Musings of a self-confessed beauty addict from the heart of Europe

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

YSL - Youth Liberator Foundation Review

Chickadees, it's been a while since I told you what to go out and buy (or avoid) so I thought I'd give you an excuse to go shopping (as if you all needed one...)

There are plenty of reviews on the net about this new offering from YSL, but I thought I'd give my tuppence worth anyhow.

I'll begin by saying that I've not liked YSL foundations or concealers before. I'd bought them and they've always turned out to be unusable. Surprise, surprise the products I'd previously tried are no longer available and YSL have manned-up and started to produce the goods.

Youth Liberator is a serum foundation. It is supposed to be one of the new hybrid foundation/skincare offerings which are now flooding the market. It's not enough that a foundation can instantly make the skin look better, but given time it apparently can improve the appearance of naked skin. YSL brought out their Forever Youth Liberator serum earlier this year (or was it last year??) and this foundation supplements the supposed effects of the serum (which I haven't tried).

YSL Youth Liberator Foundation

What's it supposed to do? Well, they say that it should give you a smoother, more even toned complexion and restore the skin's 'youthful brightness' (like 'young' people go about with light-bulbs in their heads, radiating that 'youthful glow' LOL). They recommend you also use the serum for increased effect, but I would take that with a pinch of salt...

Does it deliver? The jury is out on whether I've noticed any improvement in my skin tone since using this, but it certainly hasn't done it any harm either. To be honest, after applying my usual skincare arsenal I question how much of the anti-ageing ingredients are absorbed from a foundation sitting on top of it all. That said, the effect on the skin is just lovely. It gives the appearance of healthy, glowing skin whilst having quite a satin-matte finish. I have combination skin which gets a bit drier in winter and I think this foundation provides a pretty good balance for me in that respect. It's not drying at all, although I find I need to make sure my skin is nicely moisturised before using it. It tends to go more 'glowy' as the day wears on so if I'm out and about I find I need to use a bit of powder on the T-zone. In that respect I'm not sure it's the best foundation for very oily skins.

The coverage is medium. Because of the term 'serum foundation' it makes me think that it would have been a lighter almost tinted moisturiser type, but in fact it goes on like a regular liquid foundation and covers a fair bit. I reckon you could build it up to full coverage if you so desire, or just use a teensy amount if you wanted less. Fingers or a brush will work to apply it, although as much as I love using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, I think I actually prefer using my fingers for this one, just seems to blend the product into the skin more effectively.

The shade B30 is a perfect match for my pale olive skin, though there are sadly only 6 shades as of yet. Not ideal, but if you find a match then definitely try it out.

Price wise it comes in at £34 a bottle. Not the cheapest around, but not the most expensive either. My other most-used foundation, Lancome Teint Miracle is £27.50. I have not yet decided which one I like better. Watch this space....

So, if you are in the market for a new foundation, one which would be suitable for night or day, with good coverage and a nice naturally radiant finish, I don't think you could go wrong with this one.

Plus, would you look at the packaging? Go on, look at it. like a bottle of some divine elixir which will make your dreams come true... Do you need another excuse?



Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Better kisses!

AKA, the ultimate cure for dry, cracked, flaky lips!

Ladies and (minority) gentlemen, I present to you...

DOUBLE BALMINGTM

This revolutionary method of caring for your lips is brought to you exclusively by yours truly and I've taken the liberty of trademarking it here, though legally I'm not sure where I stand on trademarking a process which essentially involves using two lip balms one after another. 

So here's the thing... Lips get dry, they crack in winter and get all flaky and shrivelled up. My lips have always been like this, also in the summer. So my little discovery has literally changed my life as I have not suffered from dry lips EVER SINCE. No exaggerations. I'm now very proud of my pout. 



Here's the lowdown. You need TWO lipbalms. 

  1. The first lip-balm should be  a drier waxy type, preferably based on natural ingredients. Basically anything that you need to massage on to the lips. These balms are usually found in pots. The best in my opinion is the Nuxe Reve de Miel (click here for my review)
  2. The second balm needs to be a balm/lip-gloss hybrid. A thick almost gloopy gloss, one that comes in a tube rather than a stick. My one is Eve's Kiss by Rituals




The process: Massage the drier, waxy balm into your lips. Massage well, making sure that your lips are saturated. Then apply the gloss balm on top, massage a little if you want to spread it out but it must sit on top and not be rubbed entirely into the other balm.

Do this at night and you will wake up with gloriously smooth plumped and moisturised lips. Do it in the morning before you put your make-up on and your lips will be luscious for the whole day. Do it during the day too and you'll give Angelina Jolie a run for her money.

Of course you all have lives and double balmingTM (lol) shouldn't get in the way of that, but I can assure you that just doing it an night is usually enough. If you're not well or if you're lips are in a more urgent state of flakiness, I urge you to double balm as much as you can. You WILL thank me.

If you're out and about just take any old lip balm with you to top up, you don't have to use the combo. I will say, however, that supermarket cheapies and petrolatum based sticks are NOT the best thing. Better off looking for something with beeswax, honey, shea.... something natural. Mineral oil gives 'slip' but it doesn't moisturise. Nice natural options include the shea based lip balms by L'Occitane, Burt's Bees honey based lip balms and Nuxe Reve de Miel in stick form (though this is not as effective as the pot form). If you can afford By Terry Baume de Rose (£35!!!) then go for it. 

The results are worth it, and I can't wait to hear from you if you try it. I've finally been able to use all the amazing lipsticks and glosses I have, everything looks 100% on a smoother, plumped up canvas. 

Pucker up, people, this is your lipstick renaissance! 

 

 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Lipstick speaks!

Despite not having written here for a couple of months, and having an enormous back-load of current beauty stuff to update you on, I couldn't help turning to my beauty nostalgia roots once more and delving back to the nineties and early noughties. Believe it or not, this blog started out to be a collection of memories and chats about make-up, beauty and life and a vehicle for me to tell my stories. Product reviews and advice posts came about as a natural evolution and catering to demand. I like creating those kind of posts too, but much more than that I like to write... and I like to remember.

So, the other day I went to mum's to pick up a couple of bits I'd left there and I finally brought home a make-up roll full of stuff I hadn't decided what to do with. Most of it very out of date and probably harbouring a few new life forms, but I didn't want to carelessly through stuff out without checking. Plus, if you know anything about me by now, you know I get emotionally attached to things. The older and mankier the thing, the more attached I get.



The bulk of the make-up roll was made up of lipsticks, but ones that I could never ever seem to be able to through away even though they had long expired. Pulling them out now has forced me to finally give them a voice before I lay them to rest in lipstick heaven.


Clinique 'Brick'

Hey, I'm Clinique 'Brick'. I am a gloriously rich, deep matte red! I was bought in Harrods in the autumn of 1997 with student grant money. It was the first term in the first year of uni and I was the lipstick du jour..... well actually 'du soir' would be more accurate since she would assemble herself in a mostly black combo of polyester black wide leg trousers and some sort of lacey black mesh top, diamante clip-on earrings and finishing off the look by applying me generously with a lip brush. I was worn with regularity and with pride. I made her feel very grown up and a little like her mum, who only ever wore red lipstick. She didn't quite know what look she was channeling at the time, but I was the queen of her little make-up bag. Plus, I was purchased on an outing with the first male friend she ever had, and he was a fundamental part of her life in her first years at uni. He encouraged her to experiment with make-up and fashion and she loved it. I am the first step in her evolution from frumpy teen to, um..... a bit less frumpy teen with a small dash of wannabe sexpot . Small steps, people, small steps.....

Guerlain 'Juliette'

Hello dolls, I'm 'Juliette' from the Guerlain mother-ship! I was bought in House of Fraser probably between 1998-9. She was with her friend O and, like always, they were shopping for make-up. There were sales, and I was in the reduced bin feeling lonely and unloved. She picked me up and put me on and it was a match made in heaven. I was a deep purple-y toned dark nude colour with a teensy flash of irridescent green. I sound odd, right? But it turns out that I was the only lipstick she ever finished right down to the bottom of the bullet! She spent a long time after trying to find a replacement for me but my colour was so unique that she ended up with a lot of duds on the way. I saw her through her years at uni and beyond and she kept me for over a decade, although empty, like a jewel in her extant make-up collection.

Guerlain.... oops, no name

Bonjour mes amies.....I am also from the house of Guerlain, but I was bought in Paris around about 2000. She was with O again and they found their way to my home boutique. She was going to buy another red shade, but she found me, a deep purple-nude. She liked me a lot, she wore me a decent amount, but I was a poor shade of my cousin Juliette and after a while she kind of put me aside. I used to have a little cap at the top which protected my mirror, revolutionary in my day!

Clinique 'Bronze'
What's up, babes? I'm Clinique Bronze and I was bought with another peachy shade in order to secure a GWP (gift with purchase), a lilac make-up bag with lots of mini treats, the kind of bonanza gift that Clinique used to do really well back then. She actually wanted my peachy sister more than me as she was forever trying to channel Shania Twain from the 'Man I feel like a woman' video. Shania had these gloriously full sexy peachy orange lips and Pandora wanted to look like that so badly. Check out the video to see what I mean.... she spent a decade trying to replicate that look. Sadly I wasn't much part of her plan and I slowly went a bit rancid. Dark times.

Chanel 'Santa Barbara'

Well hello there.... enough with all this Clinique rabble.... I'm from Chanel and my name is 'Santa Barbara'. I hail from the now extant Aqualumiere line. A plummy reddish brown shimmer, sheer and elegant but somewhat ageing for my mistress. I was yet another attempt at replacing that goddamn Guerlain Juliette. What did she have that I didn't, huh? I was used, and liked very much but I went missing in the bottom of a handbag sometime in the early noughties and was only found last year. How tragic....





Nous sommes les quatres camellias de Chanel! We were bought in Sephora in Rome after a particularly horrendous makeover in which she left the store looking like a drag queen who had complained he/she was not draggy enough and got an over-enthusiastic make-up artist to do his worst. That day she learned that her strong-featured face could not take that much make-up and, ignoring the product recommendations of aforementioned make-up artist, went ahead and bought us as an alternative to the 33 euro tube of glitter gloss. We were more beautiful before we were defiled with finger and brush. You can see which of us she liked the most. We are forever a memory of how much make-up our girl needs to stay a girl.



Hope you enjoyed these ramblings.... I also hope to be back writing more often. Keep smiling! 
 


Thursday, 23 May 2013

My 3b hair update: routine and maintenance

Hello my dear sweetpeas..... I hope this post finds you well and having a good hair day.

A while back, I think in August last year, my life changed forever when I finally found a great hairdresser who could tame and tease my 3b curls to perfection. You can refresh your memories here if you're interested. For reference, there is an official scale of curliness going from 1-4 (4 being afro hair) and between the numbers there are letters which define more clearly the type of curl within that curl bracket.... if that makes any sense at all. So 3b is very curly, think spirals and frizz and poodles and you're pretty much there.

So since August my hair has been the best it's ever been in my life. I've had some 'bad hair' days but in comparison to before my salon visit they are not even that bad, just a bit more frizzy than normal.

I did promise a review of the products I'd been using alongside a hair routine update so here I am and here it is.

Now I do understand that this may not be relevant to many of you, but for those poor type 3 girls out there suffering as I did this post could be a lifeline.

So here's what I do and while I describe my routine I'll tell you what I think of the products:

Step One: Wash hair a maximum of twice a week with a NON-SULFATE shampoo. I've been using the Mizani True Textures Curl Balance shampoo which was recommended to me, alongside all the other products in this post, by my hairdresser. The shampoo is quite watery in texture so be careful that you don't pour too much out at once. For a non-sulfate shampoo it still foams up a treat and cleanses the hair beautifully without stripping it. I rarely need to shampoo twice and can almost comb the tangles through with my fingers after using this alone. The smell is mildly coconut-y and I love it! I've gotten through about two bottles of this since August and I'm on my third. A seriously fantastic shampoo which is almost a treatment for the hair in itself, I don't need to rush to put on the conditioner afterwards as my hair behaves itself when I use this.


 On days where I feel my hair is a bit grubby but I don't need to give it a full wash I use Mizani Cleansing Cream which is literally what it says it is, a cream which cleanses and conditions at the same time. This does not foam at all and it feels strange to massage a cream product into the scalp and believe that it's going to cleanse your hair. The smell is also a bit odd, I can't quite describe it but it smells almost a bit clinical, not unpleasant, but not as nice as the other products. Still, I'm not sure how it works but it does indeed clean the scalp AND condition the hair without the need for conditioner afterwards. Using this in place of shampoo and conditioner once in a while is meant to keep the hair from getting too dehydrated. Sometimes I feel like my hair needs a wash more than the recommended once or twice a week so I'll use this for the third wash. A useful product to have but not entirely essential as the True Textures shampoo is so moisturising.


When I have a bit of dandruff I use the Mizani Scalp Care Shampoo which is, like the Cleansing Cream, a cream product which doesn't foam up at all. It smells fresh and minty with a hint of Eucalyptus and works a treat.



Step Two: Condition and detangle. I use Mizani Moisturefusion Silk Cream conditioner. I love this so much, but I hate the packaging. It's a thick cream that should come in a pot and not in a bottle. It's a pain to get out even when it's still full as the nozzle is tiny and the plastic of the bottle too thick to squeeze effectively. Still, I'm on my 4th bottle of the stuff because it's the best. I smooth about 10-15mls on my hair, combing it through gently with my fingers and NEVER a brush or comb as I had previously done. (I could never comb through my hair with anything other than a Tangle Teezer before, but I found out that the Tangle Teezer had almost wrecked my hair, pulling apart the curls and leaving me with dry frizz. It's a great product for sure, but not for curlies like me.) Anyhow, you don't need a separate deep conditioner for treatments as you can use this one, just leave it on for longer and maybe wrap a towel round your head or something. I rarely bother as it moisturises the hair so well just left on for a minute or so in the shower. The smell is gorgeous, fresh and slightly floral, it smells 'expensive' and we like that, don't we?



Step Three: Very gently towel dry (I just wrap my head in a towel, no rubbing or anything) and then apply generous amounts of Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream. I was told to separate my hair into sections and smooth the cream over each small section, and sometimes I do this, but more often I tip my head down and scrunch the cream through my hair very gently so as not to disturb the natural curls. I apply a final sweep of the cream over my hair once I'm standing up straight again to smooth down the overall 'mane'. Leave to dry naturally. Yes, even in the winter. This curl cream is the BEST styling cream I've ever used in my life. End of. It may be a bit thick for finer hair types, but for my type of hair it's perfect. It smells luxuriously fresh (whatever that means...) and I keep getting compliments on how nice my hair smells which is always a good thing.



For those in-between days where my hair doesn't need a wash but the curls lose their definition and the frizz is back in force I simply dampen my hair with a water spray (cheap Ikea bottle and tap water, nothing fancy) and then apply a little more of the Curl Cream. That seems to do the trick. 

And that is it, guys and dolls. I think it's a pretty simple routine overall and it's kept me going nicely in-between hair cuts, which reminds me, I need to make an appointment next month for another trim. I estimate that I'll only need a trim about 3 times a year to keep it in tip-top shape, something I'm very happy about financially, although I'd want any excuse to go back to my hairdresser more often!

For those in-between days where my hair doesn't need a wash but the curls lose their definition and the frizz is back in force I simply dampen my hair with a water spray (cheap Ikea bottle and tap water, nothing fancy) and then apply a little more of the Moroccanoil Curl Cream. That seems to do the trick.

You can buy Mizani products from Feelunique.com and lookfantastic.com. I buy mine from Feelunique most of the time as they seem to be cheaper. The shampoo was just under a tenner last time I checked and the conditioner about £12. The Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream is the bomb though, priced at about £23 online (don't buy it in a salon it will be much more!). I try to wait for the discount emails that pop into my inbox occasionally and stockpile when I get about 20% off. You do get 250ml though and it does last a while, especially if you have less hair than me, which to be honest, you probably do. And don't take that as an insult, the amount of hair I have has been proclaimed as 'abnormal' by previous hairdressers.....







Friday, 10 May 2013

Barry M 'Grapefruit' Gelly Hi Shine

Barry M Grapefruit gelly hi shine - artificial light
 See this? See this juice? I don't think your ready for this jelly.....

I'm loving Barry M at the moment, their lacquers totally rock both in colour and in formula. The new Gelly formulas are even more exciting as the shine is just amazing. I applied a top coat out of habit but you don't need to, making it perfect if you're in a rush.


 The colour changes depending on the light, but the one you see here above is probably the closest in terms of the colour you'll see in real life. Cameras have a funny habit of altering colour so although I've done my best with these photos they don't capture just how bright and juicy this polish really is. It's almost neon and I love me a bit of neon.
Barry M Grapefruit gelly hi shine - daylight


Wear time was great, I had this on my nails for about 5 days and even by then it had only chipped on my one dodgy flaky nail on my right hand.

Love this, and looking forward to trying more of the Gellies!

£3.99 from Boots and Superdrug


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Paris Beauty Haul!

Let's keep it short and sweet. I was in Paris at the weekend. Here's what I bought:


Yes, I went a bit crazy. Mr P was off doing his own thing and I was left to my own devices for a whole Saturday morning. See what happens when I'm left alone?

 My first stop was the pharmacy in Monoprix, followed by a lengthy stop in Printemps, the unbelievably gorgeous department store which, to be honest, makes Selfridges look like Aldi. Then I finally made it to Sephora.

In no particular order, here is a summary of the damage I inflicted:
Ella Bache skincare from Printemps
In Printemps there was a small Ella Bache concession on the 1st floor. Ella Bache is now a very niche skincare brand which is very hard to come by. My mum used to use their products a long, long time ago and swore by them. We're talking about 20 + years ago here. Anyway, I saw them and thought I would make her a little present of some skincare goodies. I also bought myself two face masks. Seeing as it's almost impossible to find these products, even online, I opted for routine 'add ons' rather than staple products. I didn't want to get addicted to a face cream only to not be able to find it again.

The nice lady also threw in free full size hand creams, one for me and one for mum. I can report so far that it's one of the loveliest hand creams I've ever used :)

French pharmacy faves ; Caudalie hand cream and Eau de Beaute, Nuxe huile prodigieuse, Melvita Extraordinary Water
 In the pharmacy section in Monoprix I bought lots of goodies. Mainly stuff that I'd always wanted to try but never justified buying. Now I found that justification, being in Paris seems to justify a lot.

I put the Nuxe golden oil in my basket first, seeing as I'll be Australia at the end of the year I'm going to have enough tan time to get through the bottle. The Caudalie Eau de Beaute has had a lot of hype in the blogging world. I bought the mini bottle to try for myself. It's to be spritzed before or over make-up to add radiance. Also for radiance is the Melvita Extraordinary Water. I'd heard a lot about the Rose version, but the Narcissus bottle called to me for it's brightening properties. I used it for the first time this morning and it smells like spring in a bottle.

The only make-up item I picked up was the lip-gloss which matched my Dior Diablotine nail polish. I also tried the lipstick version but it was just a little strong for me and preferred the lightness of the gloss. The sparkles in it are just stunning.
My only make-up purchase, Dior Diablotine lip gloss


Erborian newbies: CC Creme HD and Eye BB creme
 Also in the pharmacy I picked up the Erborian Eye BB creme which I believe is relatively new. Regular readers will know that I will not be without the original Erborian BB creme, so I had to try the eye version. Review will be coming once I've used it on a daily basis. The Erborian CC creme you see next to it I picked up in Sephora and is literally fresh from the factory, it's that new. This is my first foray into the CC cream world so I'm very excited to see how this works for me. First impressions are that it's very different from the BB cream and is more akin to a tinted moisturiser.... but watch this space.
Some Diptyque lovelies: Eau de Tarocco (roll on), and Eau Lente (spray). With samples.
 Perhaps the most beautiful part of my shopping experience was my stop at the Dyptique concession in Printemps. A very nice man explained the Dyptique ethos and experience to me and helped me to choose a scent that would be most 'me'. I had Eau Lente on one wrist and Eau de Neroli on the other and I let them live with me for a few hours. I couldn't stop sniffing Eau Lente. I was in love. And Mr P fell in love with it too, so he took my back to the counter and we sniffed our way through the other bottles before deciding on Eau Lente and Eau de Tarocco (which he can also wear). How can I describe Eau Lente? Spicy, woody, sweet and sultry. There is a subtle smokiness about it and I think it's very sexy indeed. Eau de Tarocco is spicy with a hit of oranges which makes it fresh while adding depth. Mr P totally loved everything..... a rarity, as he's very very fussy about scent!
Algenist cleanser
While I was in Sephora I got chatting to the lady at the Algenist stand. Algenist is a relatively new San Francisco skincare brand utilising something called Alguronic acid, a patent pending ingredient akin to Hyularonic acid in that it's exceptionally hydrating and repairing. I thought I'd try out the cleanser seeing as I get through cleansers like water.
Elancyl hydrating body lotion and toning shower gel
Last but not least, I had to mention Elancyl body products as they have the most divine scent of any range I've ever tried. I used to use them while i was staying with Mr P in Rome and I remember how much I loved them. The shower gel in particular is addictive. Imagine you're a wood nymph taking a gentle shower underneath a waterfall and you can smell the sweetness of the flowers, trees and leaves which surround you in your grotto. That's right, it's sweet and 'green' smelling at the same time.... utterly blissful. I urge you to try the shower gel next time you're anywhere that stocks Elancyl. In the UK I believe they have it at the Garden Pharmacy in Covent Garden. In France and Italy it's pretty much everywhere.

Phew, so I guess that just about wraps up what I bought. I didn't talk about everything because you have lives to get on with, but I hope you enjoyed me sharing this you anyway.

Let me know if you've picked up anything nice recently!




Thursday, 25 April 2013

Dior - Diablotine

Dior - Diablotine (Summer 2013)
Hello spring, you're here at last. Please stay a while so that your sunlight can grace my finger tips and make it worth my while to wear sparkling colours like this one...

Diablotine - artificial light

 This is Diablotine by Dior, this season's impulse purchase by yours truly. It's been a long time since I splashed out on lacquer (really, Mr P, it has!). But this little beauty caught my eye (damn you, Cafe Makeup newsletter) and I had to grab it.


It's a very unusual shade of red, not that dupable. A soft red with an orange undetone (more visible in the artificial light of my bathroom) and tiny micro-specks of fuschia sparkle. There is also a slight milky quality to the colour which stops it from being the sheerer jelly I thought it would be. This is totally opaque in one coat, but I've given it two coats for more depth of shimmer and longevity of course.

I've reinstated my regular Fuji camera now which takes better close up shots my ipod touch. I'll aim to do most of my photography with this one now that I've found it's charger! The artificial light photos show the subtle sparkle more clearly, while the natural light ones are perhaps truer to the real colour.

Diablotine - natural light


This is not the glossiest of polishes and definitely needs a topcoat. In fact, even after the top coat it dulled down again after a while. You can tell from the photos that it's not gleaming like some other polishes. Still, it's gorgeous and so perfect for spring. Plus the brush and formula are exceptional, so easy to paint with.

I chose this colour to wear this weekend in Paris.... where I may just pick up the matching lip-gloss.

Sephora beckons. I can hardly contain myself.

What do you think of Diablotine? Yay or nay?