Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Current evening routine

I always loved skincare products, especially the ones designed for nighttime. But, ever since I discovered balm cleansers, I really came to enjoy it even more. Mainly because if you cleanse properly, the products applied afterwards work more efficiently. Just for reference, my skin fits into the combination category  mostly normal, with very dry, flaky patches here and there and an oily nose.
Depending on the amount of make-up I'm wearing, I start off by removing the upper layer with Bioderma Sensibio/Créaline H2O on a cotton pad (or two). Not being too fussy about it, since I'm going to cleanse with a balm anyway. The balm in question is Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm. As the name states, it is amazing. It removes every little trace of dirt and clingy mascara, leaving the skin perfectly clean, without being squeaky clean, which I appreciate. I take a small amount, work it between my hands until it turns into an oil. Then, I apply it on dry skin, on my face and neck, massaging well  but gently around the eyes  and remove it with a warm (tepid) cloth. Next, I apply a toner, and this could be either my all time favourite Caudalie Beauty Elixir or, one I've been enjoying lately, Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, which is very soothing and ideal for normal to combination skin types. Oh, and it smells like rose water, which I love. The only thing I'd change is the mist, it's not as fine as the Caudalie one, but it's not the worst I've tried.
Continuing the process, for the eye area I start with the Ole Henriksen Truth Is In The Eyes peel, which I talked about here. After it gets absorbed, I pop on some Clarins Special Eye Contour Balm. On the rest of the face, I usually apply the Clinique Turnaround Radiance Moisturizer or Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Sometimes, if I feel like I need some extra balancing, I layer a drop of Clarins Lotus Oil. I warm it up between my hands and pat it on the T-zone. You really need one drop of this, so a bottle will last a long, long time. 
That's pretty much it, with a few changes here and there, when testing out new products. But for now, this is my nighttime beauty arsenal. Right, I'm off to doing just that.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Current blusher love

Today's post will focus solely on blushers, more specifically, my all time favourites — up until now.
Between creams, powders, bright hues, contour shades, matte or glowing formulations, I'm pretty sure there's something to please everyone. 

I'll start with a product that was featured in previous posts: MAC Powder Blush in Harmony. This is one of those shades that doesn't seem very appealing at first sight, but it is a staple for sure. Sometimes, it's hard to find the perfect contour shade — it's too warm toned, too shimmery or too dark. But this is the perfect shade, really. A rose-beige brown that's cool toned without being ashy or dirty looking. And you can use it (more sparingly) on lighter skin tones. I really want to try out Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow — again, a strange colour that works really well for contour. 

The next blusher is a fun, girly and bright option, that provides a fresh looking complexion. Too Faced Full Bloom Cheek & Lip Colour (in Prim & Poppy) is a cream blusher that you can use on the cheeks or the lips, to give a healthy glow. This shade is a warm coral and the texture is really smooth, sheer and easy to blend. I like to apply it with the Real Techniques Contour Brush, for precision.
Unlike many other cheek and lip creams, this actually feels nice on the lips. And the packaging is really charming, with a black adorned lid and a mirror inside. I also want to try the other shades (Tea Rose and Sweet Pea).

I'm following with another bright hued cream blusher, the Topshop Blush in Prime Time. A vivid blue-ish pink that really brightens the whole complexion. I love using this during the winter months, when my skin is more dull, as I feel it provides a luminous and radiant look. It's really easy to blend, either with fingers or a brush, like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush — this really does it all, doesn't it?

The perfect blusher to use on top of it, or to wear on it's own, is the Burberry Light Glow in Peony Blush No. 04. This is one of those shades/formulations that allow you to apply it quickly and without a mirror. Seriously. And the rose scent just surprises me everytime. Love it! I won't even mention the gorgeous case, because you might start to get the idea that I fall for packaging, and honestly... I do. By the way, the brush it comes with is quite good and practical.

Last, but definitely not least, is the Benefit Sugarbomb Sugar Rush Flush Face Powder — could the name be any longer? This is one of those items that I forgot I had, because I was trying something new at the time. Then, I rediscovered it a few months ago and have been using it almost every day since. The box has four colours — peach, soft plum, shimmering pink and rose — that you can mix together or use separately. I like using it to connect the contour with the highlight, making it all seamless. The natural bristle brush is quite good to apply and blend on the go. Again, one of those products that you can apply without a mirror. Mine is nearly finished, as you can tell by the photo, but it's been like this for a couple of weeks now. It may be a while before it pops up on an "Empties" post. At least, I hope so.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review | Clinique Chubby Stick Intense

I finally got my hands on a Clinique Chubby Stick Intense last month, when I was supposed to be shopping for a birthday present instead. Makes sense, right?

(Wearing as a stain)

So, this is a moisturizing lip colour balm, like the original Chubby Stick, only much more pigmented. After a long deliberation, I got the shade Roomiest Rose, a dark berry rose which is more vibrant than it shows on Clinique's website. One layer is enough to provide a nice colour pay-off, though it's possible to build it up, resulting in a more opaque and shiny finish.
Obviously that, being a balm, it doesn't last all day — up to three or four hours — so it's essential to carry it around. Having the same crayon-like packaging and moisturizing properties, it continues to be very practical and can be applied on the go. But, since it has a higher coverage, you should check in the mirror just to make sure it's in place — especially if you're not great at applying lipstick.
The formula with shea butter, jojoba seed butter and mango seed butter remains very nourishing and comfortable to wear. I'm desperately trying to preserve the pointy tip on this one, because I think it really helps with this kind of (more) pigmented lip products. We'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, I need to get more shades, starting with Mightiest Marachino. And Grandest Grape.
I'd say this is ideal for someone who might be scared of super opaque and bold matte lipsticks, but wants to wear a bit of colour on the lips.
I'm just hoping to see the colour range grow — I'd love to get a perfect peach that's not too orange, nor too pink.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Top picks | Peach correctors

If you have dark circles under the eyes or discoloration, then corrector is your friend. If your skin tone is medium to dark, then corrector is your best friend.
Basically, if you feel that a concealer alone isn't doing enough, then you probably need a corrector to neutralize an ashy tone (using peach or pink shades) or redness/spots (using yellow or green toned correctors).
Since I have permanent dark circles, I always need to apply something with a peach tone to correct the shadow and brighten up the area. Only a product like Make Up For Ever Full Cover, being completely opaque, could camouflage the darkness completely, but I find it too drying and heavy to use under the eyes. If I want to go light with the amount of product applied, then I rely on a highlighting pen to brighten key areas.

One that I find has the best texture is the Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in Abricot. It comes in a liquid form and has a nice payoff, which is quite rare. The fine wand allows for precise application and a little bit goes a long way. Looks very natural — on it's own or under a base/concealer — and feels very comfortable on the skin. And, probably because you don't need much at all, it doesn't crease. The formula contains vitamin E and glycerin. I think this suits light to medium skin tones pretty well, but I'm not sure if it works on darker ones. Would be nice to have another shade in the the same Abricot family.

The next one, is a holy grail product in the blogosphere: Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach. A truly creamy formula, that blends easily and is infused with skin conditioners. This product works best under a concealer that matches the skin tone, especially on yellow undertones. Provides a good coverage, but in my case, creases a bit without powder on top. The best part is the wide shade range that will suit everyone, whether you need a peach or a bisque corrector. Big thumbs up!

Speaking of wide shade ranges, all MAC concealers that come in NW shades are ideal for correcting the under eye area. For example, Studio Finish Concealer (shown above in NW25) provides a really good coverage, due to it's waxy texture, that works best when warmed up with fingers and patted on, for a natural coverage — as natural as a full coverage gets, really. Also great to cover blemishes or tattoos. The formula with an SPF 35 is water resistant, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. Contains antioxidants and silica — the latter absorbs skin's oils to provide a matte finish that lasts longer.

A good option to correct really dark circles or patches (sometimes around the mouth) is Make Up For Ever Camouflage Cream in 20 Orange. This looks a bit scary on the pot, but does a great job in neutralizing bluish circles or dark areas on the skin. As one would've guess, this has to be topped up by a concealer, to achieve a natural, seamless finish. For light to medium skin tones it's best to mix it with a concealer (that is a shade lighter) and then apply the usual concealer on top. The mixing ratio depends on your personal shade, so it's best to try ahead and see which "formula" suits you best. A good test (for anything) is looking closely into a mirror with bright sunlight.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review | La Roche-Posay Hydreane BB Cream

I wanted to try this product for a while now, but since I have so many products to use up, I needed to wait before I got it. That was until the other day, while wondering around a pharmacy and searching for something else that was sold out, I saw this. So, obviously, I had to get something and I couldn't resist picking it up. My shade is Medium, which suits me perfectly  unlike the Estée Lauder one, which is a bit darker, so it needs more blending.
La Roche-Posay BB Cream is much easier to apply, even on dry skin, because it's less pigmented (and more hydrating), so it doesn't cling to any dry patches. I'd say it has less coverage than the aforementioned BB Cream, but it feels more beneficial to the skin, leaving it hydrated, plumped and radiant. It's formulated with the La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water and I noticed there was shea butter in the ingredients list.
Although it doesn't have a high level of coverage, it still unifies the skin tone and covers minor redness. I top it up with a creamy concealer under the eyes and around the nose. Works really well on combination skin types — just powder where you need to — and it might even work on oily ones, since it's non-greasy and suits all skin types.
The great thing about BB Creams is that they already have SPF, and in higher factors than your regular foundation or moisturizer. In this case, it's also suited for sensitive skins and it's non comedogenic, so there's less chance of breaking out. The only down side is the colour range, with only two shades: Light and Medium. On the plus side, it's purse-friendly and has 40ml of product, which is pretty good.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

From the backstage | Marc Jacobs Fall 2013

Marc Jacobs closed out New York Fashion Week, with an amazing show in sepia-tinted lights. This effect made the clothes appear black and white. So, to go with that, François Nars chose a neutral toned make-up, to look like "a black and white photograph".
I love the inspiration for this look: an edgy girl with a touch of rock. All it takes is some smudged black eyes, for me to fall for the look. To go along with that, a strong brow (swoon), lots of mascara and a matte face. There was no shine at all, but at the last minute they applied some grease, to give a worn-in, sweaty look. You can choose to skip that, of course.
It's an easy look to recreate with products that most people already have. To start off, we'll conceal any imperfections — I'd use MAC Select Moisturecover concealer in NC35, because my skin is very dry at the moment. To powder the skin, you can use any loose powder, like the Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder (mine is in 40 Doré). At this point, there's no shine on the face, but it remains natural looking.
Now, for the fun part: let's start with the brows. With the use of an eyeshadow (and a slanted brush) or a powdery brow pencil, define and fill in the brows, thickening them — to the point where they still look (quite) natural.
Take a soft black pencil and line the eyes — top and bottom — then smudge with a small eye brush, like the 219 from MAC. Optional: layer black eyeshadow with a soft brush, giving more staying power and preventing creases.
Line the inside of the eyes with a white or nude pencil, making them appear bigger and more awake. I like the Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Nude. It's a really nice shade to wear on the waterline. Finish the eyes with a few coats of mascara. You can guess from the previous posts, that I'd use the Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara or the Benefit They're Real.
The cheeks and lips are left pretty bare in the show, but for someone who likes wearing something, I recommend using a neutral blush to contour (MAC Powder Blush in Harmony) and a tinted lipbalm (Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Whole Lotta Honey or Mega Melon). Done!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

TV | Four reasons to love "The Carrie Diaries"

Today's post is a bit more random, but hear (read?) me out. Since The Carrie Diaries is a prequel to Sex and the City, of course it has to do with fashion — the show's costume designer is Eric Daman. Need I say more? So, here we go:

Being born in the late 1980s, means I haven't really experienced living in that decade, so I always wondered what it would be like — and if it is anything like the show, I want to transport myself through time, right now!
I know a lot of people aren't fans of the '80s and it's aesthetic, but I actually adore it all. So this is like candy to my eyes.

This point is obvious. The bold graphic prints, colourful mixes, the use of velvet... I mean, it's just fearless, really. You couldn't pull off Larissa's outfits now-a-days — at least not without a sideways glance, but who cares, really? The good thing is you see a lot of pieces that you can get in high street shops, like Topshop.
It seems like every item is special, with a nice detail or a cute print. Even the jewellery — it's all about statement pieces! And everything feels so authentic and not stereotypical at all.
The same bold colours and textures are used in their make-up looks, with strong eyes and strong lips. Blue shadow and pink lips never looked so good together. Not to mention, the graphic eyeliner, my personal fave.
Of course, with those brows, AnnaSophia Robb could pull off any look. They're just perfect.
Oh, and I need to state this: the Carrie bag is awesome.

Remember that Gossip Girl episode, when Lily ran off to find her older sister, back in the '80s? That episode was awesome. And the MUSIC! I love 1980s music, so I get excited and can't stop myself from dancing everytime I watch a preview... This show has the absolute best OST ever.

Today it seems almost impossible to find an awesome job in a magazine — especially when you're still in high school. And especially when we're talking about Interview magazine. In Manhattan.
This is pretty much what I imagined my life would be like, when I was younger and full of hope. A cool job in the fashion industry (in Manhattan) and, later on, a closet full of Manolos. A girl can dream...
Not to mention that on the first day of school, the new Kydd (see what I did there?...) who is the cutest guy ever, in the history of high schools, likes you.
Of course, there are a lot of downsides to Carrie's life, but unfortunately, those are more realistic.

So go on and start watching the show, if you haven't already. It will replace the GG-shaped hole in your TV heart. Not convinced yet? It's about a blonde girl who's the center of the attention, with a cute brunette friend that looks like Blair. Only they switched heights. And the sense of responsibility.

THE CARRIE DIARIES  |  Pictured: AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie Bradshaw  |  Photo Credit: Nino Munoz/The CW  |  © 2012 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Empties #2

My second post on products I've used up features some haircare, a bit of skincare and, of course, make-up. For some reason, I now have a lot of products that are almost empty. That's what happens when you use a lot of different things...

I'm on my second bottle of Schwarzkopf Professional BC Oil Miracle Finishing Treatment. It's an amber coloured oil with a thick texture and a nice fragrance. By the way, there's a light version for fine hair – you can find it here.
I usually distribute a small amount of product onto the lenghts and ends of towel-dried hair, then blow-dry it. I use it on dry hair too, particularly in the winter – it absorbs quickly, thanks to an "evaporating formula". The argan oil leaves the hair nourished and really shiny. Just healthy looking hair that smells really good – although I prefer the scent of the light version, which is very soft and delicate. A great product to camouflage split ends, as well.

Soap and Glory Hand Food. Is there anything else to say, after this rave post? Needless to say, I'll repurchase it – when I finish my Caudalie one.

The next item, belongs to my essentials list, meaning, I need this at all times. La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Eyes, or, the puffiness killer? A great option for dehydrated and uncomfortable skin around the eye. A refreshing gel that smoothes and refines the texture, providing a rested appearance, thanks to hyaluronic acid fragments, sodium hyaluronate and glycerin in the formula. I like to use this as a hydrating mask for the under-eye area, when I feel more dehydrated. Bonus: works well under make-up and is suited for sensitive skin.

In the highlighting department, I (unfortunately) finished my Guerlain Precious Light in the colour 2. This might be the best formula when it comes to highlighting pens – no visible glitter or shimmer whatsoever. Neutralizes any darkness with it's light reflecting properties. Just use it in key areas, like the inner corner of the eyes, on top of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and cupid's bow. If you have a recession on the under-eye area, use just a tiny bit of this on the dark shadow – face down and look straight ahead on the mirror, you'll see it. Do not use it in puffy areas, it's going to make it worse.

Lastly, a mascara: Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen Sexy Blacks. I like everything about this: the packaging, the scent, the wand and the formula. And, it's inspired by feminine curves and lace.
I like this brand since I was a kid. I loved playing with my mum's mascara and lipsticks. My head was swooning over that gold and luxurious packaging. When I learned that she actually used all Helena Rubinstein products, I was convinced that it was the high-end brand.
Anyways, the formula is elongating and volumizing, while the hourglass shaped brush really catches all the lashes, curling them. Holds well throughout the day and it's easy to remove. I find that it doesn't clump and feels natural and soft to the touch.