NARS

Happy New Year + Favourites of 2016

Happy new year everyone! 2016 just flew by didn’t it? 2017 will be about ‘Change’ for me. There’s the obvious big move coming, with it means new job, home and everything else. Am excited and anxious at the same time ;^__^

Beauty and makeup-wise I see a definite swing back into a focus on skincare. The makeup releases in 2016 didn’t really excite me much, even Suqqu failed to perk my interest. I *will* however, have better access to Japanese and Korean skincare/makeup with my move, so who knows what will happen in 2017. I do hope to get more pans in 2017 but failing that I hope to reduce my stash. I’ve also realized I buy a lot of lipsticks but I really don’t wear them much. Hopefully with the blog sale I’ll be able to downsize the stash.

Looking back I don’t really have a lot of new favourites in 2016. None of them are LE items (apart from the Lighting liquid). These are things that work for me and that I’ve reached for consistently this year:

fave2016

Suqqu Lighting Liquid
This is the best liquid highlight I’ve ever used. I believe Suqqu released a pinker version of this sometime last year so perhaps they might do it again in 2017. This was also in my favourites of 2015 post. (more…)

Addiction by Ayako Haul

*ahem* I’ve been away on holidays, hence the silence again but more importantly it’s also how I got my paws on some Addiction shadows!! To compensate this will be a really long post so get ready!

I am so excited about these cos I’ve been wanting to try them since forever and the brand finally opened a counter in Hong Kong where I happened to be 🙂 Too bad I missed out on the opening GWPs, I heard there were some nice things.

Addiction by Ayako is a beauty brand in the Kosé family. Ayako was NARS’ creative director before starting Addiction. I found an interview with Ayako here on Haru’s website, my source for all Japanese beauty news 😉 Addiction has changed the packaging of their eye shadows when they (re)launched their eye shadows – all 99 shades at once. Some shades were retired, but I’m not sure if there’s a difference in the formula. Perhaps someone can comment?

Before I get into the shadows I purchased, I want to mention the LE Christmas Winter White set:

ayako-xmas1

pic from official website

This set was going for HKD550 (or thereabouts, IIRC) which I feel is a good price. Inside the compact you get 4 shadows and a blush:

ayako-xmas2

pic from official website

I was there the first day on the launch but after some thoughts, I passed. My reasons? I don’t use nail polish, and am not a fan of lip glosses, even if this one is black and thus more interesting. So there goes two products. The compact is nice but the blush shade is really more of a highlighter as the colour wouldn’t show unless you’re really fair and pale. And I don’t need another highlighter. Once I eliminated the blush shade there’s little reason left for me to get the palette even if the four shades of shadows are beautiful and practical and work really well together. This set is really a good deal and if you’re someone who uses all the products I highly recommend it. I should have asked the ladies if you can pop the highlight out and replace it with a blush instead (especially if you already own a blush from them). That would make this more versatile. Actually the gloss and polish would make kick ass as stocking stuffers even if you don’t use them. Oh well!

I picked up a total of seven eye shadow shades, purchased separately on different occasions. They are HKD 140 each, with 1g of product. You can buy an empty compact separately that could hold 4 shadows or a bigger one to hold 6 shadows. Note that the size of 1 blush = 2 shadows so you can customize whichever way you want. I almost got a compact but didn’t in the end because for me out of sight is out of mind.

aya01

  1. 085 Shanghai Breakfast (P) A mauve with a gold and red gloss
  2. 082 Taxi Driver (P) A smooth grayish mauve
  3. 069 Flash Back (P) A grayish brown with a smooth gloss
  4. 040 Dolly Bird (P) A steel gray with a wet luster and sparkle
  5. 039 Yesterday (P) A light lavender gray radiating pink
  6. 043 Dangerous Liason (P) A deep purple shimmering with red and silver
  7. 109 Red Lily – Gold orange tinged with red, like the lilies of Northern Europe (limited edition)

It’s a bit of a pain to get the English names. They are not printed on the display panels in Hong Kong, nor on the boxes/sticker on the back of the cases. I had to cross reference them on the Japanese website. Having English names would make it so much easier to remember what I’ve got and what I’d like to try.

Swatches: (more…)

On the Radar

These are some of the products I’m looking forward to checking out in 2016! A lot of them are spanking new Spring collections but there are some permanent items tucked in here as well. I guess I could have named this post my lemmings 🙂

NARS Spring Collection – Hammamet duo

nars-hammamet

from NARS website

This duo reminds me of the St Paul de Vence last Spring. I’m curious as to how the bronze rose translates onto the eyes. I probably won’t buy it because of …..

Suqqu Spring

suqquspring01

Suqqu Spring campaign image

suqquspring02

LE palette model above is using

As mentioned before I’m a little obsessed with Suqqu shadows at the moment. Controllable obsession though, since the closest Suqqu counter is over the pond … or a click away on selfridges. 😛 The Spring collection “Tokyo Spring Colours” has me intrigued. I’m not sure what I’ll buy but swatches have started trickling in and they’re not helping my wallet.

The pictured quad is EX28 Kinshasuna which is so ethereal and luminous. The other quad 22 Kikyoutsubomi is a permanent item. But I’ll probably end up getting the trio EX 06 Hanamizuki (and EX28???)

Chicca Mesmeric lipstick
This is something I hope to try this year. I’ve read many wonderful things about it. It’s supposed to be very moisturizing and forgiving on the lips. It’s designed to be sheer though, so that your natural colour comes through and make the lipstick your own.
Chicca is a brand targeted at the older age group. I feel that it’s like Aerin. It’s not Suqqu level luxe but it’s still luxe. Obviously prices varies within a brand depending on the particular formula, but just to give you a general idea: The Mesmeric lipstick is 4100 yen. A lipstick from Suqqu is 5400 yen, and one from Lunasol is 3240 yen. Chanel is 4104 yen (all prices with tax included). This link will take you to the official site and page, you can see there are 3 new shades coming in January!
Another item I hope to try from them is their blush.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Souffle de Velvet
New liquid matte lipstick from Bourjois! This is so exciting and I can’t wait to test them out. Bourjois posted swatches of these on their instagram account so go check those out if you’re interested!

bourjois-new

taken from Bourjois instagram

Tom Ford Spring
I haven’t yet purchased any Cream Color for Eyes and this Spring seems to be a good time as the brand is re-releasing some older shades (platinum/spice from what I can see) and some new ones. They will be permanent apparently! There’s also a new quad called Honeymoon that looks promising. I just found swatches here on this site.
The packaging for the Patent Finish Color looks suspiciously like the ones from ellis faas. I didn’t enjoy using them at all despite loving the colour so I’m not sure if it’s going to be the same deal with the TF ones. In anycase it’s not a product I’m interested in.

Dior Spring
I actually quite like the look of the quad Rose Garden #451
diorspring

They also have duo pencil with shadow on one end and a liner on the other. I’m sure something like this exists already but I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. It’s a good idea though!

RMK Spring
I’ve got my eyes on the Ingenious Powder Cheek blushes in Hot Red and Hot Pink:
rmkspring

Addiction blushes
Hard-to-get items. While I’m at it the eye shadows are worthy of a gander as well. Here’s the official site.

Empties Galore

Welp, been gone for six months. I’m sort of struggling with the blog and my relationship with makeup. I’m sure fellow readers of beauty blogs have come across similar posts elsewhere. I’m not quite at the point of shutting everything down quite yet. Despite the irregular posts and long absences I actually thing about blogging this and that a lot – I just don’t get round to doing it. In terms of my priorities at the moment, blogging isn’t really that high up. Beauty bloggers will know that blogging takes up a chunk of time and while I do enjoy it I don’t want to neglect my family either. Luckily my goal for the blog has never been for money/freebies and the like, honestly just want to share my opinions in hope that it might help someone out there 🙂 So I guess I just want to say that I will continue but do pardon for the lack of posts.

I’ll kick things off with an empties post. I’ve got loads of them, it’s been yonks since I’ve done a post after all. I must admit I’ve chucked a few things away without documenting them. Or rather I should say the photos and notes are gone when my phone got stolen earlier this year. Anyway here’s what I got:

2015-09-emp01

Starting from left to right:

SANA Super Quick Melty Gel Liner EX in 01 Black Chocolate – Made in Japan
Reviewed before, also used up another in the brown chocolate colour. This is the ‘Melty’ version, and I do find that it is more prone to smudging than the older version, their regular formula.
Repurchase? No, not the ‘melty’ ones.

KATE slim gel pencil in BK-1 (0.12g) – Made in Japan
I think this and SANA’s gel pencils share the same manufacturer. SANA is slightly cheaper than KATE IIRC. This is the regular SANA formula, and I bought this from KATE simply because I couldn’t find the SANA one.
Repurchase? Yesh.

Lancome Hypnose mascara in black (6.5ml) – Made in France
My first Lancome mascara and now I know why they are so popular. I remember liking the brush and formula, and that the results were good. However I wished the handle (also the lid) is shaped better – longer and without that odd ‘pinched’ end. I find it hard to hold and grip. In the same photo, the NARS tube is nicely designed (longer and grippy), more user friendly.
Repurchase? Of all higher-end mascaras Lancome’s are probably the most affordable. If there’s a nice set like they do often here (mascara with free eyeliner pencil + mini eye makeup remover) then I might be tempted. Otherwise I’m in no hurry to replace this. I’m repeating myself again here but only Japanese mascaras hold the curl on my straight droopy lashes. (more…)

MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus

vivaglammileycyrus

pic from MAC website

Never thought I’d pick this up because
1. Really not a fan of the spokesperson
2. It’s not really my kind of colour

Yet I still picked it up because
1. Admitted spokesperson has nothing to do with the product
2. I’m trying to broaden my lip colour palette
3. It’s for a good cause
4. I missed out the Viva Glam Cyndi and I ended up buying one on evilbay only to find out that it’s a fake. Don’t want that to happen again

MAC’s Viva Glam Miley Cyrus (henceforth referred to as VGMC) is an Amplified lipstick. I’m not well-versed in MAC’s formula and don’t think I have tried an Amplified before. In any case it is pigmented and creamy, comfortable to wear. The shade is a bright fuchsia (or hot pink, as it’s described on the site) that’s surprisingly easy to wear. I think no matter what skin tone, almost everybody can pull this shade off. If you’re like me and have always wanted to wear a bright fun lip, this is a good choice. When in doubt you can always blot to tone it down before you’re 100% comfortable.

I pulled the only other ‘crazy’ bright lippies I have at home to compare:

vgmc01

Bourjois Fuschia Graffiti, MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus, NARS Jardin des Plantes

As you can see they look nothing alike. VGMC is blue-based but it looks downright warm when swatched alongside the Bourjois:

vgmc04

The two thinner lines are NARS; Top thick line is Bourjois, then MAC

Bourjois ‘Fuchsia Graffiti’ (again, the first of the thick lines) is very bright and very blue. I’m still unsure of this one. There seems to be too much contrast once it’s on my lips, risks making me look sallow. Now that I have VGMC I think I’ll reach for that before I go with ‘Fuchsia Graffiti’. The Rouge Velvet formula is beautiful though!

NARS Jardin des Plantes is the darkest of the three. Funny how the two strokes look so different in the photo because of lighting/shadow. The first/top stroke is closest to how it looks in real life. On the lips it give a almost frosty looking finish. It feels lighter and less creamy than the other two formula, but not at all drying. It’s very pigmented and soft – I hardly have to apply pressure when drawing it on and it goes on opaque. If we look at all three together I’d classify the NARS as more of a magenta. This particular shade is a NARS stand-alone boutique/website exclusive.

All of these lipsticks leave a stain behind.

Here’s one last look, just Bourjois ‘Fuchsia Graffiti’ and VGMC:

vgm-05

I cropped to do away with the slightly fuzzy strokes. The lighting is not the same as the first photo either but I think this picture gives a better idea as to how bright VGMC is, and that it is still in the fuchsia family. The other photo seemed to have tamed that aspect down.

MAC lippies are now 19 euros (!) in France – when did the prices go up?? Last time I bought one it was 17.50 IIRC. Anyway, if you find a unique shade that you love I suppose I can recommend you to go for it. I’m not really fond of their chemical vanilla scent though. As for VGMC, I’m pretty sure it’s a dupe-able shade. I made an exception this time because it’s Viva Glam – so hey, I donated 19 euros to the AIDS Fund yay!

NARS Eyeshadow Duo – St. Paul de Vence

So I meant for this post to be up a week ago but got delayed because of the photos etc. Luckily though because when I first received my duo and played with it the first few days, both shades were sparkly, like there were micro-glitter. I doubled, tripled-checked in case I went bonkers because I don’t remember people mentioning the big sparkles. Now a week later, it *is* as though I went crazy cos those sparkles are mostly gone. So anyway. I decided to keep the pictures anyway (as proof I wasn’t nuts).

2015nars02

I’m sure you’ve all seen NARS’ campaign for Spring featuring Tilda Swinton as their spokesperson. This is the image that accompanies the colour story (nude) with the products below: 2015nars01

I was only interested in the duo. ‘Interested’ is putting it mildly actually. For some unknown reason I was obsessed with this duo (LE, btw). St Paul de Vence first debuted on the Rodarte show last year, it was used on the eyes (right side shade) and on the cheeks. You can find the product breakdowns and model pictures here and with this link (which is pretty much the same thing) you get to see a face chart with products laid out in front of it. My reasoning thus: something versatile (eyes AND cheeks, yay!), that I can use everyday (because nude). So I bought it sight unseen relying only on swatches (pretty meh at that time) and hoped for the best. NARS described the left shade as ‘shimmering nectarine’, the right ‘chestnut’.

Like most of NARS duo, there are two textures. Here the nectarine is a frost and the chestnut a satin. When applied on the eyes, the nectarine is less frosty than swatched. When worn as a blush however, I found that it slightly emphasized my pores. (more…)

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Eye Palette

[ETA you can find my post on the lipstick here]

Commemorating the 20th (!) anniversary of the film’s release, Urban Decay released 5 products to recreate the look of Mia Wallace. 1994 was a great year for film by the way, The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Ed Wood just to name a few. There was also Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – someone should do a collection with that!

You’ll find no shortage of posts on the Urban Decay x Pulp Fiction release on the internet. The 5 pieces are the eye palette, lipstick with coordinating lip pencil, a glitter liner and a nail polish. I’ve had my eyes on this palette since the first previews and it’s finally available here in Europe. Around the same time there was news of a new Naked Basics from UD but I decided to pick this up instead. Phyrra’s post here helped seal the deal.

ud-pf1

I won’t be swatching these but will instead direct you to Temptalia who as always have excellent and accurate ones along with dupes suggestions. I’ve been playing with and wearing this the last couple of days and can say that I really like it. The textures are easy to work with, colours are pigmented and they look beautiful together. The ‘get the look’ card suggests putting ‘Vengeance’ only at the outer corner but I since I have hooded Asian eyes I find that it’s more flattering on me if I put that along the lash line as well, blend that out and add more emphasis on the outer ‘v’.
‘Tyranny’ is between a raw and burnt sienna, and with my colouring I need to be careful to blend it out so I don’t risk looking slightly bruised. Otherwise a very strong palette from Urban Decay. The small brush isn’t totally rubbish either and the mirror is surprisingly useful – good size and very sturdy. I tend to ignore the mirrors inside eye palettes but this is an exception.

Here are some similar shades I found in my stash:

ud-pf2

Despite my best intentions the only item we are really interested in is the NARS palette on the bottom right.

Swatches! (more…)