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Monday, 20 February 2012

Ellis Faas Paper Swatches: Lip and Cheek

Ellis Faas is a Dutch makeup artist whose line consists of instantly iconic silver bullets*, housing liquid pigments for face, lips and eyes.

The colour makeup consists of shades "that by nature exist in every human body," which seems to entail a great deal of warmth and brownish tones; I very much appreciate the aesthetic but personally find many of these shades tricky to wear. Hopefully these swatches will help save those of you without access to a counter some of the costly mistakes I made. (Of course, three years after blind-buying all of my Ellis Faas online, I now have about five counters within strolling distance...)

All pictures are taken in natural light without flash, click to enlarge.

Creamy Lips (£22 each) are incredibly pigmented lipstick-stain hybrids. They are unfortunately too drying and unforgivingly matte for my gnarly lips, but they are deeply fabulous flagship-type products, so I'll just envy those of you who can wear them. (And can work the 'showerhead' applicator of doom.)
Ellis Faas creamy lips swatch L101 Ellis red, L102, L103, L104, L105, L106, L107, L108, L109, 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109
(Sorry these are all kinds of uneven -- I find the amount dispensed by the sponges hard to control.)
L101 Ellis Red: neutral blood red
L102: cool vampy violet-red
L103: warm coral-red
L104: cool fuchsia
L105: warm chestnut with a hint of peach
L106: warm browned rose
L107: warm yellow-brown
L108: warm peachy beige
L109: warm yellow-beige

Milky Lips (£22 each) are the most like a traditional lipstick, albeit in liquid form -- and thankfully with a more conventional brush applicator (Lipstick Queen 15 minutes, Stila Lip Glazes, etc.) which works perfectly. This formula performs exactly like a very good lipstick on me: pigmented, setting to a satin finish, long-lasting and fading evenly to a soft stain. Don't be scared off by the 'liquid' aspect -- the Milky lips have far less slip and shine than Chanel Laques or Beaute Weightless Lip Cremes.
Ellis Faas lip swatch milky lips L201 Ellis Red, L202, L203 L204 L205 L206 L207 L208 L209, 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209
L201 Ellis Red: bright neutral-warm red (warmer than Chanel Dragon)
L202 slightly muted brick red
L203 warm burgundy with a browned base
L204 bright tangerine
L205 light soft peach
L206 medium warm rosy brown
L207 warm muted coral rose
L208 browned coral
L209 medium yellow-beige

Glazed Lips (£22 each) are my favourite gloss formula: again, pigmented (I very rarely layer lip products, and need things that can work on their own) but with a flattering jelly finish that disguises lip lines, absolutely unsticky light balm texture, a moderate and controllable amount of sheeniness. They last well on my lips (requiring a touch up after a meal) and keep my lips comfortably plumped and moisturised even in winter. And the most wearable shade-range for me paired with easy brush applicators. :D
Ellis Faas lip swatches glazed lips L301 Ellis Red L302 L303 L304 L305 L306 L307 L308 L309, 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309
L301 Ellis Red: bright orange-red
L302: deep cool taupe with the slight hint of plum
L303: clear neutral raspberry rose
L304: bright apricot
L305: rich saffron
L306: bright watermelon
L307: clear coral
L308: warm rose gold
L309 (not swatched) is clear.

Ellis Faas also make four shades of liquid Blush (£21 each), with a return to the showerhead sponge applicators. All four come in light gel/cream-to-powder finishes and are warmed by copious amounts of gold microshimmer (far beyond my personal tolerance level).
Ellis Faas blush swatch S301 S302 S303 S304

angled, in direct sunlight
Ellis Faas blush swatch S301 S302 S303 S304
S301: soft peachy beige
S302: warm coral pink
S303: rich bronze
S304: muted russet 

All of these products are scent/taste-free.

*Empty bullets can be recycled by returning to an Ellis Faas counter or posting to the addresses on their website -- proceeds will ultimately go to benefit the War Child charity.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Nars Gaiety review and comparisons

Nars Gaiety (new for spring, but permanent) is my second purchase of the year (the first was Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Pencil Calypso, swatched here). I decided to make it one of my twelve after running around swatching it against every other pink blush Selfridges had to offer, and turning up no 'dupes'. The closest -- Illamasqua's Katie and Nymph powders, and Sob and Laid creams, and the new Dior Rosy Glow -- were all much warmer once on the skin. I have been searching for years for a truly cool acid-pastel that would pop in true Japanese pop cultural style on my skin:
cover of TOMOTOMO June 2011

...and Gaiety, my dears, is it. Another selling point was the unusually silky, satin finish. I am not a fan of Nars textures in general (mattes can look chalky, shimmers rain down nightmarish glitter dandruff), but Gaiety swatched smoothly on my very parched winter skin and its subtle silvery sheen helps it retain that cool lavender undertone once applied. As soon as I swatched this, I remembered that Shiseido is Nars' parent company -- which, if you know of my adoration of Shiseido textures, is very high praise indeed.

Here it is against some of my other cool-ish pinks and lavenders.
All swatches are one-swipe (though the mix of textures skews things), pictured in natural light.
pink lavender blush swatch Etude House Miss Tangerine Cream Choux Blusher #4 Miss Grape, Becca Lip and Cheek Cream Rosebud, Rouge Bunny Rouge Gracilis, Shu Uemura Colour Atelier M225, Nars Gaiety, Addiction Amazing powder blush and cheek stick, Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow Liquifuchsia
pink lavender blush swatch Etude House Miss Tangerine Cream Choux Blusher #4 Miss Grape, Becca Lip and Cheek Cream Rosebud, Rouge Bunny Rouge Gracilis, Shu Uemura Colour Atelier M225, Nars Gaiety, Addiction Amazing powder blush and cheek stick, Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow Liquifuchsia
Etude House Miss Tangerine Cream Choux Blusher #4 Miss Grape
Becca Lip and Cheek Cream Rosebud (housed in a detachable Muji pill case)
Rouge Bunny Rouge Gracilis
Shu Uemura Colour Atelier M225
Nars Gaiety
Addiction Amazing powder blush and cheek stick
Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow Liquifuchsia

Blended swatches of Gaiety (applied with Suqqu Cheek Brush) against its closest shades:
pink blush swatch addiction amazing cheek stick nars gaiety kevyn aucoin liquifuchsia

London winter lighting being what it is, you may have to take my word for it that Liquifuchsia has a more reddish base, and Amazing lacks Gaiety's cool lavender undertone.
You've seen this look before -- for different angles and the product listing, click here.

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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Paul&Joe Meow! collection swatches

This collection was puzzlingly released in two parts. Three shades each of Face and Eye Colour CS (pressed trios) and Lipstick C in January, and the three epic kitty-head (now with added top-hat and vaguely disquieting smirk) Blusher Sticks and Matte Pressed Powder in Feburary. The full range is now available at counters in Harrods and Fenwicks, and online at beautybay.com and asos.com. Every item in this collection is limited edition.
All pictures taken in natural light, click to enlarge.

Visionary Beauty has already swatched/reviewed all three shades of Lipstick C (£16 each). Based on a quick play at the counter, I would agree that they are the sheer and the slightly waxy kind which usually ends up drying my lips out.

The Blusher Sticks (£21 each) were again fairly sheer and not particularly creamy (they have much less slip than the Addiction or Shiseido cheeksticks, let alone potted cream blushes by Illamasqua or Stila) -- satin-matte bases with visible shimmer. On my very dry skin, they dragged a bit upon application and tended to look uneven once built up -- possibly issues which normal or oily skin wouldn't experience. Each swatch is 4 layers, unblended.
Top to bottom:
001 Glamour Puss -- golden beige
002 Minou -- soft warm pink
003 Cat Fight -- warm coral-orange

Face and Eye Colour CS (£19.50 each) are pressed eyeshadow trios in gradational tones. You get a generous 12g in a pretty printed cardboard box. The textures of these were somewhat inconsistent. Siamese Please and Kittycat were smooth and highly pigmented (superior to P&J's permanent range in my opinion), but Purr-Fect was noticeably drier and much sheerer.

076 Siamese Please (one swipe each)
 
satin-matte beige
very pigmented metallic warm gold
pigmented chocolate brown satin base with silver glitter

077 Kittycat (one swipe each)
pigmented warm matte peachy beige
pigmented peachy pink satin with sparse silver shimmer
very pigmented warm plum  with silver glitter

078 Purr-Fect (three swipes each)
sheer ivory shimmery satin
sheerish sage green satin with sparse silvery shimmer
moderately pigmented greyed olive satin-matte with sparse silvery shimmer

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

Heresy

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

Looks
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.