Sunday, 10 June 2012


So it's officially the weekend of memes
The lovely Lola (she of truly killer artistic sensibility) of Lola's Secret Beauty Blog nominated me for a Liebster award! Possibly her one aesthetic hiccup of a lifetime, but we'll allow it ;) It's my first blog award (just as yesterday was my first tag-along-a-meme -- what's next? burping? potty training?) and I'm especially honoured as a huge fan of her blog, which is consistently interesting and inspiring, and most importantly, expresses her idiosyncratic aesthetic in her own distinctive voice. And what else are we here for, eh? :D

The Liebster (which means 'Dearest' in German) is an award which is given to up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers who deserve some recognition and support to keep blogging. Because frankly, blogging is not an easy thing to do and it's nice to be appreciated and supported by your fellow bloggers!
The rules:
Link the person who gave you the award in your post.Put the award in your post.
Choose 5 blogs with under 200 followers to receive the award.
Let them know you awarded them.

My Liebster Nominations
all fit my personal criteria of being idiosyncratic, even eccentric, as well as beautiful.
In alphabetical order:

Claire is probably the closest I'll ever come to having a taste-twin in this world; as it is she is my far more refined, elegant and classy sister-that-wasn't. I envy her bones, her eye and her taste.

Getting to 'meet' Odyssey and to follow her fresh, clear-eyed approach to beauty has been a highlight of my decision to start blogging. Her thoughtful comparisons and evocative nail-art always inspire.

Marti/Pieces is my long-lost-lost-lost-hey-it's-really-confusing-okay--in-EAsian-pop-culture-soul-sister. Her posts always make me weak with laughter, thus foiling my nefarious plots to steal all her jokes and screencaps. And screencaps. (Note to self: next attempt at plot to involve more naked Abe Hiroshi.)

The beauty musings of Naz, one of the sweetest, quirkiest and prettiest women I know (and I have quite the dungeon-full...) She is the blogging proof that you don't have to be a minimalist to have 'taste' and when she recommends a new product I've never heard of, or sounds the alarm on a bargainous dupe, I take it very seriously because she's tried errythang out there.

Just look at the header -- this is a rare gem of a beauty blog. Maria has an unfailing eye for all things beautiful and this extends to her excellent photos and lucid prose as well as her thoughtful acquisitions and comparison posts.

Finally, a further selection of five Lieblings (because what's a heart if not capacious?) -- brand-new blogs or blogs-on-the-backburner (currently on hiatus) you should still check out:

Finally, my latest purchase (it being sale season here in Hong Kong): Tsumori Chisato Coffee Scallop Sunnies (find them here, sadly not on sale yet)

Stay cool, hep cats!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Friday Photo Meme -- What's New Edition

I saw Haru's latest edition of Yumeko's Photo Meme on Rouge Deluxe this morning and it looked fun, and a great way of playing catch-up with as yet unblogged frivolousness, so here's mine :)

1. Something you bought recently
Shu Uemura G135, G251, G745, IR115, IR311, G646
top row: G135, G251, G745  |  bottom: IR115, G311, G646
Six of the ten new Shu Uemura glitters (released June 1st). Some of you may know I decided to take June off for my twelve-of-2012 self-deceiving overambitious pledge of foolishness low-buy. I'll extend the low-buy through January, so it'll still run for twelve months, but in the meantime "waah I'm spending my birthday in strangelands must buy all the shinyshiny things".

2. Something you got in the mail this week
From a lovely American friend, the new Sugarpill Hearbreaker palette (right) to complete my collection of their pressed eyeshadows (best brights out there, end of). It seems like the entire blogosphere has reviewed/swatched this already so I'll just direct you to these awesome ones from Confessions of a Glitterholic and Lauren Clark (which captures the definite micro-shimmer in all four shades).
Heartbreaker will be replacing Guerlain Ecrin 6 2 Place Vendôme (left) in my collection -- the one common note being cobalt blue :D

3. Something you could not live without this week
I've been doing a lot of running around in the sweltering heat lately, and relying on perfumes to act as my pocketful of posies to ward off the plague sublime stenches let's just call it summer. In particular, I've been reaching for aquatics (perhaps the most-maligned genre by the fume-blogosphere) to save me from wilting -- Frédéric Malle's En Passant conjures up a dewy carpet of lilacs and delicate orange-blossoms (nary a hint of a heady indole here) and the greenness of sap as if the petals had been snapped off whole by the sheer weight of water from a just-past rainstorm. All done with Olivia Giacobetti's signature watercolour impressionism, it never descends into sweetly pretty cliché, and while the total absence of any 'bread' note on my skin means that it's sadly lacking in quirkiness, there is enough dry earthy 'wheatiness' to prevent this scent from veering into actively moist -- is humid enough, donotwant! -- and to ground the airyfairy florals.

4. Something you are trying out this week
Addiction released several shades of Eye Lacquer WP for summer and Swimming Pool was my test-the-water (har har) purchase. So far, it seems to perform identically to the Paul&Joe Eye Gloss formula, which can be worn either as a delicate veil of a topcoat or built up to an über-glittery lacquer, over various creams or powders, or on its own, with absolutely no creasing or fallout.

5. Something you are wearing this week
carved resin cuffs both from etsy // 'eco-plastic' lace bracelet by Batucada.
This could just as easily have gone under the 'trying out' category. I've always been too cheap/lazy to accessorise properly but am trying to remedy this. This week: wristwear-in-odd-materials (...yeah, I'm an accessories noob). Still have yet to master wearing of wristwatch without dramatically smashing watch-face against nearest indestructible surface during wild gesticulation.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Chanel Rivière Look #4

As my Ebloui diary showed, I have a pretty limited deck of eyeshadow shapes up my sleeve. When it comes to taking a new shade through its paces, a wash+wing will eventually make its appearance, and the usual playing off of warm against cool shades...

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Rivière blended across the mobile lid using a MAC #286, with a tiny dab of Rouge Bunny Rouge Batiste Grayling cream eyeshadow (my zu GWP) to darken the outer corner with the same brush. Shu Uemura Painting Liner Purple with a Hakuhodo #162 for the wing.

To offset the cool eye, Illamasqua Lover blush applied with a Hakuhodo Large Pointed Yachiyo (heavy-handednes is entirely my and not the brush's fault) and Hourglass Femme Rouge Muse with my beloved Hakuhodo Misako Portable lipbrush [the closest version sold on the US site is the Kokutan RS].
Foundation mismatch courtesy of Lunasol Water Cream N OC-01

Necklace was salvaged from a Topshop sale bin for a fiver (woe be on the head of the foolish consumer who returned it! mwahaha), dress (only marginally more than a fiver) from a dodgy Korean import stall in HK. I'm not showing you the rest of it because it's kinda hilariously poor quality and ill-fitting (and started to fill my room with a disquietingly pungent odour in the middle of the night... it now hangs up in my brightly lit hallway and an exorcist has been called.)

Woe be on me too, for bringing an Hourglass lipstick to a tropical climate:

Consider yourselves warned!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

History of Shiseido Supplement from Vogue China June 2012

Shiseido is currently celebrating its 140th Anniversary, which in Hong Kong seems to just mean lots of makeover booths set up in shopping malls. You'd've thought such a venerable company would have worked out the magical festive properties of, say, a blanket 40% discount....

Anyhoo, the latest issue of Vogue China came with a lovely supplement tracing the history of Shiseido, and much geekery folows:
The name Shiseido (资生堂) comes from a couplet in the I Ching (易经) or ancient Chinese Book of Changes which Shi themselves cumbersomely translate as "praise the virtues of the earth which nurtures new life and brings forth significant values". (...still more lucid than the original) Anyway, it just goes to show that pseudo-holistic-botanical marketing drivel isn't just a post-hippie phenomenon. The red 'seal' is Shi's stylised camelia design, art derived from nature.

Next, a selection of exquisite Eudermine bottles -- Eudermine launched in 1897 as the world's first softener/lotion (toner), which is still the basis of Japanese skincare to this day. For the 140th anniversary, Shiseido are selling Eudermine (which has remained in production anyway) in a limited edition replica of the original 1897 bottle.
From left: bottles from 1952, 1897, 1997 [100 year anniversary edition], 1980, 1968, 1954, 1935, 1918.

A 1932 jar of De Luxe Cold Cream. De Luxe was the most luxurious range under the company umbrella in its day, retailing for 274 times the cost of 'ordinary' Shiseido products.

1917 Rainbow Face Powder boxes -- the first non-white powders released in Japan, this came in seven shades (white, yellow, beige, rose, peony-pink, green and purple to correct discolouration and perfect the skin.

The fifth anniversary "Powder Celebration" box from Maquillage (a midrange Shiseido sub-brand) Holiday 2010 echoed this with its similar octagonal shape and eight shades of face powder you could mix and match in the central well.

The current range of Perfect Rouge lipsticks (the octagonal shape again recalling the Rainbow Face Powder box) with an iconic red Inoui lip brush from 1977.

Whitening products from 1918 and 2012. The 1918 cream is an oil-free peroxide(! yeah that's what it sez right on the jar) formula; the 2012 one is the current bestselling Intensive Spot-Targeting Serum from the White Lucent range containing its signature ingredients 4MSK (potassium methoxy salicylate) and m-Tranexamic acid as well as vitamin C.

A rather nifty timeline
1872 Fukuhara Arinobu, ex-head-pharmacist to the Imperial navy, founded the Shiseido pharmacy. At the ripe old age of 23. *kills self*
1888 Fukuhara Sanitary Toothpaste, the first cake toothpaste on the Japanese market
1892 first issue of Vogue (? oh shut up, Vogue.)
1893 Eudermine again
1922 Shiseido Parlour drugstore, introducing ice-cream and soda fountains, which Fukuhara Arinobu brought back from his Euro-American travels.
1923 Uviolin, Japan's first sunblock cream
1924 Shiseido Geppo covers, featuring articles on beauty, lifestyle, art and Western trends. (The precursor to today's Hanatsubaki magazine)
1929 an elegant gold-laquered soap tin to mark the coronation of the Showa emperor, featuring traditional Japanese botanical motifs

Bits and bobs from my favourite period, the 1930s
1932 launch of ultra-luxe range, De Luxe, with Cold Cream, Vanishing Cream, 'Eau de Blanc' lotion and face powder.
1932 Modern Colour face powder, packaging designed by Shiseido's first Creative Director Yamano Ayao
1933 'Grease Shadow' palette of seventeen shades to take your look from day to night
1936 a striking window display from the Ginza Shiseido Parlour
1936 a seriously awesome makeup shade-wheel -- you select the social occasion, it rolls up the appropriate colour palette

1957 'Total' makeup: Shiseido promotes the 'science' of shade selection based on colour theory, for hair, base, eyeshadow and lipstick.
1959 To mark the imperial wedding, two gilded lipstick cases that echo Pantheon columns.
1965 Trying to combat the drop in cosmetics sales during humid Japanese summers, Shiseido launches a special 'summer' base makeup range.

top left: 1938 magazine advert
bottom left: 1960 advert for Eau de Luxe perfume
right: 'Makeup,' a 70-page pamphlet offering skincare and makeup tips and tutorials

Currently (aka the Dick Page page!)
Face charts and backstage pics from various 2012 fashion shows by Shiseido's current artistic director, Dick Page (<3): Band of Outsiders, Zero+Maria Cornejo, Narcisco Rodriguez, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors.

The fuuuuuuuture (I think these are creepier left uncaptioned)

Thanks for looking! :) I have absolutely no affiliation to Shiseido or its subdivisions. Just a big ole material history geek.

PS Vogue China has lost a lot of its original editorial awesomeness and gained too much bland Vogue-iness in the past couple of years (though it, Vogue Nippon and Vogue Russia are the only three I even bother flipping through) so I won't be posting scans from the main mag except for this, the only pic that caught my eye:

ETA: Ratzilla Cosme has posted some more images of vintage Shiseido products. Click through to enjoy!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Six Daytime Looks with Chanel Illusion D'Ombre 86 Ebloui

Shortly before I left London, I arbitrarily challenged myself to wear Ebloui (my least-reached-for Illusion D'Ombre) for a whole week, which for my current life means a ratio of  
six days of work-safe/soft/wearable/grown-up/boring OL looks
one day/night of "finally! The freedom to wear the kickiest-ass totally original makeup evar!" ....paralysed by choice.... *applies wash of taupe eyehadow and tinted balm in defeat*
 ....oh, and I also decided to to shun traditional lipsticks that week. I don't know, because it just wasn't! Fun! ENOUGH!

I'd intended to blog them eventually in between swatch/review/rambly random posts with pictures of other things but a friend on makeupalley reminded me yesterday that it's been a while and I still hadn't started. So, just wages of procrastination, I now drown myself in a vat of embarrassment (yeah it comes in vats now, brave new world), as I present a solid wall of eleven billionty pictures of my face and eye, all in one post.

Ebloui itself has been reviewed and swatched exhaustively by far better photographers already -- prettymaking has the truest-to-my-experience swatches, with green, gold, pink and silver shimmer distinct against the red-brown base. For other excellent reviews, see delicatehummingbird and cafemakeup. My favourite product pics are by planetmartha (because girlcrush they're most realistic and show the colour post-usage.

Okay, here goes.
Chanel Ebloui with Suqqu Eye Lucent loose pigment in EX-01 Kyokkou (dc), a supremely delicate iridescent white. Shu Uemura white pencil on waterline and Rose of Versailles black liquid liner pen for wing.
With RMS lip2cheek Modest on, well, lips and cheeks.

With Rouge Bunny Rouge Periwinkle Cardinal (seafoam sage, both picks up the green sparkle in Ebloui and makes it look redder in contrast). Make Up Store Go Wild pencil (lilac) on the inner corner.
Beige/neutral lips and cheeks: Lunasol Full Glamour Liquid Lips EX01 Clear Beige (dc) on lips over Lunasol Contrasting W Lip Liner in 10 Soft Beige, RBR Delicata blush

With Addiction Concrete Jungle (lavender grey) in socket and Blue Moon (cornflower) under lower lashline. Very fine line (step up from tightlining) with Rose of Versailles liquid liner.
Soft 'neutralisers' on lip+cheek: Rouge Bunny Rouge Gracilis, Fresh Sugar tinted lip treatment Honey.

Paired with warmer grays this time -- Becca Chincilla sheerly in the socket and heavily under the lower lashline. Thicker bluntish wing too, with Rose of Versailles liquid liner again.
Warm pink lip+cheek Illamasqua Katie and Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss Liberté (Asia-exclusive.

With the gold from Suqqu Blend Eyeshadow quad 06 Ginbudou as a central highlight.
Cool pinks on lip (Chanel Extrait de Gloss Imaginaire) and cheek (Nars Gaiety).

(you may have seen this before in my Dainty Doll review)
Ebouli as liner. On the lid, mixed white+yellow shades from Shu Uemura  tri-colour pencil Energy Flow (dc), Rouge Bunny Rouge Mountain Bluebird and Delicate Hummingbird.
Cool pinks -- Dainty Doll Hippy Hippy Shake blush and Addiction Miss You More gloss.

(The seventh look was a standard smokey eye, Ebouli on its own, with the cool pink lips+cheeks I realised I preferred with it. I think I was running late that day so no pictures.)

Very unnecessary disclaimers:
I barely qualify as an amateur at either makeup or photography. Unlike some beauty bloggers, I don't do makeup specifically to blog (so no extra contouring, packed-on blush or extremely precise eyeliner to compensate for the camera) which means lighting is variable, a lot of detail is washed-out / unclear and I don't always have enough time to take shots from a representative series of different angles. Indulge me.

I did enjoy the experiment and hope it was interesting to you, and would welcome any suggestions for further ways to wear this rather delicious shade!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact #9 Little Bouquet

You may have already seen my swatches of the complete line-up of Jill Stuart Mix Blushes, but I thought it would be a good idea to show as well as tell you how versatile the best of these can be -- scroll on for swatches of all four separate shades in the prettiest of these dangerously pretty quads, No.9 Little Bouquet.

Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compacts are made in Japan and retail for HK$370 for 8g.They are scented with the signature JS candied roses (sweeter, lighter and less powdery than the Chanel Joues Contraste scent, also quicker to fade) and each blush comes with a retractable goat hair brush.

Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact 9 little bouquet

Little Bouquet consists of:
  • top left: light pink satin with very sparse silver microshimmer (sheer-medium pigmentation) 
  • top right: soft apricot matte (medium+ pigmentation) 
  • bottom left: bright, clear pink-coral-red matte (another one of those Orpheline/Hussy-a-likes I adore, pigmented)
  • bottom right: demi-matte magenta with tonal sheen (no shimmer, pigmented)
The textures are uniformly smooth, finely-milled and balanced evenly between creamy and silky, probably how they combine blendability and lasting-power. They feel closest to the current Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Colours, but are less tightly-pressed -- I believe this is by design, as they are designed to be swirled and mixed in various patterns.

The mixed swatch is made with the included brush, the separate stripes are each one swipe with a sponge applicator, except for the rightmost (palest) shade which is two swipes. It is still, like the others, easily wearable as a blush on its own.
swatch Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact 9 little bouquet

Is perfectly usable and I enjoy the decadence of having a coordinated brush solely dedicated to one blush; I actively seek out small brushes and short handles anyway, so the portable size suits me fine. Made from densely-packed white goat hair, it is extremely efficient at picking up pigment, swirling colours evenly across the different pans. For me, its main weakness is blending -- its hairs are so short and so dense that it's essentially a mini-kabuki, and suits buffing-out more than blending. My sensitive skin doesn't like being buffed, so I usually reach for a separate clean brush (or, in a pinch, fingers) to soften any edges.

Here it is compared with the Hakuhodo Medium Pointed Yachiyo and Illamasqua Highlighter Brush:
From left to right they go from:
least dense ---> most dense/tightly packed
longest hair ---> shortest
most pointed ---> most rounded

Shown on the Hakuhodo Yachiyo is the colour of the lightest pink shade from this quad, which I wore on its own recently. You can also see how evenly corally-pink the JS brush (which I use for swirling) looks, while leaving the four shades still very neatly demarcated in the pan:
Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact 9 little bouquet
After about 15(?) uses

'Favourites' Look
Combining this new favourite with some enduring loves: Suqqu 01 Kakitsubata quad (just discontinued, WHY WHY WHY much wailing and gnashing of teeth) and Chanel Rouge Allure Genial (limited edition, why etc.)

The only frontal pic I could get was in even dodgier lighting, sorry