Pages

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Saturday at Sogo

SOGO is a Japanese department store with two locations in Hong Kong, and more pertinently for this blog, paradoxically bi-annual "anniversary" sales during which all the beauty counters offer cosmetics 'bundles' at hefty discounts. And all oddly delicious Japanese snacky things are 10% off. And of course every single department on each of of the twenty-something floors also had offers on. But I didn't get to witness those personally, because, well, here are some phone pics of what the ground floor beauty hall looked like:

Shiseido, Cosme Decorte and Lancôme counters -- the orderly sea of heads at the back in the upper left hand corner are lining up for the MAC store
Estee Lauder, Dior and Clarins -- this part of the beauty hall was particularly mad, as it was surrounded by various designer bag concessions, each with their own line (you can see Gucci there at the back). Also check out the scary ghostly blurs in the foreground, closing up the tiny gap that opened up just long enough for me to take this.

Sofina, Ipsa,  Kanebo, Burberry. Estee Lauder again.

Sofina may look abandoned but that's simply because it was by far the most popular sale (no-one left it without buying at least 6 full sets of skincare), and had a specially cordoned-off queue of military precision prepared:
This is less than halfway down the Sofina queue -- the tiny red+white sign in the distance is where the line starts.
These aren't even the most crowded scenes -- in those I was borne along by the wave o' humanity and couldn't even lift my arms to take pictures.

See those colourful pamphletty things people are studying?
Here's one full unfolded page out of eight:

It details the best weekly deals and the rotating daily specials for each brand in every sub-department; for further info on particular brands you'll have to contrive to be borne past the concession in question, all of which are womanned by ultra-efficient SA's handing out more detailed flyers:
flyers from YSL, Burberry, Shu Uemura, Sofina, Kanebo, Ipsa, SK-II, Shiseido and Helena Rubinstein

....yeah, I think I have PTSD.

I thought I was prepared! I'm a Londoner, ferchrissakes, not exactly unused to consumerist crowds. *sigh* Lesson learned (again): DO NOT MESS WITH ASIANS DURING A SALE.
The first entrants to last Christmas' Selfridges sale from The Grauniad. If you spotted non-Asians in this picture --  they're Selfridges staff XD


So what did I leave with? Sets from Lunasol, Burberry, Shu and Ipsa for friends. And for myself:
Burberry Earthy blush, Hibiscus lip cover, and a black canvas and leather makeup bag for HK$490, and Midnight Brown eyeshadow thrown in for an extra $178.


For the record (comparison swatches to come in review):
Earthy replaces MAC Strada
Hibiscus replaces Shu RD 178M
Midnight Brown is a legit breaking of the low-buy -- I'll be curious to see if I have any dupes lurking in my stash back home

I was also very tempted by (but womanfully resisted) another Burberry set containing an eyeshadow, eyeliner pencil, no.9 socket brush and a compact mirror for $440 (!), and the Lunasol 'starter kit' consisting of the decade-long bestseller Skin Modelling Eyes Beige Beige, a lipgloss, a cream blush and a choice of liquid or jelly single eyeshadow, in a makeup pouch for $620.

The best thing about this sale for me was the ability to make your own 'collection' by choosing the shades that go into your set. Don't think it'd be enough to tempt me back a second time, though. Overall the most therapeutic part of my haul (after a particularly draining week) was this:
Yakult soda ice cream float :D Aint nothing like brain freeze from friendly bacteria, sugar and fat. (That garnish totally counts as one of my five-a-day, right?)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact Swatches

Jill Stuart is that rare brand which makes even a bonbon-nibbling, frilly-chiffon-wearing bit o' fluff like me want to run screaming from their Stepford-pink counters to shave all my hair off (and possibly my left boob) before rolling in a dung-heap en route to the filthy cave by a stinking cesspool which I shall henceforth call home.

It's really pink, yeah? 

Aesthetics aside, the products are generally meh -- I wanted to say lacklustre but as they are generally 99 parts chunky glitter : 1 part pigment, that seems misleading....
The Mix Blush Compacts are the exception, and the only reason I would brave a counter, risking aforementioned one-boobed cesspool cave scenario. Yes, the packaging is pure fairyfarts, but it is also functional -- the compacts are hefty, with a secure magnetised closure. Each blush comes with a very good quality rounded goat-hair retractable brush (which can be detached from the palette), big enough to swirl around all four pans and apply, and if half-retracted, precise enough to pick up colour from one pan alone -- though not all the pans are equally pigmented, so some are less usable solo than others. And the product itself is good-to-great depending on shade, the best ones being pigmented, blendable, versatile and famously long-lasting even in humid weather. 'Worst' is trickier -- but I personally would warn against 1 Baby Blush, 6 Fresh Apricot and 12 Candy Orange... the shades are not so unique that you couldn't find a superior dupe from another brand.
Candied-rose scent, which dissipates quickly once applied.

Currently there are 9 permanent shades in the lineup, with 2 limited edition ones for this spring/summer. I've split the swatches into 3 rough colour groupings -- these are all swirled swatches (all 4 shades together), 1 swipe made with the included brush.
Mix Blush Compacts (Made in Japan, 8g) retail for HK$370 or ¥4725.

Pinks
blush swatch jill stuart mix blush compact 14 lantan honey 11 rose fairy 7 lovely tulip 1 baby blush
14 Lantana Honey (LE for SS2012) -- pigmented warm pink, sparse shimmer
11 Rose Fairy -- pigmented bright pink, sparse shimmer
7 Lovely Tulip -- cool, clear pink, medium pigment, very shimmery
1 Baby Blush -- soft pink, sheer, shimmery


Peachier Pinks
blush swatch jill stuart mix blush compact 15 strolling bee 12 candy orange 9 little bouquet 6 fresh apricot
15 Strolling Bee (LE for SS2012), warm rosy coral, medium pigment and shimmer
12 Candy Orange -- medium pigment and shimmer, difficult to swirl evenly but very close to Strolling Bee though slightly warmer
9 Little Bouquet -- pigmented peachy pink with very sparse shimmer
6 Fresh Apricot -- sheer and very shimmery warm apricot-pink


Uh... the rest
blush swatch jill stuart mix blush compact 13 milky strawberry 10 sweet biscuit 8 romantic poppy
13 Milky Strawberry -- pigmented soft neutral pink, very sparse shimmer
10 Sweet Biscuit -- pigmented warm browned rose, shimmery
8 Romantic Poppy -- pigmented muted coral rose, very shimmery


Official pan pics -- these bushes mix up pretty intuitively, so these give a better idea of the nuances within the different pinks or peaches, and also the four individual shades you would potentially be buying.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Chanel Rivière Look #3

Now this is the kind of cool lip I'm much more at home in -- Burberry Lip Cover in Bright Plum is the perfect example of the saturated deep-bright fairytale roses I swoon over in Once Upon A Time. Lip Covers rank among my favourite lipstick formulas of all time, rose-scented, creamy, just the right amount of slip, moisturising and pigmented (you all know my keywords by now); deeper shades like this one leave a pretty stain after a meal.

For those still counting who've ended up way past their twelfth finger -- bah! I have some more wagon-falling planned this weekend -- this replaces Guerlain Rouge G Gigolo in my wardrobe. Well, 'cos! lookit!
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Matte RD178M Burberry Lip Cover Bright Plum Guerlain Rouge G Gigolo
Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Matte RD178M (DC)
Burberry Lip Cover Bright Plum
Guerlain Rouge G Gigolo

The tone issoperfect! It makes Gigolo look like a flat pink-red! And good god, the packaging. Whatever your issues with Burberry check (I won't string you up on a lamppost if you can't help finding it tacky) it at least has a nifty magnetic closure, and I think it is a truth universally acknowledged that nothing sucks harder than Rouge G's space dumbbell tampon applicator. Of doom.

vacant...
or constipated-smirky... ah my range, it is so broad

Eyes: Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Gloss Angel's Play as a base, Estee Lauder DoubleWear Cream Eyeshadow Vintage Violet framing Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Rivière
Mascara: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama WP
Brows: Shu Uemura H9 Stone Grey
Lips: Burberry Lip Cover Bright Plum 
Cheeks: Ladurée Pressed Cheek Colour 11 (review) -- which doesn't really go with this eye in hindsight
Base: Helena Rubinstein Colourclone Liquid 00 (Japanese version), Burberry click pen concealer 01

 now... does decapitation make me look fat?
silk slip maxi: Pure&Good // waistcoat: All Saints // necklace: HK market find :D // shoes: Clarks, nicked from mum
I'm running about a week behind on my posting, so hey, last week my mum visited me in Hong Kong and in return for feeding and watering her, I commandeered about half the clothes she'd packed. She wondered sweetly if I was perhaps a wee bit old to be raiding her wardrobe still, and I wondered just as sweetly if she wasn't perhaps a wee bit old to be buying the same kind of stuff as me. :D Just a little vision of the future there for all you mothers-with-young-daughters out there. Happy belated mother's day!

necklace closeup

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Swatches Part 2: Neutrals

Click through for the introduction to the new formula, and swatches part 1: colours (reds, pinks, mauves, wines, corals).

This batch features the other half of the 50 permanent shades currently available: BR (brown) and BG (beige), although both codes contain quite a few roses and pinks, and the black and white 'mixers'.

As before, I built up the swatches as necessary to show the colours most clearly (up to seven swipes for the 'very sheer' shades, only one swipe for the 'very pigmented' ones) -- see the notes for info on how pigmented each shade is.
In general, the sheerer the shade the more visible shimmer (the most shimmery shades are still less shimmery than Chanel Rouge Coco Shines however), and the more pigmented, the more like a traditional cream finish (zero shimmer, some balmy shine).

Beige (BG)
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura BG910, BG911, BG920, BG921, BG922, BG930, BG931, BG 910, BG 911, BG 920, BG 921, BG 922, BG 930, BG 931
natural light
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura BG910, BG911, BG920, BG921, BG922, BG930, BG931, BG 910, BG 911, BG 920, BG 921, BG 922, BG 930, BG 931
full sun
BG910 -- medium
BG911 -- medium
BG920 -- medium
BG921 -- pigmented
BG922 -- sheer
BG930 -- pigmented
BG931 -- pigmented (and gorgeous! and not remotely beige!)


lipstick swatch Shu Uemura BG935, BG940, BG941, BG950, BG955, BG960, BG965, BG 935, BG 940, BG 941, BG 950, BG 955, BG 960, BG 965
natural light
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura BG935, BG940, BG941, BG950, BG955, BG960, BG965, BG 935, BG 940, BG 941, BG 950, BG 955, BG 960, BG 965
full sun
BG935
BG940
BG941
BG950
BG955
BG960
BG965 -- no. 1 bestseller in Japan, a very flattering, versatile rose
These were all uniformly pigmented, creamy 1-2 swipe wonders.


Black (BK), White (WH) and Brown (BR)
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura BK009, WH001, BR740, BR741, BR750, BR760, BR780, BR790, BR791, BK 009, WH 001, BR 740, BR 741, BR 750, BR 760, BR 780, BR 790, BR 791
natural light
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura BK009, WH001, BR740, BR741, BR750, BR760, BR780, BR790, BR791, BK 009, WH 001, BR 740, BR 741, BR 750, BR 760, BR 780, BR 790, BR 791
full sun
BK009 -- one swipe, a nearly opaque balmy cream with a sheen
WH001 -- conversely it took seven swipes to build up even to this coverage, shimmery
BR740 -- medium pigment, extremely frosty
BR741 -- medium
BR750 -- pigmented
BR760 -- sheer
BR780 -- medium
BR790 -- pigmented
BR791 -- sheer, frosty

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dainty Doll Part Deux: Blush swatches and review

By far the more successful half of my toe-dipping into this 'Specially For Pale Skin brand, I present Dainty Doll blushes 001 Hippy Hippy Shake and 003 Money Talks. Both are pigmented, finely milled and a very reasonable £13.50 for 4.6g (not 46g, Boots site) -- on my very dry skin they can feel somewhat dry but this is true for most powder products on the market so feel free to extrapolate based on your own skin/preferences.

003 Money Talks is an unusual bronzed rose with what looks like shimmer in the pan and on the arm, but translates as an intense, smooth sheen on the cheeks (even to my shimmerphobic eye). It's nicely pigmented and gives a very flattering après ski glow to pale, cool skin. (On warmer pale skins, I think it's the kind of colour that may pull muddy/terracotta.) For me, it has enough pink in it to be usable as blush or warm bronzer without looking dirty but would be an orange, shiny disaster as contour.
natural light -- this is a dry, finely milled formula that shows brush tracks
angled in full sun to catch the shimmer
Swatched with the closest shades in my stash (not very):
Rouge Bunny Rouge Gracilis, a dusty rosy mauve, which looks cooler and brighter here in contrast
and Delicata, my personal nude beige-peachy-rose-nude holy grail (it's so a thing), which looks much peachier because it lacks the mauviness of Money Talks.
(See my other swatches of the two RBR shades so you can see what mad a mad alchemical creature Money Talks is)
shade
full sun
cheeks: Money Talks // eyes: Catrice Pink Rock, The Noble Knights and Hip Hop on the Treetop, Lancôme Hypnôse Drama // lips: Burberry Bright Plum // base: Dainty Doll 001+002 mix

If Money Talks was the surprise hit within a surprise hit, 001 Hippy Hippy Shake, a paaaaale cool lilac satin, was so obviously up my street I almost perversely didn't swap for it. I'm glad I triple-reverse-psychologised myself though (yeah, take that, brain!), because it's that unicorn, an effortless pastel for the pale (cf. previous more effortful efforts).
Swatched against:
Illamasqua Katie (look how warm and dark it seems!)
Nars Gaiety (look how bright and pink!)
Hippy Hippy Shake <3 noticebly cooler and paler than the rest. True-to-pan FTW!
Shu Uemura M Pink 32E (2nd generation)
and M Soft Mauve 225 (Colour Atelier), the new version of M32E and pretty close as you see
natural light

full sun
blush: Hippy Hippy Shake // eyes: Chanel Ebouli, RBR Mountain Bluebird, Shu Uemura white+yellow from Spring Rebirth tri-colour pencil Energy Flow, Lancôme Hynôse Drama // lips: Addiction Miss You More

This looks drier on my skin than Money Talks, and some of that is attributable to the shade (chalkier) and finish (more satiny, less sheeny). Another explanation could be that it's.just.drier.
Ah, 90% ethanol, is there anything you can't do?

Ingredients:



Monday, 14 May 2012

Dainty Doll Deuxième Début: Liquid Foundation Swatches and Review

Dainty Doll is a recently relaunched mid-range brand aimed at the pale-skinned, headed and fronted by (ex-/now re-? oh who knows) Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts -- the redhead, natch.

The original Harrods-exclusive range of foundations did not impress me (flat, basic formulas, and violently pink or yellow undertones) but positive murmurings about the new range tempted me to revisit (Dainty Doll is now widely available at Boots and lookfantastic online.)

Face products will be the main draw for this brand, as most companies in 2012 still persist in thinking that those paler than MAC 15 are a vanishingly rare breed...we're not. And we HAZ monies! Y U NO let us throw them your way, companies?! *weeps and flings doubloons weakly* Ahem, for now I'll be reviewing the liquid foundation, and in part two there will be blood blush. Based on a cursory swatch sesh in Boots, the eyeshadow and lipstick formulas are unexceptional rather than unexceptionable, and personally I've never found it a particularly pale-specific challenge to shop for those anyway...

Here's Dainty Doll Now That I've Found You Liquid Foundation (RBR much? 30ml for £22) in the two palest shades, 001 Very Light and 002 Light swatched against Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet 15:
foundation swatch mufe make up for ever mat velvet 15 dainty doll 002 001
foundation swatch mufe make up for ever mat velvet 15 dainty doll 002 001
heavy swatches, natural light
(In my opinion, Mat Velvet 15 is neutral, but beauty net consensus seems to have it leaning pink.) In any case, Dainty Doll 002 is a little darker and substantially more yellow than the MUFE, while 001 is a good step paler, looking almost white. (On my extrapolated MAC scale, MV 15 is N10, DD 002 is NC13 and DD 001 is NW5.)


Dainty Doll 001 Very Light, swatched between Yaby Daisy (an actual white) and Illamasqua Skin Base 02, to bring out its cool neutral-pinkiness as opposed to Illamasqua's warmer more pronounced pink.
foundation swatch yaby daisy dainty doll 001 illamasqua skin base 02
full sun
foundation swatch yaby daisy dainty doll 001 illamasqua skin base 02
natural light

And Dainty Doll 002 with Nars Sheer Glow Siberia (so jaundicey, I can't quite believe I've gone out in public / posted pics wearing this D:), Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 (this is definitely yellow but looks neutral next to these other shades) and Paul&Joe Light Cream Foundation S 00 (the coolest yellow of the bunch, looks olive).
foundation swatch nars siberia kevyn aucoin sensual skin enhancer sx-01 dainty doll 001  paul joe light cream foundation s 00
full sun -- it suddenly got very cold, sorry about goosebumps
foundation swatch nars siberia kevyn aucoin sensual skin enhancer sx-01 dainty doll 001  paul joe light cream foundation s 00
natural light

Here's Dainty Doll 002 Light on me, looking a little too dark and yellow (if your monitor shows it):

The difference is probably too minor to register on most screens / any sane person's list of bothersome things but I'm enough of a special, special snowflake to feel more comfortable for slapping a thin layer of 001 Very Light over the top (approximately achieving a 3:2 mix i.e. 001.6 Quite Light):

dainty doll liquid foundation 001 002

That's also why I'm pouting: a brand especially for pale folk and I still have to mix?

A bigger disappointment was how dry and unforgiving this formula was on me -- see how matte my face looks even without setting powder? In real life it brings up a multitude of flaky and bumpy patches I didn't even know I had. I get good medium coverage from one thin layer (applied with a damp beautyblender sponge), and it's buildable to full -- though you'll have to work quickly, as this stuff isn't the most blendable, and once it sets, it sets.

Ingredients


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Swatches Part 1: Colours

These are the new Rouge Unlimited lipsticks, launched in Spring 2012. For more details, click through to the introduction.
For Part 2, the neutrals, click here.

I built up these swatches as necessary to show the colours most clearly (up to seven swipes for the 'very sheer' shades, only one swipe for the 'very pigmented' ones) -- see the notes for info on how pigmented each shade is.
In general, the sheerer the shade the more visible shimmer (the most shimmery shades are still less shimmery than Chanel Rouge Coco Shines however), and the more pigmented, the more like a traditional cream finish (zero shimmer, some balmy shine).

All pictures are taken in natural light, no flash. Click to enlarge.

Wine (WN), Mauve (MV), and Red (RD)
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura WN295, WN285, WN255, MV275, MV245, RD185, RD175, RD170,  RD160, RD155, RD145, WN 295, WN 285, WN 255, MV 275, MV 245, RD 185, RD 175, RD 170,  RD 160, RD 155, RD 145
full sun
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura WN295, WN285, WN255, MV275, MV245, RD185, RD175, RD170,  RD160, RD155, RD145, WN 295, WN 285, WN 255, MV 275, MV 245, RD 185, RD 175, RD 170,  RD 160, RD 155, RD 145
shade

WN295 v. pigmented
WN285 pigmented
WN255 sheer
MV275 pigmented
MV245 pigmented
RD185 pigmented
RD175 medium
RD170 pigmented
RD160 medium
RD155 medium
RD145 sheer


Pink (PK)
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura PK300, PK315, PK320, PK325, PK335, PK340, PK345, PK355, PK365, PK375, PK 300, PK 315, PK 320, PK 325, PK 335, PK 340, PK 345, PK 355, PK 365, PK 375
full sun
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura PK300, PK315, PK320, PK325, PK335, PK340, PK345, PK355, PK365, PK375, PK 300, PK 315, PK 320, PK 325, PK 335, PK 340, PK 345, PK 355, PK 365, PK 375
shade
PK300 v. sheer
PK315 sheer
PK320 medium
PK325 sheer and v. shimmery
PK335 sheer-medium
PK340 medium
PK345 v sheer
PK355 medium
PK365 pigmented
PK375 v. pigmented


Coral (CR) and Orange (OR)
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura OR540, OR530, OR520, CR341, CR330, CR310, OR 540, OR 530, OR 520, CR 341, CR 330, CR 310
full sun
lipstick swatch Shu Uemura OR540, OR530, OR520, CR341, CR330, CR310, OR 540, OR 530, OR 520, CR 341, CR 330, CR 310
shade
OR540 v. pigmented
OR530 medium
OR520 sheer
CR341 sheer and shimmery
CR330 medium
CR310 pigmented