Friday, June 21, 2013

Review | Caudalie Beauty Elixir

I've been using this treatment for a while now — can't even remember how long, but definitely before all the hype.
There are quite a number of reasons why this product is so spectacular. A multitasker inspired by Queen Isabelle of Hungary's "elixir of youth", with a delicious scent and a soothing effect.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir or Eau de Beauté is available in a 100ml bottle, that sits in my skincare stash, and a 30ml version that travels in my make-up bag.
I wasn't surprised when I learnt that Lisa uses Beauty Elixir, when she seeks a bit of calm. That's precisely why I love using this at nighttime, especially when I'm feeling a bit agitated.
On the other hand, I'm amazed by it's radiance inducing capabilities. Working as a hydrating toner after cleansing and exfoliating, or, after make-up application to inject a bit of radiance. The smaller bottle comes out to refresh and liven up the make-up during the day. Excusez-moi, whilst I reach into my make-up bag and spritz just a bit now. Aah...
Besides it's glow enhancing properties, this water also acts as an amazing after-shave for men.

Before spritzing, shake this blend of grape, orange blossom, rose, balm mint and rosemary, in order to activate the ingredients and mist the face, avoiding the eyes. Wait a few seconds before the next step. This could be the application of the next step in your skincare routine, or, a light tapping motion to rework the make-up — shifting concealer, anyone?

Caudalie's co-founder, Mathilde Thomas, always favours natural and environmentally friendly ingredients. So, naturally, Beauty Elixir is also free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, articial colouring and mineral oils. The beautiful fragrance is 100% natural and there's no animal testing. Big thumbs up!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Loose powders | Chanel, MAC and Make Up For Ever

My first powder purchases came in a compact form. A choice motivated by the awareness of my own clumsiness — that was more severe, back then — resulting in a powder-coated desk. And floor. 
This practical thought, was later developed by a new motivation: an improvement on my skills. I had noticed that the pros preferred loose powders and, through my infinite research on the web, I found that it provided a better result.

I'm not one to powder the whole face. Just a dab on the nose and, sometimes, I set the concealer using the remaining product on the brush.
Powders do neutralize the shine, which is great, but due to this quality, some of them might become more detectable on the skin. Not so great.

The first loose powder I played with was Make Up For Ever HD Powder. It is very, very fine — a sweep with the brush results in a cloud of white dust in the air — and transparent to the naked eye or in filming. Apparently, not so great with flash photography, it might result in a white cast (see Wayne's video, here). Nonetheless, it makes the skin look pretty much flawless and unbelievably soft to the touch, as it's made of silica powder. Comes in one universal shade that suits all, but do apply sparingly.
Being a great setting and mattifying tool, the HD Powder also enhances dry patches. So, when the priority is to set the concealer on a dry under eye area, this might not be the best offering.

Another product of sorts, it's the MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder. Again, one universal shade that suits all and, even though the particles are less fine — no cloud formation — I find this one more transparent. A great one for T-zone duties, since it perfects the look of pores and controls shine.

After sitting in my mental list for quite some time, Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder entered my collection, by surprise, on account of an impulsive buy. It actually does provide a natural finish and it is, by far, the best to set the under eye area or to use on dry skin types. Whilst being transparent, it does unify the complexion, allowing the use on bare skin. And, controls shine without a dull appearance. My recommending finger points immediately to this one.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gifts | Father's Day

With Father's Day fast approaching, it is time to do your research, make a decision and hope the parcel arrives on time. Or maybe it'll be wiser to go directly to the store, at this point.
If the panic is making your mind go blank, consult the suggestions below:

To me, this is the obvious choice. It's just easier, there's no sizing and there's no doubts on colour preferences. This category is kind of a recommendation. This perfume suits you better. Your skin looks dry, this will help.
There's always an excuse to walk by a Space.NK. A gift set is the way to go, in my opinion, because even though a dud might be found in the mix, there's also a chance of finding some really good keepers. I have my eyes set on the Kiehl's Father's Day Set (exclusive to Space.NK), which comes in a handy washbag. It contains: Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men 75ml, Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash 250ml, ‘Ultimate Man’ Body Scrub Soap and Ultimate Strength Hand Salve 30ml.
Another great option would be Acqua di Parma's Colonia Father's Day Gift Set. I absolutely love the black packaging of this set, it has a very sophisticated look. Inside the black box, you'll find a Colonia Essenza Eau de Cologne 100ml, a 50ml tube of Colonia Essenza shampoo and shower gel and a collectable 5ml Colonia Essenza miniature.

If you know the sizing, or if you're able to take a sneaky peek at Dad's wardrobe, take the opportunity to give him something special, with a detail. Something that he wouldn't pick for himself — if he's not too adventurous when it comes to fashion. Nowadays, there are great options for men, pretty much everywhere. Topshop, Mr Porter and Zara come to mind. In the latter, I've found a Double Collar Blazer and a Shirt With Grosgrain Ribbon. Simple graphic details are very modern looking, ideal for dads.

I find men's accessories so cool. They're usually more clean and sleek, in sophisticated colours.
Lately, I've been loving the Mr Porter website, for gifts. The service is impeccable and the packaging is truly beautiful.
My selection includes a gorgeous Rubberised-Python Billfold Wallet and a very special pair of Metal Cufflinks from Lanvin, a classic Leather Handle Umbrella from Burberry, a Prince of Wales Check Wool and Silk-Blend Tie from Gucci, and, of course, an Alexander McQueen Skull-Patterned Cotton-Blend Pocket Square.

If Dad is anything like Stephen Fry, start stalking every blog and publication within the category, in order to find the latest big thing before he does — it'll make him very, very happy — or upgrade a gadget he already owns. The Bowers & Wilkins A5 Airplay Music System would make anyone happy, I'm sure.
Otherwise, it's an easy job to find something he actually needs. A set of speakers, a DVD player, a Textured-Leather iPad Sleeve (Marc by Marc Jacobs). Or a Kindle Paperwhite 3G — it's the best.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Concealing (truly) dark circles

If you own a pair of these, then I bet you roll your eyes out when someone says "I suffer from really bad dark circles", but really it's a sheer blue/purple toned (temporary) shadow.
I'm talking about the real thing, as in whether you sleep well or not, it doesn't make the slightest difference. Along with those big brown eyes, you also inherited the dark circles around them. And I mean circles, literally.

What you can do, is to embrace the world of make-up to cover them up. Considering that we are are trying to make that area much lighter, in order to match the surrounding skin, it is not an easy breezy goal to achieve. At first.
There are quite different types of concealers or correctors to choose from, just depends on the final result that you're looking for.

This is an obvious choice and, probably, the first solution you think of. A concealer like Make Up For Ever Full Cover or Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil are the go-to options, if you want something that will last all day — especially in hot, humid weather — and effectively provide a flawless look.
They're less creamy and require a quick application, because they set. Which is great, since there's no collecting into fine lines during the day. But, it also means that usually the finish is matte — not the best option for dry skin types. Do opt for a shade that is just a bit lighter, considering that matte products usually look darker once they set.

The oldest trick in the book is applying a corrector with a peach or pink tint. Usually creamier in texture, correctors help to neutralize and warm up the the brown/ashy colour of the circles, brightening the area — ideal to use in the inner corners, since most people have a little receding area that creates a shadow. 
Top rated options include the notorious Bobbi Brown Creamy Corrector and my favourite: Giorgio Armani Master Corrector. You wouldn't believe what a teeny-tiny amount of this liquid can achieve. Five stars.

I'm sure you've seen a lot of them around, lately. Both high-end and High Street brands have a product of sorts, but they are not all the same. One thing they have in common is the light reflecting quality, which is brilliant to brighten the inner corners, where it's usually darker.
Most of them have a beige/golden tone that allows you to wear it after your regular concealer, sparingly, bringing a bit of sheen on a matte or dull finish. Top picks: Guerlain Precious Light and Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat, of course.
Some highlighting pens have more of a peach or pink shade, that almost works as a corrector. Yes, the formula is more sheer, but for an effortless and natural "no make-up" look, the light reflecting attribute counteracts the darkness, allowing you to pull it of on it's own. Just rely on a product that works best for you, making sure that it's not very sheer. Do try Clinique Airbrush Concealer.
A while ago, I tried a sample of Burberry Sheer Concealer and was taken aback by it's coverage. Not only had the perfect corrector shade (Rosy Beige No.03), but the formula wasn't as sheer as I'd expected. I actually picked it up before finishing this post. 
I must mention a very important detail here: these are not ideal for photography, because of their light reflecting properties, which may not look great on camera. Unless they're used sparingly in specific areas, like the top of cheekbones or the very inner corners.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The chosen ones | Kérastase Elixir Ultime Moringa Immortel

Another day, another moringa-based formula. I'm surprised by the fact that I don't hear a lot of buzz about this range of oils, by Kérastase, in the blogosphere. The Elixir Ultime Grand Crus line up comprises four different oils, that meet specific hair needs. As someone who tried and tested quite the variety of hair oils, I wasn't expecting to be this surprised by the performance of Elixir Ultime Moringa Immortel.
If you're a carrier of a dry, frizzy and rebellious mane like myself, or just need some TLC due to some chemical processing, this is the version for you. A blend enriched with the Oléo-Complexe and Immortal Moringa extract — known as the "Tree of Life" — enclosed in an elegant bottle.

The woody oriental fragrance combined with the lightweight texture of the oil, make the application very pleasurable. It actually shows a long-lasting result, providing nourishment, shine and a healthy feel.
Being a multitasking product, it will perform throughout the whole hair care routine. Pre-cleanse or use as an intensive conditioning treatment before washing; apply to towel-dried hair before styling; finish using a few drops to add a polished look; and retouch whenever needed.
Aside from its conditioning properties, this oil strengthens damaged hair, delivers essential nutrients and promotes cellular renewal with its antioxidant active ingredients.
To keep my coloured, heat styled hair in shape, I'll be holding on to this product for dear life.