Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Pots & a Pan

Spring is in the air, so what's cooking?


 Let me show you my new pots. And my domestic virtue is still slightly underscored by my love for makeup, but I still have a cute pan thrown in it as well. I mean, beauty and health also comes from the inside, right?

  •  Top: Gressa blush/lipstick Radiant: I've gotten on the organic Gressa bandwagen and got both this blush/lipstick as the foundation.
  • Right: RMS Illusive blush: I'm trying to get as organic as possible lately and I did not have a colour like this yet in the organic range.
  • Bottom: NARS eye Paint in Ubangi: I know, not organic but still pretty & pot-like to feature.
  • Left: Tata Harper Volumizing lip & Cheek tint in Very Sweet: Oh my, this is the perfect organic hybrid between liptint and cheektint. It has a highlighting quality without compromising on colour.
  • Left Top: RMS lipgloss in Bloom: a GPW from cultbeauty and a sister of Tata Harper very sweet. This one is a true lipgloss instead of a hybrid.
  • Middle: Stella-Marie-Maris Pure Shea Butter: I got this one for my flare-up skin as it is the most neutral of butters. It takes some work to get it working for you, though.

As for swatches [unblended], I'll spare you the NARS as it has been featured a-plenty. Let's go for my latest organic ones:
  1. Gressa Radiant is one of the most pigmented and poppiest colours in my organic section. It is almost too pigmented for my liking. On young-n-pretty skins it would look like this (See Brittany). I'm slightly hindered by some earthy note of fragance: it's not my favourite scent.
  2. RMS Illusive: I needed a perfect Mauve-nudish blush in my collection and RMS Illusive seemed to be qualified. I think it's slightly muddier in real life. I was hoping for the cream version of Surratt La Vie en Rose. It still translates as a neutral-slightly cooler blush on my skin but I think the formula is sorta hard during colder weather.
  3. RMS Bloom: I've been most delighted by this GWP. It's a true lipgloss compared with Tata Harper's clingier formula, but you could still use it as a short-term cheekgloss.
  4. Tata Harper Lip & Cheek Volumizer in Very Sweet: Tata Harper makes brilliant organic products and seeing her doing makeup makes my heart sing for joy. I think this balm bring out a volumizing quality on cheeks (& lips) without feeling heavy. Very Sweet has been a gorgeous peachy highlighter-esque colour and I hope she'll make more of them. Hint: in dusky rose?
I have not added any blended swatches yet. I will do and compare them later: for this post I just wanted to show you the difference in texture.

I've said this a couple of times, but *organic* is not some kind of magic word. As for my latest pots, there is a new love that could replace anything chemical [Tata Harper] and there is the one that probably is more difficult than I'd expected from the raves [Gressa]. In any case, beauty reviews are highly subjective and based on so many things: weather, hormones, age, fragance memory and I could go on.

Basically, just my 2 cents or that bit of herb in the cooking...

Friday, 20 February 2015

Same Canvas - New Brushes

't was the time for some investment-beauty!

And so this fairytale does not imply a fairy-godmother, but it does apply a new couple of [semi]-magic wands that my slightly ageing canvas will be delighted about.

* RMCA KO-5 part series palette*

A while ago I discussed a flare up of my skin. I had to take the ease of to baring flesh [think: the gym etc] and buy some high-quality cover for my body. My body is slightly more tan than my face so the variety of the 5 shades are wonderful to match up the different rates of pigmentation. And, ofcourse, it's totally suitable for face as well.

* Rae Morris Square Kabuki no 4*

Let's blame brush-enabler sweetmakeuptemptations for this one [this particular article] and another blog who gave thumbs up for a really good exchange rate on the Aussie dollar. First I struggled to use it properly until I read of using it as a finisher to buff away earlier work done to rapidly [see here, mentioned for the Radiance 7 brush but this one is capable too].

* Surratt Smokey Eye Small*

I was looking for the perfect blending brush for my eyeshadows when I stumbled upon Wondergondigo review [here]. I could not rave more about the softness and efficiency of this brush. Moreover, I found an even better use for this baby: blending in undereye concealer:

The video:

Vincent Oquendo uses YSL Touche Eclat but I've never been a fan of it. I do my version with Charlotte Tilbury the Retoucher and like the effect on blending in concealer for blemishes as well.

* Rae Morris  Brush 2: Mini-Kabuki *

This functions predominantly as my nose-shaper brush. Other uses:

 

Morris also uses it for body-contouring like shaping a six-pack: ofcourse, this one will probably work better when the abs are flat already. Cool idea, btw.

*Chikuhodo Z Series Z-4 Cheek/Highlight*

I'll spare you my measly brush-description skills in order to leave it to the pros of hugely fanatics. But it's pure brush-gasm! My beautiful powder blushers have been waiting for the one and now they have to share him? Scandalous! I have to bring more of these in their lives so the fairytale perfect ending will continue.

Monday, 2 February 2015

January Used Ups

So we've made it through 1st month of 2015. I guess it's not the easiest month, unless you're in midst of summer at the southern hemisphere. 

 Used ups:
 
  • IS Clinical is a brand that is quite well-known. I was glad to use the Instant Smoothing Gel in the midst of flare-ups. It's incredibly neutral and well-moisturizing and my skin tolerated it well. It has some positive ingredients like copper tripeptide & others but it also has some dimeticones (see here). Repurchase it big? Maybe.
  • Kimberly Sawyer Restore anti-ageing cream was too much essential oils for my skin.
  •  Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydrating Serum also felt like a neutral bliss on my skin. I think I'll get the travel size.
  • I rarely finish a lipglos but Jill Stuart Lipgloss in 12 Sensual Veil ticked all the retro-girly boxes. Also, it's milky peach enough to wear it on its on and a fab glossifier over lipsticks.
  • Nexxus Kerafixx is a wonderful treat to dryer, damaged hairs. Funnily, I've started to notice my hair is not that dry or damaged lately so I can venture on lighter treatments.
  • Makeupalley had a fab rating for Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol brightening solution and it has been a wonderful duo-product to brighten skin. I finished it before the grande flare-up and it has been a wonderful treatment for a couple of months.
  • I'm not exfoliating anymore but I'm still liking Cane + Austin Retexturizing treatments (review here). These are the travel-size, single packed version that are a bliss while travelling.
  • Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant mascara made it into my Best of '14 list. I've cleaned the brush to use with the organic W3LL People Expressionist Mascara. Honestly, the organics cannot hold my curl but I had to make the switch for my Clean & Calm routine.
  • Ren Glycoactic Masque is another favourite exfoliator. However, if your skin is overreactive, step away from all exfoliators.
  • Dr. Organic Royal Jelly Shampoo is way too overfraganced imo. I used it to clean my brushes and wash my gentle clothes like cashmere.
  • [almost invisible label] Coastal Scents Essential Oil in Peppermint is a good quality oil that I mix with a base like advocado oil for scalp treatments. 
  • Lea Journo has been brilliant into packing its conditioners in sachets: travelfriendly, and a good smoothing conditioner that only needs a tiny bit for a good effect.
  • I've discussed the blissful neutrality of Avène Cicalfate in my last post. It's a repurchase.
  • [almost invisible label, part II] I've ordered Leahlani Aloe Day cream together with the hyped Mermaid mask. It's supposed to  "to gently balance hormonal skin flare ups" but it did not helped my flare-up skin. I was not a fan of the baby-powerish fragance either.
  • So one thing that does help is my Tatcha Indigo treatment. I've already reordered.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

January Clean & Calm

My apologies for the lack of updates. My skin gotten in some kind of January strike which made me question every calming solution I had in my skin-robe. Right now I am still struggling for a bit of skin-peace but I found myself going for a cleaner regime.

I'm trying out this pure water from AS.AP in the calming distilation of lavender, and my skin seems to tolerate it. I have to use it a couple of days to see a positive effect but I'm already glad with the neutral (not making things worse) effect.

However, I'm not completely convinced by everything organic 'miracle' and sometimes the addition of essential oils are not the best match. So I'm still reaching for some calming solutions from French Pharmacies:

 Homeoplasmine is actually a whole bunch of vaseline with a hint of calendula & some other ingredients. Like anything homeopathic the key in into quantity and not quality of the healing aspect (calendula). Avène Cicalfate is another cleam suited for post-operation (dermatologic) skin and it is as innoffensive as anything.

So this explains my lack of posts for the time being. I have not been feeling the makeup-vibe for a while (except concealing) because I felt like eliminating everything that could give me a reaction. But I miss the fun of makeup so I hope to be actively blogging about it soon :-)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Best of '14: Face, Body & Hair

In 2014 I have gone mostly organic on everything that skincare & hair.

The main reason is because my sensitive skin responses better on purer ingredients. It can be A equals B but B does not always equal A. Or, just because it says it's (mostly) organic it will not automatically rule out sensitivity issues (see here @ Caroline Hirons). I did not experience major breakouts/rash but some products do get more hype than they deserve.

Nevertheless, My best of 2014:

FACE:


Facial Mist:
Sanoflore Veritable Eau Florale in Camomille
 Chamomille has been my herb of choice as a toner: it calms down my skin and smells wonderful in that dried flower way. I've tried some more expensive facial mists (see here) but sometimes a really sensitive skin needs a bit of simplicity.

Cleanser:
Suki Exfoliating Cleanser
It's not my daily cleanser but a favourite of mine for smelling so zesty and giving skin a mild, organic way of exfoliation.

Serum:
Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti Wrinkle Defense Serum
This potion with a newer antioxidant has been a wonderful serum with a good antiageing result. Moreover, my skin tolerates it well. This is my 3rd bottle.

Daycream & nightcream:
No real winners nor losers.

Speciality:
Odacité Pure Elements
These blends really target the problem by location (eg: congested pores at tzone & dry skin @ cheeks). I've always been a fan of essential oil/base oil mixtures and Odacité does them well. The only thing is that they are darn expensive, so you could mix up your own too. Sidenote! I've had a aromatherapeutic course so I have some clue, but if you are unsure about mixing: start with 1 drop of the essential oil on 30 drops of base oil. Overusing an essential oil can have a opposite/negative effect, that's why I really recommend Odacite for convenience and having really good organic oils.

Sensitivity/dry spots/Psoriasis/Exzema
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Renewal Treatment
This is one of the few effective products when I break out in dry spots. It's totally expensive but people who break out on the face know what it is like when you just want to hide behind your hair. So yeh...

Lipbalm:
AS.AP Lip Balm 06
Soothing for wintery or crack-y lips. Also gorgeous as a primer for normal lips.

Mask:
I'm gonna jump upon the [instagram] bandwagon and declare I like Leahlani Mermaid Mask. I don't feel the need to post myself clad in green mud while duckfacing & wearing thick mascara/falsies etc. I hope that's ok.  Ps: I'm still a great fan of my Rhassoul mudmasks (here) too.

BODY/HAIR
Bodylotion:
Avène Xeracalm AD bodylotion
This cream has been an excellent cream in un-itching my body. It diminishes the local dryness/patchiness too. I'd also give Tatcha Indigo bodycream a really high vote, but it is expensive and still has a mild citrus-scent that might not be every-sensitive skin's taste.

Hair:
Less is More Neem Scalp Relieve Shampoo & Lavender Smoothing balm
The shampoo diminishes itchiness on the scalp and cleanses beautifully.
The Lavendel Smoothing balm really smoothes stubborn ends and smells like true lavender.
&
Acure Morrocan Argan Oil + Morrocan Stem Cell condioner
A price-friendly organic conditioner that smoothes down wonderfully.

FaceTools:
Yung Yu Roller in Jade facial
I gotten this roller as a freebie with a large Cultbeauty purchase. I've become a fan of facial massages and the Jade is known as a cleansing stone in Chinese medicine. 
 &
Sarah Chapman Skinesis Facialift
This medieval tool of [...] feels more vigorous when used (video here), like those facial massagist people can do when they want to stimulate the connective tissue. Quite effective as my slightly slacking jowl (I'm a slacker, not a real wrinkler) is a tighter baby the morning after. I have the same tool for body but I should use it more.

I'm quite happy to have found a couple of winners that are organic, or at least quite natural. I feel organic skincare gotten a long way and the choices are sometimes overwhelming. I still like to read reviews beforehand, or read up on the ingredients before I try as 'organic' has become some kind of lucrative magicword these days.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

What happened to Last Year's Resolutions?

Last year I made a slightly ironic spin to some resolutions that were somewhat serious: 


An overview:

1. Taking my superfoods (here):
The superficial: I linked this resolution with a new eyecream from Nourish. I'll spare you the complete name but it has Kale inside. I really enjoyed this eyecream but somehow I have not repurchased yet. I think I will soon.
The deeper meaning: I was already on a good roll in the previous year but I continued taking my green juices meticiously. It might have been too much, which will connect to my next resolution.

2. Focus on Inner Beauty (here):
The Superficial: I've bought a holistic Flower Remedy from Californian blender Alexis Smart (more here). I love to repurchase but shipping costs are exuberant. Still debating...
The Deeper: getting closer to the big 4.0., getting single, photo/face-obsessed society & competing (sorry, but that sometimes how it is) with women who are becoming more & more 'flawless' can be a total B&*%. I'm not quite there yet so that resolution still stays in 2015.

3. Improving my French (here):
The Superficial: buying a buckload of French cosmetics: ✓, ✓ and another check. I refound my love for this online retailer who has sharper prices.
The Deeper: Another ✓ for improving language: I've lived in Barcelona for 2 months to go to a Spanish language school. Living in a metropole has always been a bucketlist thing and, though my Spanish kinda seeped down the last couple of months, I improved on it.

4. A New Cafeine Habit (here):
The Superficial: I think few people would say that they want to use more caffeine in the new year, but I'm talking anti-cellulite creams here. That's a serious business to stay perky upon.
The Deeper: I drank a lot of coffee and still do. I'm going to replace some cups with herbal tea to tone it down.

5. Cleaning Up (here):
The Superficial: Facial cleansing grains from quirky etsy-shops.
The Deeper: I always thought that getting closer to the dreadful 4.0 would include a sudden vigour into cleaning the house. In my case: not really (or really not). I just have to tackle this undesire with a sharper schedule and a good playlist on my headphone.

I'm gonna think of a new set of resolutions so you'll hear soon about them....

Ps: do you have some resolutions? Either superficial or deeper?

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Best of 2014: Makeup

Last year has been an adventure in makeup, and in beauty-stuff in general. I thought I finally had it figured out looking quite pretty...Then winter came and I gotten into the "why I look like this? I'm so healthy, use such great products, etc" phase. Either way,  makeup has helped me in getting my extra-pretty on in the good phase, and taking of the edges on the 'blah'-moments.


Blush:
Surratt, especially La Vie en Rose & Grisaille

I started out with a little number called "la Vie en Rose" and ended up with 4 more! I would say that Surratt makes the most unobtrusive blush around...I can either shade it in gently, or give it a bit of 80s exaggeration. Basically: LOVE.

Bronzer:
Ellis Faas Glow Up in S503.

Originally, I was send the wrong colour and tried it before I noticed (mind, Dutch shops are less forgiving on returning policies). I ended up loving this little number for being a supergorgeous bronzer, though the season for bronzing has not really arrived yet.


Foundation:
Edward Bess  Ultra Dewy Complexion Perfector
 Actually, a tinted moisturizer with the right kind of build-up level. My healthy lifestyle gave me the liberty to go lighter on foundation (until winter came...sight).

So for winter I went for Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer Fluid Foundation. It reminds me of Armani Designer Lift Foundation in terms of being powdery/velvety, only better. I don't have a full review yet but Monsieur Alex has a good review going on and foundation-pro The Beauty Professor too.

Powder:
Koh Gen Do Natural Lighting Powder
Light, airy and a beautiful finish without loosing radiance.

Concealer:
Dolce & Gabanna in Creamy has been both brilliant in concealing pesky spots as eliminating undereye circles.
I liked Charlotte Tilbury retoucher for blurring out undereye circles. But I'm still smitten with Givenchy Mr. Light.

Highlighter:
Charlotte Tilbury wins it on the liquid front.
Surratt is the perfect powder highlighter.

Primer
No real winners either. I'd be curious for By Terry Densiliss if only it was not claimed to be so fraganced.


Mascara:
Makeup Forever smoky Extravagant Mascara.....
I received a mini-size in the Sephora Happy Birthday set. I just love everything: from the way the brush is shaped to it's glossy but still 'grip-py' formula. I pair in over my lash-primer Kanebo Kate Maximizer in black (review here) which will keep my lashes long, strong and weatherproof until I take it off.

Eyeliner
Kanebo Kate Supersharp Liner
I rediscovered it again for being thin & foolproof for dummies like I am. Also, it stays on until you take it off.

Eyepencils:
Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayons
I still really like Pixi Endless but the Marc Jacobs wins by convenience: the twist-up formula!

Eyeshadow:
 Chanel Poésie
Chanel is not my ultimate eyeshadow formula around but I reached most for this palette for having the perfect balance of neutral colours.

Eyebrows:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde. The right colour for my light brows and the cream is a breeze to apply with the right brush.
 
Special Occasion:
Velours 'Are those Real' Fake Eyelashes
There are times a girl needs some extra flutter and these held up quite well with a bit of clear eyelash glue.


Lipstick:
Tom Ford Lips & Boys
The boys won from NARS female stars (Audacious): The formula is more my cup of tea, the packaging, and what about the brilliant selling point?

Lipgloss:
2014 was such a lipstick year but Marc Jacobs Lust for Life Lip Vinyl won me over for feeling so minty fresh and having that superb multisparkle that only a lipgloss can really pull off.

Nails:

Burberry nails in Nude Pink has been my favourite for being so effortlessly neutral, having good coverage and a longer wear than most nailpolishes.
 
 In general, I have had some changes since my Best of Makeup 2013, but I still love plenty from that year. I rotate my Koh Gen Do Maifanshi foundation and the RBR Time Defying foundation with my newer loves. NARS concealer is still one of my favourites.
 I somewhat lost my love for organic makeup, which I made up in skincare. I did try out some newer formulas and I still rely on Kjaer Weis & RMS Uncover when my skin is acting up. I hope to find some newer organic makeup loves in 2015 so I can have a cleaner choice when I want/need to.