Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fall Flush

Seasonal makeup can be a little clichéd (summer's all about bronzed, glowy skin and brights, winter is matte textures and darker, moodier colours), but part of me always looks forward to the weather cooling down and the days getting shorter just to bring out my autumnal blushes, lipsticks and nail polishes. Last year, I loved the trend of wine/dark berry lips, but lately I've been itching to bring out the more plummy and rosy blushes in my stash that mimic the flush of briskly walking in the chill.

l-r:Benefit Dallas, Rimmel Genuine Plum, NARS Sin, Bourjois Rose Éclat

Benefit Dallas
I've always associated Dallas with cooler weather as I find it a bit too dark and brown-toned for summer. This is one of those blushes I always wonder why I don't wear more often each time I reach for it. It looks a bit blah in the pan, but I think the colour really suits Asian skin tones and the rosy tan shade gives a subtle sculpting effect while adding a touch of luminosity to the complexion. It almost doubles up as a wintry bronzer while the colour remains relatively neutral (think NARS Douceur), but still earthy and enlivening.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Soft Colour Mono Powder Blush in Genuine Plum (170)
This was a blush I purchased without having access to a tester because I loved how it looked in the pan. It was the most pure, medium-toned, slightly purplish but bright berry colour that just screamed autumn. On my cheeks, I find it fairly similar to NARS Angelika, except that it's matte, slightly darker and more fuchsia. I'm usually not partial to these kinds of darker, berry pinks, but Genuine Plum is such a quintessential autumnal colour that there's definitely room for it in my blush drawer.

One of the most famed blushes from NARS, I wanted to love Sin but I really struggle to make it work for me. It is the single most pigmented blush I own, and not in a good way. I need only the lightest touch and furious blending to avoid the appearance of muddy, bruised cheeks. I was hoping that the distinctly purple tone and gold shimmer would elevate Sin to something special, but to the degree I have to blend it, the shimmer's mostly lost and it just looks like an ordinary berry red. Lasting power however is excellent, consistent with my experience of NARS blushes in general.

Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush in Rose Éclat (15)
Less reddy pink/fuchsia than Rimmel Genuine Plum, Rose Éclat is like a combination of Genuine Plum and Benefit Dallas. It still has a bit of that burnished, warm, earthy quality that autumnal blushes are known for, but it's a bit more rosy-neutral and brown than something more berry or mauve/purplish. The texture with this baked blush is slightly patchy and on the dry side, not as smooth or pigmented as the previous three. There is a barely detectable shimmer running through but it's predominately matte.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Custard Cover

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer seemed slated to be perpetually out of stock. Every time I stepped into Mecca Cosmetica and enquired about it, I left empty-handed. When I finally managed to take home a tube after months of intermittent searching, rather than feeling triumphant, I was almost underwhelmed. I mean, how good could a concealer really be that justified that kind of persistence in tracking it down?

One of the major selling points of the Radiant Creamy Concealer was surprisingly, the price. It retails for $35 at Mecca Cosmetica, which isn't that far off the US price of $29 (with tax and currency conversion, it's almost the same). I'm not sure why NARS has decided to price the concealer the way it has, but I'm hardly complaining. In comparison, NARS Sheer Glow is $68 here compared with $45 in the US, while an eyeshadow duo is a whopping $55 compared with $35.

For the longest time, I convinced myself I needed the second lightest shade Vanilla, but I finally came to my senses and accepted I'm not as pale as I want to be, so Custard it was. The reality is I fall somewhere between those two shades, but I suppose with concealer, I'd rather go for something slightly darker than lighter. I don't use concealer to brighten any darkness under the eyes (which Vanilla might be a better choice for), but mainly to cover up blemishes or redness. I find Custard matches well with NARS Sheer Glow in Fiji. If I opt for a paler base (like when I mix a bit too much of CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation in Buff Beige with Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in Soft Beige) and don't blend the concealer well enough with the surrounding skin, the mismatch between the two can be obvious, particularly in natural daylight.

As for the actual product, it does live up to the hype. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand is a decent drugstore dupe (very similar packaging and texture), but the NARS is superior in terms of coverage and longevity. What I love most about the Radiant Creamy Concealer is that you can dab it onto problem areas with your fingers and it doesn't immediately smear and smudge all over the place. I find with other cheaper concealers like the Maybelline Fit Me or Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer, I have to take extra care and usually use a brush to lightly stipple over my spots/scarring so that the product evenly covers and disguises the blemish. With the NARS, the concealer covers at first instance and adheres to the skin even when you dab over it. It sets well and lasts the whole day.

You only need a small amount each time, so I imagine the tube lasting quite a while. A few touches of the Radiant Creamy Concealer instantly rescues skin that looks a bit rough and in need of some perfecting. Even placed over foundation that's faded and slipped off at the end of the day, it doesn't look cakey. A new makeup bag staple.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

May Favourites

May was largely uneventful, though I was grateful for the delayed winter Sydney seems to be experiencing. (Also, thank you to those in my last favourites post who left me kind comments in response to the loss in my family.) Warmer temperatures made getting up in the morning just that bit more manageable, though I have been trying to squeeze in every last millisecond of sleep possible. There was a bit of a slowdown in posts, not for any particular reason except that other things in life took precedence over blogging. I've also been purchasing less new makeup (with the exception of two cheeky additions from Mecca Cosmetica), instead making a conscious effort to use and appreciate what I already have.

Dove Triple Moisturising Deep Nourishing Body Wash
I forgot how good this stuff is and was only reminded when I stayed over at a friend's place and she had this in her shower. Why bother with Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser when this exists? It's rich and creamy, lathers up luxuriously, feels so smooth and nourishing on the body, smells of clean, pure, soapy heaven, and leaves the skin pampered and pristine.

Pixi Glow Tonic
I'm now halfway through my bottle and there's been no loss of enthusiasm since I last featured this in my November 2013 Favourites. Some nights after stepping out of the shower, I simply can't be bothered with toner as part of my evening skin care routine, but I really start to notice the difference if I skip it just a couple of times. I feel that Glow Tonic essentially helps to properly prep my skin so it's more receptive to the serums/face oils/moisturisers I apply. It's a very hydrating and gentle toner that doesn't feel harsh or drying despite the presence of chemical exfoliants. With regular, long-term use, it's extremely effective at refining the texture of my skin, making it appear smoother, softer and more plump.

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow SPF 25 Brightening Makeup in "Cheers to Me" Champagne
My go-to foundation if my skin's spotty and slightly flaky, which it has been lately. Unlike the majority of my bases, I can be fairly confident that this foundation won't result in more breakouts. It's oil-free and water-based, a major selling point that the girl at the Benefit counter emphasised when I bought it. It has medium, buildable coverage and is very forgiving on dry skin.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen
My eyeliner of choice in May. Most mornings, I struggle to open the cap of my Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner, I'm trying to preserve the last remnants of my beloved Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, pencil eyeliner just doesn't cut it, gel liner is way too fiddly and time-consuming, so it's Revlon all the way. It might not be the blackest or most budge-proof of felt tip eyeliners, but it's easy to control and draw with for my eye shape. My pen has also lasted forever. Seriously, I've been using it on and off for I can't even remember how long.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in My Two Cents
Since selecting this cream shadow in my last Shop My Stash, I've have been consciously reaching for it more. It's probably the closest thing I have to my treasured limited edition Essence Eye Soufflé in Pas des Copper. It serves as a quick, effortless, all-over lid wash for a lazy weekend, but also works well paired with a darker powder eyeshadow like Burberry Midnight Brown for extra definition.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies in Blackest Black
Starting to understand why this is Tanya Burr's mascara of choice. I've always liked it, but I feel I've only unlocked its full potential in the last month. I find the trick is to almost close my eye as I'm applying it (the other eye being open of course), so I can really get to the base of the lashes. Doing this helps to thicken, lengthen and curl with maximum impact, good separation and no clumps. The wand allows me to reach the outer corner of the top lashes and works equally well for upper and bottom lashes.

Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum
Already written about it here, so I won't say anything further except that I've basically forgotten all about my other face oils in favour of this serum.

NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm
Still loving this. The perfect finishing step to my nighttime skin care regime. The tiny exfoliating beads are a little unusual but they're a novel touch. The thick paste simply melts into the lips and is soothing without containing menthol, an ingredient I'm partial to when it comes to lip balms (see Maybelline Baby Lips in Relieving Menthol, Blistex Lip Conditioner). The weighty frosted glass jar and refined honey/apricot scent only add to the enjoyment.
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