Musings of a self-confessed beauty addict from the heart of London!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Chanel Long Lasting Eyeliner in Grenat (85)

So far I've resisted the Spring collections. I would wander about the counters dreamily swatching shadows, blushers, polishes and then dreamily wander away giving myself an imaginary pat on the back for resisting their pastel charms. 

Until, one day last week, I saw Lisa Eldridge use some of the new products on the Chanel website and when I saw how utterly gorgeous the eyeshadow palette (Eclosion) looked when applied with the new Grenat eyeliner I knew that my resolve would crumble. 

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof - Grenat (85)
Then I reasoned.... the main colour Lisa (we're on first name terms and all that... ;p) used was actually provided by the liner which was smudged into the shadow of a similar colour. I would resist the palette but the liner was a necessity.

(Yes Mr P, it was NECESSARY. I fell down the stairs, remember?)

Actually, on a side note, I did fall down the stairs, and very nasty it was too. So, hello Chanel, I think I might deserve you a bit. 

Grenat is one of the long-lasting waterproof formulas, a little drier and firmer than regular kohl pencils but with a lasting power which knocks spots off them. This needs quick blending as it sets quite fast due to it's waterproof nature.

 The colour is hard to describe but definitely not hard to wear as I had first thought it would be. I commented to Ms R that it looked like it would give you that 'eye infection' look, due to the slight red tone.

Ok I was wrong. But also a little bit right. This is a gorgeous, soft sexy colour to wear smudged round the eyes. I wouldn't,  however, recommend it on the waterline. In a moment of over-enthusiasm I also whacked it on the waterline top and bottom, et voila'..... I looked like I'd got a nasty case of pink eye....

Chanel Grenat

Chanel Grenat eyeliner (smudged - top, applied neat - bottom)

True to form my camera likes to play colour tricks so these photos don't quite capture the more plummy, burgundy nature of Grenat to it's full beauty, but it does portray the more brownish tones which I think is what makes this so wearable.

Chanel Grenat eyeliner (top, smudged, bottom, neat) - daylight

I'm in love with this little pencil. It makes such a refreshing change from brown or black and for me it makes the perfect spring eye look. All you need is a neutral base shadow and this smudged on the lashline. It's not your typical pastel spring colour but that's why I like it, it's that bit different. I see this working beautifully all year round and I know this will be one of my staples.

I don't know if this is limited edition but not being an obvious show-stopper, like the eye quad for instance I'm sure it's not likely to be a sell-out instantly even if it is.

I paid about €20 for this here in Brussels (Mr P, if you're reading this, I FELL DOWN THE GODDAMN STAIRS, REMEMBER?), in the UK it retails for £18.

Would you wear it?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

NOTD - Essie 'Splash of Grenadine'

Essie Splash of Grenadine

I've had no time to paint my nails in the last couple of weeks so I was determined to splash some colour on them now that spring has officially arrived. 

 I pulled out this little Essie number which I'd picked up a few months back but hadn't yet tried.

Splash of Grenadine is a warm, juicy lilac pink, very pretty and totally perfect for spring.
The formula was great, easy to apply and not too thick and gloopy. This is two coats with Essie Good to Go topcoat. You could get away with one decent coat though.

Splash of Grenadine

Not many colours are elegant, fun, bright and work appropriate, but this one definitely ticks all those boxes. I can see this being one of my favourites.

Would you be partial to a splash of grenadine?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Japanese Dolly

Firstly, apologies are in order for this uncharacteristic lack of posts recently. Big changes are afoot chez nous and I have literally had no time to even think about make-up. Can you imagine??? I have a backlog of blog posts to read too as I feel that even a week without these updates  pushes me almost completely out of the beauty loop....But anyhow, more on the whys and wherefores another time....

For now I want to briefly share with you a few little beauty treats that Ms R very kindly brought me from Japan at my request:

Firstly the Dolly Wink eyeliner. I had read great things about this, about it's exceptionally fine tip and ultra black ink. I decided I needed it in my life so it was the first thing I thought of when R asked me if there was anything I 'needed' from Japan.

I can report from first impressions that this indeed has the finest tip of any liquid liner I've ever seen. Great if you're having a cack-hand day and can't manage anything other than a squiggle..... this makes you feel totally in control. The ink is lovely and smooth and very black. I love this already.

Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner

The other things I asked R to pick up for me were two Canmake Cheek to Cheek blushers. Again I'd read some great things about this drugstore brand and particularly about the cheek products. I asked for shades 01 and 04. How happy am I that I have these in my life? VERY happy indeed. These are just gorgeous..... very pigmented, and finely milled so that they grace the cheeks with a beautiful flush of colour.
Canmake Cheek & Cheek blusher in 01

Canmake Cheek & Cheek blusher in 04

Canmake Cheek & Cheek (01)

Canmake Cheek & Cheek (04)

01 (Left) 04 (right)
 01 is more corally toned when you mix the colours together, and 04 more of a cool-toned bright pink. You can either mix the colours or layer them, or use the paler one as a highlight only. I like to mix them together as the pan is quite small to pick up each one individually. I haven't used the brush that comes with them as it's far too small for my liking. I love the packaging, it's simple but I love the scallop detail on the plastic. These things make me happy don't you know. 

Canmake Cheek & Cheek (01)

Canmake Cheek & Cheek (04)

Suffice to say that I feel like a porcelain doll when I wear these, and combined with the thinnest flick of the black liner and lashings of fluttery mascara full doll-ification is complete.
Have you tried these brands? 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips - 360 Laced Up

I picked these up when I was in the USA last summer and I still hadn't been bold enough to wear them. Saturday night gave me the perfect excuse so out they came.

I had doubts about if they would work or not, if they would just look like cheap stickers stuck onto my nails, or even if they didn't fit my nails at all.

I needn't have worried, and I've been cursing myself for taking so long to try them.

Look at these beauties.... aren't they just stunning? I'm in love with my own nails!

Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips - 360 Laced Up

I admit, it took me a good 10 minutes to get into the swing of applying them, and then I was away. The left hand took my much longer than the right surprisingly, and there are a few creases but thankfully the pattern makes it almost impossible to see them. The nails on my right hand are much smoother thanks to the fact that I'd finally got the hang of smoothing the strip onto the nail properly. The trickiest part was lining up the strip to the cuticle so that both sides were even and the strip wasn't wonky.

In the box you get 16 real nail polish strips of 8 different sizes so you can best match your own nail shape. You know that these are pure nail polish from the classic lacquer smell which wafts out of the box when you open it. It really is amazing how they've managed to make these...

You also get a mini file and an orange stick to help with the application.

You simply buff the clean nail, match the correct strip size to your nail, peel off the backing and smooth on, stretching the strip slightly to eliminate creases (this I only learned to do by the time I got to the right hand)!
Nail polish strip application
As you can see there is quite a bit of excess when the strip is applied. Simply fold it over the end of the nail and file it off. Simples. I thought I should cut off the excess but this really isn't necessary, the file does all the work for you. I suppose if you were really really careful you could use the other half of the strip too, but it's hard not to ruin it when you remove the excess.

No base or top coat is required, but I have a feeling that a top coat might have prolonged my manicure.

It's supposed to last up to 10 days, but sadly mine began to chip on the second day, probably due to the fact that I'm not a lady of leisure and am always active in the kitchen chopping something or washing veggies.... still I had hoped that it would have lasted a little longer.

Even with the chipping this was still wearable up until today, so that's about 4 days really. The pattern means that small chips aren't that noticeable. If this were a block colour it would have looked pretty horrendous by now.

Despite it's poor staying power, I just love the intricate black lace look you get from these, it looks like I've spent hours painting my nails with a micro-fine brush. The shine is gorgeous and you don't need a top coat, except perhaps for longevity as I said before.

These strips are a bit hard to come by in Europe and the UK. I found them online at Amazon here, but I don't see this particular design.

In the USA of course they are pretty much in every drugstore. I can't remember how much I paid for them, but it something in the region of $8, so much more reasonable than the £9.29 on Amazon. It may seem a lot for just one use, but you can pay up to three times that for a salon manicure which may only last a few days, and I think these are something just a bit more special.

So I guess what I want to say is that I do in fact think they are worth it, well, the ones with the intricate designs that is, I would forgo the plain colours myself. 

What do you think of these? Yay or nay?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Ten Commandments - Eyeliner for beginners

Maria Callas - queen of theatrical winged liner
A few months back I posted my ten commandments for perfect foundation, inspired by the countless women I see on a daily basis dancing the "tangerine tango" with an unsuitable foundation partner....

This time my mission is eyeliner. I don't know how many this post will reach, but I'm hoping that even if it changes the way one single woman wears liner then I could go to bed feeling I'd have achieved something, sleeping soundly in the knowledge that there is one less soul walking about sporting the kind of liner that scares small children and puppies......and me.

Don't scare me, please....blend your eyeliner and I'll let you stroke me....
Make-up gets a really bad rap. When it's applied badly it's really, really bad, and gives rise to the myth that make-up looks cheap, theatrical, comical, fake and obvious. Men (and women) who say they 'don't like women who wear make-up' don't actually mean it, what they mean is they don't like make-up which screams


No no. Even with all the advances being made in the make-up industry this is still the negative impression that many have. Technically there is no reason for anyone to be wearing their make-up like this anymore, not with micro-fine powders, imperceptible foundations and smooth, blendable shadows and pencils. But somehow they still manage it.

So, back to the liner. If there is ONE look that I would love to see banished from the face of the earth for ever and ever and ever it's the 'two black rings around the eyes':

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Do I even need to explain why? Suffice to say that this works only on men in theatrical shows and even then only from a distance. Why? Because it's harsh and masculine and defines the eyes without making them look like women. So apart from it's use as 'guyliner' this look does not flatter anyone.

Even Captain Jack Sparrow smudges his liner....

So, without further ado, here are my commandments:

  1. Thou shalt not ringeth thine eyes in the manner of a panda.
  2. If thy hath ignored this rule and rung thine eyes like a panda, then thy must at least smudge the liner to soften thy gaze. Fingers worketh well if thy hath no brush.
  3. Knoweth that black or brown smudged/blended liner is indeed encouraged on the top lash line only. This suiteth many a fair dame. 
  4. Lineth not the bottom lash line if youth be not on your side - this ages thy fair face and pulls down thine eyes. 
  5. Attempt not the winged line without previous practice especially if thou art not familiar with liners of liquid or gel. YouTube tutorials will be thy friend in this.
  6. Winged liner in un-blended pencil is not advised, it is strange and unbecoming.
  7. Thou must NEVER apply liquid liner to thy bottom lash line.
  8. Thou shalt consider using dark eyeshadow to define thy eyes. A fine or slanted brush will aide you on this route to prettiness.
  9. For instant prettiness without garishness thou shalt consider pressing thy liner as close to thy lashes as possible, thereby defining thy lash line without creating harsh lines.
  10. If thou art not at ease with liner then better to leave it be. Thy face will thank you for it. And many puppies and small children too. 
And.... breathe.... Now that's off my chest. I feel better now, thank you for asking

PS: A final note on the 'Kate Middleton eye' because in many ways she breaks the 'rules'. Kate has youth and natural fine looks on her side, which means that even though she's a fan of the 'panda ring' she gets away with it by making sure that the line, although strong, is still blended.

The fact that she is young also helps, although she would appear far younger and fresh-faced without the black rimming the entire eye. In my humblest of opinions I think there are far more flattering ways for her to wear her eye make-up which would turn her from pretty to knockout.... what do you think?