Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ford Farewell I: Tom Ford True Coral lipstick

Among my presents under the tree last Christmas was this selection of bits from Tom Ford, courtesy of a friend who'd noticed the absence of this brand in my stash the last time she'd come round to play Makeovers(!one!!eleventy!)
Tom Ford Cognac Sable quad, Narcissist blush and True Coral lipstick
And *spoiler alert* they pretty much confirmed my feelings of "meh" towards this line. Since my earlier forays into and farewells to Tom Ford makeup (three other quads, a blush and two lipsticks) predate this whole blogging thing, I thought I'd review these new "outs" as they go. First up: Lip Colour in True Coral.
bit washed out here -- it's really as bright as in the first picture, above
I wasn't a fan of the original Tom Ford lipstick formula, but the new line (of which this is a core shade) sacrificed a little pigment for a much smoother texture, which seemed promising. Sadly, the MAC-like vanilla scent remains. Pigmentation is still on the good side -- not quite full-coverage, but definitely above average -- and the finish is that kind of close-to-lips satin which means good wear-time and even fading.

Unfortunately, being freakishly dry-lipped, long-wearing formulas tend to sink into and highlight every single one of my vertical lip lines. And this is no exception. Freshly applied over lips in tip-top condition (no flakes or chapped areas, freshly exfoliated and prepped with lip balm), True Coral just about passes muster:
Tom Ford True Coral lipstick swatch

However, the desiccation process begins immediately and is visible a bare five minutes later, even at a more normal distance -- check out those crevasses:
Shiseido Jungle trio, Illamasqua Rude cream blush

Looks aside, this lipstick also makes my lips feel dry and after a day's wear, even with regular top-ups of lipbalm, leaves them in slightly worse condition. I seem to be alone (or in a tiny minority) in the blogosphere in experiencing this drying effect, but makeup can just be tricksy like that. Ingredients list for the curious:
Tom Ford lipstick ingredients

The one aspect of True Coral I love unreservedly is, of course, the colour; my Santa knows me well. This also means that parting with it was not such sweet sorrow, as I had these to keep me company....
Tom Ford true coral lipstick swatches Guerlain Rouge G L'Extrait Colere, Revlon Strawberry Suede, Lancome Corset, Chanel Rouge Allure Genial, Hourglass Femme Rouge Muse
Guerlain Rouge G L'Extrait Colère (review/swatch -- note how this matte is more flattering on my lip texture than Tom Ford's satin)
Revlon Strawberry Suede (discontinued)
Lancôme Colour Design Matte Corset
Tom Ford True Coral
Chanel Rouge Allure Génial (discontinued -- see how pink it looks against the others here)
Hourglass Femme Rouge Muse

Tom Ford Lipsticks retail for £36 each in the UK.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Stash Storage: Muji Pill Pots

As a spinoff of the last post, here's a closer look at the Muji pillcases (pack of 7 for £2.25) into which I like to depot lipsticks and the occasional cream blush.
lipstick depots muji pill pot
L to R: Chanel Darling, Illamasqua Betray, Illamasqua Rude, YSL Rose Dahlia, Burberry Bright Plum, Hourglass Muse, Revlon Strawberry Suede, Lancôme Stylista, Lancôme Corset, Guerlain Girly, YSL Le Fuchsia, Revlon Really Red, Revlon In the Red

Mostly for space-saving and convenience when travelling, but also if I dislike the packaging (Guerlain Rouge G, Burberry, Lancôme Colour Design, etc.), if I have a melted/mashed bullet accident, if it's a rainy Thursday.....

I like depotting things, OKAY.

As you can see, I'm a smusher, not a melter -- because lazy, but also because texture fiend, and heat can change the way some textures/pigments sit. Process couldn't be simpler -- wipe down a spatula with some surgical spirit, chop or gouge into your product and smush the harvested cream into your clean, dry pill pot.

I love these Muji pillcases, though they are not quite as aesthetically pleasing as the Japonesque welled palettes favoured by Lisa Eldridge, because each individual pillcase snaps apart, which is far more practical to tote along for touchups for my regular person (not makeup artist) life. The individual closures also feel a little more 'airtight' to me than the large Japonesque covers; in any case, my depots have stayed perfectly creamy for over two years.
You can of course also make your own fun tetrissing many pots together to create pretty colour patterns, or an infinitely* extendable bionic poking stick with which to torment any sentient beings in the vicinity....
*well, I assume so. My record so far is 42 pots. Experiment cut prematurely short due to loud, angry protestations and dire threats issued by pokees.

You may also like to consider application preferences before depotting: as I use a lip brush with all these shades, I don't miss the bullets. But I personally wouldn't bother depotting a Fresh tinted balm, or a Suqqu creamy glow moist. It can be tricky to pick up pigment evenly with a face brush from these small openings, so I'm not sure that I'd continue to depot cream blushes in future.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Givenchy Le Rouge Swatches and 201 Rose Taffetas Comparison

I haven't explored Givenchy much -- the powder products tend to be too dry or crumbly for me, while the lip products wafted such a strong, sickly cough-syrupy scent that it drove all bloggy duties to try ALL the things clean out of my head....
But! They have just launched a new, pigmented, modern demi-matte lipstick formula with a sweet floral scent and a sexy-as-all-get-out black nubbly leather-trimmed bullet. I went, I swatched, I totally came home with one.

Swatches -- one swipe onto bare arm
in weak London winter sun
overcast -- this gives a truer idea of the colour saturation
[I apologise for the goose pimples -- it was below 0 that day and seriously windy.]
For product pics and swatches on a different skintone, see Mostly Sunny.

These lipsticks are extremely smooth and hug the lips in a flattering way, filling in lip lines without that slightly plasticky 'hi, I'm a plumping product' look. For me, they are most similar to the By Terry Rouge Terrybly formula in their satin-matte finishlightweight feel, high pigmentation and slip (silky rather than creamy), and boast impressive lasting power (pristine for at least 6 hours, through drinks, fading to an even stain after a greedy meal). On my extremely dry lips, they do require balm underneath, but I would call them neutral rather than positively drying.


201 Rose Taffetas
I was on the hunt for a warm pink to replace my go-to My Lips But Better lipstick, the long-discontinued Chanel Rouge Allure Darling. Which currently looks like this and therefore will imminently count as "one out":

One in...
....yeah, I may not depot this right away. *strokes packaging*  

With some more of my mid-toned warm pinky things: 
Guerlain Rouge Automatique Chamade
Suqqu Noble Nuance lipstick EX-03 Shumomo (LE Spring 2010)
Chanel Rouge Allure Darling (discontinued)
Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss Confidence

One swipe swatches to show different opacities

Built up swatches (2 layers)

Chamade has the strongest rosy-red tones and is noticeably in a different family once on my lips. The other four shades are definitely kissing cousins, though in my defence they look more distinct from each other on my lips than on my arm. Shumomo sits at lighter end, with clear yellow tones [perfect for enlivening my naturally corpse-mauve lips]; Darling and Confidence add a deeper rose and slight brown tones to the mix. Rose Taffetas is balanced between and clearly the most opaque; its demi-matte finish proves surprisingly flattering -- dare I say, 'fresh' and/or 'modern' -- in this kind of tone.

Shamelessly reposting two recent looks:
Givenchy Rose Taffetas

Pretty decent as a replacement for Chanel Darling, I think?

Givenchy "Le Rouge" retail for £24 each and are a permanent addition to the core line.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Coup de Foudre II: Shade / Smoke / Air

Three more recent Guerlain Coup de Foudre looks, which I'm grouping together for reasons because they shift the 'highlight' from inner corner to centre to outer edge in turn.

Apologies for variable lighting.

....which is a slightly forced name for a basic horizontal gradation shading from mint through coral and olive to grey.

Paired with equally no-brainer my-x-but-better warm pinks on cheeks (Illamasqua Katie) and lips (Chanel Rouge Allure Darling, discontinued).
Base: Vapour stick 90 (hair yellow/dark for me right now)
Lashes: Shu Uemura H9 pencil Seal Brown

Basically an inversion of the second look here, with the olive-bronze blended over the lid and a tiny dab of the mint buffed into the very centre. Grey framing the coral below the eye.

As this look brought out the cooler, smokier facets of Coup de Foudre, I went with a correspondingly cooler, rosier lip (Sonia Rykiel Sublime 24) and my natural blotchy cool pink flush XD
Base: Mehron Celebre HD LT-1 to spot-conceal
Brows: Shu Uemura H9 pencil Stone Grey (for this cooler look)

'Airy' is a commonplace in Japanese beauty mag parlance -- one which has thoroughly permeated my makeup aesthetic. It can involve a lot of textural and tonal wank exquisite refinement but I've always found negative space to make for a handy shortcut. Here provided by a Shu Uemura matte white (M907) with grey lightly shading the outer socket and the coral to accent it further. Olive-bronze to line, edged in mint.
sorry for the slightly worn, end-of-the-day, bathroom lighting pic -- couldn't get a focussed pic that morning 

Back to the warm pinks: Givenchy Le Rouge 201 Rose Taffettas (auditioning as replacement for soon-to-be-finished Darling) and Kjaer Weis Lovely cream blush, which is being rapidly depleted too, thanks to its flattering texture and face-brightening magic.
Base: Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant Glow, Mehron Celebre HD LT-1, RBR Sea of Clouds
Brows: Shu Uemura H9 pencil Seal Brown and Stone Grey.

Blush shot --attempt to photograph the very elusive Lovely, which deserves a glowing review pending my camera's ability to pick up on it :/ Look how glowy!

Throughout: Burberry Sheer Touch 01 concealer under eyes, Max Factor False Lash Effect 24 Hour black mascara.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Enduring Loves: Sonia Rykiel Quatre Eyeshadow 09 and 10 Swatches

It's been a while since I've posted about this brand, but Sonia Rykiel Beauté is still one of my underrated favourites of Japanese makeup. In particular, two of the core eyeshadow quads, 09 and 10, have survived so many stash clear-outs that they now qualify as core items in my wardrobe too and introduce a new series of posts highlighting some of my older favourites: Enduring Loves.

....which I tend not to post about paradoxically because I wear them so frequently, my brain somehow assumes everyone is as familiar with them as I am.... yeah, good job, brain. And with all the sugar I feed you, too. Thanks to a lovely reader email (hi Kathy :D And sorry!) I present Sonia Rykiel 09 and 10 quad swatches! (And if you want me to write about / take pictures of other stuff I've mentioned in passing, please do feel free to administer a gentle kick up the arse.)

Clockwise from top left: (colour/finish; texture)
v. pigmented dark brown satin with lime, ruby and sparse cornflower microshimmer; creamy
pigmented taupe satin with sparse silver microshimmer; v. creamy
moderately pigmented metallic rust with lime duochrome; silky
sheer icy blue sparkle with silver and very sparse palest lime notes; silky
natural light, sunny
flash pic to try and pick up some duochrome at bottom right
Swatches are one-swipe with a sponge applicator onto bare arm:
natural light, sunny
different angle, attempt to capture duochrome
slightly fuzzy flash pic to show textural variation

Clockwise from top left: (colour/finish; texture)
v. pigmented blackened green satin with lighter green and sparse white gold sparkle; creamy
pigmented warm metallic bronze with subtle cool silvery taupe flash; v. creamy
sheer icy lilac satin; silky
moderately pigmented cool candy pink shimmer with iridescent and white gold sparkle; silky

natural light, sunny
Swatches: one-swipe with sponge applicator onto bare arm
natural light, cloudy
sorry -- yellow bathroom light / flash pic to show texture

It should be obvious why I love these: each shade is complex and in a quad add up to nuanced and inspiring combinations of textures, tones, temperatures and colours. The pigments (especially evident with the pastels) sit on a clear, not white base -- a distinction which Grace London crystallised for me only recently -- which makes them both inherently more flattering on my skin, and perfectly suited to layering for even more intricate effects.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Shu Uemura Smoky Velvet....s Swatch and Comparison

Not sure how I contrived wind up with double the Dora at the end of this holiday season (uh, not that I'm cramming this belated post into the last day of January or anything....) but hopefully this comparison between the two different versions of Shu Uemura x Karl Lagerfeld's Smoky Velvet palette (LE for holiday 2012) will prove helpful for sale-stalkers, and any collectors/ebayers visiting from the fuuuuuuture *woo-woo noises*
identical red-eyed evil...
...but what lurks within?
On the left is the version sold throughout Europe and Asia, which I originally swatched here.
On the right is the one sold in the US and Canada -- excellent swatches on Planet Martha and The Notice. (Please avert your eyes from the dented black silk smooth shade here -- spontaneous depotting aint all it's cracked up to be. Literally, when your creamilicious cake of sparkly black lands on the edge of your palette. Woe.)

The top two (silk smooth) shades are identical, but the other three eyeshadows are substantially different. Texturally, the Europe/Asia version of Smoky Velvet is symmetrical to Prestigious Bordeaux; the North American version replaces one satin shade (middle left) with another glitter. [In my opinion, the blush pans (bottom right) differ very slightly, with the North American version being a hair warmer and more red-toned. This was admittedly so minimal my camera couldn't capture what I thought I could see, and might be attributable to batch variation.]

All pictures taken in natural light without flash; only the angle and extent of focus/fuzz varies.

Middle Left
The European/Asian version has a light grey satin with a gunmetal base and silver sheen (respectively visible at different angles). The North American version features a holographic white creamy-feeling powder glitter -- i.e. a smaller pan of Glitter White Rainbow in the core line, swatched on the far right.

Middle Right
The textures of these were identical this time, so only the colours differ: Europe/Asia got a silvered turquoise, North America a soft spring green.

Bottom Left 
Again, both are the newest kind of Shu Uemura glitter -- beautiful, if ridiculously sparkly, sheer topcoats, best pressed onto the eye with a fingertip. The European/Asian palette has a cool white gold and the North American a yellow-toned old gold with sparse flecks of warmer copper and red.

Which version do you prefer? And why do you think Shu chose to release two versions of the 'same' limited edition palette, without fanfare?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Two Looks with Guerlain Coup de Foudre

As mentioned in my review/swatch post, this is my new favourite toy and I have already amassed a hefty backlog of looks, some more successful than others. In an attempt to structure the blog a bit better this year, I'll be posting them in slightly tenuously connected pairs -- today's theme is spring vs winter(ish), and both looks incorporate all four shades from Coup de Foudre.

Mint all over lid and lower lashline, grey to shade outer v, olive-bronze to line upper lashline and outer third of lower lashline. Coral blended through socket and pulled slightly up and out.

The coral from Coup de Foudre again, used as blush (this is sufficiently pigmented and blendable to work beautifully as blush and reads as satinny with no visible gold microshimmer on my cheeks -- woot!) And paired with my favourite lip product from spring thus far, YSL Glossy Stain 27 Pêche Cerra-Cola (this is 2 coats):

Better look at how Coup de Foudre's coral shade works as blush:

If the Spring look showcases how well the coral plays with the green tones in this quad this one illustrates how un-green, un-spring, Coup de Foudre can be.
Coral in the centre of the lid, grey to darker outer corner and mixed with the mint to blend inner socket. Mint layered with olive-bronze on the lower lashline. More of a rounded shape, following the natural contours of my eye, rather than the elongation of the Spring look.

Lip and cheek choices motivated more by "I wanna play with my other new shinies" than ye higher aesthetic considerations: Dolce&Gabanna Nude blush and Bite Beauty Scarlet chubby pencil. 
(After some strategic covering up of various bits of these pictures, I think the blush is to blame for this look's lack of tonal cohesion. I'll try to show it off to better advantage in its own forthcoming review post.)

Suggestions for tweaking these looks, and ideas for future looks / pairings would be very welcome too :)

In both looks: L'Oreal Telescopic False Lash WP macara, Shu Uemura Stone Grey eyebrow pencil, Shu Uemura UV Under Base Cream Pink as base, Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea of Tranquility to highlight, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 to spot conceal and Burbery Sheer Luminous concealer 01 under eyes.