illuminator

Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder – Modern Mercury

Highlighter in 01 Modern Mercury (7.5g) – Made in Italy

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Count me in as yet another one of those who succumbed to this beauty in the VB x EL collection. The highlighter is the only thing that really got my interest. I was around when EL first released Modern Mercury but dissed it cos it looked too shimmery/bright/OTT/ in the pan. I wasn’t into highlighters then, and knew it wasn’t going to be used. Well 5 years later I paid a premium for this re-release and its special luxe packaging:

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It’s not leather but it sure looks like leather. Many have pointed out the similarities between the this and Tom Ford’s packaging. I don’t know who to credit for the design but he/she/they did  a great job because it’s sophisticated and is truly a timeless design. This compact is hefty, the whole thing weighs around 140g. I thought the Guerlain Terracotta compact (4 seasons) was heavy but that one’s only 100g. This compact definitely deserves to be shown off though. It’d be a shame to leave it in your makeup drawer, it practically begs to be taken out with you on that special dinner you’re going to.

I was surprised to see that the box that housed this has a polka dot interior:

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top swatch done very lightly, the bottom regular

I didn’t do a heavy swatch (ie. rub with pressure back and forth and then swatch) to show off how pigmented this is. Most of the swatches I’ve seen show that, and you get an opaque almost foil like finish. Those two lines were done lightly, the top one (barely noticeable) is even more delicate than the bottom, to show that you can get a very subtle highlight. The bottom is a regular swatch. In general I tend to be light-handed compared to others when it comes to swatching it seems. I swatch the same way I would when using it (with a fan brush when highlighting) so nothing dramatic.

Anyway it’s a rose gold/champagne in its roots. It really is a multi-purpose product – the gelee formula allows you to use this wet or dry. So yes, you can use this as an eye shadow and in that case you can apply it much more heavily than you would when you use it as a highlighter. This will theoretically work as a blush as well for those with light/light-medium complexion and who like this kind of finish.

There is a lot of excitement over this collection with the highlighter being the star product everybody wants. None of this is cheap and you are paying a lot of extra for the packaging. If you go on Instagram and search for #modern mercury someone did one on dupes she found and IIRC the two closest ones were from MAC and Tom Ford. I don’t know if those are LE though. I guess what I’m trying to say is there are alternatives if it’s just this kind of rose gold shade and finish that you’re after.

Lastly to give you an idea in terms of the quantity you get, a MAC blush is 6g. This contains slightly more than theBalm’s Sexy Mama powder (7g), their Frat Boy blush is 8g.

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Favourites of 2015

I debated whether to make this post because it risks being irrelevant. Posting was also delayed because I was on holidays and couldn’t take pictures of the items mentioned. But I’m going ahead anyway, because while some specific products were LE it’s a general indication of the relevant brand’s quality etc. So hopefully it’s still useful 🙂

Suqqu
I think this is my favourite/kryptonite high-end eye shadow brand. I bought 2 LE palettes in 2015 (summer and holiday) and the summer one especially is easily a HG palette. That’s a no-brainer fave in 2015.

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Holiday on the left, summer on the right

I wrote briefly about their Spring collection here.
They of course, also sell the most coveted cheek brush… perhaps one day.
I’ve only tried a few skincare items (from GWP and sets) like the face wash, lotion, SPF and enjoyed using every single one of them. I’m not sure, however, if they’re worth the high price tag for the moment.

There’s also this beauty:

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Lighting Liquid

The most amazing liquid highlighter. Words fail to describe how beautiful this is. It can be a really natural and subtle glow that makes itself visible only when the light hits, or as glowy as you wish for a look with more drama, highlight & contour. It is of course also very versatile, mixing it in with foundations and so on. This was a LE summer release IIRC, if they do release it again don’t hesitate!

[21 Jan: I just checked on selfridges.com and both of these palettes are still available when they were previously sold out. So who knows?]

KIKO

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from KIKO website, the full range of the On-the-Go Minis

From favourite high-end to favourite bargain brand. KIKO consistently amazes me with their quality. My favourite purchases from them this year were their on-the-go minis range. The made myself choose only one Colour Veil blush and decided on 06 Mauve, which a quick search on google tells me is very similar to MAC’s Warm Soul. It’s not mauve at all, more like a bronzey rose. It’s smooth and blends beautifully.My picture kind of makes it look coral-ish but it’s not. (more…)

Hits and Misses of 2012 – The Hits

Looking back the year I made so many purchases … it’s a little crazy but not quite out of hand, luckily. I’ve made many discoveries this year, tried new brands and what were for me new genre of products (highlighters for example). There’s almost an overwhelming amount of things I want to single out but I do realise I need to be selective and keep it streamlined. Even so I’m quite excited to gush about some of these products and you will find there are significantly more products in this entry than the ‘misses’, thankfully.

One last word on how I categorise, ‘Discoveries’ are not necessary instant favourites, however some of them do overlap into the ‘Hits’ category.
The products listed under ‘Hits’ are the real standouts that pop in my head instantly when I think about the topic. They are my ‘best-of’ and favourites of 2012.

Discoveries


La Roche-Posay Cicaplast
Perhaps my greatest skincare discovery of 2012, this is now my go-to SOS topical cream. I reach for this when I have peeling skin, flakiness or general tightness from the dry weather and it works like a charm.

Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover
I don’t know if Bourjois was the original innovator behind this but this has changed and improved the way I clean my nails. It’s fast, efficient and most of all I really like that it’s more environmentally friendly without the use of a million cotton balls to wipe polish off.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps
I’m so late to the party it’s unbelieveable that only this year did I find out about the wonders of this cream. This has attained HG status during the year. (more…)

KIKO – Lavish Oriental

I found myself in Italy in August, it was a trip we took on a whim. Because it was out of the blue I didn’t have time to do any research and went without any idea of what I should be looking out for. It was while I was there that I first saw KIKO, a popular Italian budget makeup brand. Every KIKO shop I saw was packed full of people. Since I prefer to do my makeup shopping alone anyway I only had a quick look around but didn’t buy anything (what was I thinking?)

Luckily, turns out they have two shops in Paris. The shops of course, are even more crowded here. But at least it is accessible, unlike Madina ….. Seriously, that is like my biggest regret.

Here are some items I picked up in Paris. Apart from the lipstick, these items are from their latest LE collection called ‘Lavish Oriental’:

1. Halographic nail lacquer (11ml) in #400, Steel Grey
2. Exotic Highlighter (5.5ml) in #01, Gold
3. Exotic Highlighter (5.5ml) in #02, Peach
4. Luscious Cream Lipstick (3.5g) in #507 Peach Rose
5. Lavish Lips creamy lipgloss (2.83g) in #04 Sheer Maroon
6. Lavish Lips creamy lipgloss (2.83g) in #06 Nude Rose

I’ll write about the lipstick in another post, because I have gotten another one since ….

picture taken from the KIKO website

The collection Lavish Oriental aims to express a ‘sophisticated and elegant femininity’. Colours tend to be on the warmer side with lots of coral, rose and wine. It’s a very practical collection in terms of colours and usage with some fun stuff thrown in.

picture 1. colours are closest to real shades in this picture

The Lavish Lips creamy lipgloss is KIKO’s interpretation of the Clinique chubby sticks. Everyone’s doing a lip crayon nowadays it seems. I don’t own any chubby sticks, but from the few times I tried them on my lips, I will say that these ones from KIKO are more pigmented, but perhaps a little less moisturising. They are not really that glossy, more like a sheer lipstick.

These are my favourite purchases from KIKO so far. I really like the two shades I picked up. Sheer Maroon is a sheer berry, YLBB; and Nude Rose is a brown rose with an apricot undertone. Both are great, easy colours that go with everything.

Swatches (Sheer Maroon is top, Nude Rose bottom):

this swatch is the closest for Nude Rose

I can’t seem to capture their real colours on photo. Nude Rose looks too ‘nude’ in these swatch pictures. It should have more red, look more rosy. Imagine a mix between the one in picture 1 and the swatches.
Sheer Maroon likewise lacks the red, the burgundy and wine nuances. If you can imagine a slightly less intense version of the colour in pic 1, you have Sheer Maroon.

The shades look really sheer on the arm but they pack more punch on the lips. Colour is buildable, but on my pigmented lips they look prettiest with a light hand.

I would have picked up the brighter red too (reminds me of two ton tomato chubby stick) but remembered I just got one of the Revlon lip butter in Candy Apple which I’m liking a lot. These KIKO crayons are also 6.90 euros and are unscented.

There are 3 gel highlighters in this collection, gold, peach and taupe. I couldn’t decide which was better so I got the gold and peach. Now that I had time to play with both I think the gold is more universal. They come in little pots of 5.5ml and look like a bouncy mousse but turns to a gel upon touch.

Gel highlighter with unexpected sensoriality that gives light to the face, eyes and decollete. Apply by blending with the fingertips. Ophthalmologically tested.

L: gold, R: peach

I think these highlighters are more suited for a night out. The formula seems to be a shimmer suspended in gel, so you’re left with a lot of shimmer when the gel dries on the skin. The shimmers are on the fine side though, not glittery at all.

Blending is easy, but you still want to work quickly, and a little goes a long way as it is possible to go overboard with this. This looked really promising in the shop but I find that it’s not subtle enough when applied on the face. I think the luminosity it gives is perfect in daylight/outdoor. But when I’m standing under a light it can look a little too much. Younger ladies however need not worry.

The last item I picked up from the collection is the halograph polish in #400 Steel Grey. They have 3 more shades, one is a champagne (I was deciding between this and the grey) and the other an electric blue and pink. This is my first introduction to halograph polishes and I’m completely mesmerised when the light hits my nails. Fast-drying but can be a little streaky. They dry to an almost matte finish. At least 2 coats.

I’m happy that we have KIKO here as they do have some quality products at very affordable prices. I wanted to get the lipgloss pots the other day (Olympics release) but they’re all gone, online and in shops. They seem to be repackaging some of their products at the moment. Lipsticks in older packaging are on sale, for example.

Clarins Eclat Minute Embellisseur Teint

I’m looking for highlighter that isn’t glittery, shimmer but not obvious. Something I could wear during the day without looking like I’ve prepared for a night out later. Ideally in a blendable stick form, but a good liquid one is ok too. The Multiples from NARS are way too shimmery for my needs, I also checked Benefit’s Watt’s Up (and their Beam range as well) and although it’s more restrained I still prefer something more subtle. Becca is way marked up and not readily available. As I was walking around Sephora, I found Clarins.

From the back of the box:

A radiance-boosting complexion perfector that smoothes, evens and helps to protect skin from dehydration. The lightweight, glide-on texture instantly melts into the skin for a long-wearing natural finish. Illuminates the skin and promotes a fresh, radiant and healthy-looking complexion.

Anti-pollution protection, non-comedogenic.