Friday, 13 July 2012

Silk Naturals Lip Balm, Stain and Gloss

From vampin' to whinin':

I think these are the first all-out negative reviews I've written -- not because of any bloggy principles but simply because I don't usually buy new formulas until I've done extensive (and geekily enjoyable) research, slurped the brains of like-minded beauty lovers or my known makeup-nemeses opposites! etc. and am pretty sure it will be to my taste.

This time, lured in by Silk Naturals' lowlowprices and my own batty 'well, I'm paying shipping for skincare anyway' and 'ooh, they have proper swatches on-site! How progressive' logic, I decided that maybe Research Was Overrated....
Joy Kissable Lip Cream // Doll Lip Stain // Smooth&Full Black Label Lip Treatment // Raspberry Gingerale Organic Lip Balm

Let's start with the best of a bad bunch: Joy Kissable Lip Cream ($4.99) is marketed as a stick gloss but is more of a tinted jelly-cream finish balm; and I purchased it in hopes of finding a cheaper replacement for my beloved Fresh Sugar tinted balms. This shade is described as coral on the site; in the tube it looks like a soft pinky-peach, but its sheerness means that two good layers still gives a decidedly pink look on my very cool-toned lips:

It's a very pretty shade, but the formula is simply awful on me: there is both too much slip, resulting in a messy, uneven application (that continues to migrate at will all around your face throughout the day for, organically not-trying-too-hard look?) and no actual moisturisation -- it makes my lip lines and chapped bits look worse than many lipsticks would. [Yes, I tried it with a lipbrush, still went patchy. And I don't want to be using a lipbrush with a sheer tinted balm anyway.]
Also, personal bugbear: the scent is pure sickly vanilla coconutty cocoa horror. And it lingers.

The Black Label Smooth&Full Lip Treatment ($5.95) shares the same slim black twist-up tube packaging and coconut cookie stench scent/taste as the Kissable Cream, and is only marginally more moisturising. As a daytime balm, it lacks SPF and the taste makes me want to heave. Used overnight (waiting until I about to fall asleep to smoosh some on to sidestep the gag-reflex), it would leave me with entirely dried-out, beginning-to-peel lips by morning.

[Petty sidenote because I am mean when my lips are chapped: shoddy packaging. These paper-covered black plastic applicators do not retract, and considering how slippy these formulas are, they get messy very quickly. The product picture above was taken one day after they arrived. I carried Joy around in my makeup bag as I do with all my lip-products-of-the-day and left the Smooth&Full balm in my bedside drawer; they still managed to look bedraggled in the process.]

The other balm in my haul, Organic Lipbalm in Raspberry Gingerale flavour ($3.75, but mine came as a GWP) is neck-and-neck with the pricier Black Label one -- it tastes comparatively delicious (sweet-but-not-sickly fizzy berries) BUT is also less moisturising, failing even as a daytime top-up balm for me. A mere five minutes after application, it is gone without leaving even a whisper of plumped-lipness -- I managed to get through a good 1/3 of the tube over a single week of testing, and the condition of my lips improved not one whit.
I'm afraid the main points in its favour are: pretty and retractable twist-up packaging, inoffensive scent, freebie!!eleventyone [I LOVE freebies. Can't help. Is Asian.]

Finally, Doll Lip Stain (3.5ml for $4.50), which looked like a potential replacement for my Beauté Harlot stain (love the shade, tastes like soap, doesn't go on my dry lips quite as evenly as I'd like....)
note how close this white-paper swatch is to the one on Silk Naturals' site :)
Well, I love this shade and it doesn't taste like soap..... Unfortunately it took me three layers, about 10 minutes and a lot of swearing at the doefoot to get....this:
freshly applied, three layers, damned if I was going to spend more time at this game
Then, after letting it set for a whole hour unmolested, I sipped daintily at one measly glass of water before retouching with the Raspberry Gingerale balm. Leaving me with this:
Optimistic ray of sunshine that I am, I figured this would at least be easier to remove than the Beauté stain, which usually gives an overeager 48 hours of wear, unasked. But after two rounds  of my usual remove-everything Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil, I was left with THIS. Indelibly. For the next forty-eight hours (so yay, cheap Beauté dupe?)
I don't think this particular spin on the ombre lips trend is going to take off.....
So, research? Soooo not overrated.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Vamp and Vagaries

If you know me from makeupalley or skim through my pinboards, you'll probably know I've been on the prowl for The Perfect Vamp for a good while. An appetite sharpened in summer by images like these, setting the balanced vampy lips off against yellow-based neutrals:
After swatching every vaguely close shade from ArtDeco to Za, and a few disastrous attempts at frankening-my-own [I have whatever the opposite of an artistic temperament is -- my usual attempts at mixing lipsticks results in vampy sludge; the minute I try to get vampy sludge? NADA.] Anyway, blah blah, flung self on mercy of birthday gods, added Addiction Vamp to my order, praying that it would do what it said on the tin.

It did.
with flash
Vamp features the perfect balance of plum/brown/red/black tones, as smoothly saturated yet glowingly matte as all of Addiction's C (colour) lipsticks, does not budge once on (lasts through drinks/snacks, fades evenly to a stain after a hearty meal) and while being as weightless as a stain, doesn't dry my extremely picky lips out. Texture and performance aside, The finish is appropriately vampy, pitched between an uncouth flat matte and a too-lush cushy velvet.

This was two layers, applied with a Hakuhodo Misako Portable lipbrush.

On the eyes, brainless smokey with THREE Eye Rock pencil blended up from lashline with Shiseido Caviar cream eyeshadow on waterline. Tiny bit of warmth from Burberry Earthy in socket. Lancome Hypnose Drama WP mascara.
Apologies for terrible lighting. The shimmer is more complex and apparent IRL.

Now I was uncharacteristically hesitant about the next bit of this post, but in the spirit of publish&bedamned or, like, spontaneity or sprezzatura or summat: conniptions resulting from attempt to dress this look. (Close window now if you don't want to see ridiculous amount of poses and clotheses.)

I wanted something summery and retro-ish and girly/über-femme to play off against the stark makeup; the exact something was trickier. (Fortunately, to offset my hilariously inartistic eye, I have the uncanny ability to perform a full costume change in under ten seconds while leaving makeup prisitine and hair no more dishevelled than is its nature -- the face pics above were taken after all this.)

1. and 2.
The blue/red thing is a hangover from the day before, when I wore blue/red makeup and black clothes. My mind likes to be lazy. The second is better than the first, but both were too femme-formal and not girly enough.
left: Kitterick shirt // Reiss skirt // vintage belt // Clarks shoes
right: EQ:IQ top // Whistles skirt // vintage belt // Pedder Red shoes

3. and 4.
I liked how the deep red skirt [which has pockets, as all skirts should] brought out the red in the lips, so gave it a few more retro spins, with cropped tops in a lighter blue this time, and pink:
left: Topshop bralet // Whistles skirt // Pedder Red shoes
right: diy cropped cardi // Whistles skirt // Pedder Red shoes
5. and 6.
Then I thought maybe going with the sombre lips was not quite the thing and a more summery twist of corally/watermelony red would be kickier:
left: COS cardigan // Topshop bralet // Jill Stuart skirt // Pedder Red shoes
right: Uniqlo tank // Topshop bralet // Jill Stuart skirt // Clarks shoes // derpiest face yet

7. and 8. 
Around this time I started feeling like a parody of myself and grasped frantically at the opposite of blue&red -- yellow&green. Nah, it didn't make sense at the time either.
left: diy cropped cardi // Pageboy skirt // Repetto sandals // me realising it makes no sense
right: COS shirt // as know as de base trousers // Repetto sandals // shameface

9. The I Am Going To Be Late Now Aren't I Resolution
Schoolgirlish silhouette. Play on tones and textures, so in effect matchy-matchy with the makeup. Again.
COS shirt // Jill Stuart skirt // Pedder Red shoes
Black...and white. I'm a veritable fashion TRAILBLAZER so I am.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Chanel Rivière Look #5 / Last Look

A matchymatchy summery makeup 'n' outfit Extravaganza it's-summer-and-I'm-short-on-colour-combo-ideas-OKAY Of The Day.

The last, because I decided five goes was enough to establish that Rivière doesn't quite gel (har har) for me -- the shade is too soft and the texture too, a gentle ultra-fine shimmer, not the flattering sparkle that made me fall for the Illusion D'Ombre formula in the first place. It's gone to a dear friend who has promised to take it for walkies daily.

[Apologies for yellow smoggy lighting. Who knew I'd be pining to get back to my London 'light'?]

Rouge Bunny Rouge Fire-Tailed Sunbird all over lid with a Suqqu S brush with YSL Singulier WP mascara in 4 Vibrant Blue smudged upwards from the lashline on the same brush [a tip I read on makeupalley -- would not exactly recommend, though also not blind....] More mascara, on lashes this time. Chanel Rivière to liner lower lashline on a Chikuhodo Artist 6-1 brush, GOSH Velvet Touch eye pencil Purple Stain run lightly on waterline.
Shu Uemura H9 pencil Stone Grey on brows.

With harmonious corals on lips and cheeks: Jill Stuart Mix Blush 9 Little Bouquet and Ellis Faas Glazed Lips L307:
usual beauty base zero

Matchy matchy
buttons-up-the-back top: Lowry Farm // skirt: Reiss // shoes: Clarks // necklace: etsy

The blue shoes and purple liner are examples of the "hmm, what if we add this?" style of error exuberance! I am particularly prone to when minimalism is not on my mind.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

THREE Flash Performance Eyeliners

This is going to be a very shallow post. Which can basically be summed up as:
2. It's all her fault.

THREE is a luxury 'natural' brand sold exclusively in Japan. I first sampled the brand last year and have been pleased with everything so far.
But their Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil in 07 Eye Doll blew me away. Incredibly complex duochrome shade, hands-down the smoothest, most blendable cream texture I've ever felt, and once set, it withstood a sweltering June day in Singapore with aplomb. APLOMB I SAY.

Of course I went back for more. Because it's basically obligatory to have three of anything from this brand, right?
Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencils are made in Germany and retail for ¥3150 each.

The family, so far... looking a bit nuclear. I really should make it a commune.
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil

Sleek, understated packaging. As SoLonelyInGorgeous wrote, the smudger end (right) works brilliantly.

Subtle colour stripes up the back to identify shades without uncapping.
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil

Swatches! None of which are layered. These are SO PIGMENTED. 
04 Eye Belong -- jewelled blurple with cornflower, cool gold and bright pink shimmer
05 Eye Rock -- blackened green with hot pink, gold, lime and turquoise sparkles
07 Eye Doll -- duochrome olive/pink metallic, the smoothest of the three [think Deborah Lippmann's Sugar Daddy polish]
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil swatches 04 Eye Belong 05 Eye Rock 07 Eye Doll
paper swatch, natural light

THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil swatches 04 Eye Belong 05 Eye Rock 07 Eye Doll
natural light, shade
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil swatches 04 Eye Belong 05 Eye Rock 07 Eye Doll
natural light, full sun
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil swatches 04 Eye Belong 05 Eye Rock 07 Eye Doll
dark room, flash
My comments on texture basically amount to a puddle of drool. These are the Suqqu Creamy Glow lipsticks [which, remember, total holy grail] of eyelinerdom. They blend, not like butter, but like water. Or air. Or nothing. They skate over your skin by themselves and perform a quadruple axle with APLOMB. Before making you dinner.

Reader, I married them.*

*No puppies or former wives were harmed in the making of these eyeliners. As far as I know. I'm pretty sure some kind of pact with the devil was involved though. Had to have been.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge -- Makeup Colours Edition

Another jump on Yumeko's bandwagon. Because it's fun :D

1. Black
Apart from the expected mascara (Lancôme Hypnôse Drama WP) and liners (Geisha Ink and KATE Super sharp), I actually don't have much black in my collection -- Addiction Pink Python is as close as I tend to get, a blackened green with lime, pink and icy blue sparkles.
This trip I added: Shiseido Shimmering Eye Colour BK912 Caviar, a creamy black with glistening silver shimmer; the complex orange microshimmer-infused soot from the OR302 Fire trio; and Addiction Vamp lipstick, which is more black than red, brown or purple (other Abe Lincoln vamp hunters will know how rare that is). also note to self: moisturise hands AFTER meme next time.
OPI polishes: big bottle is Lincoln Park After Dark, my go-to vampy that goes everywhere with me; mini is Obscurity, a matte black for stamping, French tips or 1920s half moon stuff.

2. Brown
This one really is tricky, bad Yumeko, Y U no choose green? Rouge Bunny Rouge Bohemian Waxwing eyeshadow refill and Burberry Earthy blush and Midnight Brown eyeshadow are all recent acquisitions you've seen. Marcelle Cream Eyeshadow + Liner in Taupe du Jour and BCL Browlash EX eyebrow pen/powder in Natural Brown are even more recent ones you haven't. The only brown I brought with me was the reddened shade from Suqqu's EX-07 Lilac Allure quad.

3. White
Hakuhodo Pointed Yachiyo family: Large, Medium 'n' Small (M&S are freshly washed and still in need need of grooming)
Polish: Deborah Lippmann Amazing Grace, a thick white gel-cream.
Powders: matte white base from Suqqu 02 Kokedama; Shiseido High Beam White highlighter.
Pencils: the white from Shu Uemura Energy Flow, GOSH White kohl for that 90s waterline look, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil Milk (because a kind friend took pity on my mud-scrabbliness and sent it to me to try.)
de(Pot): MAC Face&Body foundation White.

4. Orange (the Colour of the Year)
Because I can't see a bandwagon without jumping on it....
Eyes: Shu Uemura G 251 and the orange crayon from Energy Flow this time, Rouge Bunny Rouge Fire-Tailed Sunbird, the burnt terracotta from Shisedo Fire.
Cheeks: Illamasqua Lover, for the perfect peaches and cream flush.
Lips: YSL Glossy Stain #9, a fiery orange-red; Hourglass Muse, juiciest orange-coral; Ellis Faas Glazed Lips L307, clear cantaloupe.
Oddities: Hakuhodo Misako Portable lip brush, with their trademark vermilion handles, and BurnOut Ocean Tested sunscreen, my latest discovery.

5. Red (the most popular colour in your collection)
Pots: Majolica Majorca Blood On lip&cheek tint (came in yesterday's surprise parcel, thank you dear S!) and Estee Lauder DoubleWear Cream Eyeshadow Vintage Violet -- really a deep glowing burgundy.
Pan: Laduree Pressed Cheek Colour #11.
Tube: Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss Follow.
Pens: Addiction Lady of the Lake pencil, Kryolan Skinliner 31.
Sticks: Burberry Hibiscus (deep pinked red); Addiction Monroe Walk (bright slightly cool red) and Revenge cheek stick (pink-coral red).
Bottle: OPI Quarter of a Cent-Cherry, supremely flattering for me, a slightly deeper than bright, and slightly cooler than true crimson.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

My Minimalism: Drivel

[So belated, omg, how dare paralysing laziness life interfere with blogging schedule etc. etc. Anyway:]

Before we start, some totally idiosyncratic&arbitrary ground rules:
Because in my experience of minimalism (or maybe just minimalists :P) in other fields, it very easily leads to over-serious emperors-new-clothes pretension and pomposity, and a humourless 'whose less is the most more' aesthetic wank-off. Makeup is an applied art, and I'm using 'minimalism' to describe a style of makeup as worn, not a style of makeup ownership or curation. It is not about what you own (or even really what you use -- depending on skills, needs, cultural norms and many other things Beauty Base Zero in particular can take zero products or ten), it's about complete makeup looks.

More on the applied art needs to be applied and applicable thing: I'm not sure what the makeup equivalent is of those elegant minimalist chairs whose faultlessly clean lines repel any human arse that attempts to sit in them -- but we'll have none of that either. To expand my ground-rule a bit: minimalism describes the overall effect of the makeup look on the face it's, well, on.

After all, minimalism, unlike minimal or 'the bare minimum' [beauty base zero] or plain simple makeup, is an exercise in deliberate restraint. The face (bone structure, colouring, vibe) sets the most fundamental restraints (but only the most fundamental ones -- we're not talking Colour Me Beautiful dictates or deepset-eyes-must-stick-to-shimmery-pale-shades stuff here); beyond that it's a matter of judgement and choice of the colours, textures and shapes of the products applied.
So far so duh, right?

Minimalism is also, for me, a statement of active repudiationBecause my minimalism is pretty much the opposite of naturalism; at its extreme naturalistic makeup aims to be totally invisible whereas minimalistic makeup foregrounds itself: "O hai, I'm makeup, minimalistic makeup." [Roger Moore voice optional.] That's the statement part. By 'active repudiation' I mean that minimalism is a negative art -- it's not just 'I happened not to use three different shades of eyeshadow today', it has to signal a deliberate refusal of some kind, a pronounced absence of complex eyeshadow, or careful placement, or another existing style of makeup etc.

This doesn't mean a ban on bright or 'unnatural' colour; in fact one of the easiest ways to create a makeup negative is to use a very strong positive for contrast:
one bold element emphasises the bareness of the rest of the face: negative space
Those are examples of strong minimalism to me: they use makeup to say 'no' to makeup itself as a carefully balanced creation that enhances. As it's a spectrum not an absolute, my minimalism also encompasses weaker versions, which may incorporate more than just one element of strong makeup at a time. (Probably clearest to think of music here, where minimalism doesn't mean 'one note' either. literally.)

These weaker versions tend to be more careful exercises in restraint, to repudiate specific aspects of makeup: a more qualified 'no'. Examples:
white replaces black: a neat total negative
With a standard black wing, coupled with the rounded warm lip and bare lower lashline, this look tips too easily into 'retro'. But because it conforms so exactly to those conventions, except for the total reversal of black into white, it ends up saying such a specific 'no' to that expectation that it becomes minimalist in my books. If the white liner wasn't a wing but an undefined squiggle, it probably would still be minimalist, but a weaker form, because it doesn't invoke something to refuse it as decisively.

Remember the Pat McGrath/Anna Sui look I copied for my minimalist looks post? It still qualifies as minimalist to me but less so than the white liner look:
Blue isn't the opposite of black in the same way as white (though the brightness of this cobalt helps -- a dark navy liner would be even harder to spin into minimalism), so it needs more of a 'bare' lip to work. The dot helps rather than hinders because it also draws us further from any 'retro' wing connotations, but mainly because it makes the look overall refuse the usual aims of makeup to either make one look 'grown up/polished' or 'younger/fresher'.

To reinforce the my-minimalism-sets-no-limit-on-colour thing, here are some more bright blue looks, which are not minimalist // probably minimalist // definitely minimalist to me:

Genres are a language, they have to be relational: this is X which means not-Y and not-Z. 'Minmalism', like any style, couldn't exist if it was the only style. It's not an attempted refusal of 'style' (or any form of coherent composition) as such -- that is what the leftmost image (Beth Ditto for MAC) shoots for, and why it is not minimalist. It works too hard at dissonance.
The middle image (from a So-En editorial) sits closer to my idea of minimalism but the rightmost makeup by Linda Cantello is the most minimalist to me because of its unity in shape, tone and effect which make its clean lines, blocky shapes and high-contrast colour (as opposed to the MAC promo) work in easy coherence.

A degree of coherence is needed because one of my ground rules was that minimalism describes a whole look -- it says 'no' but it has to be a coherent 'no', e.g. the bolder the use of just one colour, the stronger a 'no' it says to all other colours:
monotonal minimalism
By colour I mean finish and undertone as well as shade: I realised after a while that all the pictures going into the minimalism folder used mattes, creams and glosses -- smooth, unified textures -- absolutely no glitter or shimmer, or duochrome or iridescence (okay last two technically colour effects, I know, but). [This is why one of the no-brainer products in my personal minimalist palette was the Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Gloss -- such a clever ready made yes-no statement: all texture, no colour -- and why I sacrificed my usual beloved sparklies.]

But the coherence also has to be easy (or at least give that effect) in order to constitute a minimalist look. Too much tying together and balancing of elements starts looking a bit too careful, a bit too perfectly harmonious, a bit too much like work:

Based on an informal makeupalley poll, most people seem to find the last image in this set (right) closer to their idea of minimalism than the first image in the last set (left):

To me they're reversed, because even without the falsies and gold on the lower lashline, the image on the right looks too calculated -- if only just. It would probably strike me as minimalist without the nails; it's a balancing act, this avoiding too much balance thing :P The left is more minimalist to me, not despite of but because there's more visible product on the face, because its visibility is heightened by the slapdash unblendedness and the organic placement, it forms a stronger refusal of the usual makeup conventions (in placement as well as balanced colour).

Ah, placement and shape. One final line to be drawn between non-/minimalist, and then we can draw a line under all this drivel. I promise. Organic/imprecise shapes don't always add up to a minimalist look, just as graphic/bold ones don't:
organic eyeshadow washes and monotonal looks -- one minimalist, the other elegant
The Dick Page Shiseido creation (right) is elegant rather than minimalistic. The old Chanel chestnut has it that elegance is refusal, but what the Shiseido look does is less negative and far subtler. Its pinks don't say 'no' to other colours the way the blacks do in the Ksenia Komleva test (left -- okay, it helps that she's practising her 'no' sneer too); its hazy shapes don't refuse precision so much as make it irrelevant: overall this look seems to evoke the organic inevitability of vivid pink petals blooming overnight. 

Sorry, wax purple much? See, I think the real reason the Shiseido image isn't minimalist to me is because I can't not-see the artistry in it -- the rarest kind, that makes a definite colour look seem natural. We've come full circle -- as I said at the beginning, naturalism (the pretty, flattering, enhancing, invisible-to-muggles school of makeup) is the opposite to my kind of minimalism:

Totally the result of spending way too much time looking at pictures of makeup, but I can't not-see the effort that went into looks like this: they read as more laboured and less minimalistic than any of the other looks I posted above.

Obviously, throughout I've been talking about the effect of effort these (professional) images convey to me, not how much ackshual work/thought/art/blah went into them. Or even product -- they're are built on perfected but passably 'bare' skin to my eyes in 2012, but the 'natural' contour techniques and browned lips of the 90s looked genuinely, admirably 'invisible' to me back then too -- it's a mistake to think that colour makeup dates but beauty base zero endures.

In practice, on my face and with my nowhere-near-professional skills, I do need to limit the brute number of products used to keep a look minimalist. (Specifically, three or fewer colour products, and no more than one of each kind.)

Also in practice, this amount of wankery is totally unnecessary and often actively unhelpful, so I'll leave you with a look from a few months ago, when 'minimalism' wasn't a concept that remotely attracted me, and I trashed this as a failure of an attempt at organic colourblocking. Of course, it turns out to fit my idea of minimalism exactly, without any deliberation at all.
eyes: Illamasqua Rude cream blush // cheeks: RBR Sea of Clouds, Becca Rosebud cream blush // lips: NARS Pop Life

In conclusion: thinking gives you wrinkles. We'll have no more of that.

Thanks for bearing with my brain sploodge, please step carefully to avoid getting it on your shoes. In particular, I'd like to give a shout-out to all the wise and wonderful people who've left comments, sent me emails and chatted with me on makeupalley as I was refining(ha!) my babble. In particular, to J., Rose, Jeanine, MattieB, roxina and proximity: this post would've been even messier without you.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Beauty Base Zero Products

Being the stuff what I use to fake human.

Incidentally, for the ...three? of you who don't know: 'Beauty Base Zero' comes from The Hunger Games trilogy and describes a perfected but pre-styled 'bare face'. Ultra-natural, like.

We all know that depending on season, sleep-deprivation and skin-nightmarishness (not to mention all the other bad things beginning with 's'), 'zero' can take a lot more work than seems fair. I personally also find it, like skincare, basically just a dull necessity, so my approach involves spending a lot of time testing aaaall the products to find the ones that take no time at all to apply, and do all the work themselves (since they go on before the coffee's kicked in), and do it reliably day after day after day.

Current favourites, in order of application:
  • base: Kiss Mat Chiffon UV Base Moist 01
  • undereye concealer: Burberry Sheer Luminous Concealer 01 Light Beige
  • spot concealer: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 (depot)
Kiss (not to be confused with Kiss Me Heroine Make) is a girly Japanese drugstore brand owned by Isehan (who, okay, also own KMHM as well as Sunkiller, Sudahafit, Elizabeth and Heavy Rotation). They're most famous for their Mat Chiffon range of primers and powders, which which have ranked highly on @cosme for years.

The UV Moist Base released in 2011 is a matte-but-moisturising [actually satiny], very sheerly tinted primer which promises major pore-coverage and to prolong the wear-time of makeup. It contains hyaluronic acid, no fragrance or alcohol, and has an SPF26 PA++ rating. There are two shades, and I estimate the cut-off point to be ≤NC20 // ≥NC25.
¥1680 for 37g in a sanitary plastic pump bottle, made in Japan. (For oilier skins, there's UV Whitening Base N.)

One pump of UV Moist Base 01 looks scarily dark at first...

...but with blending (which is easy, it's a lovely light gel-cream texture with lots of slip)...

....pretty invisible, right?

Scary macro face close-up (the after also features Burberry concealer under eyes):
The base's peachy tone is great at evening out redness in particular, and the high-silicone content is magic on pores. It sets to a satiny but perfectly skin-like finish, remains exactly so through a 16-hour day in 30ºC and high humidity. In extreme close-up you can see 'texture' around my nose but believe me, this is as good as any product looks there, such is my skin. I live with a tradeoff between redness or textural issues.

The close-up should also illustrate the magical texture of the Burberry concealer pen, applied under my eye all the way to the patch of redness at the outer corner and patted in with a finger. Sheer Luminous Concealer (2.5ml for £26) while containing no sparkle/shimmer does bounce the light away effectively from my fine lines and chicken skin. In fact, it's the only concealer I've tried that not only doesn't make my skin texture look worse, but actively makes it look better. It's unique in combining impressive moisturising* properties (more moisturising than Ellis Faas, ByTerry, YSL) with a sets-to-nothing creaseless finish that's most comparable to Armani's cult High Precision Retouch (sadly too drying for me) or Lunasol's Under Eyes Base (just unworkably dark).
*I actually bought it after a Burberry MA applied it to my drier-than-the-desert lips as an eraser... and it looked and felt as nice as a weightless Japanese lipbalm.

The Burberry pen replaces these products in my wardrobe:
  • Lunasol Under Eyes Base 00 (review/swatch)
  • Ellis Faas concealer S201 (my constantly-repurchased favourite for the last few years)
  • Bobbi Brown corrector in Light Bisque

A bonus is that the Burberry brush and click-mechanism are both far superior to those on the Ellis Faas pen. The Burberry brush is finer overall and also in terms of the individual hairs; it's almost impossible to get this to streak even when I deliberately attempted (it should actually be evident in the swatch the EF and Lunasol stripes are slightly less even than the Burberry). One click always dispenses the same amount, and dispenses it neatly and immediately.

While ostensibly offering less coverage (light) than Ellis Faas' medium+, The Burberry shade incorporates the right salmon tones to work like an inbuilt corrector for my (current) circles, boosting the coverage in practice up to medium. 
It's basically what you'd get by layering Ellis Faas' cool yellow over Bobbi Brown's bisque:

Shadewise, I've found through trial and error always to opt for an undereye concealer that's darker than my skintone (within reason: half a shade up to a shade darker, let's not stray too far from our beauty-base-zero concept....) which also means less product for more coverage. And therefore, no need for setting, less potential for creasing and as close as we can get to uniting minimal effect with minimal effort.

Here they are compared with my face concealer, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01, which is as exact a match [absolutely NO going darker or heaven forfend! lighter with face concealer] as I've ever found ready-made, though a little yellower than my face -- just a little, enough to deal with reddened blemishes without looking like jaundiced dots.

Like the Burberry pen, I love the Kevyn Aucoin concealer not only for its shade but for its uniquely effective texture: like rich whipped cream. Other products that provide this level of hardcore coverage are either aridly dry (all pigment, no base) or so claggy-creamy (lots of pigment AND lots of base) they often require a lot of work and expertise to even get out of the jar let alone blend to skinlike invisibility -- far more than I can manage on a good day, let alone a bad one. This stuff, I can just dab on, press in with a warm finger tip or damp beautyblender, and let it set on its own in the next minute or so. (Oilier skins may need to set with powder -- push&roll, don't buff&sweep.)

Magical texture, magical finish: somehow, this deliciously rich, blendable concoction never looks creamy on the skin -- really, who wants to oil up and shine a spotlight on a blemish? -- or like anything, but, well, skin. Based on raves from makeupalley (where this cult product has retained an unflaggingly high rating in ten years since its launch), it seems to work for a wide range of skintypes, so if you are combo/oily, please don't be scared off by my overuse of the word 'creamy'.

[Please note KA SSE has a somewhat powdery floral fragrance but its main scent is the 'creaminess' of the ingredients.]

So that's my current Beauty Base Zero stash, with somethings new, and something old (but definitely of cult status). Next post: many things borrowed and a few things blue.

Kiss Me Mat Chiffon UV Base Moist (my translation):
Cyclomethicone, water, zinc oxide, polymethyl methylacrylate, diglycerol, dipropylene glycol, PEG-9 dimethicone, dimethicone, distearylammonium hectorite, chamomile extract, sodium hyaluronate, rice bran oil, water-soluble collagen, rice bran sphingoglycolipid, sodium citrate, triethylhexanoin, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, aluminium hydroxide, methicone, trimethylsiloxy silicic acid, stearic acid, (Dimethicone / vinyl dimethicone) cross polymer, butylene glycol, Polyquaternium -51, glycerin, polyglyceryl-10 diisostearate, capric/caprylic triglyceride, lecithin, titanium dioxide, talc, iron oxide

Burberry Concealer

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (via
Mineral Oil, Polybutene, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Polyethylene, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Calcium Carbonate, Dextrin Palmitate, Honey, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Beeswax, Butylene Glycol, Cholesterol, Lecithin, Talc, Triethylhexanoin, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum). May Contain (+/-): Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77491).