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Friday, 27 April 2012

Pictorial: Pressing Fyrinnae Loose Eyeshadows

O hai world! I'm posting from Hong Kong once again so expect more Asian makeup swatches and magaziney ramblings for the next few months :) Feel free to email requests for products you'd like to see swatched / compared / reviewed to the usual address.

As there's nothing like needing to pack for a suddenly-impending three-month trip to whip the random-venture subset of my procrastination skillset (o yes) into shape, I present the sparkly, sparkly fruits of my last makeuppy project -- pressing all the Fyrinnae minis!

This is the first time I've repressed anything (yeah, yeah) and I'm indebted to two excellent tutorials in particular: Kristina's from Sasquatch Swatch and makeupalley's Pressing Minerals notepad. The real lightbulb moment was when I realised the process was very like making scones and therefore nothing to be scared of.

Since those tutes (and any googleable scones recipe) will tell you all you need to know, this post isn't strictly a pictorial so much as a 'here's what I did and it seemed to work fine', but hopefully it will be helpful to those newer to Fyrinnae (whose samples are much smaller now than they seem to have been a few years back) and to fellow non-US-residents without such easy access to commercial mixing mediums and tools.

TOOLS
Pure Glycerin and Surgical Spirit (90% pure alcohol) -- both to be found for under £2 near the first aid sections of Boots in the UK. (Sorry they're so grubby -- blackened Fyrs are tenacious.)
  1. Kitchen towel / paper for pressing
  2. Glass pipette (for alcohol -- I used the top from an empty dropper bottle)
  3. Plastic pipette (for glycerin -- you can use glass too, I just had this lying around)
  4. Aluminium 26mm pan from ebay (opt for aluminium as tin can rust) and 10p piece for pressing
  5. Tin 15mm pan from Yaby (which I bought before reading about the rust thing...) and 5p piece for pressing (which is slightly too large, so I used my pinky finger for less-filled pans)
  6. Toothpicks for mixing (I found these much better than spatulas or whatnot for such small amounts)
  7. Labels!
  8. Pen!
  9. Fyrinnae minis!
  10. (not pictured) Ethanol fumes!


PROCESS
1. Drop a tiny bit of glycerin into a Fyrinnae mini (straight into the pot was fine as they don't fill it with as much sparkly as they used to :/). Start off slow because you can add but you can't take away. This is about the right amount for a sample of a regular Fyrinnae shade (halve it for an Arcane Magick sample).

2. With a toothpick, mix evenly to the consistency of breadcrumbs (think scones after rubbing the butter+flour together) or slightly clumpy wet sand. There may be a slight colour change depending on the finish / shade of eyeshadow, it's no big deal. (Minimal spillage entirely due to me giggling at Season 2 of Community whilst doing this, not because the pot was too small.)

3. Add alcohol a few drops at a time, mixing until the pigment starts pulling away from the pot in a solid 'dough'. Unlike the glycerine stage, it's no big deal if you accidentally add too much -- the alcohol's all going to evaporate off anyway; too much will just mean a longer drying time. This is a bit too much alcohol for a regular sample:

This is how it looks when it's just starting to pull away / form a dough ball. The ideal is to end up with a perfectly unified ball that's picked up all the pigment naturally leaving the pot entirely clean -- think baking again. And again, don't worry about the colour change at this stage.

4. Scoop out the mixture with your mixing toothpick and squidge it into your pan more or less evenly. If making duos or trios, it's helpful to have a mixture that's a little drier (has less alcohol) and (like playdoh) more manipulable. Some pots contain more than others so it's best not to have too rigid an idea of exactly which shades you want as a duo/trio -- they may not all fit into one pan. This probably isn't an OCD-tendencies-friendly activity anyway :P Check out those polluted boundaries!

5. Place a sheet of kitchen towel over the top and gently press until you can see a pan-sized circle of alcohol soaking through.
I prefer to use my fingers to lightly press from the edges of the pan inwards -- going straight in with a coin and a vertical press can make the mixtures ooze out over the edges. And unlike making scones, it's not a lickable treat >:C

6. After a few passes, moving to a clean spot on the kitchen towel each time, when the paper stops picking up much alcohol with a gentle finger-press, you can start pressing more firmly with a coin on top; a 10p piece is just slightly smaller than a 26mm pan and works well. Feel free to do fake push-ups with a pan under each hand. A 5p piece was too big for my tiny Yaby 15mm pans, so I mostly skipped coin-pressing for those and just left them a bit longer to dry out.

Repeat until the paper stops picking up much alcohol even with a coin on top (from bottom left, the start of coin-pressing, to bottom right, the end, or, when I got bored.)

7. Pan! Ready to be labelled and then left alone to dry for 24-48 hours.

8. Bask in the glow of ethanol-sniffing and glitter-snorting achievement, in both natural light

...and with flash

10. Marvel at all the space you've saved! Hmm, the ex-pigment-drawer seems to be calling for a rainbow of coloured eyeliners.... hey, I don't make the rules.

P.S. 11. for my consolidated Yaby mini palette of pressed Fyrinnae sparkles, see here.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Peach Bunny Pink

This Friday, zuneta will be launching six new iridescent shades of eyeshadow from Rouge Bunny Rouge.

So it seemed a good time to update my previous series of RBR swatches (e.g. here and here) with some recent acquisitions, two peaches (Sleeping Under a Mandarin Tree pigment and Fire-Tailed Sunbird eyeshadow) and a pink (Eaten All The Cherries pigment).

(I suspect Friday will also seem a good time to throw all thoughts of twelve-buy out of the window, especially as I'll be amidst the temptations of Japanese summer collections by then...)
Did you like my segue?

Anyway, peachy pinky product collage
 eyeshadow swatch Suqqu quad 11 Himesango 01 Kakitsubata Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions RBR Eaten All the Cherries Sleeping Underneath a Mandarin Tree Fire-Tailed Sunbird Angelic Cockatiels Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo Depth

And comparison swatches from left to right:

Suqqu quad 11 Himesango peachy pink shade
Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions, a cult pink-gold duochrome
RBR Eaten All the Cherries, a much cooler pink/gold duochrome which looks almost silvery next to Rapunzel
RBR Sleeping Underneath a Mandarin Tree, which shifts from lemon to delicate marigold
RBR Fire-Tailed Sunbird, perfectly described by RBR as "holographic iridescent apricot pink" 
RBR Angelic Cockatiels, honeyed golden peach
Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo Depth (LE) peach side
Suqqu quad 01 Kakitsubata peach shade

Natural light
 eyeshadow swatch Suqqu quad 11 Himesango 01 Kakitsubata Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions RBR Eaten All the Cherries Sleeping Underneath a Mandarin Tree Fire-Tailed Sunbird Angelic Cockatiels Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo Depth

Full sun
 eyeshadow swatch Suqqu quad 11 Himesango 01 Kakitsubata Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions RBR Eaten All the Cherries Sleeping Underneath a Mandarin Tree Fire-Tailed Sunbird Angelic Cockatiels Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo Depth

It probably goes without saying that I'm besotted with all of these -- I don't think I've tried a single RBR eyeshadow I haven't cared for (lip and cheek colours were trickier).

I used Sleeping Under a Mandarin Tree for my St Paddy's FOTD and will soon post a look with Fire-Tailed Sunbird, which is supremely delicate in the style of Resplendant Quetzal, the perfect soft brights. On a darker skintone, they tend to pastel, as Makeup Picnic's swatches show.

In the meantime, here's a quick 'n' messy on-eye comparison of Eaten All the Cherries (LEFT) with Fyrinnae's Rapunzel (RIGHT), which shows hopefully some of the duochrome flash, and also how much more refined the RBR shimmer is compared to the reflective metallic foil of Fyr.

Pictures in artificial light with flash, no primer/base

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Guest Post: MAC 286 and Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush Comparison by toto850

It's time for another brush comparison post by the lovely toto850 of makeupalley. Actually I requested this because having recently fallen for the MAC 286 brush (it replaced the 217 in my affections -- this is srs bidness), I was hmming and hawing over whether I still needed the Laura Mercier ponytail...

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By toto850
MAC released a new brush not so long ago and it's called the 286, basically a duo fiber eye brush. It first came out with the Holiday 2011 collection in a SE brush set with short handles.
For those who don't know: the SE brush sets are mass produced by machines (m.a.w. not hand made!) so the quality is not the same as the full size MAC brushes (read: crap!). But to avoid any confusion, this the review for the full size MAC 286 which is permanent. :)

My first impression about this brush was that it's an exact dupe for the Laura Mercier Finishing Eye brush. But comparing and seeing them side by side they are not quite identical after all, although they look very much alike.
If you look at the pics: on the left is the LM Finishing Eye brush and on the right you'll see the MAC 286.
The LM Finishing Eye brush is definitely slimmer and more tapered at the end, while the MAC 286 is fluffier and wider at the side.
Both brushes have been washed and what I noticed is that the LM brush keeps its shape better than the MAC one. After washing the MAC 286 poofs out a little making the brush less dense.
The hairs of both brushes are quite densely packed together but I find the LM brush is a bit more firmer and therefore gives more resistance when you apply your e/s. This brush would be excellent for blending, crease color application or for a wash of color over the eyelid.
The MAC 286 is a bit softer but still good for blending colors in the crease or to soften the hard edges of your e/s application.
 All in all they are both great brushes but I do tend to grab more for the LM Finishing Eye brush since it's a little stiffer and makes blending a lot easier imo. Maybe in the future I will purge the MAC 286 but for now I'm quite happy with both of them. If one is dirty, I can easily just use the other brush instead. :)


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The Driveller again: I currently use my MAC 286 mainly with cream products (eyeshadows or concealers) which means it needs washing daily.... very tempted indeed by the Laura Mercier now. If anyone else owns both brushes, I would love you to weigh in by leaving me a comment!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Topshop Mystical Crayon, the missing ByTerry Ombre Blackstar

Sorry, spoilers in the title.

Well, it's only been months since Naz first posted about it, and this post can basically be summed up as, "wot she said."

Having recently received one of the Topshop Eye Crayons (made in Italy, £7.50 for 1.64g) as a gift, I was spurred on by her post to borrow some of my mum's ByTerry Ombre Blackstars (made in Italy, £27.50 for 1.64g) for, y'know, Science*. Or swatches.

* GraceLondon has contributed rather more science (ingredients lists!) via comment.


Straight and angled swatches in natural light

With flash

Full sun -- with ByTerry Bronze Moon added

I hope these convey just how similar the textures are -- Topshop Mystical may look a little more glittery at some angles but in my opinion this is entirely down to the fact that its iridescent shimmer is more distinct from the base colour; other ByTerry shades, such as Black Pearl, would look more shimmery than the Topshop.

In terms of feel, blendability, the appearance once on the eyes, and lasting power (both on my dry eyelids and my mother's oily ones), the Topshop and ByTerry perform identically.

Fortunately for my bank account, I prefer the cool taupe Topshop Mystique to any of ByTerry's offerings. In terms of direct shade dupe-age, Topshop Whisper seems close to ByTerry Blond Opal, while the discontinued Zephyr looks from Naz's picture to be a gold-shimmered version of ByTerry silvered Black Pearl. Otherwise, none of the other Topshop shades currently available seem to be repeats: Bramble is a dark neutral brown with contrasting cool shimmer and Sunshower a bright, very yellow gold metallic with tonal shimmer.

Here's Mystique again against some other taupes. Mostly creams, two touchstone powders.
swatch comparison eyeshadow RMS Beauty Eyeshadow Magnetic Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #2 Steel Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo #4 Bourgeoisie (darker side) Shu Uemura liquid eyeshadow from Glint Blue duo (LE Egerie collection, spring 2010) Topshop Eye Crayon Mystique ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Bronze Moon Shu Uemura ME Silver 945 (DC) Addiction Eyeshadow Flash Back
  1. RMS Beauty Eyeshadow Magnetic
  2. Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #2 Steel
  3. Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo #4 Bourgeoisie (darker side)
  4. Shu Uemura liquid eyeshadow from Glint Blue duo (LE Egerie collection, spring 2010)
  5. Topshop Eye Crayon Mystique
  6. ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock
  7. ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Bronze Moon
  8. Shu Uemura ME Silver 945 (DC)
  9. Addiction Eyeshadow Flash Back
Natural light, shade
taupe swatch comparison eyeshadow RMS Beauty Eyeshadow Magnetic Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #2 Steel Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo #4 Bourgeoisie (darker side) Shu Uemura liquid eyeshadow from Glint Blue duo (LE Egerie collection, spring 2010) Topshop Eye Crayon Mystique ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Bronze Moon Shu Uemura ME Silver 945 (DC) Addiction Eyeshadow Flash Back

Natural light, sun
taupe swatch comparison eyeshadow RMS Beauty Eyeshadow Magnetic Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #2 Steel Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo #4 Bourgeoisie (darker side) Shu Uemura liquid eyeshadow from Glint Blue duo (LE Egerie collection, spring 2010) Topshop Eye Crayon Mystique ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock ByTerry Ombre Blackstar Bronze Moon Shu Uemura ME Silver 945 (DC) Addiction Eyeshadow Flash Back


Finally, Mystique worn as a 5-second wash in natural light

With flash


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Ladurée Les Merveilleuses Pressed Cheek Colour 11

Through the generosity of lovely ladies Jamilla and  Charisse, I recently managed to acquire one of the exquisite cameo-embossed Ladurée Les Merveilleses pressed powder blushes. Currently exclusive to Japan, each 4g blush single retails for ¥3990 with cases sold separately for ¥1575 -- if like me you find the packaging mildly hideous not your tasse de thé, it's essentially a depotter's discount :D

(Justifications aside, this counts as my fourth purchase of this year's twelve.)

Obligatory packaging porn, such as it is:

Lovely thick, textured paper box

Ingredients
 
Contents: Plastic oval encasing the pan, and a clear plastic lid to protect the surface

The pan feels pleasantly hefty (heavier than Addiction and definitely no flimsy Illamasqua-esque tins) and has a magnet attached to its base

Shade-wise I opted for a safe raspberry-rose no. 11


Comparison Swatches
Becca Beach Tint Raspberry Rouge Bunny Rouge cream blush wand Rubens RBR powder blush Florita Sleek Pinktini and Pink Parfait from Blush By 3 Pink Sprint trio Ladurée Les Merveilluses Pressed Cheek Colour 11

Natural light
blush swatch Becca Beach Tint Raspberry Rouge Bunny Rouge cream blush wand Rubens RBR powder blush Florita Sleek Pinktini and Pink Parfait from Blush By 3 Pink Sprint trio Ladurée Les Merveilluses Pressed Cheek Colour 11
Becca Beach Tint Raspberry
Rouge Bunny Rouge cream blush wand Rubens
RBR powder blush Florita
Sleek Pinktini and Pink Parfait from Blush By 3 Pink Sprint trio
Ladurée Les Merveilluses Pressed Cheek Colour 11

In both shade and pigmentation, Ladurée 11 is closest to Sleek Pinktini -- if you are familiar with the brighter Sleek shades, you'll know this makes Ladurée pretty.damn.pigmented. Its finish is on the matte side of satin, glowier than Illamasqua mattes but not as sheeny as RBR powders.

However, as my swatch hopefully shows, the texture of Ladurée is far smoother and the pigmentation more evenly dispersed over one heavy swipe. It's an odd phenomenon I haven't quite worked out yet but the Ladurée texture seems to be extremely blendable without being exceptionally creamy or silky feeling. It is finely milled and tightly pressed, but no more so than my favourites formulas (RBR, Burberry, Shiseido) and it lacks their immediately 'smooth' feel.

The first tap of (any) brush on cheek actually makes the blush look patchy on me -- it's only after continuing to blend that the colour takes on a smooth, demi-matte finish which nonetheless manages to appear lit-from-within. The blending itself is a breeze -- this powder never drags even on my Saharan-dry cheeks and I can go back and smooth over any edges even hours after application.

A simple look with Ladurée 11, Guerlain Rouge G Gigolo blotted down to a lipstain 
and Topshop Crayon Mystical on eyes (review to come)
Base: Paul&Joe Light Cream S 00 mixed with RBR Sea of Tranquility with Ellis Faas 
concealer under eyes. Lancome Hypnôse Drama WP mascara.
Pictures taken in natural light, such as it was....

So I've blathered about shade, texture and feel... the look this blush ultimately gives is that of a cheek stain in powder form. And working backwards, I think this explains both its odd spreadability-without-creaminess and its matte and pigmented yet translucent finish.

And like the Beauté liqui-gel stains which it most closely resembles, this is not as flattering on flaky, dehydrated skin as Rouge Bunny Rouge powders or RMSbeauty creams -- it will remain a warm-weather-only formula for me.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Skincare Not-So-Routine

Or, even more products what I use to supplement my not-so-basic basic skincare routine.

Exfoliants
So, delicatest of delicate little lotus blossoms that I am, I have skin that is sensitive, thin and slow-healing, a combination that makes exfoliation both tempting (slough off dull flaky bumpy bits and make scars fade faster? woot!) and risky (irritation ahoy! yet more flakes and redness? what fresh hell? etc.) 
I now find it best to avoid all physical exfoliators,* instead relying on a thin layer of REN Glycolactic Mask about once a fortnight (once a week max) -- its fruit acids, like, completely resurface my skin in ten minutes, bestowing a makeup-less(!) glow for the next day or so. It does sting slightly while on and absolutely reeks of fruit roll-ups but what price beauty, eh? It doesn't make my skin red, sore or flaky afterwards.
A localised dot of Paula's Choice 2% BHA Weightless Body Treatment overnight usually takes care of any isolated clogs. (I originally bought this to deal with some psoriasis bumps on upper arms / backs of thighs -- it's a rare example of a product that works so well it rendered itself obsolete before the end of the tube.)
*not just the notoriously abrasive St. Ives Apricot Scrub but also everything from the Asian rub'n'peel gels like Cure to gentle enzyme-based Dermalogica Microfoliant to the finest muslin cloths. I tolerated pink clay konjac sponges quite well, but only in summer / hot climates.


Moisturising Masks
If I exfoliate less often than your average pamered poodle groomed woman, I bet I 'mask' more often -- at least twice a week, always after exfoliation, and daily if my skin's particularly picky. It's always fun to try whatever's flavour of the month when I travel to E. Asia (currently bee venom, apparently; previous trends have included platinum, pearl, red wine and of course, SK-II's pitera) but the no-frills drugstore fragrance-free, alcohol-free Mandom Beauty Barrier Repair Super Moist sheet masks have remained my favourites for years. Like my 'holy grail' serum from the same brand, it does a simple job (hydration) exceptionally well, leaving me with plumped, soothed and ridiculously soft skin after 20 minutes' wear. The sheet itself is also thick and cut larger than many other brands', and tears down the middle for an even better fit.
I babble a lot about Japanese drugstore gems, but Boots Botanics is a reliable source of homegrown ones -- their lightly honeyed Intensive Moisture Mask makes an excellent overnight spot-treatment for dry patches and doubles as my gankin massage cream -- most of it's usually sunk in by the time I finish, but any excess is easily patted in, so there's no rinsing / double cleansing / wiping to deal with.
DHC Revitalising Moisture Strips proved to be my favourite of all the Asian eye masks I tried last year -- laid over whatever eye cream you're using, they noticeably depuff and brighten the undereye area overnight while boosting its moisture, and the effect lasts at least 24 hours. (On their own they don't moisturise sufficiently for me.)


Actives
During brief windows in which I have unbroken, relatively happy skin I like to tempt fate Erase the Passage of Time incorporate some more 'active' ingredients into my basic 'keep skin hydrated and moisturised' routine (which frankly takes too much work as it is).
The Body Shop Vitamin C Radiance Capsules is the more effective of the only two vit. C products on the market which didn't burn my face off (the other is the very watery MAP-based DHC Vitamin C Essence). The individually packaged doses (30 per jar) are a clever way to keep the active ingredient fresh (vit C in its L-Ascorbic Acid form is notoriously quick to degrade) and they make any acne scars/marks fade noticeably faster and give brighter-looking skin overall applied as a morning serum.
I've professed my love for Olay Regenerist Fragrance-Free Serum before and it's still my nighttime serum for barrier-repair and redness-minimising (it's best not to layer l-ascorbic acid and niacinamide as the two ingredients work best at different pHs).
Note: both of these actives come in very siliconey bases to 'buffer' them for my very sensitive skin; I'm sure there are more potent offerings out there for those with normal or resistant skin.


Emergencies
My response to any skin emergency is to moisturise the hell out of it. This applies to breakouts as well as the more usual dry-skin woes (chapped, peeling, cracked, tight or lined skin). I rarely get spots but when I do they're inevitably those giant, painful stress/hormonal underground cysts -- and for those, moisturising and not-picking/squeezing are for me the best way to:
  1. bring them to a head quicker (if they are to come to a head, most of mine seem to get reabsorbed after a month or summat...*)
  2. keep the surface smooth and flake-free to ease concealer-application
  3. ameliorate future scarring, a little
Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream is perfect for this, because as well as being bland, fragrance-free, and antibacterial, it's also thicker than most of their creams so adheres well to localised patches and can be applied in a thick mask-like layer overnight. The metal packaging is hygenic and psychologically soothing, though I admit I wish it came in awesome test-tubes like the old Tolérance Extrême...
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 is a new product I first read of on Musing On Beauty. Its ingredients resemble Avène's Cicalfate (unsurprisingly as the two brands and product lines are direct rivals) unlike the original LRP Cicaplast which is more of a cosmetic primer. First impressions are that it is much more matte and almost waxy in comparison to the Avène; I'll be giving it a more thorough testing through an East Asian hot summer.

*dermatological expertise: I haz it. In spades.