Saturday, 21 July 2012

YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation swatches / reviewlet

***for this review bear in mind I'm currently at my most tanned: just on the lighter side of MAC NC/W15)

Le Teint Touche Éclat is YSL's new flagship foundation, to cash in on match their cult bestselling Touche Éclat brightener/concealer click pen. It comes in 22 shades, divided into three undertones (pink beige rose BR, neutral beige B and yellow beige doré BD), and retails for £28 for a standard 30ml in a glass pump bottle, with yon expected YSL gold blingy cap.

In the UK this is out by now at all the usual places (Boots, Selfridges, Debenhams, John Lewis, House of Fraser etc.) and a week's sample is yours for the asking. I noticed when testing the palest shades that the depths are staggered between the three undertones: Beige Rose (pink) runs palest, Beige Dore (yellow) darkest. I'm not sure if this difference carries on into darker shades [anyone care to weigh in via comments?] but there is a huge gulf between the three 10 shades:
swatch foundation YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat BR10 B10 BD10 Laura Mercier Silk Ivory

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory as a reference, then YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat BR10, B10 and BD10. In my opinion, B10 is more of a warm yellow than neutral and B10 is very warm yellow (both are much warmer than the yellow in LM Soft Ivory), while BR10 is less cool pink than neutral peach, but still warmer and a hair darker than Soft Ivory.

The top pic (with flash) shows that the YSL finish is a lot dewier than Silk Creme's satin-matte, while the bottom pic (natural light) displays Silk Creme's superiority at evening out skin texture (see how bumpy the three YSL swatches seem next to it?)

As the YSL official blahblah has it,
With no opaque powders, its perfecting texture evens the complexion and helps conceal your imperfections, while enhancing your skin’s natural beauty.
  • Illuminating foundation. Dimensional radiance. Weightless perfection. 
....and that's pretty much the case. It's a fairly watery-gel formula which offers sheer (just about buildable to light-medium) coverage and gives a healthy skin-like finish on my very dry skin, so on most it would translate as glowy if not all-out dewy.
In my opinion, Le Teint Touche Éclat is pretty meh. It doesn't feel radically weightless like Estée Lauder Invisible and does absolutely nothing for skin texture. It's true I've been spoilt lately being able to dabble in all the exquisite future-tech Japanese formulations in Hong Kong, but I honestly
don't think this YSL offering even measures up against a really good Western drugstore formula like Bourjois Healthy Mix (which offers more coverage while looking and feeling just as light on the skin).
For me, the strong synthetic 'cucumber' scent (which lingers for a few hours after application) is another point against it.

YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat foundation ingredients

In practice:
Bare face
'Fortuntely' my post-25hr-flight is somewhat bumpy and spotty, with helpful flaky and ruddy bits:

Wearing YSL Beige B10, applied with a flat paddle foundation brush: it evens out my skin slightly without really doing anything for the actual blemishes (red spots in middle of eyebrows, cheek and chin are still as obvious) or even the more serious patches of uneven pigmentation on my nose. Separate blemish-concealer definitely needed.

A more natural distance shows the mismatch between my face and neck with this shade: I would eyeball it as somewhere between NC15-20.

A better match for me currently (tanned for summer, remember) is Beige Rose BR10, which I would peg as a more neutral shade a little lighter than MAC NW15:
(I added spot concealer as needed here, pic is just to illustrate shade match, not coverage)

As it's functioning as our reference, and also as it's my perfect match right now (I usually have to mix with white/pink): Laura Mercier Silk Creme in Soft Ivory, offering far more coverage than the YSL without looking unnatural.
no spot-concealing needed, redness go bye-bye!
no floating head syndrome, woot!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Red & Blue with Addiction & THREE

The blue in question is THREE Flash Performance Liner 04 Eye Belong (original swatch); here's how it sits against some other blurple liners I own:
THREE Flash Performance Liner 04 Eye Belong swatch comparison GOSH Love that Purple, Purple Stain, RBR Vera
GOSH Waterproof Eyeshadow Love that Purple is a creamy, twist-up eyeshadow/liner a la By Terry / Topshop and Laura Mercier. It's the truest purple of the bunch, with a smooth texture and an ultra-fine sparse pink microshimmery sheen that makes is look warmer in the shade (bottom pic). 
Purple Stain is another GOSH shade, from their Velvet Touch eyeliner range. Are you can see, it's rather uneven and tends to separate into orchid base and bluer sheen. (This shade is not representative of the Velvet Touches, which are generally excellent: smoothly pigmented, blendable and long-lasting.)
THREE Eye Belong is a platonic complex blurple satin base with cornflower, pink and cool gold shimmer; it manages to be at once the smoothest/creamiest and most texturally interesting and most uniformly pigmented.
As the shaded (bottom) picture shows, Rouge Bunny Rouge Vera Eye Kohl (earlier swatch) shares a blackened base with Eye Belong, but precious little else. Although it has a definite purple iris tone and subtle metallic sheen, next to Eye Belong Vera looks almost like a flat navy. Oooold readers may remember that this kohl was the one that converted me to all pencil liners late last year; it's always a bit sad when a new favourite supplants a reigning one but I have to say the otherworldly THREE texture makes the RBR kohl feel almost dry in contrast. (However, unlike the shimmery THREE, Vera is waterline safe, and it definitely retains a place in my stash and my heart.)

It turned out the closest thing in my collection to Eye Belong is Fyrinnae Shinigami, except that Eye Belong looks even more complex (those who are familiar with Fyrinnae sparklies will know just how radical that is) because it adds pale gold to the mix of pink and blue glitter, and because the glitter stands out more from the base (again, not in a way you can feel -- no grittiness here):
Although Shinigami isn't one of Fyrinnae's Arcane Magic shades, it still shifts significantly depending on lighting conditions: in the bottom picture (warm afternoon sunlight) its warmth is more apparent in contrast to Eye Belong.

Next, reds, both from Addiction's C (colour) Lipstick range: Last Scene (soft, warm but still somewhat clear) and Monroe Walk (bright, clear, slightly cooler than neutral):
Addiction lipstick swatch Last Scene Monroe Walk reds
(Despite the bright glossifying lighting in this picture, in reality both are satin-matte.)

Some comparisons, mainly with Lancôme Colour Design Matte lipsticks, my former favourite matte formula:
red lipstick swatches Addiction Monroe Walk Lancome Corset Red Haute Suqqu Karakurenai
Addiction Monroe Walk is closest to Lancôme Red Haute but it's brighter and slightly less cool: its pinky undertone is a slightly warmer, more coral version, and has affinities too with Lancôme's Corset, which is warmer still and more rosily muted. Suqqu Creamy Glow Karakurenai is closest to my idea of the perfect neutral red, so swatched for reference, to show up the brightness and pinkness of the other three.

red lipstick swatches Addiction Last Scene, RMS Rapture, Lancome Red Addiction, Revlon Fire and Ice
I don't own as many warm reds as I do cool, but hopefully enough to show that Lancôme Red Addiction is warmer and deeper (both in tone and saturation) than Addiction Last Scene. RMS Rapture is darker, warmer and browner still, for those 90s cravings, while Revlon's classic Fire & Ice is warmer (orange) but also lighter and pop-brighter.
(also, red swatches from this Feburary, which included Last Scene)

There are a few minor ways in which the Addiction mattes edge out the Lancôme ones for me: absolutely weightless, the Addictions hug the lips uniquely, adding pure pigment without texture, and also last longer, eventually fading perfectly evenly. They are really more like stain/lipstick hybrids, whereas Lancôme CDM's, while wonderful, are more like conventional lipsticks, with the usual tricks of silicone-suspended pigment which allow a smoother initial application, but which do not set and stain, or feel undetectable.
The single major way in which the Addictions win out for me is their versatility. The Lancômes are so smoothly pigmented they are actually very tricky to sheer out while still looking pretty (i.e. not patchy), but the unique weightless Addiction texture makes it a snap to adjust the opacity.

Monroe Walk applied as a sheer stain, then built up to full

ditto, Last Scene

Even at its most opaque, Last Scene retains a softness that makes it unique to my collection; I tend to wear in combination with softer eyeshadow colours (as in this older look) or hazy placements, e.g. with THREE Eye Belong blended all over the lid and then a second layer smudged along the lashes:
sorry, skin was a bit spotty/dull for a while post-flight
A slightly more vivid take, keeping the THREE pencil closer to the lashline, though still smoked out a little. Also, although I applied Last Scene with a lipbrush, I did use a finger tip to soften the edges just a little.
Also added RBR Sea of Clouds highlighter to bring up the dewy brightness

Conversely, Monroe Walk somehow retains a vivid, optimistic brightness even worn as a matte stain. A retro precise-yet-rounded shape seemed obvious but hey, I like obvious, especially paired with a slightly dropped wing (again with Eye Belong: it's versatile, capiche?)
Shu Pink/Purple Mousse for that glowy-matte finish. Burberry Earthy to fake that classical beauty bone structure :P 

Eye close-up: very naturalistic contouring with the opalescent grey from Shiseido Fire over lid, RBR Bohemian Waxwing in socket, and GOSH white kohl for a very clean lower lashline.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Catchup 2: Back in the jug agayne

Or, home :D I've missed the smell of London grey-greenery so much. Still keep opening the window to take big gulps.

Mishmash of a post today (unlike, uh, every other day) featuring:
1. My long-haul flight skincare routine.
2. Preview of some things that were waiting for me, and for you, once I get round to blogging about 'em.

Airplane Routine
I never fly long-haul wearing makeup, but still need a no-rinse cleanser to remove sunscreen once on board and settled in. This trip it was a decant of Avène's Extremely Gentle Cleanser, but Bioderma Crealine does the trick too. Muji cottons are cheap, soft and separable into 4 plies -- they are smooth enough for my sensitive skin to tolerate and absolutely lint-free (my mother's discovery -- she finds them just as good as Shiseido's/Suqqu's, and my favourite Suqqu SA agrees :P) 
Other essentials: a hair tie for ablutions / general avoidance of Ko-fro upon landing and wet wipes (these are fabulously cheap, daintily-sized Japanese ones, alcohol- and fragrance-free, from Sasa) for clean hands before...

The Routine Proper
This all fits into the designated clear plastic bag, with room to spare. The largest of these is 30ml.
Which consists of: 
  • whatever oil will absorb immediately without stickiness for your skin, massaged into face, neck and hands (for me, Desert Essence Jojoba which comes in a travel-sized plastic bottle, is most convenient)
  • light-textured eye cream: Korres Materia Herba
  • light moisturiser: Biotherm Travel Recharge, which is the kind of overly-specifically-marketed product I usually dismiss as gimmicky, but which actually does exactly what it promises, ameliorating the effects of cabin air. I'm grateful to Beauty Free for introducing me to this and thankfully, its unpleasant stale-airplane-interior scent dissipates quickly.
  • Blistex Relief Cream, my emergency lip treatment -- a long-haul flight is an emergency as far as my lips are concerned.
  • top-ups as necessary / impulse to fidget dictates: moisturising eye drops (Boots Essentials doesn't promise whitening/brightening etc., so it simply soothes and never stings), a regular light lipbalm (currently Mentholatum Q10), non-sticky light hand cream (Coen Rich Q10 White).
  • multi-purpose sunscreen: La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ stick for when the shutters get raised. It's tempting to skip this figuring sun exposure will be minimal, but if you're sun-sensitive, being strapped to your window seat while flying above clouds for hours without protection is no fun. Also, planes get delayed, unexpected things happen, Kindles break down while your straightfoward 14-hour flight devolves into a 25-hour kafkaesque odyssey.... just bring the sunscreen, its ingredients list is another something to read.
(Slightly different selection principles apply here than to my usual skincare: apart from dinky-plastic-squeezy-secure-cap packaging considerations, I favour lighter textures applied more frequently for flights, because 1. I actually have the time to reapply and 2. my usual rich creamy things act as unholy airplane lint-magnets and usually require depotting/canting. Which, yeah okay, can be managed, but who needs another fussy thing like that on their pre-departure to-do list?)

Not strictly necessary but nice to have
I keep my nails short so don't usually have any luggage-related mishaps but like to bring a nail file just in case....) this Japanese one is delightfully compact and comma-shaped (regular readers will recognise my favourite punctuation mark, tied with the hyphen :P)
The eyebrow pencil (Shu Hard 9 Stone Grey) is a new addition -- for the first time in my life (thanks, grown-up stress moulting!) filling in brows has become a necessity rather than a case of optional polish. An evergreen necessity, purely motivated by vanity: mini eyelash curler. Curled lashes are my security blanket OKAY? Especially when wearing glasses, they open up my eyes better than any eyeshadow and a slight kink stops my lashes from being smooshed against the lenses when I blink. (This one's a Sephora freebie, I've also ones from Laura Mercier and Muji floating around, all of which work equally well.)
Flying also means slightly different beauty base zero requirements: I wear glasses, which do a fine job of hiding undereye circles, while placing more focus on the lips. So a bit of tinted lipbalm (Fresh Sugar Honey contributes the perfect warmth to liven up my cool pink-mauve lips) completes the pre-disembarkation spiffying.

2. Teasers
Selections from the leviathan mound of birthday parcels awaiting me on my return, and then some
French / Canadian / French-Canadian treats
European drugstore gems I'm eager to explore further
deliciously soft hand-dyed unbrushed Orkney Angora wool/angora DK
 usual catholic mishmash of reading material

I was very fortunate to obtain this discontinued Suqqu single: EX-22
Armed with a birthday gift card, I lucked in on Liberty's Buy 3 Get 1 Free Ellis Faas offer. The lovely SA also threw in an extra concealer in my shade when I told her of my problems with the click mechamism.

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.