Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Makeover with Shu Uemura Wong Kar Wai collection

Recently, for my sins radiant beauty okay, can I have "hauling prowess" then?, I was offered a complimentary makeover at a Shu Uemura boutique. It's always interesting to see what someone else will do with your face and while I didn't like all my makeup artist's choices, I also picked up some useful tips, and had a fun hour chatting about makeup (offline! zomg).

The finished look (all pics in artificial light+flash)

The process
Preliminary chat established that I have dry skin, am not afraid of colour but hate shimmery lipsticks, and that she would otherwise have carte blanche.

I already wearing moisturiser and sunscreen, so skin was just spritzed lightly with Phyto-black Lift Radiance Boosting Lotion.

Face Architect Smooth Fit foundation 584 mixed 1:1 with UV Underbase Fluid Pink and patted on using a pentagon sponge. New Point Cealer in 7 Light under eyes, blended in with a synthetic 10 brush.

Wong Kar Wai Drowning in Flame palette: top two shades (the two leftmost shades in my swatch) layered over the lid and taken under the eyes, with more of the lighter purple concentrated in the centre of the upper lid. White-gold shimmer used to blend out the edges into the socket. All done using natural 10.
Colour Atelier Eyeshadow IR911 used to highlight inner corner, inner half of lower lashline and browbone -- applied using natural 12.
Liquid Eyeliner Pen for thin flicked line; Drawing Pencil M Black 01 to rim both waterlines.
Lashes curled with the legendary Shu eyelash curler and two coats of Ultimate Expression Mascara applied first to the topside of the lashes, then from underneath.
H9 Brow Pencil Seal Brown used to define brows -- she chose this to harmonise with the warm tones in the palette but recommended Stone Grey for cooler or neutral looks.

Radically different placements to balance out my very asymmetrical eyes:
natural light + flash

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sonia Rykiel Sublime Lipstick swatches part 1

Finally, a Japanese brand that a) makes only one line of lipsticks and b) did not saddle it with a fifty-syllable name.

Sonia Rykiel Sublime Lipsticks are balmy, lightweight, rose-scented and moisturising beauties which layer effortlessly to give a more opaque (but still glossy and somewhat translucent) look. They last surprisingly long (at least 4 hours of wear) and the brighter/darker shades leave a stain. Think of them as Dior Addicts but with actual moisturising properties, much smoother textures and better pigment.

The narrow design of the bullet makes mirror-less, straight-from-the-tube application easy, even for a lipbrush fiend like me.

30 permanent shades; each tube contains 4g and retails for HK$180 or ¥3465.

All swatches are two swipes each, pictures taken in bright store lighting. Some shades are shot through with microshimmer, which I've asterisked below.

closer looks

1* neutral orange
2 cool cherry pink-red
3 bright neutral pink
4 cool pink with slightly more purple in the base than 5
5* slightly lighter than 4, with silvery micro-shimmer
6* neutral soft pink
7 warm pinky coral

6 and 7 again
9 cool rosy peach
10* warm peachy pink (with the emphasis on pink)
12 browned rose
13* browned rose with micro-shimmer, warmer and with more red than 12
14 pinky peach (with the emphasis on peach), warmer and brighter than 7 or 9

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sonia Rykiel Quatre Eyeshadow swatches

So, remember how Sonia Rykiel was my newest addiction before my newest Addiction? (sorry, Laura!) I've been adding to my collection on the sly and everything has been a delight, so expect more reviews in the future.

Meanwhile, I swatched the permanent quads I don't own (...yet) in hopes that they'll be useful.

Each quad contains 3.2g and retails for HK$320 in Hong Kong or ¥5250 in Japan.
All swatches are one swipe each, all pictures taken in bright store lighting.

Quatre Eyeshadow 01
Quatre Eyeshadow 02

Quatre Eyeshadow 07

Quatre Eyeshadow 11

Swatches of 09 and 10 (my first two, which are home in London) will come when I'm reunited with them. Glossedintranslation's swatch of 09 can be seen here.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Colour swatches

Shiseido is a brand that is finally gaining some recognition among beauty junkies, but whose makeup still flies very much under the radar, if my usually somewhat forlorn counters are any indication. That is a crying shame, because while the makeup has always of good quality, the textures and colour combinations have been consistently exquisite and inspirational since Dick Page took over as artistic director.

These powder blushes and highlighters come in at a generous 6.5g each, with a usable portable brush and sleek black plastic compact. The shade selection is a tightly-edited line-up of wearable, elegant shades (no candied lavenders or flourescent oranges here), which err on the warm/muted side, and all shades are imbued with an extremely fine, pearly sheen.Texture-wise, they are so finely milled so as to feel like creams (and are some of the few powder blushes that are tolerable on my dry skin in winter) but my oily-skinned friends also report that these wear on them without fading or oxidising. Basically, they're bigger, better versions of Shu Uemura Glow Ons.

Not all shades are available in all markets. (If you ask me, not enough shades are available, full stop. I NEED MORE.) HK retail is $260 each.
Here are the shades at my counter, two swipes each.
BE206 Soft Beam Gold
GD809 Shell
OR308 Starfish
RS302 Tea Rose
RD401 Orchid
RD103 Petal
PK304 Carnation
PK107 Medusa

natural light
swatch Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color BE206 Soft Beam Gold GD809 Shell OR308 Starfish RS302 Tea Rose RD401 Orchid RD103 Petal PK304 Carnation PK107 Medusa

artificial light+flash (this is as shimmery as they can possibly look)
swatch Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color BE206 Soft Beam Gold GD809 Shell OR308 Starfish RS302 Tea Rose RD401 Orchid RD103 Petal PK304 Carnation PK107 Medusa

I'm sorry the Medusa swatch is barely visible on me -- I like to use it layered over other blushes to add an oysterish pink sheen. For a glimpse of its true beauty on someone darker, please check out temptalia's glowing (harhar) review.
Shiseido's WT905 High Beam White (swatched/blogged here) makes a better highlighter for me.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Esprique Mellow Forming Rouge Colour swatches

One of these click-pen lipsticks was my first purchase on this Hong Kong trip, and I remain a fan of the balmy, moisturising and pigmented formula. As their other fans seem to include the beauty editors of every glossy magazine I've flicked through as well as Asian youtuber Fuzkittie among many others, it's taken me a few weeks to find a counter that had been restocked with all the shades.

Today I've swatched the permanent shades in the more pigmented 'Colour' line -- two light swipes each. Swatches of the 'Glow' range (sheerer, with far more shimmer) are still to come.

Each lipstick is 1.8g and retails for HK$220.

artificial lighting
swatch Esprique Mellow Forming Rouge Color BE320, BE321, RD420, RD421, RD422, RD423, RO620, RO621, RO622, PK820

Full names:
BE320, BE321, RD420, RD421, RD422, RD423, RO620, RO621, RO622, PK820

Two new permanent shades, BE322 and PK821, were released today in Japan with the Winter 2011 collection, and should make it to Hong Kong eventually.

For my first impression review and FOTD with BE321 click here. In about six weeks I've used up about a third of this soft lipstick, so do bear the small size in mind.

For rougedeluxe's recent review and FOTD with RO620, click here.

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.