Hopefully you are still in the mood for posts about 2103 favourites… this is a brief overview of what makeup products captured my attention and made it to my top most loved and most used.
I have quite a few items to share and yet it’s short if I consider all the 2013 acquisitions, including the Japan and Scotland hauls. I haven’t had enough time to experiment with all of them properly but I don’t regret it, it has been a very enriching year and not being able to experiment is an experiment by itself, finding the easiest products and looks is also a challenge – specially when our skin is getting older and when there are so many excellent brands to choose from.
I spent a lot of time at work and also on trips, came back with a lot of goodies but most of them are still stored in the waiting drawer praying for some action… unfortunately it got open only in very rare occasions. This new year will mainly focus on opening that drawer more often (daily!) instead of buying lots of new products. It feels good to take time and relax during the make-up application and that was something I couldn’t afford last year.
As a consequence of last year’s insanity, I will be buying less make-up this year, although I have an order incoming but most of these ordered products were on my wishlist for a while anyway, some Burberry (eye palettes, Radiance powder), Addiction (Departure palette), Three (Star Guitar palette), Urban Decay (Naked 3), BareMinerals (The Power Neutrals), all these and probably a bit more will still join the fun reviews of 2014. Even though I can save on shoes, bags, jewellery, clothes… I am not very proud of me when it comes to resisting brushes… if you knew the brush alert that is approaching my house right now you would probably freak out… so you’ll also see a lot of brush reviews, specially Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Koyudo, Paula Dorf and Rae Morris!
Sometimes -to feel slightly better- I say to myself that now I have an excuse with the brush temple, one needs to do sacrifices for the sake of beauty 😀
“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” T.D. Jakes
But I know very clearly that with or without this blog, I would still be doing it!
Skincare and base makeup
Not many surprises here since I cannot make many things work on my skin anyway. I have to stick to Laura Mercier Repair Creme for day and night, with a separate SPF skincare. There is a similar repair creme with SPF but it’s obviously not the same formula and it does not deliver the same hydration.
Scary when you think that in 2013 I used 9 pots, and this is not a copy/paste, this is the amount of empty pots I have for the past year:
…is there a “Back to LM” just like the “Back to Mac” rewards ?? I don’t know why I kept them… I could build a raft with all the empty things I have at home 🙂
I had the opportunity to try a generous sample of Suqqu Moisture Barrier and oh miracle, it works! Enough moisture for the day, only problem is the price… I think it’s even 4 times more expensive than the Laura Mercier. The LM gives me hydration for longer but I very much prefer the finish of a makeup application when I wear the Suqqu instead of the LM, the LM does not completely disappear into the skin, there is like a greasy feeling to it but it’s the only one that really works and keeps the moisture going. Even though Suqqu lasts long enough (all day), it’s like Cinderella, at midnight it stops hydrating – with the LM I could go dancing all night and in the morning I would still look “moisturized”, probably drunk and tired but moisturized…. The question is, do I want to look the best for a shorter period of time or decent but for a longer one ? 😀 I’ll simply stick to the LM because imagine the same quantity of pots in Suqqu price….
Still loving the Astalift and the Bioderma, other than that I switch too much to be able to report any more favourites in this category.
Ellis Faas. I also love Suqqu and By Terry, all deliver sheer to medium coverage and are appropriate for dry skin but Ellis Faas has been my go to ever since I discovered it. I mix two shades, the L102 and L103 but even when I can’t mix them, this foundation has a particularity to easily adapt to my skintone, it’s quite weird but any of these shades will match my skintone.
Tom Ford Eye Primer Duo and Edward Bess Illuminating in Cashmere are hands down the biggest discoveries in eye primer ever as far as I am concerned. I prefer the Tom Ford for several reasons, although it doesn’t deliver as much coverage as the EB, the result is smoother and the application faster. Super easy to dose, you dip the brush (…or the fingertip hmhm) and that’s it! With EB you have to click the product out and I always click too much then it stays stored in the brush of the pen but it’s a great product too. If I had to keep only one, it would definitely be the TF, sometimes I even just leave it on its own (set with its powder). I am absolutely crazy about it specially after my 2013 eyelid crisis, I was having a sad moment involving the appearance of my eyelids and this helped, not sure how but it did.
I am also trying the Sensai and the Urban Decay anti-ageing which have been a bit left aside since I have been loving the TF too much. The Sensai is colorless, it brings more glow but I still prefer the smoothness and very light sensation delivered with the TF and also the eyeshadow application lasts longer. I will keep you updated since I will be reviewing some products in this category. I just remembered that some time ago I bought the By Terry Hyaluronic Eye Primer thanks to a voucher (I was having that same eyelid crisis) the first applications weren’t that amazing so the lack of interest made me forget about it.
The Tom Ford and the Edward Bess have nearly the same finish, smooth, just add a very slightly lightening effect and matte, they both hold the shadows really well.
I don’t use much concealer but mostly brighteners, I love the Burberry Soft Beige N°2, it doesn’t feel thick or heavy and the texture is invisible, easy to blend with the fingertips or with any flat brush.
I have splurged in a few good concealers and will be using them in the future. I never had big problems that required too much investment in this field, today I do. I got the Benefit Fake Up and the UD 24/7 concealer pencil recently and for the sake of trying expensive things I am considering the La Mer with my next month voucher… There is a shop in Geneva where I buy my By Terry products, as customers we receive a monthly voucher but since I buy less products now, I have fewer vouchers and have to wait two or three months to be rewarded anything at all but next purchase there will be the La Mer concealer. For my Swiss readers, that shop is Marionnaud.
The Chantecaille Contour Fill is my favourite since I discovered it a few years back. I ordered recently the Crème de La Mer lip balm and it sounds promising, this may complement (or replace?) the lip contour which acts more like a … contour! and a base but not much of a balm although it plumps the lips, it doesn’t repair them. The Chantecaille has absolutely no colour by the way, just fills and plumps the lips.
I don’t use foundation primers, if I really need to do something for my pores or to make foundation last longer I will grab some sample and simply use what I have and not even all over my face but just on localized zones. I can see more reason for primers when the skin is oily but with my very dry skin I never felt the need to use them, this can change, with age skin changes and I am considering getting “plumping” or anti-ageing serum type primers. Speaking of which, I do use a Sérum as a base, or foundation or self-tanning bronzer, it’s called By Terry Soleil TerryBly and I use the shade Summer Nude. It’s a mutant product and can serve many purposes at the same time, I use it when I don’t want to use foundation but still want a healthy glow, unlike a powder it will not set into the lines, it will not be visible, does not leave a film and you cannot feel it when you touch your skin but it does leave micro sparkles that are visible in sunlight, it’s not a problem for me it’s a plus, the skin is enhanced and glowing. It will “darken” the skin but so little that you can barely notice, it doesn’t turn orange nor patchy. I apply it with my fingertips because of the price and you don’t want to waste here. Regarding the smell, it’s doesn’t smell like self-tanning products but just like the rest of the By Terry range which is strong, but I love.
It was all about fast, easy and neutrals colors and that is going to reflect here a lot.
I wanted to include swatches…. but I have a problem with my camera (I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BL*** USE IT!!!) so the swatches are terrible 🙁 I have to find a solution in order to be able to swatch things for you in the future… please excuse my horrible attempts.
Tom Ford Orchid Haze, superior quality than his past quads, no chunky glitter, no metallics, it’s a dream. I could live with only this palette (and a black shadow or the defining pen).
The two Tom Ford trios She Wolf and In the Pink, easy to wear, super long lasting, these are not unique shades but they are made of elegance and quality and I had to get a backup of the She Wolfs even if I decided last year to NOT get backups anymore… 🙁
The Addiction Tuxedo Moon, special because I love Mac Vex type of shades, complex greys, and this palette has a beautiful complex grey that I can use as highlighter or eyelid colour. The others are just here as neutral ambassadors, a sheer grey mauve (not sure how to describe it) that serves as crease or blending colour, a brown and a black. The quality is stunning, easy to apply, to blend, not powdery. I don’t need anything else to complete either a neutral or a strong look and that’s also why this is a huge winner for me.
The Chanel Ombres Matelassées has great pigmentation and is super appropriate for neutral looks but can also be dramatized -when drama is not about unique colours but about intense darker beautiful looks. The other Chanel shadow that I love is the mono Hasard, I thought it would be my replacement for the Mac Haux that I adore, but the Mac is warmer and darker. I love the textures like Hasard, very fool-proof, little risk to overload the application so another great hit.
The Yojiya eyeshadow palette is not going to knock your socks off but it’s very easy to work with, the textures are fine and the colours nothing unique but very wearable, if you prefer very easy neutrals to throw in your handbag that is a very nice option, but don’t throw it too hard… the compact is not ageing well. I have reached for it more than I though I would, the centre eyeshadow is a shimmery peach-pink and the other two ones are mattes with a very light glow.
The Dior Mystic Metallics Constellation is a gorgeous palette, I nearly passed on it because it’s written “Metallics” … but Stacy changed my mind, oh dear… thank you! I don’t often rave about Dior but this quint is a striking success. The pigmentation is divine, the colours unique, I wish it would last longer because the two sheerer colours don’t have spectacular lasting power but the colour combination of this palette is fantastic, it’s not flat, it has contrasting colours and I can also use it for daytime. The other “Bonne Etoile” palette from the same collection is also stunning, it’s just stronger and blue/greens not that easy to wear for daytime looks on myself but still, love both. Well done Dior.
The Suqqu palette that surprised me the most was the #EX-12 Hisuidama, looks simpler than the others but it’s the most interesting for me. If you want more complexity mix the green and the dark brown. Sometimes I get Suqqu-blased because I feel like whatever the palette I use the result is often quite similar and I couldn’t tell which one I really picked… with this palette it’s different, it has a more interesting personality.
There is also a big surprise with Anna Sui, I tried this brand for the first time this year in Japan, I picked 3 shades that happened to get used quite a lot so it results in big love. Without having seen the Chanel Mystere I picked shades that are a bit similar, a dark green with sparkles, a shimmery taupe and a pinkish-white base. The Anna Sui here apply less powdery than the Chanel and also more evenly, it’s not worth flying to the moon to get it but I am extremely happy with it, just a very pleasant discovery which gets used often.
Another fantastic hit -and that is not a surprise for anyone- is Burberry (Porcelain, Almond, Mulberry, Midnight Plum and Antique Rose are my favorites but I love all of them except for one, I think it’s the Gold Trench one, not sure because I depotted them (I shouldn’t have!). I love to do a mono eyelid look with the Midnight Plum, in my very top favs!!!
The Addiction eyeshadows do not fail to surprise me, specially Singita and Sandbar.
Inglot eyeshadows are really worth to try if you can, I love their pigmentation and I am stunned with this one : the Matte 392.
The pencils I use the most are the Charlotte Tilbury in Golden Quartz and the By Terry in Brown Perfection (finally a By Terry without a metallic finish!). The CT has sparkles but these sparkles are manageable, they stay reasonably put, they don’t go have a chat with my concealer for the 10am coffee break. I apply a very light application close to the upper lashline straight from the pencil but then I blend with a brush, something similar to the Hakuhodo J5523 but you have to act fast since it sets quickly, if I blend with the fingers the sparkles seem to be adhering to my fingertips so better use a brush. I don’t mind these green sparkles and it’s actually the reason why I got it, my eyes have a bit of green and green sparkles on top of another contrasting color is something I do a lot anyway – just because they make my eyes pop. It has a mysterious finish, kind of glossy but not metallic, I really love it but I am not considering getting more shades, the others are not colours I would wear. It’s creamy, not precise, in order to apply directly on the bottom lashline it’s better to use a brush, if you pick the product with a little pencil brush (like the Hakuhodo G5520 or K005) then you can more precisely apply it.
The By Terry is a plain brown, no sparkles and not overly loaded with shine, great for my ageing eyelids, it reminds me of the Laura Mercier creamy pencils and since I don’t have the brown LM I thought this would be useful for me. The swatches really don’t do them justice… 🙁
The other pencils that I used repeatedly are the Nars Longer than Life (specially the Via Appia), the Addiction (specially the Rabbit hole), the Tom Ford (the only one I own Metallic Mink, which is not that long lasting but the finish and colour is stunning so I blend it in a thicker application on the bottom lashline, I am considering the shade “Bruise” since a MUA tried it on me and combined it with the palette Crushed Amethyst), and last but not least the Three … oh the Three, these pencils are fabulous, my fav is 07 but all of them are long lasting and wonderful in terms of colour, texture, lasting power.
The Tom Ford Eye and Defining pen is by far my favourite eyeliner ever. I have tried many, including the Sensai Liquid Eyeliner but it doesn’t last on my eyelids. The Tom Ford does and is black, very fine and easy to use. When I work very long days my eyeshadow application fades and at 10pm (after more than 15 hours…) the only thing that stayed put without flaking is this eyeliner.
My favs are the Tom Ford Terra (no sparkles or obvious shimmer), the Guerlain Terra Nerolia (but the smell… hmhm too strong for me), By Terry products smell also strong but they don’t bother me, this Guerlain does but I love the product and deal with it. These two bronzers are pigmented but not overly pigmented, I can even use a Koyudo Fu-Pa14 to apply them but you can also use a less dense brush..
The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar bronzer and Glow is also amongst my favs, it looks better applied than in the pan actually, delivers a healthy glow and when I don’t have time to apply blush I can just get away with this combo.
Another very fool-proof bronzer, is the Chantecaille St. Barths, it has little sparkle particles but ok for daytime, the color is fantastic for people with fair skin, you won’t look muddy at all, neither orange, just slightly tanned/healthy. For me it works more like a perfecting bronzer, without adding too much color it just evens out my skintone.
I have been loving many of them, the old pressed meteorites or the Suqqus. The one that I tend to reach for the most is the Rouge Bunny Rouge Sweet to Touch because I know I cannot get it wrong or too heavy, it’s very subtle and can be applied on the whole face as well.
I don’t often set my makeup, if I do, I use the same RBR Sweet to Touch or the ones on the Suqqu face palettes I have but since this category is not really a huge topic for me I don’t have big picks here. For dry skin the Suqqu are not drying and one compact lasts me forever. I got some beautiful powders from Yojiya but I haven’t had the opportunity to test them yet… but soon 🙂
I narrow it down to the RMK MT-08 and the SK-II 41. The RMK is matte, it’s subtle, easy to dose (that’s something important for me because I have heavy hands), it’s not powdery, applies more like a stain actually. The SK-II is not really a contour shade, it’s brown-mauve but that specific shade is fantastic on my skintone as a contour shade. Looks natural and don’t even start me on the texture…. o_O it’s mind-blowing, silky, the only problem is that the pan is tiny so most of the contour brushes I use (Rae Morris Ultimate cheekbone or the fans) it’s difficult to pick the product without making a mess. The highlighter shade in the same pan is also stunning, subtle but loaded with tiny micro sparkles that are not that visible and can be worn as a daily application. One solution is to cover the cream pan with a plastic or my fingers while picking the powder product if that bothers you. I love the product but I wished they had thought of a more clever compact.
The RMK are still huge winners for me, I bought the EX-04 Pink Gold in Japan last year, it’s sheer but so fine and looks so fresh, doesn’t have a heavy coloured base but still, the glow is beautiful. The Mix for Cheeks series are big keepers specially the 04 Coral Beige.
Then there is Tom Ford… Wicked, Flush got used the most and Burberry, Cameo and Blossom. Also Serge Lutens #2 and the Rouge Bunny Rouge blush range, specially Gracilis.
SK-II are also right at the top, the 31 and the 21 are the ones I use on a daily basis, the 31 is more coral, the 21 more pink. Both have the creamy highlighters on the left side of the compact, you’ll need a tiny blush brush to pick them up … I use the Chikuhodo R-C2, or the Tanseido YSC 17 or the Evgeny Polina or even Hakuhodo Kokutan eyeshadow L, it’s totally feasible to use a Hakuhodo S110 though, since it’s quite dense and directional. I don’t see powder transferring to the creamy side but I wish it was covered.
The Anna Sui Rose Cheek Color #400 is also a big huge holy grail love, I wasn’t going to buy it at the counter but I accidentally swatched it, I think you probably heard me when I squealed, if they did not had it in stock I was ready to hunt all the Anna Sui counters to find it. It was a revelation, it’s a wearable Nars Exhibit A or Kevyn Aucoin Fira, more easy to layer without getting instant clown cheeks, absolutely not powdery and the red flush looks like it comes from within but so much more beautiful than a natural flush, when you are under direct sunlight the Exhibit A has some artificial shine that doesn’t make it look as natural as the Anna Sui which simply looks like your own skin. I won’t say it but I really mean it…
Two swatches of each blush, one heavier than the other, the Anna Sui is more easy to control but it still is very unique :
The Three blush #16 is another stunning blush, totally worth the splurge, they remind me of the Addiction blush pans but I prefer Three, during my short visit at the counters I had the impression that the Three blushes had less shimmer and sparkles and were more wearable while benefiting from beautiful high impact shades.
The new Edward Bess blushes, Bed of Roses and Secret Affair are also perfect for daily use, loving the Secret Affair a lot, such a beautiful coral shade.
The Diorblush cheek cream were also a great discovery, I am surprised with their lasting power, specially for a cream blush and the color of the Pareo was scary but so tempting, I hate when I love bright blushes but then I don’t reach for often because they are a pain to use or to control, this Dior and the Anna Sui are the perfect example that bright blushes are compatible with fast daily makeup application.
Nothing extraordinary, every year the same favourites, Edward Bess, Burberry, Tom Ford, Armani… this year the new Suqqu Bright up, one YSL Vernis à Lèvres, and a Laura Mercier are joining the top.
The Tom Ford glosses have taken possession of my heart, but for the rest, still no surprises here, same old Chanel, By Terry, Addiction and Rouge Bunny Rouge :
The glosses I loved the most were the By Terry Gloss Terrybly shine and the Tom Ford (specially Pink Guilt!!!). Pink Guilt has brought a whole new meaning to gloss, those of you who are eager for glossy lips: get it. But you can dose, if you apply just in the centre of the lips it will not be overpowering, depending on the occasion I apply it more of less “sheerly” – I never go with heavy application on this one but I don’t need to, a little bit goes a long way.
My favs are the Addiction Sugar Blond (for lightly brightening around the lips and cupid’s bow) and the Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting lip pencils for either fill the lips or just contour them. The By Terry Rosy Nude is my daily go-to and the Chanel Bois de Rose or Rose Poudré are just as good, it depends what lipstick or gloss I am wearing on top. The Rouge Bunny Rouge has a less drying effect but the difference on my lips is not worth noting.
If you combine the lipliner Vasco with the TF gloss Tawny Pink it gives the most beautiful pink nudish lips for pairing with a dark smokey eye, just keep the gloss under control or otherwise if heavily applied it can look a bit tacky, but I love this combination to death. I bought Tawny Pink a while ago, just when everybody was using and loving glosses but I did not really use them or see any pleasant or beautiful effect to it. I am glad that I changed, it’s never too late hey 😀
Following the same idea of a makeup application that is efficient and long-lasting… and that is appropriate for an office application, I am a huge fan of the Armani Rouge D. I love a lot of them (and have a lot of them) but my favs are the 506, 507, 508 and 512. I failed on testing the new ones with the red packaging because the shades available here in Switzerland were none of the ones I was interested in buying.
I do wear nudes as well but nudes with a life. Laura Mercier Girly, Burberry Delicate Rose, Tom Ford Pink Dusk, the 3 are so similar. I usually pair them with grey-black smoky eye looks (very often, even for work but I keep them light and wearable). The eye makeup has to be strong and the foundation application mandatory in order to be able to pull off a nude lip on me but it’s possible and the most important thing : I love it like that.
The Shiseido RD203 is one that I pair with anything, very similar to the discontinued fav Chanel 77 Laque, specially loved it combined with a natural eye look and a heavy liner (TF in the Pink trio with TF defining pen).
The one I tend to wear when I really don’t want to think… is the YSL Vernis à lèvres 106, just adds a neutral pink beige color and shine that I apply on top of Chanel Rose Poudre. I don’t like the smell of this Vernis à Lèvres but I can handle it.
The two Suqqu lipsticks that surprised me are the new Bright Up 01 and 04, the 04 is more coral and exactly the shade I was hoping for, so that one was a spot on for me! Loving this formula and the colors. I prefer lighter colors, I have to admit that I also love bright colors like Serge Lutens Mise à Mort or the Rouge d’Armani 401 but I wear them only occasionally so they don’t have the same use frequency at all.
The Tom Ford Indian Rose (TF IR) is a very easy shade to wear, that doesn’t happen often with Tom Ford, it’s just in between Casablanca and Pink Dusk.
Here I tried to swatch (in vain) the YSL 106 – Shiseido RD203 – Chanel 77 – Edward Bess Night Orchid.
The Chanel Bois de Rose pencil, combined with the Edward Bess Night Orchid and the Tom Ford gloss Peach Absolut is on my top 3 combos!
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, always… there is no room for others.
In my opinion, Tom Ford had the most successful launches, he already had a very decent collection but the new items were even superior in quality to his current line. The trios and the Orchid Haze palette are absolutely mind blowing, the defining pen, the glosses, the lipsticks, bronzers, blushes… he scored so well that he made many other high end brands look pale and weak.
Did you change something in particular in your makeup routine ? Found any holy grails or did some holy grails got replaced ?
With age we change our beauty preferences, our way to dress, because we want to, or because we should. I used to wear very classical things to work, white shirt and dark trousers, all the time, that has also changed, I realized that actually orange reds suit me a lot better! I never thought I would wear such bright colours but I am so glad I tried last year.
I also thought I would never wear square country patterns but it all started with a joke (our 2012 Christmas Wild Wild West theme party), I tried them… and actually loved them, when I was in Glasgow in September 2013 I went to Super Dry and got myself a few fun prints and also very bright tops and I truly deeply love wearing them (even if sometimes I admit I don’t look that sexy…). In 2013 lots of things changed for me that I never thought possible, I would love to know if something changed for you and what ageing makes you do 🙂
Some of the products mentioned here will be reviewed in upcoming posts, if you have questions or would like me to review something in priority, please let me know!