beforehand. Anyone who has gone through this will I'm sure understand how anxiety-producing it is. Suffice to say that despite a typical disinterest in my hair I've been grasping left and right for a product that may help stimulate my scalp and encourage regrowth (let me know if you're interested in a more extensive post on this issue).

If I'm honest, the Philip Kingsley Scalp Stimulating Mask left me a bit perplexed. According to PK, The mask is:

 "An intensive stimulating scalp treatment for optimum scalp health. Stimulating scalp mask encourages blood circulation while helping to improve hair texture and behaviour. This scalp mask has a vitamin and mineral rich formula, with a unique liposome delivery system that ensures maximum absorption of all key ingredients into the scalp." 

The tube instructs to dampen hair and apply directly to the scalp in 1 inch sections from front to back, cover your head with a shower cap and leave on for 10-20 minutes before rinsing out with your usual hair routine. The tube it comes in is tiny - 20ml. I was uncertain, and the packaging didn't clarify, whether this was meant to be a single dose/application. I applied according to the instructions but hoping not to use it all up in one go so I could test it a few times, I only applied to the front half of my head, up to my crown. A little did not seem to go a long way - the texture was actually fairly dry and did not spread easily. I did not experience the 'tingling sensation' that it says you may due to peppermint and other extracts. Upon rinsing, I did find a slightly decreased amount of hair down the drain (sorry, gross, I know) and when styling my hair my roots did look voluminous, so perhaps where this product lacks in the application process it makes up for with results. I cannot speak to whether or not this has stimulated hair growth, but the ingredients do suggest follicle stimulation may occur over time. Now is just to decide whether I want to invest $9/5.50 pounds a pop in something I can't guarantee will work. This does get promising reviews from repeat users though, so I am inclined to be persistent. I really just cannot understand why a product that needs to be used over a period of time would come in such a small package! Quite frustrating, actually.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

This product on the other hand really won me over. Applied to the lengths of the hair while the scalp mask is working its magic, this product promises to improve the elasticity of hair, minimising breakage while increasing moisture and bounce. A pre-shampoo conditioner if you like. I appreciated applying this at the same time as the mask - it felt targeted yet efficient. As soon as I rinsed my hair it felt incredibly silky, smooth and completely detangled. My hair was far more manageable in the shower and when I got out - brushing it through was the most effortless it's been in months and while not a miracle worker, my hair does feel more nourished and less fragile. I am definitely going to continue using this on a regular basis to counteract the dryness, brittleness and tangles caused by the very hard Danish water. If your hair is coarse or especially prone to breakage, there is also an extreme version.

As a brand Philip Kingsley continues to impress me. I think together Dean and I own at least half of the products in the line (though despite daily use he still insists on referring to it as 'Laura Kingfish' - baby steps). The products we've tried almost always do what they promise and rarely disappoint. It is a brand that I trust has a thorough understanding of scalp and haircare as evidenced by their 2 treatment clinics - one in London and one in NY. In fact, I'm looking into the possibility of booking an appointment while I'm stateside in March.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Top 5: Mac eyeshadows

After showing you what made the cut after my makeup cleanse, I thought I'd cut it down even further and show you my top 5 mac eyeshadows. I go through phases with my mac collection - they really do deliver in terms of formula, and the shade range is unparalleled. And yet, sometimes my old standbys get neglected in favour of newer or more glam options. So, whether you're looking to splash out or rediscover an old favourite, here are my top picks:

Top 5:
  1. Shroom - (satin) a subtle sheeny highlight. This shade basically matches my skintone perfectly so it doesn't look too stark white, nor artificially shimmery. The perfect shade to accentuate the brow bone.
  2. Patina - (frost) an antiqued golden taupe. This somehow manages to be almost a cool-toned gold, and is great all over the lid
  3. Woodwinked - (veluxe pearl) a warm golden bronze. Pulls more gold than it looks in the pan.
  4. Mystery - (satin) a dark cool/neutral matte brown. Great dark, matte crease or liner shade.
  5. Sumptuous Olive - (veluxe pearl) an olive-toned gold/khaki. Less green than you would expect - it's really more of a gold with olive undertones.
Did you really think I could stop at just 5? Yeah, right... Here are a few extras:

Honourable mentions:
  • Nylon - (frost) a very reflective pale white/yellow toned gold. Gorgeous on the inner corners.
  • Naked Lunch - (frost) a pearlescent peach/pink champagne. The perfect brightening lid colour.
  • Charcoal Brown - (matte) a cool medium matte brown. The perfect transition shade to blend out the crease. Also great for eyebrows.
  • Twinks - (veluxe pearl) a plum-toned brown. Adds interest to a neutral eye, or neutralizes a more purple/cranberry eye.
  • Satin Taupe - (frost) a brown-based taupe. Looks more plummy in the pan but on me it applies as a more brown leaning taupe.
  • Hypnotizing (LE) - (frost) a taupey cool-toned purple. The perfect wearable purple-but-still-taupe-enough pop of colour.
  • Smoke & Diamonds (LE) - (starflash) a charcoal/taupe with a patina'd finish - has a similar finish to patina but with a grey rather than a brown base.

Swatches of all 5 12 shades:
[Natural Light swatches] L-R: Shroom, Woodwinked, Patina, Sumptuous Olive, Mystery
[Natural Light swatches] L-R: Nylon, Naked Lunch, Satin Taupe, Twinks, Charcoal Brown, Hypnotizing, Smoke & Diamonds
[Artificial Light swatches] L-R: Shroom, Woodwinked, Patina, Sumptuous Olive, Mystery, Nylon, Naked Lunch, Satin Taupe, Twinks, Charcoal Brown, Hypnotizing, Smoke & Diamonds

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

My mac palettes: what made the cut

I mentioned in a post last week that I did a big clear-out of my makeup stash. The brand hardest hit was mac - while some products are better than others, it was mostly because once upon a time I was a bit overzealous with my purchases. My stash has now been freed of about 23 eyeshadows housed in 2 15-pan palettes, and a full 6-pan blush palette. I'm now left with 2 blush palettes, 2 eyeshadow palettes, and a quad. Still excessive, to be sure. But more importantly, what made the cut?

[Row 1] Mylar, Brule, Pincurl (LE), Hypnotizing (LE), Patina
[Row 2] Dazzlelight, Phloof, Crystal, Stain Taupe, Sumptuous Olive
[Row 3] Goldbit (LE), Naked Lunch, Copperplate, Smoke & Diamonds (LE), Club
[Row 1] Shroom, Nylon, Retrospeck, Coppering, Sable
[Row 2] Grain, Femme Fi (LE), Soba, Star Violet, Twinks
[Row 3] Urban Decay Sellout, All That Glitters,  Amber Lights, Sketch, Smut
[Top Row] Ricepaper, Charcoal Brown
[Bottom Row] Woodwinked, Mystery
[Clockwise from top] Blushbaby, Fleur Power, Salsa Rose, Well Dressed, Mocha
[Clockwise from top] Springsheen, My Highland Honey (LE), Trace Gold, Gingerly 

Some of these shades I wear more than others. But to be sure, every shade that managed to stick around is either a staple, an exemplar in terms of finish/texture, or a unique colour of which I have nothing similar. Obviously everyone has different taste colour-wise, but in terms of quality I would be happy recommending any of the above products.

Monday, 17 February 2014

My on-the-go makeup bag

I'm not one for major touch-ups throughout the day but I do carry around an edit of essentials that will have me covered if need be. On a typical day I may re-apply lip colour or powder my T-zone. The rest of the makeup bits are more or less reserved for a cheeky Friday drinks induced transition from day to night. Add to that a handful of things I can't leave the house without and you have the full anatomy of my 'on-the-go' makeup bag.

The bag itself is the A.P.C. Chic Case from the Fall collection. I fell in love with the finish and colour (Marion Glace) of this - a soft buttery brushed nubuck leather in a gorgeous lilac taupe with goldtone hardware. They also made a bucket bag in the same finish but I wasn't in love with the shape so I decided to get the makeup case instead. The bag is lined in cotton which may not be the most practical in terms of stains or spillage, but I'm careful, and I think the leather will age gracefully. The broad base makes it easy to pop on my desk or a counter and find what I'm looking for without any fuss.

Makeup bits

My go-to powder for on-the-go touch-ups is the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder in No. 20. The powder applies easily over a face of makeup and works to mattify without ever going cakey or flat. And, the compact is beautiful as well as functional - with a proper mirror and included brush which serves its purpose. For concealer, I carry around the NARS radiant creamy concealer in Vanilla, which has enough coverage to eliminate the need for foundation touch-ups, and is creamy enough for blemishes and under the eyes. For eyes I've got the dual-ended Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencil in Zero/Whisky which gives the option of intensifying my eye look with black or brown respectively. This stuff is creamy enough to smoke out but stays in place all night. I use the decidedly petite Real Techniques detailer brush to blend my upper or lower lash lines if need be. Benefit high brow is a light milky-pink pencil that works a treat to highlight the brow bone or the inner corner and can be easily blended with fingers. Finally, my lip products change out quite often - I usually have up to 5 or more rolling around the bottom of my handbag at any one time. But, I do make sure to keep one more neutral shade (in this case Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 48 Evasion - a perfect non-offensive pink that goes with any look) and a slightly more vibrant shade which will work to brighten my face after a tiring day at work (shown above is Tarte LipSurgence lip tint in elite - a bright poppy/coral in an easy to apply twist-up pencil).

Can't-leave-home-without bits

There are some products that when you need them you just need them. In my world, there is nothing worse than the feeling of dry hands, a broken nail, or the wind blowing your hair in your face (fun fact - I can't stand the feeling of wind - whether bitterly cold, summer breeze, or open car windows - you name it). So, I have a few absolute essentials that are mainstays in my on-the-go makeup bag. My Soap & Glory Hand Food hand cream - a sweet smelling, non-greasy offering that is cheap and eradicates dry hands. I bought this Manicare crystal glass nail file years ago now and have never looked back. At the time I thought - $15 for a nail file? But the glass files nails smoothly and effortlessly with less damage to the nail, and it doesn't go blunt over time (Nails Inc makes a similar one, here). I'm not someone who carries around the full bottle of whatever perfume I'm sporting that day. Most are too big and I'm not about to buy 15 different travelo's! Rather, for fragrance on-the-go I'm partial to the Le Soft Perfume solid perfume sticks which smell beautiful and can be applied directly to pressure points without the risk of spilling or leaking in your bag - the one here is in Rock - a sexy citrus/woody/leathery scent that is perfect pick-me-up when heading out. I also carry a small sample of Chanel Chance Eau Tendre - a perfume I've finished in full size. A sweeter more girly/feminine alternative in case what I'm already wearing calls for it. Finally, hair ties and a few spare bobby pins are no-brainers.

Anything I'm missing? What essentials do you carry around?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

DIY 'good for you' deodorant

I've been on the hunt for a good deodorant that is both aluminium and paraben free for years now. Some are better than others but this time I'm coming at you with an easy and non-toxic DIY option.

What you need:

  • A small container with lid, mine's a small travel cream pot from Muji - for storage
  • Organic raw cold pressed coconut oil - for moisture
  • Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda - for odour neutralisation
  • Arrowroot powder (can be substituted for rice flour or corn flour) - for absorbency
  • Tea Tree Oil - for anti-bacterial properties and scent


Make sure that your coconut oil is soft - if room temp is too cold, microwave it for a few seconds until soft. Combine equal parts coconut oil, bicarb of soda and arrowroot powder. I'm using 1 tablespoon or 15mls of each, but you can scale as much as you want depending on the size of your pot. Add a few drops of the tea tree oil and stir until smooth. Mine seemed a bit dry at first but as I persisted and the oil warmed up, it came together as a thick creamy paste. Seal in the air tight jar.

I substituted arrowroot with rice flour because I couldn't find arrowroot easily in Copenhagen. Mine happens to be organic wholegrain rice flour which is why the final product has a slight putty colour. I would recommend using non-wholegrain if possible so you get a white deodorant (though this is colourless on skin).

Modifications: You can add additional essential oils to give the deodorant a more personal scent, though keep in mind that some essential oils are very concentrated and some can be irritating to the skin, so choose wisely. Some safe bets are lavender and geranium, which both pair well with tea tree. I used cedar oil to give a woody scent. If you find your skin is on the sensitive side, you can also reduce the proportion of bicarb of soda.

So, what did I think?

Ease: Super easy to make, and once you have the ingredients they will provide enough quantity for several batches. So, cost effective as well. Big time. I would say the only consideration with this is since coconut oil melts at higher temperatures, it is advisable to store upright. Not a problem for me here in winter but come summer it's likely. This also means it's probably not the best option for travel unless you're confident the jar you use is totally spill/leak-proof.

Texture: I rub this on with my finger and it's creamy because of the coconut oil but also slightly abrasive because of the baking soda - like a baking soda toothpaste would be. Nothing painful or discomforting though, and it's not something you can feel on you at all once you're wearing it through the day.

Sweat: TMI alert - I'm a bit of a sweaty Betty. My best trait it is not, but it does mean I'm a good person to test whether a deodorant does what it says. I find I sweat at least a little even with most commercial antiperspirants let alone healthier aluminium-free options. So, how did I get on? Surprisingly, I barely sweat at all. There was only any hint of moisture after wearing this for a good 10 hours, while on an overheated metro, in a nordic-standard winter coat on my way to pick up Dean* from the airport after him being away for 2 weeks. So, hot and bothered you may even say. Anyway, in terms of performance this worked as good or better than any deodorant I've ever tried - toxic or otherwise. Major points.

Stink: Without making myself sound too disgusting, let's just say that scent is of major concern to me. While some deodorant scents simply work, other seems to mesh unpleasantly with my natural scent (ugh) and make things even more noticeable. I'm not one for sports or exercise, so I gave this deodorant a test run by eating fresh guacamole laced with a serious dose of amongst other things - raw garlic, onion and cumin. Well-known BO-inducing culprits. Yum. I gotta say - a fully 24 hours after first putting this on there was not even a smidgen of a smell. Just fresh coconutty goodness. I even had Dean do a sniff-test (totally acceptable after 11+ years!) and he agreed. Seriously mindblowing stuff!

I must say I didn't have the highest expectations for this. If it's so easy, then why is it so difficult to find a good-for-you deodorant that actually works?? My answer now is I have absolutely no idea, because this DIY is easy, cheap and seriously efficacious.

If you prefer something you can buy rather than concoct, I'll be coming at you soon with my thoughts on a round-up of no-nasties formulas that have had the pleasure of gracing my pits. nice. But, *spoiler alert* I'd highly highly recommend you try this little DIY number instead.

* Dean, my loving partner for going on 12 years, rightly noted that 'boyfriend' sounded incredibly misplaced. While in Aus 'partner' is a self-designated term for a relationship deemed serious - whether or not married - this more often than not arouses confusion in other locales :) From here on out he shall be referred to by name!

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Want List #1

I'm a little shy admitting this, but I have a document in Google Drive called 'the want list' which I update on occasion with various things making me swoon. Now, certain things I buy more impulsively, while other things tend to sit on there for ages. Funny how I'm more quick to splurge on some things rather than others, since there really is no logic to it, I'm afraid. Maybe some things just make me think twice and the 'do I really need this?' guilt steps in. FYI - of course I don't need any of this. But. I. Want. It.* So, here's what's currently tempting me the most.

* Let's all spare me the embarrassment and overlook that this post has immediately followed one of me proudly proclaiming the benefits of pairing down your stash :) Thanks.

  1. Rag & Bone Newbury Boots in Black Leather - I've wanted these for at least a couple years. I have the Rag & Bone Harrow Boots that I spoke about here and the Rag & Bone moto boots which I also love. The walkable heel and top notch construction make these really worth it. Black leather is of course as versatile as it gets, and they're the perfect pairing to my skinny jeans, drapey cardigan uniform. I've even taken the plunge once, but shopbop for the first time ever lost my order and by the time it was reconciled half of the stuff was sold out. This winter I opted for a more refined silhouette with pointy toes and a slimmer heel, thinking this would fill more of a gap in my wardrobe. And no complaints there, but unfortunately these have remained in the back of my mind all winter long. I'm thinking I may finally give in on an upcoming trip to NY next month.
  2. Byredo Parfums 1996 EDP - It's a bit risky buying a perfume blind. Especially when you have only an amateur understanding of notes. But I know I like patchouli, amber and vanilla. And juniper means gin, right? I just really have a feeling I'll love this. Byredo are after all, the creators of my favourite perfume of all time, Gypsy Water. That not everyone will smell like me is an added bonus of sporting a less commercially available scent, too.
  3. Marshall Monitor Headphones - I'm so over detangling the stupid apple headphones that I rarely even listen to music when I'm out and about. I have a pair of over the ear sound-cancelling headphones at work - PhD, shared office, they're a godsend. So, I've been looking to invest in a pair of my own. We bought the Marshall Stanmore Speaker in cream leather for home and it's simply stunning. The sound quality is excellent and it looks freaking fantastic. The classic producer of industrial grade amps, they've recently launched a bunch of products geared toward home/consumer use. Upon perusing their website I came across The Monitor headphones, their higher end offering. After testing them out I actually prefer the sound over some other more well-known competitors. They fold up for putting in your bag, and I think wearing these I'd feel just a tad cooler than I am :) I kid. No, but really. Now to justify why a fairly infrequent music listener needs these not-so-cheap beauts. My line so far to Dean is that they will encourage me to foster a love for more respectable taste in music. Sorry, Bey.
  4. Costes Home Fragrance Brown - The signature scent of Hotel Costes in room-spray form. I have the body wash of this scent and it's super warm, sexy and woody. Exactly up my street, and very unisex. Both me and Dean completely adore this. The official notes are waxed wood, rum, mahogany, bitter orange pell, paprika, and oak moss. They do a candle and an EDT but I think for home fragrance a room spray will last longer. And as a cologne, after reading reviews, people seem to prefer the room spray to the EDT - in fact some people even wear it instead!
  5. Jo Malone Just Like Sunday collection Home Candles - I love Jo Malone colognes but have not yet been lucky enough to try their candles. Now that I'm in Denmark this isn't an easy brand to get my hands on but the new release candle collection 'Just Like Sunday' sounds absolutely stunning. 4 Scents reminiscent of a lazy Sunday in, I'd be happy with any of the 4. But, since money doesn't grow on trees if I had to narrow it down I'm particularly keen to get a whiff of Lavender & Lovage and Incense & Embers. I'm hoping they won't all sell about before I land in the big apple.
  6. Philip B. 4 Step Hair and Scalp Treatment - I'm usually totally disinterested in my hair. I hate taking the time to style it. It's fine, flat and altogether a big 'blah'. I see it more as a burden than something I get excited over. This whole top knot trend has finally redefined my typical laziness as 'chic'. Score. But lately it's really been in seriously bad condition. Brittle in the lengths, a first-ever angry scalp, and a bit more shedding than I'd like to acknowledge. And, ever more dry and tangled from this lovely Danish water (the hardest most calcified water I've seen, anywhere). This set appealed to me because it covers all bases. A clarifying shampoo that is volumizing, scalp clearing and stimulating without stripping hair. A light conditioner that promises not to weigh hair down. A detangler that specifically counteracts the PH imbalance of hard tap water, and a rejuvenating oil that's award winning. This has my name all over it.
  7. Dior Mono Fusion Matte in Mirage 761 - I talked myself out of buying any of the Dior Mono Fusion cream shadows when they launched because I had other products in similar shades, and far far too many cream shadows. The matte version on the other hand which launched as part of the Trianon Spring Look collection (but which I believe is permanent) is really calling out to me. I use Mac painterly paint pot as an eyeshadow base almost daily and it's the only matte cream shadow I own. This seems a little sheer but a beautiful brown-taupe that would be perfect as a wash or under other shadows when I'm going for a matte look. And I've only heard good things about the formula.
  8. Burberry Beauty Sheer Eye Shadow in No. 22 Pale Barley - I wanted this since the launch of Burberry Beauty a few years ago. Well after dragging my feet it disappeared from the scene - with rumours of being discontinued it's been basically impossible to come by for some time. I'm not sure what the official line is, but I do know that it's resurfaced at John Lewis and at Harrods and I'm pretty sure I don't want to make my chances and miss out again.
Whew. I will forego adding up the damage to the wallet. Suffice to say there's probably a reason these aren't yet in my greedy little hands.  Has anything caught your fancy as of late??

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

New-ish year makeup cleanse

I know I'm not the only one in this blogging community that has too much makeup for their own good. I enjoy reading about and trying new things, and I think it helps me to make more considered purchases on the whole. However, I do feel like staying in touch with the beauty blogosphere does at times encourage excessive consumption.

This was especially the case when I first landed upon youtube a few years ago during the mac-obsessed era. I purchased a number of products more to have a comprehensive stash than because I thought they might suit me. Over the years I've gotten rid of full 15-pan mac palettes full of bright coloured eyeshadows that were not more than swatched, and every mac lipglass I ever purchased got back to mac'd almost full (they're just SO damn sticky).

These days, I'm more discerning, know what I like and what I'll use, and I've also found versions of products I prefer over older ones. My interests span a wide range of brands and I don't run out to buy things just because they're limited edition. I also try more and more to think of what I already have and whether a product might be comparable before buying something new, however swoon-worthy.

Yet, I found myself holding onto a lot of unloved stuff because really, there was nothing wrong with it per se, and I feel guilty being so wasteful. After thinking about how long it takes me to actually hit pan let alone use up a makeup product (especially colour products), I finally decided that it was better to give away these perfectly usable products to someone who would show them some love. I've only got one face people. Needless to say a friend's 13 year old daughter got a pretty hefty 'christmas in february' delivery that will provide ample goodies for her and her friends to play around with as they just start to experiment with makeup.

As silly and dramatic as this sounds, purging the excess feels very liberating. I now have a paired down (for me) stash and I know that every product in it is something I'll enjoy using. It also fits my storage a lot better and makes it easier to see what I have, and where I have multiples, or indeed gaps that could legitimately (and without guilt) be filled by future releases. The goal of course is to keep it this way rather than using girly-maths to justify filling the newly created void with new purchases. Call it a new year/clean slate sort of exercise or spring cleaning - either way I think you'll feel all the better for it.

If you have excess stuff that needs a new home, Give and Makeup is an excellent charity which I've donated to in the past (I've even shipped stuff from Australia when I couldn't find an equivalent local charity). They focus on delivering everyday essentials (including beauty items) to women (and children) who have been victims of domestic violence. Please note - they do accept lightly used items in a condition you would be happy offering to a friend. Anything with an applicator wand needs to be new.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Review: Chantecaille Future Skin

I really wanted to love this product. I've been lusting over it for going on probably 2 years or more. I originally spotted it at Mecca Cosmetica when I was still living in Melbourne, and the only deterrent was the price. Expensive to begin with at £58.00, in Australia this retails for an eye watering $105 AUD which at the time of our strong dollar was a significant markup (now they're about the same). I was also keen to try the Just Skin tinted moisturizer, and as insanity has it, the Anti-Glycation primer as well. Given the price point of these products and my slight indecision I waited. And waited. And waited. Until, upon moving to Denmark this year and with easier online access to Space NK I caved.

Note: for some reason upon uploading to blogger the colour appears more saturated/orange. The shade is not this orangey, but it does have a strong pink undertone.

Billed as an 'oil free gel foundation' this product really appealed to me and yet I'm left rather disappointed. So, let's break it down:

What it claims:

"An oil-free gel foundation that has the unique ability to transfer water into the skin without the use of
any oil. Natto gum, a soybean-derived phyto-collagen is a natural emulsifier used in this process. Clinical evidence shows that after consistent 7-day usage, there is a 26% reduction in sebum production. Aloe, Chamomile and Arnica work to calm irritation and soothe sensitive skin. Rosemary, Green Tea and Rice Bran boost the immune system and help prevent oxidation. The formula provides adjustable coverage (medium to full) thanks to light-reflective circular pigment that eases the appearance of flaws."

What I think:

Packaging: Probably the most oft cited complaint is the pot packaging, which I don't think is the most convenient but it does make sense given the texture of the product. I use a clean spatula to dispense product onto the back of my hand before using either brush or fingers to apply. The pot is plastic so nothing too heavy for travel, though again, probably not the most hygenic for on-the-go touch ups (not relevant for me). Overall, I like the look of it and I think it lives up to the Chantecaille brand.

Colour & Texture: The product is sort of a whipped airy gel texture. It is not at all runny - you can tip the pot upside down and you won't see any movement. But, it's not at all heavy either. Upon dispensing the product it really does feel weightless. So upon first encounter the texture really is rather lovely. There is no scent, FYI. Colour-wise I went for the shade 'ivory' which turns out to be rather pink. Too pink. Though, once it settles in and I top with powder it's definitely wearable shade-wise. I'm not sure if there would have been a more suitable shade since I purchased this online. For reference see my other foundation shades here. For swatches of the full range check out Karla Sugar, or consult the foundation finder on the Chantecaille website.

Application & Finish: I've tried applying this with a brush and with my fingers. The first thing I noticed is that a little does not go a long way. If I apply the amount I would of any other product it literally does nothing to my skin. It is undetectable, which I would usually consider a good thing. However the coverage on me is basically non existent. All my unevenness, redness, scaring, etc. completely shows through. It literally looks like I've done nothing. And, because the shade is a bit pink, if anything it can make things worse. No biggie though, right? Because it's meant to be buildable medium to full coverage. Not! I really struggle to reconcile this claim. I find when I try to build this up, first I can't even believe how much product it requires (and at this price one would hope for the opposite - higher pigmentation and less product used to prolong time between repurchases). I also find it begins to look almost cakey on my skin. Not pretty, since it really never equates to adequate coverage. Rather, because it takes so much product, it just starts to look like you're wearing a lot of product, not that you have beautiful, naturally even or flawless skin. I would consider this a very light coverage foundation and at max light-medium (though as I mention I think the finish is compromised as you build it up).

Oddly, despite having combo-oily skin I find this emphasises any texture at all on my face, it settles into pores and makes visible dry patches I didn't even know existed. And similarly, by the end of the day this makes my skin feel almost tight. Perhaps this is because of the sebum-reducing properties it claims to have. Maybe I'll give it that. And perhaps this would be good for super oily girls who have no other skin concerns, but I'm usually quite oily and find this drying. In terms of wear time, I find it begins to separate and look patchy after a couple hours, despite staying relatively satin (not oily).

Verdict: I really really wish I had better things to say about this. But to be honest, I struggle to find an upside. This is by far the most expensive foundation I've used, and also (price aside) the most underperforming. I seriously think my skin looks better sans foundation with concealer where I need it than when I wear this. And that's about as damning as it gets for a foundation.

While I have come across some mixed reviews (for example Elle Fowler's thoughts are more similar to my own, see what she has to say here), on the whole this gets really positive reviews. Almost excessively so. So, if you're interested in trying this don't take my word for it. Do your research and if you are able to, try it out in store before you waste your pennies! As a final note, I have tried a bunch of Chantecaille skin care and do really love it, so while this product has not worked for me, I still think it is definitely a brand worth checking out.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Sunday Sesh #1

I have enough face masks to be featured on an episode of hoarders, and yet I find that I rarely make the effort to treat my skin. Rather than a pampering session being the definition of a lazy Sunday, all too often I find that weekly treatments feel like a chore. I blame not having a bath to relax in, which has a way of setting the scene for everything that follows. A girl can dream. Anywho - 'The Sunday Sesh' is my attempt at being a little kinder to my skin and hair.


OK. So let's start with body. After my recent rant in my January favourites & fails, I'm opting for a body brush over a scrub. I would have never come across this but I got this Elemis Spa@Home Body Detox Skin Brush as a gift with purchase with a night cream I bought a while back. I've gotta say I'm on the fence. You're meant to use this on dry skin before getting in the shower, using strokes towards the heart which has the double effect of buffing away dry skin and aiding lymph drainage. My initial impression is that it's quite harsh on the skin - almost scratchy, and altogether not the most pleasant experience. But at the same time it's almost that slightly addictive minor pain like when you have graze in your mouth and can't stop flicking it with your tongue (please tell me it's not just me... awkward). On the other hand, when I have used this and then showered my skin is exponentially softer than any scrub has ever managed. Like buttah. So, the jury is out - I know some people swear by body brushing so I'm going to stick with it and see how I go.


A good cleanse is all-imortant, and the REN No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm is a good nourishing thick balm, free of nasties, and does an excellent job of cleaning my face, removing any leftover makeup, and keeping my skin feeling hydrated. This is the first balm cleanser I've tried so I can't say much in terms of comparison, but I do like it. I have the Emma Hardie in my stash waiting to be trialled but I'm trying to finish this up first. I do use the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Dual Action Cleansing Clothes (seriously?) which are terrycloth on one side and muslin cloth on the other - perfectly versatile for a smoother or more exfoliating cleanse. 

Next up is a little roly poly of the Ying-yu facial roller under my eyes. To me this product represents the pinnacle of beauty obsession by overly eager consumers who are easily swayed. I almost feel ridiculous acknowledging I own this. Made of jade, this roller stays cool at all times, and rolled under the eyes is meant to drain excess fluid and decrease puffiness. It feels nice and excessive in equal measure. I couldn't possibly live with myself making it out like you need this, but if you do want it, Cult Beauty is your go-to.

The Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask is up next - this product has been quite promiscuous lately, gracing the likes of most blogs I follow. But, it is great. A clay based mask, that is clarifying but not drying, and rinses off easily. I'm a very long time lover of Aesop which I am proud to acknowledge is Melbourne born and bred. So, I've been using their products on and off for the better part of the last decade before it dropped in other international cities. I think I'll do a whole post on that soon. Represent.

A spritz or two of the Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Tonic is both refreshing and hydrating. I like this - it's another facial spray, this time rose water infused with B3 and a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid. I find it does help to keep my skin glowy and nourished, and the hyaluronic acid helps subsequent products absorb better. Hence using this before the Origins Drink Up Intensive overnight mask which is ideal for nourishing dry winter skin, and smells of amazing fresh apricots and peaches.


I'm jumping on the coconut oil bandwagon, and using the RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream through my locks. This is raw cold-pressed coconut oil, though RMS does claim its method of extraction keeps the lauric acid intact, which is a natural anti-bacterial agent - and therefore great for skin too. I really don't know enough to speak to whether this is actually a step up from a decent raw organic coconut oil from the shop. My hair has been in total shambles lately, so this is good because it's good for both moisturising the lengths and for a re-balancing the scalp. I put my hair up in a turban and sleep in it over night, before shampooing it out during my shower monday morning.

So there - a perfect way to treat yourself on a lazy Sunday and start the new week buffed, smoothed, rolled, and hydrated in all the right places.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Top 5: Winter nail lacquers (+ a cheeky glitter)

I know most people are probably hanging for spring by now, but that's going to be a long time coming for Copenhagen. So, at least in my world, winter shades are still on the cards. Nothing too surprising here - winter is the time for burgundy reds, darkened jewel tones and of course my perpetual favourite - dirty-greige-sometimes-lilac-tinged taupes. And because I couldn't narrow it down to five, I've decided the glitter polish doesn't count.

1. Ciate paint pot in Dangerous Affair - A stunning rich, glossy red. You wouldn't think this is the most unique of shades but it's richer than a true red, but more vibrant than a burgundy, and I don't have anything else similar. If Essie Berry Hard (my favourite burgundy) and OPI Vodka & Caviar (my favourite true red) had a baby, this would be it.

2. nails inc. Gel effect polish in Porchester Square - A light, neutral taupe that is subtle but sophisticated. Applies like a dream and lasts well. My only complaint is that the shade leans unflattering when my hands get flushed in the cold.

3. Essie Smokin' Hot - A dark, dirtied plummy grey/brown charcoal. This is the darker cousin of Sephora by OPI's Metro Chic - the polish that pioneered my love for this shade family.

4. Ciate paint pot in Pillow Fight - A dirty lilac taupe that applies a tad darker than it looks in the pot. This is my favourite of the bunch.

5. OPI I Saw...U Saw...We Saw... Warsaw - Name aside, this is a gorgeous blackened teal blue. From far away it looks black but in the right light it's the perfect pop of unexpected colour.

+ a cheeky glitter...

6. Ciate paint pot in Antique Brooch - I got over glitters awhile ago - despite their gorgeousness in the pot I always feel a little silly and immature wearing them around my less beauty-obsessed friends and colleagues. And yet, when I saw this gold and pink multi-sized glitter polish I had to have it. A 3 for 2 on Ciate sealed the deal. I've paired this over Dangerous Affair for an overtly festive look and over Pillow Fight as an ombre effect beginning at the cuticle. It was LOVE. The kind where I couldn't stop staring at my nails. Beautiful and light catching, while the lilac taupe/gold combo is the right amount of non-obvious to make it chic rather than tweeny or tacky.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Base shades

This post is purely for reference purposes. I will keep it updated as I trial new products and will link to it from other posts where relevant.

It can sometimes be difficult to ascertain how somebody's experience of a product may relate to your own, or whether something may work for you without knowing what shade/type of skin the person has. I'm fair, and have combination skin that can be fairly oily in the T-zone, but definitely experiences some dehydration in winter. I tend to prefer a medium coverage.


  • Bourjois 123 Colour Correct CC Cream - 31 Ivory
  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua - B20
  • Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation - Ivory (way too pink)
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation - Light 3
  • Dior Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing makeup - Light Beige 020 (seamless match)
  • Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint - Warm Ivory (a good summer shade)
  • Jouer Matte Moisture Tint - Linen
  • Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer - SX05
  • Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer - Nude
  • Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation - Rose ivory
  • Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide - Vanille
  • L'Oreal True Match Foundation - D1W1 Golden Ivory
  • MAC - NW20
  • Make Up For Ever Liquid Lift Foundation - #10
  • Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Tranformative Foundation - 22 Bisque Light
  • Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid - 10 Ivory
  • NARS Sheer Glow - Deauville
  • NARS Sheer Matte - Deauville
  • Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation - SP50 (I only wear this in summer)
  • Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation 16Hr - 15 Opal
  • YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation - BR20 (a little light)
  • YSL Fusion Ink Foundation - BD20 (a perfect match!)
  • Bobbi Brown corrector- Light Bisque
  • Collection Lasting Perfection concealer - 2 Light
  • Make Up For Ever Full Cover concealer - Shade 3 (great for brightening under eyes, a bit light for spot concealing)
  • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circles eraser - Fair
  • NARS Radient Creamy concealer - Vanilla

  • Chanel Poudre Universelle Compacte - 110 Beige Clair
  • Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder - No. 20
  • Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF15 - Real Sand
  • MAC mineralize skinfinish natural - Medium
  • NARS Powder - Flesh

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Top of the class: The Cook's Companion

I'll spare you some grand rant about what most people consider 'healthy' - suffice to say I'm totally against everything that get's labeled a diet, a detox, or even a 'lifestyle'. My basic view is that if people were more concerned with reading ingredients lists rather than the nutrition facts, the world would be a better place. 200 calories of synthetic processed crap is not the same as eating well-balanced fresh-food - preferably that is organic and locally produced. Know where your food comes from people. I also feel very strongly that it is much easier to eat well when you know how to cook. Sometimes the best food is the most simply prepared. But it also takes confidence in the kitchen to let the ingredients speak for themselves. So, today's post is a tribute to my favourite cookbook of all time.

Pretty bold statement. I know. So let me tell you why.

My boyfriend and I love to cook. It's something we thoroughly enjoy doing together - from shopping to final presentation, and of course, eating! We have a lot of cookbooks for different purposes - some are recipe books covering various cuisines, while others are specifically about technique. It's always exciting coming across a good new find, but we're also fairly discerning. The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander is by far and away our most referenced and most used cookbook. We bought this together way back in 2004, the year it was re-released in its current form. My boyfriend was more advanced than I was, and he also tends to be very intuitive and has an excellent sense of smell. So for him this was a great reference book. For me it was the perfect companion for learning how to cook - seasonality and variety of ingredients, flavour pairings, technique and recipes - it covers all bases in a way that is informative but also practical for a home cook. It offers enough guidance for a fail proof execution but also enough latitude to experiment within informed boundaries if you so wish. And for this reason it's an excellent resource for both early beginners and as a continued reference once you up your skill.

The book is 1100 pages long, and kicks off with sections devoted to equipment, basics (a glossary of terms as well as base recipes for sauces, butters, batters, brines, custards, pastries, doughs, stocks, etc etc etc) and then measurements. The remainder of the book is organised alphabetically by ingredient. The book is aimed at an Australian kitchen but the ingredients would be easy to come by in most places. Some of the advice on seasons would obviously need to be reversed but that's nothing most antipodeans aren't confronted with all the time. In terms of varieties of particular ingredients - I think this is most relevant for seafood and the kinds of fish you're likely to find in a local Australian market which may differ from places with different fished waters. But again, no biggie. For each section devoted to an ingredient there are a few headings which get repeated throughout the book:

  • Varieties and Season: Explains when is best to purchase particular ingredients and what kinds of variations you may come across. For meat this may mean different breeds of animal, how they're raised, the age of slaughter, and the difference between a chicken, a poussin, 'spatchcocking' etc. For fruits and veggies this may mean the difference between meyer, eureka and lisbon lemons or kaffir, mexican and tahitian limes, and how they compare in taste, texture or other relevant characteristics. This is helpful for becoming better educated about how you choose your food and beginning to learn what kinds of ingredients are good at certain times of year and for certain purposes.
  • Selection and Storage: This goes through how to choose the said ingredient. For meat, and other proteins this may mean describing the different cuts and what they are each good for, or for produce how to tell if something is fresh, ripe, etc. She also explains how different food is produced, which tend to be on an industrial scale, etc. and therefore where it is most important to prioritise organic and local if you can't be discerning across the board.
  • Preparation and Cooking: Here she'll go through different techniques for prep and cooking - say boning, stuffing, roasting, grilling, steaming, poaching, stirfrying, etc. as in the photo above. Where relevant she then specifies which cuts lend themselves to which technique. Oven temps, timing etc as well. This is great because it can be used as a reference even if you're not following a specific recipe in the book. I always consult this section for cooking times of roasts for instance, even if I'm winging it flavour wise.
  • X goes with... And that brings me to this. My favourite and most used part of the book. For each ingredient there is a list of other ingredients that pair well. This provides the perfect support to then experiment - within reason. It goes both ways - either checking the list and realising you have a bunch of stuff that works in the fridge, or having an idea and just double-checking whether it will work. These lists have been invaluable as I've learned to cook and begun to gain confidence. It means you're not always bound to a recipe but can start making your own. Also, because Australian cuisine is also heavily asian influenced, the lists cover flavour pairings more traditional of 'european' food but also of various asian cuisines which helps to build a wider repertoire. 

The recipes in the book have never failed me and there are ideas for variations or other simple preparations in the margins. Stephanie writes in a way that is thoroughly informative but casual, does not drop technical terms without spelling out what they mean, and is very passionate about getting more people (and children) involved in learning to cook good, simple, and nourishing food that promotes health and conviviality. If you only invest in one good cookbook I would highly highly recommend this one.

You can compare prices and shipping here. The book is also now available as an app in the iTunes store.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Makeup menu #1: Copenhagen fashion week

My friend Anna recently re-located to Copenhagen, and the city is better for it :) Anna spent the week working backstage at Copenhagen fashion week AW14 and was kind enough to invite me to join her for the opening of the pop cph flagship store followed by the closing party Saturday night at Hotel Sankt Petri. So, for the first ever makeup menu I'm bringing you my face for a Saturday night out surrounded by beautiful people. Unfortunately, as I'm writing this post hungover on Sunday, you'll have to rely on an instagram collage to see the final 'look'.

Since I was going for a bold lip I kept the rest quite neutral, but still perfected for night time.


YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation (Shade BR20) applied with a Real Techniques buffing brush over well-prepped skin. Dark circles banished with Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque and a touch of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Vanilla, both blended in with a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. Followed up with a tiny bit of spot concealing with the MUFE Full Cover Concealer in Shade 3, mostly along the jaw line. Set the T-zone with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light and that is the base done.


I used my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder with the Real Techniques Contour brush to do a tad of contouring on my temples and give some semblance of a cheekbone. For blush I used an old favourite - MAC Blushbaby which is the perfect beige tinged rose that is super neutral and doesn't compete (Same idea as both NARS Douceur and Tarte Exposed). Finished off with Dior Amber Diamond for a highlight on the top of my cheekbones. 

Eyes + Brows

I used the new NARS NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette to create a very neutral, very slightly smoky eye. I used MAC Paintpot in Painterly (not pictured) as a base with Belissima I all over the lid, Madrague II through the crease, Bali very lightly in the outer corner, and Mekong smoked along the upper lash line. I smudged Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Empire along the lower lash line, and finished off with a hefty slick of the Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara (obsessed - review coming soon). For brows I used the Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash, set with MAC clear brown gel.


And the pièce de résistance - YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in #10 Rouge Filtre. A bold glossy true red that is long lasting, doesn't bleed, stays in place, and re-applies easily throughout the night. It will transfer slightly on a glass but lucky for me there were no teeth incidents all night long. Because the rest of the look was fairly satin finished, the glossiness of this worked really well. It was comfortable on the lips and held it's own through a few rounds of champagne. Love.


Last but not least was a last minute running-out-the-door slick of Essie Power Clutch - a dark murky hunter green tinged grey which was just unexpected enough. Longevity and shine provided by Seche Vite.

I'm the first to admit the photos look washed out but in real life I was super impressed by the finish of my base in particular, which was looking just as good at 3am as when I stepped out the door. Eyes too - no smudging, creasing, or panda-esque transfer. And lips welcomed a few re-applications but did so graciously. Overall an awesome night out - Thanks Anna!