Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy and Beautiful 2012

Wishing my readers and everyone a lovely NYE and a fantastic 2012


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Mid Weeklies

A post-Christmas sum up of Birkies midweek:


1. Time for some post-Christmas Zen: the cat approves....

2. The hot-air balloons and the idea of childhood memories

Just a bit random...


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas...

Birkie and Birkinbagbeauty wishes you a delightful Christmas:


Hope everyone has a lovely time with their loved ones, and have some excellent pressies to show of on their blog soon;P

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Coconut Hut Beauty haul: bit of Hawaiian-ness bodycare

Before I became a beautyblogger I was an avid visitor or makeupalley.com. The different boards lured me into various excellent brands and ways of pampering.

One of my favourites for a while was the bath and body board, and from that board I came to enjoy one of my favourite brands: Coconut Hut Beauty.



Made in Hawaii by Lena they radiated the idea of tropical paradise. I first ordered from them in 2006 or 2007 and, even though there were lots of new etailers, I returned to them for their lovely formulas.

I hadn't ordered from them for a couple of years, but I really felt like ordering something tropical in some kind of escapism against the winter. I really like the bloggers fave of the moment, Haus of Gloi, too, but their scents really have been too wintery for me and I just wanted some plain Hawaiian zest that I used to love.

So do I still like the products?

Yeh, absolutely. Let me introduce their Hawaiian Icing Whipped Sugar Scrub first:


I talked about scrub last week. Actually, about Rituals Hot Hammam scrub (here).

This is something entirely different. Uh, not so different that it isn't scrub but the effect is different.

On Coconuthutbeauty's site:

A Coconut Hut Best Seller and Lena's Favorite Scrub! A luscious blend of Organic Cane Sugar, Golden Brown Cane Sugar, Granulated Cane Sugar, skin nourishing Cocoa Butter, and precious oils of Coconut and Jojoba. This scrub is truly unique in texture[...]When applied this amazing sugar scrub turns into a creamy lotion, rinsing clean without any greasy residue.

Indeed, it looks like a Whipped Icing blend:

So it is a smaller grain scrub made from SUGAR which turns milky when applied to moist skin. It really is wonderful for parts of the body that need a bit of exfoliation, but not the large (and somewhat scary) grains of seasalt that is present in the Rituals Hammam scrub.

So yeh, it is just for what aim you decided to put it for. I like the salty grains of Rituals Hammam on the 'wobbly bits' and the rest can be pampered with the TLC scrub or Hawaiian icing.
The scent is delightful: I love how the lemon is zesty enough to remind me of a warmer climate but the ginger is still wonderful for feeling warm and that bit of spice. Such a delicious combination.

You can find more info on the scrub over here

Coconut Oil in Blood Orange (travel size)


 Something new I missed on the last couple of years: their 100% Coconut Oil in liquid form.

I picked their travel-size in 1 oz, which was still rather big and economic in use. 

Coconut everything has been really hyped lately, in beverages, cooking oils, ect. On the skin it is a real treat as well. I often use oils for nourishing my hair, but I really liked the thin-ness of this oil and the fact it rinsed out really good (unlike the pesky olive oil). 

My hair looked sleeker and less frizz-prone afterwards.

It was also a real treat on the skin and thin enough to keep you from being a greaseball but nourishing enough against winter cold and central heating.

Love and a repurchase too (more info and the product itself over here)

I also got a little freebie in the form of a Cocoa Cabana Whipped Body Souffle. Yummm, I love mango and Mango Madness really whisked me away into a tropical vacation (for a couple of seconds). Their formula of body cream is still really good.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Something Finished: Kérastase Age Premium, Antipodes Hosanna & Tom Ford body Oil

I'm always proud I empty a product. Sometimes I do that because it is really good, and sometimes it is just ok but I need to make some space in my beauty closet again.

Today I have hair, skin and body...

Starting off with Kérastase Age Premium Masque Substantif Rejuvenating Mask:
 

It was one of those moment nothing of the 10 products designed for taming hair at home worked for me. I rushed to a hairdresser and asked for the trusted staple and silicony tamer Kérastase Masquintense for thin hair.
The hairdresser lied to me that they took it out of their range (Kérastase, so why would they do that? I don't EVER think so but I played along because I needed a mask, I think they just didn't have it in stock) and offered me this as the alternative. OMG, never going to buy it from a direct hairdresser again because they charged me €35 instead of the €26.88 I would have to pay on feelunique.com.

Well, at least I got a lousy white lie included with it...

Is the mask as Substantif as it claims to be?



I like how there is a bit of pearly glow in the mask itself. But the white-lie hairdresser told me it was ok to put this stuff on a sensitive scalp: Ehm DON'T DO THAT. It is rather fraganced and my scalp didn't liked it.

For the rest, it is a true Kérastase mask that it slightly controls the problem with a large dose of silicone. I prefer their Masquintense, although that one is not really natural either. You know, for repairing I love to use natural/organic ranges, such as Rahua, but when the going gets tough and you need some temporary taming, Kérastase is your woman...ehm...hairmask.

Verdict: Not a repurchase but I would use it if I got it for free.

You can buy this one on feelunique.com (or find a honest hairdresser with normal prices)

Antipodes Hosanna Intense Hydrating Serum:


I have ventured on quite some Antipodes products before (read about it over here). They are organic and some of their products are really lovely and effective and that is what I appreciate about a product.

The Hosanna serum did what it said: it hydrated my skin without irritation.

Still, I have that particular age that need a bit more than hydrating, and I do not want to get stuck in applying 7 kinds of serums on my face to target every 'flaw' I have. Nor do I need to, these days, because there are some fabulous multitaskers. One of them is the Nude Advanced Cellular Renewal Serum which does quite some things, I only have to apply some extra moisture in the form of a daycream.

Still, good enough to finish it with other layering serums. I recon this is lovely for a younger face that only needs hydration, is sensitive and could benefit from a neutral, organic product. Or someone who really likes their skincare routine and loves layering. I know Japanese women are raised to use various types of skincare products so that would be ackward to skip on that ritual.

Verdict: I won't repurchase but if I would get it for free I would use it again ;D

Also available on feelunique or lovelula.com

Lastly, the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Body Oil

Can you remember my 'niche and snobby' haul in May of this year? Probably not (over here) but I purchased this expensive body oil because I really like Citrus based scents inspired on the Italian coast. Knowing Tom Ford is, besides of a sleek fashion designer, quite skilled on the field of fragance (and cosmetics) as well, I ventured on this oil.


I called it the 'too expensive body oil', but it has been lasting me for a long time afterall. I used this regularly (about once a week).

However, I didn't used it the conventional way, it was such a wonderful oil for bathing.

I really liked this for moisturizing in the bath, it's a thin oil but still oily to combat extra dryness. The scent is unisex, but I found it bordering on masculine. Perhaps too masculine for repurchase, but my boyfriend could use it as well. I would love to see more body-oils in his other fragances, such as the Black Orchid and the Havana Vanilla.

Verdict: same as the previous products, with an exception that I would shill some € for it if he launched this in a different scent.


I purchased mine on parfuma.com and I should order something from them again because they are brilliant in giving out samples you actually want.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Edward Bess Quad Royale in South of France: Some French Glowing

After reading some glowing reviews and seeing some glowing swatches from  beauty-blogger Sabina from thebeautylookbook I decided to buy my 3rd Edward Bess.

My first one was brilliant: I bought his eyeshadow in Intimate and it has been the perfect subtle shade.

My second purchase was the creamy foundation, but I was not too fond of it. One of the other beauty-blogger girls explained that Bess tested (and formulated) the products for himself, and looking at his perfect previously model-face I recon that he probably doesn't have too many flaws to cover, unlike yours truely...

Well, I liked his eyeshadows and I know foundations are so difficult to formulate for a larger public in mind, so I was really curious about the blush/highlighter hybrid. I always head straight towards hybrid blush/highligher/bronzer products, especially from Niche brands such as Edward Bess.

Not that I have a lack of it...teeeheee...

What I already like about it without seeing/swatching it, are the ingredients. There are some beneficial ingredients inside, such as cumcumber fruit extract, lemon peel extract and the soothing Calendula flower.


Ofcourse, it isn't a natural/organic brand, so it isn't all daisies etc inside (mineral oil) but still I like the fact that there is some soothing Calendula included.

The case is a smooth, black plastic with the Edward Bess initials in a sleek font printed in the middle:


It was so hard to make good pictures the last couple of days. I recon that sunny California where Sabrina lives is a lot better. And where does überswatcher KarlaSugar lives? She always has good light!

The palette itself has 4 colours, an standard-paletty brush and a mirror:


I will show the colours in the next order of numbers from top left to right, continuing to bottom left to right:


I couldn't capture all colours in one row, so I will show you some different ones:

1-4:


Skipped no 1: The different light shows the shimmer/somewhat metallic glow of the colours better:


All together in a row:


Conclusion:
I can see that this palette looks quite differently on cooler NW20 something skin than Sabrina's warmer skintone (Chanel Perfect lumiere beige 30). However, I like the way it gives me a somewhat mauvy glow in the mix.

The bronzer colour (no 3) has some rose/mauvy colour and is the most pigmented. In my opinion, this should have been the bigger size. I think this shade is quite unique and really fits me so I would buy a large size blush of that colour alone. It would suit as an eyecolour shade as well.

Knowing me, I am not too sure how the shimmer lights up in some light, but when I see it blended in the mix on the 3 different pictures, I can see no hint of obvious shimmer, just a light and lovely pink/mauvy based hue.

So is it a blush or a highlighter? I would say it is a hybrid I will put a little larger on my cheekbones with my blush slightly under it and somewhat blended together in the middle.

Overal, it is a beautiful product, I have lots of hybrid products but I like how it differs in the fact how it looks on me when having untanned skin. It looks really lovely on both warmer skintones (see Sabrina) and cooler skintones.

I purchased this on Zuneta.com.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Rituals Hammam Hot Scrub: mini-spa-ness...

For today I thought it would be good to look at a 'spa-at-home' product.

Most of us are in that pre-christmas haze that we do not have that much time (and money) to spend in a real spa, but still do not want to resemble a lizard in that dreadful moment we have to present ourselves in our christmas dresses (or perhaps a cute Tux like Bianca Jagger ;D).

Overal, the combination of the body-showing event and the midst of winter is not the best combination, so time to look at some scrubbies...

Rituals Hammam Hot Scrub: Ginger & Eucalyptus & sea salt

Rituals has been a Dutch brand around since approximately a decade, and it is that good (and well marketed I believe) that they have been branching out their products outside the country as well.

Their main cities are displayed on the shopping bag, but I have them seeing mentioned in the British Glossy magazines as well, so I know they are available in the UK.


I picked the Hammam warming scrub because I didn't have any scrub available at my home (mostly from etailers from the US) and they were the weekly deal: €10 instead of € 14,90.

But most importantly, I have been interested in the Hammam scrub for some time because it smells really good and is incredibly grainy and warming.

And the instructions on the back mention that is is aimed to relieve fatigue and to lift the mood...yep, I need that!


Rituals Hammam scrub: instructions in various languages.
The Ritual stores are quite inviting to try out their product. They have these luxury water basements and most of their line ready to use at the side. Afterwards, they have these fresh hand-towelettes to dry your hands in a luxurious style and the interior of their shops is quite luxe. Some Dutch train-stations have these Ritual shops and they are so wonderful for waiting commuters who like to scrub their hands and try out some things.

The scrub is quite large and contains a hefty dose of 250 gr or 8.8 oz. But don't be too fooled because that black lid on top is like a high hat and it is not filled to the brim of that black hat.




It's still bigger than my BELOVED CoconutHut Beauty scrub, but I picked their 4 oz size and they have a 8 oz size as well, but I like to vary scent-wise so I picked their smaller one (ooops, that is another review that is up in the making)

Back to the Rituals:

Their scrub is based on SEASALT, so beware of little wounds on the body-parts or you will feel a different feeling of 'invigoration'.

Their other two main ingredients: Ginger and Eucalyptus, are really strong and remind me of those old-fashion spa's or perhaps those cough-rubbing balms.

But it sure wakes you up for a moment.


The large grains are perfect for that last-minute cellulite blasting, although I know I will never blast all of it, but it is all in the effort and the mind that it somewhat looks a bit less ;D.

So this combination makes me feel clean and has a semi-spa-like experience.

It never goes really spa-like, unless you have a willing partner with good hands and patience who likes to perform the 'therapist'-role for you (that is a different kind of role-play, think of it, the kind of role-play women would prefer, teeeheee)

It doesn't really get warming as some of these warming-scrubs do, but the ginger/eucalyptus and invigorate scrubbing of the large grains get the blood flowing, so I do not have to complain that often (see post yesterday) about the cold.

Rituals has an online shop over here and the Hammam Scrub is over here  € 14,90

Oh, and for the people remembering the glorious 1990s, I wanna put up some other TLC (the fab girl-group) and their idea on scubs ;D


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Mid Weekly Quirkologies

Happy Wednesday...


1. Fragonista habits:

Being slightly cosmetic-addict I often switch from being addicted to different groups in the spectrum. Sometimes I get totally focussed upon nailpolish, and sometimes it's all about perfume.
Christmas approaching, I like to 'redress' my perfume 'clothes' differently than during the summer, so I veer towards warmer scents. But sometimes I do the complete opposite and take out a really fresh and summery scent for having that bit of summer memory.This cute bottle is from Themefragance and is simple but  good fragance-wise: somehow.

So approaching the hectic Xmas days it is all about keeping calm (and spraying on)

2. Approaching the official Winter

There hasn't been snow (yet), but the cold has already moved in, making me seek refuge to anything heat-generated when outside. Or packing up like i would venture in a Russian snowstorm & fidgeting with gloves when checking my mobile (too little gloves around that are actually mobile-handy).

This temporary cute fellow is one of the perks of winter and snow...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Lunasol Xmas Coffret 2011 part 2: eyeshadow quad EX01

Let's start with some sunday vanities with the last part of the review of the Lunasol Xmas Coffret 2011.

Probably the part most beauty people would be most interested about: the eyeshadow palette. The full name is the Kanebo Lunasol Three-dimensional eyes in EX01 Tender Glow Beige Brown. I already found my title long enough so I just put down the things I placed above ;D


Lunasol Three-dimensional eyes in EX01 Tender Glow Beige Brown (flash light camera)

Lunasol has been releasing different variety of their eyeshadow quads or quintets for a long time. They launched the octed one (that's 8, I had to look that one up too ;D)  this year. I hadn't been buying them yet, because my place is flouded with eyeshadow everything, but I was glad to receive it in this set.

Lunasol Three-dimensional eyes in EX01 Tender Glow Beige Brown: outdoor light no sun

So you get 8 colours with the latest release. Some of them are quite tiny, and the most useful ones/the ones you probably use the most of are full compact colours. I already reasoned that the tiny strips do not bother me at all, because I have to see the first time I will finish an eyeshadow in a normal size..

Lunasol Three-dimensional eyes in EX01 Tender Glow Beige Brown: Camera Flash
Swatch time: (feel free to click on the pictures for a better view)

Lunasol EX01 Tender Glow Beige Brown EX01: swatches -> lighter top row

The colours:
1 is a glittery colour with a hint of a cool-white base. To me, this is the most useless colour because I don't do glitter, unless it is on my nails during the holiday season (hello glitter nails right now). For women/girls who like a bit of glitter, it is quite a grown up glitter and perfect for that eye-opening effect in the middle of your eyelids or anywhere you like that bit of flash.

2 is a bit chalky white, but looks better when blended. It is not so visible in the picture, but this white has a pinkish undertone you can see in different lighting. Quite subtle and really fresh.

When I was younger I used to LOVE to put white eyeshadow and white eyeliner on, even though everyone else recommended the smokey eyes. There was this brilliant quad from Christian Dior composed of all kinds of white with different hues, green/pink/blue I used....so gorgeous (around 1996), they should relaunch that quad again. When younger you do not always go for obvious beauty (at least I didn't) but sometimes you want to look freshly different...the whites of the Dior quad were perfect for that.

Ahhh, makeup nostalgia

3 is another white with a slight purple undertone. It looks chalky but blends like a dream. Lunasol really pigmented this selection of quads but their blendability is still excellent.

4 is the perfect mushroom neutral that almost every makeupliking person would appreciate (and being familiar of). That's why this one is in the big formula.

Continuing with the browns:
.
Lunasol EX01 Tender Glow Beige Brown Swatches the darker bottom row


5 is a warmer hued brown with a dash of glitter...yeh, not too hyped about the glitter. I hope I can use this one. Still, a beautiful neutal in a big formula as well.

6 is a cooler, darker brown with a shimmery base and a hint of gold. Ohhh, so lovely.

7 is darker than 6 so perfect for the 3-dimensial effect and gradually creating a smokey-brown eye. It has that lovely golden sheen as well and the glitter is small enough for me to tolerate ;)

8 is a blackish brown that I will probably use as a sort of eyeliner or close to my lashbase. A bit more glitter than 7 and 8 but for an eyeliner I do not mind because it makes it more alive.

Overall, the pigmentation is stronger than their previous ranges but they still blend easily so you can make it as deep or sheer as you like.
 It is also the perfect neutral palette, colourwise. You cannot go wrong with a set of browns. The whites make it quirky enough to do something different (see  nostalgia story of mine) if you wear them alone. So I really like the versability of the palette.
My only gripe is the glitter. It could have toned down on the glitter, but it is made for an Asian market and most girls do like a bit of sparkle.

If you want to see the review I made on the rest of the set, click here and you can see the other items included in the set.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Mid Weeklies

Setting the midweeky quirkologies in the right spot for this week:


1. The Elephant

Somehow it has been about memory last week: remembering things. So the elephant is symbol to memory and I really liked the way this elephant has been photographed...Stunning.

2. The Birkin

"oh na na, what's my name?"
Clearly, I don't own one. So the Birkin-bag to me stand for somewhat impossible (for the moment) dreams and a bit of excessive luxury.
Even though I were to be able to afford one, I would simply think deep about it as to direct that kind of money to a bag instead of the other options of life (travel, education, your loved ones) sounds a bit excessive.
Still, they are the golden standard of luxury so it stands for girly dreams as well: it's the glass slipper of bags and to own one would be close to bag-perfection...

Monday, 5 December 2011

Review: Kose Addiction Dewy Glow foundation in 02 Madeleine

I like you to introduce my latest foundation acquisition from the Kose Addiction line:

Buying foundations online without any swatches available can be risky. The Addiction foundation had been launched for a short time, and reviews on Kose Addictions are not as widespread as, eg MAC or NARS. However, I had some faith in Addiction's quality as they have proven to be of high standard of the purchases in the past. 

Kose Addiction foundation and a freebie

When I read a positive review on porcelain beauty Drivel about Frivol I decided to take the plunge. I picked up a shade darker than her, because I have a darker colouring.

There are a limited amount of shades available, however, they are named in the foodie category with cookie-based names. The no 02 is called Madeleine (that's a French type of cake).

I always have NARS in mind when seeing the packaging of Addiction. That is not so strange because Ayako, the makeupartist behind the brand, used to work for NARS.


So I somewhat lack originality (compared to DrivelaboutFrivel's post) and want to compare the foundation with one of NARS top-selling and loved-among-beautybloggers foundation: the Sheer Glow Foundation. I could have compared to some other ones I have, such as the Chanel Vitalumiere, but I didn't want to do a 'compare' post, just a review next to the brand Ayako abandoned for his own brand.


Of seeing the bottle of Addiction: it looks similar of the Suqqu liquid foundation I saw online. I don't have that one so I cannot compare them. However, the bottle is made of a matte texture (NARS is shiny)  and is a longer/thinner shape.


Kose Addictin has a good dose of SPF 20 & PA++ in it. NARS seems to be without SPF protection.

It is made of a liquidy texture and a thinner formula, without any obvious shimmer/flecks/etc.


It is easy to blend and is a tiny bit pinker than my skintone. I actually enjoy this because it adds that bit of freshness to my skin.
Blended:

Somewhat luminous but not in any way shimmery. I find the foundation quite neutral: a My-Skin-but-Better foundation.

I still wanted to compare the Madeleine with NARS Santa Fe for colour-reference and luminosity factor.

(I have some scary goosebumbs going on...sorry about that)

I do think the picture above is a bit off, because the Addiction swatch looks darker than the NARS, which, in real life they are almost as light, NARS a tiny bit darker.

I have to agree with DrivelAboutFrivol for feeling weightless on my face. It is also scentless so it feels like I don't have any foundation on.

It is not as glowy as the NARS sheer foundation, but I actually prefer that--> It's a velvet luminence. glow looks good on cheeks, etc but not so much on the parts you like to keep toned down, such as my 'lovely' T-zone. The velvet-like texture of the Kose Addiction is better suited for that: and I can always apply the glowy by means of my highlighters/blush.

I actually like it's simplicity in the field of foundation. It is a thin-to-medium coverage that you can layer or take care of the 'imperfections' by means of concealer.

It did fade a bit after a couple of hours (6). I have that with lots of foundations so the durability is not particularly different.

A big downside that it is quite expensive, but a foundation is...you might guess...the foundation of your makeup. I rather spend a bit more on my foundation and save on my eyeshadow than the other way around. (but the truth is, I don't really save on either :P)

I purchased it on ichibankao.com.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Review: Kanebo Kate Gel Eyebrown in LB-1

On the quest of a pair of perfectly framed eyebrows I went for another purchase. This time I found a colour made for lighter brows in the Kanebo Kate line.

I haven't seen that many brands on the market that actually have made an eyebrow gel: lots of powders and pens, but a similar product as the eyeliner gels? I cannot really recall. That makes Kate quite innovative.


I think Kanebo Kate has this eyebrow gel in their line for quite some time. It's not a new release or so.

However, I never looked into it because I assumed most eyebrow products for the Asian market would target darker eyebrow hairs. I already find most Western, Caucasian-oriented brand to have colours that are a bit too dark already, so finding a lighter colour was a surprise. Later I realised that was a bit stupid of me, because there are quite some Asian girls who opt for lighter hair as well. Perhaps they bleach or lighten their brows too.

And even with lighter haired eyebrows, bleached or natural, you still want the gaps to be filled for a more stable and stronger looking eyebrow. A lighter colour to match your hairs might fit the bill. 

Instructions on the back:

Kate never dissapoints in packaging. Although a cheaper variety line of Kanebo, they look minimalistic with black packaging and thus more expensive than their cuter sister Lavshuca. Lavshuca is therefore more a kawaii brand and Kate more Kirei.


In this case, the eyebrow gel comes in a white matte pot and a glossy black lid.

It contains 2.5 gram of product:

The colour, when I open the lid, looks like a warmer, light brown or a creamy darkened honey.

This picture is made in artificial light:

This picture is made in direct sunlight:

The swatches are all made with the same eyebrow gel and with a slanted brush:


The middle one and the right one has the lightest application, making it look the lightest and warmest. The other ones had a thicker stroke.

So, it looks cooler and a bit darker when applied with a heavier hand.

The only gripe is that the eyebrow gel crumbles a bit after useage. Nothing bad, but I prefer when it stays creamy:


 Conclusion:

The colour might be a bit too warm for my eyebrows, but I am really picky when it comes to eyebrow colour and only seem to like the lightest Anastasia colour, because it is a cool, taupy colour.
However, I think this colour can really work for strawberry blondes, light blondes with warmer undertones, and lots of dyed Asian hair that often tends to get that warmer shade. It just depends of your colour of eyebrows.

The gel stays on the whole day. It is relatively easy to remove with eye-makeup remover or just some cleansing oil.

If I find the gel to be handier than a powder or a pen/pencil?
Ehm, it is just as much work working with a gel as with a powder, taking up the right amount on your slanted brush and applying it with lots of care and smaller strokes to make it seem like natural hairs. But eyebrows always take some work in order to make them look natural and powerful, either with drawing hairs with a pen/pencil or with a brush.

The price is affordable for $10.50 on adambeauty. They have two other colours, a BR1 colour and a BR3 colour. Also an eyebrow coat gel, which probably makes the brows look glossier or fixes them. There is also a brush sold separately for $3.50.