lips

Kevyn Aucoin Lipsticks

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This is the small Beautybay haul I mentioned in this post. Two Kevyn Aucoin lipsticks and three small brushes from Louise Young.

The lipsticks are from the ‘Expert Lip Color’ range, I think they have a small matte lipstick range now as well. They are 3.5g each and are made in Italy. The shades I got are Bloodroses and Black Dahlia:

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L: Bloodroses, R: Black Dahlia

They have a magnetic closure (the base is magnetized) but the magnet isn’t very strong. I thought the bullet looked short/small when I twisted it all the way up but it’s actually in the standard size. To give you an idea, Chanel lipsticks are 3.5g (apart from Rouge Coco Shine which are 3g each), UD Vice are 3.11g, MAC and Tom Ford are 3g, NARS Audacious are 4.2g.

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Left: Bloodroses one swipe, built-up. Right: Black Dahlia one swipe, built-up

Sorry I didn’t want to ruin the pointy tips of the new lippies so they have this funny shape.
I’ve never tried KA lipsticks before. These didn’t disappoint – they are creamy and luxurious. Colour is rich and opaque. Very comfortable on the lips.

From what I’ve read Bloodroses is a universally flattering shade, a deep red created by Kevyn Aucoin and one which he counted as his favourite. I did some swatches but all my red lipsticks are in the traditional vein and none came close to being as deep as Bloodroses: (more…)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

August + September Empties

AUGUST

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Shiseido Integrate gel liner in BK999 (0.28g) – Made in Germany
I bought this cos it seemed to be a favourite among Japanese beauty magazine readers. But the size of the nib is too big for my liking and unlike a pencil it can’t be sharpened. Also the performance is inconsistent – sometimes it smudges, sometimes no. Despite no change in the steps leading to or out prior.
Repurchase? Nope.

Kate slim gel pencil in BK-1 (0.12g) – Made in Japan
Now this is a liner I know I can count on. I took this with me on my holidays and with daily use it lasted around one month. This has less than half the product of the Integrate liner though.
Repurchase? Staple.

Here’s a comparison photo with nibs from different liners. The UD acts as your average, typical pencil liner. You can see the Integrate is just slightly slimmer than that. Visée is the thinnest (mentioned a few entries below). KATE and dejavu are the same in diameter. I’ll write about the Dejavu one eventually but lets just say for now that I don’t reach for it often despite it having the best staying power.

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Top-Bottom: Visée, dejavu fiberwig, KATE, Shiseido Integrate, UD24/7

(more…)

May Empties

I’ve got 10 empties in May 🙂

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Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi Action Cream Cleanser (150ml) – Made in Belgium (? I forgot to check)
I originally prepared a separate post to review the Estee Lauder cleanser but I guess I’ll do this here now. First, it smells like fabric softener, like those ‘clean laundry’ or ‘soft cotton’ smell. So sensitive noses beware.
This is a very gentle cleanser, not designed to do any heavy duty cleaning. My eyeliners are hard wearing and it didn’t even budge. Same with my mascara, it kind of just smeared around. I mention this because it blurbed about removing makeup on the back of the tube.
I’m using this mainly in the mornings, as you’re supposed to use it on dry skin and I tend to wash my face in the shower in the evenings. On that front it is gentle and non-stripping and my skin feels supple afterwards and never feels tight, even if I wait a bit before putting the rest of the skincare on. That’s something.
You can also use this as a moisturizing mask, I admit I’ve only done this once or twice and well, it was alright. I see it like this: when used as a cleanser it kind of leaves a film behind and won’t give you that squeaky clean feeling; so if you were to leave it on longer as a mask the clingy film layer that you feel will still be there, but perhaps will be interpreted as a moisturizing, protective layer instead… if you know what I mean…?
I suggest using a face cloth or konjac sponge ff you’re after a less clingy feeling.

All in all I think this is a nice option for those wanting to try cream cleansers or those with very dry skin. It’s not stripping at all.
Repurchase? Unfortunately it’s not really for me.

Kanebo Sekkisei Lotion Excellent (200ml) – Made in Japan
I wrote about this here, check that post if you want to find out what the difference is in terms of ingredients between the Lotion Excellent and the regular Sekkisei. Compared to the regular version, I do feel this one is slightly less watery, and the alcohol is less present and thus more moisturizing. In terms of whitening I’m afraid I can’t gauge if it’s more efficient. All I can say is since using the Sekkisei lotions, my skin tone lost a lot of the dark, sallowness that made me look tired and sort of wilted 😛 Now it’s definitely more uniform. There are still some areas that are ‘darker’ and I still have red scars I want to fade from recent breakouts but other than that I do feel in general it has improved. Sekkisei also claims to curb spots and stuff but my breakouts are hormonal (I know I’m a broken record on this) and those benefits are lost on me.
Repurchase? Personally the regular version is enough for me so I won’t be getting the Lotion Excellent. You could potentially start on this version and then go to the regular for ‘upkeep’. (more…)

January Empties

Argh am so late with this but work’s been busy and I haven’t had time to take the necessary photos 😦

I’m trying to empty my drawers so you’ll start seeing a lot of sample-sized products. Little bottles I saved and intended to use on short trips and holidays, but I finally admit that I just don’t travel often enough to use them all up in a reasonable amount of time.

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this works revitalizing shampoo & conditioner (30ml)Made in China
General observation: product in little bottles appears to be a lot thicker than in regular packaging (for all beauty brands).

“Infused with essential oils to restore silky texture and shine”
This shampoo cleans very well, every time I rinse it off, I hear my hair squeak. The conditioner doesn’t add a lot of moisture/nourishment considering how well the shampoo works. Thus I conclude that this is a shampoo more suitable for oilier hair. I wash my hair daily and this shampoo can sometimes feel a little stripping when used over a longer period of time. It has a herbal smell. Stings the eyes terribly if the product does get into them (both me and the Man can attest to this). Like really sharp pain.
Repurchase? Nah this is not for me.

shower gels

L’Occitane Verbena Shower Gel (30ml) – Made in France
This shower gel didn’t feel any special. The smell is very fresh, I mean it’s verbena. Otherwise not much to write home about. It’s not thickened up though comes out of the bottle easily.
Repurchase? I don’t know how much this is but I don’t think it’s worth splurging for. The scent bored me quickly. (more…)

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…)

2015 Holiday Haul

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Spring collections are already available in some parts of the world, crazy! Bit late to the party as usual, but I thought I would post this anyway since most of the items are still available for purchase. I was pretty much immune from the big names’ Christmas collections this year. The last item to have tempted me was the blush Alezane (?) from Chanel Fall, and for a very brief moment the Gwen Stefani palette from UD. I sprung for these instead:

Shiseido Maquillage Snow Beauty II powder

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Just realised I bought quite a few things from Maquillage this year (the others are lipsticks and their wonderful powder foundation of course). I think they’ve done a nice job of revamping the line. The packaging may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the quality is there.
Snow Beauty powder came under my radar when I chanced upon the spreads they had in all three of the major Japanese beauty magazines that I happened to have. I was drawn by the skin-care ingredients and how they’ve encouraged its use at night before sleeping. This is not exactly part of their holiday collection, but anyway!

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So this is version 2 of the Snow Beauty powder. I read that it’s pretty much the same as last year’s release except the packaging is slightly different. It comes with 2 puffs, one significantly puffier than the other. The fat one really allows a liberal application, good for night time use only. If you use this during the day you will look really powdery and chalky. The powder itself is fine and is a truly translucent. I have no problem getting a beautiful finish with the flat puff. It’s lightly perfumed, the soothing kind of fragrance. Nothing sharp. I actually enjoy the scent. (more…)