Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Fallen Angel Luxury Palette for Holiday 2014

The Fallen  angel palette from Charlotte Tilbury was on the top of my holiday shopping list! It launched awhile back in the UK, and is now available in the US. Its really the only eye palette for Holiday 2014 that I was already secretly caressing in my mind before I actually held it in my hands. I love charlotte Tilbury shadows and this goes beyond my expectations.

The usual plain case is adorned with a palm throw of stars which is mimicked in the shadows below.
They are gone with only a few uses but they are so feminine and fun! I love this trend of imprinting these powders with gorgeous graphics. The shadows in this palette have a different texture than her existing quads, (performance remains) and no glitter shade is included - the same concept remains with the prime, enhance, 'pop'  and smoke. These shadows are soft and buttery and I had no fallout whatsoever. These shade are metallic, but a whole spectrum of looks can be created from a soft finish to a full on smokey eye. The other difference is that this palette, to create a molten metallic look, can be used wet. I found the colours surprisingly wearable for the day -  a light wash on the eyes created a very pretty look. They also lasted for ages on my primed lids. For me the colours were quite neutral and not overly warm even with the inclusion of the copper shade. And of course, amped up, layered and all- you will seriously smoulder and glisten!

For Charlotte's first holiday palette I am thrilled and delighted - can u tell I am thrilled and delighted!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Nars Audascious Lipsticks - Anna, Dominique, Vanessa, Silvia, Raquel

Nars Audacous Lipstick was a major launch for Nars. They had quite a few this year - their dual- intensity shadows are amazing as well (review soon) I think, while all other luxury houses were concentrating on mattes for fall, Nars reinvented the creamy ultra pigmented lipstick- and they did it panache! I purchased 3 Barney exclusives (thank you frond!)- Dominique, Silvia and Vanessa and then after loving them so much - Anna and Raquel.
They do indeed, reach full opacity in one swipe. These pigments are powerful and delivery a creamy punch of colour. They have the texture of satin which leans towards a matte look without the usual harshness that comes with that. This for me is a very modern look. The packaging has lost the rubbery Nars feel and is  cool and sleek. As with most luxury lipsticks these days- it has a magnetised closure- which is lovely except when trying to take a picture and you have a uncooperative Silvia that just kept of hopping out of line! They are not featherlight on the lips , but feel comfortable and wear for a long time. When they start to fade, they do it with grace and dwindle to a lovely stain.

Dominique, Vanessa, Silvia

Raquel, Anna

Silvia, Dominique, Vanessa, Anna, Raquel

  • Silvia - described as Radiant Orchid - all I can say is love- a pop of a bright pinky purple!
  • Dominque - described as Pink Lilac - the most unique of the whole 40 lineup- this channels my inner 90's girl. Its a dusky lilac that is so intriguing. It seems to make my skin tone more olive in a way and gives a very mysterious look. My top pick.
  • Vanessa - described as a mauve nude - apt description. This a good everyday nude without draining my colour or taking away from a bold eye
  • Anna - described as a smokey rose - a wonderful rose shade that is pretty neutral on my skin tone.Yes I'm going to say it- my lips but a bettterrrr! and sexier
  • Raquel - described as a pink nude - this has photographed darker than it actually is. Here it look just lighter than Vanessa - it is quite a bit lighter and gives my lips a flattering ultra nude lip that is lighter than my naturally pigmented lips. If you are looking for a slightly 'blanked out' lips whithout looking weird- this is the one!
There have been so many great lipstick releases this year, but this one blew me away. I can tell this is going to be the start of a beautiful relationship as I yearn after many more shades! These are kinda what I wish my Charlotte Tilbury lipstick (sorry Darling!) would be in terms of texture and look. If I remember correctly I said I liked them- something was missing- well, Nars found it! With such a big shade offering there is definitely something for everybody. Have you bought any of these Audascious lipsticks yet- any recommendations?

Monday, 24 November 2014

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Ecru - review and swatch

I love Laura Mercier. While I gravitate towards brands that are bit more bold in their point of you, no-one can dispute the understated sophistication of the LM brand or the cult status of their face products. I do own their Tinted moisturiser, of which is considered the measure of which all tinted moisturisers are help up to. I thought it was really good, I owned it and used it ,but it was never quite the right colour match. Fast forward a few years and I jumped once again onto the LM bandwagon and bought the new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide. This time I had the luxury of being colour matched at a Sephora with their foundation matching gadget. An excellent handheld machine that was spot on in it's selection of shade - Ecru. I did not purchase it at the time but was given a generous sample. A dear friend (McG!) facilitated this purchase for me as the sample sold me on the product!

The packaging is utilitarian - lightweight plastic. No bells and whistles - but its what inside that counts. It is an oil free formula that needs to be shaken before application to mix up the bi-phase formula. It is quite liquid when I place it on the back of my hand. I use fingers for best application. I find that it is extremely similar to Armani Maestro  Fusion foundation - yet this formula is more forgiving as and it provides far more cover than the Maestro, yet it is still weightless in texture and looks invisible on my skin. Skin looks like perfected skin- it evens out my skin tone really well. I do have oily skin - it works pretty well to keep it fresh not a total oil slick. Ecru is described as 'Light with cool undertones'. Strangely, when I first purchased this when it was first released I could have sworn that it described as 'Light with neutral undertones' - which actually describes my skin more accurately (this reads more rosy to me than cool?) - nevertheless.....

I have been loving this foundation and it is a fabulous addition to my foundation wardrobe. If you struggled with Armani's maestro, but want this 'type' of foundation, this LM Fluide might be what you are looking for.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Lancer Skincare :The Method Blemish control

The skincare brand Lancer seemed to popped on my radar recently. I think it might have coincided with their repackaging. This is another " Dr" brand and so the blah blah goes. I hunted this down in their little home in Bergdorf Goodman in NYC. A very helpful SA CeCi helped me and sampled me their 3 step method in their blemish prone range . Their three step method comes in three variations: for sensitive, normal, and blemish prone skins . After my consultation I opted for the blemish prone. Anyway, I took my generous samples back to my hotel room and used them that night. Nothing works in one use, right!?
I had one day left in New York. I nipped right back to Bergdorf's the next day-let me tell you why!

  • The method starts (once daily) with the polish. This is new age code for exfoliator. So yes, you exfoliate your skin to cause mini 'damage' to cause your skin to continually repair itself. As you age this renewal process slows down, and this polish keeps your skin on 'it's toes' and in a state on renewal as cell turnover is increased. The polish for blemish prone skin has a marginally larger particle  (oilier skin tends to be thicker) which helps sloughs off dead skin cells.  My pores feel cleaner and look smaller. There are other ingredients that help with blemish prone skin conditions. There is peppermint oil to help remove toxins. I love the fresh feeling my skin is left with. Lilac Stem cell compound which has anti- acne and oil absorbing qualities. Salicylic Acid also helps with keeping the pores clear from debris and bacteria. I love this first step - my skin has never looked this smooth and clear.
  • Now we cleanse in the traditional sense with the Cleanse. This helps remove the dead skin cells that have been loosened by the Polish and removes any leftover oil. This cleanser also has the peppermint oil. It is so refreshing. Lots of other ingredients sooth, energise, moisturise and help finish of the cleansing process.
  • Nourish is the final step. The blemish 'Nourish' cream is so good for us adults that have oily skin but still want the benefits of an anti-aging cream. It protects from oxidative elements, has peptides, and has anti-blemish and oil -control properties. I found this cream to be lightweight and hydrating.

My skin has been looking amazing since using this method. Radiant and energised are the first two words to pop into my mind when thinking how my skin looks, since using Lancer. The Lancer method is meant to give you the 'Lancer glow' - I have to agree with this! This is range has seriously impressed me and makes me want to look further at the serums that Lancer offers. I have to admit I indulged and bought the Lancer Microcurrent Powerboost device (review to come) and have loved it too. Dr Lancer's book Younger was an informative read as well.
Ceci at Bergdorf Goodman was excellent when answering all my questions. Please tell her Jodi says 'Hi' if you choose to call and get her advise 212.872.8630

Monday, 6 October 2014

Make Up For Ever *NEW* artists shadows in Orchid, Poppy, Celestial Blue, Crystalline Gray Beige, Crystalline Beige, Purple, Fig, Pink Gray, Pink Ash

I am thrilled to bring to you today my first foray into the New Make Up For Ever Artists shadows. These would not have made it in to my hands without the amazing help of my twinsie, dear frond Gummy from Gummyvision. From swatching real time and sending me pictures so I could choose from what stock was available at the Sephora. From across continents I was able to choose 9 gorgeous shades. That's a friend indeed!
So Make Up Forever has reformulated their eyeshadows - with a whopping 210 colour line up, they have blown this launch out of the park. I missed out of their 30yr Anniversary palette (hesitation is never good), but happy in the knowledge that none of them in the palette are actually limited, so I could in theory collect all myself. At the time of my buying my these, there was a great offer from Sephora, where if you bought 3 refills and one 3 pan palette you get a saving of $22. Essentially one of my 3 pan palettes cost next to nothing.
The new shadows come in Matte (M), Iridescent (I), Satin (S), Metallic (ME) and Diamond (D) finishes. Some shades are designated for cheeks. Here is what I got!

  • Orchid ME912
  • Poppy ME744
  • Celestial Blue D706
  • Celestial Beige D504
  • Purple S924
  • Fig D826
  • Pink Gray M548
  • Pink Ash S836
  • Crystalline Gray Beige DD552

These Artists shadows are vivid and have such a strong pigmentation. They are beyond creamy and blend like a dream. Even with such extreme colouring, they still can blended out to a soft wash - I have even used Poppy in this way. I will also attempt Poppy as a wash of colour on my cheeks. Both Celestial Beige and Crystalline Gray Beige are  perfect to highlight the middle of the lid and bring such a fresh open look to the eye. Celestial Blue can be used as a soft wash, but I prefer it packed on with a winged liner for a bold look. I have bought 4 diamond shades which are not just glitter, but have more pigmentation that gives a solid colour with sparkle. The Metallic shades of Poppy and Orchid are not high shine, but have a soft sheen to them. Orchid has a slight turquoise duochrome effect to it - visible at some angles (subtle) that makes it quite unusual. My lone matte Pink Gray, is less powdery than my Viseart one's. If you love mattes MUFE should tempt you. The Satin shades Purple and Pink Ash are just off a matte and one could be forgiven for confusing them as such. Dense colour with only a hint a velvet texture. I had a few Iridescent shades on my initial list, but these were out of stock. I chose quite a few brights, with the thought that when these eventually launch on my fair shores, we would probably get an edited selection and I have been told already by the MUFE stockists - probably no brights.
I wore one look a full day,with a quick workout at gym for good measure. Only the barest hint of wear - terribly impressive.

Fig, Pink Gray, Pink Ash
Orchid, Poppy, Celestial Blue
Celestial Gray Beige, Celestial Beige, Purple

Celestial Gray Beige, Celestial Beige, Purple

Orchid, Poppy, Celestial Blue

Fig, Pink Gray, Pink Ash

Celestial Gray Beige, Celestial Beige, Purple, Orchid, Poppy, Celestial Blue
Fig, Pink Gray, Pink Ash
Round up: All my thoughts are good. I wish I could have purchased the larger palettes, but those are only available through MUFE boutiques. These new shadows are in my opinion a new step in the evolution of shadows. They are that good. I just want to know what magical device they are using to conjure up these delightful eye shadows. So according to Darwin these shadows will 'outwit, outlast and outplay' (Survivor any one?) their competition. 
210 is a good target I think!

Please note Poppy and Purple are meant as a blush shades so I do no advocate use on your eyes!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Viseart Palette Basic 01- Matte

This palette is what legends are made of....... I finally took the plunge about three months ago and bought the Viseart Matte palette . After hearing murmurings about the must have matte palette that all the makeup artists in hollywood use, I knew I had to have it. Reviews and pictures of this palette were harder to find than a real life unicorn, but after my 'research' that this is the most used product on TV shows , where I think the makeup is beautiful etc etc. I pulled the trigger and never looked back. This palette can create dramatic contouring, can be used for brows and wet as liners - it is a true makeup artist work horse . For lil' 'ol me, it is the perfect neutral matte palette.

The packaging is more like a pro palette and less like a luxe offering I am used to, but I guess it make me feel more like a pro. From the pictures you can see the 12 shadows are housed in a sturdy plastic casing with a clear top. Nothing fancy, but practical for the true makeup artist. All the shades are true mattes, with no satins or shimmers at all. They tend to kick up powder when placing your brush in to pick up product, yet have no fall out when placed on the eye. So while they do not have an overtly creamy consistency, they are not dry at all. From the swatches you can see there is a large selection of peach tones, warm coppers, taupes, and finally a cool dark grey and sooty black. They all blend well for matte shades.

Since I struggled to find swatches of this palette, I do hope this has been helpful. I would love to extend my Viseart collection.  They have have a beautiful pearl and  a matte darks palette but am still looking for good swatches to make my picks!!

This is not a necessity, but for a beauty lover it just might be.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

By Terry Riviera Collection Summer 2014 - Tea to Tan and Cheek to Cheek

By Terry gets my vote for constantly thinking out of the box. I picked up the Cheek to Cheek in Cherry Cruise when it first came out and just added the Tea to Tan in Bronze Bay. These are must haves for all beauty lovers. I bought mine both from SpaceNK.

What I love about the Tea to Tan is that this is the most natural bronzer effect you will ever get. The awkward drop applicator aside, I simply put a drop or two in my palm and dab a synthetic, densely packed brush into it and sweep along my cheeks, forehead, down the centre of my nose. Buff it in and I'm looking healthy and sun kissed. No Jersey Shore here. As the name says, just the Riviera baby! You can go back in with more product and build, but it is a subtle and soft effect that just oozes chic. This can also be added to any foundation to add warmth. Also do not forget to shake to disperse the pearlescent goodness that collects at the base, yet does not translate into a glitter ball at all on the face.

The Cheek to Cheek is a strawberry stain that gives a youthful flush to my cheeks. Again you cannot overdo this product. You can layer over the Tea to Tan. The stain effect is so nice for hot days as it looks light and fresh on my skin. Both products have a translucent quality and allows for your natural skin tone to shine through. They both have a distinct By Terry rose scent. I think it's pretty. By Terry also likes to add skincare benefits and these two are no different. Packed with ingredients that have antioxidants and also help to detoxify and revitalise are an added plus for me! High end brand can no longer do makeup without adding skincare benefits- its a trend thats here to stay.

Dropped straight from the pipette

Tea to Tan, Cheek to Cheek freshly swatched

Tea to Tan, Cheek to Cheek buffed and dried down
These do not have any real staining qualities and come off with ease at the end of the day. I have been using mine in our winter months, so if you are in the throes of summer these would be even more perfect for you. These are limited edition (drat!) as far as I know, so do not wait to long before buying them.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks- Las Salinas, Es Vedra and Moon Beach

Let me just put it out there I do not like the cold! An african winter pales in comparison to other locations, but boy I just want to hibernate! (that is my humble apology for being lax on the post front).
I had a few products on my radar and pounced as soon as they were released - Charlotte Tilbury's much anticipated Beach Sticks. I stopped myself at three but as soon as I can I will round up my collection with the remaining 2 - these are fantastic! I purchased Las Salinas (warm pink), Moon Beach (peach) and Es Vedra (poppy orange).

L-R Las Salinas, Moon Beach, Es Vedra

The cheek stick are housed in lightweight rose gold tubes - it feels almost weightless. Cute bubbles of colour greet me when I uncap them. Texture-wise they are feather-light and with a few quick finger movements sit softly on my cheeks - giving them a fresh pop of colour. In my experience these have a less silicone feel than the original Nars multiples and they blend easier and sit more realistically on my skin. Blended in these give a great stain effect.
There is a whole press 'spiel' with regard to their naming - each is named after a beach in Ibiza and each shade is meant to mimic the effect after a week in the sun at these exotic locations - romantic notions turned into reality!

Es Vedra, Moon Beach, Las Salinas straight from bullet
These colours are spot on and all work on my skintone. Es Vedra was my answer to Nars Multiple in Siam that I had been lusting after. This gives me a healthy pop and sexy 'sunburnt' glow - huh! Try it and it will make sense. There is no pink undertone here so it does not look like a bad case of hives either. Las Salinas is a pretty coral pink that gives me soft pop of yes....pink! Moon Beach was described as similar to Nars Orgasm. Not to me - it compliments my complexion much better. This is perfect for a look with a stronger eye, naked glowing cheek. Some have used this as a highlighter shade - for me it is definitly a cheek colour. For deep skintones it would work as such. This shade can be mixed with the others to create a new shade - double duty! All shades have some degree of shimmer (all rose gold) in the swatches, but on the cheek it really translates as a glow. There are also meant to be some long term benefits good for the skin. They are hydrating and last well on my oily skin. You can also use them on your lips- not my first choice , but if you had to ....yes.
Es Vedra, Moon Beach, Las Salinas blended out
So to wrap it up I love these new lovelies from Charlotte Tilbury.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Surratt artistique eyeshadow palette - Enchantress, Patine, Marron, Dore, Haute Chocolate and Ravissante and some Link Love!

Today I would like to share with you my second Surrat palette, that I have had since March, but have yet to review for you. I thought that since the lucky 'buggers' in the UK have now got full access to Surratt at Liberty, it would be the appropriate time to showcase these beautiful eyeshadows. I initially reviewed four of these here. I can only once again gush over the creaminess and all round 'Awesomeness' of these shadows. With this palette I went with almost gem toned look, with a tawny lavender thrown in for good measure. In my frenzy excitement when ordering, I seemed to reorder the bestselling Patine. I was only momentarily upset at the lost opportunity of owning another Surratt shade, but then realising how much I love Patine from my original palette I was calmed (keep calm and all that:))
So behold my six beauties in order from T-B then T-B again -: Enchantress (steel gray), Marron (russet wine) Ravissante (tawny lavender), Patine, Haute Chocolate (golden brown), Dore (golden taupe)

All six happy in their new palette

Enchantress, Patine, Marron, Haute Chocolate, Ravissante, Dore

Beautiful Textures
I am ready to push 'buy' on more of these luxurious shadows. I am loving compiling my Surratt palettes. I do wish that Liberty will stock these empty palettes online, as I have not seen them available.
I also bought Guimauve blush, which I will feature soon with some of the lovely lipslique lip shades.
Update: Large compact case is now available!

I would also like to show my love and admiration (my fave reads) with a little Link Love :-
The ever lovely Belly at Wondegondigo - I blame her for the start of my Japanese beauty love affair and even more for her witty commentary on life and makeup. I envy her photography skills.
My Frond (no typo here) Gummyvision - I adore her and her funny conversations about makeup, age and life.
Sara at Colormeloud - I would love to live in this makeup draw- always the first review that I need to see on the latest products. Eye looks to die for!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato - Spiced Orange (CR 04), Berry Berry (PK 01) and Milky Framboise (PK 02)

The SOFT matte is the new trend of spring 2014 and I love it!. So is the trend of a lip and cheek duo use product that mix and match.This is definitely their moment. I recently reviewed the delectable YSL kiss and blush creations here, and today bring you there ' doppelgänger' the Shu Uemura tint in gelato' ! (..........secrets out, I watch the Vampires Diaries!) I chose three pretty shades sight unseen: Spiced Orange ( -a fresh coral), Berry Berry (- bright hot pink) and Milky Framboise (- Rose). If you look at both reviews you will see I almost selected the same colour array in each brand.

Shu Uemura has opted for a lip gloss type casing with a pointed oval applicator similar to the YSL. I like this version for 'in my bag' purposes , but love the little 'paint pot' look of the YSL. Both have narrow necks to stop excess product on the applicator. The gelato is highly pigmented, but slightly less mousse-like like the YSL, but rather creamier than the YSL. I find the SHU gives a stronger pop of colour on the lips and the cheeks at first swipe. The YSL is softer and you will have to build colour intensity. I also need a few swipes on the lips to get a bold look. The SHU gives colour more quickly, but can still be blended for a softer look. One swipe gives a strong colour on my lips, yet I find these slightly more drying than the YSL. I also think the SHU lasts longer on my oily cheeks. As mentioned above, the finish on the cheek is a soft matte. This means no sheen or glow, but soft colour that is matte with no harsh line- almost blurred. It has the same look on my lips. These both are fun to use but I think the YSL win by a nose (freeze frame to check!), but seriously it like splitting hairs, both are lovely.

Spiced Orange (CR04), Berry Berry (PK01), Milky Framboise (PK02)

All three blended out- longevity!

Are you a fan of the new cheek/lip duo's?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Presenting: Giorgio Armani New Cheek Fabric Sheer Blush - Flesh (507), Daybeak (503) Blush (506) and Dolci (305)

So.... I went on a short unexpected hiatus, in the form of a quick holiday and a recurring flu that sadly kept me from regular blogging duties. This did not mean I did not get some amazing products in the past few weeks. I first bought two Giorgio Armani new Cheek Fabrics when they first came out and added two more shades as I absolutely loved them and had to get some more. I have to say I have never used the now discontinued original formula, but these new powder blushes are absolutely amazing and satisfy both my love for polished looks and clown face fantasies. So, today I am happy to be presenting to you the new Cheek Fabrics!

Housed in sleek round black packaging, the blush compact comes with a mirror. The blush is finely milled and never kicks up any excess powder when applying. The blush is a sheer, buildable formula and starts out soft. This is not to say they are not pigmented but allows for you to control the amount you apply to suit the look you want to achieve. The exception is Flesh which has obviously brighter pigment, which needs more finesse when applying it, due to the nature of the shade itself. I think what also appeals to me is the universally flattering shade selection which is meant to really enhance the natural beauty of every woman. The blush does not cover your skin but due to its sheer nature (think see-thru Armani fabric), it allows it to sit like a veil of colour on your skin without ever looking powdery or over done.

Blush, Flesh, Daybreak, Dolci

Dolci, Daybreak, Blush, Flesh
Dare I say, these are more-ish! Daybreak has a slight sparkle on swatching, but on the cheek it give no hint of sparkle, but only the most refined, polished effect. A nude cheek that makes my cheek bones uber- model worthy. Dolci is an unfussy fresh melon shade that is perfect for spring. Flesh is a cool pink pop shade that is hard to over do. Lastly, Blush is a soft rose shade, also with the barest hint of a sparkle - but come on it's Armani sparkle, so expect subtle and 'uptown'.

There is no more to say on these delightful new blushes. Are you enamoured as much as I am?:)

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?