La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Pro-Recovery Skincare 40ml

maggio 28, 2013

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Pro-Recovery Skincare £13/€11.50
After a lot of effort I think I've finally managed to put together a mix of products that works well at keeping my skin even and nicely hydrated on a daily basis, but every now and then I still reach for some extra bits I like to incorporate to my basic routine to fix a few unexpected issues. Among my beloved masks and my precious oils, the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Pro-Recovery Skincare is one of my most reached for extras. 
Cicaplast is a skin treatment for sensitive skins recommended after dermatological procedures such as cosmetic peels and specifically created to treat and sooth irritated complexions while speeding the healing process. The highly smoothing formula acts as a barrier between skin and makeup working in fact as a waterproof primer and in the mean time copper, zinc and manganese promote the skin renewal process. I'm a sucker for products that improve the appearance of makeup and treat the skin at the same time.
I like to use it every time I experience - usually in full winter when my skin is stressed out both by the cold weather and the dry central heating - some flakiness under my cheekbones and above the eyebrows and also over any healing spot right before makeup so that concealer doesn't look patchy and blends more smoothly. From time to time I also suffer from random red spots around the eyes that can become really chapped and itchy and Cicaplast helps an awful lot with them, isolating the delicate skin and reducing redness. Finally it's my secret weapon for any client with dehydrated and stressed skin in need of an immediate moisture boost.
If you have oily and acne-prone skin I recommend you check out the Effaclar duo moisturizer which has similar properties but it's best suited for oily complexions.

It's a holy grail product for anyone with very dry and sensitive skin and works as a quick-fix for the ones who occasionally experience flakiness and dry patches. I've been using it for more than two years now and it has earned its own special place inside both my freelance kit and my skincare basket and I can guarantee it won't be leaving either of those any time soon.
What are your favourite skincare extras?


Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer

maggio 26, 2013

Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer SX01 £36/€42
After hearing so many bloggers rave about it I finally decided to give it a go and purchased the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. It's basically a little pot of wonder, filled with the most highly pigmented, full coverage base you can think of and can be used either sparingly on its own or combined with primers, moisturizers, highlighters, concealers and so on to create a fresh, flawless complexion.
The sky's the limit with this multipurpose gem.

Application as an all-over foundation is a little tricky, because the product’s as close to pure pigment as you can go and it’s very thick. Be ready to blend, blend, blend like there's no tomorrow.
I can see it would work better on normal to oily skins since the skin’s natural oils would give it a nice slip making application a lot more stress-free. For dry skin like mine I recommend a good moisturizer and/or a primer applied a handful of seconds before the product to make it slide more easily on the skin. Personally I think it's a bit wasted for this purpose for it can look heavy and a little cakey if applied on poorly prepped skin. It works as spot-on concealer as well but once again it needs to be blended really really well otherwise it can look patchy. It's when you mix it with other products that you can see why the SSE is considered a holy grail by so many makeup lovers.
I love it mixed with my Chantecaille Just Skin tinted moisturizer. The result combines the lightness and radiant glow of a tinted moisturizer and the coverage and longevity of a gorgeous foundation.
Mixed with Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl creates an uber radiant, almost ethereal base, while if blended with a pea-sized blob of Clarins Instant smooth primer creates a smoothing foundation that lasts all day. When combined with a light reflecting concealer provides enough coverage to hide dark circles in a swipe and still looks light and natural, with a soft dewy finish.
I could go on for days about the endless uses but I'll cut it short for your sake. It's the ultimate versatile product that never lets you down and I definitely recommend it. The only downside I can think of is the ingredient list: I can see many of you will turn their noses up at that mineral oil as first ingredient and I have to say it was the thing I was most nervous about when I bought it. However it didn't break me out and my skin didn't have weird reactions to this ingredient; as far as I can tell it makes SSE feel quite heavy on the skin when applied straight form the pot but that's about it.

It's available in 16 shades and I wear SX01 which is a very good match for my skin, mostly because it’s not made only with the usual pink and yellow pigments, but there’re also some bits of grey in it to make it look just like real skin. I've heard shade estimations based on online foundation matrixes can be misleading so make sure to get color-matched on counter before buying it.

It’s not a must have for the average makeup user, but it’s definitely an interesting product for who likes to play and experiment with textures and finishes and bring makeup to the next level.
What do you think?


NARS Alhambra Duo Eyeshadow

maggio 22, 2013

NARS Duo Eyeshadow Alhambra £25/€34
Although is more famous for its blushes, NARS is one of my top brands when it comes to eyeshadows. A few shades are tragic misses - I'm looking at you Night Series - but most of them are simply perfect and definitely worth the splurge. At the top of my favourites list is Alhambra, a duo consisting of a soft metallic rose and a golden champagne, safely stored inside the signature rubbery packaging.
It's quite an unusual duo: often NARS duos are either made up of two contrasting shades or of the common lid/crease combo; Alhambra instead contains two light lid shades, perfect to achieve a wide-awake luminous look. Even though I love deep smoky looks, on a daily basis I'm all about making my eyes look bigger and I like to use this combo to create a delicate gradient: the soft pink in the inner corner, the golden champagne in the outer third and lower lash line, and a mix of the two all over the lid. If I need extra definition I add a tiny bit of a light matte brown such as MAC Kid in the crease to tie everything in.
The texture is to die for: they don't crumble at all so there're no fall outs. The shadows are buttery and blend seamlessly and uber easily. They stay put and look really nice for the whole day. I can't recommend this duo enough.

This duo is perfect to complement blue eyes, but works very well with all eye colors really.
If you're on the market for some radiant nudes definitely give it a go, i highly recommend it.
What's your favourite NARS eyeshadow?


Notd: Chanel May

maggio 20, 2013

Chanel Le Vernis May £18/€22
My hands have a slight yellow undertone, so maybe that's the reason why I don't wear pink polish too often and I struggle to find shades I like on me, despite it being my favorite color.
Luckily this is one of those perfect shades that suit everyone. Sometimes it gets lost in my nail polish box, forgotten even, but when it resurfaces it's love all over again.
Chanel May was released last year for spring but it was added to the permanent line right away. It's a warm petal pink with jelly finish. It's not too bright or clashing, just one of those universally flattering shades that are fresh and young but also elegant and timeless at once.
The formula is the usual Chanel one. It might look sheer at first but it goes perfectly opaque with the second coat and lasts up to 6 days on me. The brush is on the small side but the formula is light and runny enough to flow easily on the nail. It's actually one of the most fool-proof formulas out there, because it's self-leveling and doesn't look streaky.

At £18 a pop it's not a cheap polish and it isn't the most unique shade in the range, but it's a lovely work-safe nail varnish and you pay for what you get. If you want to treat yourself with a Chanel polish and want to play a bit safe I highly recommend May.


On My Wishlist This Week #13

maggio 19, 2013

Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Palette Fraicheur Rosée // Urban Decay Mushroom Eyeshadow // Chantecaille Compact Soleil St Barts // Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Waterproof Mascara // Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defence
001 Stark packaging and rose scented products don't usually tickle my fancy, but with this release Lancome got my full attention. The Hypnose Doll Eyes Palettes struck me for the beautiful color combinations, easy textures and great pigmentation. Sometimes palettes are all over the place but these ones contain a full day to night look with fool proof instructions. Looking forward to give them a closer look.

002 Painfully boring yes, but you know I love my neutrals. Thanks to my Naked palettes I own my fair share of Urban Decay shadows but Mushroom is still missing. This silvery taupe-ish grey is one of the most popular shades and after seeing it in action I can see why. It works perfectly both on its own for a quick smokey look or in the crease to balance out brighter shades.

003 Fair girls like me know how hard it is to find the right bronzer shade that isn't too dark hence makes you look dirty. The Chantecaille Compact Soleil is quite a splurge to be honest but if Sam Chapman recommends, I start lusting right away.

004 The brush is one of those weird spoolies I usually don't like but it's the formula that really matters here. The Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Waterproof Mascara promises volume, curl, length and treatment and according to Jessica, who like me knows the pain of straight and stubborn lashes, it delivers them as well. That's a no-brainer for me. And look at that gorgeous white packaging!

005 Finding a spf product that doesn't leave that awful white cast behind is not as easy as it sounds - my latest La Roche Posay purchase for instance was a huge miss, but more on that later -. The Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defence is the new guy in town but it has already his own flock of admirers. A visit to Kiehl's is in need ASAP.

What's on your wishlist this week?


Budget Buy: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder

maggio 17, 2013

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder £3.99/€11.90
I don't usually indulge in drugstore makeup, mostly because here in Italy it tends to be quite overpriced, but from time to time curiosity gets the upper hand and I end up throwing a couple of products in my cart, for science purposes of course.
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder is an oil-controlling mattifying powder that promises up to 5 hours of shine control. I'd say it lasts about 4 before it needs a touch-up but it doesn't look cakey when layered with a light hand. It does a decent job at keeping the skin matte with a velvet finish that doesn't look too powdery. It tends to cling to dry patches a bit so be sure to apply it only on the oily areas.
Generally I would have gone for the Transparent shade because I don't like to add extra color to my base but I bought it on a whim in the queque at the supermarket a long time ago and at the time I didn't noticed it came in different shades. I grabbed the first light one I laid my eyes on and I'm so glad I did since apparently Transparent in this case means pretty much white and I wouldn't want too look paler than I am, thank you very much. Shade 003 Peach Glow is not really colored but it has a soft brightening effect due to the peachy undertone and helps to conceal redness as well so it's a good shade.

You can tell is well loved 'cause I've already hit pan on this one. It's not the best powder out there but it does its job well enough for such a small price. The packaging could be a lot better to be honest. The lid comes off way too easily and the whole thing feels too flimsy to simply throw in the purse for touch ups, but I guess Rimmel had to cut the budget somewhere and I'd rather have a nice powder in a cheap packaging than the other way around.

Have you tried it?
Do you have any drugstore product recommendation?


REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Peel Mask

maggio 16, 2013

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Peel Mask £30/€35
Once upon a time I used to be all about makeup but in the last months I became a wee bit obsessed with skincare, and with a wee bit I mean completely. Face masks in particular have become an essential step in my weekly skincare routine but to be honest I have more than one on rotation and every time I have 5-10 minutes to spare I slap one on and relax a bit.
The REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Peel Mask has quickly become one of my favorites, both for the lovely marmalade smell and the amazing results in terms of radiance visible from the very first application. It's an exfoliating mask jam-packed of pure fruit acids to give a nice, gentle but effective exfoliation and get rid in a handful of minutes of dead skin cells and all the dirt that clogs pores causing blackheads and blemishes. The result of this quick peel is a brighter, more radiant complexion that looks glowy, healthy and so much smoother. It does indeed feel like new skin, cleaner and more even.
Like most dry complexions, my skin tend to look dull and opaque, so of course I try to reach for resurfacing products as often as I can. This REN mask is perfect when my skin feels a little congested or is in need of a quick radiance boost, but it's not just a quick fix product. In the long run it also reduces the appearance of post blemish scarring and even fine lines, but I can't swear on this one.

I was really impressed by this mask and other products of the brand as well; in fact I'm already contemplating another REN purchase. Get ready to see more products of the range pop out in many favorites post in the future; it might actually be my new favorite skincare brand.
What's your most loved face mask?


Neve Cosmetics Dessert à Lèvres Lipstick Mousse Framboise

maggio 08, 2013

Neve Cosmetics Dessert à Lèvres Lipstick Mousse Framboise £10.50/€11.90
There's nothing more exciting than a new lipstick, except maybe for a new lipstick that smells like a dessert and is named after one.
Mousse Framboise is described as cool rasperry pink and I think the description is pretty spot on. It reminds me a bit of MAC Impassioned but slightly cooler and without its neon quality.
The formula is nice and creamy, and easily buildable to full opacity in a couple of swipes. After a quick glance to the swatches of the other 7 shades of the line, it looks like Mousse Framboise might be most pigmented of the bunch. If you're familiar with MAC lipstick formulas, I'd say it feels buttery like an Amplified but the coverage is a little sheerer, like a Frost. It goes on smoothly and feels comfortable to wear and nourishing thanks to pure shea butter and vegetal oils like jojoba and sweet almond extracts.
Due to its silky texture it's not the longest lasting formula available but this shade has a stain quality to it and it doesn't fade completely during the day.
The lovely pastry scent and the cute packaging deserve extra brownie points. Even the cardboard packaging is so pretty I feel gutted to throw it away; I'll have to find an alternative use for it and I'm opened to suggestions.
Like all Neve Cosmetics products it's cruelty free and it's vegetarian.

Overall I think it's a good lipstick with a great, moisturizing formula. The shade selection could be improved a bit, maybe with a warmer red and a bright orange, because as things stand now the color range is not uber original. Anyways it's a big thumbs up for me. Actually I already have my eye on Peach Macaron. How to say no to dessert?
What do you think?


On my wishlist this week #12

maggio 05, 2013

Illamasqua Hydra Veil // Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Radiant Bronzing Powder // Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'Eau // MAC Honey Lust Eyeshadow // Sephora The Perfectionist Makeup Sponge
001 If the rest of the Paranormal collection didn't really tickle my fancy, Hydra Veil got my attention right away. It's part primer, part hydrator with the funniest gel consistency, that claims to help foundation glide on more easily and instantly rehydrate the skin. I love myself a good primer and after reading all the positive comments, I can't wait to play with this phenomenal jell-o.

002 Even if I'm not a huge bronzer lover, I'm a total sucker for powders with cute embossed designs. Just look at those pretty flowers! The Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Radiant Bronzing Powder is a mix of different browns and pinks to mix to customize your own shade of bronzer and it can probably double as eyeshadow palette as well. Gorgeous!

003 I hoped my craving for the French brand's lovely scents would have vanished after my purchase of Philosykos but I can't stop thinking of my second favorite scent out of the samples I received: L'Ombre Dans L'Eau, a tart, aquatic fragrance that smells exactly like flowers blooming by the riverside. Le sigh.

004 I was watching a YT video the other day and the vlogger - I can't remember who it was, sorry - was wearing Honey lust by MAC all over the lid as a sheer wash of color. I was actually shocked by how multidimensional and glowing it looked, so of course I added this beautiful bronze-dipped peach to my wishlist right away. Isn't always like that with MAC? You think you already own all the pretty shades and then you see something that 'wow it looks so pretty on her I want it!' and you need to have it. Damnit MAC!

005 I've been loving my fake beauty blender a lot lately, but I'm not quite ready to purchase the real one and spend £17 on a sponge just yet. However everyone seems to be coming out with it's own version of the miracle sponge and I think the Sephora The Perfectionist Makeup Sponge might be one of the most interesting offers, for the shape, yes, but mostly for the little stand it comes with. I like the idea of being able to store it neatly to dry instead of having it rolling wildly around my bathroom. Ahem.

What's on your wishlist this week?


April favourites

maggio 04, 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused // Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti Blemish Mask // Living Proof Prime Style Extender // Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance // NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer // Hydraluron Moisture Booster
Even if I love testing out new products, I'm a creature of habit and I don't easily venture too far from my usual skincare and makeup products for my everyday routine. However during April I discovered some amazing bits that sneaked their way into my makeup bag from the very first use.

My favourite of the favourites has to be the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused. I'm trying really hard to write a review that says more than OMGYOUNEEDTHIS! but I'm miserably failing. The finish this powder gives is truly amazing: it's like a benevolent soft focus light that hits your face in all the right places while blurring pores and brightening the complexion. I've tried it over many foundations, even a mineral one, and the result was gorgeous every time.
And of course being so fond of my glowy skin I had to include my go-to primer in this post. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance is my primer of choice under every foundation. The slightly peachy toned cream counteracts tiredness and dullness, while blurring pores and imperfection and of course making foundation last all day. A must have for radiance lovers.

Skincare wise the Hydraulon Moisture Booster has done miracle for my skin tone. This serum hydrates the skin below the surface and locks the moisture in so the skin appears plumper and softer and makeup applies more smoothly and lasts longer. Among other benefits, deeply hydrated skin heals faster; in a handful of days my complexion looked so much better, more even and with less blemishes and scars. As an instant gratification enthusiast, I really appreciate products that make a huge difference in short time like this one.
And speaking of quick fix products, I've been loving the Living Proof Prime Style Extender to pieces. It's a primer for your hair that extends the life of hair sets and enhances the effect of other styling products. My hair felt smoother and looked shinier from the very first use. They're also less sensitive to humidity and hold the style so much better: before Prime Style Extender my curls barely lived to see the end of the day but with this they lasted almost three days, saving me a lot of trouble. I suppose we could say 'where have you been all my life?'

The Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti Blemish Mask is the newest addition to my rescue team. It's a fast-acting clay mask that threats quick and efficiently those sore lumps that linger under the skin for days. Like all Aesop products is jam packed with good ingredients that calm redness, reduces the swelling and draws all impurities to the surface to avoid future comebacks.

Last but not least another amazing concealer find. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is such a great product: it's a concealer packed with skincare actives to repair imperfections while correcting them. It's really something you want to see in person but the finish is so radiant and glowy and the texture is soft and easy to build and blend. The satin finish brings light to the under eye area in a very believable way. I absolutely love it!

A few great finds, you see. What products made you go crazy during the month of April?


MAC Chatterbox lipstick

maggio 01, 2013

MAC Chatterbox Lipstick £14/€18.50
Another recent addition to my lipstick collection and a shade I've had on my wishlist for a while is Chatterbox, a bright red-pink with Amplified finish. On my lips it comes out more like a medium neutral pink with a touch of warmth. It's vibrant but easy to wear since it's not too bright or neon, like Viva Glam Nicky 1 for instance. It brings light to the face without being too bold. Being not so massively bright it's also perfect for those who wish they could pull off more daring shades but don't feel brave enough for something like Impassioned or Girl about town. It's a nice play safe-bright if it make sense.
The formula is definitely one of the best of the range: Amplified lipsticks are uber pigmented, creamy but long lasting, and extremely comfortable to wear. With my dry lips I often struggle with pigmented lipsticks 'cause they tend to be quite drying as well but this formula applies smoothly and feels very moisturizing. Amplified are also perfect for those who struggle with pigmented lips and want a true-to-bullet shade for these lipsticks are fully opaque in one swipe.

It's a must have shade for spring and summer: it's cheerful and versatile, and doesn't compete too much with more daring eye looks.
What do you think?
What's your favorite pink lipstick?