Saturday, 24 April 2010

Saving face

I've used a moisturiser with an SPF 15 or above since I was about 14 years old. I have very fair skin with freckles that tends to burn easily and I like to feel protected year round. Once the sun comes out in England I up the protection factor with a separate sunscreen.

I used to use Clarins SPF 40 UV Plus Dayscreen, which was quite nice but at £28 for 30ml, it didn't really inspire me to apply as liberally as you should with a sunscreen. I've also used Clinique Cityblock before, both the tinted and colour free versions, but found I did not really like the texture.

This year I've discovered what is fast becoming my perfect product - La Roche-Posay Anthelios Extreme Face Fluid SPF 50. I know the name doesn't exactly trip off the tongue and the idea of an 'extreme face fluid' is mildly amusing to me, but it's a really good product.

The bottle contains 50ml and the product is formulated for sensitive skin that may be oil prone, which mine tends to be during the summer months. The fluid is lightweight and quite runny and absorbs quickly and easily into the skin. There is no white cast and it feels quite hydrating to me. My make-up applies well over the top and it does not seem to increase oiliness, in fact I'm finding it works quite well as a primer.

Regarding the sun protection qualities it provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection due to containing Mexoryl SX and XL filters. It's also non comedogenic and paraben free, according to my bottle.

La Roche-Posay is now available on although this product is currently sold out. I bought mine for about 12 euro from where I also buy Bioderma Crealine cleanser and Embryolisse moisturiser.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Let there be light

After being ill and not sleeping well for a while, I've been steering clear of any darker eyeshadows or anything with a blue or purple undertone as they just enhance the existing darkness around my tired and squinty eyes.

Whilst rooting through my shadow collection the other day to find something that would give me a quick wash of colour, I pulled out one of my MAC palettes and remembered an old favourite - Jest.

I bought several peachy, shimmery neutrals from MAC a while ago and I remember reading loads in the blogosphere about All that Glitters and Naked Lunch but I'd never read any raves about Jest. It's a frost finish, which I don't normally like very much, but the description of soft peach with an icy shimmer piqued my interest. I ordered it thinking it sounded like a nice neutral and was amazed when I swatched it for the first time.

For me, this shadow applies like butter and is the perfect wash of colour. It lightens and brightens in a subtle and pretty way and the peachiness brings out the blue of my eyes. It looks great on its own with mascara but equally fab with darker shadows blended into the crease such as Woodwinked. On my post illness eyelids it worked wonders - it's particulaly effective on the inner corners for a soft highlight if you're a bit tired.

As you can see, you get a soft, sheeny reflection of light at one angle, and the deeper peachiness comes out at another angle. Like an idiot I forgot to take a photo of it actually on my eyelid, but rest assured it was the perfect choice to help me in my quest to look human again. I think this shadow would suit a lot of different skintones and I'd love to know if anyone else rates it highly too.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Glitter and smells in the pipeline

Hurrah - I no longer feel like the grotesque lead role in a horror film. Unfortunately, I still look a bit like one so there are no pictures of my face for a few days. I bet you're gutted, aren't you.

If there's one thing that's good about having to lie in bed for four days, it's the combined joys of owning a laptop and the existence of internet shopping. Instead of being at work, I could spend hours perusing various beauty websites and reaching for my credit card in between bouts of hacking coughing or feverish sleep. I can also blame any shopping excesses on a drug-induced delirium. Sorted.

A package that I ordered pre-illness arrived on Thursday to bolster my spirits. It contained more mini  shadows and lip lustres from my new love Fyrinnae:

I got more Arcane Magics, a few brights and some neutrals to try out. I will be back with more FOTDs in the next few weeks. From my sick bed, I placed a new Julie Hewett order which includes my first custom palette selection, so I'm looking forward to seeing if the colour representations on the website are accurate.

I also ordered and received (very quickly) a number of samples from Lucky Scent, a US-based website for hard to find fragrances. I'm increasingly intrigued by more unusual fragrances and I also want to find my perfect 'earthy' scent that captures damp cellars and loamy earth but in a non hideous way. Here is what I got samples of, including a short description from the website:

Boudicca - Wode
a play of dark and light - soft musk and dry spice and brooding black hemlock. A stroll in the woods becomes a trek through a primeval forest with a few glowing yellow eyes peering at you from the shadows. 

Profumum - Thundra
A solitary walk through a cool, damp forest, just after the rain. You can smell the rich earth as it drinks in the water, the bark on the trees, the carpet of fallen leaves and wild mint crushed under your feet. 

Profumum - Fumidus
The smokiness of aged Laphroaig scotch served neat, It is also earthy – the earthiness of rich, freshly tilled land surrounded by uncut forest.

Profumum - Oxiana 
a union between the more Western cleanness of musk infused by a fresh oceanic accord joining with the earthier and slightly sweet balsamic accords from the East.  

Hilde Soliani - Fraaagola Saalaaata
With notes of strawberries and salt, this is a unique mixture of pulpy, juicy, fruity innocence and strangely saline, at times almost earthy sensuality. 

Montale - Patchouli Leaves
These are patchouli leaves wrapped in the softest and the most expensive of cashmeres, brought in oak trunks from exotic faraway lands.

Montale - Fougeres Marine
The creators take fern out of its traditional foresty context and place it by the sea, thus achieving a quality that is simultaneously fresh, green and earthy. 

Parfumerie Generale - Private Collection: L'Oiseau de Nuit
this is a complex and modern salute to leather. Very sweet and earthy all at once, L’oiseau makes your eyes glaze over and your jaw tighten with the need to get as close to it as possible.

I'll be testing these over the next couple of weeks, so let me know if anyone has any requests for what gets reviewed first.

I'd really recommend a look at the Lucky Scent website as the scent descriptions alone are amazing. The samples I bought were $3-$4 each and postage was a flat $5 and they arrived well packaged and within a week.

One fragrance I really wanted to try - but they had no samples of - was CB I Hate Perfume Black March. The 'nose' behind this line is the same person that created the Demeter line of unusual fragrances, of which Dirt and Thunderstorm are some of my all time favourites. I've seen Black March described as 'Dirt in HD', so it sounds like perfection to me. The perfume notes are listed as: 'rain drops, leaf buds, wet twigs, tree sap, bark, mossy earth and the faintest hint of spring flower bulbs'. How can I resist that?! Fortunately, this range is stocked at Liberty, so I think I will be making a fragrance pilgrimage in the not too distant future.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Glamour free zone

Though I remain beauty obsessed in spirit, I'm afraid the body is not willing this week. Thanks to a hideous throat infection and four days in bed, I currently look a lot like this:

The most I have been able to manage is showers and the occasional swipe of my clammy face with one of these:

Normal service will resume when I look less like a reject from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Summer scrubbin'

I've written before about my love for Villainess products. I really like all the Smooches I've tried, with the scrubby, earthy smelling Grundy being my favourite. I recently ran out of Grundy so I investigated my stash for something else to use in the shower. I decided to give the Paradise Misplaced Smooch a go which, unlike Grundy, is described as a body conditioner rather than a scrub.

The scent description is 'sweetly creamed coconut and touches of mango offset by crisp green tea'. As a lover of green tea anything I was hoping this product would be delicately scented, fresh and perfect for spring/summer. Turns out it is just that.

As this is a body conditioner rather than scrub, it has a very smooth texture. It does exfoliate gently thanks to coconut flakes and green tea flecks. It is quite thick and reminds me of the texture and consistency of goose fat at room temperature (sorry if that's a bit gross). Fortunately that's where the similarity ends.

You are supposed to apply this over your body in the shower, it then reacts a bit like a facial cleansing oil and emulsifies on contact with water, turning into a silky body treatment. Once I'd rinsed it away, my skin felt very smooth and soft and had a delicate, fresh  fragrance which lingers all day. It is so moisturising that there is no need to apply body moisturiser.

I am planning to stock up on this for the summer. I love that I still smell of green tea and a bit of mango seven or eight hours after showering and the moisturising properties are brilliant thanks to all the coconut oil. I will use this on my legs and feet when I'm in full on bare legs and sandals mode and I think it will help pedicures last a bit longer.

I really recommend the Villainess line. All the products I've tried so far have been brilliant and the fragrances are really unusual. Even the 'foodie' fragrances have a slight edge and are not just sickly sweet. I've bought all mine from Posh Brats which is an excellent site. I recently received a fairly large order which included some Posh Brats own brand products and I'll be reviewing those soon.

Friday, 9 April 2010

FOTD - Fyrinnae

I've been trying to work my way through the shadows in my last Fyrinnae order and I've reached the more colourful options now. My workplace is is quite relaxed and rainbow eyes are fine, but I'm not always in the mood for bright shadow application first thing in the morning.

Today I applied Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place cream shadow in Blue Velvet to the outer third of my eyelid and blended it into the centre to fade. I then tapped a small amount of Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy on top. Once it had gone tacky, I swept Arcane Magic shadow in Faerie Glamour across the lid and drew it under the lower lashline. I then blended Atomic Afterglow shadow into the crease and inner corner to soften the edges of the Faerie Glamour. I love Atomic Afterglow and have ordered the full size in my second Fyrinnae order. It's a lovely silvery taupey shade with a hint of cool green that seems to blend well with any shade or creates a shimmering neutral eye when used alone.

You can see in the pics that the Estee Lauder Blue Velvet helps intensify and draw out the blue in the Faerie Glamour, which is more violet in appearance towards the inner corner where there was no coloured base. Like all the Arcane Magics,  Faerie Glamour changes dependent upon which light it's seen in, with artificial light having the greatest impact.

The rest of the face was half a pump of Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, ELF Complexion Perfection powder, Urban Decay Sweetie blush and Fyrinnae Pink Guitar Lip Lustre. It took about ten minutes to do and thanks to the Pixie Epoxy - truly a wonder product - the eyes lasted well all day with no creasing or flaking.

Apparently, my second Fyrinnae order has shipped so I'm waiting with baited breath for some more Arcanes and Lip Lustres. The pricing on the site has been rejigged recently, but it means the sizes are slightly bigger, which is particularly good for the Arcanes (for an extra few cents, the smallest size is now 1/4tsp where it was previously 1/8tsp).

I really recommend Fyrinnae. They clearly post the waiting time for shipments on the home page, but I've never had to wait for the full period. The quality of the products I've tried so far is amazing and there are fun and funky shades alongside more muted naturals. I've never been a fan of loose shadows as I find them too messy but the Pixie Epoxy really helps combat that issue. Also, as a fan of Urban Fantasy I like owning products with names like 'Elven Dagger', 'Warrior-Mage' and 'Druid Werewolf', as if I'm touched by magic as well as make-up.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

FOTD and review - Trish McEvoy Turquoise Python Petite Make-up Planner

For some reason, I've neglected Trish McEvoy for a few years. I went through a bit of a Trish phase in my late twenties when I managed to get my hands on a few of her excellent Little Black Card palettes and fell in love with the No.9 Blackberry and Vanilla Musk perfume. Then I moved on to my next beauty 'thing' and forgot about Trish for a bit.

Last week, I decided we'd been apart for long enough and came home with the Turquoise Python Petite Make-up Planner. The planner includes a removable mini make-up bag, a petite page, the new Crystal Deluxe Diamond eye shadow, new translucent finishing powder, new Instant Pick-me-up face colour trio, new Irresistible Petal lip gloss, a deluxe travel size of the Eye Base Essential in Bare, Azure Glaze eye shadow and Arabian Nights eye definer. It's a pretty good selection of products and there is plenty of room in the planner itself for adding more petite or mini pages - and thus more make-up - as time goes by.

The shades in the petite page are lovely for spring and summer. Although the Azure Glaze shadow looks quite bright in the palette, it applies as a subtle wash and can be built to increase intensity. It has a nice shimmer to it but is not glittery. The Crystal Deluxe Diamond eye shadow is sparkly, but in a very subtle way. I would definitely only use it on the eyes though, unless you like glitterball highlighters on the cheekbones. The Arabian Nights eye definer applies as a deep navy, just as it appears in the palette. The face colour trio is a good mix of seasonal shades which I think would work well on a variety of skin tones. The finishing powder suffers for being next to the Arabian Nights shadow. I tried to carefully pick some up with a MAC 109 but still managed to get a smear of navy shadow on the bridge of my nose. Nonetheless, I like the palette a lot.

The lipgloss is pretty, feels cushiony on the lips and has a slight mintiness to it, which I quite like. Beyond that, there's nothing much to say about it and I think it would be easy to dupe. The eye base however is an amazing product. I have quite oily lids and I almost always use UDPP or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Though they are both good, I find shadows more difficult to blend on the former and the latter is a bit too runny for my liking. The Trish McEvoy eye base is quite thick and creamy, applies like UDPP, conceals any redness or veins and shadows apply very smoothly across it. It also holds them tight all day. I will definitely purchase a full size when the travel size is finished. Having checked the website I've found it comes in 6 different shades to match varying skintones. I think it's brilliant for a quick, clean eye with tidy brows and a sweep of mascara.

Anyway, on to the face of the day:

I did this on Saturday in about 5 mins, just to get a feel for the products. The face is just a smidge of concealer, mainly to cover redness, and translucent finishing powder. The lack of foundation is all thanks to my new skincare regime which I'll do a full update in in a couple of weeks.

I used the eye base from lashline to brow and then swept the Crystal Deluxe Diamond shadow over the same area. Using a MAC 217, I swept the Azure Glaze shadow into the crease and gently buffed and added more colour until I was happy with the intensity. I used a pencil brush and the Arabian Nights eye definer on my upper lashline and the outer third of my lower lashline. Cheeks were the bottom two colours of the pick-me-up colour trio (my pale blue skin shrank from the bronze) and then finished with a dusting of finishing powder and a slick of the lipgloss. Overall, a speedy basic face with a little kick of colour (click the pics for a closer look).

I'm looking forward to playing with the shades I have in the petite page, using the trio of colours on my eyes or doing a vampier evening look with the blue shades. Overall, I'd recommend this product if you fancy some fresh, polished new shades for spring and summer and you might want to build a Trish McEvoy collection that's portable and well packaged.

I got my Turquoise Python Planner from Harvey Nichols in Birmingham. If you want to take a closer look at some of the products, she has a US website which I believe ships to a number of countries.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Less of your lip

Phew. For a number of different reasons, this week has been very strange and stressful. I promise you there were a couple of great FOTDs, but I just forgot to take photos of them. I will hopefully get back on track after Easter.

In the meantime, I thought I would show you a few of the lip products I like and regularly reach for, plus a new acquisition. As I've said before, I much prefer glosses and glazes to fully pigmented lips. I'm no good with a liner as my lips are a bit wonky, I often find lipstick drying and I like food too much to carefully apply a gorgeous lipstick and then not ruin it with elevenses. As I've already gone through my Julie Hewett faves, I'm leaving those out.

 First of all, a shot of my bare lips. They're fairly pigmented and I learned a couple of years ago that the likes of GOSH Darling and MAC Blankety make me look ill, so I tend to steer clear of those 'nude' shades. My preferred natural lip is a sheerish, glossy berry.

The first batch of faves in the tube, and here they are on the lips:

1. Lipstick Queen - Medieval
This is the new acquisition. As a big fan of the LQ Butterfly Ball lipsticks, I have been lemming this for ages. The shade is supposed to represent the colour achieved in Medieval times when women applied lemon juice to their lips to stimulate blood flow. I don't know about that, but I really like this lip product. Like the Butterfly ball lipsticks, Medieval is lightweight with a glaze finish and feels incredibly moisturising in the lips. The shade is marketed as a 'suits all' so I'd be interested to hear what other Medieval users think.

2. Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips - Jessica
I have a few of these BE plumping glosses, but this is my favourite. The mini size came in a kit with shadows and blush and whilst they don't see much action, Jessica is regularly in use. The gloss is a sort of peachy pink duochrome with a shot of fine gold shimmer. Like the other BE Buxoms, it smells of coffee and caramel and has a slightly warming and tingling effect on the lips. It doesn't seem to plump mine, but I don't really like those sort of products anyway. The tube includes a doe foot applicator, which I don't particularly mind but I know some people hate. BE often does sets of 4 of these glosses which I think are good value for money. In fact there's a set on QVC I have my eye on at the moment.

3. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Lip Gloss - Rose Sugar
Like the rest of the world, I hate the brush. The stupid, scratchy, splayed out brush that eventually becomes an obstacle to applying the product. I really love the lipgloss though. This shade was used on me when I had a Bobbi Brown makeover at House of Fraser and it was one of the products I purchased on the spot (the others were a bronzer and an undereye concealer). It is the perfect shade if I want to look professionally polished. There is enough pigment to even out my lips with a natural mauve, a small amount of shimmer and it's not too sticky. If they repackaged this product, I would buy more shades.

4. Maybelline Watershine Gloss - Mauve Star
This has a similar base shade to the Bobbi Brown Rose Sugar but with less shimmer and more glitter, although they are fine particles of gold so it's not too disco on the lips. I have three of these glosses and I love the absence of stickiness. They are easy to apply and have one of those slightly longer doe foots that have more flexibility than the short ones. There is a strong smell of something fruity but if you don't mind that, I highly recommend these glosses - there's a good range of colours and they are fab value for money.

Now on to the second batch of products

1. Clinique Almost Lipstick - Black Honey
I have used this lipstick since I was a teenager and read a recommendation from a make-up artist in a magazine. I had never bought from Clinique before and I hovered shyly at the counter before rummaging through the testers. When I found Black Honey I immediately chastised myself for getting it wrong, surely this very dark lipstick could not 'suit everyone' as the MUA had suggested? Upon swatching it I saw immediately that this lipstick was actually a sheer, rosy brown and a new love was born. In the years since I have bought numerous tubes, recommended it to dozens of friends and gasped in horror when I heard it was to be discontinued. Happily, it was saved and I intend to keep buying this gorgeous shade.

2. Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick - Vintage Pink
I don't often look at drugstore brand lipsticks, just as I don't often look at high end lipsticks. Seeing this shade reminded me that lipsticks can be just my cup of tea occasionally. Vintage Pink is a soft shade of mauvey pink with a moisturising and lightweight finish. It also works well topped with the Bobbi Brown or Maybelline glosses in my list for a neutral, polished look. Like a lot of women, Rimmel holds a special place in my heart thanks to the Heather shimmer lippie I used to have rolling around in my school bag. The lipsticks still smell the same, so I get the nostalgia trip without the frosted pink lips.

3. Fresh lipgloss - Sugar Fairy
I got this in Sephora on my last trip to NY. It came in a set with Supernova mascara, which I didn't like as much as I thought I would. The gloss is another story, it's non-sticky, very moisturising and has that incredible lemon and sugar smell that Fresh turned into a perfume. It does not smell artificial to me, but like a freshly baked lemon drizzle cake. Yum. It's a pretty sheer pink with micro glitter and I really love it as part of a summer look.

4. Jemma Kidd Ultimate Lip Care SPF12 - Apricot
I bought this to make-up the value of a online purchase in order to qualify for a GWP. I was expecting it to be a glossy balm with a hint of colour and so was quite surprised to find the texture is more like a lipstick and has quite a lot of colour. 'Apricot' translates to a juicy peach on my lips and has a fair amount of shimmer. As this is a lip care product, it does a nice job of moisturising my lips, but it also lasts quite well. I got it just before Christmas, so I'm looking forward to using it in the summer.

So there you go. I have a lot more lip products than that so I think I need a sort out. These are some of the items I reach for more frequently and that I know I can apply on the run without a mirror - my basic requirement for a lip colour!

what are your favourites?