Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review | Benefit Fakeup Hydrating Crease-Control Concealer

Today's review is on something I've wanted to get the minute it was released. But, at the time, I thought I had so many concealers already, just sitting in my drawer, therefore I didn't need another one. That was until I went to Sephora one day and caved in. Ah... Who can resist a bit of Benefit and it's super cute packaging?

Anyway, if you have dry skin under the eyes, you'll love this: Benefit Fakeup Hydrating Crease-Control Concealer (mine is in Medium). Comes in a bullet, so it's pretty much like applying a lip balm under the eyes — but less weird, I suppose. It's very soothing and kind of feels like you have a protective barrier throughout the day. The concealer bit is on the center, surrounded by a hydrating balm on the outside — reminds me of the Clarins Crystal Lip Balms. You can stroke it directly under the eyes and then blend it, patting with your ring finger or a brush. I like to use the Real Techniques Setting Brush for this.
Before I tried this product, I assumed that it would crease really badly, since it's so hydrating and emollient, so I was really astonished by the results. Sure, it did crease a bit, but every concealer creases on me — even Make Up For Ever Full Cover or Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil. After I blended it the first time it creased, it didn't move for hours. Pretty cool. What I really like about this, is the fact that it makes the skin look really healthy and radiant. I even tried layering a bit of the Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil on top and set it with a bit of loose powder, and it still had a slight glow showing through. Doesn't cake up or dry out.
It's formulated with apple seed extract and Vitamin E to hydrate the skin, making it look luminous and natural. I'd say this concealer has a medium coverage, but you can top it up with a more opaque concealer (or highlighter) just on darker areas, like the inner corners of the eyes, and it'll cover up. Also, the packaging is ideal to carry around in your make-up bag, to top up during the day. I might get the shade Dark and mix the two to get the perfect colour. All in all, a big thumbs up!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Empties #3

Okay, time for another empties post. Because I want to throw away some stuff. Hah!
This time, I have a couple of hair products, some skincare bits and a mascara — I'm pretty sure you know which one. Yep, it's the Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara. You can read a proper review here, though, I should add that when it gets to the point where it starts to dry out a bit, the formula gets a bit gloopy. Considering that the bristles are so small, it's not ideal. But, it's still a good mascara nonetheless.

Since said mascara is a bit hard to cleanse away, a pretty nice product to take it off with is MAC Gently Off Eye & Lip Makeup Remover. It's dual-phased — formulated with both water and oil —, so you have to shake it in order to combine the two. Removes every trace of make-up, whether it's oil-based or water-based, including stubborn mascaras (case in point) and lip stains. It's gentle and suitable for all skin types. Formulated with Cucumber extract and Damascus Rose water to soothe and refresh. If you prefer this type of cleanser that you pour into a cotton pad and wipe away, opposed to a balm or cream cleanser and a warm cloth, this is a good option, for sure. It's quick and easy. Just hold the cotton pads in place for a few seconds and then gently swipe the make-up off and rinse. Easy-peasy.

If your skin is oily or combination, and you know just how frustrating a shiny nose can be, I totally feel you. My skin is combination, but whenever I'm out and about, especially in the sun or somewhere with a powerful AC, my nose gets shiny in a few hours. Powders just don't do it for more than that period of time. Obviously, blotting tissue is my friend, but I also need some sort of primer to extend the need to blot and powder during the day. I have tried many, many of them, and still haven't found an amazing one that lasts all day. The best I've tried so far, was this Clinique Pore Minimizer T-Zone Shine Control. I can't find it on the Clinique site/counters anymore, but I found it on Amazon (click here). It keeps shine at bay until mid-afternoon, which is pretty good, and it's very lightweight and colourless. Comes in a gel texture and goes on smoothly, leaving pores minimized and a velvety feel. Acts as a great primer under make-up and can be used over make-up, as well. Contains Salicydic Acid (which exfoliates the pores from the inside), Silica (to absorb shine), Witch Hazel (to tighten pores) and Clove Flower extract (to reduce oil production). Has quite a strong alcohol smell when you first squeeze it out, but goes away almost instantly, so it doesn't really bother me.
I was going to repurchase this, but since it has been discontinued, I got the Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector in Invisible Bright, instead. So far, so good. Goes on very smoothly, kinda like silicone.

Moving on to the hair department, I finished another bottle of Kérastase Nutritive Bain Satin 2. This shampoo is so rich and luxurious. If you have dry hair, you'll love this. The smell is incredible (redundant information, since it's Kérastase, duh!) and the formula is very, very creamy. I always let it stay for a couple of minutes before rinsing, to let the ingredients do their job. It's very moisturizing and provides a great level of nutrition, so the hair doesn't feel dry or dehydrated, even when you use harsh styling tools (ghd Styler, I'm looking at you!). Contains glucose, proteins and lipids to protect and repair the hair fiber. Just try it.

To close up, I'll end with a hair treatment — Goldwell DualSenses Rich Repair 60 Second Treatment. I was both skeptical and excited about the "60 Second" mention on the label. I don't have the patience to wait 15 minutes for a hair mask to work every time I wash my hair, especially on weekdays. Leaves hair feeling very soft and, most importantly, acts fast. The formula balances the lipid levels in the hair, making it supple and healthy looking. Definitely will repurchase.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review | Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara

Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in Over Black 090

When this mascara from Dior came out, I was very excited to try it out. I've been very happy with the previous ones that I've tried from the brand, but not only that, this brush really caught my eye. The formula matters, sure, but for me, the brush does most of the job. Depending on the shape, length, elasticity and types of bristles, you can get different results. That's why I like to have different types of disposable wands, to use on other people, instead of a pack of 50 wands that look (and do) the same.
In terms of the formula, I really don't like the ones that get so thick, that you can't even see the shape of the bristles. So, I waited a month or two to purchase it, just to make sure and see how it dried out on the store tester. Needless to say, it was perfect. This formula kind of reminds me of the Benefit BADgal Lash, which I really, really like.
I would say though, this is one of those that are harder to take off at the end of the day. So, if you're not cleansing properly, you should start doing it — as in, the type of cleanser that you remove with a face cloth.
One of the benefits of this product is that it really holds the curl during the day. I find that it looks the same after 10 hours of wear, and it doesn't flake. The brush allows you to reach the base of the lashes really closely, and grabs even those fine and short ones, without messing up the lid — great if you're wearing a light eyeshadow. Use the curved side up to do this.
You'll be surprised by how well it works with just one coat. Seriously, it provides instant volume. *Adding it to the top five list*. Diorshow Iconic Overcurl mascara is available in three shades: Over Brun 694, Over Bleu 264 and Over Black 090 — which is the one I've got.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Top picks | Biker jackets

Today's post features the top picks, available now, in the biker jacket category — a.k.a. a peek into my own wishlist.
I absolutely adore biker jackets and feel like myself whenever I'm wearing them, if that makes sense. You know when you're wearing something, just because you followed someone's advice, go out and feel kind of awkward and uncomfortable? And, of course, that's when you bump into someone you haven't seen in years. Hah! I rarely do that now, I just wear what I want, because I dislike the feeling that I'm not transmitting my true image/personality through my outfit.
Last Christmas, I got a pair of lime green gloves with a pink trimming. And they were seriously soft and good quality. But I didn't have anything that would look good with them. Also, I'd probably hide my hands in my coat pockets. So I carried on wearing my bottle green leather-look gloves with cut-outs. Much better.
Or, the time I got a necklace from my work colleagues, and didn't want to hurt their feelings, so I wore it the next day. Not that it wasn't pretty, just wasn't my style. Basically, I felt weird for the whole day because I had it on.

ZARA Biker Leather Jacket With Buckles £169
ZARA Ethnic Jacquard Pattern Zip Jacket £59,99

Anyway, on with the jackets. The first two are from Zara — which isn't a surprise coming from me, is it? The one on the left has a nice quilted effect on the arms and quite a few zips, which I really like. The second one, has more of a spring feeling — softer material, paler shade and a fun print.

Topshop Contrast Lapel Leather Biker Jacket £180
Topshop Quilt Detail Biker Jacket £58

Next, a couple of options from Topshop. The first has a really unique lapel in a contrasting colour. It's ideal to combine with a black outfit, providing a little visual interest. The white jacket has a subtle quilted effect just on the top of the arms and buckles on the waist. Again, the leather-look and some extra zips make me happy.

ASOS HIDE Freja Biker Jacket in Cream £315
ASOS Muubaa Sharp Shouldered Biker Jacket with Zips £389

The final two can be found on ASOS, and these specific models are a bit more pricey than the previous ones. But, take a look on the website and you'll find different price ranges and designs. The first choice is a cream leather jacket with a pretty standard style, when it comes to real biker jackets — zips, pockets and a belt on the waistline. The lighter shade makes it more fresh and versatile to combine with various clothing items. The one on the right comes in a beautiful and rich berry shade, with a zip on the arm — nice detail there — and the perfect length.
Now the difficult part: which one should I go for?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Essentials | Make-up brushes

This is part two of a post focusing on make-up essentials. You can read part one here — it's all about make-up products.
In this part, I'll give examples of make-up brushes that can be used on different areas of the face, and to apply different types of products. With this little kit you can achieve pretty much any (wearable) look. Basically, a guide for someone who doesn't really own many brushes — if any — and might find the whole thing confusing and the massive product offering overwhelming. If this is your case, keep on reading...
Let's start with the face. You'll need some kind of buffing brush to easily apply any kind of base. Tinted moisturizers, BB creams, foundations — wether they are liquid, cream or powder ones. Achieve a perfect airbrushed effect with this tool. Many brands, like Sigma, do very good ones. My favourite is the Real Techniques Buffing Brush (or the Expert Face Brush), which has really soft synthetic taklon bristles. I also find this type of brush ideal to apply blusher, bronzer and contouring or highlighting products. Every colour (and texture) becomes seamlessly blended, so that you can't really tell where one begins and ends. If the brush diameter is too big to use on a small area, apply the product on the tip and use the rest of the bristles to blend. Or try the Contour Brush, since you have it already — it comes in the same collection as the Buffing Brush.
Next, is the renowned MAC 217 Blending Brush. This is the eye brush to have in your collection. If you think that those YouTube make-up tutorials on smokey eyes are hard to achieve in real life, you're wrong. This brush does all the work for you. Trust me. Also, great to blend concealer seamlessly or to contour/highlight small areas, like the nose. If you find it too big to apply colour under the eyes or close to the lashline, invest in a MAC 219 Pencil Brush. Ideal to smudge liner around the eyes, to cover very small spots, or fill in sparse brows. To define them, it's best to opt for a slanted brush like the 208 Angled Brow Brush, which is also great to line the eyes.
Lastly, a soft brush like the Japonesque Pro Eye Shadow Fluff Brush Large is ideal to apply an all over lid colour, to blend on the crease or to set the make-up with powder — on the T-zone, under the eyes and other concealed areas, leaving the cheeks dewy, for a more natural and radiant look.
When completing this make-up essentials kit, you can finally have some fun on your next shopping trips and try out something new and fun. Some bright fuchsia lipstick, perhaps?

Monday, April 01, 2013

Essentials | Make-up Products

This is the first part of a two part post. It's basically about make-up essentials, either for a beginner who doesn't know what to get, or for someone who might be a bit overwhelmed by all the offerings and can't decide where to splurge. This part will focus on actual make-up products and the next one is all about the brushes.

Starting with the face, everyone can benefit from a light coverage foundation or a tinted moisturizer. Doesn't matter if you have clear skin or some spots, you absolutely want your skin to show through  and actually look like skin, not a mask. You can always go back with a good concealer and cover just those little spots or discolorations. Of course, the finish of this base should apply to your skin type  more of a dewy/radiant finish for dry ones or a matte finish for oily types.
A good option is something like MAC Face And Body Foundation (the image above shows the shade C5). It has a natural (but buildable) coverage and works well on most skin types. It's water-based, so you have to shake it well before opening the bottle. Blends easily into the skin and can be used on the body, as well.
Next, a concealer that works on the "imperfections" you're trying to cover. So if you're only concerned about under eye circles, invest in a more emollient formula that doesn't dry out and has that brightening peachy-pink tone. Now, if your main concern is spots, then invest in a high coverage concealer that doesn't move too much. Something like the Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil (shown in NSA) works really well on covering spots  and under eye circles too, actually. Besides, it stays put all day.

A good, brightening pink toned blusher is an absolute essential for anyone. Of course, you can vary the shade of pink according to the skin tone. The picture above shows the sheer powder formula of the Burberry Light Glow in Peony Blush No. 04, which I reviewed here (make sure to check the others, too).
If your skin gets oily during the day, even if it's just on the T-zone, invest on a good mattifying powder that doesn't cake up. Set your make-up when you first apply it, then carry a compact version to touch up on the go. There are many good offers, both on the high street and on high-end brands. An all time favourite of mine is the Chanel Natural Finish Loose/Compact Powder. If you choose one, go for the compact, since it's more practical (mine is in the shade 30 Naturel).
Another optional product is an eyebrow filler. This could be a pen, pencil, eyeshadow or gel. Bare in mind that unless you're a redhead, the shade should be on the cooler side (greige, taupe) and matte. Now, if you're blessed with perfect Cara-like brows, this is not a necessity. But, if on the other hand, you suffer from those cheeky little gaps, then something like the Dior Powder Eyebrow Pencil could be your friend.

A matte, nude-toned eyeshadow always comes in handy to neutralize the eyelids or to help blend other colours. The image above shows the Make Up For Ever Matte Eye Shadow in 76 - Beige. The Urban Decay Naked/Naked 2 Palettes have really good ones, too  Foxy, Naked or Buck.
An eyeliner in brown, black or plum always comes in handy. Make Up For Ever and Urban Decay make really good waterproof versions that don't move during the day. The Yves Saint Laurent Long-Lasting Eye Pencil comes in many colours and has a sponge tip on the opposite side of the pencil, that helps to achieve a smokey look on the go. Why not?
The next step makes all the difference: mascara. A good mascara that provides volume and length to the lashes, really helps to define and open up the eyes. I've been loving the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in Over Black 090, lately  review coming up soon.

For lips, go for something moisturizing that provides a sheer amount of colour. The Clinique Chubby Sticks are very practical, or, just an everyday nude, Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick in Lolita, which is a dusty rose. Lovely.
Make-up arsenal complete! Now, add these suggestions to your mental shopping list and check them out the next time you pass a beauty counter.