My ultimate base coat so far. Over the years, I have gone through a huge number of base coats including OPI Nail Envy (I know it's a 'treatment' and not a base coat but what the hell, I've used it as a base for years), Sally Hansen's rather unsuccessful attempts at base coats, Jessica's various ones, Nails Inc., Seche, Barielle, Essie, etc. Chanel Protective Base Coat is the only base I have used that keeps the dark polishes chip-free for a week. I obsessively use Chanel's own Rouge Noir and other dark colours and the tiny chipping shows immediately the next day. Not with this one. It also protects the nails from drying out and staining far better than the others I have used so far. It is very expensive (£16 in UK) but considering the fantastic quality, the packaging, the brand and durability of the product, I think it is good value. After all, you pay for Chanel.
Amour is one of the reasons why I love Nars. This is a gorgeous satiny peach and looks gorgeous on fair to medium skin tones. I'd bought it at the same time as Orgasm but this became a firm favourite as it looks so much more natural and flush-of-blood-to-the-cheeks sort of blush. It is highly pigmented, so just a light touch with the brush is enough to pick up a good amount. The colour stays true on my combination skin and doesn't oxidize into a muddy colour or smudge. That would be one of those rare colours that I would repeat buy if I ever hit the pan, which is very unlikely given how little you need to use!
I love Deep Throat. I'm a total junkie when it comes to blushes and have a ridiculous number of them stashed up. It is definitely my favourite Nars blush along with Amour and one of my most favourite colours among all my blushes. I try to avoid any blushes with brown in it and mostly go for peaches, pinks and rosy colours. I have medium, warm skin with yellow undertone and I prefer DT over Orgasm as DT is more pronounced pink than Orgasm and has less shimmer. It looks much more natural and applies much smoother than Orgasm, gives a beautiful glow and doesn't smudge or oxidize. Seriously, I don't see the rage about Orgasm anymore once I started using DT. It is totally gorgeous on tanned skin. It is not as richly pigmented as Amour, Dolce Vita or Exhibit A, therefore you can build it up. I don't think I'll ever hit the pan on this one as I have a huge number of products but if I ever do with anything, it will be Deep Throat.
This has to be the best thing that happened to make-up in the last 10 years. Simply amazing. I love the very richly pigmented colors, the textures, the blending quality of each color and the durability. I can't imagine anyone not liking this palette or making a good use of it.
I bought this online after reading the reviews on MUA and as always, you were right! I thought it might be a cloying candy pink but there was 25% discount anyway and I bought it, ready to return it. No way! Definitely one of my favourite pinks ever and one of my favourite OPI polishes. This is a beautiful watermelon pink that captures the giddy spring-summer spirit. It comes out more pronounced, brighter and somehow pinker than the bottle. The consistency is creamy but I needed 3 coats to get a really solid coverage, yet it dried fairly quickly and evenly. I layered it over Jessica Reward base coat and topped it with Top Priority and Brilliance, also from Jessica and the result is smashing. I don't think I'll ever be able to finish the bottle as it is very big and I've a ridiculous number of polishes but I'd certainly repeat buy if I used this one up :)
Thanks to OPI, I started wearing really bright pink nail polishes for the first time ever instead of my classic safe bets of french and Rouge Noir. I love this hot pink. I also have Don't Know Beets Me which is another amazing hot pink, but THP is lighter and closer to a candy-pink. The quality is great and with a good top and base coat it lasts for at least 5-6 days.
This is the perfect, perfect deep pink. I am in the mood for applying very bright and out-there colours this spring and DKBM is my favourite pink so far. It applies darker than it looks on the bottle as with most OPI, the consistency is creamy and the application is flawless. I'm not a huge fan of the pro-wide brush with sheer colours but with creamy solid colours such as this, it is vital to ensure even application in two coats. Two coats over two coats of base gives a very smooth finish and perfect coverage. It looks smashing on the toes as well as fingers.
Moisturizers -Estee Lauder - Re-nutriv Re-creation Night Creme
serrabird 4/15/2010 7:14:00 AM
First up, I buy this über-expensive cream on eBay for a fraction of the price. My skin: mid 30s, many years of sun exposure in the Mediterranean, Mediterranean light-olive complexion, enlarged pores, slightly oily and a tendency to break out occasionally. I used almost every über-hyped, über-priced skincare under the sun, La Prairie, Chantecaille, Sisley, CDLM, Perricone, Elemis, etc etc... The last I was using was Perricone, which more or less ruined my skin in 4 weeks. I ended up with severely dehydrated, irritated, dull, unhappy skin that actually looked older. This is an astonishingly good product. I started with very unhappy skin, which literally transformed into healthy, young skin again in a matter of days. I also noticed that my skin, which lapped up copious amounts in the first weeks now requires less and less of it. I don't know how it does it but, I wake up with smooth, glowy skin. There is no justification of the price but it is absolutely worth the splurge if you can get a good deal on eBay. I stocked up on this and the day cream, which is also amazing.
I love, love Batiste! This is such a practical, useful, well-designed and cheap product that I go through it like deodorant. I blow-dry and straighten my hair and try to wash it every 3-4 days to give my hair and scalp a rest. Batiste is great for the last one or two days when the sides and top of my head can show a little greasiness. I started with the original but now moved on to Brunette version as it looks more discreet and is easier to remove. I shake the can really vigorously and apply it by lifting sections of hair away from my scalp, holding the can away from my hair and move the can sideways while spraying. Then I wait for about 10 seconds, massage the product into my hair, then brush it off with a natural bristle brush (I have Kent's half-moon one). It doesn't interfere with the other products on your hair (loads on my straightened curly hair) or the hairstyle and keeps the hair fresh until the next wash.
This, along with Rouge Noir is my favourite Chanel colour. It is a beautiful, vibrant, hot fuchsia and it looks great on both finger and toenails. I have pale olive skin with yellow undertones and the slight blue undertone in this polish really flatters the complexion. The consistency is creamy and you get an even coverage in the first coat. The colour really shows up in the second. I wear it over two layers of Jessica base coat and top it with Jessica Top Seal and Brilliance, followed by OPI Drip Dry. I found that Chanel polishes tend to shrink the next day under fast dry topcoats, so I try to avoid that by sealing the tip and under the nail. As with almost all Chanel polishes, this is a spot-on tone without cloying pinkness, yet very summery and cheery all the same.
My hair: Curly, lots and lots of it, medium length in a slanted bob, dark brown, normally very healthy but recently badly tortured with straightener and colour. I really ordered this just out of curiosity - so much hype, very expensive, rave MUA reviews. Well, 3 weeks in and I am hooked. This product helps my hair so much that it immediately became one of the 'desert island' things. √ I use Phytorhum shampoo and Kiehl's Olive Oil conditioner to wash. √ I apply a good dollop of Kerastase Ciment Thermique on towel-dried hair. Then I apply a generous amount of Moroccan Oil all over my hair. My hair just laps it up and it never feels greasy. I first air-dry completely, then blowdry and straighten my hair and I see that it protects my hair from the heat and keeps the style perfectly frizz-free and shiny until the next wash. I use my ghd every day to keep the shape and apply a very small amount of MO after that. Alternatively, I only put Ciment and Nectar Thermique on damp hair, blow dry and then apply Moroccan Oil before straightening. Either way works perfectly. Moroccan Oil is more silicones than actual Argan Oil, which is only a teeny weeny amount in the product. However the quality of the formulation makes it hands down the best silicone-based haircare I've ever used. About the packaging though, I think they could consider a precision nozzle or pump applicator rather than the ugly and unstable black screw-top. I really think it's over-priced and poorly packaged but what's inside is great. UPDATE 01/10/2010: I really went off using it on a regular basis. I realized it dries the hair and causes build-up. However, it is a great protective before colouring, both applied directly to the hair and added to the colour mix. I avoid using it otherwise, though.
Blush -MAC - Blush Ombre - Ripe Peach [DISCONTINUED]
serrabird 3/22/2010 9:30:00 PM
OK, I fell into the hype and bought this much sought-after much crazed-about blush...It is one of these things that I can see what all the rage is about: This is a perfect, perfect product. Just what I have been looking for in a natural-tone, peachy blush. I have been rarely this impressed by a makeup item, so much that I will hit the pan on this one. √ It is one of the most beautiful blush colours ever designed. The transition of peach to coral is exquisite. √ Use it with a 187 or a very soft & fluffy blusher brush. The tougher the hairs, the harder it will be to pick up the right combination of colours. √ Starting from the outer rim of the product, draw a big circle with your brush. This way, your brush will pick up the right amount of colour. √ It has a perfect, buildable texture so if you think the first application is too sheer, continue building up. √ It has a very subtle pearly sheen which looks gorgeous on the cheeks, not frosty, shimmery or glittery. √ It doesn't change colour during the day and become a muddy brown putty on your face. It stays put. √ I am NC25 with a light olive undertone, which makes it tricky to find the right peachy tone. It either turns orange or Heidi-on-the-mountains deep pink. RP is the perfect peach that just accentuates my natural flush on the cheeks. It doesn't compare it to Estee Lauder's Peach Nuance or whatever. I also have that blush which only looks similar but the colour applied on the skin has nothing to do with Ripe Peach. EL's PN has an odd pure yellow end which gives out a poor result on the cheeks. RP has a perfect balance of colours. I only wish MAC didn't make this a limited edition and pave the way for opportunists to bulk buy every store, every concession and toss it in eBay for 4 times the price...
My new favourite drugstore mascara. I bought the Ultra Care version for sensitive eyes just because I read that it contained almond oil (good for the lashes). I was expecting another sticky, non-existent, clumpy, under-performing drugstore mascara that would turn my lashes into pathetic spider legs. This is one of the best DS mascaras I have ever used. 1- It has a very well-designed small wand that is an actual brush, not one of the nano hair-comb stuff that I find very difficult for my very thick, long and curly lashes. It reaches every single lash in the innermost and outermost corners without smudging. 2- The actual volume is surprisingly good in a single coat. In two coats, my lashes are huge, soft and curled. It coats up very well without clumping and sticking lashes together. 3- It has the perfect soft matte black texture that so many cheap mascaras miss by miles. People think wet-looking brittle sticky lashes are desirable but in a good quality volume-building mascara, you look for the silky matte look. 4- No clumps I will not be paying +£35 for travel pack mascaras at airport duty-frees anymore and stick to my new-found cheap Bourjois. Next up, I'll try the other variations, the original and curling versions and review them as well. UPDATE: I tried the curling version and it is not as good as the Ultra Care one. The brush with the latter coats the lashes much better than the curling one. Took off one lippie.
Shampoo -Phyto - PHYTOLACTUM Gentle Shampoo with Almond Milk extract
serrabird 3/18/2010 8:05:00 AM
I have used several bottles of this shampoo over the years and I must say it shoots Kerastase and Philip B shampoos out of the water by miles. I returned to this former HG after my beloved Kiehls Olive Fruit Oil Shampoo stopped working for some reason and the uber-expensive Philip B. Russian Amber Shampoo did absolutely nothing for my heat-styled, curly, slightly damaged hair. This is an interesting product, it is very mild yet very effective. It used to come in a glass bottle, which I hated as one mistake an it is all over your shower and now it comes in an aluminum bottle, which I also hate as you can't see how much is left. However, the opaque milky consistency and the delicious bitter almond smell are still the same. As with all Phyto shampoos, you need to wash your hair twice: Once to remove the products and the 'environment', second for the ingredients to work into the hair. I massage my scalp and leave the second shampoo for about 2-3 minutes and then wash it. It leaves the hair really smooth, clean and hydrated.
Treatments -Phyto - Phytokarite Hair Treatment Mask With Shea Butter
serrabird 3/18/2010 7:41:00 AM
This saved my hair. I was recommended this product by my hairdresser for my blow-dried, ghd fried hair about two years ago. I had it sitting on my shelf for 2 years and never used it, until recently my hair became really ultra-dry, unmanageable and damaged thanks to two alcohol-based hair sprays called Liquifix/Liquicurl. I turned to this product as a last resort and it saved my hair. I found that the following method makes the product work: 1. After washing my hair with Phytolactum, I towel-dry my hair. 2. I comb my hair and split it into 6 sections and fix them with big clips: Two at the crown, one on each side and two at the back. 3. I apply the mask by WARMING quite generous amounts between my fingers. Working section by section, I comb the mask through 2-inch locks of hair with my fingers, then distribute it further with a comb. (When you rub and warm it between your fingers, the very thick mask turns creamy but it is still rather difficult to apply as it has the consistency of a sticky putty. It quickly dries your hair into a strange stiff helmet and reminds me those homemade masks with eggs in them.) 3. I comb my hair back or into a side split and wrap it with a WARM towel. 4. Leave it like that overnight. Despite the difficult application, it is easily washed out from the hair. When I wash it in the morning, my hair becomes amazingly shiny, soft, manageable and remains like that until the next wash. I have no problems with blowdrying or straightening. I must say this is a keeper and is really good for anyone with dry, frizzy and especially damaged hair.