Saturday, 18 October 2014

Summery Summary

A lookbook, representative of my basic makeup doings (cough snort) during my blog hiatus. I've chosen to include only looks featuring products I haven't shown you before, with reviewlets, since the life unbeautiful is taking up way too much of my brainspace right now to allow for the usual rambly reviews proper. Try to contain your gusty sighs of relief....
(If you're a member of makeupalley, you may have seen these posted over the last few months, but please point your fingers / scratchy GWP brushes of Blame and Shunning at those fellow MUAers who told me to just go and blog them already / anyway. :P)
Consider yourselves forewarned, and scroll straight down to the end for recompense. By which I mean PIE.

The products:
clockwise from compact: Rouge Bunny Rouge At Goldcombe Bay powder bronzer, Shu Uemura Tint in Gelato AT03 Fantasy Orange, Jill Stuart Lip Blossom 08 Pretty Poppy, Benefique Theoty Lipstick Melty-Touch PK-06, Addiction Pastel Love lip gloss, Etude House Play 101 Pencils 15 and 39,  Dior It-Lash It-Purple mascara, Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipsticks in Sugar Kiss and Red Love.

Look 1: orange, high-contrast
The combination of bright lip&cheek tint (Shu Uemura Tint In Gelato AT03 Fantasy Orange) with coloured mascara (Dior It-Purple It-Lash) perfectly suited my minimal-effort-maximum-impact approach to simple summer makeup, in no-brainer complementary tones of yellorange and blurple.
Dior It Lash It Purple, Shu Tint In Gelato AT03 Fantasy Orange
This mascara shares the excellent formula of its pink sister, but reads as less vibrant on my black lashes than in the tube, so I smudged some Diego Dalla Palma Storm Violet shadow [review] along lashlines to help it along, blending out with the blue-white from Suqqu Hisuidama [review]. 
The Shu tint blends out to a a soft glow-from-within matte on my cheeks and, layered more thickly (and worn over balm), as a satin on my lips, where, owing to its high silicone content, it's surprisingly kind to vertical liplines. In pigmentation, blendability and scent-freedom(!) this formula has been and will remain a summer staple for years to come, displacing the Becca Beach Tints in my heart. I like best to pair its modern matte finish with fresh, glowy-but-not-dewy skin: here courtesy of Shu Uemura Underbase Cream Pink set with loose Guerlain Meteorites in Mythic (discontinued).

Look 2: orange, low-contrast
Another staple look took the opposite approach to create a soft monotonal gradation of tones -- my favourite this season has been orangey peach, to 'summerize' the rose tones of my 'no makeup' look. In common with that basic recipe, the eyecolour here is a wash of one of Etude House's Play 101 pencils (#15 is one of the 'glossy' shade, with no shimmer, which adds dimension naturally as it catches the light, obviating any need of further shading/highlighting procucts), and Rouge Bunny Rouge powder bronzer replaces blush in a 'W' placement (over bridge of nose as well as cheeks). Addiction lipgloss in Pastel Love works as un-makeup for my lips: its jelly texture conceals and evens out out my dry areas and fine liplines [I've shown you this formula in action before], while its warm peachy-beige tint cancels out their corpsical blue-mauve tones.
Etude House Play 15 Pencil, Rouge Bunny Rouge Goldcombe Bay powder bronzer, Addiction Pastel Love gloss
Touches of Rouge Bunny Rouge Seas of Tranquility highlighter to add some warmth as well as plenty of glow to unbronzed areas of skin, set again with Guerlain Mythic ballz, and (because my waterlines were a little red this particular day) a bit of GOSH white eye kohl on the inner rim and the grey cream from THREE Tranquil Oasis [swatch] for softer-(and-glossier-)than-black lashline definition. Maybelline Rocket WP mascara for light, fluttery lashes.

Here's a swatch comparison between the Etude House Play 15 pencil, THREE Love Satisfaction duo [review] and Kiko Colour Kajal 104 Red to illustrate the glossy finish and pinky coral tones (vs. the pastel tangerine and primary red of the other two oranges) which make it such a good 'neutral' orange for me.
THREE Love Satisfaction, Etude House Play 15 Pencil, Kiko 105 Red Kajal

And a look at how the Rouge Bunny Rouge At Goldcombe Bay powder bronzer compares to their liquid offering, which I've finally used up after three happy years together: in short, the powder is slightly paler and cooler-toned, and blends out to an even more exquisitely airy skin-flattering satin texture.

Intermission: this year's jellies
Last year confirmed that a jelly finish looks most flattering on my dry, dehydrated and lined lips in an alternately boiling/aggressively air-conditioned climate. Having a decent wardrobe of them from last year, I only added two new products: Benefique Theoty Melty-Touch lipstick PK-06 (a warm pink to replace the Addiction Psychadelic gloss and Coffret D'Or RD128 I'd finished, and more pigmented and truer a jelly than either); and Jill Stuart Lip Blossom 08 Pretty Poppy, a glossy warm red that sits in between the slightly cool-toned Lunasol Cherry Red and more orange Chicca Amaryllis. (All the shades named here were featured in last year's jelly roundup.) Unusually for Japanese formulas, both of these are scented: a clean tea-rose for the Benefique and candied peach-and-floral for the Jill Stuart.
Shiseido Benefique Theoty Melty Touch lipstick PK-06 and Jill Stuart lip blossom 08 Pretty Poppy
preposterous J-brand packaging is an added bonus -- and check out the flip-up mirror lid on that JS
Shiseido Benefique Theoty Melty Touch lipstick PK-06
Benefique PK-06
Jill Stuart lip blossom 08 Pretty Poppy
Jill Stuart 08 Pretty Poppy
(I tended to wear these with tightlining, glasses and a tonally similar blush, so no full-face pics because BASIC.)

However, I did add two shades from the new Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipstick range to my stash: 343 Sugar Kiss (cheery coral pink) and 324 Red Love (softened strawberry). Evonnz has great lip swatches of the various offerings in the line, which, as is customary with Guerlain, vary quite a bit in terms of pigmentation and finish. Both of mine are medium-pigment crellies (or maybe, considering the texture and candied violet scent, fondants), with greater creamy glide than the usual Rouge Automatique or Rouge G formulas, but surprisingly superior lasting- and staining-power to the Autos.

Swatched with the samples from my blister pack: see the squishiness?
Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipstick swatches: Baby Rose, Red Love, Rouge Kiss, Sugar Kiss, Sexy Coral

The soft red of Red Love went well with not-quite-true blues (muted by grey just as the lipstick is warmed by strawberry) for a vaguely retro look i.e. the three right-most pans from Lunasol Vivid Clear Eyes EX-02 [Rouge Deluxe's review], Rose de Versailles Oscar black liquid liner and GOSH white kohl. Sheer application of Canmake CL01 Clear Red Heart cheeks.
Guerlain Kiss Kiss Red Love

On the other hand, I liked to wear the perennially sweetly-pretty-for-summer coral Sugar Kiss with an oh-so-SS-2014-dahling mixed metal haze on the eyes: here the complex olive-bronze Etude House Play 101 Pencil in 39 blended out with the coral-pink glitter from THREE Tranquil Oasis [swatch]. Blush is my favourite nude, Chicca Flush Blush 01 Baby Girl [review].
Guerlain Kiss Kiss Sugar Kiss, Etude Play 39 pencil

Admittedly, my interpretation of the mixed metals trend was more or less 'wear this Etude House pencil with all of the things all summer long', because it is basically the complexparkly lovechild of two of my beloveds: RBR Abyssinian Catbird, and THREE Eye Rock pencil, closer resembling the AbCat the more you blend it out, while applying at full strength with a depth that rivals Eye Rock.

While the Etude House Play 101 pencils had more misses than hits for me (in particular the 'matte' and 'creamy' formulas dragged like chalk across my dry skin), this one was an absolute standout -- buttery, pigmented, and blendable, applying intensely without looking crepey on my lids, and without the fallout issues I experienced with several other 'glitters' in the line. It's now working beautifully as an eyeshadow in autumn, with some black waterlining for a sultry smokey eye -- the only issue being that its opaque twist-up mechanism makes it hard to gauge how much I have left.

(In the last two looks I'm wearing Shu Uemura Whitefficient pink/purple mousse, set with Paul&Joe bird balls as base, and my last tube of Fasio Full Dynamic Volume mascara :'( In all looks, Burberry Sheer Touch concealer 01 and Suqqu brow pen 01 or 02.)

Finally, if you've made it thus far, here's an autumnal afterword. Can it really be that I'm blogging something I did last weekend instead of three months ago? :O

Rosemary pecan pie, by Ruby Tandoh (she of last year's Bake Off), with the modifications I make to all pecan pie recipes to dial back the sweetness: substitute walnuts for half the pecans in the filling, unrefined molasses sugar (I like this) for regular brown sugar, and a glug of bourbon for the vanilla. And add extra salt, water retention bedamned. The rosemary in this recipe added the perfect smoky savoury depth, and I can't recommend it highly enough. [You may find, as I do, that using molasses sugar requires a slightly longer baking time at a lower temperature (45 mins at 170C), preparing to throw a sheet of foil over the pie for the last 10 minutes if the nuts on top seem to be burning.]

I am in full-on autumn mode now, and hope to actually post some looks and reviews while this season's still...seasonal. Thanks to everyone still reading for your patience, and do let me know what's been going on in your makeup lives lately :)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Femme Boulevard: Simple and Seasonal

Hello world! As you can tell, I am shooting for 'laziest blogger of the year' this year, so thanks for all your support *genuflects* But as before, my lovely pals of Femme Boulevard have dragged me out of hibernation, in order to present our various interpretations of a simple, seasonal look.

It seems the ideal opportunity to show you the kind of makeup uniform I've been living in this month, with a built-in excuse for / handy illustration of why this blog has been so quiet: I've become basic, yo. :P But hey, it's seasonal because normcore is the new FASHUN :D and in any case, a bit of simplicity always feels suitably palate-cleansing and back-to-schoolish for autumn -- witness my autonal series from two years ago.

Guerlain Gladys, Surratt Vreeland Rougeur, Chanel Mirifique, Shiseido High Beam White
lips: Guerlain Rouge G Gladys, one of my rare recent acquisitions, and the focus of this simple look. The colour is a vibrant jewelled fuchsia, with a berry richness that make it my most-worn lipstick of early autumn, and an ultra-shiny, lacquered finish thanks to its profusion of (hidden) microshimmer in tones of blue and red. Its formula stands up to the best of the Rouge G line (my favourite lipstick formula), with intense pigment, fine-line-plumping plushness and a truly impressive lip-hugging yet moisturising wear-time, fading evenly to a rosy stain after multiple hours, drinks and noms.

face: Surratt Artistique Blush 4 Vreeland Rougeur is its ideal tonal companion: among my many red blushes, this one has a berry ruddiness that feels almost parodically autumnal; a subtle warmth keeps it looking neutral even on my naturally cool pink cheeks and gives the perfect Red-Delicious flush -- best worn on apples, natch. The formula is excellent, too -- silky, finely-milled and fragrance-free powder that rivals my favourite THREE and Rouge Bunny Rouge blushes in quality, wearing as a texturally undetectable satin on skin.
Shiseido Luminising Satin Face Colour WT905 High Beam White is an old faithful: this is my second pan, and already showing a dip.

Chanel Mirifique
eyes: Chanel Illusion D'Ombre 85 Mirifique smoked along and out from lashlines, with the outer corner kept open, to keep my eyes looking open (or embiggened) in glasses. The silver from Shu Uemura x Karl Lagerfeld Smoky Velvet (EU/Asia version), layered over from inner corner to middle of eye for a tonal dimensional highlight. Which black&white gradation is, oops, basically the non-costume version of the last look I posted XD One slick of Maybelline Rocket WP mascara, my current natural/defining/nothingy formula, as anything with more oomph (like the Guerlain Cils D'Enfer WP I still love) makes my lashes crash against my lenses with every blink.

Guerlain Rouge G Gladys, Surratt Vreeland Rougeur
as you see, back-to-schoolism extends to wardrobe too
Now, don't I look totally competent / awake / unlikely to abandon a blog for months out of sheer laziness? The power of makeup.

other products/basics: Shu Uemura Underbase Cream Pink, Burberry Sheer Touch concealer 01, Suqqu Brow Pen 02 Brown, Paul&Joe bird balls.

Do click over to my fellow Femmes' interpretations of this month's theme:
Teri's at Bellachique
Lily's at Chloeash
and Lilit's (our sister from another hemisphere) at Makeup&Macaroons

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Femme Boulevard Vamps It Up

Long time no see, dear ones! In the spirit of K.I.S.S. I haven't been wearing much interesting (or indeed unsmeared) makeup so far this sweltering Asian summer, but the ladies of Femme Boulevard have administered a kick up the arse in the form of this month's vamp challenge, so, swapping one four-letter word for another....

Both my newly grown hair and my old and enduring fondness for the S-of-stupidity mean that Louise Brooks is my achingly obvious inspiration for this one. If you haven't read her witty and waspish and wry essay collection, Lulu in Hollywood, I highly recommend it (and skipping Tynan's decidedly.... let'sjustcallit 'gushy' intro. oh em gee, ken, yr id is showing, put it away now kthx'). Available as a free ebook at the Open Library (with a short waiting list), so no excuses <3

The products, consisting of black, white and, er... sticks:
black: Shiseido BK912 Caviar (my second! Staple starlit off-black cream); KATE brow pencil BK-1 (a gift from a pal, this is darker than my hair so black as my soul...); Suqqu brow pen 01 Moss Green ; Guerlain Cils D'Enfer Maxi Lash WP (to which I did succumb after last month's glorious sample)
white: Shiseido WT907 Paperwhite (an even finer-milled satin off-white than my beloved, recently-panned-thus-too-fragile-to-pack Shiseido High Beam White highlighter) and 3CE Lip Pigment in Modern White
sticks: Guerlain Greta mixed with MAC Pro Paintstick in Rich Purple for a deepened red lip; Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick Alabaster (which, as my original review guessed, is working much better for my summer-tanned skin in the heat&humidity of E and SE Asia)

Key aspects of this look are pretty well-illustrated by that Lulu in Hollywood cover :P Even with such a handy colouring-in guide the hardest thing for me was to stop my fingers from employing their usual prettifying tricks; 1920s makeup appeals to me precisely because it is so scrappy and slapdash and defiant, but it takes actually applying it to bring home how many unspoken rules of contemporary makeup flattery it breaks.

Brows, eyes and lips downturned, thinned and shortened. I skipped curling my lashes for only about the fifth time since I turned 13, to help 'drop' the eye and place even more emphasis on the heavily mascara-ed lower lashes and thickened outer lower lashline. Triangular placement of Shiseido Caviar.
Spoolied some 3CE Modern White through the brows I wanted to 'erase' (mostly at the inner corner and at my fairly-high natural arch), then sponged on a coat of BB foundation, before sketching in the straight, short, slightly down-tilted Brooks brows with the black KATE pencil, cross hatching with the Suqqu pen between my natural hair and the drawn-on ones.

Closeup of the eye and brow -- look how messy period-appropriate it is >:C

Lips were outlined quite heavily with BB foundation, blended inwards, to thin them down. Lengthened top lip slightly over lower corners for a downward tilt. I played with a bit of reverse contouring with the 3CE modern white pigment to achieve that '20s rounded cheek&jaw, and blended everything with a good dusting of Shiseido Paperwhite. Because despite MINUTES, MINUTES I TELL YOU of straightening, my hair's never going to retain Brooksian deco sleekness in this humidity, tending more towards the Colleen Moore anyway....

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! Be sure to check out my fiendish fellow femmes Lily and Lilit and their vamp looks.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Two Looks with THREE 04 Art of Parties 4D Eyeshadow Palette

Well, this is embarrassingly late. According to my my picasa albums, I bought Art of Parties two whole years ago, in June 2012 -- and that's when I took these pristine snaps:
THREE 4D Eyeshadow Palette 04 Art of Parties
in (angled) sunlight
The case is THREE's typical matte grey rubber, with the palette identified by the colour of the letters on the lid -- this lavender signifies Art of Parties.
THREE 4D Eyeshadow Palette 04 Art of Parties

A cloudy/overcast pictures -- note how the tones shift 
THREE 4D Eyeshadow Palette 04 Art of Parties

Direct flash pic captures some of the extra tones of sparkle in all four shades (can you spot the subtle and sparse pink flecks hiding in both bottom shades?)...
THREE 4D Eyeshadow Palette 04 Art of Parties

....although sunlight produced the most true-to-texture picture:
THREE 4D Eyeshadow Palette 04 Art of Parties
...which is still toddler-aged, zomg, but hopefully hints at the distinction between the two glitters (top left amethyst denser and finer, bottom right peach featuring larger particles more discretely packed), and between those and the dense sparkle-packed cream (top right) and finally the smooth bottom left satin.

Swatched from light to dark:
THREE 4D Eyeshadow Palette 04 Art of Parties swatches
THREE 4D Eyeshadow Palette 04 Art of Parties swatches
Pale, soft, peachy-gold glitter with pink, icy blue and warmer gold sparkle
Medium amethyst glitter with turquoise, sky blue and pink flecks
Warm chestnut brown with sparse shimmer in several tones of pink
Gunmetal base heavily packed with predominantly violet and emerald microshimmer

Swatches and shade description from this post, in which you can see all five of my THREE quads swatched.

I plan to pull a full-on Star Guitar lookathon with this palette, too, but less overwhelmingly all-at-spammy-once, so to ease you in, here are two looks, both spitting the quad down the middle into two pairs of duos. (On my skintone, all four shades can also stand alone as singles, but even I am not so cruel as to bore you with four basic washesOTD :P)

1. Peach + Chestnut (...that sounds like a potentially tasty mix, actually) makes a very understated eye -- peach glitter washed all over lid, chestnut to line (used neat, not foiled or mixed or nuttin') and both layered on the lower lashline.

I'm testing out a sample of the new Guerlain Cils D'Enfer Maxi Lash Waterproof mascara, btw, which holy fat lashes batman :O Expect me to 1. purchase a full size and 2. review it hopefully before 2016. Anyhoo, gratuitous mascara shot nonetheless shows the intensified banked-coals-y pink sheen you get by combining these two otherwise mostly yellow-based shades, both smuggling  pink shimmer:

More warm tones to complete the look: Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea of Tranquility liquid highlighter for opalescent gleaminess in the centre of my face, and powder bronzer At Goldcombe Bay for subtle peachy gilding on the outer portions. Kjaer Weis Lovely cream blush, and YSL Rouge Pur Couture 57 Pink Rhapsody lipstick.

2. Gunmetal and amethyst: neither so tasty nor conventionally summery, but complex cream & multifaceted glitter is my one true makeup love and the reason I fell so hard for this brand in the first place :D Gunmetal over lid and lower lashline, extended out, and amethyst swept up both into socket and down into lashline from inner corner, and used to accent/underline the extention. Kiko white kohl on inner waterline to remove distracting red rims (due to allergies not glitter fallout).

Another not-so-summery thing was the weather/lighting this morning, so I couldn't capture the complexity of the gunmetal to my satisfaction. This was the best shot I managed to get of the complex pink-and-blue sparkles, and how the base gets warmer as you blend it out. (Never quite so matte/warm as it looks on the outer half of my socket here though. Stupid lighting-catching chicanery.)

A cooler and more polished base for this look, with Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse Pink/Purple set with Paul& Joe bird balls (Face Powder S). Face Stockholm cream blush Tokyo on both cheeks and (over balm) lips.

Tokyo is the most recent addition to my Face Stockholm cream blush stable, and it comes with some sad news. Because while I managed to score it for half price (£11), that's only because Fenwick Bond St are dropping the brand, thus putting everything on sale. D: Snag while you can.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Friday Night Dinner

Apologies for the sporadic posting of late; I've been gearing up for another trip to Asia and trying to spend as much time as possible with my real-life nearest&dearest as I can. But missing you all! My soul, such torments to endure. :P

Comfort food is called for, so today I thought I'd dust off the camera and share one of my favourite summer suppers, the Japanese cold noodle dish zaru soba. Pick up some e-chopsticks and dig in :)

Admittedly not the quickest of things to whip up, but I find all the processes quite enjoyable, and careful timing, which is the most stress-inducing part of cooking for me, isn't a factor. Also, YUMMEH, which makes it all worth it.

At least an hour before, make the dipping sauce (I like to do this at least the night before, and make a big batch to store in the fridge -- it'll keep for a fortnight). This will make about 500ml of sauce or about 8 servings:
1. Make up a basic dashi stock however you like it (my usual ratio is a pint of water : a palm-sized piece of kombu : a small handful of bonito flakes, and a couple of dried anchovies for an extra umami hit), set aside.
2. Heat 100ml mirin with a tablespoon of sugar in a separate small pan until the sugar dissolves. Add 100ml soy sauce and turn the heat low, stirring gently for a minute or so to warm through. Then pour this mixture into the dashi from step 1 and simmer together gently for about 3 minutes. Cool. 

From here on the quantities make enough for four (or for two-greedy-people-with-leftovers -- I like rolling up leftover kakiage with some spicy mayo into maki for lunch):

Julienne Chop a large potato into chubby matchsticky bits and soak in cold water:

Noodles: Bring another pot of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and cook your soba (100g per person) according to the packet instructions (usually 3-4 mins. Don't guess and overcook! You want them noodles so bouncy they chew back, not soggy strands). Look for the 100% buckwheat, salt-free stuff:

Drain and rinse well in cold running water until it resembles SLIMY WURMS:
Shake very dry, then plop onto fancy zaru (bamboo draining basket) if you have one. Or just use my sushi-mat-on-a-plate method, like an unspeakable savage *shifty eyes* Sprinkle some kizami nori over the top if you have any handy, and set aside.

Garnish: Finely slice a spring onion or two, and place into bowl along with some wasabi and toasted sesame seeds. I like to pour our everyone's dipping sauce at this point too.
yes, my bowl haz kitty on't. Iz toddler. And that is a mug doing double duty as a dipping bowl. Because hostess with the mostest.

All the cold ingredients ready, it's time for the kakiage:
Drain the potatoes you've been soaking and dry well in a clean tea-towel. Add a carrot and courgette (or two of each if they're small), chopped similarly:

For the batter: Measure 1 cup of flour (the higher the gluten content the better -- I used strong white flour but Italian 00 is even better; alas, I used up the last of that for a batch of choc chip cookies) into a biggish bowl, break an egg into the middle, and add a few good twists of salt and pepper. I've found the most reliable way of ensuring a crisp batter is to use very cold, fizzy water -- pour it in gradually, mixing well all the while, until you get a very thick, greek-yoghurt-ish texture

Toss in the veg, adding a little more flour and water if really needed (probably not --if there's no 'spare' batter at the bottom or the bowl that's ideal), and then pick up random clumps with chopsticks to fry at a moderate temperature, turning halfway through, until browned -- about 2 minutes per batch. [Can you tell I'm primarily a baker, rather than a cook? Persnickity about batter, vague when it comes to doing stuff with it. I use exactly the same exact method wot my grandma taught me, so pleeeease don't ask me about specific degrees of oil and thicknesses of pan and whatnot because I won't know XD]

Let everyone garnish their dipping sauce to taste...

And eat while the kakiage's still hot and crunchy, in perfect contrast to the chewy cold noodles and refreshing savoury sauce:
PS this pic shows half the amount of food this recipe produces; I couldn't fit everything into one frame :P

And for afters, my latest entropic failbake, a strawberry and almond crumble cake which, owing to my sins against ye ineffable gods of glutinous batter subsidence, ended up as crumbling cake. I should open a bakery called #presentparticiplepastries, yes?
Adapted from here, though I substituted orange flower water for vanilla extract, and almonds for walnuts. Still very edible, though very sweet -- next time I'd cut the sugar on the topping middling by at least 2/3rds.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!