Wednesday, 30 April 2014

April favourites & fails

I'm not one to place too many bets on the weather, but I'm more than happy to partake in the collective sigh of relief that it is finally Spring in Copenhagen. And with that comes a lot of lovely things, including a seasonally inflected round-up of favourites.


Favourites:


Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Saga: I've loved this formula since it launched - light, glossy, non-drying, easy to wear and semi-sheer. I recently picked up Saga - a mid-toned yellow-based pink with a smidgen of coral. This is super wearable but also brightening and livening for summer. And as it wears it imparts a youthful stain, almost like you've been sucking on a popsicle, in a good way. (Not clever enough to make a joke, so I'll leave it there).

Sephora pro airbrush concealer brush #57: This gal's more sizeable sister - the pro airbrush #55 - gets a lot of love so when I saw Laura pick up its concealer counterpart I decided to do the same. It lives up to its namesake - airbrush. Concealer - under the eyes and on the face - is blended and blurred with very little effort. I've started using this in my daily lineup.

Essie California Coral: A vibrant reddish-coral that is just ever so muted. I wore this with my new Salmon coloured jacket from Zara and a rose gold bangle and the balance of contrast and coordination just worked. I loved this last Spring and I'm loving it again. 'nuff said.

Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask: My skin has been dehydrated and congested all month, I think because I persisted a bit too long with my failure product (below). I found that to compensate I was using this overnight treatment more frequently than usual and it really does work to inject some moisture into your skin overnight. Unfortunately for me I was stripping it back again every morning, but I know things would have been much worse had I not been using this product to balance things out. A deliciously apricot scented cream, it doesn't feel much different than a rich night cream but it really packs a punch on the hydration front.

B&BW Coconut Leaves Candle: A light summery scent that is neither gourmand nor overtly beachy like most coconut scents tend to be. Mixed with tangerine and papaya it's a lovely fresh fruity coconutty smell that is perfect for the season. Great throw, too.

Honourable mention to my Ray-Ban Clubmasters. I bought these at the end of last summer and they've been sitting in a drawer begging to see the light of day. I'm sure you've seen the style everywhere - they don't win on uniqueness. But, they are my first pair of prescription sunglasses which has been kind of a revelation!!!


Fail:


Vichy Purete Thermale Purifying Foaming Cream Cleanser: I suppose I set myself up for this one because I purchased this product on a whim in the midst of a 'I forgot to bring a cleanser on my work trip' drugstore dash last August in Montreal. I could not remember my thoughts so I thought I'd try it again (mostly in an effort to preserve my love, the Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip, since I'm on a 3 month long buying ban). It claims to be a rich, soft, gently foaming cream cleanser, that will remove makeup "without drying out the skin". "Skin is left feeling soft, supple and refreshed" according to the tube. It's paraben free and aimed at sensitive skin. Thoughts? It's a glycerine rich formula which in theory should be fine. It smells great and feels ok when it's on the skin. But, upon rinsing it off, my skin was left feeling super squeaky and stripped. That one where you can almost feel the wrinkles forming until you hastily apply your morning skincare for relief. Awful. I have combo-oily but at times dehydrated skin and this decimated my moisture levels. For that reason I can't imagine it would work well for anyone - even for super oily gals I think this will be counter-productive.

Monday, 28 April 2014

The lip gloss for gloss-haters

I'm notoriously disdainful of lip gloss. I've just never gotten on with them. Gloopy, sticky, or a magnet for hair on windy day. The worst. I reckon 95% of the glosses I've ever owned have been trashed, back-to-mac'ed or passed on. You live and learn. But, with my hairstyle of choice firmly in place - the topknot - and a few rave reviews of this formula, curiosity got the best of me and I picked up 3 of the new-ish NYX Butter Glosses. And they really are lovely.



Strawberry Parfait - A true mid-toned bubblegum pink. This one is quite sheer but definitely lends a fresh almost youthful pink pout.

Tiramisu - a mauvish nude. A great natural looking nude (no concealer lips here) that goes well with any kind of look, subtle or smokey alike.

Peach Cobbler - The most pigmented of the 3 - a vibrant reddish/pinkish/coral. It's not yet approaching a bold lip but certainly imparts enough colour to make your face look more vibrant.

This formula is a good middle ground - not so sheer to be pointless but not so pigmented to lose its ease. They are non sticky, last fairly well and fade evenly. The smell is almost like cake batter but not overwhelming or fake. Overall, they are perfect as a comfortable everyday lip colour, resulting in a look that is put together but effortless, too. Dare I say I've been converted!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Top 5: S/S lip colours

Spring has sprung (*cringe* - def one of my all time least favourite expressions), and that means bright lips feel right again. Check out my top 5 for this S/S.


YSL Rouge Pur Couture 13 L'Orange: The perfect hot orange/red. I find this to be such a flattering shade - it's super bright, fun and in your face, and at least to me feels so much easier to pull off than a deep or blue-based red. It's the kind of colour that instantly lifts any outfit. The YSL offering smells divine, has a sheeny finish and is non-drying. For more matte and budget versions of the same shade, check out my 'the hot red lip' post.

MAC Girl About Town (amplified): A classic and for good reason. This is my favourite bold bright fuchsia lip. A very pigmented blue-based pink that makes teeth appear brighter to boot. If you apply in layers and blot in between it will last you a long while too.

Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color in Rosy 11: This one is decidedly less bold that the former 2 options. When I think of 'rose' I almost think of a kind of muted even mauve-ish colour but this lipstick is not that at all. It's a vibrant reddish rosy pink that is wearable but brightening for spring. It's not a thick, heavy or matte formula (hence the 'sheer' in the title) but I actually think the name is a bit deceiving. It's a properly pigmented lipstick that is true to colour from bullet to lips.

YSL Volupte Sheer Candy #10 Tangy Mandarine (I think!): These last 2 options are my sheerer, everyday, no-mirror-needed picks. This one is a gorgeous coral/orange that applies sheer and glossy. It was probably my most-worn lip product last summer. Smells amazing like all YSL lip products and the packaging is totally luxe (I much prefer the silver than the gold). The label has worn off but after a bit of searching I'm nearly positive this is #10.

Dior Addict High Shine in 864 Rose Croquis: The feel of this on the lips is very similar to the YSL Sheer Candy - a balmy texture that delivers more pigment than an actual balm. Score. This is the more toned down and easy to wear answer to Girl About Town. A bright true blue-based pink in a comfortable no fuss formula.

What lippies will you be sporting this Spring/Summer? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The fiery red lip

My bold lip of choice is by far and away a fiery red. Not quite orange, not quite red, but very bright, hot and in your face.


I'm not quite sure why but I find this shade much easier to pull off than deeper reds, fuchsias, or bright corals. Rather than feeling slightly uneasy or hyper-aware of my lip colour, when I sport a fiery red pout I feel confident rather than preoccupied. I'm fairly happy to wear this shade all year round but it really comes into its own in the warmer months.

The 3 I have are near identical in hue, but vary widely in finish:

  • YSL Rouge Pur Couture 13 L'Orange - A glossy, comfortable, and delicious smelling offering that is great for a lighter, fresher summery finish. 
  • Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms 240 Striking - A matte that is non-drying, very easy to apply, wears well, fades gracefully and is surprisingly carefree for a colour this bright. 
  • MAC Lady Danger (matte) - A classic Mac colour in a matte finish, and perhaps the most high maintenance of the three - this formula is a bit 'heavier' than the other two and for that reason probably gets a bit less love from me.
  • Chanel Le Crayon Levres Precision Lip Definer in 24 Rouge - This is not the most orangey liner Chanel make but it's a good middle ground to wear under a range of reds. Not necessary (esp under the Revlon matte balm) but if you want your lip colour to stay in place and have longevity, a base of liner applied all over the lip is never a bad idea.

This shade is now very easy to come by - most brands make some equivalent so no need to pick the ones I have. That said, I especially recommend the Revlon for a matte finish and the YSL for a glossy one - both of which are sure to get a serious workout this S/S!

What's your favourite bold lip to wear?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Bottled Dreams ft. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black

I've always heard about Sephora's fragrance sets, which seem to make an appearance in most gift guides around the holidays, but I'd never been swayed by the selections on offer until I came across the Bottled Dreams Fragrance Sampler for Her on my recent trip to NY. The idea? You get 8 perfume minis and a certificate which is redeemable for a full sized perfume of your choice (from within the selection), all for $58. Score.


This set is especially amazing because the samples are mini bottles/rollerballs that are perfect for your handbag, and actually will provide a fair few uses - none of those tiny spray samples here. In fact, I added up the volume of all the minis and you're getting (1.52oz/45ml) which is equivalent to a whole second bottle of perfume, with a lot more variety. The idea is clearly to try a range of scents before you commit, and then only get the full size of your fave. In my case I was pretty set on getting one of the new Elizabeth and James fragrances, and the set was only $3 more than the full sized bottle. I had intended to go for Nirvana Black (and I did in the end) but when I first sniffed them in store I was surprisingly taken by Nirvana White, so the chance to try them both properly was straight up my alley. The set also contained a few other scents that I was curious about so it was the perfect deal.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black EDP: Violet, sandalwood, and vanilla. This was immediately the E&J scent I thought I wanted - the richer, warmer, woodier, more masculine of the two. I must say - I really like this but it is also very much within my comfort zone. That said, I found the violet and vanilla more present in the dry down and it really added something to the immediate woody impression. One thing to note and this may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on taste - I find despite it being a woody, sexy scent, the fragrance does seem to stay fairly close to the skin - it's not something that will knock out your co-workers like some warmer/deeper scents can.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White EDP: Peony, muguet and musk. This is the lighter, fresher, more floral of the two Nirvana scents, and I didn't really expect to think much of it. To the contrary, I was hugely and surprisingly drawn to this. It has an addictive quality and is sophisticated and feminine, and perfect for Spring/Summer. I'm especially happy to now have a mini roller ball of this one.

Balenciaga Florabotanica EDP: Turkish rose with hemp and vetiver roots. I love the bottle of this but the scent is too floral for my liking. I had been a bit disappointed by it when it first launched, but I was still happy to try it out.

Burberry Body Tender EDT: Lemon and crisp apple, english rose, white jasmine and sandalwood, with a base of cashmeran, amber and musk. I have the intense EDP version of Burberry Body in full size - it's pretty full on though so I reserve it for the colder months. This 'tender' version is an amazing lighter and fresher take on the original and is perfect for Spring/Summer. I'm super happy to have a more seasonally appropriate version of a fragrances I already own and love.

Gucci Guilty EDT: Mandarin, pink pepper, peach, lilac, geranium, amber and patchouli. This is a pretty classic scent that for reasons unknown I've never given any attention. I would have never even considered it, if not for this set. I wore it the other day and I was smelling myself all afternoon! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this and though I probably won't invest in the full size, I'm happy to have a mini to use throughout the Spring.

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy La Fleur EDT: Wild berries mandarin, honeysuckle, gardenia, jasmine, vanilla, caramel and sandalwood. Another scent that is out of character - I associate it with being very young, and this is the even fresher version. It's not something I would have ever tried otherwise, but it does add a fun, no-worries option to my collection.

Lancome La Vie Est Belle EDP: Iris, patchouli, orange blossom, jasmine, with a sweet gourmand blend. This is one I was looking forward to trying - a deep, dark, sexy fragrance. On me it smelled very similar to Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb, which I already own, so I was happy to discover this via a mini only.

Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline EDT: Bamboo, nashi pear, lotus blossom and balsa wood. This is a scent I've sprayed a million times at various stores and duty frees and I've always liked it but never purchased. I had some odd feeling that I'd be let down once I got it home. Well, for me this is the star of the bunch. It's a very clean and fresh scent, without being too citrusy, too floral or too fruity. The fruits are clean and not coying and the woods are light. I've worn this a few times now and it lasts all day and is addictively good. I'm not sure it's a scent that stands out enough to catch compliments but it's one that vastly improved my mood while wearing it. Had I done my trials before trading in for the full size as you're meant to, this may very well have swayed me.

So there we have it - my fragrance shelf is now well and truly cluttered with minis, that for once I'm happy to have. With the possible exception of Florabotanica, all of these fragrances are ones I'll be happy to wear and it's the perfect way to change up your daily scent and diversify a bit without necessarily having to get through a whole bottle of the stuff, except of course the bottle you covet the most.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Wet Brush

Yet another detangling hairbrush has entered my grasp, this time The Wet Brush. So how do I think it stacks up?


In case you missed it, I've already reviewed and compared the Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash, Michael Mercier Detangling Hairbrush for Fine Hair, and Beauty Bay's house brand offering in this post. So, my thoughts on The Wet Brush will be in relation to my comments there, which you may want to read first if you're curious about comparisons.

On the one hand I feel like a total crazy lady now being in possession of four (4!!!) detangling hair brushes. I mean, seriously. But, much more easily accessible in the US, this was a case of get it now or be left wondering. As it turns out my little hop to the States has confirmed to me that my main problem is this bloody hard Danish water. Since moving here my hair is tangly for the very first time in my life, and shedding seems to be more prevalent. If anyone has tips on how to deal with very very 'hard' calcified water please leave me a comment below!

Anyway, back to the brushes. Let's start with physical differences - The Wet Brush is shaped and looks like a regular hair brush, normal handle and all. The bristles are also much more long, thin and flexible than all 3 alternatives, and have a thin shaft with a plastic ball at the end, rather than thicker and tapered plastic prongs like the others.

Because this is intended for wet hair, the main focus for my comparison is with the Tangle Teezer Aqua splash, which has much more rigid prongs and a totally different shape. So, let's go through my routine: When I get out of the shower I typically squeeze the water out, spray in a detangling spray and brush my hair upside down (from middle to ends, and then roots to middle) before putting it in a towel/turban. For this I've found the Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash to be much more effective. At this stage my hair is quite wet and heavy and working in sections, the rigidity of the bristles really helps to get through tangles without pulling or shedding. However, after I get dressed and remove the towel, my hair is more towel-dried (duh) and really damp more than wet. At this stage I'm finding The Wet Brush to work wonders. It brushes through much more easily, gets all the way to the scalp, and is easily used for parting, etc. I don't really understand why or how but it does work better than a traditional hair brush. And finally, as I concluded in the original post, once my hair is dry my top pick is Beauty Bay's own offering.

To sum up:

  • Wet hair: Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash
  • Damp/Towel Dried hair: The Wet Brush
  • Dry hair: Beauty Bay detangling brush
Exhilarating reading here today on CB ;) I promise Wednesday will be a bit more uplifting!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

My final say on 'good for you' deodorants

I've been on the hunt for a 'healthy' deodorant for at least a few years now. Let me share what my search has uncovered...


Why a 'good for you' deodorant you may ask? Well, I'm no expert, but most commercial deodorants contain 2 potentially problematic ingredients (at least!) - the first are parabens, which from what I understand have been correlated with higher incidences of breast cancer in the upper quadrant of the breast (nearest the armpit). I don't think these studies are as yet conclusive, but if there's any indication, why risk it? Second is aluminium, which is what provides the 'anti-perspirant'. Aluminium has been linked to diseases like Alzheimer's. Again, I'd do anything I can to avoid it.

The obvious problem with removing the main anti-perspirant ingredient is that you're far more likely to sweat. Sweat = moisture = an environment for stinky bacteria = B.O. (gross, I know). I feel like I'm always hearing about people trying new more healthy deodorants and constantly being let down by their (lack of) efficacy. I myself have tried many more than what appear in the photo above, but these are some of my main contenders.

Clean Moisture-Absorbent Deodorant (Warm Cotton or Original) - I used this consistently for about 2 years and at that time this was the best 'healthy' deodorant I had found. It's a white stick, which is fairly solid but softens slightly when it meets your body heat. It does leave white marks on clothes so be careful. The scent is of fresh laundry - something I love, and I'd say my sweating was reduced but not absent. If you're not in need of something heavy-duty I think this would be a perfectly fine option.

Kai deodorant - This one is a heavily (but beautifully) perfumed clear stick with the standard kai floral fragrance. I definitely sweat much more with this but oddly enough the essential oils in the perfume do an even better job of counteracting stink. If you want to smell fresh but don't mind a bit of moisture than this is a great option.

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant - I had heard that this was a strong contender so I picked up the travel size on my recent trip to the States. For all those non-US readers who have wanted to try this, my reaction was 'meh'. The scents are all Vanilla based and quite lovely. It's a white stick and way creamier than the Clean option, but it has left my underarms super dry and flakey, and I think under-performs in comparison to the first 2 options.

Korres Equisetum Antiperspirant - OK, so this one occupies a middle ground. It is paraben free but not aluminium free. I keep this around for special events or if I have a presentation or other nerves-inducing event where I know I'll be sweating more than usual (sorry for the TMI!). It's a liquid roll-on in a glass container and works as well as an anti-perspirant as all of the commercial options I've tried. Korres DO make an aluminium free version of this and an unscented version for sensitive skins - I can't speak to their efficacy but they are worth checking out.

Finally, a while back I posted a DIY Good for You Deodorant recipe. I've got to say that my hunch in that post stands true today. If you're looking for the ease of a store bought product then look to the suggestions above. But, the DIY version remains the best performing deodorant I've ever used (including ones with tonnes of nasties) and is far cheaper per use than anything you'll find on the market. It harnesses the magic of coconut oil, essential oils and other natural ingredients to create an unbeatable deodorant that has ended my search for good.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Consuming Cocktails: Negroni w. Antica Formula

If there is anything that competes with my beauty obsession it is most certainly my love of good food and delicious drinks. It's only fair then that my other love gets its own little corner on my blog. I'm kicking off my new Consuming Cocktails feature with my all time favourite classic cocktail: The Negroni.



Ingredients:

  • Gin - go for a gin with a clean finish and not too many botanicals - I prefer Beefeater.
  • Sweet Vermouth - the basic choice is Martini Rosso but I'm using Carpano Antica Formula and I can't emphasise enough how much it elevates this drink. It is seriously worth the slightly added effort of tracking it down to make a killer Negroni.
  • Campari
  • 1 Orange

Tools:

  • Shot glass & Serving glass
  • Swizzle spoon/stirrer
  • A large cubed ice tray
  • Small paring knife

Method: 


Ice: Some bars prefer to stir a Negroni with ice before pouring into a cooled glass sans ice to serve. The alternative I'll use here is to use a large block of crystal clear ice in the drink itself. This obviously keeps it cold but also melts much less quickly than regular ice cubes, saving your Negroni from the risk of becoming watered down. Finally, if you've ever been to a cocktail bar that uses large hand-cut ice, you'll know that a giant cube is also just pretty cool.

To get your ice crystal clear (rather than having that cloudy/white interior most regular ice sports) start with either filtered water or even better distilled, and boil => cool => boil => cool, before filling your ice trays. In this case I'm using a jumbo perfect cube silicone tray. This process removes the impurities and air that make ice appear cloudy. You can see mine isn't perfect thanks to the heavily mineralized Danish water, so distilled really would be my best bet.

Preparation: Making a Negroni is super simple, so the quality of your spirits is really the key. A classic Negroni uses equal parts, so it's really about equal proportion rather than size. I'm using 1 standard shot of each spirit, poured over my ice. Stir briefly with a swizzle spoon if you have one, otherwise a spoon or knife will do just fine.

Garnish: Using a paring knife, slice around the circumference of the orange so you have a long piece of orange rind for each drink. We want as little of the bitter pith (the white part) as possible, so if your cut is too thick just turn it over and slice as much of the underside as possible whilst preserving the peel. The flavour here is really coming from the orange oils within the skin so twist the peel over each glass, before rubbing the surface around the rim of the glass and dropping the peel in your Negroni.

This drink is perfect as an apertif or for sipping in winter and summer alike. If you try it out, send me a picture on twitter or instagram and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Top 5: S/S powder blushes

Today in my S/S Top 5 series I'm gushing about my favourite seasonal blushes.

Clockwise from Top Left: NARS Sex Appeal, NARS Madly, Becca Flowerchild, Tarte Tipsy, Dior Rosy Glow

Let's cut to the chase. Spring and Summer - flowers, warm weather, picnics and sunlight. I'm not one for maintaining strict beauty rules but I am drawn to more fresh and brightening makeup in the warmer months. Here are 5 blushes that will be getting a serious workout this season.

NARS Sex Appeal - A very light matte true peach shade. This is the perfect peach blush for light and bright pastel looks (I'm thinking of this look or this look by Lisa Eldridge - amaze). Apologies to those less pastey girls among us, but this will only work on very light skintones.

NARS Madly - Nars describes this as a 'seashell pink' and I really don't get that. This is more of a bronze blush that is only slighly pink, but which I think will lean more warm or pink (but not orange) depending on your undertones. I love this blush because it does an amazing job to warm up the face, takes care of blush, bronzer and highlighter in one, and is still neutral enough to not compete with anything else you have going on with your look. This is to summer what something like Tarte Exposed or Nars Douceur is in Fall and Winter.

Becca Mineral Blush in Flowerchild - I've talked about this before, but it's bloody brilliant. Soft, pigmented and super easy to blend, this is a formula I would like to own more of. This has replaced the likes of Nars Orgasm, MAC Springsheen or even Benefit's Coralista as my top pick for a pinky-coral blush with a pretty golden sheen that lifts, brightens and highlights the cheeks.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in tipsy - A super vibrant matte coral blush. I don't get on as well with this formula as it appears other people do - I find it very hard in the pan. But, once on the face this colour speaks for itself and it lasts a long while too.

Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in 001 Petal - This matte blush appears to be a shocking super cool-toned pink in the pan but supposedly adapts to your skintone. I don't buy that this 'feature' has anything to do with the formula - I really just think that a shade this cool will be warmed up to varying degrees depending on your natural tones. Whatever the case this is one of my all time favourite colour products. I wore it to death last summer and plan to do the same this year. I wear this on its own, over Dior Cheek Creme in Capri, or sometimes only on the apples with a more neutral blush (like Madly, above). It's love.

What are your fave blush shades for S/S? Let me know what I'm missing out on!

Monday, 14 April 2014

The beauty blogger buying ban

Anyone who took count of the number of beauty hauls I posted in March will be fully aware that I have absolutely no further justification for purchasing cosmetics in the near future. I hereby declare myself to be on a beauty blogger buying ban!


It happens to the best of us. Whether it's the wrath of new season collections, or a jaunt to the US, us beauty obsessives are predisposed to a bit of beauty binging. Well, I've done my fair share for the time being, so I'm cutting myself off.

Now, I'm cheating a little bit by instituting this just after purchasing hoards of new goodies. Nonetheless, expect to see my thoughts on my new products, mixed in with some mainstays, product round-ups, makeup menus, and other fun features that make use of my existing stash. An odd fashion or lifestyle post may even be given its turn in the spotlight. It will also be a good exercise in the trials and tribulations of beauty blogging when you can't afford new loot.

My rules to myself:

  • No beauty purchases until August 1 (thats about 3.5 months and comprises nearly all of the spring/summer season)
  • Everyday essentials like body wash, deodorant, etc. do not count!
  • An empty product may only be repurchased if there are no backups or alternatives ready to be used (I'm thinking the likes of eye cream, concealer, etc.)

Feel free to join me in full or in part, and if you do let me know your thoughts in a comment below or on twitter or instagram. Ready, Set, Go!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The sophisticate's glitter

Say what?! A nail combo that somehow manages to be fun, chic, romantic, sophisticated and even whimsical all at once?! Dramatic, I know!


This nail look was my first grasp at spring - a departure from the dark jewel-tones and dirty taupes that have dominated my tips since October. Find me an oasis is a washed-out very white-based pastel blue, reminiscent of Essie's borrowed and blue which I always wanted and for reasons unknown never actually purchased. The blue is so pale that in certain light it looks white. In warm indoor evening light the look was very romantic but still neutral. The application is a bit streaky, but the colour is worth the 2-3 coats for an even opaque finish. The glitter polish, hours d'oeuvres, has multi-sized silver hexagonal glitter and only very micro gold sparkles, all suspended in a clear base. If we can overlook my sausage fingers, the outcome is a gorgeous sparkle that looks different depending on lighting, ranging from a cool pale gold to more of a light silver/pewter and would work equally well over a wide range of shades. I often feel all a bit teeny-bopper sporting glitter but this polish makes it pretty, modern, and (I hope) age appropriate. As with most Essie polishes (on me) the wear time is extremely good relative to other brands.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Review: Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Transformative Foundation

I came across this newly-released foundation while perusing the Sephora website in anticipation for my recent NY jaunt. Nothing instigates a purchase more than a combination of 'new', excellent reviews, and knowing it's now or never (or at least a while) before I'll be able to get my hands on it again. In this case I'm so happy the stars aligned.


Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Transformative Foundation is a new release exclusive to Sephora for USD $55. I have shade 22 Bisque Light.

From Marc Jacobs Beauty:
Transform your skin to its ideal complexion with this nutrient rich, full coverage foundation. This surprisingly lightweight mousse formula glides onto your skin as a decadent cream and transforms into a velvety matte texture. Blending seamlessly, marvelous mousse finishes as a lightweight, full coverage powder for a flawless finish everyday. The Marvelous Mousse Transformative Foundation is constructed of coconut water and vitamin extracts to maintain optimal moisture levels, Indian ginseng to soothe the skin and amino acids to improve the skins ability to stay hydrated. This product is also mineral oil free.
Let's be frank. I love this foundation. I used it myself before recalling the brand's description and I must say my own impressions were spot on with what is claimed. The product feels very smooth and creamy in the pot, but it is solid enough that it retains a flat surface so rather than removing a blob with a spatula I just used clean fingers and picked up product using the pad of my finger. 

This is not a foundation that does your whole face in seconds. I found it much better to work in small sections because it doesn't 'spread' particularly far. Rather, once I applied the product to my face and blended the section with a flat top kabuki/buffing brush it became virtually undetectable on the skin but offered impressive coverage at the same time. I worked in small sections to achieve the level of coverage I need/want in any particular area, and herein lies the genius of this product. It is simply the most buildable foundation I've ever tried. I could go over problem areas to build a few very thin layers and the coverage increased but the finish remained exactly the same - a natural satin/matte (though I wouldn't say 'powdery' as the brand describes) that did not at all look like there were layers of product on my face. Completely non-cakey with flawless coverage that can be totally catered to your complexion. To my mind, this also means it's the perfect foundation to pull a Lisa Eldridge and only apply foundation where you need it, leaving 'good' parts of your skin natural. Magic people!

The feel of this foundation is extremely lightweight on the skin - it stayed looking satin on me - not a flat matte nor mask-like (as Laura Mercier Silk Cream can tend towards), and not oily. It really seemed to blend seamlessly into the skin, and the rest of my makeup applied beautifully over top. Because of the slight bit of added effort I will probably reserve this for nights out or occasions where I really want a flawless and long-lasting finish. On the other hand, if you do apply it only in focus areas it could be an excellent solution for everyday natural makeup as well. In many ways this is the most versatile foundation I've used.

Last point - packaging. Beautiful and in line with the brand and the price point. It's glass - so a little hefty for traveling and some will inevitably dislike the pot but it does make perfect sense given the formula.

Seriously impressed guys! See it on my face here.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Top 5: S/S cream blushes

Spring has been teasing us these last few weeks and it's gotten me hanging for some more lively and bright makeup. To force the seasonal transition I thought I'd do a series of posts with my edit of my Top 5 spring/summer products in each category of my makeup arsenal. First up: cream blushes.


As I mentioned in my NARS matte multiple review, I'm not typically a lover of cream blushes. It seems to be the beauty blogger wisdom that cream cheek products = summer and that really doesn't make much sense to me. Yes, many a female wants to appear 'glowy and luminous' during the warmer months in particular. But for me and my combo skin, heat often means sweat or an otherwise less than flattering sheen, so a glowly, creamy turned slippery cheek product is very low on my list of complexion boosting miracle workers. You get me?

That said, over the last year I've discovered a handful of what I consider to be excellent cream formulas that feel light and fresh on the face but set and stay looking good. No lasting tackiness here. None. All of these fit within a category of cream to powder (or probably more accurately, they set dry... not as in drying, rather that they don't remain creamy, sticky or tacky on the face). Magically, they all also blend very easily, so no worries needed about racing the clock like with some stains. All are sans shimmer except the newly launched Maybelline Master Glaze that I picked up in the states.

Chanel le blush creme de chanel in 62 Presage - I had heard amazing things about this formula but couldn't justify the purchase for a long while, until while in NY recently my mom offered up a store credit to Chanel from a returned perfume gift she had received from a patient (side note 1: she's not unappreciative just highly sensitive to fragrance! side note 2: US return policies are insanely good!!). So, armed with what felt like a blank check in Chanel I headed straight for the cream blush lineup. Presage is a gorgeous coral/apricot - a sort of mid-toned orange with pink tones. I apply with fingers and blend with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush and it really is effortless. The finish is natural - not falsely matte nor dewy - satin perhaps. The formula remained in place and looking vibrant all day and did not have that gross I need to wash my face feeling. In my opinion this formula deserves all the praise it has received. I'm officially on the bandwagon.

NARS Matte Multiple in Laos - A fairly new release which I've reviewed in more detail here and was wearing here. The finish is matte but the shade is vibrant which is a look I actually love for summer - there is something very 'fresh faced' about it. Brilliant in every way, I'd highly recommend picking up one of these. There are 4 blush shades and 3 contour shades and the formula is exquisitely executed.

Maybelline Master Glaze in 30 Coral Sheen - I picked this up on a whim during the first of my US drugstore hauls and I'm very impressed. The product comes packaged in a small stick and the formula in my opinion is almost identical to the original NARS multiples. The sheen comes from shimmer (but definitely not sparkle) within the product rather than from a dewy texture and the end result is exactly what I'm looking for in a cream product. A peachy/coral fresh and lifted effect that covers blush and highlighter in one. It applies straight from the stick with no troubles over my base and blends easily with fingers.

Dior Diorblush Cheek Creme in 851 Capri - I picked up 3 of these from last year's summer collection (I also have Bikini and Panama) and while I found the 2 more vibrant shades a bit patchy and hard to blend, this light and bright pink was my go-to for a good chunk of the summer. Applies easily with fingers and is the perfect accompaniment to layer with the Dior Rosy Glow blush for extra oomph and staying power. A very flattering everyday shade. (I thought these were LE but all 4 are still available on Feel Unique!).

Bourjois Cream Blush in 01 Nude Velvet - This formula is probably my least favourite of the 5 because it doesn't last as long on my skin and doesn't always fade evenly - it can tend to go patchy toward the end of the day. But, it is a perfect neutral light peach which is great for giving your cheeks some colour/definition while putting the focus elsewhere, or for 'no-makeup makeup' days.

A final honourable mention - I also really love the NARS Cream Blush formula. I have Penny Lane which is a muted very neutral pink but Cactus Flower would be a gorgeous summer pick. The only downside is the very limited shade range.

My faves definitely still fit within a certain type of cream blush, but I must say I'm a convert. Any other formulas/colours you think I'd like? Please share!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

March favourites & fails

I've been living out of a capsule makeup bag all month while in New York so this month's favourites are mostly those that stood out to me and that I really enjoyed using despite the lack of choice - some re-ignited love with a couple stateside additions for good measure.


Favourites


Jouer Matte Moisture Tint (shade linen) - This is the lighter weight of the two liquid  bases I brought with me on my trip and the lack of choice has led me to rekindle my love-affair with this product. I used this last summer and really enjoyed it and will be doing the same this year. I'm typically disappointed by tinted moisturisers - I find them too hydrating to put over my skincare but sort of inadequate as a substitute. Coverage ranges but is very often too little for my tastes. The Matte Moisture Tint has a whipped airy and lightweight texture, provides light-medium coverage and goes on matte/satin (I use my fingers). There is no slipping and sliding - it stays on all day looking great. This is the tinted moisturizer for oily/combo gals.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (shade vanilla) - This product has appeared many a time on these pages but this time with a slightly expanded focus. I've use this without fail atop my Bobbi Brown Corrector on full makeup days, but lately on low-key days spending time with my parents I've opted to put a bit of this under my eyes and on some blemishes and call it a day. It's the perfect no-makeup product that blends seamlessly into the skin and covers/lifts just enough to make me feel presentable without any other makeup. Miracles.

Becca Mineral Blush in Flowerchild - I got this in a Space NK gift bag around Christmas and probably wouldn't have tried it otherwise but I'm SO glad I did. The first time I applied this I could not believe how beautiful it was. The perfect peachy pink with gold sheen - sounds just like all the million others sharing the same description but this one really kills it. Packaging is compact, texture is smooth and easy to work with and the look it provides is a brightening, youthful, glowy pop of colour. The definition of spring.

Revlon Highlighting Palette in 003 Bronze Glow - I reviewed this here and I'm still loving it. Nuff said.

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in 240 Striking - I picked this up at the start of the month and it's been my go too bold lip. It's a super flattering vibrant orange-red with a modern matte finish. The twist-up pencil makes it very easy to apply and it's surprisingly no-fuss given how bright the shade is. See it in action here.

YSL Volupte Sheer Candy #10 Tangy Mandarin - My no-mirror-required daytime go-to as of late. This formula feels like a balm but while sheer still delivers a healthy dose of colour to brighten the face. And it smells amazing!

Fails


Oskia Eye Wonder Nutri-Active Serum - I've heard only good things about this brand but sadly this product - my first introduction to the line - was a bit of a let down. It's all I brought with me to NY so I've been using it morning and night as recommended. I'd say it's average in terms of mositurizing. It gets the job done but is on the lighter-weight end of the spectrum in texture and hydration. In terms of any other results it's hard to say since my use of eye creams is at this stage mostly preventative other than for hydration. I have two main problems with this 'fail'. (1) the pump - which is hard to press down and then control, so spurts of eye serum that have a striking resemblance to something else shoot across the back of my hand. Just annoying, really. (2) Despite being billed for AM and PM this sadly pills under my foundation. Clearly when the objective is to perfect your skin this is one of the worst possible scenarios! It took me a few days and a few trials to narrow it down and this is definitely the culprit. Wasteful and annoying. I'll finish this for nighttime use but will not be repurchasing.