Chanel

2016 Holiday Buys + OT Shoes

Actually not much holiday beauty purchase this year at all! I haven’t been tempted by anything really. I had a 25% discount from Sephora (this was just before Black Friday) and I reasoned Sephora France wouldn’t offer more than 25% on makeup even if they were doing Black Friday sales (I was right!) so I did a quick browse and of course found something.

udvicelip

I don’t even know if this is part of their holiday release but I picked up the Urban Decay Vice palette. Like many, I picked that up in Blackmail. The palette is certainly a nice way to try some popular UD shades and formula. I also told myself when I bought it that I can easily mix some of the shades up if I feel creative. But let’s be honest I’m not sure how likely/often I’ll do that 😛
I’ve only tried two shades for now and TBH a little disappointed in the texture – they’re more drying than I thought. I tried Blackmail and Ex-Girlfriend. I’ll give them another whirl and see.

To qualify for free shipping for the Vice palette I grabbed a Chanel beauty flash balm. I thought the beauty balm would be great on long haul flights. Plus lately my skin has been feeling pretty dry and I definitely feel like slapping on some moisturizer during the day and this seems like a good product for that. I’ve used it a couple of times now. Not much thought at the moment, I just feel the scent lingers longer than the micro-serum from the same range. It’s a quick-fix.

Lastly I got a couple of Kevyn Aucoin lippies – Black Dahlia and Bloodroses. TBH I got those because of the names and the fact that they were on sale. I’m still waiting for the delivery actually so no photos just yet but I will add them later. [Edit: Dec 09 – They finally arrived and you can find them on this post here] Actually now that I think about it my last order from Beautybay was also slow to arrive. Maybe they’re slammmed, I don’t know. Back to the lipsticks: I’ve never tried Kevyn Aucoin’s lipsticks and am not familiar with their formula. Black Dahlia is totally out of my comfort zone so we’ll see what happens. I did hesitate getting them because I’m pretty sure I can get a dupe of these rather easily, given how everyone seemed to have released 50+ new shades and formulas in one go (off the top of my head: NARS, MUFE, UD, the Boys from Tom Ford etc etc etc).

That’s all the beauty purchases for now. None of the Christmas sets I’ve seen tempted me, no not even Suqqu! So I’m good. Skincare-wise I still got loads of stuff to go through at home in all categories so that’s covered. Otherwise I might get something from Clarins (a cleanser and lotion) and the micro-serum from Chanel warrants a re-purchase especially in this drying weather.

Finally, I never wrote about fashion because I’ve always wanted to keep this strictly beauty only but I’ll make an exception this time because it’s Christmas and I really want to share these.

officeboots

1. Office Lucky Charm Boots on asos.fr (NOT affiliated! I don’t use them)
Chloe Susanna dupe. Asos seems to be the only place I can find this combo (red + nubuck). Otherwise they also carry it in black nubuck. For regular leather you have to go to the Office website. I recommend nubuck because from what I can glean from the comments the regular leather is pretty hard you need time to wear it in. I ordered the nubuck and they were comfy right off the bat. The only reason I didn’t keep mine is my wardrobe doesn’t really work with these.
Another good dupe is from the brand Lemare, but they are a lot more expensive. I’m not comfortable paying that much for dupes personally.

pumpfury
2. Marni x Zalando collection
Zalando is a French online retailer, mostly shoes but they also sell clothes. Anyway they have a capsule collection with Marni that’s worth checking out.
My picks are the VANS SK8-Hi and those Instapump Fury, which also come in khaki and khaki/ivory mix.

Update + Holiday Travel Makeup (or What I’m Taking I Took with Me)

I’ll be off in a couple of weeks for my summer holidays, which I haven’t had in years because of work and all. Needless to say I’m super excited. However this also means I won’t be blogging much during that time, so I’m afraid the blog will be even more quiet than usual 😛

I started this post before I left, intending to share what I planned to bring/use but I ended up being super short on time with last minute packing and random little things to organize so I never got around to finish writing and posting it. So to anyone wondering where I’ve been, now you know.
Ever since my return work’s been super hectic and I just didn’t have the energy nor time to do anything proper here. I’m going to have more free time after October though, with some big life changes ahead. So fingers crossed I’ll have more opportunity to update the blog regularly thereafter 😉

I had a three-week holiday and I went on a road-trip in the US. There were lots of driving and intense heat as we rolled through the states of NM, AZ and CA. It was a lot of fun seeing how the landscape changes from state to state. I had three pouches, one for skincare, a small one with the minimal daily makeup I need and the last one was all the other extra good to have makeup options like a nicer foundation (I took the Dior serum), a long-lasting primer, highlighter, bronzer, eye shadow palettes, liners in different colours, lipsticks and another shade of blush etc.

Well I ended up using maybe one or two products from that third good-to-have and also the heaviest pouch. I could have left that at home. With the heat in summer I didn’t feel like applying much foundation and other bells and whistles stuff. There wasn’t much point prettying up when I’m just mostly in the car either. Lesson learned.

Here are what I used on a daily basis:

travel
Sunscreen
Bioré Watery Essence – this is my daily face sunscreen and kinda doubles as a primer.
Shiseido Expert Sun Protection Lotion – this is for the body and what I took on the beach and outdoor hikes. It was a new bottle and between me and the Man we used half of this bottle up.
Powder
Maquillage Snow Beauty II (LE) – daytime for setting and night time for keeping stickiness at bay. I like using this powder, if you’re interested they release a new version every year and you should start checking online for this year’s version now if you want one. Pre-orders are in September I think?
Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot – this can look chalky if you’re not careful but it seems to perform better on my skin than the Balm’s Sexy Mama in terms of blotting power.
Eye primer
Too Faced Shadow Insurance – really like the small squeeze tube packaging, but sometimes the product separates when you skip a day or two of using it. Maybe it’s just my tube?
Eye shadow base colour
Wet n Wild Brulee – it’s the perfect size for traveling with. However it was a bit light towards the end of my trip when I picked up some colour.
Eye liner
Kate slim gel pencil – long-lasting and doesn’t require sharpening
Mascara
BCL Browlash EX Long Separate Macara (Hello Kitty LE) – Because the Fasio irritated my eyes, I thought I’d take another one just to be safe. I’ve never tried this mascara before and as it turns out its formula is pretty wet and takes a while to dry. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Cute packaging though and I’ve always liked comb mascaras.
Brow
Kate eyebrow pencil – again, no sharpening
Blush
Chanel Sunkiss Ribbbon (LE) – multi-colour for variety. I went with powder instead of cream thinking it might melt in the heat.
Lips
Dior Addict Lip Maximizer – because it has a cooling and tingling effect, I thought it’d be nice in the heat haha. This will be the first time I finish a gloss! Or any lip product that’s not a balm!
Scent
Estée Lauder Azurée Soleil – I dug this up and decided this is the year I’m going to use it to the max. This was released maybe 10 years ago and it was a collaboration between Tom Ford and EL years before TF launched his line. Azurée Soleil is like the version 1.0 of the now familiar Bronze Goddess scent. It’s labeled as a skin scent and it stays close to the skin without leaving a cloud of sillage. It’s a very elegant interpretation of a beach scent, by that I mean the tiare, coconut association. Perhaps Terracotta from Guerlain would be the closest in spirit among the perfumes available in the market now. I bought this when it was released and it was forgotten in the back of the wardrobe for years and so the juice still smells as it should. I don’t know how much people are selling this on evilbay but I don’t think it’s worth whatever exorbitant prices people are asking.

Others
I brought along my Suqqu eye palettes and only used them a handful of times, if that. This started before I left for the holidays but I’ve been applying them with *gasp* my fingers and it might be my preferred way of putting these on. Sacré bleu, I know! I go in with a blending brush afterwards if I need edges taken care of. I find this to be super fast and the colours come out more vibrantly, and I feel I have more control and avoid over blending them.

I had planned on buying beauty stuff, like brands I don’t have access to here/costs more etc but oddly enough I didn’t. Buy anything. At all. Just didn’t see anything exciting enough to make me take my wallet out. I was hoping to check the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation but it seemed this item isn’t sold in every Sephora. I saw it once but didn’t have time that day and then never saw it again. Anyway I’m kind of glad of this, it’s like I’ve finally made peace with new makeup releases and all the frenzy around limited editions. I’m gearing more towards skincare at the moment, but it’s a pendulum that’s swung before so it won’t be long til I get hooked on colour again I’m sure 😉
Luckily so far none of the holiday collections piqued my interest. We’ll see !

Spring 2016 Purchases – Part 1

Odd typing that cos it’s February and it’s still winter. But since everyone is playing the ‘First!!’ game and with LE items we’ve been conditioned to think that sometimes it pays to act fast and so you are reading this short post. I’ve really tried to limit my buys and I think if I really pushed myself I could have just got the eye shadow and nothing else. But oh well!

This is part one, on Spring collections. I’ll have a 2nd (other stuff) and 3rd (brushes) part coming 😛

From the new collections, I picked up three LE items: two blushes (what was I thinking … *looks at already big stash guiltily* – oh right I wasn’t) and an eye shadow palette.

Blush #1, from Chanel:

chanel01

finally a good photo of this taken on a sunny day

Incredibly this is the first time I caved and bought a special edition Chanel blush with fancy design and stuff.  It’s the first non-baked Chanel blush from Chanel since Tweed Sienna, which was light years ago. It’s been a while since I bought any Chanel makeup in general, so opening this and smelling the familiar scent Chanel perfumes their blushes with brings back some fond memories.

So this new blush is called Sunkiss Ribbon and is part of their LA Sunrise collection. It’s made in France and comes with 11g of product. The baked formula has 4g of product. A typical MAC blush has 6g. 11g is what you got with the XXL Wonder Woman blush from MAC. (more…)

November & December Empties

Happy New Year everyone! Got some nice skincare empties here in the last months of 2015. I still haven’t gotten round to posting my skincare regime and it’s constantly changing. Must get this to the top of the to-do list in 2016. Anyway first up the empties in November:

novempt

Bouclier Bio Concentré Détox de jour (50ml) – Made in France
This is a random face cream I picked up at Citypharma. I have never heard of this brand before but the ingredients are no-frills and straight forward, just a little more than 10 ingredients. Housed in a glass jar, it’s paraben-free and is targeted for sensitive and/or couperose skin. My skin has become a little on the drier side and I’ve really enjoyed using it. The texture is quite thick (a ‘real’ cream) but it’s really moisturizing and nourishing. Literally saved my skin when it got extremely dry suddenly from the frequent long-haul flights I did in early 2015.

Here are the ingredients:

aqua (water), aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, simmondsia chinensis seed oil (jojoba seed oil)*, glycerin, coco-caprylate/caprate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetearyl alcohol, oleic/linoleic/linolenic polyglycerides, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)*, cera alba (beeswax), tocopherol, xanthan gum, parfum (fragrance), sodium hydroxide, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, linalool, citronellol

It’s marketed as a day cream but I also use it at night. Because of its texture I’d say it’s more suitable for drier skin types and a cooler climate. Normal skin will like it in winter. It may look and feel a bit heavy for some but I do think LRP’s Toleriane left me looking more greasy afterwards. My skin just seems to love this stuff. There’s fragrance listed but honestly I didn’t detect any scent. Probably just for masking or neutralizing?
Repurchase? Yes! I bought a pack of 2 (bigger savings) and am using the second one already. Am curious about other creams from this brand now.

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum (30ml) – Made in France
Here’s the blurb pulled from the US website:

This water-light serum delivers a revolutionary infusion of hydration: 24 hours of continuous moisturizing benefits, leaving skin deeply replenished, smooth and glowing with youth.

THE BREAKTHROUGH
CAMELLIA MICRO-DROPLETS:
Patented micro-droplet technology delivers the purest form of Camellia Oil Extract, exclusive* new Camellia Alba OFA**, to infuse skin with exceptional hydrating and plumping power.

CAMELLIA ALBA PFA***:
This remarkably pure HYDRA BEAUTY ingredient, created by Chanel scientists, stimulates skin’s natural ability to restore and retain moisture for a smooth, radiant appearance.

BLUE GINGER PFA:
To protect the benefits of Camellia Alba PFA, Chanel revealed one of nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants, Blue Ginger PFA. This exceptional ingredient acts as an environmental shield, blocking and neutralizing free radicals to help reinforce the complexion.

*International patent application.
**OFA: Oleofractioned Active.
***PFA: Polyfractioned Active. An ultra-pure, ultra-powerful ingredient created through exclusive patented Chanel technology.

On the French website it’s also suggested that these micro-droplets house the extract and keeps them in a ‘pure’ state until they are released upon application. Anyway this serum doesn’t get a very favourable review on Paula’s Beautipedia (overpriced, contains alcohol, not that special etc). But I really enjoyed using this and my skin felt ‘plumper’ after use. Not sure about the 24 hours/glowing with youth claims but it didn’t irritate my skin at all and my skin seemed to have liked it to the last drop.
The texture is like a gel, definitely not runny. 1.5 pumps is ideal but I struggle to get half a pump so it’s either one or two depending on how generous I feel on that day. It is fragranced so sensitive noses/skin types beware. I love these kind of packaging – see-through airtight bottle with the piston going up as the product is used. The biggest con is the price: at 81 euros it’s something to buy at Dutyfree or when the promo codes are just right.
Repurchase? It’s on the wishlist

The Body Shop Atlas Mountain Rose Body Butter (200ml/192g) – Made in the UK
I’m not a regular user/fan of the body butters from TBS, I think the only one I really liked was the olive one. It seems to me the texture varies with scent, like the fruitier ones are lighter. Don’t quote me on that though. Generally I prefer thicker ones for the body.
I can’t remember why I bought this (and TWO of them to boot) since I’m not a crazy rose lover either. But the texture is nice, thick enough but not balmy and easy to spread. The scent is sometimes quite sharp to my nose but otherwise this is one of the better roses in the mass market out there for sure. Apparently this used to be hard to find – oh that explains why I bought two! – but it’s been repackaged as part of a new line-up of TBS fragrances and looks to be here to stay. Can’t vouch for the EdT but if you are a rose lover looking for a body cream, definitely check this out.

Enlight1(4)
Repurchase? I still got the backup.

Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil (40ml, deluxe sample) – Made in Japan
This is a good cleansing oil, up there with the best Japanese cleansing oils I’ve tried. I like this more than shu uemura (but I had bad experience with them in the past). It’s efficient, emulsifies easily and rinses off completely without leaving a film nor stripping the skin. It’s lightly scented, like the fragrance from The Skincare range. This never gave me any problems, no irritation/breakouts.
I can’t remember where this came from, probably a GWP somewhere, but the nice thing is the pump unscrews and thus I can reuse this and transfer my other cleansing oil inside for when I’m traveling.
Repurchase? Definitely worth considering in the future after I go though my Fancl and softymo. I’ll buy this within a heartbeat if I have nowhere to get the Fancl.

Empties in December: (more…)

Makeup Hits and Misses of 2014 – The Hits

2014hits

I think I did quite well last year resisting beauty releases (especially those of the limited kind) and impulse buys. As such my 2014 Hits won’t be exclusively on products that are released this year but include things that I’ve (re)discovered, have impressed me and constantly reached for. I’ve made a top ten post back in August and the items mentioned in that post are still very relevant. Think of this as more of a Favourites / Most-used of 2014 post.

1. Urban Decay Pulp Fiction eye palette
One of the LE collections this year I fell for. Love this palette even if I do wish the packaging is a little more travel-friendly – tested its portability on a short trip and found it to be a real PITA to pack. It just takes up so much room! I’m not sure if I’ll take it with me on trips again but being a neutral palette it really makes life easy and goes with everything. The texture and quality is amazing. Reviewed here.

2. Tom Ford Orchid Haze
If I could only bring one quad with me on a trip this will be it. It pulls quite neutral and by controling the darkest shade you can adapt it to any day/night look. This is my favourite palette out of everything at the moment (HG?). Also featured in the mid-year top 10 post.

3. Urban Decay Naked 3
I picked this up early in the year 2014 when Sephora France had it back in stock (and it was promptly sold out again). This is my first palette in the Naked series and really my first go at Urban Decay eyeshadows. I resisted 1 & 2 but something about the pink and rose called to me. I have enough browns at home already and thought 3 would be a nice change. I admit I was worried the pinks wouldn’t look good on me (rabbit eye/cried-all-night) but it’s surprisingly easy to wear and versatile. I’m used to quads and at most quints so the size and choices are overwhelming. I’m still on the learning curve with this but it’s been nothing but pleasure each time I reach for it. (more…)

December Empties

decempt2

These are the last things I used up in 2014. Again, apologies for the terrible lighting.

Chanel No. 5 Velvet Body Cream (150ml) – Made in USA
I don’t own the perfume (I might one day cos I do like it, but I tend to go to Uncle Serge and Frederic Malle) but I fell in love with the texture from a sample I got from Sephora. Hemmed and hawed for a year or two and finally splurged when I had a 20% discount. Really beautiful texture and the scent lingers and is very long-lasting for a body cream. This is all about indulgence, your sheets, nightie will smell like No. 5.

The jar is made of frosted hefty glass. This is made to be displayed and shown-off. Not practical for travel obviously.
Having a look on the website it seems they have changed the name and it’s now known simply as La Creme Corps, or The Body Cream. Can’t comment on whether the formula is the same or updated. You can also get this in other scents like Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Chance etc.
Repurchase? I would love to, but I will try to find a dupe for the texture.

Klorane Conditioner with Oat Milk (150ml) – Made in France
Blurb from the website:

Cultivated in France, our extra gentle oat milk softens, protects, and moisturizes all hair types. The soothing and protective properties of the oat respect the natural balance of the scalp and hair, making it ideal for daily use and suitable for the entire family.

Promises to:
– Detangles, repairs and nourishes hair
– Adds radiance, lightness and volume
– Eliminates static electricity

Paraben, silicone, sulfate, sodium chloride free.

So that’s the info I found on the US website. On the back of my tube, it states

‘With its high content in oat milk, this conditioner without parabens, respects the natural state of the scalp but is also suitable for all hair types. Its velvety and fluid texture restores the natural balance of hair to restore its beauty and softness.’

It reads like something that’s put through Google translate. Anyway.
Klorane is a company under Pierre Fabre (same as Avene). I thought this conditioner was just ok. I was (still am) using the Cedrat shampoo and I think that formula is superior but I guess I shouldn’t compare shampoo with conditioner. I bought this because it says it’s ‘ultra-gentle’ and ‘for frequent use/all hair types’. To sum up I wasn’t really impressed with this.
Repurchase? No.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Yeux (15ml) – Made in France
Claims to be a ‘rehyrating concentrate anti-eye bags, anti-fatique’ eye gel. Well it did nothing of that sort for me. This is a really ‘meh’ product that I find struggles to hydrate properly at times, let alone giving ‘intense’ hydration as implied in the name.
Repurchase? Heck no.

Kate slim gel pencil (0.12g) in BK-1 Black – Made in Japan
Hey another one of these. This is the last of my stash and as mentioned here it’s now my go-to and I’ll ditch the SANA unless I find the original non ‘melty’ version.
Repurchase? Yes.

Hydraluron (30ml) – Made in Canada
Learnt about this by way of Caroline Hirons’ site. Lovely product to use and I do feel it’s helped a lot in terms of hydration. Much appreciated ever since I’ve been using Adapalene.
It’s a clear gel that you apply before your moisturizer. The size surprised me – the tube is much smaller than the box lets on. It lasted around 2 months for me with twice daily use. Kinda pricey as well and not available in France AFAIK. It sort of reminds me of the Jelly Acquarysta from Fuji film (since pulled out of France).
Repurchase? Yes, I bought a backup when I was last across the pond and have been using that. Might need an alternative after.

Aphrodite’s Shell vs Other Bronzers … or just some swatches of my bronzers

bronzers

1. Stephane Marais bronzer #1 – I shouldn’t have included this one in hindsight because the brand doesn’t exist anymore. But this was my first bronzer and very dear to my heart. The Stephane Marais brand was so ahead of its time.
2. MAC Aphrodite’s Shell from Alluring Aquatic
3. Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons in 01 Blondes – this was before Guerlain revamped their Terracotta line. This shade is the new 04 Blondes. From looking at the pictures 02 Brunettes in the new line would probably be a better match for me.
4. Dior Nude Tan Healthy Glow in 002 Sunlight.
5. Caudalie Teint Divin (one shade only)
6. Bourjois Delice de Soleil in 12 for Fair/Medium Skin

Swatches:

brnz1

Different lighting:

brnz3

1. Stephane Marais
2. Guerlain  – top quad on the right only
3. MAC
4. Dior – swirled all quads
5. Caudalie
6. Bourjois

1-4 are the lighter bronzers and among them MAC has the least amount of orange/pink.  If you have the Dior, using only the ‘D’ and the ‘U’ you can get something really close to Aphrodite’s Shell.

The Guerlain will give you the most options as all 4 of the quads have different intensity. If you’re fair now but are counting on getting some colour during summer then this will be a good option. You can however, probably get 2 separate bronzers for the price of this.

I didn’t bother swatching my Chanel Tan de Soleil (not the paste but the powder from Summer 2012, Sable Beige) but let me know if you would like to see a comparison.

Btw I used Aphrodite’s Shell the other day and I didn’t notice any of the shimmer flecks. So who knows really?