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Monday, 30 July 2012

Playing with Fire #1 and #2

Shiseido Luminising Satin Trio OR302 Fire, that is. Being the sixth purchase of twelve (and one of the three I kinda sorta regret, so not sure this project can be called a success so far, rethinking needed....)

Anyway, although I can't explain Shiseido's Fire trio better than its creator, Dick Page, does himself:

I did try to capture something of the complexity of its not-so-black and white in swatches:
Appropriately enough, these shades constantly change depending on lighting and there's a warmth (orange-red-gold shimmer in the soot; opalescent pink-peach sheen in the ash) tying both into the main orange shade.

Which I've compared with some other oranges:
orange eyeshadow swatches Sugarpill Flamepoint Shiseido Fire Fyrinnae Electro-Koi, Shu Uemura G Orange 251, Catrice Dalai Drama, Suqqu Komorebi
Sugarpill Flamepoint is the truest and brightest of the bunch -- next to it the warm terracotta note in the Shiseido shade becomes obvious. Fyrinnae Electro-Koi is most similar to the Shiseido -- it's a more sparkly, reddened and slightly more neutral version. Shu Uemura G Orange 251 is the pinkiest, blingiest and most complex -- for once I'm not afraid to play favourites: this one ROCKS. Catrice Dalai Drama and the orange from Suqqu Komorebi are here as examples of the kinds of clear, shimmery oranges I usually find easiest to wear.

The Shiseido orange is not the kind of orange I find easy. In general I tend to be more daring with eye colours (especially accent shades set among neutrals -- pretty much infinite leeway) so the next set of swatches, including lip and cheek shades, provides a clearer illustration of just how much warmer and more muted this shade is compared to my usual palette:
YSL Glossy Stain #9 Rouge Laque is a bright true orange-red and Illamasqua Lover was my idea  of a perfect neutral pinkless peach -- both of these look corally next to the Shiseido. The actual corals (Ellis Faas L307, Hourglass Muse and Rouge Bunny Rouge Fire-Tailed Sunbird) pull straight-up pink.

All this preamble to establish that I find this trio hard to wear and near-impossible to pair with other things. So the first look I'm posting is actually the 5th? 6th? one I've worn, which is not my usually bloggy métier [wear the makeups, snap the makeups, post the makeups, drivel done] but can, if you squint, be made to seem vaguely topical w.r.t. latest Olympic flame cock-up. Hey, mocking-because-we-care passes for civic pride in my bit of London :P

Look 1
Soot used along lashline to create elongated shape, orange in the centre of the lid/lower lashline to balance it out with roundedness, opalescent ash on the inner and outer  thirds of lid, framing the orange.


Paired with Shiseido Luminising Satin Eye Colour PK305 Peony worn as blush, Guerlain Rouge G Girly on lip. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory foundation as a near-flawless, distraction-free matte setting for the colour clash, and slightly fuller-than-usual brows to stop the brights from overwhelming my weebly features:


Look 2
Pale ash worn as a wash all over lid with soot to darker outer corner, blended up; orange in the socket, faded inwards. Ash+orange mixed and drawn along lower lashline.


With one sheer layer of Addiction Vamp lipstick over Jack Black lipbalm (so that it acts more as a colour here rather than a stylised black) and Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicata blush as a unobtrusive neutral. Slightly more naturalistic skin to offset the too-much-trend-in-one-look potential, with Lunasol Water Cream OC-01 foundation.

Constants: Lancome Hypnose Drama WP mascara, Burberry Concealer 01 under eyes, Suqqu Powder Eyebrow 02 Kuchibairo.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A-England Nail Polish

More swatch 'n' squee, because the natural light is glorious at the moment, and how often does a Londoner get to say that?

A while back I tried A-England polishes and was blown away by their buttery, one-coat-perfect formula and elegant holographics -- yeah, you heard right: Elegant. Holos. (So elegant, they're eunuchs.... not an issue for me as they shake up just fine in their nice hefty bottles.)

They had a 'free worldwide shipping and any Mythicals polish for £5' offer last week, and of course I pounced on a few more shades. They landed, each bottle individually bubblewrapped, and slipped together in a reasonably-sized [see, it's really not that hard, asos et al] jiffy bag on my door four working days later. Which, considering my recent woeful month-long terrible CS saga with Butter London, a much bigger company, earns them extra brownie points.

The current state of the stash:
Morgan Le Fay, Guinevere, Lady of the Lake, Tristam, St George 
A-England nail polish Morgan Le Fay, Guinevere, Lady of the Lake, Tristam, St George

No doubt due to expand in future, because the formula on the cream (Guinevere) is as faultless as on the holos, and the sparkly topcoat Morgan Le Fay is exquisitely complex in real life and is inspiring me to...like, do gradients and actual stuff with my nails. The wily minx. Anyway, drying time and wear time are both excellent, and none of these really need a topcoat to shine.


Swatches!
All are one coat, except Morgan Le Fay (two)
A-England nail polish swatch Morgan Le Fay, Guinevere, Lady of the Lake, Tristam, St George
The holo is most manifest in Lady of the Lake, and subtlest in St. George, which makes a deal of sense if you think about it, as dragon-slaying aside, he always seemed a fairly lumpen unmagical figure to me. Guinevere is likewise appropriately demure, while Tristam sits on a pitch-perfect good-boy blue base. Morgan Le Fay is a delicate but complex mix of rainbow flecks that flash predominantly blue, green and opal-pink; I love its flickering changeability in contrast to the more solidly 'worked' silver of A-E's other topcoat, Merlin.

In greater detail [i.e. picspam]
A-England nail polish swatches Morgan Le Fay, Guinevere, Lady of the Lake, Tristam, St George
A-England nail polish swatches Morgan Le Fay, Guinevere, Lady of the Lake, Tristam, St George
A-England nail polish swatches Morgan Le Fay, Guinevere, Lady of the Lake, Tristam, St George


Comparisons
OPI Done Out In Deco // Guinevere // Rescue Beauty Lounge Insouciant
nail polish swatches OPI Done out in Deco, A-England Guinevere, Rescue Beauty Lounge Insouciant
nail polish swatches OPI Done out in Deco, A-England Guinevere, Rescue Beauty Lounge Insouciant
nail polish swatches OPI Done out in Deco, A-England Guinevere, Rescue Beauty Lounge Insouciant


Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine H. // Tristam // Lady of the Lake
nail polish swatches Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine H, A-England Tristam, Lady of the Lake

nail polish swatches Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine H, A-England Tristam, Lady of the Lake
nail polish swatches Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine H, A-England Tristam, Lady of the Lake

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Catrice Absolute Eye Colour Mono Swatchathon

These delicious drugstore eyeshadow singles are my newest addiction (apologies to darling Laura) and this post will be the swatch'n'squee portion; comparisons to other shades will eventually follow and they'll show up in future looks too.

Catrice Eyeshadows Eyeshadow Mono Grey's Philosophy, Starlight Espresso, Oh, It's Toffee-ful, My First Copperware Party, Heidi Plum (OLD), Heidi Plum (NEW), Don't Lie, Lac, The Noble Knights, C'Mon Chameleon, John Lemon, Pink Rock Super Star, Dalai Drama, Kiwi Wonder, Bonnie & Cloud, In Love With Hulk, Vanessa's Paradise, Petrol Keeps Me Running, Hip Hop On the Tree Top, Top of the Cops

Packaging: sturdy clear plastic, like old Shu Uemura, but heftier. The snug magnetic closure makes them more mani-friendly than Shu too.
Texture: in general on the pigmented and soft but slightly powdery side, highly reminiscent of old-school Stila.
Finish: varies -- see notes to swatches.
Shade-range: fantastic and fashion-conscious but shades get released and discontinued at lightning speed -- think of this brand as the Zara of makeup.

German retail is 2.49 for 2g; the shades I own are all made in Germany, Poland or France. (Catrice is also sold in many continental European countries as well as the Republic of Ireland.)

All swatches made with sponge applicators and built up to show colour. I'll note how pigmented each shade is from sheer (4-5 swipes) to very pigmented (1 swipe). 


Neutrals (ish)
Catrice Eyeshadows Eyeshadow Mono Grey's Philosophy, Starlight Espresso, Oh, It's Toffee-ful, My First Copperware Party, Heidi Plum (OLD), Heidi Plum (NEW), Don't Lie, Lac, The Noble Knights, C'Mon Chameleon

swatches Catrice Eyeshadows Eyeshadow Mono Grey's Philosophy, Starlight Espresso, Oh, It's Toffee-ful, My First Copperware Party, Heidi Plum (OLD), Heidi Plum (NEW), Don't Lie, Lac, The Noble Knights, C'Mon Chameleon

Names (brace for cutesy) // finish // pigmentation:
  1. Grey's Philosophy // matte // medium
  2. Starlight Espresso // matte // pigmented
  3. Oh, It's Toffee-ful // sheen // medium
  4. My First Copperware Party // shimmer // pigmented
  5. Heidi Plum (OLD) // shimmer // pigmented
  6. Heidi Plum (NEW) // matte // sheer/patchy/chalky :(
  7. Don't Lie, Lac // sheen // medium
  8. The Noble Knights // sparkle and shimmer // pigmented
  9. C'Mon Chameleon // shimmery duochrome // pigmented [a far, far better version of MAC Club -- it's smoother, more pigmented and the duochrome shows up clearly without a base]

Colours
Catrice Eyeshadows Eyeshadow Mono  John Lemon, Pink Rock Super Star, Dalai Drama, Kiwi Wonder, Bonnie & Cloud, In Love With Hulk, Vanessa's Paradise, Petrol Keeps Me Running, Hip Hop On the Tree Top, Top of the Cops
swatches Catrice Eyeshadows Eyeshadow Mono  John Lemon, Pink Rock Super Star, Dalai Drama, Kiwi Wonder, Bonnie & Cloud, In Love With Hulk, Vanessa's Paradise, Petrol Keeps Me Running, Hip Hop On the Tree Top, Top of the Cops

Names // finish // pigmentation:
  1. John Lemon // sparse shimmer // sheer-medium
  2. Pink Rock Super Star // silver sparkle on a satin base // pigmented
  3. Dalai Drama // sheen // medium
  4. Kiwi Wonder // sheen // medium
  5. Bonnie & Cloud // matte // medium
  6. In Love With Hulk // sheen // sheer
  7. Vanessa's Paradise // shimmer // medium plus
  8. Petrol Keeps Me Running // sparse shimmer // pigmented
  9. Hip Hop On the Tree Top // matte // very pigmented [one of the best mattes I've ever tried. Ever.]
  10. Top of the Cops // silver sparkle on a matte base // sheer-medium, slightly prone to fallout

Saturday, 21 July 2012

YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation swatches / reviewlet

***for this review bear in mind I'm currently at my most tanned: just on the lighter side of MAC NC/W15)

Le Teint Touche Éclat is YSL's new flagship foundation, to cash in on match their cult bestselling Touche Éclat brightener/concealer click pen. It comes in 22 shades, divided into three undertones (pink beige rose BR, neutral beige B and yellow beige doré BD), and retails for £28 for a standard 30ml in a glass pump bottle, with yon expected YSL gold blingy cap.

In the UK this is out by now at all the usual places (Boots, Selfridges, Debenhams, John Lewis, House of Fraser etc.) and a week's sample is yours for the asking. I noticed when testing the palest shades that the depths are staggered between the three undertones: Beige Rose (pink) runs palest, Beige Dore (yellow) darkest. I'm not sure if this difference carries on into darker shades [anyone care to weigh in via comments?] but there is a huge gulf between the three 10 shades:
swatch foundation YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat BR10 B10 BD10 Laura Mercier Silk Ivory

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory as a reference, then YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat BR10, B10 and BD10. In my opinion, B10 is more of a warm yellow than neutral and B10 is very warm yellow (both are much warmer than the yellow in LM Soft Ivory), while BR10 is less cool pink than neutral peach, but still warmer and a hair darker than Soft Ivory.

The top pic (with flash) shows that the YSL finish is a lot dewier than Silk Creme's satin-matte, while the bottom pic (natural light) displays Silk Creme's superiority at evening out skin texture (see how bumpy the three YSL swatches seem next to it?)

As the YSL official blahblah has it,
With no opaque powders, its perfecting texture evens the complexion and helps conceal your imperfections, while enhancing your skin’s natural beauty.
  • Illuminating foundation. Dimensional radiance. Weightless perfection. 
....and that's pretty much the case. It's a fairly watery-gel formula which offers sheer (just about buildable to light-medium) coverage and gives a healthy skin-like finish on my very dry skin, so on most it would translate as glowy if not all-out dewy.
In my opinion, Le Teint Touche Éclat is pretty meh. It doesn't feel radically weightless like Estée Lauder Invisible and does absolutely nothing for skin texture. It's true I've been spoilt lately being able to dabble in all the exquisite future-tech Japanese formulations in Hong Kong, but I honestly
don't think this YSL offering even measures up against a really good Western drugstore formula like Bourjois Healthy Mix (which offers more coverage while looking and feeling just as light on the skin).
For me, the strong synthetic 'cucumber' scent (which lingers for a few hours after application) is another point against it.

Ingredients
YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat foundation ingredients


In practice:
Bare face
'Fortuntely' my post-25hr-flight is somewhat bumpy and spotty, with helpful flaky and ruddy bits:

Wearing YSL Beige B10, applied with a flat paddle foundation brush: it evens out my skin slightly without really doing anything for the actual blemishes (red spots in middle of eyebrows, cheek and chin are still as obvious) or even the more serious patches of uneven pigmentation on my nose. Separate blemish-concealer definitely needed.

A more natural distance shows the mismatch between my face and neck with this shade: I would eyeball it as somewhere between NC15-20.


A better match for me currently (tanned for summer, remember) is Beige Rose BR10, which I would peg as a more neutral shade a little lighter than MAC NW15:
(I added spot concealer as needed here, pic is just to illustrate shade match, not coverage)

As it's functioning as our reference, and also as it's my perfect match right now (I usually have to mix with white/pink): Laura Mercier Silk Creme in Soft Ivory, offering far more coverage than the YSL without looking unnatural.
no spot-concealing needed, redness go bye-bye!
no floating head syndrome, woot!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Red & Blue with Addiction & THREE

The blue in question is THREE Flash Performance Liner 04 Eye Belong (original swatch); here's how it sits against some other blurple liners I own:
THREE Flash Performance Liner 04 Eye Belong swatch comparison GOSH Love that Purple, Purple Stain, RBR Vera
GOSH Waterproof Eyeshadow Love that Purple is a creamy, twist-up eyeshadow/liner a la By Terry / Topshop and Laura Mercier. It's the truest purple of the bunch, with a smooth texture and an ultra-fine sparse pink microshimmery sheen that makes is look warmer in the shade (bottom pic). 
Purple Stain is another GOSH shade, from their Velvet Touch eyeliner range. Are you can see, it's rather uneven and tends to separate into orchid base and bluer sheen. (This shade is not representative of the Velvet Touches, which are generally excellent: smoothly pigmented, blendable and long-lasting.)
THREE Eye Belong is a platonic complex blurple satin base with cornflower, pink and cool gold shimmer; it manages to be at once the smoothest/creamiest and most texturally interesting and most uniformly pigmented.
As the shaded (bottom) picture shows, Rouge Bunny Rouge Vera Eye Kohl (earlier swatch) shares a blackened base with Eye Belong, but precious little else. Although it has a definite purple iris tone and subtle metallic sheen, next to Eye Belong Vera looks almost like a flat navy. Oooold readers may remember that this kohl was the one that converted me to all pencil liners late last year; it's always a bit sad when a new favourite supplants a reigning one but I have to say the otherworldly THREE texture makes the RBR kohl feel almost dry in contrast. (However, unlike the shimmery THREE, Vera is waterline safe, and it definitely retains a place in my stash and my heart.)

It turned out the closest thing in my collection to Eye Belong is Fyrinnae Shinigami, except that Eye Belong looks even more complex (those who are familiar with Fyrinnae sparklies will know just how radical that is) because it adds pale gold to the mix of pink and blue glitter, and because the glitter stands out more from the base (again, not in a way you can feel -- no grittiness here):
Although Shinigami isn't one of Fyrinnae's Arcane Magic shades, it still shifts significantly depending on lighting conditions: in the bottom picture (warm afternoon sunlight) its warmth is more apparent in contrast to Eye Belong.


Next, reds, both from Addiction's C (colour) Lipstick range: Last Scene (soft, warm but still somewhat clear) and Monroe Walk (bright, clear, slightly cooler than neutral):
Addiction lipstick swatch Last Scene Monroe Walk reds
(Despite the bright glossifying lighting in this picture, in reality both are satin-matte.)

Some comparisons, mainly with Lancôme Colour Design Matte lipsticks, my former favourite matte formula:
red lipstick swatches Addiction Monroe Walk Lancome Corset Red Haute Suqqu Karakurenai
Addiction Monroe Walk is closest to Lancôme Red Haute but it's brighter and slightly less cool: its pinky undertone is a slightly warmer, more coral version, and has affinities too with Lancôme's Corset, which is warmer still and more rosily muted. Suqqu Creamy Glow Karakurenai is closest to my idea of the perfect neutral red, so swatched for reference, to show up the brightness and pinkness of the other three.

red lipstick swatches Addiction Last Scene, RMS Rapture, Lancome Red Addiction, Revlon Fire and Ice
I don't own as many warm reds as I do cool, but hopefully enough to show that Lancôme Red Addiction is warmer and deeper (both in tone and saturation) than Addiction Last Scene. RMS Rapture is darker, warmer and browner still, for those 90s cravings, while Revlon's classic Fire & Ice is warmer (orange) but also lighter and pop-brighter.
(also, red swatches from this Feburary, which included Last Scene)

There are a few minor ways in which the Addiction mattes edge out the Lancôme ones for me: absolutely weightless, the Addictions hug the lips uniquely, adding pure pigment without texture, and also last longer, eventually fading perfectly evenly. They are really more like stain/lipstick hybrids, whereas Lancôme CDM's, while wonderful, are more like conventional lipsticks, with the usual tricks of silicone-suspended pigment which allow a smoother initial application, but which do not set and stain, or feel undetectable.
The single major way in which the Addictions win out for me is their versatility. The Lancômes are so smoothly pigmented they are actually very tricky to sheer out while still looking pretty (i.e. not patchy), but the unique weightless Addiction texture makes it a snap to adjust the opacity.

Monroe Walk applied as a sheer stain, then built up to full

ditto, Last Scene

Even at its most opaque, Last Scene retains a softness that makes it unique to my collection; I tend to wear in combination with softer eyeshadow colours (as in this older look) or hazy placements, e.g. with THREE Eye Belong blended all over the lid and then a second layer smudged along the lashes:
sorry, skin was a bit spotty/dull for a while post-flight
A slightly more vivid take, keeping the THREE pencil closer to the lashline, though still smoked out a little. Also, although I applied Last Scene with a lipbrush, I did use a finger tip to soften the edges just a little.
Also added RBR Sea of Clouds highlighter to bring up the dewy brightness

Conversely, Monroe Walk somehow retains a vivid, optimistic brightness even worn as a matte stain. A retro precise-yet-rounded shape seemed obvious but hey, I like obvious, especially paired with a slightly dropped wing (again with Eye Belong: it's versatile, capiche?)
Shu Pink/Purple Mousse for that glowy-matte finish. Burberry Earthy to fake that classical beauty bone structure :P 

Eye close-up: very naturalistic contouring with the opalescent grey from Shiseido Fire over lid, RBR Bohemian Waxwing in socket, and GOSH white kohl for a very clean lower lashline.