Saturday, October 22, 2011

1-WEEK-TRIP TRAVEL ESSENTIALS: MAKE UP BRUSHES

These are my most basic make up brushes:


FOUNDATION/BLUSH/BRONZER BRUSH: I wouldn’t normally use one single brush for all 3 purposes, but having been lucky enough to discover the Bare Escentuals Feather Light brush, now I do when I’m on the go.
I actually never bought this brush intentionally, because it was only part of a set I found on sale at Sephora. I also didn’t use it for a good while, because at the time I would apply my foundation with a flat brush. I eventually took it out of the box one time to apply a cream blush, and I liked it so much that I immediately decided to upgrade it to my official foundation brush!
The bristles are soft and dense for an effortless airbrushed result with no streakiness issues.
And when I’m travelling this brush is also all I use with my Essence All Over Shimmer blush/bronzer, because a little leftover from it doesn’t bother me when I use it again for my foundation.

CONCEALER BRUSH: this is going to sound pretty unlikely for a make up brushes brand, but I just love how this 2,95 euro H&M Eyeshadow Brush works my concealer.
I first saw the Pixiwoo sisters (http://www.youtube.com/user/pixiwoo) use eyeshadow brushes - MAC 224 and Illamasqua Blending Brush - for their concealer, and even if I don’t own those brushes that’s what inspired me to give this H&M brush a chance, since I wasn’t really using it much for eyeshadow anyway.
And this was like finding the Holy Grail.
Before Pixiwoo – sounds like a make up era, instead of the B.C./A.C. of history I am going to use B.P.(Before Pixiwoo)/A.P.(After Pixiwoo) lol! - I used to apply concealer with the typical small flat stiff “concealer brush”. What else was I supposed to apply concealer with, right??! Now I even question why that is considered as the typical concealer brush.
I find that soft dense bristles like in all of the brushes mentioned are ideal for both the delicate area under the eyes and the uneven surface of blemishes, so THIS is what a concealer brush should be like.
THANK YOU SAMANTHA AND NICOLA!!!

EYESHADOW BRUSHES:
·      MAC 217 brush is another A.P.(After Pixiwoo) product. Seeing them – and many other make up artists/guru on You Tube - use this brush in pretty much every single one of their tutorials, really made me go get one at the first opportunity.
Now I too couldn’t think of doing my eye make up without it. It works wonders with both powder and cream eyeshadows, for blending the edges or applying a wash of colour for a quick smoky look.
I believe this is a unique must-have brush like no other. No7 has a similar brush, their Eyeshadow Blend and Contour brush, but being softer (but also less expensive, to be fair) than the MAC 217 it doesn’t serve all of the above mentioned purposes quite as well.

·      The H&M Smokey Eye Brush doesn’t really have anything that you can’t find in another brush, but it’s definitely what I reach for when I am travelling because being double-sided it’s 2 brushes in 1. This only costs 2,95 euro too, so it’s more than worth it.

I hope this was helpful too, I would love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1-WEEK-TRIP TRAVEL ESSENTIALS: MAKE UP PRODUCTS

These are my most basic travel essentials when I stay away for a week or less without any special plans for parties or nights out:


FACE
·      Foundation: 2 mini-size foundation samples – since one wouldn’t be enough anyway I take 2 in two different shades  so then I can mix them and adjust them to my skin tone
(I find that the samples sales assistants give you are very rarely in the right shade for you, so I always end up mixing a few together anyway! If the texture and finish of the foundations are completely wrong for your skin type, for example moisturizing and dewy with an oily skin, or mattifying with a very dry skin, that’s more difficult to fix, and in that case I just give the sample to a friend who can get a use out of it)

·      Concealer:  for me Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer works great both under the eyes and on blemishes, so I just take one product for both purposes

·      Blush/Bronzer: Essence Sun Club All Over Shimmer for Eyes, Face and Body is one of my favourite products EVER! I have it in the shade Blondes - 01 Ibiza Sun, while there’s also a darker shade for brunettes available. It looks very similar to the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick – PLUS THAT PINK STRIPE!! - at a fraction of the price (around 4 euro versus 38 dollars).
    It is super-pigmented that just a light touch of the brush will do, and I use it all over my cheeks.  Since I got it about 5 months ago, I have used it pretty much every day, and still barely dented it.
 And being so inexpensive for 11 grams it really is a wonder must-have product! LOVE IT!!


EYES
·      Mascara base: I know this might not sound like an essential, but since I first tried Helena Rubinstein 00 White, I can’t wear mascara alone anymore.  To me, there is no such thing as “too much mascara”. The “natural look” for lashes are bare lashes with no eye make up at all (since there is also no such thing as eye make up without mascara, right??!). When there’s mascara, it can only be full-on and dramatic.
I have also tried the Guerlain Supercils Base/Primer, but haven’t liked it as much. Does anybody have suggestions for other mascara bases?

·      Mascara: Dior makes great mascaras, and this mini Diorshow is perfect for travelling

·      Eyeshadows: the NYX Smokey Look Kit is pure genius! You can’t beat 9 eyeshadows + 2 lipglosses + A MIRROR! in a super cute cube smaller than the palm of a hand! It also contained a 2-sided mini sponge applicator for the eyeshadows and a 2-sided mini lip brush, but I took them out because being on the go they would only come in the way, and I would use other brushes anyway.
The eyeshadows aren’t the longest lasting unless a primer is applied first, but are well pigmented and blend very smoothly. And the price is only 11 dollars!

·      Eye pencil: black Pupa True Kohl 01, a product I’ve had since forever and never felt the need to look for another

·      Eyebrow gel:  there’s no need to spend a fortune on an eyebrow gel, so why look further than Kiko Eyebrow Designer?!

LIPS
·      Lipstick/Lipgloss: again, nothing other than the NYX Smokey Look Kit! The peachy shade is more opaque, while the rosy shade is sheerer, and they both give a very sweet looking touch to your lips.

I hope this was helpful to someone who is about to pack up and go on holiday! Or on a work trip! I always love reading other girls’ organization tips myself :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

FALL-WINTER 2011/2012: PLUM NAIL POLISHES

OPI Lincoln Park After dark, 2 coats, natural light

OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, a tribute to the city of Chicago, is one of the most popular and best selling shades of the brand. It is one of Kim Kardashian’s favourites – and let me add, a friend of mine’s favourite too!
When I first got it, I honestly had never heard about it before. I just handpicked it from millions of other bottles on the shelf, for the days that I would want to feel like a witch in disguise!
It is a blackened plum so dark that, from a distance, even the most eagle-eyed observer might mistake it for black. But isn’t distance known for altering the appearance of things anyway? So why would we be concerned about how distance specifically alters the perception of Lincoln Park After Dark??


And I am not sure this is what the OPI colour creators had in mind when they conceived this shade, but such a deep abyss purple just can’t stop reminding me of Ursula from The Little Mermaid!


Essie Carry On, 2 coats, natural light

Essie Carry On, another colour from their new Brand New Bag collection, is a deep burgundy on the black side too.
Compared to Lincoln Park After Dark is warmer and with a more red tone to it.
I couldn’t think of a more perfect shade for fall!

(8 OCTOBER) ETA: I thought it would be interesting to show how great Carry On lasted on my nails!
I am taking it off today just because I want to wear a different colour, but see, after 5 days of regular everyday activities it doesn't look much different than when I had just applied it!
Yes the shine has faded a little and, upon a very close look, the very edge of the nails has worn off a little, but overall I would call this intact.
Thank you Essie, beautiful shade and amazing performance!!

Essie Carry On after 5 days

If you would like to see my review of some nude nail polishes, please go to Nude nail polishes :-)

Thank you for taking the time to read!

Love
MJ

Friday, September 23, 2011

FALL-WINTER 2011/2012: NUDE NAIL POLISHES


OPI Samoan Sand, 3 coats, natural light

OPI Samoan Sand turns on instant chic in you.
It is a milky beige that does evoke the uncontaminated sand of a tropical beach. It is very sheer, so it needs 3 to 4 coats to appear on the nails like it is in the bottle. But it dries so incredibly fast that it’s really no bigger effort than applying the usual 2 coats.
It is not a new release, but it was all over the place at the New York Fashion Week last week. Lisa Eldridge lists it as an alternative to recreate the look in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jLTuizFjl8


OPI Sweet Heart, 2 coats, natural light

OPI Sweet Heart is the softest milky pink.
It makes your nails look effortlessly manicured and is a classic all year round every year. It is not totally opaque so you might want to add a 3rd coat if that’s the finish you’re going for. On me, it does show some streakiness issues on one nail that is more uneven itself.
This shade is often mentioned by Elle and Blair Fowler on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/AllThatGlitters21 and http://www.youtube.com/user/juicystar07) as one of their favourites.


Essie Lady Like, 2 coats, natural light

Essie Lady Like, 2 coats, with flash

Essie Lady Like, from their new Brand New Bag collection, is already one of my all-time favourites!
It is a very sophisticated dark dusty pink with a touch of lilac and taupe. To me it falls into the nude category, while being an intense colour at the same time.
In the natural light, it looks like a bright dusty pink, a lot brighter and pinker than it shows in the picture. Indoors with the flash, it appears to tend more towards the taupe.
I was also impressed by how shiny it is, it naturally looks as if you had applied a shine top coat on it.
Definitely a unique must have shade, and I would love to hear if somebody knows of similar colours from other brands!

If you would like to see my review of some plum nail polishes please go to Plum nail polishes :-)

Thank you for taking the time to read!

Love
MJ

Thursday, September 22, 2011

NEW FRAGRANCE: VERA WANG LOVESTRUCK




I would lie if I didn’t say that the first thing of Lovestruck by Vera Wang that caught my eye is the bottle.
And gorgeous Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl as the face of the print and video campaign too!

The bottle has a basic square shape, while the oversized cap is a pure piece of art: it is a bouquet of deep berry glass-like flowers (stylized peonies I think?) figuratively tied together by two tulle ribbons in the same colour, with the slight sheen typical of this fabric.
The perfume itself has a very light pink tint to it.
It is one of those things you want to put on your nightstand and it makes you happy just to look at them!




With the scent, it was also love at first smell.
Vera Wang describes it as “Feminine. Modern. Romantic.”, a “sparkling addictive” mix of “pink guava and mandarin”, “tuberose and lotus blossom”, “precious wood and sheer musk”.
I found it definitely floral, fresh and elegant at the same time, intense and still delicate. It lasted nicely on the skin too.

I was mesmerized by the bottle to the point that I thought that maybe I was only liking the scent so much because my eyes had ordered my nose to!
So I decided not to purchase it there and then, and wait to see if it was only a temporary lust.

But when I went back to the store after a week, I already knew beyond doubt: I wanted Leighton’s and her flowers’ perfume to be my perfume too!

And that must have been my lucky day: the sales assistant told me that this fragrance came with a free gift, and handed me this beautiful huge tote bag by Vera Wang!




The bag actually features Princess, another Vera Wang fragrance, but it couldn’t have been prettier and it totally made my day! Thank you!!

And how bad is it to be jumping all over the place with joy because all the other customers behind you are asking for Lovestruck and the tote bag, and the sales assistant tells them that THAT was the last they had in stock, and YOU are the one who got it??? ^_^

Have a beautiful day ladies :-D

Love
MJ

Monday, September 19, 2011

NEW TREND: MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICKS

Hello everybody, this is my first blog post :-)

I saw Lisa Eldridge use a newly launched creamy matte lipstick in one of her make up tutorials on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/lisaeldridgedotcom#p/u/5/J4wJeJIWs58), so I decided to give this new texture a try.

The products I got are Kiko Ultra Light Mat Lipstick in shades 03, the timeless blue based cherry red, 04, a burgundy red, and 05, a very sophisticated dusty mauve, and Collection 2000 Cream Puff in shade Cotton Candy, an intense pink.






The Kiko lipsticks (5 ml / 0,16 oz. – 7,50€, not sure about the UK price) have an extremely intense pigmentation but are also very dry. When I wear them, I have to dab some lipbalm on top of them from time to time to keep my lips feeling soft, which will not affect the colour intensity anyway. Once you apply them, they will not go anywhere unless you rub them off with an oil based make up remover!

The Collection 2000 Cream Puff (5 ml - £2,99) is more creamy. I would not call it exactly moisturizing like the packaging says, but it does feel velvety.  It will easily go away with just water.
I heard that NYX has creamy matte lipsticks very similar to the Collection 2000 ones, but I have not tried them.

I realized that only matte lip colours that are the same colour as or darker than my natural lips look good on me.
With shinier and glossier textures, I can wear a much wider range of colours, from beigy nudes and light pinks to burgundy and dark plum. But matte peachy nudes or matte baby pinks only make me look like the corpse bride...without the bride part!!

Has anybody else noticed the same effect on themselves or does anybody have some advice on how to pull off very light matte lip colours?

Thank you for taking the time to read and welcome me into the blog world :-)

Love
MJ