On My Wishlist This Week #17

ottobre 30, 2013

Clarins The Essential Palette // Benefit Countdown To Love Advent Calendar // NARS One Night Stand Blush Palette // Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect Spf30
001 Clarins' rip-off of the famous Naked is a serious stunner. The Essential Palette (£35) features 10 mineral eyeshadows in satin, pearl and matte finishes. The shades are so me they had me weak at the knees the moment I laid eyes on the palette. The powders look buttery soft and quite pigmented, and I can't wait to swatch them all.

002 Christmas countdown has never looked more beautiful. Behind every door of the Benefit Countdown to Love (£65) is one of 24 deluxe surprises for you to try. This gorgeous calendar includes a selection of some of the brand's bestsellers - like Hoola, Dandelion and Coralista box o' powders, The Porefessional, Benetint and Posietint, Badgal Lash mascara and That Gal primer - and 3 little extra surprises for a very Benefit Christmas. I had so much fun with my Ciatè Mini Many Month last year and I'm really looking forward to trying out some of these products every day.

003 Another swoon-inducing palette from NARS. How could I ever resist? Two years ago I missed the Danmari one but the NARS One Night Stand Palette (£45) will be mine. Including 3 of the most famous shades - Orgasm and Deep Throat blushes and Laguna bronzer -, this palette also features 3 exclusive limited edition shades: Mistinguette and Goulue blushes and Devotee highlighting blush. Oh so pretty!

004 I'm still working my way through the sample I got at the counter, but the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect (£28) is on top of my to-buy list for my next visit to the mall. The newest addiction to the brand's primer line-up smooths the skin and makes foundation last longer while the slightly radiant finish blurs imperfections and provides a soft, luminous look. If the Oil-free primer and the Radiance one had a baby it would look like this. The extra spf30 PA+++ protection to shield the skin from UV rays makes it the ultimate primer.

What have you been lusting on this week?


The Haul: A Little Bit Of MAC

ottobre 28, 2013

MAC Mineralize Concealer NC15 // MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Stormy Pink, Camel Coat & Perky //  MAC Lipstick in Plumful // MAC RiRi Hearts Powder Blush in Bad Girl Gone Good
I'm basically physically incapable of resisting a trip to MAC. I mean, no. I can't pass it up. 
So whenever someone asks if I'm up for a quickie to the closest store, I try to play it cool while I mentally fist-pump and get ready to pull out my wallet. Because one does not simply walk into MAC without buying anything. That would be plain rude. The day this haul happened I walked in with a couple of purchases in mind and, as it always happens, I marched out with four other things in my shopping bag. Bless.

I'm on the market for a liquid concealer to include in my pro kit and a couple of fellow makeup artists have recommended the MAC Mineralize Concealer (£16.50). This concealer in nice and light on the skin, with buildable coverage and a radiant finish that looks luminous and natural without actually highlighting imperfections. The formula is quite moisturizing and slightly filling, which means it works well on dry skins and mature ones as well. Also it looks like the shade range may run slightly lighter than usual, which is good for very fair complexions as sometimes NC15 is still a bit too dark. I'm still testing it out but so far I really like it.

Weirdly enough I didn't ended up buying any powder eyeshadow this time but I made up for it by picking up 3 of the newest MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pots (£15). These are permanent so there was no hurry, however once I swatched them I couldn't simply leave them alone. I was already a fan of the basic ones but I really like this improved version and the color range is oh so pretty. I picked up Camel Coat, which I'd describe as a trench coat kind of shade rather than camel; anyways, it's a nice creamy beige, perfect to give definition to fair complexions, to neutralize any pigmentation on the lid or just as a base, for subtle smokey looks. Stormy Pink is a creamy mauve with a bit of a mushroom undertone, if that even makes sense. It's a very sophisticated shade and I can see it work wonderfully on its own or paired with plums and purples. At last, I grabbed Perky on a whim. I don't usually wear corals on my eyelids but there's something about this shade I can't quite put my finger on. It's just really pretty, I guess, especially if you like an effortless, bonne mine look like I do now and then. I dare to say it could even work as a blush but don't quote me on that.

I spoke about the MAC RiRi Hearts Powder Blush in Bad Girl Gone Good (£20) in my latest wishlist post and as you can tell I caved in and bought it. I'm so glad I did of course, it's just as pretty as I expected and then some. The packaging is the tackiest thing but the blush itself is worth a little cringing: it's a lovely coppery peach that gives the most amazing lit-from-within glow to my pale skin. It's limited edition and is selling out fast, even if not as fast as the rest of the collection, so there's still chance for you to find it somewhere.

Lastly, I back-2-MACed - don't you just love getting free lipsticks? I most certainly do - 6 empties for a lipstick I've had in my wishlist for the longest time. MAC Plumful (£15) is a medium pink with plum undertones, which gives that I-just-ate-a-handful-of-berries kind of look. Although the finish is sheer, it gives plenty of colour to the lips; the wear time is decent given the moisturizing formula and it fades evenly throughout the day. Plumful is a safe way to approach the berry lips trend without going too overboard but it's also a very pretty shade for any occasion and I think it would suit many skin tones.

Have you tried any of these products?


The Event: Caudalie Grand Opening

ottobre 24, 2013

The only thing more exciting than one of your favourite brands opening a flagship store in town, is an invitation for said opening in the mail. Two days ago I popped along to the opening event for the first Caudalie spa boutique here in Milan and I have to tell you, it's one of the prettiest stores I've ever seen. I have a soft spot for country style with expensive details - such as white marble counters and washbasins - and I really like the cozy yet elegant set up. I feel it really represents the brand's style.
Anyways, I got the chance to dip my mitts in every jar and stick my sniffer in everything, and also try out pretty much the whole line with the help of the lovely Caudalie ladies. During the guided tour many products made it to my to-buy list, which now reads like this:
The whole cleansing line up caught up my attention almost immediately, for the sleek, clear acid green and white packaging but especially for the signature grape and salve scent, one of my favourite fragrances of all time. The Instant Foaming Cleanser (£13.50) came home with me right away and these guys here will follow suit in no time. I usually stay clear of tonics as I find them drying and quite harsh on my sensitive skin; however the Caudalie toner combines an alcohol-free formula with moisturizing ingredients, which make it suitable for all skin types but especially recommended for sensitive skins. I don't plan to put my trusty Bioderma aside anytime soon, but I'm always willing to try other micellar waters, especially if they smell heavenly like this one.
Nail And Hand Cream Miel De Vigne (£6)
When it comes to hand creams I'm a little hoarder and it'd be only fair to admit there are dozens of scraps scattered around my house, but I think I'll manage to find room for this one. The grease-free formula sinks in quickly, leaving no trace behind, except for an amazing vine honey scent, and leaves hands and cuticles soft and moisturized for hours.

Beauty Elixir Limited Edition (£32)
Many thinks this product is a bit of a faff and just a blogger obsession, but it goes beyond than that. This is one of those products you think you can leave without until you catch a whiff in the air and you're in love all over again. During the last year I went through at least 5 bottles of this wonderful mist, which gives an instant energy boost to the skin, sets and refreshes makeup and generally improves and tightens dull skin. Being a sucker for limited edition packaging there's no way I could miss the special L'Wren Scott design.

Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst-Quenching Serum (£26.10) and S.O.S. Moring Eye Rescue (£16.20)
To be honest the Thist-Quencing Serum would be a third time repurchase but that's a technicality. This milky serum got me through winter last year with no signs of my usual dry-as-the-desert skin issues. It calms redness and deeply hydrates the skin, for plumper and softer complexion. The fact I didn't have to fight against my signature dry patches only, is worth a lifetime repurchase. In store I was introduced to his trusty companion for eyes. Morning Rescue is an uber light cream that soothes sensitive eye-area while decongesting and plumping, for a fresher, well-rested look. And given my lack of sleep lately that sound quite appealing to me.

Are you swooning with me, ladies? Did any of these products made it to your wishlist as well?
What's your favourite Caudalie product?


The Event: A Makeover With Laura Mercier

ottobre 21, 2013

Being oh so picky when it comes down to my skin and makeup, cosmetics counter makeovers aren't something I indulge in too often. However a few days ago I put my face in the hands of the lovely Sara at the Laura Mercier counter and I've enjoyed the experience so much I thought I'd share.

Sara began by removing my makeup and cleansing the skin with the Oil-free One Step Foaming Cleanser (£29), a delicate yet effective foam that gets rid of any makeup residue in just one swipe. She then applied a thin layer of Multi-Vitamin Serum (£60) for an instant brightening effect, then a bit of Tone Perfecting Creme (£77) to moisturize and even out any redness. Finally she applied one of my favourite products, the Foundation Primer Radiance (£28), to prep the skin for foundation, blur imperfections and add a boost of luminosity to my dry skin.

Moving onto makeup, Sara asked me a little about my Laura Mercier favourites and decided to use the Oil Free Supreme Foundation (£33), a medium coverage long-lasting base I got sampled quite a while ago but never got around buying. This base is extremely light and comfortable to wear, and not-at-all drying despite the oil-free formula. She got the most out of the coverage applying it with a dry sponge and pressing it into my skin for a flawless finish. To hide a few stubborn scars and blemishes she picked up one of her cult products, the Undercover Pot (£29), the ultimate travel-friendly product. Inside the compact, a tiny mirror, a concealer duo and a decent amount of translucent loose powder to set the look. The Secret Camouflage side was used to make any imperfection disappear, while the Secret Concealer side got rid of my under-eye shadows. Only a small amount was needed as this stuff is incredibly pigmented. Finally she set everything with a light dust of Universal Loose Powder (£29) and Secret Brightening Powder (£18.50), two of my all time favourite products. The Universal Loose Powder is a makeup artist favourite to set the base as it works well across all skin tones and types, while Secret Brightening stops the concealer from setting into fine lines and moving around, and brightens the under eye area as well. She also used a light swipe of a matte bronzer to bring back dimension to the face and a ginger blush to define the cheekbones without going too overboard.

Next up, Sara moved onto my brows, filling them with an angled brush dipped into the Brow Definer (£16.50) in Fair, perfect to fill in any gaps in an uber natural way. For the eyes she created a classical v-shaped smokey eye but with an interesting twist. I usually stay clear of blacks and dark greys in the crease as I feel they can make my eyes look smaller and deeper set, however Sara managed to define them and make them appear even bigger thanks to a clever product placement. Caviar Stick Eye Colour (£20.50) in Grey Pearl was used as a base, to create a smooth surface for the eyeshadow to stick to conceal any pigmentation on the lid. After blending a matte dark grey-ish brown in a 3 shape to define, Sara drew the skinniest line with one of the new Creme Eye Liners (£18.50). Noir is one of the blackest blacks I've seen in a while and the smooth, creamy texture allows for an extremely easy and fool proof application.
A quick coat of mascara on top and bottom lashes and we were finally ready for the lips. I was really excited to try one of the new Rouge Nouveau Weightless Lips (£20) which struck me immediately for the soft texture and incredible pigmentation. Sara chose Mod 103, a gorgeous warm red with opaque finish. Now that is the most comfortable matte formula I've ever tried and I'll be definitely going back for more once I've sorted out my lipstick collection to see which shades I'm missing.
At last, a tiny blob of Secret Finish (£23.50) made the base last all day without need for touch-ups.

The final look was something different from what I'm used to but flattering and easy to wear nonetheless.
A couple of purchases may have happened and a few brilliant products may have sneaked into my wishlist as well, including two of the amazing brushes of the range. Yes, you heard me. There's no such a thing as too many brushes.
What's your experience with counter makeovers?
Have you tried anything from the Laura Mercier range?


The Makeup Bag Autumn Update

ottobre 12, 2013

NARS Blush Sin // Bourjois Cream Blush 04 Sweet Cherry // Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging  Concealer 01 Light // Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes 09 Lavish Lilac* // MAC Patina & Trax Eyeshadow Refills // MAC Matchmaster Foundation Spf15 1.0 // MAC Lipstick Syrup
This week I felt a strong need to switch my routine and adjust it to the season. I dived deep into my drawers and pulled out a few key products that will make me feel autumn-ready in no time.

As the weather gets colder I like to switch foundations and upgrade to higher coverage compared to the tinted moisturizers and light textures I reach for during the summer months. I still enjoy dewy and glowy finishes but lately I've been going down a different road entirely, simply because I'm having a hard time finding a foundation that matches my skin tone at the moment. MAC Matchmaster foundation (£27) in 1.0 is pretty much the perfect match for me but still requires a lot of skin prep to look good on my dry skin due to the oil free formula and the virtually matte finish. The medium coverage is perfect for this time of the year tho, when a bit of redness start creeping through my skin, and the formula is really long lasting, so I don't mind the layers of Laura Mercier Radiance Primer and MAC Fix+ I have to apply to make it suitable for me too much. I'm already looking for something more appropriate for my skin type of course but for now I'm making do.
You know how easily obsessed I am with beauty products and as of late it's been all about concealers. My most recent addiction is the Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Concealer (£17), which has quickly become one of my everyday staples. The uber moisturizing formula is crease proof and long lasting so there's no need to set it with powder and the instant wide-awake effect is simply brilliant. I love me some treatment makeup and this concealer is like a 10 hour beauty nap in a tube.

Onto the eye stuff, only a few days ago I got my hands on the Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes (£17)* in 09 Lavish Lilac and I've been using it loads ever since. I don't stray from my signature gold and bronze hues too easily but there's something about this mellow metallic plum that really stole my heart. It's so easy to apply and blend at the edges for a quick smokey look and lasts all day without budging. Now I see why everyone can't stop talking about these cream shadows. For a powder option I put together this duo with one of my favourite MAC Eyeshadows (£10), Patina, and one of the most neglected shades in my collection, Trax - a green-ish taupe shot through with pale gold sheen and pink-ish plum with shimmer respectively -. I love how these two shades blend into one another in a sultry yet sophisticated mix. I wear Patina all over the lid and then blend Trax in the crease and outer v, with a mix of both shades on the lower lash line for the perfect grungy smokey look.

The berry theme continues with NARS Sin Blush (£21.50), a frosted plum with gold shimmer running through it. I absolutely adore this shade and I always get back to it, cause it complements my complexion so well. It works nicely across many skin tones and gives a beautiful lit-from-within, healthy glow. It seems people tend to ignore it in favor of other more famous shades, probably because it looks a bit dark in the pan, but it's a real stunner and a great cheek color for fall and winter. Very similar to another popular NARS shade - Dolce Vita - is the Bourjois Cream Blush in 04 Sweet Cherry (£7.99), perfect for a gorgeous I-took-a-walk-in-the-snow kind of flush. I promise I'll stop talking about these blushes at some point but right now I can't put them down. Sweet Cherry is a red pink with an opaque finish, so easy to pat on the cheeks and go.

Lastly, even if my go-to shades for the cooler months are dark reds and deep berries, sometimes I still feel the need for something more subtle, especially if I'm wearing a smokey eye. MAC Lipstick in Syrup (£15) is a darker version of my lip shade, a medium pink with just a hint of plum. I picked it on a whim, after the worst of days, but it turns out my frustration has good taste for lip products after all. Like other Lustre lipsticks, it's glossy and moisturizing - such a relief for my dry lips - but lasts quite a long time on me and the color pay-off is nice and buildable.

Hope you liked taking a peek inside my makeup bag. Have you tried anything I mentioned?
Feel like there's something missing?
*PR sample

On My Wishlist This Week #16

ottobre 06, 2013

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation // Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge // Bourjois Java Rice Powder // Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream // MAC Bad Girl Gone Bad Blush
001 You know how much I love trying out new foundations and with a soft spot for treatment makeup, the new YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation got my attention right away. I can't wait to give it a try; I only hope it won't be as heavily scented as other YSL products are.

002 I've been all over blender sponges lately and given my endless love for Real Techniques I couldn't let this one go unnoticed. Sam's such an enabler. I've been watching her tutorials on the RT channel in the past few days and I may or may not have clicked on the checkout button already.

003 Strictly speaking, I wouldn't say I need a new powder; however Bourjois is another of those brands I can't really resist to. Besides I don't think need has anything to do with cute illuminating powders in pretty vintage packaging, am I right? Let's hope it appears on Asos very soon, 'cause I've been stalking the website with alarming frequency lately and I feel like such a weirdo.

004 I've been watching Charlotte Tilbury and her work since way before she started a YT channel - after appearing in one of Lisa Eldridge's videos -, and her Magic cream felt like something almost mythologycal to me. Imagine my happiness when I found out it was going to be available for purchase. However 70£ are a little too much for a blind purchase but hopefully I'll be able to try out a sample very soon. Cross your fingers for me!

005 At first I dismissed the whole RiRi Love collection, because the packaging looks oh so cheap and a bit rubbish to me, and I couldn't see why I should spend extra money for a bunch a repackaged permanent products and only a few limited editions - also I'm quite sure the collection will go out of stock in a matter of seconds and I'm not a fan of race shopping -. However after reading Jessica's review of the Bad Girl Gone Good blush I had to rethink the whole thing. This shade looks so pretty on fair skin and I might actually try to get my hands on it.

What's on your wishlist this week?


The Event: LUSH Christmas 2013 Preview

ottobre 04, 2013

Some of us can't decide what to have for lunch, like yours truly here, and some, like LUSH's little helpers, are already all geared up and ready for Christmas. A week ago I popped along to LUSH headquarters for a sneak peek at the upcoming Holiday collection and I got the chance to play with some of the amazing products that will go on sale in the next few hours.

LUSH's one is a-go-big-or-go-home kind of Christmas, with almost 40 wonderful gifts and tons of brand new product as well as some welcome returns. First of all one of my personal favourites, the uber popular Let the good times roll cleanser. If you haven't tried it last year, you missed all the fun, let me tell you. It's a fantastic cleanser, perfect for dry skin but everyone can use it really; and it smells like sweet popcorns and vanilla cake. If this doesn't make you want to pop into a store right away, I don't know what else will.
Another favourite of mine, the sweet and creamy almond-scented Snowcake soap, is making a comeback along with Golden wonder bath ballistic, a must have for glitter lovers and citrus scent fiends. Tangerine lovers will be happy to see Father Christmas bath ballistic back in store and the ones that love glitters and sweet scents will go crazy for Snow Fairy shower gel and its friends: the distinctive bubblegum scent will be also available as bubble bar - Candy Mountain and Magic Wand - and as glitter packed massage bar - Snow Fairy Sparkle -.
Among the new products my favourites are for sure the adorable Christmas Penguin bubble bar, which will fill your bath of a ton of soft light blue bubbles, and Secret Santa bath bomb that mimics the wonderful LUSH shop's scent.

Are you as excited for Christmas as I am now? See anything that tickles your fancy?


Semptember Favourites

ottobre 01, 2013

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer spf 30/PA+++ // Caudalie Figue De Vigne Eau Fraiche* // Bourjois Cream Blush #02 Healthy Glow // KIKO Blender Sponge // Bourjois Color Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick in Red Sunrise & Orange Punch // MAC Pro Longwear Bronzing Powder in Nude On Board
September has been a very good month beauty wise. The weather has been lovely and I got to try some amazing products, a few of which made it to my shortlist along with an old guy that has been neglected for way too long.

Starting up with makeup I decided it was time to dust off my NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer spf30/PA+++ (£28) - well that was a mouthful - and see if I could make it work this time. When I firstly tried it, about a year ago or so, I wasn't overly impressed. What kept me on the fence about this product, besides the slight oxidation, is the finish, more on the verge of sweaty glow rather than healthy glow, which might enhance pores and imperfections. However lately I've been applying it with the KIKO Blender Sponge which somehow manages to tone down the glow, provides a radiant, flawless finish and makes building the coverage so much easier. The oxidation is still an issue unfortunately but I can make it work anyways now that I have a little color left from summer and I've been enjoying the extra-light texture a lot lately.

After raving so much about them in my previous review (here) I couldn't leave the Bourjois Cream Blushes (£7.99) out of my favourites. 02 Healthy Glow is the one I wore the most, simply because it's your typical goes-with-everything shade. Bourjois blushes are so easy to brush on and go and the formula is such a pleasure to work with. I'm in love, you guys!
Also from Bourjois I've been loving the Color Boost Glossy Lipstick Crayon (£7.99) in 01 Red Sunrise and 03 Orange Punch, a beautiful cherry red that makes my teeth look uber white and a pretty pink-ish orange respectively. I'm not sold on this whole pencil lipstick thing yet, however these Color Boosts got me after just one use: they're incredibly moisturizing and super comfortable to wear, easy to apply and touch-up on the go and the color wears off nicely throughout the day. I can't swear on the 10 hours wear but they hold their ground during regular meals and last quite a long time. They're great and definitely worth the hype and I'd love to see some dark shades for fall too.

Finally, I felt a little guilty adding a limited edition product to my favourites but the Temperature Rising collection didn't come out too long ago and there's still a chance for you to get your hands on it. MAC Nude On Board Pro Longwear Bronzing Powder (£22) is the perfect bronzer for fair ladies: it's a yellow based bronzer with no orange in sight, semi-sheer but easy to build and with just enough shimmer to give a natural bronze glow. I've used it loads in the past months and god knows I'm not a bronzer girl. Knowing how hard it is to find a nice bronzer that doesn't make porcelain complexions look dirty, I really hope to see this in the permanent range someday.

The fig-obsession saga continues with the newest addiction to my fragrance line up, the Caudalie Figue de Vigne Eau Fraiche* (£23.40). Caudalie approaches the scent in a more grown-up way - compared for instance to Diptyque's Philosykos that I featured in my latest monthly favourites -, with a muskier base and warm citrusy notes in the background that smell like summer in the Mediterranean sea and fig leaves. It's perfect for the warm season but it will also be a nice transition scent toward fall. Really lovely.

It's been a nice month, still a bit summer-ish, but I'm so glad we're finally moving into fall. I'm really excited for berry shades and sultry eyeshadow looks and I can't wait to take out boots, jumper and trench coats.
What have you been loving during the past month?