This shade does not suit my nc30 yellow undertones complexion, I felt there were unflattering cool undertones, although the MAC description shows something warmer.
Texture and finish: Thin and semi matte, so it feels like a stain (for the more pigmented shades at least). I have to wear some sort of balm under this as my lips feel dry after a short while. The scent is musky and reminds me of "old ladies", although it does not bleed into the mouth and leave a residue taste. I only need a few swipes of this on a lip brush to completely shade the lips, and the stain effect is somewhat buildable.
(these shades are reviewed in a somewhat best-suits me order.)
7 Notre Sienne is a rose/mauve red, which is like a MLBB shade for me.
8 Compliment Beige disappears on my lips if I don't use a concealer, essentially it IS my lip colour with a tad more pink (which is lost against the undertones of my natural lip colouring). If I use a concealer, such as Canmake, in the lighter shade, then this becomes a very nice flesh pink/nude for my complexion.
1 Mise a Mort is a brick red with blue/purple undertone (not the true fire engine classic red). I have never tried blue based lip products as I have yellow undertones and I always thought they would emphasise sallowness in the complexion. However, this is a very nice shade, somewhat bold but I can pull it off in the office. If the red were any sharper, then it would not suit a day look for medium-warm complexions.
4 Or Perle, perhaps it could be used as a "gloss" or finishing stain, however it is a defunct translucent pale gold shade that does not show up against any other shades either.
3 Pourpre Maure, a purple magenta shade - again another "cool" toned base which I normally would never use against my warm complexion. However, it works decently to create that whole vamp noir look without making one look like death. Normally, I'd go for brown reds for evenings looks, but this would be OK given if you use a foundation that really brightens the complexion.
6 Mauve de Swann. Pale purple mauve beige. Not a shade that suits my lip colouring, adds a pale touch. Suits very light lip colouring with cool fair complexions.
Overall, the 6 colour palette sampler was a great introduction to blue based tones that I would have otherwise never bothered experimenting with. I think SL offers some unique shades... considering I own 100+ lipsticks, I've yet to come across anything that looks as nice as Votre Sienne or Compliment Beige. However, there are many better formulations out there, with less inhibitive prices, and more readily available.
Misc Beauty Tools -Shu Uemura - Mini Eyelash Curler
miranets 1/5/2009 2:14:00 AM
I got the Shu full size curler because I thought it was the exact same shape as the mini curler - ie flat, no curve, relative to its wide a generous wide opening... However, this mini curler is a rather redundant too as precision curlers requires EDGE FREE structures. It fits my eye fine yes, but where ever I curl, next to the awkward sharp edge curls are crinkled wrong-directioned lashes.
In short, this does not fit my eye shape at all, at the most it could get a bit of the longer lashes in the middle of the lash line, other than that it pinches the sides if I try to press into the eye socket. This would be good for those who have the eyeshape that fit the curvature of the curler. Also the opening of the curler is so short, I prefer wider openings, just fits more comfortably. I use a 39mm wide Koji curler, or the Shiseido Maquillage curler, which have shallower curves, and it works much better.
Moisturizers -Chanel - Hydramax+ Active Moisture Cream [DISCONTINUED]
miranets 1/3/2009 5:41:00 PM
*edit* the price of $62USD mentioned below was what I recalled when I checked the official website a few days ago, but since then it seems to be at $70USD now.
I would never usually consider designer brand cosmetics, simply because I always felt they were more aesthetic than functional. However since I was sent a bunch of Chanel skincare samples with my last CP through a friend, and my skin was not particularly sensitive, I was very daring to stray from my comfortable routine.
Firstly the cons - jar container, scent (I don't care if it has notes of tropical fruits and rare flowers) I prefer my skincare to be scentless or very lightly scented. That is about it..
Price wise, this is not ridiculous, at only $62USD, I think it is fair, especially since it is a brand, and some of these skin barrier creams I use cost the same otherwise. Ingredients, very nice, none of this aesthetic filler junk like silicones and vaseline (which is too common sadly, in most "rich" creams). At least it does not contain colourants.
I have combo skin, with an oily t-zone, but otherwise generally dehydrated. I also get congestion quite easily since I have a rather impaired skin barrier. So it is a constant battle between clear skin and avoiding an over-insulted skin barrier.
I only use this at night, at most 3-4 times, less if I am using Azalex, then I skin for at least a day and use only Ceratopic. I use this with the Amore Pacific Hydrating System mist, and have only tried with the Hydramax moisture boost serum a few times (I don't care much for the serum as it irritates my skin due to the richness, and alcohol, and silicones..).
I use a very small amount, not out of frugality, but rather it is more than adequate to cover the whole face, whilst still keeping it matte and not over enriched. My skin looks dewy, although after several hours there is some shine, as it is evening I only blot. This cream is so light and absorbs very well. If I use it as a booster product, it does not cause congestion (provided I continue exfoliating etc to encourage skin turnover). I think this is nicer than Cellcosmet concentrated night cream, Cellcosmet feels to me more oil based, and takes a lot less usage to cause more side effects than benefits.
Mascara -Maybelline - XXL volume+length microfiber mascara
miranets 1/3/2009 5:30:00 PM
There is a reason why I'd never considered drugstore brands, they simply do not perform well. After playing around a lot with various (high end) mascaras and Shiseido base, I felt more confident to venture into drugstore brands - afterall there has been such a huge improvement in their brush applicators in the past few years, and all these fancy base + polymer film coat formulas. I borrowed this from a friend, at least I wasn't foolish enough to spend $ on this to try (actually drugstore brands like Maybelline, L'oreal, Cover Girl etc are NOT cheap in New Zealand - it can cost up to $30NZD for a mascara).
Firstly, the base weighed down my curl. Then, the actual mascara itself was very wet, although I didn't have major issues with application, apart from the one big clump that caught on the inner lash - I actually for the first time ever, had enough time to comb through the lashes while the mascara was still wet... and even back and forth between both eyes I still had time to comb a second round(!).
These things aside, I was surprised the brush, despite its large size, was decent for application. I had some smudging due to the wetness, but easily cleaned up with a cotton bud. After initial drying, there was mild flaking too. By then my curl had pretty much straightened.
This added moderate volume and length to my lashes, but it did not give it that nice "airy" look I can achieve with the likes of Helena Rubinstein Long Lash, even Kiss Me (with its crap applicator)
I don't have any intentions to give this a second go, it has nothing to do with technique. Perhaps someone with wide eyes and great lashes may find this slightly less disappointing.
Started with a sample sachet, which lasted about a dozen uses, yes... that many. I only used this in the evenings, after rinsing my face as clean as possible, therefore you require minimal cleansing products to remove traces of oil and makeup etc. I use about a pinky fingernail sized dot and lather.
After my overly sensitive skin settled, my aversion for foaming type cleansers has somewhat been conquered by this product. My skin does not feel taut or flake instantly upon drying. I like this very much however I think this product is only a pathway to better (cheaper) foaming cleansers out there. But at the rate I use, the full size bottle would certainly last years.
Does not irritate eyes, perhaps the scent could be less sharp and more elegant and mild.
Foundations -Giorgio Armani - Face Fabric Second Skin Nude Makeup
miranets 1/1/2009 5:30:00 PM
I tried this in #4. I am NC30, yellow undertones with some redness. Combo skin, oily t-zone. After getting a sample of this (which I was very excited for) somehow I didn't care so much to try it out until almost 3 months later. I know GA generally makes good shades with either beige neutral or some yellow undertones however #4, even though it is the right shade for my skin, the tone was still too beige/ruddy for my liking. I suppose even #3 would be a lighter version of this with some beige, bordering peach tones. This shade matches my facial skin perfectly, probably because it is so sheer. However, this match is only because my face is generally a shade darker than my neck, plus I do have redness which makes my skin look more beige.
I apply with the MAC foundation brush and it goes on very smoothly, and did not ball up on top of the OC8 moisturiser I use in my t-zone. There is a slight sheen which creates the so called glow, given my oily skin I could not simply wear this. I set with a rice/silk powder, and By Terry loose powder in Banane to add some yellow and brightening tones back to the skin.
I tried this on a humid rainy day, and I could feel this against my skin. There is some oil breakthrough in the tzone after 3 hours (which I'd not get if I use powder alone). I think this would be really good for a candlelight complexion for evenings, as the difference in tone between the face and neck is not obvious at all, plus any sheen or shine just comes off as a glow. Not something for everyday use...
My lashes: black, short, straight, point downwards, very fine (clumps easily). This stuff smells strongly, makes my eyes water slightly... Using on bare lashes, with curl, this stuff is just average, doesn't hold the curl, can't really build up without clumping even according to instructions to re coat while wet. It did not run or smudge though.
With Shiseido base and curl, it looks really nice, just an everyday natural look, no drama. Adds little length but some volume and darkens to a deep blue which is subtle and good for a day/office eye look. I do not like these traditional coil bristle combs, widely spaced and you have to shift back and forth horizontally to ensure good separation.
However, still looking for another blue mascara with better formula and applicator.
I got this about a year ago, in the duo kit that comes with a mini comb intended for bottom lashes (think Guerlain le 2 de Guerlain but not in a single tube). I never thought to use the regular sized tube as the brush is not what I prefer. Before I discovered Shiseido's mascara base, I felt this mascara (when applied with the smaller brush) did little to add volume or create or hold curl, it added some length but smudged a little at the end of the day.
Now I use this with the mascara base, still with the smaller brush, and it does a better job to darken the lashes. However, it tends to clump and create spidery lashes more easily, so the technique has to be fast and clean.
I think I would try the Kevin Aucion mascara, which is another tubing type, and there are just so many more better mascaras out there now, with better applicators. And not forgetting that Shiseido mascara base adds life to any mediocre mascara, so this is no way near holy grail for me.
Skincare - Face -Amore Pacific - Skin Energy - Hydrating Treatment Spray
miranets 1/1/2009 5:04:00 PM
I like this spray for its simple gentle ingredients, and while mentioning this to a friend, she had a full size bottle which I bought off her. Let's get the cons out of the way - price, it is $60 for 6oz, and it is not something that one can use "frugally", basically I spritz 4-5 times each use and within a weeks about 1/4 of the bottle is gone already. Another thing is the scent, it is very sharp, almost like some sort of cheap perfume. I can catch whiffs of it even after applying skincare products, several hours later...
Other than those things, it is such a gentle mist. The nozzle sprays very finely, you cannot even feel or see any moisture, but when you touch your skin you know its there - perhaps this is why I end up applying too many sprays. Even when my skin was very irritated (thinned out skin barrier and azalex... don't mix) I did not experience any sensations. My "hg" hydration mist had been Zenbiotic phyto but due to the dubious ingredients and the possibility that it is slightly alkaline, I no longer use it - even that spray did cause some sensations on my skin even when it was not irritated.
This spray adds some moisture to the skin, I can tell because the skin generally has more sheen. It compliments my products very well (either Ceratopic, or Chanel hydramax active cream). Once I finish the bottle I will see if my skin feels any different before I consider purchasing another bottle. At the current USD:NZD exchange rate, plus taxes, shipping etc.. it would be about $120NZD for something that if used twice daily lasts just over a month.. it eats into my self imposed skincare stipend a lot.
Mascara -Helena Rubinstein - Long Lash waterproof mascara
miranets 12/24/2008 5:48:00 PM
Previously I had taken Imju Fiberwig and Dior Iconic to be HGs for me, but they all had their minor unlikeable traits (Imju's bristle brush does not fit my eye shape, Dior, however long lasting, does smudge a little at the end of the day).
This mascara is excellent for a natural everyday look, but I never use mascara to achieve big dramatic lashes anyway, not my style for eye makeup. Firstly, the packaging is so chic, slim and dense like a fountain pen. Then the brush head itself is also metallic, as many have already noted. I have previously seen this style of wand in Japanese mascaras however I never thought they would be so great for precision application - at least for my eye shape anyway.
It must be the combination of the formula and brush head that makes this so great. I have short straight lashes which are also quite fine, which means clumps galore. I apply Shiseido The Makeup Mascara base first, to hold the curl, then one or two coats of this. The formula is fast drying, so no minor specks of smudging (like I get with Imju). Also as the brush head is small and precise, I can get this to go on my bottom lashes very well -- again no smudging or smearing OR clumping..! I do believe that once I've applied the base and mascara, my curl has drooped slightly, but perhaps that is to do with how long I hold the curl for.. another technique to work on.
I normally experience a sensation on my lash line-- not uncomfortable but a heaviness, with using Iconic and Fiberwig. I don't get that feeling at all with HR.
This lengthens my sparse and fine bottom lashes about 50%, although it does not add immense volume, which I don't want. As for the upper lashes, it can add about 30% more length, a bit more if I have the patience to reapply. I've never needed to use a fine lash comb with this mascara yet. I know this is impossible to get outside of Europe and therefore I'm looking at other alternatives, some Japanese drugstore brands also have screw-comb brush heads that have waterproof formulas.. perhaps I can find a replacement for this.
Lipstick -Yves Saint Laurent - Rouge Volupte Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick SPF 15
miranets 11/28/2008 6:34:00 PM
When I saw swatches for these babies I knew these were the most pigmented lipsticks I've seen in a long time. I tried one shade, and applied a dab, not even a swipe, just one dab each lip and pressed together. The texture is so silky and light, not like a gloss or stain and not substanced like a traditional lipstick. The lasting power is great, even on bare lips that tend to dry out without an emollient, this stayed on and on, and did not crinkle up or cause a white ring around the inner borders.
You know a lipstick colour is good when you get complemented by colleagues in an office environment where no body bothers (in a nice way) to point out your special attire or makeups. I've started with one shade, but unfortunately there is probably just another that I'd consider. The rest are either too light (beige makes me look like I've eaten too much salty food) or too dramatic. Perhaps a light warm pink, and the peach pink. Hmm..
The packaging on this is tiny! the size of an eyeball, for lack of a better comparison... The fan brush that is contained is of a shocking quality, sparse dried out bristles that shed.. For such a refined powder, how can a brush like that even pick up any product and apply it adequately?!
This is a light flesh pink shade and goes on translucent/transparent. It is very blah, I think oldies like Laura Mercier's secret brightening powder, or a good highlighter can do the trick.
update: january 09 - Increased rating to 4 stars. I am using an A-squirrel flat brush with the same type of white tough bristles, but it is smaller with a rounded head. After setting my makeup, I apply one or two layers of this stuff under the eyes, I have moderate dark circles and this while certainly offers no "coverage", it brightens the eye area naturally. I can't use concealers as they enhance skin texture.
Pressed Powders -Kevyn Aucoin - The Celestial Powder: Candlelight
miranets 11/28/2008 6:20:00 PM
I've been wanting to try this for a long time... I know each KA product is unique and innovative. This is excellent! I would think Nars Nico/Albatross combo and the Dior LE Luminizer are suitable "dupes" but are not as refined. Nars gives a very refined SHEEN, whereas Dior's Luminizer is a shimmer-evident SHEEN. Now I prefer glow and luminosity, much claimed not often achieved. The only other product which I'd recommend for ultra refined luminosity is the Paul & Joe pressed powder N although its lasting abilities are shocking.
Anyhow back to the review. This is a nice warm neutral beige with a hint of peach. I would normally be discouraged to use anything with a hint of pink hues, but this does not give me any issues. I have some redness in my skin, and I am warm yellow undertones, therefore pinks are a no-go.
The mill of this powder is very fine, I use an A-squirrel blusher contouring brush to pick up the powder. Its lasting abilities are good, naturally it wears and softens, over a 12+ hour day... I would be tempted to go heavy handed with this for evening looks, and just apply to contour points for the day.