Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Something old, something...flu?

Now for an illustration. Somewhat fluey, mildly hungover, in need of comfort both physical and psychological = '90s throwback RMS face. Because if you're going to go brown, you may as well go brown.

Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow
RMS Beauty 'un' cover-up 11 under eyes
RMS Magnetic eyeshadow over lid and lower lashline
RMS Rapture lip2cheek on lips and cheeks
Shu Eye Light Pencil matte white on lower waterline, natch
Shu H9 eyebrow pencil Stone Grey
Shu Mascara Basic (DC) (being propped up by an RMS lid)

90s Day, natural light

Just for fun, Outfit (I did the plaid and lingerie things, sadly no DMs remained. Also, I washed my hair. Hey, I had to go out.)

Shoes were an Anthro sale score, comfy/quirky enough that they're authentic in spirit. Ahem.

Slightly amped up for night-time, with three additional products
 RBR Long-lasting eye pencil Lola smudged along outer halves of lashlines
Illamasqua Intrigue blush (I am still searching for the a matte ashy taupe contour shade that works for my pale skin -- in the meantime, reverse contouring (matte highlighting) will have to do
Hourglass Lash Lacquer over the Shu mascara

I also added extra coats of Magnetic on lids, Rapture on lips and white on the waterline

90s Night, artificial light
It looks like I have a darker matte on the outer half of my lid here; I don't, it's just a quirk of the lighting. Magnetic manages to both look very sheeny when it catches the light, and very subtle/muted when in shadow.

Monday, 2 January 2012

RMS Beauty Swatches

RMSBeauty is one of those slightly oddball brands I first read of on Londonmakeupgirl. As Grace writes, these organic, raw (no ingredients heated above body temperature), emollient products are a boon for sick days, lazy days and bitter wintry days, whenever they should strike.

As winter deepens, I reach for these more and more -- my skin is prone to eczema and despite assiduous (well, ...ish) care can still sometimes get chapped, flaky or even cracked from the cold and central heating. These RMS creams are actively moisturising (rather than simply not-drying) and feel comfortable to wear even when my skin is at its sulkiest. As this is usually also when I particularly need the pleasure and consolation of the ritual of playing with pigment to start the day, my small RMS collection has joined the likes of alphabetti, the Ankh-Morpork Watch, Cold Comfort Farm, Diana Wynne Jones, hot Ribena, pikelets, The Princess Bride, The Thin Man and fat Victorian novels as comfort-blanket essentials.

My Collection

Paper swatches, natural light

Natural light

Natural light with flash

Even my poor photography skills captured the creaminess of these pigments. <3 Please note that they never 'set' even on my very dry skin, which I personally love, but beware if you've very oily skin or are precious about makeup looking 'perfect' rather than sometimes undone and, well, organic.

Now onto the beef I have with Ms Swift -- the shade range. I think RMSBeauty has many affinities with Ellis Faas, including the whole 'human colours' thing (er... that'd be brown tones in everything then?) which I find beautiful in conception and bloody difficult to wear in practice. Although in fairness, RMS tries to avoid synthetic dyes, which may be a factor; my favourite shade, Smile, is the only one that currently contains a synthetic colour.

In particular, 'un' cover-up, the only concealer I'd even contemplate wearing over sore or irritated skin, comes in a whopping three shades, all of which are distinctly yellow-toned. You can see that the palest shade (11) is too yellow and a bit too dark for me, even as an undereye concealer; once sheered out so that the mismatch is less obvious, the coverage it offers becomes just nominal. I'm currently praying for a white mixer in the same rich, blendable formula.

RMSBeauty is stocked at Content, Cultbeauty and Dollyleo. I am not affiliated with any of these companies but have ordered from all three with no problems. Content at least also has an RMS display in the shop, so if you're in the area, you can try before you buy.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Eleven and Twelve

Happy New Year, everyone!

My beauty resolution for your future smirking and I-told-you-so-ing pleasure is to buy only twelve new beauty products in 2012.

If the blog still exists a year from now, it will be interesting to see whether I manage to stick to it, and if so, which things I regret buying or not buying. I've applied this one-a-month rule (staples and basics excluded) to clothes for the last four years out of five, with such success that I needed to relax it so that laundry day didn't roll around quite so tyrannously often...

In the meantime, here's my jump on the 'best eleven of 2011' meme bandwagon. All products were new to me this year, and the colour products were all released this year. Brushes/tools excluded as a separate 'favourites' post for those is in the works.

Group shot

Hourglass Film Noir Lash Lacqueur
Odd to have a gimmicky impulse buy turn into an essential staple, but this volumising, glossy black topcoat (v)amps up any mascara for night-time or more dramatic looks in a few slicks, without clumping, smudging or making my curl droop. Dispenses with the need to faff about with falsies, and easier to remove too.

Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant-Glow
Magical pore-minimising, skintone-evening, kind-to-flakies, glowy-but-not-dewy-or-god-forbid-sparkly potion. Nominally a 'skincare' product and usually marketed as a primer-with-benefits, in my opinion it is a platonic base that replaces foundation for everyday looks.

Suqqu Nuancing Loose Powder Natural
Single-handedly converting this lifelong powder-shunner, this blurs all the pesky minor flaws and textural issues (pores, fine lines) which it's not worth or even possible to hide using foundation/concealer. Setting to a natural skin-like finish, it is genuinely translucent, as undetectable on my skin as my NC40 friend's, and from what I hear, does a bang-up job at controlling oil too. Airbrush in a sleek black jar.
(The Glow version contains micro-shimmer, which makes it less flattering on flaky or bumpy dry skin, despite the tempting name.)

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-1
This is the best blemish concealer I've ever tried, and it helpfully runs pale enough for me to wear without mixing. Creamier and lighter in texture than other products offering comparative coverage (Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, Dermablend), it is therefore much easier to work with and more flattering to blemished skin which usually needs texture- as well as colour-correction.

Addiction Cheek Stick Revenge
blah favourite multi-purpose cream blush / matte lipstick ever blah

Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick 12 Hiwada 檜皮
Technically released in 2010 in Japan, this new lipstick formula only made it to the UK in spring. I had impossibly high hopes as the Blend and Creamy Lipsticks it displaced were two of my favourites, and this exceeded them. Emollient enough that I can skip lipbalm underneath even in winter and so richly pigmented that my very pink lips barely skew the shades, these were easily my favourite new lipstick in a year which saw so many new releases, such as Guerlain Rouge Automatique (an honourable mention), Chanel Rouge Coco Shine and Rouge Allure Velvet, Dior Addict, Shu Uemura Supreme Matte, Shiseido Shimmering Rouge, Burberry Lip Mist, Laura Mercier Gel Lip Colour, Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colour, Clinique Chubby Stick, Revlon Lip Butter, NARS Velvet Glossy Pencil...
I was forced kicking and screaming into this warm peachy nude by the Suqqu International Makeup Artist Kazumi Obayashi (who had learned from past makeovers of my deathly fear of such shades) and months later, a continent away from her sweetly evil grin, I still love it and the new colour-options it's opened up.

1. Fyrinnae Eyeshadow Madame and Eve's
My love for unique, complex glitters waged a long and bitter internecine war with my strong dislike for loose pigments before I finally succumbed to the lure of Fyrinnae earlier this year. Five orders and an overflowing drawer later, the first shade I added to my basket remains my favourite -- a complex blackened teal shimmer that shifts to bright violet at different angles. Honourable mentions go to Sacred, Bastet and Newcastle (the first golds I actually liked on me), Conjurer and Velvet Vampire (ditto, reds), Damn Paladins (cool taupe with icy blue duochrome) and Dokkálfar (blackened golden green). Their Pixie Epoxy primer is an essential.

2. Sonia Rykiel Quatre Eyeshadow 10
Blah blah again. Leapfrogged over my first purchase, no. 9, to become my favourite. The unusual colour combination of cool lilac, neutral silvery pink, warm blackened green and bronze compose my favourite neutrals-with-a-kick look.

3. Addiction Eyeshadow Concrete Jungle
and blah. You thought I was going to go for a glitter, but nohoho! Those who love grey shadows as I do will know just how elusive the perfect warm-grey-with-a-lavender-undertone is. Factor in Addiction's excellent texture (this time in a silky satin) and we have Instant Holy Grail.

4. Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Cream Eyeshadow Mirifique
Back in character now: glitter + cream = win! This is the sparkly black liner I've been searching for, like, forever. If I could revisit my angst-ridden teenaged self, I would bring much wisdoms regarding Boys, and a few pots of this.

5. Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow 07 Komorebi 木漏日
Released in Autumn 2011 and joining the permanent line-up along with its sister 08 Mizuaoi, this features two sheerish iridescent shimmers (the top left adding depth despite that, the top right functioning more like a traditional light-reflecting highlighter), a very pigmented satin liner (bottom left) and the standard matte powder primer shade (bottom right). While I love both quads, Komorebi's unusual pairing of clear orange-peach and soft leaf green with rich sepia is a better reflection of Suqqu's refined and consistently inspiring approach to colour.
For those familiar with the old Suqqu line, Komorebi and Mizuaoi seem to be updated versions of the 2008 Kirari collection quads (06 Touryoku, 07 Sousei and 08 Koucha).

Friday, 30 December 2011

Addiction by Ayako palettes

Reserving my strength to fight off impending post-Christmas lurgy so here's a brainless picture post introducing the Addiction palette system, and reswatches of the eyeshadows I own (you can see my counter swatches of the line here and Aurora Reflection swatches here).

Addiction make two kinds of palette: Compact Case I (¥1050) holds up to four eyeshadows or two blushes, and Compact Case II (¥1575) six eyeshadows and three blushes. Or of course, a mix: a blush pan is the size of two eyeshadow pans, as you may have gathered.

(More statements of the blindingly obvious ahead.)

I would usually chuck depots into a Z, Shu, ELF or MAC palette, but the thickness of Addiction pans make it impossible to close the lid on any of those. Just for reference, they do fit into a Yaby palette, but I prefer to reserve mine for travelling. And, well, these Addiction palettes are just sleeeeeeek.

Compact Case II, shiny black plastic, not too flimsy/light, pops open when you press the button:

But if you angle it right, the lid flashes ruby:
It opens up completely (to 180º) to reveal a generously-sized mirror in the lid and pin-sized holes in the base should you wish to pop your pans out again:
Similarly, the singles come with handy pinholes for your depotting convenience (think Shu pre Colour Atelier), requiring only two seconds and a bobby pin, and partial sobriety:

Poked through: the pans are loosely attached with glue, once again à la Shu (I made a po-em!)
Blushes (you can of course line up three pans horizontally)
1. Concrete Jungle (P)
2. Sandbar (P)
3. Neverland (ME)
4. Flash Back (ME)
5. Fudge (ME)
6. Pink Python (P)
7. Ice Storm (P)
8. Poetic (P)
9. Horizon (P)
10. Blue Moon (P)
11. Silent Scream (P)
12. Deep Forest (P)

Eyeshadow re-swatches
Natural light

Natural light with flash

Artificial light with flash

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Lip Brush Comparison pictures

The final set! You can see an index to the whole series by clicking the Comparisons tab at the top of the page.

brush comparison lip Shu Uemura 7HR, Boots No 7 Lipbrush, Hakuhodo Push-up flat BkA, Misako Portable, Illamasqua
brush comparison lip Shu Uemura 7HR, Boots No 7 Lipbrush, Hakuhodo Push-up flat BkA, Misako Portable, Illamasqua
brush comparison lip Shu Uemura 7HR, Boots No 7 Lipbrush, Hakuhodo Push-up flat BkA, Misako Portable, Illamasqua
brush comparison lip Shu Uemura 7HR, Boots No 7 Lipbrush, Hakuhodo Push-up flat BkA, Misako Portable, Illamasqua
1. Shu Uemura 7HR kolinsky, rounded angled (also excellent for cream eyeshadow and gel liner -- like a bigger, thinner version of the brush that comes with Chanel Illusion D'Ombre eyeshadows)
2. Boots No7 Lip synthetic, square
3. Hakuhodo Push-up flat BkA kolinsky, square -- closest analogue is the thicker Retractable GoS
4. Hakuhodo Misako Portable weasel, rounded -- closest analogue is the thicker, wider Kokutan RS
5. Illamasqua Lip synthetic, pointed

I am a lip-brush fiend, and use them to apply almost all lip colours (including glosses, stains and pencils). The two Hakuhodo brushes are far and away the best I have ever tried:
  • depositing colour evenly across the entire width of the brush without leaving any streaks at the outer edges
  • soft enough to glide over the lips without tugging and to blend with
  • firm enough to create precise shapes (very important if you dislike lip liners as I do)
  • don't gouge into the creamy moisturising formulas I like, while also effortlessly picking up colour from harder lipsticks
  • made from the highest quality natural hair-- they hold onto pigment without 'drinking' it in, so easier to clean and faster to dry than synthetics
  • all the little subtleties of heft and shape make them beautiful and comfortable to hold and use, and the generous lid design means you're never at risk of splaying the brushes while recapping.
The Non Blonde reports that Hakuhodo's English site (which ships internationally) will be restocking later today for the last time before their January 1st price increase, so I hope this comparison series will prove useful. For more, please click through to these excellent blogs, by far bigger Haku-heads than me:
Ars Aromatica
Delicate Hummingbird
Glossed in Translation
The Non Blonde

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Foundation matches

As you may have gathered, I'm pretty pale. Not porcelain, and far from the fairest person I know, but already too light to have a ready-made shade from MAC and many other mainstream brands.

Hopefully these swatches of some close-ish foundation matches will help both those looking for similar shades and anyone else looking to extrapolate from how colour products look on my face.

From left to right, they go from lightest coverage (medium) to heaviest (v. full). I personally don't have a use for very sheer foundations -- pigmented formulas can easily be sheered out, and if my skin doesn't need much coverage, I'd rather skip foundation altogether...

1. Illamasqua Skin Base SB02 neutral pink, medium coverage
2. Addiction Dewy Glow 01 Wafers neutral yellow, medium coverage
3. Nars Sheer Glow Siberia (my bottle spontaneously flung itself at the floor today, hence the Muji pot) cool yellow, medium+ coverage
4. Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet+ 15 neutral, med-full coverage
5. Paul&Joe Light Cream Foundation S 00 cool yellow, med-full coverage (NB this has been reformulated and now contains alcohol)
6. Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784 neutral yellow, full coverage
7. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory yellow, full coverage
8. Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Lady Fair neutral, very full coverage
9. Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-1 cool yellow, very full coverage

Swatches on white paper to bring out the undertone differences

 Arm swatches -- natural light

Arm swatches -- natural light, by window

Bear in mind these are very heavy swatches on my inner arm, which is paler than my face; once blended out the shade differences are less apparent.

However, being even persnickitier about foundations than I am about...everything else, even slight mismatches or textural flaws, like, make my heart ache, which is where this arsenal of primers and mixers come into play:

A. MAC Face&Body White for lightening liquids or water-based creams
B. Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Glow Liquid for darkening, and to add warmth and a sheen
C. RBR Sea of Tranquility to add pink and a sheen
D. RBR Sea of Clouds to lighten and add a sheen
E. RBR Metamorphoses Primer to create a satin-matte effect and conceal pores (I also love mixing this with eyeshadows and lipsticks)
F. Suqqu Makeup Base Creamy to add pink and help foundation apply over dry, flaky skin
G. Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow nominally a primer, I use this magical pore-perfecting, yellow-tinted cream instead of foundation, topped with some spot-concealer
H. Make Up For Ever HD Primer 5 Blue to cool shades down
I. Barry M Foundation Creme White for lightening thicker creams (this is much more pigmented than MAC F&B).

You'll notice that most of these add a glow -- it seems that paler shades tend to come in formulas which are really unforgiving to my dry skin.

A few other close-ish matches which aren't in my collection:
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation 00 Alabaster neutral pink, light-medium coverage
Illamasqua Light/Rich Liquid 115 cool pink, full coverage
Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream 13 neutral, full coverage (I've swatched over a hundred BB creams and this is my only match)
Sonia Rykiel Fresh Gel 10 yellow, medium coverage

In summer, at my most 'tanned', I can also swing:
Alima Satin Matte N0 neutral, medium coverage
Chantecaille Future Skin Porcelain neutral yellow, medium coverage
Dior Diorskin Forever Compact 010 yellow, full coverage
Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Bombshell neutral, very full coverage
Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Soft Porcelain yellow, medium+ coverage
Lunasol Water Cream OC-01 neutral-yellow, medium-full coverage
MAC Studio Sculpt NC15 neutral-yellow, medium coverage (about a shade paler than other MAC NC15's)
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream 001, cool but very yellow, full coverage

Sunday, 25 December 2011

December 25th

Happy Christmas to all those who celebrate it, and to everyone else, a fabulous and frivolous last week of the year!

This stack is pretty representative of my booty bountiful collection of gifts:

Although there were a few beauty treats as well:
The Addiction addiction rumbles on:
Fudge and Sandbar eyeshadows (previously swatched)
Amazing powder blush
3 x Compact Case II
Last Scene lipstick
Suspicious cheekstick

All much-loved staples in my rotation -- Chergui and Voleur de Roses are refills(!), Magazine Street and Russian Caravan Tea will displace my mess of decants.

A look inside A Stitch in Time Volume 2, the base of the stack above:
It reprints a selection of vintage ('30s through '50s) knitting patterns alongside updated versions in contemporary yarns, re-sized for modern frames.

I love that the original patterns are shown with smudges and all:

Of course, this very authenticity can make for some epic lulz:
Major props to that blonde model, who pulls off some of the wackier pieces with more aplomb than the original models...
Of course, there are also many pieces which were covet-at-first-sight, and I will be tracking down some yarn for these in the Boxing Day sales:
And this above all, one of the few patterns which have not been rejigged for a modern knitter's short attention span, but uses the original cobweb-weight yarn on 2.5mm needles.
Those who are familiar with Volume 1 will be glad to know that the sequel displays even more meticulous attention to detail, with an expanded size range and more complete schematic diagrams, as well as notes on achieving the 'authentic' fit for each decade and garment type
down to advice on period-appropriate button choice.

Christmas is a lazy family, food and telly affair for me, so no elaborate FOTD here. Being a contrarian (who frequently wears sparkly green eyeshadow and red lips to mark, say, a Tuesday...) I took retro and unseasonal inspiration from this Henry Clive painting:

all pictures in artificial light (sorry) without flash

Eye close-up -- I dispensed with the falsies, obviously, because lazee.

RBR Sea of Tranquility all over, everywhere!
Ellis Faas S201 concealer under eyes
Kevyn Aucoin SSE SX-1 on blemishes
Paul&Joe eye gloss 05 Rock&Roll, gold all over lid, dark blue in socket and along lashlines
P&J L'Horizon Bleu eyeshadow in Tranquility (LE) over the blue
Shu Uemura Mascara Basic (DC), with Hourglass Lash Lacquer on outer lashes only
Etude House Sweet Cherry Tint in Pink on lips, topped with lipbalm
Etude House Cream Choux Blusher in Miss Grape, topped with Shu Uemura M225 blush
(This combination didn't create the same strong 'pop' of lavender I wanted -- any product recs or application tips much appreciated. Perhaps it's just one of those looks that look better contrasted against darker skin...)