Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Addiction by Ayako Aurora Reflection Eyeshadows

Belated swatches of all the shadows released in the Autumn 2011 collection, none of which I could resist after seeing them in real life. Hopefully you'll be able to see why...

Some product shots as an experiment; I'm not experienced in or skilled at taking photographs but as these are just that pretty in the pan.

052P Horizon -- dusty mauve with pale blue, gold and silver glitter

053P Poetic -- mint green with white and blue iridescence

054P Deep Forest -- forest green/teal duochrome with emerald green shimmer

055P Blue Moon -- bright cornflower blue with lighter blue and white sparkle

056P Pink Python -- blackened green with lime, pink and blue sparkle

057P Ice Storm -- icy blue with iridescent white and blue glitter

058P Silent Scream -- vivid grass green metallic with intense yellow-gold and pink shimmer

Each eyeshadow retails for ¥2100, all of these shades will join the core collection.
natural light
swatch Addiction eyeshadow 052P Horizon, 053P Poetic, 055P Blue Moon, 054P Deep Forest, 055P Blue Moon, 058P Silent Scream Aurora Reflection

natural light, sunny
swatch Addiction eyeshadow 052P Horizon, 053P Poetic, 055P Blue Moon, 054P Deep Forest, 055P Blue Moon, 058P Silent Scream Aurora Reflection

And some notes, because what are pictures without ALL TEH THOUSANDS OF WORDS? Poetic and Ice Storm are much sheerer than the others, and make pretty transparent veils alone or to add complexity patted over a more pigmented shadow (or cream base, or pencil).
Horizon and Ice Storm feature the largest shimmer particles, but they don't feel gritty or look unrefined at all. Ice Storm in particular, applies like a 'flakie' nail polish. I experience fallout with Horizon, but with none of the others in this collection.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday Scary to Simple

Not much gets me out of bed and into makeup during daylight hours on a Sunday, but dimsum happens to be top of that list. And as I helpfully woke up with a lunch date, a week's worth of sleep-deprivation showing around my eyes AND a derptastic O_o expression, I thought I'd traumatise you all with some before and afters featuring my new Lunasol concealers.

Product pics with some other base makeup

Swatches in natural light
(The Lunasol undereye concealer is layered heavily here -- it's not so dark once blended out.)

Kevyn Aucoin's Sensual Skin Enhancer is my holy grail face/blemish concealer. Full-coverage, creamy enough to blend but dry and long-lasting once set and an excellent match for my skintone in depth terms, while being slightly yellower (a cool yellow) to help cut redness. Only a miniscule amount is needed, which is why I packed a tiny decant instead of the full pot.

Because of the very dry skin under my eyes, and my dark circles and redness (partly genetic but also aggravated by insomnia and allergies), I need a separate concealer for that area. Chantecaille Total Concealer kind of fit the bill -- it's blendable, offers good (but not opaque) coverage, is yellow-based with some peachy warmth and a shade darker than my skintone -- I find going darker offers better coverage, mimics the natural shadow under the eyes and avoids both the reverse-panda look of too-pale concealer, and the unnaturally flat look of an exact match. Unfortunately as Hong Kong gets cooler, it's starting to look cakey and emphasise my fine dehydration lines throughout the day.

Lunasol is famous for their base makeup, and as they recently expanded the shade range of their concealers in my direction, I thought those'd be worth a shot.

Scary naked face

Scary close-up of eyes

With Lunasol Eyelid Base N 02 over upper lid

Lunasol Eyelid Base N (¥2940 for 2.5g) ROCKS. It's sheer and so creamy so that it blends out to invisibility using a fingertip and you think it can't possibly be doing anything until you step back and realise you look human all of a sudden. Unlike most eyelid primers/bases, it doesn't promise to control oil or mattify but emphasises hydration, correcting dark pigmentation, and helping eyeshadows to blend and last on ALL lids, not just oily ones. Shade 01 (the original) is better for shades NC20 and above.

With Lunasol Underyes Concealer 00 below eyes and on outer corner
Lunasol Undereyes Concealer (¥3150 for 6.5g, doefoot applicator) is... also very good. The best thing about it is the texture -- if you've ever tried Lunasol's cult classic Water Cream foundation, this shares its incredible spreadability, natural finish, and ability to keep skin looking plump and hydrated throughout the day. This shade (00) is a good, yellow-peachy colour that minimises the worst of my redness and bruisey-ness. It doesn't provide enough coverage for 'flawless' looks, but for simple day-to-day ones, I'm satisfied. There are two darker shades (01 and 02) and two colour-correctors too (yellow and orange).

You can purchase both Lunasol concealers from adambeauty.

To complete the look: curled lashes, a coat of good old Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus mascara and a slick of Addiction Cheek Stick in Revenge onto cheeks and lips.

Blended out, Kevyn Aucoin SSE on areas that needed it (the concealer-after-blush tip is from Lisa Eldrige) and brow powder added.

Probably not to everyone's taste, but I can only go so minimalist on the eyes without wanting to smear red blush all over mah face. Only tools used: Chanel curler, Shu 4R sable (to blend concealer), Illamasqua Highlighter brush (to blend cream blush). 

Lips were blended out with a pinkie finger because that's how glorious these Addiction cheeksticks are. As lipsticks, they are not at all drying while being matte and opaque in one coat -- the downside is that you will need to touch up after a meal, but they are normal-lipstick-sized so easy to bring along. Addiction officially kicks Lipstick Queen, Becca and Illamasqua's arses in the multi-purpose lip-and-cheek product contest. If you know of any other contenders though, please do share in the comments :)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

More Holiday 2011 Swatches: Suqqu, Jill Stuart, Chanel

SUQQU Christmas Collection (already out)
This is the only brand where the words "limited edition" cause me to reach for my diary (to draw little hearts around the release date of whatever-it-is) rather than roll my eyes and raise the cynicalest of eyebrows (my left, if you're wondering).

This year, they cruelly bundled two glorious taupe-based eyeshadow quads with SKINCARE. No mascara like last year, or delicate pigment like the year before. I raved, and fumed, and pre-ordered both anyway. And have no regrets. Both are delicately balanced on the cooler and warmer sides of neutral and should flatter a wide variety of skintones without being too predictable (ahem, Lunasol.) The textures are, as expected, perfection -- pigmented, smoother than silk, long-lasting and, used together, the subtle yet complex interplay of shades and levels of shimmer remind me again why Suqqu makes my favourite eyeshadows out there.

All swatches are one-swipe only.

Each set retails for £55 in the UK, ¥8400 in Japan. English site has full details.

Set A EX-05 Usumomokurumi
natural light with flash

ditto, angled to show the complexity of micro-shimmer lurking within

Set B EX-06 Usuchaori
natural light, no flash

I couldn't get a fuzzy shimmer shot of these, so reapplied and shook my hand violently in the bathroom. Artificial light+flash

Jill Stuart Fairy Garden Collection (already out) HK$620 or ¥7875 for the coffret.
I only swatched the eyeshadow palette (full details of the coffret on the JS Hong Kong site) as the gloss and powder were just shimmer on me. The colour combo is unusual and the SAs had pulled some lovely looks from it but the quad is typical Jill Stuart texture and quality -- strictly for fans of dry, sheerish and extremely glittery (and this is coming from me!) shadows. We will not speak of the perfume sachets. In fairness, the JS site design gives a better idea of their effect than any notes list could.

104 Fairy Opal. Three swipes each to build up colour and achieve even coverage.
natural light, no flash

 natural light, angled. Nope, still no flash.

Chanel Les Scintillances de Chanel
Lip products only, and only because I missed Triomphal last time. Hong Kong did not get Discretion Extrait de Gloss but everything else is here.
Fellow shimmerphobes: it breaks my Allure-loving heart but this collection is an utter disappointment. Everything is PACKED with shimmer, er, scintillance, that is visible on the lips even in foggy daylight (even if it's not always obvious in these pictures).

Empire is one swipe, Famous and Triomphal are two swipes each, Envirée and the glossimers needed three.

natural light

natural light, some weak sun

Friday, 11 November 2011

FOTD and reviews -- Addiction Dewy Glow foundation, KATE Art Dial mascara

Prepare for another bloated lets-see-how-many-pictures-I-can-fit-into-one-post exercise. To anyone reading this on your phone, I'm so sorry.

Addiction Dewy Glow Foundation (5 shades, ¥4725 for 30ml)
This was released in September 2011 and is Addiction's version of the moisturising, radiant foundations prevalent in Japanese autumn/winter collections. It provides SPF20 PA++ (bah) and contains rose centifolia extract and rosehip oil to boost moisture. Fragrance-free.
Nice hefty frosted glass jar, with a black screw-top lid. Very NARS, right down to the no-frills gaping-hole dispenser.

Addiction Dewy Glow Foundation 01 Wafers

It's an excellent paler-than-MAC, neutral shade. I've swatched it between Nars Sheer Glow Siberia and Addiction Tinted Moisturiser No. 1 (which a friend very kindly allowed me to try).
(As you can see, Ayako parted ways with François over the rubberised plastic filth-magnet material. Good call.)

Foundation ingredients
Translation is still a work in progress but it does contain mineral oil, silicones and alcohol (as the 7th ingredient down).

TM ingredients (English translation over at ratzillacosme)

Okay, no putting it off further. Here's my bare face with just eyeshadow done and curled lashes.
Note uneven pigmentation, red marks from eczema patches (forehead, nose) and cystic pimples (cheek, chin) past. Also I scalded my lip a few days ago.

With one layer of Dewy Glow foundation (applied with fingers).
It takes care of my blotchiness and minor imperfections (forehead marks) with concealer still needed under eyes and over the worst of the redness around nose, lips and cheeks if we're shooting for flawless; I would call this good, medium coverage.
The most impressive aspect of this foundation is the genuinely weightless feel and perfectly-balanced texture. My dry skin means that most foundations (e.g. Nars Sheer Glow, MUFE Face and Body, Chantecaille Future Skin) set almost immediately and start dragging and refusing to blend smoothly. The rich cream formulas I find most comfortable (Suqqu Frame Fix Cream, RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up, Laura Mercier Silk Creme) are too emollient and full-coverage to be slapped on quickly; while I personally find it quite soothing to 'feel' them on my face throughout the day in London winters, they are a no-go in summer and tropical/humid/hot climates like Hong Kong. Addiction hits the sweet spot -- it has enough slip to be extremely blendable but once set, it feels like bare skin both to wear and to touch.
On my dry skin, it doesn't offer much dew or glow but gives a balanced satiny, skin-like finish which does not change or budge through a fourteen-hour day, without powder.

With concealer (Lunasol Undereyes Base 00), KATE brow powder BK-5, Addiction Revenge powder blush and Boots 17 Mirror Shine lipstick in Belle:

KATE Art Dial Mascara (¥1680) More details on their site.
You may know that I'm a big fan of both KATE eye products (liners, shadows, brow stuff) and weirdness so when I spotted this new mascara on sale in a Tokyo drugstore, I pounced.
Consists of a dainty, flexible rubbery comb applicator atop a sleek plastic click-tube full of glossy black lash-juice.

The click-mechanism works very well (and sounds satisfyingly clicky. I hate it when clicks are all miserly and muted) -- no extra product continues to ooze out after you stop turning the dial.
4 clicks pretty much loads up the comb

size/shape comparison with my beloved Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus (R)

My eye with Addiction Horizon on lid, Concrete Jungle in outer v/crease, Deep Forest smudged over KATE gel liner BK-1 to line the upper lashline and Silent Scream on its own to line the lower. Lashes curled with Chanel curler.

With one coat of KATE Art Dial mascara (and flash)
Lashes are thickened, a glossy black, and more defined. Look not for curl, the curl is gone. Yeah. Dealbreaker for me. If you have naturally curly lashes or ones which don't wilt from 95% of mascaras, this is worth a try. The applicator is very well designed and user-friendly and it really does allow you to coat on as much mascara as you want without layering or clumping. No fibres as far as I could tell. I experienced no smudging, fading or irritation, but a little flaking -- and that could purely be because I committed the cardinal sin of re-curling AFTER mascara.
With mascara, recurled

Shouldn't have bothered. By lunchtime they were poker-straight again, and by the end of the day:
artificial light+flash
(but hey, look how vibrant and in-place those Addiction eyeshadows still are!)

And here's the full-face at the end of the day. I look Dewier-Glowier (and sallowier) not because the foundation changed, but because the lighting did.
(artificial light+flash)

Review written on day 3 in-a-row of wearing this foundation. I'm normally sensitive to alcohol in any quantity, so we'll see. Cross some appendages for me, because it looks beautiful on.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Kose Addiction by Ayako eyeshadow swatches

Apologies for the rag-tag order of these and the dodgy lighting -- all swatches were made at various counters in Tokyo and Osaka and most pics taken in store lighting.

Labelling was done during bouts of insomnia and I apologise for any misnomers. You can see the proper shade names on the Addiction site. For more information about this exclusive-to-Japan brand, see glossedintranslation, who also has a wider range of swatches. and red hair. and frankly, an excess of pretty.

I've supplemented the pictures with some shade descriptions if I felt that certain nuances weren't showing up, or if the actual finishes differed quite a bit from the official categories of M(atte), ME(tallic), P(earl) or S(parkle). Feel free to send any further questions by email or comment form and I'll try my best to answer them.

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 042P Screen, 043P Yesterday, 044P Tiny Dancer, 032ME North Star, 034P Cigarette, 027P Concrete Jungle, 001M Paper Doll, 002P Sugar Angel, 003S Snow Magic, 004S Snow Bouquet, 005S Snow Bird, 006S Snow Venus, 007M Beige

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 042P Screen, 043P Yesterday, 044P Tiny Dancer, 032ME North Star, 034P Cigarette, 027P Concrete Jungle, 001M Paper Doll, 002P Sugar Angel 
042P Screen
043P Yesterday
044P Tiny Dancer -- satin grey base with pink microshimmer
032ME North Star
034P Cigarette
027P Concrete Jungle -- actually a barely satin matte
001M Paper Doll -- this was the smoothest of all the Addiction mattes
002P Sugar Angel 

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 003S Snow Magic, 004S Snow Bouquet, 005S Snow Bird, 006S Snow Venus, 007M Beige
003S Snow Magic -- clear gel-cream base with red, pink and silver glitter suspended in it
004S Snow Bouquet (not Banquet, wtf brain?) -- ditto, with pink, purple and gunmetal grey glitter
005S Snow Bird -- ditto, yellowy gold, pale green and pink glitter
006S Snow Venus -- ditto, cool gold, silver and pink glitter
007M Beige -- actually a very finely milled satin with more glow than Concrete Jungle (P)

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 031ME Neverland, 025M Alice, 026M Missa, 028ME Shangri-La, 029ME Arabian Ruby, 050P Mystic Mirage, 051M Midnight Oasis, 045P Bad Romance,  023P Star Vega, 024P Star Sirius, 022P Stardust, 021ME Crow, 020P Keshi, 019M Joker

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 031ME Neverland, 025M Alice, 026M Missa, 028ME Shangri-La, 029ME Arabian Ruby, 050P Mystic Mirage, 051M Midnight Oasis, 045P Bad Romance
031ME Neverland -- intense metallic blackened green
025M Alice
026M Missa -- tricky texture, needed 4 swipes to look even
028ME Shangri-La 
029ME Arabian Ruby -- drier and patchier than other Addiction ME shades
050P Mystic Mirage -- a slightly gritty rose pink with silver glitter
051M Midnight Oasis -- not quite as uncompromisingly matte as Nars Outremer but superior in every other way
045P Bad Romance

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 023P Star Vega, 024P Star Sirius, 022P Stardust, 021ME Crow, 020P Keshi, 019M Joker
023P Star Vega -- matte black base with warm violet glitter (drier and chalkier than the next two)
024P Star Sirius -- matte black base with blue glitter
022P Stardust -- ditto, silver glitter
021ME Crow -- sadly most of this shade's complexity stays in the pan
020P Keshi -- a grey-based, slightly less intense cousin to Crow
019M Joker -- neutral-warm matte black (Chimney is the cooler, sootier option). Disregard stray glitter pollution.

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 033ME Morning Moon, 047P Out of Africa, 048P Safari Mode, 040M Chimney, 041P Twig, 013M Truffle, 014M Chocolat, 016P Dolce Vita, 017ME Fudge,   008ME Ice Wall, 010P Magic Flute, 011P Sandbar

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 033ME Morning Moon, 047P Out of Africa, 048P Safari Mode, 040M Chimney, 041P Twig, 013M Truffle, 014M Chocolat, 016P Dolce Vita, 017ME Fudge
033ME Morning Moon
047P Out of Africa 
048P Safari Mode -- like Out of Africa, a beautifully smooth satin
040M Chimney -- cooler matte black than Joker, with slightly smoother texture
041P Twig
013M Truffle -- beautiful smooth-textured warm brown
014M Chocolat -- difficult to swatch evenly, a little dry
016P Dolce Vita
017ME Fudge -- the best texture out of all the Addiction eyeshadows I felt -- molten creamy bronze

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 013M Truffle, 014M Chocolat, 016P Dolce Vita, 017ME Fudge,  008ME Ice Wall, 010P Magic Flute, 011P Sandbar
Truffle, Chocolat, Dolce Vita and Fudge again (because neutrals can be sexy)
008ME Ice Wall -- palest cool ivory metallic
010P Magic Flute -- beautiful subtle-yet-sophisticated satin, somewhat overshadowed by...
011P Sandbar -- there is an exquisite and complex sheen to this in real life, a platonic lid shade. 

swatch Addiction eyeshadow 035P Thriller, 030ME Flash Back, 049P Singita, 015P Nostalgia, 018P Baghdad Café, 009P Sandcastles, 012ME Rigoletto
035P Thriller -- dark green with silver, blue and red glitter
030ME Flash Back -- glorious neutral taupe. My introduction to the brand and the reason Addiction was at the top of my counters-to-check-out-in-Japan list.
049P Singita 
015P Nostalgia -- warm peachy-brown with silver glitter (somewhat gritty)
018P Baghdad Café
009P Sandcastles
012ME Rigoletto -- another pitch-perfect shade name in a brand full of 'em

(I missed out Earth Wind. Please don't whip me -- I have this condition, blindness-to-warm-browns.)

UPDATE: I swatched the Autumn 2011 Aurora Reflection eyeshadows (which join the permanent line-up) here, and reswatched the shades I own (Concrete Jungle, Flash Back, Fudge, Neverland and Sandbar) here.