Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Clé de Peau Beauté Collection Bal Masqué 2015 Makeup Look

Clé de Peau Beauté always does beautiful holiday collections. This year's Collection Bal Masqué is a take on mysterious glamour with lush velvet colors accented to burnished metals. Think burgundy, red, olive, gunmetal silver, and gold.

I can just swatch it - but it's always better if I can do an entire look to show you how everything goes together.

It's quite a full-on look - you need to be comfortable with wearing smoky eye shades with Extra Rich Lipstick in that beautiful blue-based red, No 314. Then again, you can always wear them separately or go easy on the shadows and wear them with a light hand. But this is the time of year when I think you can stop worrying so much about being "too glammed up" and just go for it.

The gorgeous Venetian inspired Eye Color Quad 314

(If this isn't in your budget, you CAN dupe most of the eye colors and the lip color. Just for reference MAC's Sumptuous Olive, Gold Mine, Silver Ring and Black Tied would give you a somewhat similar eye look - but remember that MAC shadows are heavier in formula and quite a different texture, so you should use a very light hand if you want to get a similar effect. M.A.C. Red lipstick is also very similar to 314.)

The other star product from the collection is the Body Powder. I was surprised to see the name because I'd instantly thought - cheek highlighter! But once you swatch it you realize why. There are obvious specks of micro-glitter running through the powder, so it won't work as a daily highlighter for a dewy/glowy look. This is a party powder.

From a distance it looks like strobed skin, but up close you will see all the glitter particles. That's why I consider it a special occasion powder if you want to use it on your face. And avoid the inner cheeks because it can emphasize pores. On the collarbones, shoulders and arms this would also be gorgeous of course.

And I have to say - that compact is just unbelievably gorgeous. I know fans who buy it simply to collect.

Too coordinate with the makeup, there is a trio if nail lacquers that come in a set. The formula is ultra-smooth and you can get away with wearing a single coat if you are in a hurry because they go on so pigmented. 

I was not expected that dark scarab-green metallic (No 2) to be my favorite but it's beautiful. 


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Body Shop Holiday 2015 Swinging Silver Palette (and Frosted Plum)

Whether you're into bath and body products or not, you have to hand it to The Body Shop for great holiday makeup.

I'm quite a fan of their eye-shadows which were reformulated about 2-3 years back. And Christmas is the season where they come up with annual limited edition eyeshadow quads that are perfect for the party season, and won't break the bank. If you're not sure how to use the shades, there are instructions and a diagram on the back of the package.

I received the Singing Silver eye palette (below) for review, and had to immediately dig in when I touched the shadows.

This is a cool-toned palette, but there is a little warmth (a peach pink) to add some soft, prettiness, and also prevents the look for being too harsh and cool. You get a warm peach pink, a soft grey, a blackened navy and an aluminium silver.

The swatches are done with fingers, but the eye look is done with brushes, so you can see the quality is pretty consistent. If I have to nit-pick, I would say the grey shade has a bit more fallout than the rest, and as is normal for most brands and formulas, the dark black-navy tends to come off more like charcoal than blue when applied sheer with a brush. But these are slight, and not major problems.
Tip: To get the deep sapphire blue tones to come out more, I would apply with a brush and blend first, then as a last step, dab on a little extra navy with a clean finger to intensify the color. But if you prefer a more neutral look, just use a brush and it will look like a smoky charcoal tone.
But really, the quality is great overall, and the peach and silver are fantastic.

The best part for me is probably the versatility. The peach shade itself can be used as a warm transition color in the socket if you have pale to medium skin. You can wear the peach and grey for a simple warm-neutral day look, just the navy and silver for a dramatic night look, or skip the peach if you want a very cool-toned Rock'n'Roll smoky eye with cool greys and blues.

The packaging is no-frills. Eco-friendly cardboard that won't weigh down your makeup bag. If you care about luxe packaging this won't be for you - but as a reasonably-priced gift for someone who just wants good quality makeup or step out of their neutral comfort zone and try different colors for the holidays, I recommend checking this palette out.

For the eye look here, I had
  1. peach all over the lid
  2. grey in the socket and blended up and out at the outer corners
  3. navy in the outer half of lids
  4. silver in inner corners and down the center of the eye

I used a metallic navy pencil from Urban Decay to accent the lash line, then used the sponge tip in the palette to run the navy shadow over the pencil. This sets the pencil and brings out more of the navy blue in the look. You can use any other navy liner you own. Or stick with black for a more neutral look. 

P.S. aside from the makeup, I do want to quickly show some products from the Frosted Plum body range as well because I really liked the scent a lot more than I would have expected. It is juicy and fruity, but also quite perfume-y and quite grown-up; you won't smell like candy or a can of juice if you know what I mean.

I wouldn't call it "fine fragrance" but if you enjoy fun girly scents from Bath and Body Works, Victoria's Secret etc, this would be perfect for you.

The range includes full-size body products like body butters and shower gels, but there are also fizzy bath melts and a shimmering perfumed body spray to "frost" your skin. But the cutest thing is probably the Frosted Plum Feel Good Tin. This big metallic reusable purple tin contains mini sizes of the shower gel, lotion, body butter, scrub, and lip balm.

Perfect for sampling the full range - or for making someone's eyes pop out when you gift it to them.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chanel No 5... My Kinda Snow Globe!

Can it get any more adorable than this?

Chanel Beauty is giving away a limited quantity of gorgeous No 5 parfum snow globes to VIP customers in Singapore this year; if you are a regular and received the latest holiday mailer from them, don't just chuck it out - there's a little invitation inside with instructions to redeem a holiday gift, and you need that invite in order to get this lovely thing.

I haven't been into snow globes since I grew past the age of about 8 but how's this for a great conversation piece when guests come over during the festive season?

And it's fitting, because a century ago, perfumer Ernest Beaux had wanted to capture the scent of fresh snow when he created the aldehydic top notes which would later be used in Chanel No 5. The rest, as they say, is history.

As a teen this was the very first proper perfume that I ever noticed. I had a tiny little tester vial which I treasured and would dab on to feel oh-so-grown-up and sophisticated. Strange, because I had almost no exposure to perfumes then and "Chanel" meant nothing to me. Somehow - even then - it smelt beautiful and womanly to me.

I was on holiday in a Winter climate when I first smelt it as young girl, and I've always associated the scent with cold weather and holidays since.

It's not something I wear often these days - but I still appreciate its history and the nostalgia. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fun Little Xmas Gift Idea: Innisfree's 2015 Christmas Eco Nail Set

One cute little kit that I recommend to anyone looking for an affordable but great quality product as a gift this Xmas season is Innisfree's 2015 Christmas Eco Nail Set.

This little trio comes with a rich, festive metallic red as a main color, two different glitter polishes to transform the effect/look, and also 2 sheets of nail stickers for extra decoration.

I absolutely love that metallic red. It's opaque in one coat, and the brush shape is quite wide and rounded, so you can cover an average sized nail in 1-2 coats. This shade is glorious as well - absolutely gorgeous.

As for the glitter, they're both pretty good. If you shake them up before applying, you will get a good amount of glitter in one coat. I did not have to layer it when I applied it on my pointer. The two shades give you different effects. One is wintery and crystalline, and one is festive and more dramatic.

My personal favorite is the more glitzy golden-rose glitter mix. It's got little pink and gold stars if you look close, and I just love the look of gold against red.

The stickers are also different. One is a gold holographic theme and the other comes in Xmas themed shades of red, silver, green and black. The designs on the colorful sheet are a bit more "cute" with snowmen, gingerbread men, etc, while the gold holographic sheet is a bit more subdued, although still fun.

I love snowflake designs so those were the ones I picked out to accent a couple of nails.

I do have to say however, that the stickers aren't my fave for nail decoration. For one, the plastic is too thick, so not only can you see the edges surrounding the print design quite clearly, but the edges also sometimes curl up when you try to apply topcoat to seal them down. That's the deal-breaker for me really.

Then again, these are inexpensive and you can either just throw the stickers out or just apply them on top of topcoat and not care about having them lasting too long.

Some NARS x Steven Klein collection swatches and tutorial


For the holiday season, NARS has teamed up with photographer Steven Klein for a collection that celebrates individuality and power.

Despite the very avant garde campaign, the collection is actually extremely wearable, and great if you love bombshell slash femme-fatale makeup with strong lips and neutral eyes.

Case in point? The Dead of Summer Dual-Intensity palette.
The An Abnormal Female lip bullet set below is LITERALLY a giant bullet case which you can re-use (I can't imagine bringing it out, so it would really just be a display piece more than anything).

For review, I received some of the individual items, along with the NARS x Steven Klein Magnificent Obsession Lip Set, so these are what I'll swatch for you.

The lip set comes in a small glossy metal-lined cardboard case (top right above), and contains 3 lip products. Flamenco lipstick, Velvet Matte lip pencil in Mysterious Red, and Velvet Lip Liner in Misdemeanor.

The liner is a true red, whereas the other 2 have I feel a touch of neutral brown in them which makes these very flattering on a majority of skin tones. This is more apparent in Mysterious Red. In Flamenco, which is glossy and semi-sheer, it's more of a deep and subdued red tone, and not as bright as a true red.

I'm always up for a good red, but I was actually more wow-ed by the other lip products I swatched.
Lipstick in No Shame is a gorgeous deep berry which goes on so smooth and rich that it feels almost like butter. I'm totally in love with this shade right now.

The glosses Special Force and Provoke, are also pretty darned pigmented, and are that nice new non-sticky texture.

The single shadow I received, Mortal is a crystalline white. It's pretty, but I personally feel it's more of a shade which can easily be found from any other brand, including drugstore ones, so it wouldn't be where I would invest my money unless you absolutely love NARS and want a pearlescent white which layers well over other shades.

I received only one shadow, so I decided to work it into a look paired with another NARS duo, Habanera, which contains a soft aqua and a deep prune purple. Then I paired it with No Shame lipstick.

Eye Tutorial below!

I used Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather in 90 Vintage Plum
Tip: because this was a rather cool toned look, a warm matte transition shade helps make it less harsh, and adds contrast with the cool shades too.

I forgot to add that I also ran the color lightly along the outer 2/3s of the lower lash line!
Note: It's optional applying the white sparkly shade to the inner corners and below the bottom lash line. I just wanted a brighter look, but if you have pronounced eye bags or your upper lid fold covers the inner corners (many Asians), skip this step.

If you're curious about the lashes, I used Dolly Wink No 9 lashes, but just in case it's not available to you, just look for wispy natural lashes that are longer at the outer corners.

P.S. For the lips, I did use a little of MAC's Cyber World pencil (a very deep dark prune/plum) along the outer corners of my upper lip, and along the bottom to add a little 3D definition. You want to cover up most of the liner with the lipstick so there isn't a hard obvious deep purple line ringing your mouth. The effect should be subtle.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Something A Little Different: Designer Bag Restoration at Dr. Bags!

I love bags. Nearly as much as makeup. 

Carrying the right bag is the equivalent of wearing the right lipstick. It can make a look.
Of course, it's always a much bigger investment when you're talking about a Chanel or Dior or Saint Laurent bag versus a Chanel, Dior, or YSL lipstick. And the more you use a bag, the quicker it gets stained, scuffed, and discolored. Often pretty quickly, if you spend on exotic leather, suede, calf skin or fragile lambskin.

I used to think this was part and parcel of owning a bag. Once it got damaged, it got damaged, and you just had to enjoy it while you could.

And then a few months back a friend told me about Dr. Bags

This place is like an aesthetics clinic for your designer bags.
  • Protect new bags - You can opt to apply an invisible waterproof silicone HP coating on new bags to prevent damage and stains from water and minor abrasions for up to 8 months. 
  • Maintain and Restore used bags - You can deep-clean and restore bags to remove minor stains and fill in minor scratches and scuff marks.
  • Overhaul and recolor older bags - If your bag is old and completely discolored, you can get them touched up so they look newer - or get them recolored to a completely different shade!

My Experience

I decided to try out the various Dr Bags services with 2 bags that were perfect "candidates".
  1. The first was a lambskin Chloé Bronte bag in a soft blush-taupe shade which was so delicate that I had 2 scuffs on it before I even carried it out for the first time. And it was not waterproof so any droplet of water would absorb into the leather and stain it.
  2. The second was old magenta Balenciaga Velo that was stained and discolored to the point where I would never carry it out in polite company. 
Chloé Bronte: HP Coating and Cleaning

If there is one thing I recommend you do for your designer bags, it would be HP coating. It is invisible but repels water and bacteria for months. Don't wait until your bag gets stained and damaged. (Just like skincare, prevention is better than cure.) Repeat wetting and drying and even humidity and rain can cause your leather to dry out and crack very quickly.

I actually splashed water on my Bronte bag to see if it was really waterproof. (I won't lie - my heart almost stopped when I did that because previously, the leather would absorb the water and I had to wait hours for the water stain to fade, and not cause any permanent damage by touching or rubbing it while wet.)

But I waited - and waited. 

And the water didn't go in. Amazed. Now I can bring it out without worrying about rain and moisture. HP coating also prevents colored liquids from staining your bag. You can easily wipe off accidental spills and splashes (coffee, sauces, makeup) easily when you have your HP coating on. Just make sure to refresh your coating every 6-8 months if it's a bag you carry very often.

There was also a dark scuff mark from when I'd put the bag down on something, and I'd never been able to remove that mark.

After the cleaning and restoration treatment, it looks pristine.

Basic coatings cost around $150 per bag and can take maybe around a week.

You can also bring in your precious Louboutins and Jimmy Choos (all shoes, boots, and other leather goods) for HP coating so they stay pristine much longer.

Balenciaga Velo: ColourPro Colouring

For my poor beat-up Balenciaga which was stained and discolored from a bright magenta to a grey-prune tone, I decided to try out the ColourPro coloring treatment. This is perfect if you have a bag that's so old that it's no longer the color it used to be, or a stain that can't be removed completely with regular cleaning or restoration.

Dr. Bags offers a huge variety of colors, although the general advice for best results is that you can only go deeper, not lighter. That said, I've seen many people do a complete "white-out" and recolor their bags from another color, so discuss it with the team and see what the recommendations are.

Friday, October 30, 2015

MAC Magic Of The Night Collection Swatches and First Impressions

MAC's Magic Of The Night Collection is a true party collection. There is nothing here that is soft and subtle or especially day-appropriate, aside from maybe Please Me lipstick.

If you like smoky sultry colors shot through with beautiful sparkles and shimmer, high-sheen skin, or intense lip shades, this would be a good release to check out.

Must Try:
My favorites in the range are the 4 lipsticks. Really, I like all the shades. They’re all fab. Especially All Fired Up, an intense fuchsia red. It looks a little more pink/cool-toned in press visuals but the actual shade is slightly warmer/redder. 
Evening Rendezvous is a daring plummy-violet, and Dark Side is just a great Fall/Winter noir lip in a creamier texture. Please Me is beautiful but a re-release (or permanent in some markets), and I do recommend the shade for girls who like softer lips.

Also Cool:
The 5 Colourdrenched Pigments are pretty interesting. I thought they would be like Luster shadows; crumbly and un-pigmented. But they’re dense, slightly creamy-feeling sparkle shadows suspended in matte bases. The only thing is you can't be color-shy. They are extremely bling.
My tip for using these is to pack on a layer with your finger for maximum intensity first, and then using a soft brush to blend out the edges. These don’t get ruined when touched with fingers, the way some of the other regular shadows do. But if you want to use a brush, use a flatter, slightly firmer brush rather than a soft fluffy one so it grabs more pigment. 
All the eye looks I have here were done without any base or wetting the shadows. Night Thrill, the soft blonde gold, is slightly crumbly swatched on the hand, but packed on lightly in a small area like the inner corners, or down the center of the lids, it goes on beautifully.

I decided to do additional eye swatches because this is a pretty new formula that most people aren't familiar with, and I know some of you are afraid to buy shadows based on wrist swatches since the payoff can be different from when applied to the lid with brushes.

I would say only Ascent of Glamour (violet) came off a little softer on the lids, but that was also because I didn't spend much time building it up. And again, I think you get the best effect applying this formula with a finger first.

There are 4 pencils with this collection. 2 Lip Pencils, and 2 Eye Pencils. I think the 2 sparkly eye pencils are beautiful. Very smooth and buttery, and the sparkle in them is gorgeous. But I find the shadows compete with them, so you might not need both, or at least you don’t need to wear them together in the same look.