Friday, 4 April 2014

Surratt Diaphane Loose Powder Compact in Eclatant

In my recent Troy Surrat frenzy, haul, purchase I decided to get his loose powder. I had recently purchased the excellent Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush flawless finish powder reviewed here, which has fast become my favourite powder. It now has stiff competition from Surratt's loose version. I am no stranger to finishing powders, and have a pretty good collection ranging from Hourglass Ambient lighting powders, Chantecaille HD perfecting powder, Suqqu Nuancing pressed powder, By Terry Voile Poudre Eclat and Nars light reflecting pressed powder. While I have been fairly satisfied with the array of effects I got from these powders none hit the mark perfectly. I am now one 'happy camper'. Between my Charlotte Tilbury and Troy Surratt I can now end my quest (yes!) and I will tell you why.

The Surratt Diaphane powder is a compact and refill system. The squoval (ovalish square-like egg) compact has a soft satin touch and the subtle Surrat gradient colouring and logo. A sleek refill pops into the compact. The compact is lightweight and great to throw in my handbag for quick touch ups. A loose powder on the go is quite unheard of. I prefer a pressed powder for its unmessy storage and use. I think Surratt got this pretty much under control. A cute powder puff applicator sits above and away from the loose powder below. A sheer net allows for the powder to be kept in place. I have had a bit of wayward powder, but that is due me tossing my handbag about with abandon. The powder puff works well to press the product into my skin. I use a powder brush at home before leaving for the day.

There is a choice of Eclantant and matte. I was initially going to purchase the matte, but the helpful counter manager* at Barney's Chicago, suggested the Eclatant instead. She said the Eclatant would give a natural finish to the skin, while still having the same oil control properties as the matte. Oil Control was one of the main reasons I had really never settled on a holy grail powder before (I love this one that much). I also had concern, as Eclatant is described as having a luminous finish. My skin, surely does not need any help in that department, as it is oily and has oily breakthrough very quickly.
This powder is supremely fine and soft. It blurs my pores which is a characteristic of oilier skins. It gives my skin a truly airbrushed finish while still be light and undetectable. The Charlotte Tilbury has a few shades, while the Troy Surrat is an universal shade. Do not be alarmed if on application it may look white. A quick sweep of my powder puff and it vanishes and so does my shine. This has the best oil control properties of all the powder I own. If I need to touch up it does not cake and still looks light as air. It does not settle into any fine line or accentuate any dehydration. So for me it does it all - perfects, blurs, mattefies*, and increased the longevity of my foundation. This is definitely worth checking out.

*I would just like to note the service I received from  Elizabeth @ the Surratt counter at Barney's Chicago. I had family visiting Chicago and decided to call in advance to reserve the Surratt items for easy pickup by my courier pigeon. Elizabeth was extremely helpful over the phone, with both the Surratt products and colour picks (more goodies to be reviewed soon) as well as securing me a Barney's spring goody bag and other extra samples! My courier pigeon also expressed how nice she was on picking up my purchase. You may contact her directly on 312 596-1099 for all things Surratt.
*mattefies, mattyfies or mattefyzzzzzz- I have tried spelling this and used it, but it always shows up red and incorrect!

Please leave me your comments and recommendation on which powders you consider (drum roll please) holy grail!?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

YSL Babydoll KISS & BLUSH in 02 Rose Frivole, 07 Corail Affranchi, 08 Pink Hedoniste

YSL is a damn fine brand, that certainly does not get the kudos it deserves, especially in my neck of the woods where they solely rely on their perfume and Touche Eclat. The original glossy stains were the last lip products that were launched (yes, that long ago) and Rouge Volupte Shine (love) and the new Gloss Volupte glosses are not expected to ever arrive. WHY!!! I had the opportunity to get these from the Nordstoms website, where it is exclusive for now. I narrowed down my choice to 3 of the 12 shade lineup. This is true mix and match collection where all combinations work well. I was feeling in a 'spring-gy' type of mood and gravitated to three fresh colours - 02 Rose Frivole, 07 Corail Affranchi, 08 Pink Hedoniste. Corail Affranchi is my answer to the orange trend, which I can actually wear, as orange lips are typically quite frightful on me. Oh - did I mention, these are a cheek and lip product .

Rose Frivole, Corail Affranchi, Pink Hedoniste
They swatches look quite dewy, but in fact the 3 dots I lay on each cheek are quite stiff in consistency. I then blend with my fingers or a dense synthetic brush. They give a very modern matte cheek with a soft effect. Despite the initial texture, they blend well and stay put on my oily cheeks. The intensity can be amped up by adding layers. As a lip product they feel very similar to Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid lipsticks that I reviewed here. The Kiss & Blush are more forgiving to lips and the formula is better and more comfortable in my opinion. A quick tip would be to apply a soft balm about 10 minutes before applying the Kiss & Blush to your lips. They do not dry my lips, but my lips do have that unique silicone dry, but slippy feel to them. You will either love or hate this texture and then only use them for cheeks. The pictures of the shades on my lips are 2 layers, so look quite sheer. These can be layered up even more to reach full opacity. I prefer a lighter touch. I love how you can control the intensity of both your lip and cheek shades depending on your mood. The applicator is flexible and multitasks well for both cheek and lip application.

Rose Frivole, Corail Affranchi, Pink Hedoniste

Pink Frivole

Pink Hedoniste

Corail Affranchi
This is a playful and versatile product. If I could get my hands on more I would. Do you have a favourite shade? Do you love or hate dual purpose products?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Exploring My Collection : Face Brushes

Let me start by saying that I am no brush aficionado, but I have managed to put together quite a nice brush collection that meets my needs. Today I bring you my most used face brushes. These represent those that are beyond beautiful to touch and use. I do have a few others that I use, but did not make the cut for this edition for the hopes of some brevity. In compiling this collection I relied heavily on bloggers friends for recommendations, as well as those brush mad blogs that made me dive head first into this brush obsession. So here is a glimpse inside my collection. I hope you enjoy!

 Brushes Top to Bottom:

  • Hakuhodo Kokutan Finishing LAG - A perfect mix of blue squirrel, goat and synthetic hairs has gone into the making of my perfect finishing brush. This super soft angled head sweeps away unwanted product and softens any harsh powder lines. The angle allows it to hug the contours of my face. I then go back in with a finishing powder to set, blur, perfect my makeup. The handle is ebony wood and comfortable to use. The synthetic hair help maintain the shape of this brush and support the natural hairs .
  • Hakuhodo S103 -It has a beautiful vermillion handle which is a traditional japanese colour. I use this pointed goat brush primarily for powder and contouring. It does lay down a good amount of colour, so I need to go back with a clean flat shaped head brush to diffuse the contour. It can also be used for strong cheek colours, but I prefer it for a precise contour application or a sweep of finishing powder.
  • Tom Ford Bronzing Brush - The Tom Ford Bronzing brush is a soft, dense goat hair creation. It is quite large, but it manages to place just the amount of bronzer on my cheeks. The density allows it to then buff the powder seamlessly into place.
  • Bobbi Brown Powder Brush - One of my first higher end brushes, this has always been a workhorse brush. It is definitely not as soft as my Hakuhodo or Tom Ford Brushes, but does a suitable job when applying setting/finishing powders. I am not 100% sure of the natural hairs used and even when I ask the local BB SA's I get varied answers, so we will just call it Hair 'x'
  • Bobbi Brown Cheek Brush - This came soon after my BB powder brush. It gives a pretty cheek that is not to strong or too soft. Natural hairs again of unknown origin. I have experienced no shedding with either of my BB brushes and they have maintained their shape for quite a few years.

Top to Bottom
  • Hakuhodo G557 BkSl - A mix of Goat and polyester. An angled brush, with the synthetic hair slightly longer than the goat. I use this with my liquid foundations. it gives a fairly good finish, but does take time to create a flawless canvas.
  • Hakuhodo J210 - This is a natural goat hair brush, which is good for small faces and a more precise application. The round head helps blend any harsh edges. It does produces a natural to strong colour so when using vivid colours such as Tom Ford Narcissus, rather use a less dense brush.
  • Shu Uemura 20H. An angled cheek brush made with pony hair, which I tend to use for contouring as it does sit in the hollows quite well.
  • Suqqu Cheek - Famous! This is best used with strong cheek colour to create a soft look. It is quite floppy and I do feel the need to go with a firmer brush to blend colour more.
  • Tom Ford Cheek Brush - Tom Ford just does beautiful brushes. Dense goat hair once again. I should use this more often but tend to save it for 'special occasions. This is daft as it is my favourite cheek brush. A light tap into the blush, tap onto back of hand then onto cheeks - sheer bliss.

There you have it!
Any recommendations for my next brush acquisition?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Perfect your complexion with Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow, Light Wonder and Air Brush Flawless Finish

I have over the last year or so become a foundation junkie. The array of vitamin enriched, luminizing, matte, long lasting, velvet anti-aging foundations available can really boggle the mind. With every new release comes the promise of a flawless, porcelain complexion, that lures you in. Foundation is definitely subjective and should be chosen according to your own set of requirements and skin conditions (okay, I have tried a few *dozen* unsuitable candidates just to 'see' if it might be 'the one'). Thankfully I do not have to look out for ingredient particulars as I am not too sensitive, other than oil-free which is more suitable for my oily skin. I do gravitate towards lighter looking foundations in warmer months.

Light Wonder Youth Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation

Since the Charlotte Tilbury foundation came out with her new line I have wanted it. I love a light- medium coverage that is natural and satin. I need to steer clear of overtly luminizing foundations such as the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat which is just too dewy and renders my skin into a greasy disaster. With that being said, products like Hourglass Immaculate foundation, which one would think would be perfect for my skin is too flat and heavy looking for my tastes. Skin must look like skin, just my perfect version. Enter Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation.

Starting with the packaging: this is my least favourite packaging from the CT line. It does not scream luxe, however this durable plastic tube is perfect for travel and while it will not win any design awards, is practical and works just fine.
Scent: there is a light scent that I cannot put my finger on. It goes away almost immediately.
Wear Time: From a 6:30 am start, it last pretty well into the early afternoon. On my oily skin you are still able to see it into early evening, just not as perfect. There is oily breakthrough about 3 hrs in, but a fresh swipe of the Charlotte Tilbury powder or blotting paper takes care of that. Those with oily skin could possibly agree with me, that there is no miracle cure for oily skin, just some products that work better with my skin and do not make it look oilier. The Wonder Glow does hold the oil at bay longer.
Finish: This gives my skin a perfected skin-like finish that has a slight glow to it, which allows it to look like skin. I find it covers all my discolouration and imperfections and can be layered for more coverage. My pores look softened and my skin fresh. It feels light on the skin. You will not get full coverage, so if you like that this one is not for you. It does have collagen boosting properties and other claims. My skin feels soft at the end of the day and looks well hydrated.  I have used this with a number of primers, with the best results being with the Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow. I'm not usually so matchy-matchy, but these work well together. Oil control is upped and longevity boosted.

I initially bought shade 7. While this worked on my skin, it was not 100% perfect. It gave me a sun-kissed look. I phoned to ask about the shades and this is what I understood. 6 goes more pink, 5 more yellow than 7. I settled (and prayed) on shade 4 (the darkest in their fair range). The SA said this was a very popular shade as it worked and adapted to a number skin tones. It is a wonderful match. I have noted that the lovely Ruth from AModelRecommends uses the same shade. I tend to think I am a bit darker and warmer. This has become my daily fool-proof foundation. I am also loving my newish Ellis Faas foundation, but my CT has been in heavy use.

L-R Wonder Glow, Light Wonder 4, Light Wonder 7, Air Brush Powder in 2

Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash

This is a golden hued primer, that once on the skin give a natural satin finish with no shimmer or colour at all. I have used it primarily with my CT Light Wonder foundation. They say you could wear it on its own, but I think unless you have 20-ish baby skin you will want to layer with your favourite foundation. It can be used over foundation, as a subtle luminizer on your cheek and brow bones. It can also be used mixed with your foundation as well. When doing this make sure the proportion of the Wonder Glow to the foundation is more to see any added glow. It does have a blurring effect, as my skin, lines and pores do look fresher. It is also packed with anti-aging properties so it adds to the effect of the CT foundation - so matchy-matchy works again in this case. It does not feel sticky at all, AND not heavy on that silicone 'slip' feel- more silky.

Air Brush Flawless Finish

This is a beautiful powder that I use to top my CT foundation. I chose shade two, which works with both shades 4 and 7. It does have a colour to it, but does not alter the foundation colour at all. It is my favourite powder to date (I do have Surratt on the way). It helps with oil control and while I can still get a shine, it's not as mirror-like and can be powdered over while still looking sheer. This is in the same size packaging as the blush which I have reviewed here, but in a rosegold finish. It is insanely finely milled and I see a definite blurring of pores etc. It must be those sci-fi 'nano particles'!

The picture above shows my skin with all three Charlotte Tilbury layers in full sunlight. They have all met my expectations and they are a dream to use. Have you made any beauty discoveries of late that you cannot do without?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

By Terry Cellularose Blush Glace in Rose Melba - Spring 2014

By Terry brought out three pretty cheek confections for Spring 2014. Rose Melba, Flower Sorbet and Frozen Petal are a must have for all By Terry Fans. This itsy, bitsy tub of delicately whipped Glace gives a subtle flush to the cheeks. The size of the jar is probably the same of their famous lip Baume de Rose. My only fear is when I dab my finger into this gel like product, is that my giant-like fingers (in comparison to the jar) might just gouge out a large amount out of clumsiness. Packaging aside, let's look further at this product.

I tend to veer towards bright, clown cheek colours, so I chose Rose Melba, the lightest of the three shades. Rose Melba is described as as a 'retro pink' which is a perfect description. I wanted a more pared back effect. It is quite a frightful shade in the jar, but sheers out to a believable flush. It is lightweight and gives a fresh faced look to my cheeks. The finish is satin with no sparkle. Warning: It does not have hours of lasting power and if you are so inclined will require touch ups through the day. Let me be clear this did not last on me at all. It is also meant to have a skincare benefit as well, as it is infused with White Rose Native Cells which is the core to their new Cellularose range. I do not use it often enough to say yes or no to this. Application wise, fingers in a patting motion to warm the product into the cheeks worked best for me. I did experience some patchiness as I erred on not blending it in enough as in pat, pat, pat, pat, pat and then pat some more! - did I say pat. I also noticed some product catching on some dry patches. This shade would suit fair ladies up to about a NC 25 - It is very light on me

Okay, so cute product, but a bit to much high maintenance for me. Maybe in this instance the brighter Flower Sorbet or Frozen Petal might have worked better on my skin tone. I love my By Terry products, and I have quite a few beauties still to review. The jury is still out on this one.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic blusher in Love Is The Drug

Okay, so I know I have reviewed quite a bit of Charlotte Tilbury of late, but all these beautiful product were part of a British haul I managed to get recently. I have one or two more amazing products still to review, but today I bring you my second CT blush Love Is The Drug.

It is housed in a cute, lightweight compact. I love the etched Charlotte Tilbury logo and star. This shade seems more true to the 'swish and pop' action suggested for application of this blusher, with a vibrant pink shade in the centre. Love glow in comparison has the lighter shade in the middle. The outer shade has a satin finish which is to be applied all over the cheek. It is a fresh pink with subtle iridescence, which imparts the cheek with a soft glow. The inner circle is a shot of 'almost' highlighter pink which should suit many skin tones. The finish is a match to the outer ring. It is buildable leaving your cheeks with a believable natural flush a' la Tilbury. No excess powder is picked up when swirling my brush. Love Glow is more coral, with the two shades very similar in colour. 

Two shades mixed together

Love Is The Drug is my second CT blush, but my first to review. Finely milled and highly pigmented are just two of the great attributes of this blusher. Next up on the Tilbury review list will be her Light Wonder Foundation.....

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Charlotte Tilbury The Rock Chick Luxury Palette

I always knew I wanted the The Rock Chick quad, it was just a matter of time. The 'rock chick' is focal point of the Charlotte Tilbury aesthetic, and it's actually shades I do not have a many of, in my collection. Well, I now have it. It is everything I have come to expect from the CT shadows. To recap my previous nattering's, the textures of all four shades are creamy, pigmented and a dream to blend. In fact I think they blend themselves!

The Rock Chick is a wearable tonal grey palette, with good contrast between the shades. At first, I thought it would be a dupe for  Tom Ford Titanium Smoke. If memory serves Tom Ford Titanium Smoke is definitely more cool. The Rock Chick has more in common with the warm grey 'taupiness' of TF Silvered Topaz, which will be easier to wear for more skin tones. I have done a quick comparison with the grey quads I own and I hope they give a good point of reference. I have worn it softly for a modern day look as well as packed on for maximum impact. I have only worn it a few times, but I am smitten.

The shades have a mix of finishes. The prime shade (top left) is soft silver with a iridescent finish. It gives a soft focus wash of colour that opens up the eye area. The Enhance shade (top right) is a mid tone warm grey. It has a satin finish with a lovely sheen to it. The 'POP' shade (bottom left) is a glistening silver sparkle in a taupe grey base. The Smoke shade (bottom right) is a glorious silky matte intense dark grey shade. The shades look cooler in the pan, but swatch warmer. As the light changes so do the beautiful colours of the palette, which reminds me of Tom Ford She Wolf.

Textures come alive

Quick comparison swatches T-B Armani quad in Maestro, TF Silvered Topaz, CT The Rock Chick
The Rock Chick is my kinda gal! What is your go to palette for an effortless rock chick vibe?