Wednesday, 30 July 2014

YSL Fétiche Couture Palette

YSL Fétiche Couture Palette
If you are a YSL addict like myself there is no doubt that you have seen the absolutely stunning palette that is part of the Fall 2014 Cuirs Fétiches (Leather Fetish.....ooooh, saucy!) Collection. This palette offers five shades in the revamped style YSL released earlier this year. Unlike the other palettes, however, the packaging on this one comes with some gorgeous leather detailing. 



I knew I already liked the formula of these shadows (I reviewed the Couture Palettes in 03 Afrique and 09 Love here), but the shades in Fétiche are a bit outside of my neutral comfort zone, so I initially held off on buying this one. I had an appointment with YSL Artistic Director of Makeup, Dell Ashley, and I wanted to get his opinion on this palette and see how he would apply it on me. By the date of my appointment with him in mid-July, Fétiche had already sold out at my local store, but he scrounged up a tester that he used on me (I instagrammed a not-so-great photo of the look he did on me). As soon as I saw the look he did with Fétiche, I knew I didn't want to live with the regret of not getting this limited edition palette. So, I promptly ordered it and am so glad that I did!


The combination of blue, brown, and bronze in this palette makes it absolutely unique in my collection. Those of you that may have tried the other new YSL palettes and were disappointed in their pigmentation might want to give this a try, as I found all five of the shades more pigmented than either Afrique or Love. Three of the shades do have glitter (the top left, top right, and center shades), while the bottom left is matte and the bottom right seems to have a satin finish.


So far, I've been using the brown and bronze shades on the lid, with the blue and navy shades as liners (the blue shade on the bottom right is stunning, by the way!) Eventually I hope to work up the courage/skill to use the blues as lid colors. You could use the shades in this palette to create a look appropriate for daytime, but I think it is best suited for a more dramatic evening look--especially when used over a dark base, like the MAC Paintpot in Quite Natural.



I am truly loving this palette at the moment. It is making me look forward to cool autumn weather, colorful leaves, and hot drinks! But what I possibly love even more than the Fétiche Palette itself is another product from the Cuirs Fétiches collection: the Babydoll Eyeliner in 18 Bleu Patine.

I am normally not a liquid eyeliner fan, but Bleu Patine is the most stunning color I've ever encountered. It complements Fétiche so wonderfully and the brush makes application so easy. It is a longer and much thinner than many other liquid eyeliner brushes. This allows me to create a very thin line, which is essential given my limited lid space. And the length of the brush makes a cat eye flick with little to no effort (trust me, when it comes to liquid liner I'm quite inept, so anything that does require effort or skill is a no go).


The YSL Babydoll Eyeliner in 18 Bleu Patine at the top.
In my opinion, both the Fétiche palette and Bleu Patine eyeliner are worth picking up. They stand out amongst the sea of neutral products that I own, without being garish or requiring too much bravery to wear. Both Fétiche and Bleu Patine are currently available at Nordstrom, who are also offering a YSL Gift with Purchase (a rarity, indeed) during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which continues until August 4th or until supplies run out.

Have you tried either of these yet? What other fall collections are you excited for?

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in Cherub

Wearing Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in Cherub
If memory serves, the first time I heard of the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush was in a Pixiwoo tutorial. Although intrigued by the idea of this liquid blush, I held off on purchasing one. Then, sometime last year, Amelia Liana made a video about them with Daniel Sandler himself. This brought the Watercolour Blushes back to my attention, but it wasn't until Essiebutton recently spoke of her love of them that I knew I needed to finally try this unique product.

I believe that most (if not all) of us are in the position where we are unable to swatch these blushes in person before deciding on a shade. I had a feeling that the best-selling shade Cherub, a soft pink, would be a good place to start. But I follow Daniel Sandler on Twitter and I've noticed that he seems incredibly engaged with his makeup-loving audience, so I decided to get his opinion directly. Sure enough, he suggested Cherub, which is the shade I gladly purchased! 

This single drop of Cherub will be more than enough to cover both cheeks
Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blushes are available through a number of online retailers, including ASOS, FeelUnique, LookFantastic, or directly from DanielSandler.com. I ended up ordering mine from LookFantastic, as they were running a 15% off promotion and offer free worldwide delivery. As these retailers are UK-based, shipping takes a bit longer than US-based retailers, but trust me: it's worth the wait. 

The Watercolour Blushes cost £15.50 each, which (depending on the exchange rate and/or the website from which you purchase) is anywhere between $25-$30. This is an absolute bargain considering the high quality of these blushes and the amount of product you get. Each bottle contains 15 mL of product, but you need only one drop (literally just one drop) for both cheeks. I can foresee each of these lasting a long, long time. 
Cherub blended out
To apply these, give the bottle a thorough shaking to make sure the product is mixed. Squeeze out a single drop onto the back of your hand and then use either your finger or a brush to apply the product. I ended up using my Real Techniques Stippling Brush (my preferred method for applying all liquid, cream, or gel blushes). But Daniel Sandler also sells a brush exclusively for this purpose. When I order my next Watercolour Blush, I might invest in this brush as well, as it seems quite unique!

Cherub was exceptionally easy to apply and blend into my skin. I recently posted about the By Terry Cheek to Cheek, another liquid blush formula. The Daniel Sandler, quite frankly, blows the By Terry out of the water. Not only is it less expensive, it has a much more extensive shade range and is much easier to apply. The By Terry is incredibly viscous, whereas the Daniel Sandler (whilst still very much a liquid) is a touch thicker, making it easier to dab on without it running everywhere.

Wearing Cherub on the Cheeks, Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Sucré on the Lips, and the TooFaced Chocolate Bar Palette with Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in New Moon on the Eyes
For those who fear that liquid or cream products will smudge their foundation or concealer underneath, Cherub did neither. In fact, it blended into the skin beautifully. Another common fear about non-powder blushes is that they will sink into fine lines and pores. My experience with Cherub has been quite the opposite--instead of highlighting the large pores on my cheeks (not to mention the slight scaring I have from some recent outbreaks on my cheeks), it did a great job masking them. This is a product that achieves the often elusive goal of making skin look luminous and radiant without making the face look like a giant disco ball with glitter or shimmer. 


Cherub also did a good job of lasting all day long on my cheeks, which is an impressive feat given my oily skin and the humidity outside. I do not say this lightly, but I genuinely think Cherub might be my favorite blush of all time. It's truly that good. My only dilemma now is which shade to order next!

Have you tried the Watercolour Blushes by Daniel Sandler? What is your favorite shade?

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Skincare Saviors: My Favorite Masks!


I'm a big fan of facemasks--a bit of a junky, if you will. And while skincare is incredibly individualized, I thought I would share with you my current favorites in case you are on the hunt for a new mask. Keep in mind that my skin is not at all sensitive, but it is very oily and I'm quite prone to clogged pores and congestion. I also sometimes have trouble with hormonal acne around my chin--and recently on my cheeks, as well. 

There are really two categories of face masks that I look for: those that will give a deep clean and those that are exfoliating. The desire for deep cleaning is pretty self-explanatory, but I find that exfoliating masks (and exfoliating skin-care in general) offer two benefits: many of them have anti-aging properties and they also remove the dead skin that triggers a lot of my clogged pores. 

Anyways, without further ado, here are my faves:

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask: I've spoken of my love for this mask before (at last count, it has made it into three of my monthly favorites lists and in one other 'best of' skincare post!), but I had to include it as any list without this would feel incomplete. Using acids to exfoliate the skin, I find that this helps improve the texture and tone of my skin without feeling overly harsh. It looks and smells like marmalade, and it doesn't burn or have a harsh tingling effect like some others can do. My favorite thing to do is apply this and leave it on for around 30 minutes and then follow up with a deep cleansing mask. I feel that using this to get rid of the dead skin first allows other masks to work more effectively. Available at Sephora for $55. 

Aesop Parsley Seed Mask: This is a clay-based mask meant to smooth and refresh skin, particularly skin that is sensitive or dry. Even though my skin is neither of those things, this mask is a real workhorse. It goes on in a thin layer and is almost skin-colored. It gets a little tight as it dries, but it isn't majorly painful or uncomfortable. As you can see by the picture, this has been a well-loved and much-used mask. I bought it at the same time as the Aesop Chamomile Anti-Blemish mask, but I actually find that this does more to soothe any current outbreaks (and prevent future ones). I probably have 1 or 2 more uses of this mask. Once it is done, I will definitely be repurchasing it, along with some other products from the Aesop Parsley Seed Line. Available at Barney's for $39. 

Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask: Omorovicza is a luxury brand from Hungary that has begun to gain popularity in Europe and the U.S. It is fairly on the pricey side, but if you are savvy in your online shopping, you can often save a bit on items from this brand. For example, the Deep Cleansing Mask is $120 for 50mL at Sephora. But earlier this year, Cultbeauty.co.uk offered a set that contained the Deep Cleansing Mask and the Thermal Cleansing Balm (both 50mL) for around £68 (which is roughly around $115 depending on the exchange rate). So, I got these two products, which would have cost $225 at Sephora for around $115. I realize that is still pricey, but my point is that if you shop around and wait for sales, these can be much more affordable. Anyways, on to the mask itself: this is a mud and clay mask that draws out impurities. You only need a tiny amount each time, so the pot will last you for ages. It feels divine on the skin--cooling and soothing. I swear that it even helps hydrate my skin while I have it on! To me, this is everything that the Glamglow Supermud Mask wants to be. Without fail, I can see a noticeable difference in the clarity of my skin after I use it. Available at Cult Beauty for £57 (around $95).

Olé Henriksen Lemon Strip Flash Peel: This mask is like a much amplified version of the REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask mentioned above. It uses glycolic and lactic acids to resurface the skin and has algae extract to soothe and nourish the skin. The algae is necessary because this mask definitely tingles when you apply it. Since I have quite robust skin, I don't find this particularly troubling, but if you are more sensitive you might want to do a patch test or work on building up your tolerance. I use this rather than the REN when my skin is in bad shape and I always make sure to use a soothing and reparative serum afterwords. It really works on my skin, though, which is worth a little discomfort. One thing to note is that this comes with a brush to apply it, but I highly, highly recommend you skip using this brush as it is the most scratchy and uncomfortable thing in history. You're better off using your fingers or an old paddle foundation brush. Available at Dermstore for $48.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask: This mask is a cult favorite amongst beauty bloggers, and for good reason. It is cheap and effective, without being too harsh. I prefer the Omorovicza and the Aesop masks to this one, but for a great budget alternative that will really draw out impurities from your skin, this is a great one! Available at Sephora for $17.

Some honorable mentions go out to the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask and the Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask. Both of these are fairly new additions for me, so I didn't feel I could include them here as I want to test them out a few more times. But initial impressions for both have been positive!

What are your favorite face masks? I'm always on the hunt for new ones, so let me know below!

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Friday, 25 July 2014

Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayons

Top to Bottom: Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Blood Orange, Framboise, Sucré
I'm 98.7% sure that my worst kept secret is my love for Bite Beauty. I'm currently planning a comprehensive review of the brand soon, but in the meantime I wanted to highlight the Matte Crème Lip Crayons. Bite first launched these gorgeous crayons for Spring 2014 in six bold and bright shades. Another set of six shades, more suited for fall, have just been released. Word has it that another six will be released in August. 


Back in the spring, I picked up the shade Blood Orange, a reddish orange. I was immediately enamored of the formula and I was more than excited to see that new shades were coming. As soon as I saw they were available on Sephora.com, I ordered one (in the shade Framboise). While waiting for that to arrive, my local Sephora got them in stock and I dutifully headed in to swatch them. I promptly fell head over heels in love with Sucré and decided that my life would not be complete without it. I am going to try to hold off on buying more at the moment, but I am sure that will change once the six new shades are released in August.

The Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayons are like no other matte product I have. They are creamier and smoother than absolutely anything (even my beloved Givenchy Le Rouges!) They aren't a true matte, but rather they fall into the more modern 'soft matte' family. Blood Orange is the least matte of the three I own (it has more of a satin finish), but all three are exceptionally and surprisingly hydrating. 

They are twist up pencils and my only complaint regarding the packaging is that the newer versions don't have any indication of their color on the outside of the packaging. Blood Orange, in contrast, shows its color at the base. It's rather a nitpicky thing for such a stellar product, but it makes picking out the right one so much easier!

Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Sucré
Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Sucré
Of the three shades that I own, Sucré is easily my favorite. Not that the other two aren't gorgeous (they are), but there is just something special about Sucré. It is described on Sephora.com as 'Warm Pink' but that is a rather bland and generic description for something so beautiful! I would describe it as a warm strawberry and in certain lights it takes on an ever so subtle hint of orange--and I mean that in the best possible way. The matte finish makes the color quite sophisticated and flattering. And in addition to being long wearing and creamy, it doesn't sink into lines on the lips. I also have never found a need to wear a lip liner with any of the Matte Crème Lip Crayons, making them easy to apply and touch up throughout the day. 

Bite Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Framboise
Bite Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Framboise
As its name suggests, Framboise is a beautiful raspberry shade. This is easily one of the most wearable berry shades I've encountered! It is not so dark that it would be considered vampy, making it appropriate for daytime wear. And unlike many berry shades, it livens the face rather than drains color from it. I think this is because despite being a berry shade, it's not overly cool. The warmth in this color keeps it wearable.

Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Blood Orange....and uh, sorry for looking extra annoyed in this photo. #restingbitchface
Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Blood Orange
 Blood Orange is a surprisingly wearable reddish orange shade. Orange lips were a huge trend this year, and I for one will continue sporting this color into fall. As I mentioned above, this is the least matte of the three shades I own. It has a creamy texture and a satiny finish. I think this looks great with a bronze eye.

The spring offerings of the Matte Crème Lip Crayons, including Blood Orange, are no longer available on Sephora.com but I just saw a fully stocked display of them at a local Sephora inside of JC Penney. So, if you are still on the hunt for these, there's still hope! And if they aren't out on display at your local Sephora, there is no harm asking a sales associate to check if there is stock in the back! But don't fret too much if you cannot find the older collection, as the new shades are just as--if not more--stunning!

Overall, I can not say enough good things about the Matte Crème Lip Crayons. They are truly A+ products: beautiful colors, excellent pigmentation, and a stellar formula. If you are able to swatch these in person, I challenge you to walk away without at least one!

The Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayons are available for $24 exclusively at Sephora.

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