Monday, 8 October 2012

Addiction Arabian Nights Kohl Eyeliner

This autumn, Addiction's "Desert Rose" collection introduced four new permanent powder kohl eyeliners to the range. Each kohl comes as a split-pan duo and shares the dimensions of the other single eyeshadows; they also depot just as easily and fit perfectly into the Addiction custom compacts.

I chose Arabian Nights, which pairs rich burgundy with copper-sparkled black.
Addiction Arabian Nights Kohl Eyeliner

I did experience some learning curve wobbles with this formula, which is so densely, creamily pigmented that the minutest speck of fallout would suddenly mainfest as a huge black or burgundy schmear across my cheek just as I was about to head out the door.... Having rotated through all my liner brushes, I find this kohl to play best with a dense small brush, neither too pointy (e.g. Hakuhodo 007) nor too thin (e.g. MAC 266, Shu 6OB): the most convenient for me were the Chikuhodo 6-1, Hakuhodo 5515 and my two most versatile brushes Shu Natural 10 and Suqqu Eyeshadow S. The other big thing that minimised fallout on the skin (and unsightly gouges in the pan): light pressing motions, both to pick up colour from the pan (seriously, you barely need to hover over these to pick up a lot of pigment) and to apply it to the eye.
These look and behave much more like cream liners than powders, so are more readily smudged than blended out. Like the best creams and gels, they last all day without fading or creasing on me (dry lids) and also hold up excellently on the waterline.

Addiction Arabian Nights Kohl Eyeliner swatch
natural light
Addiction Arabian Nights Kohl Eyeliner swatch
with flash
The burgundy is a sumptuous glowing satin, which looks more reddish in brighter light (picking up its ultrafine copper pearl) and more plummy in shade (even in the pan, there's a subtle interleaving of grey-purple tones with the richer wine ones).
The black is a little disappointing, as the copper sparkles (while individually larger than the micro-pearlescence running through the burgundy) are so sparse that a fine line pretty much just reads as black on me. It's admitted a good black with unusual density and a hint of sooty warmth. But me. want. glitter. D:

Like Fyrinnae Pumpkinfire. Now that's a black with copper sparkle, dammit! Other shades all Fyrinnae: Dorian Grey (which is about as sparsely shimmery as Arabian Nights, but with cooler-toned sparkle in a cooler base) and Monarch Butterfly, a much more texturally flat (iridescent duochrome) take on the black/copper thing.
Addiction Arabian Nights Kohl Eyeliner swatch Fyrinnae Dorian Grey Pumpkinfire Monarch Butterfly
with flash
The Arabian Nights burgundy is pretty distinct from most of the other vaguely related shades in my stash, except for the limited-edition Kate Super Sharp Liner S in RD-1 (which was a pitch-perfect gift from the lovely Liz of SoLonelyInGorgeous: thank you, dearest! <3 I had given up hope of getting my hands on this one.) 
Other shades: Addiction Lady of the Lake pencil, Estee Lauder Vintage Violet cream shadow, Chanel Ebloui Illusion D'Ombre, and finally Solone Smoody Gel Liner Red Wine.
Addiction Arabian Nights Kohl Eyeliner swatch Lady of the Lake Pencil Estee Lauder Vintage Violet Chanel Ebloui Solone Smoody Gel Liner Red Wine

Looks with Arabian Nights
One Thousand Three And One of them! (That's four for anyone who went cross-eyed there.)
Throughout: Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume mascara, Browlash EX Pencil in Natural Brown through brows, Burberry Sheer Concealer 01 under eyes, Becca Compact Concealer Meringue on blemishes.

1. Super Natural 
Black side of kohl on a pencil brush (Hakuhodo 5515) softly smudged along upper lashline and the inner and outer corners of the lower lashline. Rouge Bunny Rouge Alabaster Starling as a centre-of-lower-lashline highlight.

Even MOAR highlighting, with Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea of Clouds and Shiseido High Beam White. Subtlest touch of RBR Delicata blush on edge of cheekbones. Addiction Day Trip sheer lipstick, built up.
this is me realising my 'glowy' may read as 'too much' / 'visible from space' / 'I'm bliiiiiiind' to most 

2. Brainless Smokey
Black side only, to line upper and lower lashlines (Suqqu S) as well as waterlines (Chikuhodo 6-1), smudged out with Addiction Concrete Jungle for a one-minute smokey eye.

Armani Maestro Foundation 2, with Addiction Faithful on lips and RBR Gracilis on cheeks.

3. Tonal Copper
The burgundy side on a Hakuhodo 5515 brush to line upper lashline paired with the peach and bronze shades from Suqqu Kakitsubata. Black side with Chikhodo 6-1 to line waterline and lower lashline, smudged out with the rest of the burgundy left on my 5515.

Rouge Bunny Rouge liquid bronzer all over to make the coppery shades harmonise better with my skin, Shiseido High Beam White to highlight centre of face. A sheer (one swipe) application of Addiction Day Trip lipstick (cf. Look 1 above), with more of my naturally pink lips showing through.
another one of those days I spend too long on makeup/pictures and have to run out with wet hair 

4. Both sides! with bells on. 
Burgundy worn as eyeshadow on Shu Natural 10, heaviest in outer V and blended inwards to meet Addiction Flashback on lid and in socket. Black side on Chikuhodo 6-1 to line upper lashline and waterline, with burgundy on Shu 6OB lining the lower lashline to the inner corner.

I said bells, okay? Addiction Blue Moon patted onto centre of lid and inner corner to play up the plum aspect of the burgundy kohl.

I rolled with the cool tones, with Addiction Amazing Cheek Stick on cheeks and Psychadelic gloss sheerly on lips, and Shu Uemura Nobara 584 for base.

Addiction Kohl Eyeliners are made in Japan and retail for ¥2625 each.
For even more info, hop over to Rouge Deluxe for a review/swatches of Night Dive and Secret Nights and to Makeup and Things for a picture of all four kohls together.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Precision Instruments

I favour precise tools. Usually this means small, and almost always directional, both to suit my features, which are small but defined (i.e. lots of protrudey bits and sunken-in bits) and, more importantly, to complement how I like to apply and wear my makeup.

Of course, there being no justice no justice at all in the world, sometimes even a small, directional brush in an exquisite hair type just...won't work. As I'm in full autumn clean mode (back-to-schoolism?), this post will be consist of much typing out loud to sort out some of the whys and wherefores of a few recent delights and disappointments.

Delight: Hakuhodo 5515 (G5515BkSL for $15)
This tiny pencil brush is a perfectly formed miniature of the MAC 219 -- its horse hair actually feels softer than MAC's goat and the shorter hairs maintain their tapered shape better, making it feel denser and work more precisely. The 5515 handles every formula I've thrown at it, from cream and powder shadows (used dry or foiled) to kohl and gel liners, and it even does a great job of smudging out liquids. It's both precise enough to line with (even tightline with), and has enough body to smudge with.
1. Real Techniques Pixel-Point Eyeliner Brush (synthetic, from the Starter Set)
2. Hakuhodo 5531 (synthetic)
*3. Hakuhodo 5515 (pony)
4. No 7 Smokey Eyeliner Brush
5. Laura Mercier Smoky Eyeliner Brush (synthetic)
6. MAC 219 (goat)
7. Suqqu Eyeshadow S (grey squirrel, discontinued)
The Hakuhodo 5515 is smaller than every other pencil brush in my collection, and its tip is even finer than the brushes to its left which are marketed as eyeliners (which, precision freak that I am, I use for spot concealing instead).

Chikuhodo Artist 6-6 (¥2520 for long or short handle) 
Hakuhodo 127 (B127BkSL for $33 or S127 for $51)
Neither of these brushes worked for me, for the same reason: a mismatch between shape/size and hair type (Canadian squirrel). They share a slightly tapered paddle shape, which is, along with the pencil, my favourite shape for eyeshadow brushes. 
1. Chikuhodo Artist 8-1 (kolinsky)
*2. Chikuhodo Artist 6-6 (Canadian squirrel)
*3. Hakuhodo 127 (Canadian squirrel)
4. Shu Uemura Natural 10 (kolinsky and sable)
Canadian squirrel lacks the body and snap of kolinsky/sable which makes the middle two brushes far less effective at lay-down. Each squirrel hair is also much finer and more naturally tapered which results in a thinner and less fluffy brush tip, so the sable brushes also win out for blending -- the reason I love this shape so much is because I can both pack on colour and blend it out with the kolinsky versions, used alternately on their sides and tips.

My most-loved blending brushes are squirrel hair [hence the logic behind my original purchase] but they are much more rounded and precise, which prevents the softness of the hair from becoming a floppy liability.
1. MAC 286 (the only synthetic in the bunch, but to illustrate my consistent preference in blender brush shapes)
2. Stila 9 (old blue squirrel version; current version is goat)
3. Suqqu Eyeshadow L (grey squirrel)
*4. Hakuhodo 127 (Canadian squirrel)
*5. Chikuhodo Artist 6-6 (Canadian squirrel)
6. Nars 12 (squirrel)

Hakuhodo 5512 (G5512BkSL for $15)
Hakuhodo 521-D1 (G521 D1 for $20)
Before acquiring these two brushes I hardly ever tightlined, even though its benefits are ones that really do appeal to me: the appearance of thicker and longer lashes with just a few squiggles of an intriguingly gimmicky brush? Why won't you let me love you as I know I can? As it turns out, I just needed to go even gimmickier with the brush to fully appreciate the wonders of the technique....
1. MAC 231 (synthetic)
2. Chikuhodo Artist 6-1 (kolinsky)
*3. Hakuhodo 5512 (pony)
*4. Hakuhodo 521-D1 (weasel)
5. Laura Mercier Flat Eyeliner (synthetic)
6. Stila 13 One-Step Eyeliner (synthetic)

Compared to conventional tightlining brushes (especially 5 Laura Mercier's most famous rendition), the Hakuhodo precision instruments are, at a fraction of the length and width, and in ultra-short dense natural hairs, far more precise. My eyes are small but my lashline is quite curved so the wider, totally flat brushes tend to stamp awkward too-long, too-straight lines which look like makeup -- missing the very point of tightlining, invisible augmentation. And with a thin line of longish synthetic hairs, I find both the Laura Mercier and Stila versions unweildily floppy when trying to do the textbook 'wriggle in between the lashes' manoeuvre.
The curved push brushes (1 and 2) which I love for regular eyelining would be a workable size and length but their fluffiness (which stops liner from being too harsh) makes them too thick for tightlining -- at which the Hakuhodo 5512, a scaled-down version of the same shape, excels. But it's the 521-D1, with its concave curve -- it pushes colour right into the curve of my lashes by itself -- which really has me bewitchedbotheredandbewildered tightlining on the regular.

Obsolescence: Hakuhodo S116 Highlight Brush Round and Flat ($78 here)
Technically not really a disappointment -- I originally bought this ridiculously airy blue squirrel paddle to tap/sweep on soft blushes in soft Jung Saem Mool style placements (while humming her plinkyplonk music), and it worked perfectly well for that. Since ruthlessly editing my blush wardrobe this year to focus on creams and pigmented powders, I realised I kept passing over this in favour of more rounded brushes with greater bounce.
1. Illamasqua Highlighter (synthetic)
2. Chikuhodo Z-2 (grey squirrel)
*3. Hakuhodo S116 (blue squirrel)
4. Suqqu Cheek (grey squirrel)

In particular, the Suqqu Cheek is my go-to for powder blushes, and the Illamasqua Highlighter for creams. But it's really the ridiculously versatile tapered candle shape and perfectly balanced grey squirrel hairs of the Chikuhodo Z-2, which can mimic the placement of a slim flat brush as well as a dense round one depending on the angle at which you use it, which finally convinced me to say goodbye to the S116.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mascara Review: Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume BK001

In short: the neater and more intense but just as hard to remove version of Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus.

Yeah, those kooky Japanese companies and their polysyllabic mascara names, eh? After trying dozens over the years my eyes automatically skate over them looking for my personal mascara keywords -- and were recently arrested by this offering from Kosé drugstore offshoot Fasio: Ultra Curl Lock Volume.

My lashes: very straight and quite long; each individual lash is fine but there are quite a lot of them
Mascara requirements, in order of importance:

  2. Volume
  3. No flaking into my easily irritated contacts-wearing eyes
  4. Black (no wishy washy grey or potential pink-eye brown tones)

The combination of 1. and 2. seems to be the sticking point -- I've lost count of the number of mascaras which either volumise but weigh down my lashes OR hold a curl all day but make my lashes look spindly and spidery and generally spoiled.

Since the reformulation/suckification of my old favourite Majolica Majorca Lash Enamel Glamour, the best compromise formulas I've found are:

  • Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus -- not enough volume, too many fibres, requires a separate remover.
  • Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof -- formula is a bit too wet and can clump upon layering, so takes longer to apply and often requires some cleanup with a lashcomb. If I rub my watering eyes a lot throughout the day I can end up with a little bit of darkness at the outer edge of my lower lashline.

Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume Mascara is a compromise within a compromise, offering more volume and 'oomph' than Majolica Majorca while giving more definition than Lancôme, as well as being more tenacious and quicker to apply -- after the usual teething period, harhar, of learning to work with a new applicator. TIP: with comb mascaras, it's best not to wriggle the wand and just brush through from lash root to tip working from the outside of the eye inwards. A mascara guard / curved bit of cardboard held against the lid can prevent smudges.

The sleek gunmetal tube clicks shut and is effectively airtight, ensuring that the formula stayed consistent over two months of daily use.

Wand comparisons
Fasio and Lancôme applicators are larger and have gentler curves than Majo Majo; they are also longer from tip to handle.
Fasio and Majo Majo are plastic combs, while Lancôme is a bristle brush.

Wands close up
The Lancôme brush comes out of the tube coated with the most product; Fasio and Majo Majo are about equal, but the product is more evenly distributed along the Fasio wand.
The teeth of of Fasio's combs are much more finely spaced than Majo Majo's; it is easier to achieve separation and definition of each lash with Fasio. Sometimes Majo Majo can clump lashes together into two's or three's after a second coat.
Majo Majo's formula has fibres; the other two do not.

Lashes curled with Chanel lash curler
One coat of Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume Mascara BK001 (top lashes only) 
And that's how my lashes look until I take it off -- my testing has only gone up to 24 hours as I am no longer a wild young thing, just a highly disorganised-with-deadlines youngish thing but I don't doubt it would last for days if necessary....
I would prefer more volume but this is really pretty good for an Asian mascara -- and a step up from Majolica Majorca, which I'd been happily using for years. This Fasio formula is a little wetter and lacks fibres, which makes for smoother, neater application, and also doesn't set quite as 'crunchy' as the Majo Majo. The finer wand/neater formula even works well on lower lashes.

As with Majo Majo, and unlike Western waterproof formulas, I do need to use a separate Japanese mascara remover [old standby Kiss Me Heroine Make] as a pre-cleanse step to get this Fasio mascara off without losing lashes or half an hour of my life.

Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume mascara retails for ¥1260 in Japan; I ordered it from adambeauty for $15.50, and have repurchased since.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

After The Honeymoon: YSL Glossy Stain 1 Violet Edition

Original squee (and miscellaneous...I have got to structure posts better).

Nine months on (oddly gestational period, total coincidence, please disregard) I am more in love with this than ever. As the blogsale(s) suggest, my tastes can be somewhat changeable, but this is one of those rare products that inspires something like content, allowing me to avoid such plummy temptations as YSL Prune Virgin and By Terry Carnal Attraction. Content within reason, obviously -- my Glossy Stain wardrobe is expanding like woah because I don't want Violet Edition to get lonely. Get her the proper socialisation and all that.

Anyway, having bought and loved Violet Edition in winter as a no-brainer classic vampy paired with greyed shades, I found myself reaching for it in spring to set off soft pastels, too.

With Suqqu Blend Eyeshadow Quad 02 Kokedama (all shades blended around eye, darkest green to line at a slightly upward tilt) and a similarly diffuse application of RBR Florita blush (on the apples), a sheerer application of Violet Edition is less ladylike and more a slightly creepy-prim schoolgirl way, okay. but still.

Suqqu Kokedama mixed together makes a cool greyed sage/teal -- its primer shade is lavender and has a definite effect on the other colours layered over it

And now in autumn (fetish, remember), Violet Edition pairs just as harmoniously with the warmer russety tones in my hair [Blythe Freshlight Juicy Apricot] and a haze of old gold on the eyes [Maquillage Alexander Wang BR365]. Blush Dainty Doll Money Talks, in a more usual placement for me (blended inwards following the curve of my cheekbones).
....I forgot mascara on my right eye
so let's pretend I only have a left side, mmkay?

Evidently I really like to offset the decorousness -- potential sombreness -- of this kind of rich, deep shade with soft imprecision on the eyes and cheeks. Enough so that this possibly qualifies as a rut. Your ideas for other looks (including summery ones, as muggins here forgot to pack it for Hong Kong) would be very welcome indeed -- please share in the comments. :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Dolce & Gabbana Sole

Dolce & Gabbana Sole blush was a recent, rare impulse buy (I usually prefer to revel in the research part of makeup geekery), but an entirely successful one. It combines two of my very favourite things, red blush and season fetishism*, to give a perfectly glorious summer-shading-into-autumn slightly sunburnt flush.

*Of course, my personal approach to 'seasonality' encompasses working-against (or -at-a-tangent or what have you) as well as working-with; I don't restrict myself to a Puritanical diet of cabbage, squash and gnarly carrots in winter so why play at it in makeup?

Uh, I mean, shiny!

I don't love gold packaging as a rule, but hey, this is actually pretty tasteful for D&G. Nice rounded corners, pretty hefty. Includes an averagely useless mini brush. Not pretty enough to prevent me from depotting it as soon as I can work out the construction.

The Goods
i.e. smooth, pigmented, blendable-with-fingers, wears-true-all-day, unadulterated deliciousness. You know how long-winded and nitpicky I can be so let the shortness and sweetness of this review speak for itself -- this is one of the best powder blush formulas I've ever tried. End of.

Swatch, unblended (sponge) and blended (Suqqu Cheek Brush):
natural light
In general I find warm (orange/coral) red blushes more flattering than cool (pink/blue) ones -- because of the coolness in my skin a warmer red once blended out reads closer to neutral or 'true' red; a cool red combined with the pink in my cheeks tips over too easily into my natural fevered/rosacean/drunk flush. Which is a long-winded way of saying: if I can get a look by slapping myself, I aint going to pay for slap that's the same colour.

Still, within the context of my wardrobe, Sole is the warmest/most orange shade of red I own. And because seasonality is by definition contextual, that probably explains why it functions as my white-shades-and-polka-dot-bikini blush....

Paired with glowy, bronzed skin (Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea of Clouds highlighter and As If It Were Summer Still bronzer) and a complementary orange-red lip (YSL Glossy Stain 9 Rouge Laque), Sole makes this simple look less Snow White and more Rosy the Riveter.
okay...maybe I got a little slap-happy with the bronzer
Another bit of sunlight (I said it was a fetish OKAY) in the wing: THREE Ziggy pigment mixed with Illamasqua Sealing Gel. Other eye makeup: GOSH white kohl, Fasio Curl Lock Mascara Volume.
Minimal beach-girl base (fetish fetish fetish) with strategic dots of Becca Compact Concealer Meringue and Browlash EX Eyebrow Pencil Natural Brown.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Red Blush Swatches

As revealed in a previous post, or two, my very favourite makeup colour is red.

Pictures taken in natural light, on a rarely brightish London summer's day.

swatches made with sponge applicators
red powder blush swatches Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita, Orpheline, Shu Uemura P Red 14, Addiction Revenge, Dolce&Gabbanna Sole, Kevyn Aucoin Fira, Beauty Is Life Palace, Opera, Sleek Flushed
1. Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita
2. Rouge Bunny Rouge Orpheline
3. Shu Uemura P Red 14 (discontinued; closest in current range P Medium Red 175)
4. Addiction Revenge
5. Dolce&Gabbanna Sole
6. Kevyn Aucoin Fira*
7. Beauty Is Life Palace*
8. Beauty Is Life Opera*
9. Sleek Flushed

Liquids, Creams etc.
fingertip swatches
red blush swatches Hourglass Flush cheek stain, Addiction Revenge cheekstick, Chicca 10 Girly Blush flush blush, Besame Crimson creme rouge, Rouge Bunny Rouge Rubens blush wand, Beauté Fever liquid-gel stain, RMS Beauty Rapture lip2cheek, Illamasqua Crush cream blush
1. Hourglass Flush cheek stain*
2. Addiction Revenge cheekstick
3. Chicca 10 Girly Blush flush blush
4. Besame Crimson creme rouge
5. Rouge Bunny Rouge Rubens blush wand*
6. Beauté Fever liquid-gel stain*
7. RMS Beauty Rapture lip2cheek
8. Illamasqua Crush cream blush

*starred items are ones that I have already bid farewell to or will be looking to rehouse shortly -- look out for Blog Sale Part 2 next Monday.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Addiction Yellow Submarine

It was pretty difficult to single out a favourite item from the magical box of Japanese goodies the beautiful Liz recently helped me get my paws on. But Addiction Eye Lacquer WP in Yellow Submarine (¥2625) might just be it....

(Hey, how often do I let the look do most of the talking?)

Base Mehron Celebre Professional HD Foundation LT-1 [bit too light; will revisit in winter], Burberry Sheer Touch 01 under eyes, Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea Of Tranquility to highlight. Browlash EX Natural Brown pencil in brows.
Cheeks Addiction Amazing powder, taken up temples, subsequently eaten up by camera. *kicks camera*
Lips Guerlain Rouge Automatique Champs Élysées
Eyes Addiction Yellow Submarine, GOSH white kohl, Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume mascara

Many Anglophone bloggers have reviewed the Addiction Lacquers by now (links below) so I'll just drivel that they are indeed bombproof and very cool-feeling but they do set extremely fast so it's best to go in with a clear idea of what shape and opacity you want, work one eye at a time, and do not try to layer more lacquer over itself to avoid patchiness or 'bald spots'. If you need precision and neatness, especially a perfectly even application across the entire lid right into the lashline, these probably aren't for you:
See, kinda patchy in close-up, and especially gnarly around my eyelid folds. Not that it's at all visible when my eyes are open -- hoods have their advantages....

The finish of Yellow Submarine (and I believe Aventure) differs from the other seven shades in this range.
Taken from the Addiction site, these aren't bad for official swatches and show the textural difference between Yellow Submarine /Aventure and the other shades
While my other Addiction Eye Lacquer, Swimming Pool, is very similar to the darker/more pigmented sides of the Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duos  [Addiction and Paule&Joe are both under the Kosé umbrella], Yellow Submarine is more properly, well, a lacquer: an oddly rubberized finish that looks satin-matte in low light and gleams smoothly indoors, it's only in close-up and at certain angles that you can catch the sparse ultra-fine microshimmer (mostly blue and green) scattered throughout.

And while we're on it (disgruntled letter-to-the-editor time), those Paul&Joe 'Glosses' aren't glossy any more than most of these Addiction 'Lacquers' are lacquered; they're both like sparkly gels that, once set, feel like mattes -- if you haven't tried them the closest analogues I know are film-forming lipsticks like the Rouge D'Armani or Lancôme Rouge In Love, or MAC Face&Body foundation. While at certain angles and under certain lighting in studio photography, glitter may translate as 'glossy', in the real world they look like sparkles, dammit, Cullenesque sparkles. And you know what looks like an eye gloss? An actual eye gloss like Rouge Bunny Rouge Angel's Play.

Therefore, while Yellow Submarine is more of a lacquer than its sisters, and has barely any visible shimmer, it still is not a gloss. Okay? Yes, I know I am crazy. Just agree with me about this so I can stop breathing irefully into this paper bag.
Above, Yellow Submarine, blended out, Bottom: RBR Angel's Play
The only shot out of twenty in which any sparkle in YS showed up. Direct sunlight. 

Textural rant out of the way, here's a colour comparison to demonstrate just how well-balanced Yellow Submarine is tonally, and also how obnoxiously bright, especially in the full swatch :D
yellow eyeshadow swatches Addiction Yellow Submarine eye gloss, Suqqu 12 Usukiiro, Shu Uemura M Yellow 300, Sugarpill Buttercupcake, Catrice John Lemo
Suqqu single eyeshadow 12 Usukiiro and Shu Uemura M Yellow 300 [second-gen], are pastel powders, both discontinued.
Sugarpill Buttercupcake is a warmer turmeric.
Catrice John Lemon is closest to the blended swatch of Yellow Submarine, but a little paler and warmer, lacking the unabashedly artificial cool green tinge YS owes to its blue and green microshimmer.

I don't know of any shade close to the opaque swatch of Yellow Submarine, and I've been hunting for years. Thanks again to darling Liz for making my very old makeup dream come true.

For more swatches and reviews:
Aucuparia Brumalis
Beauty of Interest
Makeup and Things
Rouge Deluxe
So Lonely In Gorgeous
and finally Sakura Lovely has swatches of all nine shades together, and a different take on Yellow Submarine (it looks gold on her!)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation Review / Swatches

Maestro Fusion Makeup is a brand new formula from cult bassists Giorgio Armani and my review of it is brought to you by Selfridges' early release [available nationwide from October 1st] and helpful provision of samples, and my inability to resist anything touted as a foundation game-changer. Which comes in a wee glass dropper bottle!

It's like, all SCIENCEY, but there's a delicate wisp of silk too, for the laydeez. [Surely I am not the only one to extrapolate from this that their next foundation will be called Impressario Cold Fusion and the ad will feature tassels? And an elephant.]

If my tone hasn't tipped you off, in my opinion this foundation aint no game-changer. In fact, there are only two things stopping me from calling naked emperor altogether:

  1. The texture feels like the most cutting-edge of dry oils from high end skincare brands -- with more glide than even a very dry neat oil like jojoba (technically a wax blah blah shush) -- and applies like a dream. It's literally 'effortlessly blendable', blending seamlessly as you apply. I generally dislike using my fingers for makeup application, but they worked beautifully with this formula; I honestly think you could load this stuff into Homer Simpson's makeup gun, shoot yourself, and get a perfect finish.
  2. It adjusts to match my skintone. Just like the copy promised. Making this my first match in Armani since they discontinued the palest shade of Designer Cream 4? 5? years back.

I like to review foundations hot on the heels of a breakout so the current gauntlet (thanks, stress & summer flu!) consists of: spots on cheeks, both fresh and just-healed, volcanic cyst in middle of forehead, flaky nose and cheeks, usual unevenness/sallow patches.

Armani Maestro Fusion #2

A great example of a light-as-air texture failing to translate as a natural-as-skin finish. Despite offering only light-medium coverage [even the sallowness around my mouth and the faint red marks on my cheeks are still visible, not to mention the brighter spots] Maestro still looks like foundation. Texturally, it actually emphasises ....everything, highlighting the flakes on my inner cheeks and bracketing my nose (while not covering the redness at all?!) and picking out every strand of peach fuzz [look near my jawline in the second picture]. These flaws were much more obvious in reality than my camera would have you believe, and I don't give any makeup bonus points for how it looks in photos. Failin' as blogger, I know....

More seriously, it is not only cosmetically but also physically drying (alcohol denat. is fourth on the ingredients list), leaving my skin tight and itchy by lunchtime and with red and peeling patches after washing it off at 5 pm. Other sensitive-skinned folk may wish to note inclusion of fragrance and botanicals among aaaaall teh cones.

So obviously this formula is not for me. Which isn't too heartbreaking as regular readers may know that I do not enjoy sheer foundations, much preferring to use a miniscule amount of full-coverage stuff sheered out myself on a beautyblender sponge or to skip foundation altogether and prime/spot conceal as necessary.

Still think the colour shift thing is pretty nifty though.
From jaundice-face immediately after application.... a perfect match ten minutes later
Note: Maestro's coverage didn't miraculously improve in this ten minutes; I added Becca compact concealer Meringue over spots and Burberry Sheer pen 01 under eyes. 
[Other makeup Addiction Arabian Nights eye kohl, Concrete Jungle eyeshadow, Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Mascara Volume // Addiction Faithful // RBR Gracilis]

I cannot explain this witchery; perhaps one of you wise readers could? Or chime in if Maestro also changes up on you, or if it doesn't, or if you love it and it's your new baby and I can go suck a goat. Y'know, the usual.

The magic does not happen on my arm with a heavier swatch, so Armani Maestro 2 remains definitely yellower than Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784, Illamasqua Skin Base 2, Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory or Bourjois Healthy Mix 51, although (only) Bourjois is a little darker than the Armani.
foundation swatches Armani Maestro Fusion 2 Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784, Illamasqua Skin Base 2, Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory, Bourjois Healthy Mix 51

More comparison swatches by request: MAC Studio Sculpt NC15; Armani Lasting Silk, Luminous Silk and Maestro 2 and MAC Studio Fix Fluid NC15. Which illustrates how inconsistent these letters and numbers can be even within a swatches Armani Maestro Fusion 2, MAC Studio Sculpt NC15 Studio Fix Fluid NC15, Armani Lasting Silk 2 Luminous Silk 2