Monday, August 26, 2013

YSL Touche Éclat | It's a highlighter, not a concealer

I remember like it was yesterday: I was about 12, perusing the shopping centre and stocking up on some new seasonal items with mum, when we decided to make a stop at Sephora to get my first YSL Touche Éclat. She thought I just liked to carry that beautiful gold packaging in my bag...

My inspiration came from reading Vogue magazine one sunny afternoon, where I realized that this was the secret weapon of many celebrities, so I thought: if I can only pick one thing, it's going to be YSL Touché Éclat clickable pen. Needless to say, mum faced quite a challenge when trying to leave the store.

Admittedly, I went through these faster than the speed of light. Okay, I might have exaggerated there, but you get the idea. I was actually using it as a concealer — gasp! I cringe everytime I look at old photos... Only when I started high school I discovered actual concealer and the power of correctors, which in my case, having dark circles, was a life changer.

A highlighter is a great product to have in your beauty stash, but if not applied properly, it can cause cringe-worthy moments like these... The trick is to avoid covering the whole under-eye area. Instead, strategically place in the inner corners — where it's always darker — providing an instant lift and a brighter appearance.

To sum up: if you're prone to dark circles, use this after concealing; if you have a bit of darkness or puffiness on the inner corners, use this alone just on the inner corners. Whoa! Immediate radiance...
The many uses of this "magic" pen don't stop there. Apply on tops of cheekbones and the bridge of the nose to sculpt; a bit on the chin, brow bones and the cupid's bow to highlight. The instant luminosity provided by this cult product looks good in person and amazing in photos.

I believe this is an essential in every beauty bag. When using this for the first time, prepare to click, click, click many a time, until the product comes out through the brush...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hand creams | Clarins, Caudalie and Butter London

I like reading/watching these types of product comparisons. Battles, almost. Though, let's not call it that...

Most people in my life find skincare boring, like a chore. Usually, I notice that the ones who love make-up recommendations (to the point of purchasing that particular product immediately) don't really welcome skincare recommendations with open arms. It's almost like I'm telling them to clean up their room when they're watching TV. Of course, this usually happens with facial products. Deliciously scented body items are a whole other story...

So, let's start comparing these hand creams. First up, Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, which isn't deliciously scented by any means, but I guess that's a good thing — you don't get sick of it!
I'd recommend this for sensitive, dry or mature skins. It forms a protective barrier around the skin, but absorbs quickly and doesn't feel greasy. With an added benefit of protecting against spots.
I chose a pack with 3 mini sizes (30ml each), to take up less space in my beauty bag. Well, I just love minis.
This cream really delivers a good dose of nourishment to the cuticles, thanks to the sesame oil in the formula and the packaging fits into a more sophisticated category.

The next product really surprised me, in a good way. After I finished my Soap & Glory Hand Food (review here), I thought no other hand cream could match it's level of performance. Or fragrance... Until I purchased Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream, by chance, because I had forgetten to bring a hand cream. Madness!
To start off, the scent is absolutely delicious. I was expecting it to be similar to Beauty Elixir, but it actually has a sweet orange scent. And I'm usually not a fan of fruity scents in beauty products, but this is gorgeous.
Besides it's anti-oxidant properties, it makes my hands feel protected — ideal when the skin feels really dry and tight, due to exposure to AC or more extreme weather conditions.
The formula with grape seed polyphenols, shea butter, grape oil and avocado extract (besides the obvious, sweet orange), has the perfect texture — not too thick nor too fluid — and absorbs rapidly. Truly softens the cuticles and its nourishing power lasts for a long time. Plus, being a Caudalie product, it has no parabens, mineral oils and so forth.

To finish this category, I chose a product that was sitting in my drawer for ages, waiting to be used. In fact, I think it's been discontinued... But I was able to find it in Harvey Nichols, here.
Butter London Mistress Luxury Lotion, a very fluid lotion with a champagne fragrance, which is supposed to be very subtle, like a mistress. Well, I don't think it's that subtle. It's kind of an old-school "grandma" scent — you either like it or you really don't.
The packaging is very pretty, as are all Butter London products, with a vintage feel and very feminine colours.
The formula contains vitamins A, C, and E, chamomile and lemon balm. It is vegan and paraben free.
Being very fluid, feels like you're pouring foundation on the back of your hand and gets used up far more quickly. Absorbs almost immediately and it's not the most nourishing formula, but feels nice and hydrating upon application. I tend to use it very often so it ran out pretty fast.
Now, on the hunt for a new cream...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review | Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation

During warmer months, I love wearing make-up on the eyes and on the lips, but when it comes to the face, it's a whole other story...

Except when the product is as lightweight as Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation. This has to be the lightest, the most fluid formula, that perfectly mimics the skin's texture. If you love CHANEL Vitalumière Aqua Foundation for it's undetectable quality, then you'll love this. Even though the CHANEL one has more coverage, you can definitely build up with this formula.

My shade is Medium Beige 300, and, I should point out that (at least) this shade does oxidize a little bit during the day. But don't worry, it's not too obvious. You can only notice it when inspecting closely on a mirror. My advice is to use it sparingly and blend out the edges.

You might observe, in the photo above, that the mist is so light that you can barely see it, but trust me, it dispenses quite a lot of product without you noticing it — and it's quite messy! The best way to apply this foundation, in my opinion, is by spraying it on a buffing/duo-fibre brush and blending it out from the center of the face. You'll feel an immediate cooling effect, from the moment the foundation comes into contact with the skin.

If you do choose to spray it directly, make sure that you don't spray too close — at least 30cm afar — and protect the hair with a turban! If this method works for you, then you'll have the base done in a few seconds! How awesome is that?

A quick note: the one I own has a navy cap, but now you can find it with a silver one. I believe it's the same formula, they just updated the look to match the new Airflash products - CC Primer (a colour correcting primer) and Matte Touch (a finishing powder).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Autumn | Looking forward to...

As I'm already preparing to embrace the next season, which happens to be my favourite, when Autumn comes I'm looking forward to:


. Finally moving to LONDON and meeting new people (yadda yadda yadda);

. Attending an awesome HALLOWEEN party;

. Seeing THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS at the O2 Arena;

. Wearing boots and my favourite LEATHER JACKET again;

. Having BURGUNDY shades in my make-up.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Hair colour | Grey hair

Even though I make an arduous effort to hide it, I'm going to reveal it here: I'm going grey. And no, it's not a recent event. In fact, my first grey hair made an appearance when I was eleven. Soon after, the rest of the crew followed. At the moment, besides those scattered strands, I have a full-on Stacy London-esque grey section of hair, on the front.

I thought that having blunt bangs would help to prolong the interval between colourings, and it did at first, but as the grey section expanded it's territory, it managed to conquer the top hairs in my fringe, becoming perfectly visible.
Having dry hair and being sensitive to dyes — and yes, I do use products like INOA — the four-week period between camouflage jobs was short enough for my capillary health, so I was determined to find temporary solutions to continue to mask my secret until the next root touch-up.

I found quite a number of solutions for this issue: sprays, powders, creams... Some perform better than others, but I didn't find the perfect formula just yet.
When it comes to sprays/coloured dry shampoos and powders, they're not ideal unless you benefit from the matte effect they provide. In my case, they make my hair look dull and the coverage is way too sheer for my dark brunette mane.

The creamy formulas that come in a tube form and usually carry a spooly or a doe foot applicator, provide a better finish compared to powders. The one I'm using at the moment is L'Action Cosmetique Bye Bye Grey Hair in Dark Brown. Apply it directly to grey roots and wait a few minutes to dry. I like to brush it carefully afterwards, so it looks more natural (less crispy). FYI, it only lasts until your next shower and not 3 to 10 days, as stated in the label. The coverage is medium to full, depending on the shade.

I'm hoping to find a better formula in the the near future — I'll keep you posted.
Until then, will continue to use this cover-up during the last couple of weeks that precede the next colouring.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Styling a fringe | bangs

You see all of these great icons sporting an effortless fringe — Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry, Lily Allen, Audrey Hepburn... — and you think "all I need to impart that sort of look is cutting a bit of hair across the forehead". The question is: can you actually manage it at home?

This question seems to cross our minds every time we consider a new haircut, and sometimes it stops us from getting the style we always wanted. Well, don't let that happen. If you really want something, learn how to get on with it.

Let's start with something simple today: fringe (a.k.a. bangs). Most people do struggle with this particular style, because of it's common issues: it parts in the middle or it's not laying flat (or maybe it's laying too flat?). One lesson well learnt, for me, was: put down the flat iron! A hair dryer is the right tool for this job, but bare in mind, timing is everything.

Before we get to the styling bit, let's analyze the cut, shall we? Make sure you let the stylist know if you want straight across bangs or rounded ones, a long fringe that completely covers the brows or a short vintage-looking one. Also, decide beforehand if you like the longer bits on the sides. And, with thick hair, make sure there's some thinning out action.

Right, now that the cut is sorted, let's get on with it. Get used to blow-drying your fringe right after the shower. This is especially important if your hair isn't naturally pin-straight or if you have any whorls (cowlicks) at the front.

To get right into the roots, dismiss that rounded brush. Pick up a fine tooth comb — making sure it has soft rounded edges, to avoid any damage on the scalp — and comb the hair from side to side, with the nozzle of the dryer on top. Not too close, though!
Drying in different directions "disorients" the hair parting (or the whorl), making it fall straight down to the front.

Before drying the hair, if you usually apply any sort of styling cream, do apply a tiny bit on the fringe (avoiding the roots) in order to get a polished result. And don't forget to spritz some heat protecting spray!
If you find that your cowlick is very persistent, and it tends to lift back up when the hair cools down, wear a hairband right after styling it, for about 10 to 20 minutes, until the hair sets.
And, when you just don't have the time or the patience to manage it, simply braid it or pin it back!