Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pattern Recognition

Nah, not another knitting post, but I wanted to make public the embarrassment I felt upon recently reorganising my makeup collection and discovering just how many versions of the same damn thing I possessed.

Obviously, having devoted a sizeable chunk of my frivolities budget to makeup for over a decade, it wasn't exactly a smelling-salts-required! level of shock, but I'm sure I'm not the first or only beauty lover to wonder where the line sits between "knowing your own tastes" (as I'm assured all the reeeeeally stylish folk must) and turning into Consumerist Drone Mark II No.23756920?

In hopes of some recouped cash if not an answer, I'll be uploading a spring blogsale tomorrow (with some clothes and accessories too). In the meantime, some patterns for posterity:

Sonia Rykiel Quatre Eyeshadow 09, Suqqu 01 Kakitsubata, Suqqu EX-04 Douku (LE), Lunasol 04 Smoky Ocean, THREE 02 My Blue Heaven, Esprique Blend Dimensional Deep B-5

Chanel Stupendous (LE), Guerlain 409 Ombres Perlées (LE), EST Emotional Aura Eyes 03 (DC), Suqqu EX-05 Usumomokurumi (LE), Suqqu 11 Himesango

Cosme Decorte Magie Deco DC024 Luminous Star, Suqqu 09 Koju (DC), Suqqu 04 Keshizumi, Coffret D'Or Trance Deep Eyes 04 Gray Variation (DC), Integrate Accent Eyes VI 710

Now I'm no minimalist, and I particularly enjoy premade palettes because they tell stories in ways that single items don't. In practical terms, on rushed mornings I find quads in particular easier to throw on than single eyeshadows (which I usually find need pairing with a liner -- but which liner? and WHERE HAVE ALL THE LINERS GONE?! etc.), and they also make the best travelling companions. Felt I had to point that out. But honestly the wankier reasons are the more important, especially when combinations of texture, finish and all the spiralling distinctions of nuance come into play...

....I have no excuse for my bad buying habits when it comes to single items. A maybe-explanation though: I'm more tactile than visual, and so picky about texture that once I do find one I like, critical faculties aren't tossed aside lightly but thrown with great force.

Guerlain KissKiss Gloss Stick (DC) in Rose des Sables and Corail des Mers
Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge in RS-1 and RD-1
Guerain Rouge Automatique in Chamade and Nahema
Hourglass Femme Rouge in Fresco and Muse

Shiseido Perfect Rouge in PK417 Bubblegum and RD514 Dragon; Tender Sheer in RS628 Natural Wine
Guerlain Rouge G in Girly, Garçonne and Gigolo
Addiction Cheek Stick in Amazing, Revenge and Suspicious
Sonia Rykiel Sublime in 03, 02 and 24

Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow in Tansoleil, Pravella and not-Patrice
Chanel Extrait de Gloss in Liberté, Confidence and Fatale
Nars Velvet Gloss Pencil in Happy Days and Frivolous; Velvet Matte Pencil in Pop Life
Becca Beach Tint in Guava, Watermelon and Strawberry
RMSBeauty lip2cheek in Smile, Modest and Rapture
Becca Lip and Cheek Cream in Petal; Cream Blush in Amaryllis and Geranium

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Majolica Majorca Lash King Mascara review

Anyone who read the last post will know that I owe you a sizeable backlog of mascara reviews -- so many in fact that I'll be posting them in, well, clumps. But Lash King, the latest release from Shiseido's drugstore line Majolica Majorca, makers of my current (Lash Expander Frame Plus) as well as my all-time favourite mascara (the discontinued Lash Enamel Glamour Neo), deserved a considered post of its own.

Spoiler for those too lazy/busy to scroll: Having played with Lash King for two months, Lash Expander Frame Plus remains my favourite.

Lash King packaging

Majolica Majorca Lash King mascara ingredients

Tube next to Lash Expander Frame Plus (loathe the cheap-looking new colour-scheme)
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus Lash King mascara comparison
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus Lash King mascara comparison

Lash King has a traditional bristle brush head, bigger than LEFP's double sided plastic comb. And many more fibres. SO.MANY.Fibres.
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus Lash King mascara comparison

For reference: LEFP (wand brushed through upper lashes once)
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus mascara

Lash King: wand brushed through upper lashes once
Majolica Majorca Lash King mascara

The most obvious difference is that Lash King gives more volume than LEFP.
Both mascaras are equally: waterproof/smudgeproof, lengthening, capable of holding a curl for days, difficult to remove (requiring Heroine Make Mascara Remover before cleansing oil).
But unforgivably, Lash King's drier formula combined with its, uh, exuberance of fibres means that I experience flaking throughout the day, ending up with a speckled semi-circle of soot under my eyes, which is indelible as only Japanese mascaras can be...

Aside from the flaking issue, Lash King looks best when applied in one clean coat, as above, but I for one am incapable of ever calling it a day after one swipe of mascara (and risk leaving a fraction of inner and outer lashes nude?!), and this formula starts clumping lashes together right from the second pass. Here's a more realistic application with actual eyeshadow on (Suqqu Koju quad, Nars Gaiety under brow), having brushed the wand through about three times:
Lash King gives a very obviously mascara'd look, which becomes all-out clumpy if I try to layer two coats proper (redipping the wand in between). Obviously this is entirely down to personal preference; for me the versatility and wetter / less fibrous formula of LEFP -- which looks better after a few extra coats -- wins out.

I ordered Lash King from ct_taiwan for around £12; it's now also stocked at adambeauty, ichibankao and the usual suspects.

Monday, 2 April 2012


A thousand apologies for my lazy nonblogging ways -- illness and exhaustion meant that I wasn't wearing any interesting makeup in any case and barely even fulfilling the basic social do-not-traumatise-impressionable-children-in-the-street-with-vision-of-haggard-future-to-come contract.

I'll be returning to a more regular posting schedule now, and hopefully improving the quality of my pictures courtesy of a shiny!new!Canon 600D -- it sees "no makeup" makeup, yo! And probably dead people too.

So, some frivolous updates.

Spring clean
Beauty bits I've finished up / given up on this year:
(I have a mascara problem, I know)

Laundering and putting the things I made this winter into storage (except the red top, which will transition into spring, and the 'whimsical' purple bonnet which I will try to foist upon an unwary school's drama department).

Rose Red beret (this is my 5th? 6th? People keep commandeering them off my head)

Meret with extra slouch (using up some wool/mohair leftover from a wrap cardigan)

Doomed bonnet is doomed (tweed left over from a peplummy jacket)

 Red textured sweater (100% merino, not thrilled with the fit on the shoulders, hey ho)

Aran tunic nightmare (I made this three times to get it to fit, lost the vintage ivory buttons I'd carefully hunted down, semi-permanently stained my hands with the appropriate shit-coloured organic vegetable dye that kept.leeching.out of the organic local British wool the trauma... and finished it just as the temperatures rose above 20ºC. I will wear it to death next winter.) 

  The slouchy beanie you've seen already, and I forgot about this scarf, started in Hong Kong late last year (Italian mohair/nylon):

For spring, I've decided on two bluegreeny tops -- a lacy pullover pattern from the 1940s in exquisite merino/silk (R) and a quirky cotton/milk protein cardigan (L) for candy-coloured colourblocking purposes.

Comfort reading 
People who know me almost very well tend to say I'm addicted to books when my actual addiction is to story -- books are just my preferred short-cut. When convalescing or generally in need of comfort, I like even shorter-cutting, which usually means rereading stuff I pretty much have by heart.
(The Princess Bride and Cold Comfort Farm have been staples since childhood and I tend to cycle through Pratchetts, Wynne Joneses and Fry's (or Wildes and Shaws and Restoration comedies))

More broardly my shortest-cut genres are children's/young adult fiction or books-in-series (bonus if it's a series of children's books), the best of which provide an intravenous drip of well-written story, relatively uncluttered by scaffolding and obtrusions and other such yawnsomes.

Not photographed (because I felt like enough of a knob snapping books, I really aint going to photograph a kindle screen): The Hunger Games trilogy, which I gulped down in its entirety in one night, and then drooled for a week over all the glorious visual interpretations.

In a world without Cinna's aid to Beauty Base Zero, these potions kept me vaguely human-looking and -feeling. Illness makes my skin even more dry and sensitive so I've learned from experience to slather on the blandest moisturiser and richest lipbalm I own every couple of hours (Avène Tolérance Extrême and RBR Kiss Elixir) and if any peeling/cracking does occur, to supplement them with Avène Cicalfate and Blistex Relief Cream.

The latest shade of Shu Uemura's Underbase Mousse primer (Pink Purple) is the perfect neutral lilac to knock out post-illness sallowness and redness without leaving me looking more zombielike (cheers, traditional green/purple primers!) or tangoed (trad pink/orange). Having finished a Graftobian HD cream foundation and Ellis Faas concealer, I'm now mixing various things with Suqqu Frame Fix Foundation 101 and layering things over Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque (of which the Shu 4R sable brush applies the perfect amount).

Eyes have consisted of simple washes of a cream eyeshadow: RBR Atlas Swallowtail, Laura Mercier Mercury, MUFE Steel and Bobbi Brown Beach Honey all have a subtle silvery sheen to flatter discoloured eyelids. Sometimes with an iridescent pigment dabbed onto the centre of the lid for more dimension: RBR Sleeping Under a Mandarin Tree and Wishing for Wings, MAC Night Light, Suqqu Kyokkou.

Obviously, lips need to be bright and saturated to provide the greatest impact : effort ratio. By Terry Rouge Terrybly Cherry Cherry and Hot Cranberry, Chanel Genial, Bite Beauty Pomegranate, THREE Ruby Mist are all in heavy rotation and work well on lips in less than perfect condition.

Aside from the return of old favourite Mad Men, current flirtations with The Walking Dead and Once Upon A Time (though by now, I watch mostly for the lipstick/hat inspiration and Robert Carlyle's unholy charisma), I'm most eagerly anticipating the second season of Game of Thrones... which comes on in about five minutes so let's see how much drivel I can type until then.

I've been watching the first season's dvd commentaries, oh yes, and OMG, like, DIEING at the deliciously silly and geeky Lena Headey (Cersei) on episode 2 and Harry Lloyd (Viserys) on episode 6, and of course the adorable Stark kid actors on episode 3 (how preternaturally asute is Maisie Williams?) Essential viewing if you haven't already.

Also essential viewing (though you probably have already... I've fallen behind on memes trying to avoid spoilers):

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

St Patrick's Day and Night

I've been a lackadaisical blogger lately and this post is embarrasingly late. (Okay, also because I took the night pics after coming home, and most of the photos were hazy artistic renderings of my bathroom ceiling / left earlobe.)

Daytime pictures in natural light. Nighttime ones in artificial light + flash.

Rouge Bunny Rouge's delicate lime Resplendant Quetzal as an accent in a girly springtime look. RBR pigment in Sleeping Under a Mandarin Tree (I recently received a decant of this holographic marigold-shifting-to-lemon from a generous friend) all over the lid and under the inner part of lower lashline, with Chestnut-Napped Apalis in the socket. A perky flick with KATE gel liner BK-1 and a basic volumising daytime mascara, Maybelline Falsies wp. [Not pictured: GOSH white kohl]

Paired with one of the new Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited lipsticks (CR330) and RBR liquid bronzer on high points to add warmth. Base is Shu Stage Performer and Underbase Mousse Pink Purple as a base, with custom concealer (RMS 11 + Illamasqua white) as needed.

Standard issue green smokey, incorporating as many of my new toys (from swaps! and gifts! honest....) as I had time for with utter disregard for clashing of undertones and other such canards.
Make Up Store pencil in Sparkling Smaragde as base and taken under eye with a dab of Green Card in the inner corner. On the lid: the two greyed greens from Kevyn Aucoin Essential Eye Palette #6 with Addiction Pink Python closest to the lashline [not pictured, impulsive addition] and Collection2000 Glam Crystals glitter eyeliner Pizzazz on the upper lashline. Waterline rimmed with MUFE Aqua Eyes 0L and clumptastic lashes with two coats of Majolica Majorca Lash King.

Paired with cool petally pinks rather than the more usual coral/peach -- Addiction Miss You More lipgloss and Shu Uemura Sakura blush. Same base as for day with the addition of Paul&Joe Light Cream Foundation S 00 -- you can see my custom concealer didn't quite hold up on the mutant boil I'm currently cultivating in between my eyebrows. Back to the lab....

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sensai The Lipstick 21 Shirafuji review and swatches

Ever since I posted paper swatches of the Kanebo The Lipstick range, an internal clock has been counting down to my inevitable purchase. With the help of a £20 voucher from Harrods to halve the £40 price, I chose 21 Shirafuji, a versatile neutral bright rosy pink -- which will count as three of twelve.
To thoroughly test out its anti-ageing skincare claims, I wore this lipstick continuously over two sets of five days in a row (in very cold early February and once again in warm mid-March)... and saw absoutely no improvement in the condition of my lips after either period. Honestly not a shocker given the fairly standard ingredients list (note that the much touted koishimaru silk extract comes right at the end, just before the parabens, and that the gold is just an afterthought):
I'm sceptical of any makeup that claims to replace skincare anyway so the absence of any longer-term effects isn't a dealbreaker; though it's a nice bonus when they do improve the condition as well as look of my lips, e.g. Suqqu Creamy Glow, Fresh Sugar, Lanolips Tinted. More disappointngly, The Lipstick doesn't deliver any spectacular cosmetic benefits either. It doesn't emphasise my vertical lip lines (structural), but nor does it blur them. It doesn't make my lips look dessicated, but it doesn't make them look plumped and pillowy either. If my lips aren't in the best condition, it will highlight flakes and chapped areas, though less than some other formulas. And I absolutely need a layer of lipbalm underneath.

Shirafuji applied, emphasising the chapped area on my lower lip:
 (Suqqu EX-07 quad from the Lilac Allure set)

And on lips in dry but unbroken condition:
That said, it's a perfectly nice formula and the tone of this review would be pretty different if the retail price were around £25. Medium pigment, elegant satin cream finish, scentless, weightless feel, good lasting power fading to a light, even stain after a meal (although a darker shade may last/stain better). The packaging has a nice heft and looks sleekly, quietly luxurious, and it's not as GOLD! as I'd feared based on picture.
(Surely I'm not the only one who cares about this very important element. The YSL has been depotted, btw)
The shape of the bullet itself is also well thought-out; there isn't a 'front' and a 'back' but two gentle slopes tapering to a slim horizontal line, which makes for precise touch-ups. And you get a plush black velvet pouch which is -- oh Japanese attention to detail -- a perfect fit (I hate opening my bag to find that a heavy lipstick has abandoned its designated costume and wreaked havoc on my phone/camera/kindle/ipod).

Okay, you know it's desperate times when a serial depotter compliments packaging in an attempt to be fair. Here are some comparison swatches so you can see where this shade lies in relation to some other roses (next to red, my favourite shade):

From left to right and cool to warm:
Kanebo Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge RS-1
Sonia Rykiel Sublime Lipstick 24
Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick 21 Shirafuji
Suqqu Creamy Glow 02 Kyoganoko
Guerlain Rouge Automatique Chamade
Hourglass Femme Rouge Fresco
Rouge Bunny Rouge Colourburst Whim of Mine

Obviously, I have no complaints about the shade, which changes a bit depending on lighting, but is equally flattering on lips and cheeks, and has enough slip to work beautifully as a dewy cream blush:
(Chanel Beiges on eyes)

In conclusion, Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick is, at £40,...

Not as good as: By Terry Rouge Terrybly (£31), Suqqu Creamy Glow (£27) or the best Guerlain Rouge G's (Gigolo, Girly and Garçonne, £29.50), Guerlain Rouge Automatique (£24.50)
On the other hand, better than: Serge Lutens (£53), Cle de Peau Lipstick ($55+) or Tom Ford (£35)
On par with: Hourglass Femme Rouge (£22), the best Chanel Rouge Allures (Genial, Super £24)