Sunday, 12 June 2016

Back to Kate with Kanebo Kate Forming Edge Eyes in GD-1

Hiya Kate Kanebo, 
I've missed you...

I started Birkinbagbeauty with a strong interest in Asian Makeup. Through the years I have developed new interests like organic beauty and other. My love for a well-balanced eye-palette from Japanese crafship has never died... 

In current times when more is absolutely too much in makeup (My own opinion), where contouring has gone to slightly "Prisilla, Queen of the Desert" proportions, lips are plump and matte and eyes are never seen without falsies, I started to long for a fresh face with a cute bit of blush and a delightfully soft but sparkly eye.

That does not mean I compromise on quality: just look at the photo above and see that perfectly pressed state of eyeshadow-ness.

I picked the golden and warmer toned palette: There's something typically summery about a golden hue on the eyes.
For the subtle fun, some microshimmer:

I am both impressed of the soft and buttery quality. However, for becoming more and more spoiled with strong and vivid pigments, I do find this palette a tad sheer. The mixture of a slightly bronzy gold, nice neutral brown and a buttery cream makes it easier for me to go eyeshadow again.

The effect on eyes is similar as the promotion photo:

I'm glad to have reunited with Kanebo Kate again. Although we never left (think Mascara primer), I've gone too neutral on the eyes lately with just a bit of pencil. A small palette like this makes eyeshadow not intimidating, but a fun way of bringing the eyes into focus again....

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Captain Blankenship Mermaid Mane dry Shampoo: a festie-bestie, volumizer or shower-shy hairfriend

•*´¨`*•.¸¸. Power to the mermaids ¸¸.•*´¨`*•

Actually weird, as mermaid would have perennially wet and salted hair by the sea. But I'll spare you the mythical details and let's just think gorgeous, bouncy and lustrous hair.

I've been having a couple of dry-shampoos in the range of Bumble & Bumble, the delightful Klorane, Rene Furtherer and even a DIY blend of my own with arrowpowder and cacao. Still, this one has wowed me.

I normally am not the greatest fan of dry shampoos: they do help to extend the hair for a day of showering, but the effect is always a bit too matte or just an unglossy bit that seems to tangle a bit easier. 

how to use? Peanuts...
Also, I have been on a chemical-light diet for the hair...Haha, I haven't quit cold turkey as there are still some chemicals my hair needs every now and then: e.g. hairtoners etc. Once you started anything that goes beyond your natural hue of hair...

However, I'm trying to keep things more organic close to the scalp. And by trying this relatively newbie on the block I have found an excellent hair-mate.

What I like is how you can dose it: want a tad of sprinkles or want a big heap of powder. Also, it is handluggage friendly and perfectly to-be- decanted in smaller proportions. 

I need volume more in my life than ever. Reason: my hair has been a tad thinner since I tried another shot in hairextensions (I took them out in a jiffy...another story, boohoo, a sad one). Trying this dry shampoo on 3rd day hair made me realize I could get my old volume again. Normally, I prefer my hair after washing it, but this time I actually longed for the 3rd day, Mermaid boosted hairdo!

 So what's inside?

Easy peasy, nothing obtrusive. Although I am not exactly a fan of how the Rose Geranium and Palmarosa ended up smelling like, it is absolutely a soft blend and ends of neutral (to my nose) within a couple of minutes after application.

The powder is thin but not too powdery. I'm delighted to see that my darker roots don't get that dreaded 'dandruf' glow or that greyish overcast but stay their natural shade. As for the blonder hairs: it gives fantastic volume without too much tangles. Ack, my blond tangles easy anyway but this does not really aggravate it.

For Europeans, I found mine of a clip-in hairextension site Dirtylooks (here), I know, I never learn ;) but I've bought in to colour them up with pastel and fun colours like purple, turquoise etc. They have some other cute Indie brands in their beauty-department.

As for the question of whether one is too old for festivals, meet @baddiewinkle (instagram):

So true...

•*´¨`*•.¸¸. Now sprinkle on your mermaid dust and have a fab summer ¸¸.•*´¨`*•

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Empties February (& January)

The last two months have been in the line of winter survival. 

I don't know about you guys, but somewhat the fun in cosmetics gets out of it and everything is more about necessity. Shortly, I'm looking forward for a warm spring so my skin can behave normal again, and I can have fun with my cosmetic goodies again.

Again, I'll have quite some used-ups and hygienic bye-bye's to show...

I'm gonna start with two of my favourites:
  • The NIOD Copper Amino Insulate Serum 1.00 % has been that wonderfully blue liquid that smells so neutral and layers on like a calming liquid. You mix the 2 bottles up and store it in the fridge: how fresh is that? I saw an improve in the quality of my skin: repurchased already!
  • May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon has been a nicely soothing balm, but too expensive and not entirely healing on disturbed skin so I've been looking for alternatives (see here).
  • Alterna Caviar repair Fill & Fix treatment Mask is a staple, abeit a pricy one. It packs up proteins for damaged hairs which has an instant effect, but also improves hairs in the long run
  • Fountain The Monecule in Happiness: I already shared my like for Fountain's hyaluronacid infused liquid concoctions and I could use some more positive feelings last months.
  • Glonaturals Bodylotion: It smells like chemical coconut but it packs in a good amount of moisture into winterskin. I mixed it with pure oils like St. Johnsworth to get extra hydration.
  • OlivineLove + Roses hydrating mist: Lovely and so natural smelling rose water infusion.
  • Aromantic Camellia Seed Oil: Aka Japanese Tsusaki oil works wonders on hair and is lovely on skin as well
  • De Tuinen Prickly Seed Oil: Prickly seed oil is a powerhouse that often sells really expensive, think La Bella Figura's version. I loved this affordable version.
  • Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum: I order this in one of my Vitacost hauls and it moisturizes wonderfully without too much fragrance. As for anti-ageing? I'd prefer Pai.
  • Alterna Re-texturizing Protein Cream: This is such a favourite of mine! It smoothes in frizzies wonderfully and builds up hair in the long run.
  • Givenchy Eclat Matissime: This one is still full: it was not suitable for my sensitive skin.
  • Bliss FatGirlSlim has been a freebie in some box. I like it, but I'm a firm (pun intended) fan of my French line of anti-cellulite treatments (see a heap of mentions here). 
  • Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask was another freebie. I feel nostalgic for anything Mario Badescu as it reminds me of my 1st couple of online cosmetic purchases around 2000. Then again, it only adds some moisture so I would not repurchase.
  • Givenchy Acti'mine Wake up skin Base: another full tube I have to abandon as I am too oversensitive for it.
  • Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cells Scalp intensive Lotion is targetted for hairgrowth. I have not seen dramatic results but it might have helped.
  • Kinvaria 24hr Rosehip Face Serum was a serum I bought on a rave review being best thing ever for sensitive skin. Another case of not liking the fragance: household cleaning stuff. Blerg.
  •  Cinema Secret makes some awesome makeup for professional use. Their concealer palette has been fab for covering imperfections, but I have this palette for many years so bye bye!
  • Fasio Eyebrow Gel has been perfect for colouring the hairs of my eyebrow when they lightened in the sun. 
  • Jadilla J BB Concealer still originates from my Gmarket Haul days. Funnily, now everyone seems to go K-beauty I find it soo 2008! The colour is too light for me these days but coverage was wonderful.
  • Another hygiene/older concealer I had to bin is Models Prefer concealer duo. Somewhat it did not blend wonderfully either (green and a beigy colour) so I haven't used it much.
  • This Le Metier the Beaute eyebrow pencil in blonde has been a perfect colour, but the pigment-hold was not spectacular on skin. Now it dried out...
  • Clarins Eclat Minute...yes, fab coverage for under eyes but hygiene disposal again.

  • Tigi BedHead After Party is one of those raved about haircreams that make your blowdry last beautifully. I liked it but prefer my organics and Alterna ranges over this one.
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing cream is another staple. Must-have for me.
  • Trevarno Eye cream smelled like herbs gone wild...Also, a bit too thick for eyes.
  • Nails Inc make some fab 3free nailpolishes that last and look superb. I loved this neutral pink.
  • NVey Eco compact foundation was the most unblendable foundation ever. No likey.
  •  I already discussed my Herbivore Lapis oil over here and I liked it a lot. 

  • WLL3People Expressionist bio Extreme Mascara is one of the mascaras the natural bloggers rave about. Nice, but they have not reached similar hold/volume over the chemical mascaras.
  • Bourjois Rouge Velvet in Fuschia has a gorgeous hold and superb matte appearance before this matte-lip thingy has been going on. 
  • Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer Lipgloss in Love Drunk has been a sample I have been scraping the last bit out. Perfect mauvy shimmer! Adore...
  • Another Marc Jacobs winner has been his O!Mega Lash Volumizing Mascara I bought in Marseille, France. I would like to try his newer version but the reviews have been mixed.
  • Benefit Tinted Primer Hey, They're Real does not live up to my beloved Kate Kanebo version (here).
  • Oh, and the tiny oil on the left has been Kiss the Moon Midnight oil. Soo, gorgeous...on par with my new fascination with Herbivore oils.

  • Grow Gorgeous End split ends Leave in Serum in from that Deciem line again. Ok, me and my sensitive nose but this is sooo masculine and overpowering I cannot use it.
  • Arcona Chamomile balm smells amazingly soft, but it also brings in a good amount of soothing softness on par with May Lindstrom the Blue Cocoon, for a fraction the price: staple!
  • Wella Colour Fresh in Silver 10/81 has been a end-of-holiday toner for my then blonde hair. This one tones gorgeously and only needs one bottle without mixing. More about it soon.
  • Another case of the ageing makeup product: My gorgeous YSL palette...awww...
  • Another staple is my Collistar Face Magic Drops for self-tan. Although I don't use it in winter, I use it to match my face to my body on beachy holidays.
  I have been using up a lot of staples that are suitable to calm my oversensitive skin during the winter period. I have also ventured on some new products which has been a mixed bag of winners and not-so-successful for me. And I have been able to let go of some expensive brands that will not work for me (aww Givenchy)...
So for next month I hope to cleaned out my makeup-drawer a bit more, and be as diligent as ever to finish up products that I like : )

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

New Oils: Herbivore Orchid & Lapis

Spring is lurking but winter is still there: let's test some oils again.

Since I've been running out of the very expensive May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon, I wanted to find a nighttime treatment that would add the soothing proprieties of Blue Tansy. I liked Blue Cocoon, but somehow I am not the greatest fan of balms, even if they liquidify into a soft oil when warmed. 

I found Herbivore Oil Balancing Lapis face oil with blue tansy on Sephora, but found out that their Etsy shop had samples. I have found most facial oils too heavy on my face lately; a tester would be better before the full splurge.

And how to resist the Orchid Youth Preserving Facial Oil? I mean, the terminology on 'age-battling' has become a lot more creative and friendly lately. 

So two oils. The difference between the Lapis (above) and the Orchid (beneath) is clearly in colour.

 Let's take a look at my 1st choice: the Herbivore Lapis Oil Balancing oil:

It is such a relief to see the blue Tansy represented in the oil: that gorgeous aqua blue hue. I do not exactly need an oil that targets for balanced skin, anyway, blue tansy does so much more than oil regulating. It is a potent anti-inflammatory oil which benefits both restless acne skin as my older, sensitive-prone complexion.

The Jasmine Sambac smells amazing in a soft, soothing manner. Nothing too cloying for a sensitive nose. I am also delighted about the lightness or dry feel of the oil: It feels so light and still moisturizes plently. I had experimented with a couple of older favourites this winter that felt too heavy on me. Hence, I skipped the face-oils for a while and my dryer skin was the result of this. This is one of the first oils I can feel it bringing the right amount of moisture to me again!

Herbivore Orchid Youth Preserving Oil

This oil has the familiar hue of lighter yellow that is recognizable. It also feels like a light oil, though it is a tad thicker than the Lapis version. I am deeply in love with the blend of Orchid with the Jasmine, scentsational!

Camillia flower oil is one of my favourite oils around. A good version is also expensive and not so easy to find in the West. The addition of Squalane gives this oil enough lightness for me to tolerate.

And I really like the roller-ball that comes with the travel size: you can have the benefits of a micro-massage and the delightful-ness of the ingredients.

Right now, I feel I wake up glowier with the Orchid Youth Preserving oil than with the Lapis Oil Regulating one. Both oils feel like they calm down my flaky bits. I have only used both a couple of times so I think I will have to continue a while with one version before I can bring out a good, rounded review. Also, I might like the richer Orchid for this time of year and will probably enjoy the lighter Lapis one when the weather becomes warmer. 

Overall, I feel glad to have found not only one, but two oils that feel like a delicate treat on my skin (instead of a nuisance). I think I will purchase the larger bottle of the Orchid Youth Preserving oil soon, and during spring I might purchase the Lapis Oil Regulating one.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Three Wonderlust Wave Cheeky Chic Blush in 5 Feeling the Flow

I got myself a new blushie!

Oh, it had been a while since I had gone cheeky and I had kept it fairly affordable. Since I've been hearing such raves about Three Cosmetics, I was absolutely all about trying out their newest range: Cheeky Chic blush:

I went for their darkest colours in the most pretty wine-infused rose colour: 05 Feeling the Flow.

For their spring line they picked a Wanderlust Wave theme and they had this refreshingly Cool girl theme. 

The semi-spiritual names of the blushes are a bit see-through, but I still loved it enough to cave in my first Three blush buy! 

Three Cosmetics has a minimalistic approach to their packaging:

It is probably the antidote of Jill Stuart princesy and shimmery exterior. But it is also a bit bleak compared to other minimalist Addiction by Kose. Addiction has a microflecked black case and looks slightly more glam.
So yeh, I was slightly underwhelmed by the dark grey plastic case. But I was more curious about Three's inside so let's go on.

At first glance, it looks like a matte burnished deep rose that could also been mistaken as a light wine colour:

When looking closer, you can see tiny microshimmers in the pan:

So now it was the brush-test. How would the pigment 'grab' on the brush?

 I used a Rae Morris Mini Kabuki: it is not the softest out there (thinking Chikuhodo Z series) but it is also not your scratchy brush. I just wanted the pigment to behave with a mid-quality type of brush instead of 'being spoiled' with the best one out there.

I had to swirl around a couple of times to get even pigmentation on the brush. I first thought it would be my technique. And, perhaps visible, it lacks some blush at some spots.

Swatches (post-holiday skin and yes, I tanned a bit so it's probably NC 35):

Top: 1 application |  bottom: 2 applications

First, I love the colour and how it looks on NC 35 skin. I recon it would look fab on lighter skins, giving it a snow-white or icy wind effect.

The microshimmer is just right from keeping the blush fall too flat. It is still, in my opinion, more of a matte blush.

I am underwhelmed by the way it blended on my skin. I tried it with makeup under it first, but I could not seem to blend in well. I am spoiled with Surratt Artistique blush (see here) and some other fab high and mid-end versions, but hey! 

I'm supposed to buy one of the top-league blushes out there (review here, here & here). Which makes me wonder, this is a new formula: did it change from the older Color Veils one?

Perhaps I gotten a dud, however, I'm not sure how the people who raved about their earlier Color Veils are going to feel about this. I never tried the old one so I cannot compare.

In general, I still love how this colour is different from the rest of my blush-wardrobe. It is a perfect shade if you want your cheeks to pop a bit more and I am all about cooler hues these days. It does take some work to blend and that is not the type of work I expect from that pricerange. 

So as I said, underwhelmed...

Sunday, 3 January 2016

The 2016 Resolutions edition: #BUDGETIZE (somewhat) with Phyto Phytokeratine Extreme Mask

Resolutions often have something to do with #budgetizing or spending less on luxury goods. 

 Oh, and so we like love the little me time when you can pamper with gorgeously scented products that make you glow like nothing else? I mean, there is often the new diet or that epic new workout schedule: can't we get some pampering as a reward?

I found this little new hairgem that not only peforms at that ridiculously Philip B Russian Amber Conditioning cream; it even smells like it!

Phyto Phytokeratine Extreme has been an upgrade or a version on speed from their already well-performing Phytokeratine line. And lets add the wonderful golden packaging...

 -the outside-

When opening the can, there is a pastlike substance that looks like a golden yellow. This is similar as the Philip B. one.

The formula of the mask is quite past-like. Thicker masks are often more concentrated, and they are handy for handluggage air travel.

-the inside-
 I have been so generous to highlight the ingredients that I find beneficial to hair-care.

Phyto Phytokeratine Extreme Mask ingredients:
Formule INCI:  paeonia officinalis flower extract (Peony flower), cetearyl alcohol (derived from coconut oil), isodecyl neopentanoate, dicetyldimonium chloride (dérivé de colza), stearyl alcohol (dérivé d'huile de coco), isodecyl, neopentanoate, dicetyldimonium chloride, aqua, pouteria sapota seed butter (beurre de sapotier), sipalmitoylhetyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate, mauritia flexuosa fruit ouil (buriti oil), isopropyl alcohol, ceteareth-33 (dérivé d'huile de coco), glyceryl stearate, parfum, ceteareth-20 (dérivé d'huile de coco), polyquaternium-10 (dérivé de celullose de bois), ricinomidopropyltrimonium methosulfate, adansonia digitata seed oil (baobab oil), panthenol (provitamine B5), hydrolyzed corn protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein (proteines from corn, soja, wheat), tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, citric acid, caprylyl glycol, tetrasodium edta, maltodextrine (pomme de terre), CI 75470/carmine, methylchloroisothiazoline, methylisothiazolinone.

Peony flower extract is also a prime ingredient in Klorane Peony Shampoo and is claimed to have anti-irritant, soothing and anti-radical properties. It is also often used in Chinese medicine. 
Sapote Butter has high lipid replenishing power and is infused with 2 times more omega 6 extract than shea butter.
I really like the pure version of buriti and baobab oil and I have used them for hair.
The hydrolized wheat proteins (glutenfree people beware) is claimed to "biomimetic properties that replicate natural keratin" so "it works very precisely to fill in the gaps and rebuild the initial architecture of hair".

Philip B. Russian Amber Conditioning Creme Ingredients: 
 Water/Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance/Parfum, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Benzyl Benzoate, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glycerin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Sodium Lactate, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, PCA, Ethylhexylglycerin, PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Glycine, Alanine, Myristic Acid, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Phytantriol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Polysorbate 20, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract/Chamomilla Recutita, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract/Rosmarinus Officinalis, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract/Salvia Officinalis, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract/Urtica Dioica, Styrax Benzoin Resin Oil, Benzaldehyde, Cinnamic Acid, Coniferyl Benzoate, Vanillin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil/Vitis Vinifera, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Salicylate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Coumarin, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Citronellol, Citronellol, Caramel, Bismuth Oxychloride/CI 77163, Yellow 5 /CI 19140

Philip B has a concoction of more expensive ingredients. Funnily, I could not find amber oil in this list, but that might be my lack of latin plantnames.

I find that Phyto Phytokeratine Extreme has more natural ingredients and the chemicals are limited to the ones that can be derived from plants. I also love the addition of soothing Peony flower extract. True, you will seldom use a conditioning mask close to the scalp as it weights down hair too much, but I really loved it in the shampoo version of Phytokeratine Extreme. 

Phyto Phytokeratine Extreme mask retails for €35.90 for 200ml over here. Philip B Russian Amber conditioning cream retails for a whopping $150 for 178 ml.


 I have been using the sample mask recently, but it really is a heavy duty performer. I love it on my dryer strands and it does feel silky, smooth, shiny and well-conditioned afterwards. For healthy stands I find it a bit too heavy: the hairs around my face felt limp for being oversaturised.
I cannot tell too much about the long-term results but I am happy to have found a rather natural alternative on adding keratine to my hair. I still depend on my pricey Alterna Fill & Fix mask for my protein fix, but that is an additional step in restoring my hair. Overal,  Phytokeratine Extreme Mask is a well-scented alternative and feels a lot like Philip B Creme conditioner.

Hence, for budgetizing on beauty there are a variety of options to find a good alternative for your (over)pricey treat.

Friday, 1 January 2016

The 2016 Resolutions edition: #WILLPOWER with Alexis Vogel Ganesh

Best wishes from Birkinbagbeauty

So now we had the celebration, now it is time to get into #resolution action.

 I first want to share something that could be seen as holistic. My Alexis Smart Ganesh formula:

People who read my blog know that I can be quite sceptical about products. However, I have had several of Alexis Smart formulas for different types of emotional states, and I believe they help... (see here & here).

In September last year I started a new study. Age-wise, I am not the most typical student so I had to overcome quite some things. On the other hand, staying at the same place in my life would not have been a good option either. I had been struggeling with so much sadness and a dash of failure before, that I really wanted to achieve something new...especially with my brains.

Things were not easy, starting...But after taking Alexis Smart WholeHearted I could cope with some sadness issues of mine. Afterwards, I felt my mind was ready to accomplish new things and to achieve my goals.

Enter: Ganesh
 I have been taking the drops for over a month, and I am mid-bottle now. In that time, I have been able to write four hefty essays of a high academic level in one week. (Yeh, blame our professors for giving the students such short notice...). In September, I could hardly write one Essay of 1000 words in two weeks, and in December I was able to write four.

Ofcourse, getting accustomed to University is not merely based on flower remedies. However, I feel that these drops give me a better hold of how to achieve my goals without letting my doubts get in the way. Ofcourse, doubts have a healthy element, as long as they are reasonable and able to negotiate upon.

Alexis Smart has various formulas based on Focus. On her website she has a guide of how to pick the best one for you. Otherwise, you can email her for a more personal advise.

The good thing is that Selfridges in Europe is selling them too. They have free shipping from £50 right now (normally £15) so that might be interesting for picking up some other goodies like this Suqqu Christmas set (on sale)
But I guess shopping more was not on your #resolution list?