Oh, Make Me Over…

I love make-up! I think it is an important part of your appearance, & I see it as an integral part of your overall look. I also believe that dressing up is polite — ’cause other people have to look at you, after all — & so, putting on a dash of make-up improves everyone’s life! (NOTE: Um, when I wrote this, it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek & silly! Sorry to anyone who was offended…)

“Dressing well is kind of good manners, if you ask me. When you’re standing in a room, your effect is the same as a chair’s effect, or a sculpture’s. You’re part of someone’s view, you’re part of that world, & so you should dress well. I find it’s a show of respect to try to put on your best face & look as good as you can.” — Tom Ford

Having said that, this past week across the blogosphere was No Make-Up Week! I wasn’t able to participate because I had a bunch of meetings, appointments & events which required my face to be “done”, but I quite often go without make-up! I used to be really insane about never leaving the house without a full face of it, but as I get a little older (& hopefully a little wiser), I’m becoming more & more comfortable with my appearance.

One thing which has really helped me in getting more comfortable with how I look is eating sensibly (read: avoiding processed food as much as is humanly possible & upping my consumption of fresh fruit & vegetables), & maintaining my slightly ridiculous vitamin regimen. When I don’t have angry red bumps on my face, I have absolutely no qualms about strolling around au naturel, but when I do, I feel much less confident. Sad but true.

I do think it’s important to investigate our relationships to the many things we do seemingly without thinking. If you wear make-up religiously, why not scrap it for a week? If you’ve never tried it, why not ask a friend to make you up?

Have a look at No Make-Up Week for a massive variety of posts, pictures, & general goodness!

Now, back to the topic at hand! When we were in Los Angeles, Nubby & I talked about make-up constantly, & visited multiple MAC & Sephora outlets in our quest for lovelies. We both decided we’d write about our favourite new things on our websites. Here’s her piece: Beauty Products: 2010 Edition. Below is a little summary of what I’m using & loving!

I’ve also included links to the Sephora & Makeupalley reviews of the product where available. Click them, they’ll give you a really good idea as to whether the product might be right for you, & the reviews are full of great alternative ideas as to how they can be used! (P.S. Makeup Alley reviews are open to members only, but it’s free to join! I research everything there before I buy it!)

Dior Skinflash

Lauren Warner used Skinflash on me in San Francisco & I was so spellbound by the effect that I decided to pick some up for myself. (It is all she used on my cheekbones in these photographs!) I’m using shade #2 — you might like to test it under your eyes to check it’s the right colour.

It is a MARVELLOUS product & I use it for a variety of purposes. I put it underneath my eyes to lighten dark circles when I’m feeling more sleepy than sassy, dab it from the corners of my nose to the corners of my mouth to soften laugh lines, smudge it along my cheekbones to give a radiant shimmer & around my lips to give them more shape & make them appear more plump.

I’ve heard Skinflash compared to YSL’s Touche Éclat, but I’ve never had much luck with the famous Touche Éclat! One size does not fit all when it comes to cosmetics, unfortunately. But I would definitely recommend giving Skinflash a shot. It’s lovely.

Sephora reviews / Makeup Alley reviews

DiorShow

I am totally loving this mascara. I used to be a MAC Cosmetics obsessive, & it was really the only company whose make-up I used, but as I learn more & branch out to new products, I realise how many more options there are!

DiorShow is another product Lauren Warner used on me (she uses Dior almost exclusively) & it really does give my lashes some major va-va-voom! It makes them plump & long without looking spidery, & gives lots of definition.

It’s difficult to wax poetic about mascara — this is why I’m not a beauty writer — but I like this one very much. I think it’s a tie with MAC Cosmetics’ Plush Lash, which is brilliant too.

Sephora reviews / Makeup Alley reviews

Skin & Bones

I was sent a couple of bottles of this by the owner of the company, who saw me talking about jojoba oil on Twitter. Skin & Bones is a combination of jojoba oil with essential oils of frankincense, myrrh, ylang ylang, grapefruit, jasmine, lemon, rosewood, sandalwood & cedarwood. It can be used in exactly the same way you’d use jojoba, which is that it works for everything! I’ve been using jojoba oil as my moisturiser for a LONG time now, & was keen to see how Skin & Bones worked.

Well, it’s gorgeous. It smells absolutely divine & is a wonderful new addition to my morning routine. Jojoba oil is such a great thing to use on your skin, since it is the closest thing to our own sebum. It soaks in to the skin quickly, & just deep enough to keep you moisturised & soft all day. When you add essential oils to the mix, its efficacy is enhanced. For example, frankincense is known for balancing oily skin, while rosewood assists in rebuilding tissue & encouraging skin elasticity.

All these ingredients combine to make for a fabulous elixir for the skin. Oh, & can we talk about how cute it looks on your shelf? Any black glass bottle with a skull on the label has me from hello!

I’m definitely going to continue using this. It feels much more luxurious than plain jojoba oil!

Sephora Collection

I love wearing pink or red around my eyes, it’s something I never really got over. When that “heroin chic” thing was in (1995?), I bought a cheapie eyeshadow palette which included red & wore it smeared around my eyes for, well, a long time. When you wear too much, yeah, you look like someone with a secret stash of tourniquets, but just a little bit looks fab. It makes the whites of your eyes look really clear, & it makes green or blue eyes pop like you wouldn’t believe!

Mauve Electro is a fantastic shade of deep pinky red which absolutely suits my purposes. The pencil has a lovely texture, goes on sparkly (though not obnoxiously so) & wears well. It’s a little darker than I was expecting, but I’ve been wearing it with pink sparkly liner over the top (see below) & it looks amazing!

Sephora reviews / Makeup Alley reviews

Urban Decay

I’m totally loving this glitter liner. So many glitter liners make promises they can’t keep, & when you go to apply them, the sparkle is minimal & it looks more like you have dirt along your lash-line than a fabulous sweep of sparkle.

You can’t pretend to be a drag queen with that kind of rubbish!

I’d heard a lot about Urban Decay’s glitter liners, & I finally bit the bullet & gave them a shot. Well, I’m glad I did. Catfight is this fantastic hot pink, & I’ve been applying it over the Sephora glitter pencil I mentioned above for a rad, sparkly look. I did a little pink sparkly cat’s eye the other day, & it looked so great! It’s fun to substitute your usual black eyeliner out & try a bright colour, it really opens up your eyes & looks brilliant.

This gets my vote for best glitter eyeliner EVER. I want more colours!

Sephora reviews / Makeup Alley reviews

Ultra Shine

I selected Sparkly So Electric based on the teeny swatch provided on Sephora’s website but thankfully I chose well! I am on the constant hunt for good, sheer lip colour — I look silly in lipstick or anything too bright. Some of my favourite picks are Purple Lab‘s Big Lips Skinny Hips & Armour lipgloss. This Sephora brand ranks amongst them! I love it. While I adore the look of MAC Dazzleglass (& all their lip glosses), they are way too sticky for me. It makes me feel crazy when I think I’m going to stick to my boyfriend if I kiss him!

When we were on our way to Disneyland, Zoetica told us how great the Sephora glosses were. I think the phrase “holy grail” was used. This is a woman whose opinion about make-up I trust, & so I ordered one. I have NOT been disappointed — in fact, I’m elated at how lovely it is. It has a brush applicator (such good news, I hate having to apply lip product with my finger!), it goes on super-smooth & it stays put for a pretty long time (for lip gloss anyway). It’s also really sparkly but in an understated way — the kind of sparkle which plays up your pout, rather than making you look like the recipient of unfortunate lip injections.

I LOVE IT! It’s a new purse essential.

Sephora reviews / Makeup Alley reviews

Fresh & Dove

I am a harsh deodorant critic. For some wonderful reason, deodorants in New Zealand & Australia are perfect. They do what they say they will. They all work & they don’t give you a rash, or make your armpits feel like they are covered in plastic wrap, or anything similarly crazy. Since I moved to America, I have had I-S-S-U-E-S finding a deodorant which fulfills my criteria. My criteria is not overly stringent, at least I don’t think so!

In my opinion, deodorant must…
a) work;
b) not leave gross white residue which congeals & that you end up showing everyone when you raise your arms;
c) not be so laden with horribles that you get a rash, or feel itchy, or burny;
d) not be so harsh that you feel like you can’t get rid of it, even in the shower, & it coats your hands with sticky residue. (GROSS!)

I have tried sooooooooo many. I am like a deodorant fiend/crazy person. Anyway, after much anguish, I have finally found two I like. The Fresh deodorant smells amazing (like brown sugar!) & works very well. One caveat though, I wouldn’t wear it if you’re planning on having a super-active day. I wore it to walk around the city one day & I ended up a bit pongy, which you don’t want. Which brings us to the other, Dove Cucumber & Aloe. It smells super-fresh & crisp, it doesn’t leave gross white stuff behind & it really does work. Even when you’re hoofing it all over the place.

Americans, give ’em a shot. Antipodeans, continue with your standard issue deodorant, & be appreciative that the anti-pong Gods smile down upon you!

Korres

I very seldom buy a product more than once. Usually they don’t thrill me that much, & so I’ll go out & try something else as soon as a bottle is finished.

This is a product I bought again. I am SO skeptical about eye creams, even though I know that they are essential &, if applied religiously, can actually work miracles. (You should see my mother’s skin — she has been using Estee Lauder since day dot & she looks AMAZING.) I’ve just never found one which did anything for me, so would usually put a couple of dabs of jojoba oil under my eyes & call it a day.

Korres sent me this as a sample to try out, & I (politely!) thought, ‘Oh, whatever’, but decided to give it a shot. Their cited clinical studies sounded pretty impressive, & I was looking for an eye cream so the timing was good. (I will be 30 in three years time & I have started noticing teeny little creases under my eyes which absolutely WERE NOT there a couple of years ago!)

Let’s just keep it simple & say, this stuff works. It really, really does. The little creases under my eyes have faded & am almost invisible now, & the bags around my eyes look SO much better! I use it in the morning & at night, even though it is supposedly just for night-time, & it’s great. Love it. I bought a second bottle when my first ran out & I know I will buy another…

Sephora reviews

Make Up For Ever

I really like this powder. I recently ran out of MAC Mineralise Powder, which is what I usually use to set my make-up, & so I did a little research to see what else was available.

On my “days off” — meaning days where I don’t really have to see anyone specific, but am out & about running errands — this is what I wear. I apply a light dusting of this all over my face, & I use a couple of dabs of Skinflash underneath my eyes, to brighten them up. I apply a light coat of mascara & I’m ready to go. It’s my new Sunday routine, & I’m into it.

While I think I prefer MAC Mineralise Powder for its coverage & staying power, this is certainly an excellent back-up (& the fact that it comes with a sponge inside makes it perfect for throwing in your handbag).

Sephora reviews / Makeup Alley reviews

I hope these reviews will inspire you to inject a little more glamour into your everyday life!

P.S. Reader Emily just introduced me to The Skin Deep, a database which rates cosmetics as to the safety of their ingredients. Ooh la la! Have a look!

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