Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Lipsticks Are Red

My love affair with makeup really began with red lipstick (one of my mother's or grandmother's Chanels or Elizabeth Ardens) dabbed onto my lips and cheeks before a dance or music recital, play, gala or competition. Histrionic hothoused upbringing, moi? Fie! And la! And *thirty-THREE fouettés en tournant*. Pursued by a bear.

Aaaanyway, red lips are still my default, and I beeline for these when exploring a new range. However, as love is also letting go, my wardrobe of reds experiences heartbreaking contractions as well as and as often as besotted expansions. In its current er...spasm, it consists of eighteen shades, which I've arranged in 'artistic' fashion:

Love is also endearingly inept?
Yeah, it's a marvel I don't pierce a cornea every time I apply eyeliner.

The creams (ish)
Lipstick swatch Revlon Fire&Ice Fire Ice Cherries In the Snow Besame Red Hot Red Addiction Last Scene Shiseido Dragon Perfect Rouge Suqqu Creamy Glow 18 Karakurenai Guerlain Rouge G Garconne Chanel Laque Dragon Rouge Allure Fatale
Lipstick swatch Revlon Fire&Ice Fire Ice Cherries In the Snow Besame Red Hot Red Addiction Last Scene Shiseido Dragon Perfect Rouge Suqqu Creamy Glow 18 Karakurenai Guerlain Rouge G Garconne Chanel Laque Dragon Rouge Allure Fatale
1. Revlon Super Lustrous Fire and Ice -- bright orange-red cream
2. Besamé Classic Colour Lipstick Red Hot Red (older formula) -- saturated warm red satin (vanilla-scented)
3. Addiction Colour Lipstick Last Scene -- soft warm red satin-matte
4. Shiseido Perfect Rouge RD514 Dragon -- rich, neutral-warm red satin
5. Suqqu Creamy Glow 18 Karakurenai -- bright, neutral red cream
6. Guerlain Rouge G Garçonne -- bright, slightly cool red satin (candied violet scent)
7. Chanel Rouge Allure Laque Dragon (discontinued. WTeverlivingF, Chanel.) -- sanguine lacquer
8. Chanel Rouge Allure Fatale -- muted, cool wine-red cream
9. Revlon Super Lustrous Cherries in the Snow -- bright fuchsia-red cream

The others
lip swatches gloss pencil stain rms rapture revlon in the red really red nars velvet matte pop life chanel extrait fatale sonia rykiel sublime 02 suqqu creamy glow moist ex-03 usubeni hourglass aura flush illamasqua intense follow

lip swatches gloss pencil stain rms rapture revlon in the red really red nars velvet matte pop life chanel extrait fatale sonia rykiel sublime 02 suqqu creamy glow moist ex-03 usubeni hourglass aura flush illamasqua intense follow
10. RMS Beauty lip2cheek Rapture -- muted neutral brick red satin-cream
11. Revlon Matte In the Red -- warm brick red matte
12. Revlon Matte Really Red -- bright, warm red matte (these are in Muji pillpots)
13. Nars Velvet Matte Pencil Pop Life -- warm coral-red matte
14. Chanel Rouge Alllure Extrait de Gloss Fatale -- true ruby red gloss
15. Sonia Rykiel Sublime 02 -- bright, cherry-red jelly (rose-scented)
16. Suqqu Creamy Glow Moist EX-03 Usubeni (LE) -- balmy pink-red sheer
17. Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain Flush -- pink-red matte stain (slightly minty)
18. Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss Follow -- pop-bright pink-red gloss (can be blotted to a satin, strong scent/taste of boiled sweets/hard candy)

All pictures taken in natural light and all shades are scent/taste-free unless otherwise specified. Sorry Hourglass looks so gross -- stains are tricky to swatch on dry skin.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Suqqu Blend Eyeshadow Quad 03 Matsukasa

According to the lovely ladies at the Suqqu counter, 03 Matsukasa (松球, pine cone) is by far their best-selling quad. It makes me a little sad that people choose this tonal brown palette over the more unconventional colour combinations, but hey, can't really argue with workhorse neutrals in Suqqu's unmatched formula. Or the Lisa Eldridge effect.
The shades in this quad are obviously no-brainer stand-bys for many, but it took the brilliance of the Suqqu International Makeup Artist Kazumi Obayashi to sell such warm browns to me. Even now, I wear it rarely, and mostly on cool and overcast days, when its muted elegance seems right.
Swatches in natural light (sunny), one swipe each
From dark to light: 
rich matte chocolate (slightly more yellow- than red-based), pigmented
warm coppery bronze satin, v. pigmented
neutral sandy-silvery taupe satin (only marginally more shimmery than the bronze on the skin), pigmented
neutral matte ivory base/primer, pigmented

Layered swatches, natural light (sunny)
Left to right:
  1. all shades
  2. dark brown + bronze
  3. dark brown + taupe
  4. bronze + taupe
This is the least shimmery of all the permanent Suqqu quads in my collection, by design -- it looks and wears like the plushest velvet and reflects the light (because all Suqqu eyeshadows work this flattering magic on skin texture) in a soft, rich glow, rather than the sparkling iridescence of Mizuaoi, or the airy smoke of Keshizumi.

I usually wear Matsukasa in a smokey vertical gradation, with the darkest shade at the lashline, blending up and out to the lightest.
closeup with flash
I usually need to offset such uncompromising warmth on the eyes with cooler cheeks and lips -- for which my new toy Nars Gaiety and slightly older toy Guerlain Rouge G Girly come in handy.
Other products: KATE gel eyeliner BK-1, Shu H9 brow pencil Stone Grey, Helena Rubinstein Feline Blacks wp mascara, RBR Sea of Clouds, usual base (Shu SP/KA SSE/EF).

And an experimental, soft tonal look, with the ivory packed over the lid, taupe mixed with a little of the bronze in the socket, and the matte chocolate to line. To create a more rounded eyeshape (I usually prefer to elongate), I for once didn't join the upper and lower lash liner at the outer corner, but separated them with a sharp white (Shu Uemura gel eyeliner M White).
Other products: Shu H9 Stone Grey, Helena Rubinstein Feline Blacks wp mascara, RBR blush Delicata, Addiction lipstick Last Scene, Ellis Faas concealer under eyes. Otherwise bare face (too cold and eczema-y for foundation).

Saturday, 11 February 2012

RBR Sweet Dust Seriema swatches and quick FOTD

As I've drivelled before, Rouge Bunny Rouge matte eyeshadows are my favourite formula evarrr. (It's insanely cold, piratical stylings help. But when don't they?) Creamy, pigmented, and extremely blendable -- one of the few powder formulas my dry lids can wear even in sub-zero temperatures.

They recently added two new shades to the lineup, Bashful Flamingo (described as 'a pale powder-pink') and Sweet Dust Seriema ('a cool dusty mauve taupe') which I of course snapped up immediately on Zuneta. As did quite a few of me hearties, which is why it's already sold out. No worries, it's permanent and should be restocked, hopefully before the 20% off code (ELLE20) expires on Feb 28th.

Sweet Dust Seriema rounds out my collection of RBR neutrals nicely. Here with Chestnut-napped Apalis, Papyrus Canary, Grey Go-away Lourie and Solstice Halcyon (the only non-matte in the village collage):

Swatches, one swipe with sponge in natural light (which was fading rapidly. Hence messiness.)

Compared with a random hodge-podge of stash neutrals (it really needs to be depotted to fit in):

  1. MAC Wedge (closer to Chestnut-napped Apalis, albeit warmer)
  2. Stila Fog (long, long dc'd)
  3. Shu Uemura M Brown 801 (2nd gen, dc'd)
  4. RBR Sweet Dust Seriema
  5. RBR Solstice Halcyon
  6. Addiction Concrete Jungle (see how grey it looks set against taupes?)
  7. BECCA Lamé
It's pretty much the matte, slightly cooler version of Solstice Halcyon, and the closest 'dupe' for Stila Fog I've found in a decade (with an even better texture than '90s Stila :D), though SDS has more mauve and less brown than Fog.

(Because some will ask: this purchase doesn't count as one of my twelve of this year, because it's a replacement for Wedge. Project One Pan, if you like...)

An incredibly basic look, thrown on the morning SDS landed on my doorstep: SDS all over the lid and under the eye sits as a perfectly unobtrustive neutral on my skintone, the perfect setting for the obnoxious yellow of Shu gel liner Citrine on the inner corner with lemony Suqqu eyeshadow single 12 Usukiiro (dc) to blend. GOSH white kohl on waterline, Helena Rubinstein Feline Blacks mascara, Shu H9 brow pencil Seal Brown.
Other products: Guerlain Rouge G Garçonne, RBR Gracilis blush. Lunasol concealer under eyes.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick paper swatches

Sensai Colours is a luxury line from the Kanebo stable, launched in 2008 and aimed at more mature women. Consequently, most of their makeup products seem to include skincare properties -- specifically, anti-ageing, based around their 'signature' ingredient koishimaru silk.

The Lipstick is their 'flagship' formula, retailing at a breathtaking £40 in the UK and $55 in the US. (Is there some kind of definite article mark-up?) The patter promises that the lipsticks improve the look and condition of lips both upon immediate application and boost their capacity for self-repair with prolonged wear. But more to the point, The Non-Blonde rates it as one of the best around

Paper swatches, in natural light
Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick swatch 01 Suou // 05 Benikinu // 06 Niiro // 09 Tsuyabeni // 10 Hiwada 11 Kurumi // 12 Sugiro // 13 Momiji // 15 Murasaki // 16 Rindou 17 Aya // 18 Koubai // 19 Sawarabi // 20 Sumire // 21 Shirafuji
01 Suou // 05 Benikinu // 06 Niiro // 09 Tsuyabeni // 10 Hiwada*
11 Kurumi // 12 Sugiro // 13 Momiji // 15 Murasaki // 16 Rindou
17 Aya // 18 Koubai // 19 Sawarabi // 20 Sumire // 21 Shirafuji

Here's a picture with flash taken a day after swatching, when all the creaminess has gone:
Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick swatch 01 Suou // 05 Benikinu // 06 Niiro // 09 Tsuyabeni // 10 Hiwada 11 Kurumi // 12 Sugiro // 13 Momiji // 15 Murasaki // 16 Rindou 17 Aya // 18 Koubai // 19 Sawarabi // 20 Sumire // 21 Shirafuji

You can see the golden micro-shimmer more clearly in some shades than others, but this is mostly just a quirk of the lighting. 10 Hiwada, is the only shade with visible shimmer once applied (see how much more densely-packed it is?). The other shades really do just leave a dimensional sheen on the lips, even to my shimmerphobe eye in direct sunlight.

In the UK, Kanebo Sensai has counters in Harrods and Selfridges.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Those of a sensitive disposition should probably look away now.

I wonder what these holes do?

Repeat seven times....

Left to Right (all are from the permanent Blend Colour Eyeshadow quad range):
01 Kakitsubata
02 Kokedama
07 Komorebi

(And yeah, I picked my klassiest Z-palette.)

Worry not, the whole process took less than five minutes and no heat, and these can be repotted at any time:

But it IS cool to see at a glance the differences between the base shades, or the various purples.

Now to work out what to do with the five older quads, with their peskily uneven pan sizes...
(Blend quad 10 Sakuragi, discontinued)

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Suqqu Blend Eyeshadow Quad 08 Mizuaoi

Released for Autumn 2011, 08 Mizuaoi (along with 07 Komorebi) joined the permanent line-up of Suqqu palettes but contains a slightly tweaked set of finishes from quads 01-06. The top left shade is a moderately pigmented iridescent shimmer, and the top right is a sheerer iridescent shimmer. The bottom left 'lining' shade is no longer a matte but a very pigmented satin, with very fine multi-tonal micro-shimmer. The bottom right is still the standard matte primer/base.
Overall, they give a more translucent, shimmery and complex look than the first six quads.

08 Mizuaoi 水葵 is named for the aquatic plant Monochoria korsakowii.
image from なごみの花屋さん blog, which has more.

In typical Suqqu fashion, the eyeshadows manage to convey not just the dusty purple shade of the flowers but also their aquatic setting, and how the play of light on water (the theme of a previous Suqqu collection, kirari) can refract the purple into shimmering facets of blue and pink.

Er... anyway. Swatches. As always, one swipe with a sponge applicator.
Natural light, sunny
angled to bring out multi-hued shimmer
natural light, shade
The purple is a pigmented satin with extremely fine pink and blue microshimmer scattered throughout. The blue has equally fine microshimmer, in various iridescent hues of blue and grey, with the occasional hint of pink. The pink has the largest shimmer particles (which are still very refined and completely undetectable by feel), distributed more sparsely within the oyster pink base, of yellow, green, copper and (very occasionally) blue. Each shade contains aspects of the others, and the play of light on water ripples back and forth between them.

Layered swatches, from left to right:
  1. all shades
  2. blue + pink
  3. purple + blue
  4. purple + pink
natural light with flash
natural light, shade

1. White as base, pink lightly all over the lid with purple to line. Blue very lightly in the inner corner and more heavily (with a firm brush) to line the bottom lashline. Basically, just like they did it in the ad.
Other products: Suqqu Cream Glow lipstick 02 Kyoganoko, Balancing Cheeks 01 Momozoe and Nuancing Loose Powder Natural. Helena Rubinstein Fatal Blacks wp mascara.
Usual base products: Shu SP, KA SSE, EF concealer, KATE brow gel.

2. A hazy look with all the shades smudged together all over the lid and taken under the eye, slightly more of the pink in the crease, and slightly more of the blue at the outer corner.
Other products: Suqqu Creamy Glow lipstick 06 Umegasumi, RBR Gracilis blush, Shiseido High Beam White highlighter, Helena Rubinstein Fatal Blacks wp mascara. Usual base.

3. A sharper look, going against the grain of the watercolour dreaminess of the quad -- I know this isn't ideal on my face/eyeshape (and I was deciding whether the keep/purge the blush and lip) but it does show how warm a look you can pull out of the quad, even when arbitrarily using all the shades for the purposes of a blog review...
Pink all over the lid, applied more heavily than in look #1 and brought higher up, with purple to line. Blue lightly in the middle of the lid and lower lashline.
(I promise the inner liner doesn't stop totally randomly, it fades into my crease with my eyes fully open.)
Other products: Addiction Suspicious cheekstick on lips and cheeks, RBR Sea of Tranquility highlighter, Helena Rubinstein Feline Blacks wp mascara. Usual base.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow Quads: 06 Ginbudou

The permanent Suqqu quads 01-06 all share the same combination and layout of textures. On the top row, a moderately-pigmented complex shimmer and a very pigmented darker satin-shimmer. On the bottom, two mattes: one pigmented 'lining' shade, the darkest in each palette, and one sheerish base/primer shade, the lightest.
06 Ginbudou (銀葡萄, silver grape) is more definitely purple than the dusty taupe Keshizumi. Elizabeth finds it more opulent, and while I would agree, I also find it more delicate at the same time. The gold in particular is one of those uniquely Suqqu-ish shades that simultaneously manages to achieve exquisite translucency (not the same thing as sheerness -- you will see from the swatch that it is well pigmented) and complexity, due to the ultra-refined combination of shimmer particles. Rather than creating a heavily gilded baroque or a sunny halo, it wears more airily, like a fine-spun filigree.

natural light, sunny

natural light, cloudy + flash

The purple is again on the warm side, but unlike the brown beneath the plum in Keshizumi, here it is warmed by lighter red tones to achieve a burgundy-ish wine shade. The gold is neutral and flash brings out the lighter, cooler white-gold and green reflects set in its soft, rich base. The grey is a cool gunmetal which takes on a silvery khaki tinge in certain lights (I should swatch it against Chanel Illusoire D'Ombre Epatant someday). All of these shades are warmed slightly by layering them over the matte ivory base.

Layered swatches again. From left to right:
  1. all shades
  2. purple + gold
  3. purple + grey
  4. gold + grey
natural light

artificial light + flash

And two simple looks, both going with the grain of the delicate sumptuousness of these shades.
1. Ivory as base, gold in the inner half of the lid and lower lashline, purple on outer half. Grey to blend out crease and smudge out lower lashline.
Other products: Suqqu Balancing Cheeks 03 Hinageshi and Creamy Glow Lipstick 06 Umegasumi. Shiseido High Beam White to highlight and Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen wp mascara.
Usual base makeup: Shu SP, KA SSE, Ellis Faas concealer, KATE brow gel.

2. A mixture of the gold+grey all over the lid, with more gold patted on at the centre and more grey on at the outer corner. Purple smudged along both lashlines, slightly winged both up and down, with more of the gold in between the wings. A touch of black liquid liner just at the very outer edge (Koji Linequeen).
Other products: Suqqu Creamy Glow Moist Lipstick EX-01 Sangoiro, Becca cream blush Rosebud, RBR Sea of Tranquility highlighter, Helena Rubinstein Feline Blacks wp mascara.
Usual base products.