Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Beauty Newbies

Weather is still nicely summery even if it's getting closer to Autumn. I still felt like grabbing some autumn-like purchases: 

1. You have probably seen Rouge Bunny Rouge's latest Chronos palette on all the grande beautyblogs. Me too, so when my fave high-cover foundation of '14 (see here) was on sale, I added this palette for beauty's sake. 

2. I've already started sampling some new oils for when Autumn weather will appear. I've been reading plenty about YÜLI Skincare: SpiritBeautyLounge has a sampling service which makes it affordable to try out. 

3. Candles: How Autumn/Winter they are to me. I still picked out the tropically Gardenia based 'Je t'aime Jane' from Bella Freud's line. I mean, my blog is called 'Birkinbagbeauty' because I love Jane Birkin so I couldn't resist a candle in her homage.

4. Chanel quad in Poésie: The national beautystores have 25% off on eyeshadows and this L.E Chanel was finally in stock. It's described as a set of the most effortless neutrals by most beautyblogs: Probably dupable but still highly chanel and supereasy on undecided mornings of 'how to dress the eyes'.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Makeup Forever Artist Shadow in Crystalline Gray Beige ( D552)

*Makeup Forever's new color-shadows popped up at Sephora's website -> curiosity triggered*

There are so many new ones [210], and the Makeupartist in the video were raving about aalllll colours.
I picked one that looked rather like a neutral taupe online: Crystalline Gray Beige:
It's a shade with the promise of a Diamond lustre: Diamond people! I had Rihanna chanting in the back of my mind...'Shine bright lika a diamond...'

There are also eyeshadows in satin, matte, idirescent & Metallic. However, I thought it would be nice to see MUFE's translation of a diamond lustre.
The eyeshadows are sold in separate pans. You can either muster up your own palette, or buy the MUFE version of 2, 3 or more. There was a good deal for the palette version so I chose that option:
 The case is plastic, but the sturdy type in MUFE's signature sleekness. The pallets have magnet adherence so you can take out your pan whenever you want. This is handy for travellers and makeupartists or aspiring colourists who like to vary their colours on daily/weekly basis.

 Talking about the size of the pan: it's the same as Le Metier de Beaute eyeshadow pans:
That got me into comparing mode again. Hence, I also picked up my cheaper brand Makeup Artist palette in Undress Me too.

Ofcourse, those are baby pans compared to big-sized MUFE & LMDB, but the colour-family of one of them is quite similar: a mauve-ish silver Taupe.

This swatch is made in daylight/indirect sun, foundation base but no specific eye primer. The Le Metier de Beaute palette is Bauhaus in colour Graphite (review here). 
  • MUFE is the warmest of the 3: a reddish mauve base
  • Le Metier de Beaute has the best opacity
  • The diamond aspect of MUFE is slightly dissapointing: all 3 have similar lustre on skin
Verdict:
I have not been as enthousiastic about the eyeshadow as the makeupartists in the video. Honestly, I'm spoiled with Le Metier de Beaute and others, but I think that a budget eyeshadow like Makeup Artist wears just as well.
However, I think it's a wonderful neutral, office-appropriate sparkle that will cooperate well with Edward Bess eyeprimer. And I will add another shadow of MUFE's Artist collection in a different finish to complete the duo-palette.

Conclusion:
Usefully pretty, but not a musthave if you have similar hues.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

August's Empties

August has been a month of buying plenty newbies - finishing few = just 13 finished ups... 
1. Seacret Body scrub:
This scrub is from those Dead-sea companies that are in larger capitals around Europe: they stop people on the street by scrubbing their hands and coaching them inside their shop. I usually avoid them because their products are basically overpriced, but I caved for a scrub because it would do "miracles" on problem skin. It is a nice firm scrub on a mixed base of oil. Nice: yes; worth the price: nope, a DIY dead sea salt scrub would be less perfumed (only if you want to) and just as effective.

2. Kora Organics (by Miranda Kerr) facial spray
So I caved for the hype and Miranda's promise of 'skins as good as hers'. Yeh, I'm too old to believe but like Lourdes' water: you can always try. The spray smells a bit musty imo, some herbal component is quite present. I haven't seen any dramatic result using it. Verdict: overpriced & overhyped.

3. Givenchy Mr. Light concealer in Mr. Macaroon 
I love this concealer and I've been alternating Mr. Toast (3) & Mr. Macaroon (4) depending on my level of selftan. It's my 3rd tube and its one of the better undereye concealers out there. It covers without getting caky; it refects light without going discoball. Repurchase: Absolutely, though I bought Charlotte Tilbury because my colour was sold out (love hers too)

4. Kiss Me Heavy Rotation Long Volume Dynamic Mascara & Max Factor Wild Mega volume
Both were nice but neither I will repurchase. Kiss Me keeps the curl and thickens a bit, but has the tendency to clump as well. Max Factor needs a lot of primer to keep any curl or have a good effect.

5. Flormar Rotating Macara
Wow, so handy! A mascara that has a rotating brush that can go in both directions. I really liked the formula that was thin and never clogging. I'm keeping the brush to use with other mascaras until the battery runs out.

6. Merumaya Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel
A wonderful chemical peel that exfoliates skin without overstripping: think REN Glycolactic Renewal Mask only slightly more herbally fraganced. I was not a fan of her eyecream but this one is really nice & effective.

7. Zoya Nailpolish Savita & Essie Wicked
A case of 'bottles in sunlight' that changed the texture. I like both colours: Savita is a matte purple that looks velvety on and Essie Wicked it that blood dried classic hue.

8. Trevarno TCL cream
Organically harvested in the UK. Their products are delightfully affordable with some potent ingredients. TLC says it all: when skin is being oversensitive. It smells like a herbal garden. I love that it's a cream instead of a balm. It soothes, but not the complete miracle.

9. Collistar Selftan Face magic drops
This selftan does not need an introduction on my blog anymore because I adore it (review here). 

10. Konjac sponge
I got this one in a complete set from Lovelula. I have used it every now and then and it feels quite neutral and effective.

11. Weleda Iris daycream
This was also a gift with purchase and it's a big surprise: I love the thin, slightly neutral consistency that layers beautifully over serums. It smells like a light flower: Iris ofcourse. Repurchase: yes, as it's affordable, agrees well with my skin and is wonderful for summer.

12. African Botanics Marula oil Neroli infused 
I got this sample from my facialist in Amsterdam. I went there for a Marie Veronique Organics facial and was surprised that this hard-to-get brand was one of her working brands. It's a really thick oil and moisturizes quite heavily: I think I'd prefer it for winter.

13.  BioNike Defence XAge Serum
An Anti-age serum suitable for very sensitive skin. I bought it in Italy as part of a travelset. This serum would be ideal for long-distance flights: soothing, anti-ageing and moisturizing.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Kose Addiction cheekstick in Ibiza Sunset

Before summer I said "I'm not gonna..."

I was not going to buy another bronzing product...

However, summer came and I found myself reaching for my Givenchy Croisière Bronzer frequently. Being almost perfect, and the 'almost' made me curious for Addiction again.

It was also the launch of Charlotte Tilbury beachsticks in, so 'inspired', Ibiza themed names as well. I'd either wanted to buy her 'Ibiza' beachstick, or go for Addiction again. Addiction won by price, packaging, and I already know how I love the texture and handiness of it.

And I like sunsets....

I mentioned I had been fond about Givenchy Croisière Terre Exotique Poudre Bonne Mine Bronzer #2 Douce Croisière but I couldn't remember the full name...Tah, sorry about the dodginess but the names are killing of some beauty products. As if the beauty counters will give you a test that you can only buy it if you can remember the name, ánd pronounce it correctly.

Also, it might look like comparing apples with pears, but you might see the similarities in tone above.

[Ps:  ColourMeLoud has a nifty review and comparing swatches on Croisiere, if interested]

But let's talk about the differences first. 
I frequently discussed the handiness of Kose Addiction cheekstick in my earlier reviews (here, here, here). The fact that I repurchase these pricy babies also says something. Shortly,
  •  The packaging is sturdy without compromising on minimalistic beauty
  • They make one of the better hybrid cheek/lip & sometimes eye products
  • Travel friendly 
  • Also, oily skin friendly!!! 
I experienced this during smog-city skin-oiliness. I had to abandon most blush for looking 'dirty' on my skin (aka, shifting/ looking weird on confused pores). Addiction cheekstick in Rose Damask was the only one that agreed with my skin and makeup.

But let's look at the beauty of it:
These are age-friendly multiflecks! 
 ->
All that glitters so nicely when younger might have a different effect on 'maturing' skin. Addiction made this gorgeous formula that gives dimension to skin, without actually looking Ibiza-glitterbombed.

Swatches:
No flash, evening hour:
no flash, evening hour
 Here goes difference 1: Addiction is darker in tone. It also leans more to a neutral bronze whereas Givenchy Croisiere is a hint warmer.

Evening hour: Flash
 Now the similarity:
Glow factor: both Givenchy as Addiction bring out a subtle but gorgeous glow 

However, up close:

Addiction's multiflecks give the skin a higher glow compared to Givenchy's Croisiere.

Then I'll show you how both blend after being rested on skin for 2 minutes:
outersides blended (innersides unblended for colour ref)
Addiction Ibiza Sunset will blend like a dream without any tools! This is perfect for travelling: sometimes you do your makeup in poor light and later you find yourself being too heavily 'bronzed'. A bit of finger-blending will correct this. 

Givenchy Croisiere 2 needs planning: a good brush, good light, a good base. 

Verdict:
  • Addiction Ibiza Sunset is more neutral, hence better for cool/neutral skin
  • Addiction leans darker, however it blends into a lighter colour suitable for light to fair skin.
  • Addiction is more fool-proof
  • Givenchy has a gorgeous mirror & case (ok, had to sum up a positive)
  • Glad I still bought Addiction Ibiza sunset and I should have gotten it earlier
Conclusion: 
Love, love, love this cheekstick! 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Garden of Wisdom: natural skincare haul

I've hauled from an old favourite in skincare:
Garden of Wisdom is an artisian American webshop that has been selling simple but potent products for skin. They have a mixture of well balanced serums, cleansers, and all types of facial care. You can also purchase some raw ingredients to mix up your own, or to keep it to one simple but potent oil when dealing with oversensitive skin.

I have been a great fan of them around 2008 when I gotten into late 20s preventing-wrinkles stage. Well-known commercial brands were often too fraganced and too expensive: Garden of Wisdom singles out a couple of power ingredients in a uncomplicated blend that my skin tolerated and loved.

Since the organic skincare boom I've stopped buying from them for a while. Until I ran out of my favourite pimple buster: the Manuka Tea trea essential oil. Tea trea mixed with a dash of Manuka extract is even more potent and healing when pimples threaten to pop up.
Manuka tea trea essential oil, Wine Cabernet mask, Lightening serum, Yarrow healing facemist
I added some new serums and a wine mask to make my haul more interesting. How fun do do a Cabernet wine mask while taking care of your inner Cabernet needs as well?

Most of their skincare is available in dinky sample sizes. You can check them out over here: their site is artisan [read: a bit difficult to navigate] but even Makeupalley agrees there are some real gems out there. Ofcourse, I will keep you updated when I find a personal gem again.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Surf's Up Beachhair Texturizers

There is something about the fantasy & the reality version, and beach-hair is probably the best example out there. 

Or this version: note that I think the reality girl is incredibly pretty sans makeup and dreadlocky hair (her blog is here, she lives such a cool life)
Fantasy: after dipping in the ocean we will appear with lithe, slim legs, glossy lashes (our waterproof mascara works as a charm) and our wet hair will dry into a wavy substance that looks like it has been glistened by angels.

Reality: we actually don't wanna swim because it will mess up the no-makeup-makeup, when we still do (because the pretty girl over there could pull it off), we choke in some salt water - that comes out of our nose so the nose will look bloated. We avoided the jellyfish waiting to sting us, but we fall into the sand while doing so -> result, we look like a breadcrumbed fish. The waterproof mascara was not that waterproof -> zombie eyes & our hair will turn into a poor Bob Marley version and we need 40 minutes in the shower afterwards to [somewhat] make it comb-able.

But magazines tell us we will look like Doutzen on the left, IF we do the right things (buy too much stuff, lotsa time in the bathroom, etc etc)

And some products may help, and not take hours-n-hours-n-hours of effort:

So let's discuss the texturizers: 
a. Bumble & Bumble Pret-a-Powder dry shampoo:
All the glossy images around of beach hair...it supposed to be slightly matted. This powder does smell oceanic and gives it the right grip for the next step: waves

b. L'Oreal SuperDust
Reviewed here: similar as Bumble & Bumble but only with a more matte feeling. It's amazing for volume but I suggest looking at this tutorial for making it work (replace her 'Microdust' by 'Superdust' or your dusty volumiser of choice)

c. Batiste Dry shampoo:
THE original. I am choosy with dry shampoos and I think most of them, this included, makes the hair too white and are not suitable for everyone that does not have blonde roots (regrowth girls, brunettes, redheads, black hairs, that's about 98% of all women). But for texturizing reasons and the idea of the matte beachlook, I use this one.

d. Tony & Guy Sea-salt Retexturizing spray
I dislike most saltsprays but this one is actually reasonable. However, I use it in a hairspray kind of way (after curling hairs) because my own hair is as stick-straight as it could be and no salt will make it wavy.

e. Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray
Awesome for giving hair the plumped up feeling you get from normal beach-activities. You can pair it with other styling products (see above) or keep it on its own.

F. Unite Blowset lotion
This gel formulation is perfect for prepping moist hair before blowdrying, and it will give the right kind of hold when creating waves on straight hair.

As for waves, this one looks realistic and takes only a couple of minutes:
I really like Jenny's tutorials because she's quick and no-nonsense on these things: Just replace her 'recommended hairproducts' with the ones that you have.

And how do you like your summer-hair best?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Marc Jacobs Eyecon Palette 7 in Dreamer

Last week I showed you my latest palette, only as a teaser. Today I'm gonna swatch my Marc Jacobs Eyecon in Dreamer.

Marc Jacobs' Eyecon palettes have gotten some mixed reviews. The case was supposed to be not that luxe, the eyeshadows were not as good as ...[fill in a good name]...

I still bought this palette and basically for the gorgeous mix of sunset colours. There was also this mustard-y colour which was still golden enough not to mix with pickles or hotdogs...


But before swatching, I'll show you the pleasure of a new palette layout:



Now the joyous experience of feeling 'back to school' has passed a bit, let's check the content:

Earlier reviews told me that there would be a mirror, and no brush. I don't mind the absence of a eyeshadow brush, as I prefer my Suqqu or my Hakuhodo ones anyway. Often the brush with a palette is not that fancy, but there are exceptions, ofcourse.

As for the colours inside, MJ has the simplicity of the numbering system. So you can make up your own names like 'sizzling sunset', 'almost sex at the beach but he had BO' or 'I tripped over a coconut'  kind of names:

For your reading sake, I'll keep to Marc J.'s one to seven:


Swatches: shadow

This set of swatches has been photographed in sunlight:

 My base is Kose Addiction Dewy Glow Foundation in 2 Madeleine: it might be that it expired because I think it looks a bit pasty on my arm. In my earlier review (here) it looked a lot glowier.

Now I have to describe colours, which is not really my thing.
1. A slightly ashy vanilla with a micro-glow, not entirely matte
2. A neutral to slightly warm gold with a gorgeous lustre
3. This one is more glowy than on my photos: coconut & banana with a lovely glow. Perhaps my latest favourite highlighter colour now I have a bit of a faux-tan
4. A charcoal dark, also with microglow and not entirely matte
5. Peach with milk: it reminds me of Rouge Bunny Rouge Bashful Flamingo
6. Glowy peach, similar to D&G Quad Stromboli (the peach colour)
7. YES, mr Mustard is all I want him to be! So unlike my other mustardy colours. It's a burnished gold with a tiny hint of green. I think it lights up different in different kind of light: see the 2 different swatches.

Verdict:
  • the pigment in on the sheer to medium side. A good primer helps to make it vivid let it last for 9 hrs 
  • I personally love the colour blend and think they are so Summer-adequate
  • The charcoal dark is a bit off IMO. I think it would be too stark for shading with the softer other colours.
  •  The case is sturdy enough without being heavy. I'm sorry to contradict the other reviewers but a lot of so-called stronger cases will have their flaws too and Urban Decay is made from almost carton
  • So I think it's a pretty and sleek case so perfect for travelling/around and the 'pencil' protection case is another extra protection that looks elegant.
  • It's on the expensive side
 Conclusion:

 A palette can be a personal hit based on some personal preferences. Or, I'm a happy dreamer...so a husky-voiced tune to conclude: