nails

2015 Holiday Haul

suqquxmas01

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

snowbeauty02
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!

snowbeauty04

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…)

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…)

Polish of the Moment – NARS Galion

NARS Storm Bird
photo taken from Sephora website

NARS has a new grey nail polish called Storm Bird as part of the Fall 2012 collection (which I will probably pick up). This time last year I got Galion. It was an LE but you can still buy it online on the Barney’s website, I saw it there just yesterday. [If you do don’t be alarmed by their photo – it looks completely wrong but the colour description is for Galion].

I didn’t like Galion at first, I was hoping for something like Storm Bird, ha! But I gave this another go finally and really appreciate it now. Galion is darker than Storm Bird. I know my picture below and the Sephora picture makes it look really similar but they are very different. Galion is a dark grey with navy.. or a drop of blue violet, I can’t decide. This is what Galion reminds me of:

mi-ny

picture taken from the mi-ny website

Apart from KIKO I also discovered the mi-ny shops in Italy. They are a brand dedicated to nail polishes and all other related products. It’s a little overwhelming seeing every shade of nail polish you can think of, all displayed at once in a shop. They also have a bunch of top coats, effect ones include a mood top coat (like a mood ring for your nails), the cracked, croc, magnetic finishes, nail art kits, a whole lot of nail care stuff, removers, accessories, bowls etc. They have their version of the Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover (the pink bottle where you put your finger in and pull it out – I like using this a lot) but with 5 different scents like Apple, Papaya etc. Their bottles are smaller though. Anyway, I picked 4 polishes up (buy 3 get 1 free):

L-R: Road Grey, Black Violet, I Love L.A. & Van Gogh. 11ml 3.90 euros

(Sorry I had to swatch on sticky tape because I just painted my nails in another colour)
One coat only, L-R: Van Gogh, Road Grey, Black Violet, I Love L.A. & Road Grey with I Love L.A. on top.
Ok I’m not a nail person so this is not my area of expertise at all. I only do my nails on rare occasions, so I can’t give detailed comments about the brushes, finishes or comparisons with other brands. 
What I did notice was the ease of application differs, and Van Gogh streaked a lot when I was applying the first coat. I had a couple of nails where the colour was really patchy. The second coat went on a lot better, it covered up those areas pretty well and also gives the opacity I wanted. I will try this polish again because I really like this colour.
Road Grey applies better, but it’s not the best grey for my colouring. A little too cool. It has a very fine silver pearl shimmer mixed it, but you can’t really see it on the nails. I liked this with the glitter coat on top.
Black Violet applies the best. It is a deep concord grape colour, muscat. A blue based violet, very pretty.
A closer look at Road Grey and I Love L.A.:

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.