Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shade Highlight: OCC Yaoi Lip Tar

I'm a complete OCC Lip Tar addict. I have probably around 40 tubes in total, and have been collecting them since a few years ago. 

Which is strange if you consider the fact that these are some of the most basic beauty products in the world. They are literally oil and pigments/dyes with some preservatives. That's it. But somehow they're just perfect in their simplicity. 

That said, I do happen to prefer most of their creme (or what they now call "Matte") colors because some of the metallic ones can have a slightly odd consistency. The sparkle pigments are a bit coarse, which makes for a more visible sparkle, but also a texture that is more gritty on the lips, and also tends to sink into lines and emphasize flakes more.

The darker metallic shades are much nicer in general than the pale ones because the darkness makes them automatically appear more even. 

But I do love me some Yaoi.

OCC Yaoi worn over fuchsia lip liner

If you didn't know, Yaoi in Japanese refers to "Boys' love" roughly. I.e. a specific genre of manga and fiction in Japan popular among some women, which depicts romantic attraction between boys/men. Don't ask me. I don't get it. But I do get this lip color.

It's a frosty neon, blue-toned candy-pink. In fact, I'd probably describe it as a metallic/semi-sheer version of Candy Yum Yum from MAC.

It's such an over-the-top, potentially-tacky, frosty Barbie color that it's actually cool. 

You can mix a teeny tiny bit with clear gloss for a sheer frosty pink, or just lay it on strong for that shiny lip effect. What I will recommend if you want to wear this at full intensity, is to 
  1. apply it over a hot pink lip pencil or a matte lipstick. Lip Tars are oil and pigments. They contain no wax, so they WILL bleed. There is no getting around it. Also, the metals have a bit more of  a tendency to be sheerer and not as opaque and even as the creme textures, so a base layer of color will ensure everything looks even.
  2. start small. Apply just a tiny bit first, and add more if you need more. This is more true for the matte colors than the metallic ones, but it's still good to use less because when you over-apply, everything slides around.

Frosty opaque lipsticks have been out of fashion since the 80s, so wearing this looks instantly retro. My favorite OCC pinks are probably still Pretty Boy and Anime, but I have to say - this one is still fun fun fun.

Do you own any metallic Lip Tars? And what colors are they?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sparkly Cobalt Blue Eye - with and without Freshlook Grey Colorblends

People often ask me what eye makeup works best with what colored lenses or what colored eyes. I personally don't believe in setting rules because as long as you're wearing black liner and mascara, there is often enough of a contrast that your irises will stand out anyway.

There's also the other question of color theory. We are told by magazines and beauty writers that if you have blue eyes, you should never wear blue eyeshadow. That only coppery browns and other warm golden tones will bring out your eye color.

BS. The softer blue than your eyes can bring out the blue. A good black liner will DEFINITELY bring out blues. You can generally pull off most shadows if:
  1. you have some black liner and mascara around the lash line to "separate" the shadow from your eyes. This helps both the shadow and your iris to stand out. 
  2. the limbal ring around the outside of your iris (or your lens) is quite dark/defined. This creates definition, and makes the color pop more than someone whose iris is very pale through and through.
But ultimately - who wants to stick with one color group for their entire life just because someone said "it will bring out your eyes"? What if it doesn't work with your hair color, your skin tone, your lipstick, your outfit choice? Will you wear a shadow that looks terrible JUST because it makes your eye color pop? Don't listen to those clich├ęs, my dears. 

Your eye color should never be the sole deciding factor dictating what eyeshadows you can or cannot wear.
Freshlook ColorBlends in Grey

That said and done, I personally prefer natural eyes, just because most lenses tend to slide around a bit and don't stay perfectly centered all the time. When the "pupils" aren't exactly in the right place on both sides, your eyes look off-focus, and you get that glazed, lazy-eyed "zombie" expression. 

Of course, when it works, it really looks good too. You decide!

The look I have here was done with few key items from INGLOT's limited edition Mamma Mia collection. Don't get me started on the name and the packaging because I really don't see how these edgy pop-art colors are related to Mamma Mia in any way.

But if you love bright strong colors and looks, this is a collection you should check out. Weird packaging aside, they have a 10 color palette featuring an entire RAINBOW of shades. I have it below, placed next to my own custom palette with neutrals and mauve tones. The shades I used are marked out. I don't have the numbers for the Mamma Mia palette, but you can look for similar ones in the regular range.

Another 2 key items you have to check out would be the AMC Eyeliner Gel in 103, also from the collection. This is a vibrant metallic blue that's the cream version of MAC's Freshwater shadow. I.e. royal blue perfection.

And that Body Pigment Powder 313 is a deep rich sparkly cobalt to die for. I'm going to be layering all these things today.

Steps are all listed below, and you can click to expand to full size if you want!
I do want to remind you - there WILL be a lot of fallout as we're working with dark shades and loose pigments. If you don't want to make a mess, make sure you do your foundation and concealer AFTER you finish your eye makeup.

INGLOT Duraline is one of my favorite products of all time. It's a sealant/converter that turns glitters and pigments into a cream. But it's not watery; it has a dry oil-like feel so you get enough time to blend and smooth things around, before it sets and locks down for the rest of the day. 

Tip: Press on the first coat of sparkly pigment first, let set, then go over with another coat. The first layer sinks into the liquid and grabs, so it's never as shiny. The second coat will give you maximum sparkle.

I used Bobbi Browns' Black Ink gel liner here.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask and Lip Sleeping Mask

LANEIGE'S cult favorite overnight hydration mask, the Water Sleeping Pack, is one of the brand's bestsellers, having sold 16 million units since 2002.

If you've never tried it before, it's a fresh gel moisturizer that you apply over regular skincare right before bed, it's designed to deliver continual non-greasy hydration to help perk up dull, tired skin. Technically, I don't think your skin is going to differentiate between moisturizer and a sleeping mask. This can be used as an extra boost over your existing products every other night, OR used in place of moisturizer if you have oily skin. (But that's just me.)

The concept of using sleeping masks is based around the skin's repair and detoxification cycle. At night is when skin regenerates itself and skincare has the biggest effect. However, it's also the time where your pores are open and you lose the most water. So sleeping masks are designed to help boost that repair cycle while minimizing moisture loss.

The Water Sleeping Pack formula has been updated this year, so it is now called the Water Sleeping Mask (SGD$42), and works in three ways:
  1. Detoxify and repair with Hunza apricot extract and Evening Primrose Root. Both ingredients are antioxidants and also help the skin to discharge contaminants that accumulate during the day. According to a clinical study done by LANEIGE, the product supposedly reduces pore size and boosts radiance after a week's use. 
  2. Hydrate without being heavy or occlusive, with a beta-glucan mineral complex. Apparently, tests showed that after a week of use, this had a more noticeable effect on those who had had a bad night's sleep. Not that you should be using a sleeping mask to replace sleep, but if you don't have a choice, then slap this on you won't look quite as bad as you usually do without rest.
  3. Aromatherapy with natural orange flower, rose, ylang ylang, and sandalwood oils to prolong deep sleep by 36% (according to LANEIGE'S clinical data). Improving quality of sleep in turn strengthens your skin's natural regenerative abilities.
I can't in all honesty say that it's been a magical cure for my skin. I do enjoy applying the fresh texture; it absorbs instantly and feels cooling on the skin. And it's nice for a quick boost of moisture. But for people with dry skin or dry patches like me, this might not be sufficient to make a huge difference in terms of hydration levels. I can see this being great for oily to normal skins though.

I also am not 100% certain if it boosts sleep because the scent disappears after application, once it sinks into the skin. It does smell very pleasant though.

I haven't given it enough of a test to say if I see any noticeable differences in my skin but I think the biggest draw for me would be the detoxifying and antioxidant properties of some of the ingredients, and how it can complement your natural repair processes. 

Besides the face Sleeping Mask, LANEIGE has also launched another product which I am actually MUCH more excited about, lip balm junkie that I am.

The Lip Sleeping Mask (SGD$27) is a gorgeous, gorgeous pot of soft treatment butter for the lips. It contains a concentrated Berry Mix Complex including 8 berries (strawberry, blueberry, cranberry, gojiberry, soapberry, cloudberry, and coffee berry), and we all know berries contain a load of antioxidants and are great for the skin, both consumed and applied.

But it's really the sensorial experience that I love. This smells fruity and sweet, and just melts into the lips like you wouldn't believe. If you are a makeup artist, you might want to pick up a couple pots of this to condition your clients' lips before applying makeup because it smells SO good, feels SO good, and it actually smooths the lips quickly without being all waxy and thick.

The little silicone spatula is just darling too. But I just get in there with my fingers.

And I use it as a lip balm anytime of day. Not just before bed. And at $27 a 20g jar (a typical pot of Philosophy Kiss Me Goodnight lip balm has 9g of product), this is not a small pot! It will last a good long while, and do a lot more good for your lips than the typical wax 'n' oil lip balms around with much cheaper formulations.

(Too early to say but this might just creep into holy grail lip balm territory for me. All I can say is - I highly, highly recommend this if you have a chance to check it out.)

The LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask and Lip Sleeping Mask will be in stores in Singapore on 7 May 2015.
For those of you in the US, LANEIGE skincare is available at Target. I'm not entirely sure how soon these 2 products will be released, but the original Sleeping Pack is definitely being sold. Fingers crossed that the updated formula - and especially the Lip Sleeping Mask - will be on the shelves soon.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Yazbukey for Shu Uemura

Ottoman princess and jewelry designer Yaz Bukey has teamed up with Shu Uemura to create a whimsical and oddly cute collection this year, filled with pop colors and beautiful textures. Split into 4 specific personalities, the products are themed to coordinate and all packaged in identical colors.
  • Sexy Yaz - pink packaging
  • Smart Lola - green packaging
  • Romantic Betty - yellow packaging
  • Daring Tina - blue packaging

I don't have the full collection to show you; just a few pieces from each of the sets, including the key piece, the I Love My Shu Shu palette, which contains 7 ultra-smooth shadows and a blush shade.

The rich, warm, jewel-toned colors in this palette kinda remind me of the 6 Heart Princess's Black Princess palette from awhile back. There are no duds in this palette. The colors are all very silky and blendable.

The only thing is I would probably throw out those applicators in the palette. Especially the brush applicator. There's something which either looks like an overly long blender or a laughably small blush brush. Nah-uh. Chuck that and use your own brushes.

Also, most of the colors are actually matte or satin, so the textures are quite flattering and easy to work with. 

Aside from this, there are the  regular products like the cleansing oils, UV Under Base Mousses, and gel pencils done up in the seasonal packaging. I tell you - you will not be able to bear throwing out the boxes because they're half the charm. 

The expressions are just too cute.

Shu being Shu, there are also a couple of different collectible false lash designs. My favorite is this subtle pair of Yaz lashes, which are black interlaced with hot pink. There is also a pair of Tina designs which are spiky, jeweled strips. 

No less wearable, but more suited for night.

And seriously, don't they look darling in their box with the lip??!

Speaking of lips, there are 4 Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte lip colors with the collection. A red for Yaz, a pink for Lola, orange for Betty, and a day-glo violet for Tina.

Now this shade really made my eyes pop because it's the one I'm most curious about.

As you can see the swatch below, it takes on an almost glowy blue cast, almost like the lipstick has a blue pearl (which it doesn't if you look at it up-close). Whatever colorants they used just picks up the light and throws it back blue. If you want a very lightweight color that is also extremely daring, look no further.

My main criticism for this shade is the fact that the Supreme Matte textures are that of the very thin, lightweight, new-generation matte lipsticks that can't really be built up to full opacity, so they have more of a tendency to go on slightly patchy, especially if you're wearing very dark or very pale shades.

You can see from my hand-swatch above. Trying to apply more will just wipe off what you applied below, so it's really not meant to be worn thick like MAC matte lipsticks.

 The shade is fun for sure, but if you have dry lips make sure you prep beforehand, because again - these lightweight matte textures are often actually less forgiving and conditioning than thicker traditional oil-based mattes. I didn't apply balm beforehand, and it just made the texture of my lips all the more obvious, although it's actually comfortable to wear. My guess is that the red shade would be the most forgiving of the 4.

There are also nail polishes in the collection, which I haven't had a chance to see myself yet,

All in all, this is a super-cute collection for those who don't like "typical cute stuff". It's very eclectic and quite sophisticated actually. And ultimately, it's a great way to step out of your comfort zone from the typical neutrals this season, what with a lot of the other high-end brands coming up with the usual neutrals, bronzes, and aquatic colors.

The Yazbukey for Shu Uemura collection launches 1 May in Singapore, but will be pre-launched at Tangs Orchard on 24 April! See the full collection on the Yazbukey for Shu site here!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

MAGIC DROPS Micro-Dermal Infusion With Ultra Lift

I've never been a big believer in facials. I've gone 30+ years without them, and my skin's none the worse for it. Nobody except a licensed dermatologist has treated my skin in my entire life until recently, because I'd much rather treat the underlying problems and know for sure that what I'm putting on my skin or ingesting orally is medical grade.

Maybe it's a negative stereotype but I've always got this impression of facial salons where they're putting all kinds of strange masks and treatments on your face, and having non-medically trained personnel use unscientific procedures and techniques on your skin.

But the newer generation of facials uses high-tech equipment and borders aesthetics treatments, so I was quite curious to try the new MAGIC DROPS Micro-Dermal Infusion With Ultra Lift, so I popped into Nu. Reflections for a trial session just to see what it did and whether my skin liked it.

Like micro-dermabrasion, which removes top layers of your skin and can result in some redness and soreness, micro-dermal infusion is quite gentle and generally less likely to leave any redness, which means you can go right back to work or go out without any problems. It also has the added function of infusing the skin with liquid serums customized for your skin concerns, before all the debris that gets exfoliated or loosened is removed using vacuum suction.

This promises to:
  1. Visibly reduce surface fine lines & wrinkles.
  2. Improve acne-prone skin; less oily, less breakouts.
  3. Refine pores, skin tone & skin texture.
  4. Brighten and hydrate skin; improve suppleness & elasticity of skin.
  5. Lighten and diminish hyper-pigmentation (melasma / brown spots / acne scars)
I have somewhat-sensitive normal to dry skin that is quite prone to redness if I use any harsh exfoliating devices on it. Grainy scrubs and Clarisonic brushes cause me to breakout, so I was actually pretty worried that I would react badly to this as well. But surprisingly it felt alright. If you feel any discomfort, you can always tell your therapist and they can lighten the pressure on your skin, but it really didn't hurt at all for me. You will feel the abrasive tip pass over your skin in short strokes, and that's about it.

The 3 solutions available are for 3 skin concerns:
  • Fairness Dew (pink) - Suitable for brightening and evening out dull, pigmented skin
  • Pore Essential Care (green) - Suitable for oily, and problematic skin
  • ReviviCare (blue) - Suitable for dehydrated, irritable and sensitive skin

Depending on your skin-type and whether you have combination skin, the facialist could use one, two, or a mixture of solutions for different skin areas. During my session, the blue solution for dry and sensitive skin was used all over, and then a second pass was made using the pink serum for brightening.

The machine has an additional Ultra Lift function as well. Because absorption is optimal after exfoliation, they've designed the device to also include an ultrasonic metal pad which can be used after the dermabrasion procedure. This technology is called ultrasonophoresis, which increases the penetration rate and depth of skincare ingredients into the skin, and also improves circulation. This is an optional step to the facial, and better for those who want an extra skin plumping and lifting treatment.

During this phase of the treatment, a skincare lotion or serum is massaged into your skin and then the metal ultrasonic tip is applied to your face and slowly massaged in circular motions, you can feel little prickling sensations like static electricity on the skin. But again, it is nothing much to worry about. I was actually quite thrilled that I could feel it working.

After the treatment, my skin felt so smooth and well-hydrated. There was zero redness and I didn't react badly either, which is a good thing.

As for the promises to:
  1. Visibly reduce surface fine lines & wrinkles - I can't really say too much about this as I'm not testing it as an anti-aging treatment and I don't have very visible lines to treat currently.
  2. Improve acne-prone skin; less oily, less breakouts - any proper exfoliation treatment helps to reduce chance of clogs, but do note that you should be extra gentle with your skin for a few days after this type of procedure, especially if you are sensitive or prone to getting spots from using strong skincare and tools like me. Your skin is thinner and might be more reactive to strong stimulation. 
  3. Refine pores, skin tone & skin texture - definitely a big yes; the combination of exfoliation, infusion, and vacuum extraction, followed by ultrasonic treatment really made my skin feel ultra-soft, toned and smooth.
  4. Brighten and hydrate skin; improve suppleness & elasticity of skin - exfoliation removes the top layers of dead skin which can sometimes inhibit skincare absorption, so besides infusing your skin with hydration and other skin repair ingredients on the day of treatment, this definitely helps your own skin products to work better for awhile after, but you will need follow-up treatments for the beneficial effects to continue.
  5. Lighten and diminish hyper-pigmentation (melasma / brown spots / acne scars) - again, exfoliation gets rid of the top layers of your skin, which is usually also the dullest and most discolored layers. So you definitely get an instant "brightening" effect. But discolorations go quite deep into your skin layers, so you will need a few more sessions to gradually remove existing acne marks etc.
In the end, dermal exfoliation works only the top layers of the skin, so you should be prepared for repeat sessions for the best results. If budget is a problem, then this is not the best option for you just for skin maintenance. 

If however, you are looking around for a quick boost before a big day, especially if you're having a wedding and want to minimize breakouts and clogs before the date comes around, or to ensure you look especially radiant, this is definitely one thing you can consider checking out. Do NOT go for a completely new facial treatment just before a big day, if you have never tried it before. At least book one trial session ahead of time, just to see how your skin likes it.

If skin maintenance is a big thing for you and you're willing and able to go for exfoliation treatments regularly, then judging by the usual frequency recommendations for micro-dermabrasion, you can consider scheduling monthly sessions for MAGIC DROPS.
MAGIC DROPS Micro-Dermal Infusion is currently priced at $300 per session at Nu.Reflections, and the Ultra Lift treatment is an additional $50. There is no package price currently available but the clinic has kindly offered Makeup Box readers 50% off trial price for all therapist facial and slimming treatments. If you're curious to try any face or body treatments they offer, but not sure about committing full-price yet, this is a perfect chance to check them out. Just quote my name "Candice" or "Makeup Box" when making enquiries at (65) 6235 0555.
Disclaimer: My MAGIC DROPS session was offered for review purposes, but this is not a paid advertorial; all opinions are my own.

Dior Nude Tan Tie Dye Edition Blush Harmony

Dior's gorgeous Summer 2015 makeup collection is themed around beautiful tie-dye patterns and sunset/sunrise colors.

I'll talk about the other products in the line soon, but today I'm showcasing the two must-tries; the Nude Tan Tie Dye Edition Blush Harmony compacts.

Each comes with a white-haired kabuki brush and a velvet pouch, same as the other Nude Tan products.

The 2 shades available are:
  • 001 Pink Sunrise
  • 002 Coral Sunset

Both shades are quite soft, and probably better for those with light to medium skins. If you have dark skin, these might not show up that well, although the color can be built up a little.

I usually prefer pink blushes but I have to say I like 002 Coral Sunset more. It's just so pretty and tropical.

And both these blushes go perfectly with the eye palettes and cream shadows coming out in Summer. 
Dior Summer 2015 5 Couleurs palettes in 346 Pastel Breeze (left), and 556 Contraste Horizon
 There are 2 more colorful palettes; 346 Pastel Breeze and 556 Constraste Horizon. 346 Pastel Breeze is released in Singapore as a special edition ION Backdstage Boutique exclusive along with the 2 2015 My Lady blushes, and not "officially" part of the rest of the collection here.

556 Contraste Horizon however, is part of the Tie Dye collection, and one of the few color palettes that I really like.

There are also 2 neutral palettes. 

The 5 Couleurs palette 539 Variation Nude is gorgeous. If you have seen or own Cuir Cannage palette, this is a softer, less smoky version of that. It's also like an all-neutral version of the discontinued 754 Rosy Tan palette, with beiges in the place of pinks.

Eye Reviver 001 Illuminating Neutrals Eye Palette was just released as well, although it's not officially part of the Summer collection either. This 6-shade silver palette is contains 2 matte shades, 3 shimmer shades, and a liner for maximum convenience on the go. The colors are similar to 539 Variation Nude, so you probably don't need both. If you want a mix of mattes and shimmers go for the Eye Reviver palette. If you prefer Dior's ultra-silky shimmers, then pick up 539.

I'll feature all these separately, but if you're curious to see swatches I did in-store of the full range, including the very cute Tie Dye Lipsticks and Fluidsticks, hop on over to dayre here!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tory Burch Bronzer & Blush 01 Divine

I'm not usually that interested when fashion designers try their hand at makeup.

Not everyone is involved in the design and production, or ensuring they get the formula right despite the premium price-tag you pay for the packaging and brand name. (Michael Kors' appalling $40 lipsticks with their patchy, cheap formula come to mind.) 

"And what does Tory Burch know about makeup right?"

But when I saw that image of the Bronzer & Blush compact while shopping on, I knew I HAD to at least give it a try.

What you get is a trio of sorts, with a highlight, blush, and bronzer. But I knew it was pointless trying to split the shades because the tones are so close between the highlight and bronzer that it wouldn't make much of a difference.

The highlight isn't pale enough to highlight, and the bronzer is not going to look bronze on anyone except the very pale. THAT SAID - these 3-color blush and bronzer compacts usually give a gorgeous soft warm apricot color when swirled together.

And I'm happy to report this is gorgeous. You get a fleshy soft apricot that works with any neutral or soft look and never goes on muddy or streaky. The shimmer isn't obvious and won't emphasize pores. You also don't have to pick up a ton of product to get a bit of healthy color on your face.

I admit I didn't do any extra research. This is the only shade (01 Divine) I saw on the site and I don't know if there are more options for deeper skin tones.This particular shade won't work well on tan to dark skins simply because the colors are quite soft.

If they have more shades I would definitely be interested in having a look.

I'm still testing it to see how well it lasts over the day, but most blushes fade on my dry cheeks after about 6-7 hours anyway. It's not a huge deal for me personally.

Besides, after spending £35 on this, you kinda WANT to pull out that gorgeus orange and gold compact in its little fabric pouch with the Tory Burch logo on the clasp anyway. 

Look of the Day: Soft neutrals with slightly overdrawn lips

  1.  Bobbi Brown Long-wear Gel Liner in Black Ink, applied in a smoky hazy manner along whole of the upper and half of lower lash line, using a small lip brush. I apply the liner first if I want a soft, subtle definition and no visible lines.
  1. Urban Decay Shadow Box palette - Sin (pale champagne) applied over inner half of lids, Lost (medium brown) in outer half of lids and socket, Baked Cowboy (gold) dabbed lightly just down the center of the lid.
  1. Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara - I don't love the original formula but I'm trying to finish it up. And my Shu Uemura lash curlers make up for the mascara's woeful lack of curling power.
  1. The Balm Bahama Mama lightly to contour under cheekbones
  1. Tory Burch Bronzer & Blush in 01 Divine
Lips - (this is for you if you like that Kylie Jenner look but don't want it too over the top)
  1. NYX Lip Pencil in 1000 Years - this is a taupe lip pencil; looks scary but it's PERFECT for subtly overdrawing the lips. Just draw right outside the edge of your lip line and this color helps create the illusion that the natural contour/shadow cast by the edge of your lip is slightly further out.
  1. MAC matte lipstick in Runway Hit - a peachy pink hued nude; I think this is limited edition but Kinda Sexy has a similar effect and tone. And yes - matte and semi-matte lipsticks work better for overdrawing your lips. If you need shine, apply it only to the center, away from the edge of the lips.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kevyn Aucoin Bloodroses Lip Product Swatches and Review

I've told this story several times on other social platforms, but the very first lip color I ever obsessed over as a child (I was 11) and saved up to buy was a deep dark oxblood or black cherry color.

That obsession has survived over 20 years, which is probably testament to the fact it is timeless and has never gone "out of fashion". Maybe it's the fact that this is a color which balances intense drama with a strange ability to flatter pretty much any skin tone.

I only recently discovered Kevyn Aucoin had a series of lip colors (and a cheek product actually) in the shade romantically named "Bloodroses". This is a deep dark cherry red which echoes the color of his makeup packaging.

The lip products are available in:
The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil - black cherry pencil
The Matte Lip Color - matte black cherry lipstick
The Expert Lip Color - creme dark cherry lipstick (more red-toned than the pencil and matte lipstick)
The Lip Gloss - sheer glossy tint (more brown-toned than the other products)

As you can see, the lip products are not all exactly the same color. So you should choose based on your preference.

The product I like least is probably The Lip Gloss. Simply because it's so sheer that it makes little difference. If you want to wear it on its own for a crushed brown-berry stain, you can get a similar tint just with Clinique's much cheaper Black Honey lipstick. It has a thin and light texture, so it actually feels really nice on the lips BUT I do not recommend buying this to layer with the lipsticks or liner. This sort of light, "flowy" gloss layered over lipsticks or liner will melt the product beneath and make everything look slide around. It will look uneven on the lips and sink into lines. Which is fine with more medium-toned colors, but NOT something like Bloodroses.

The other 3 products on the other hand, I love. The textures are ultra-smooth.

The Expert Lip Color goes on intensely in one swipe, and the color is gorgeous. It's probably the truest to the name "bloodroses". It's rose (cool-toned burgundy) balanced with blood (warm-toned brown red). I've seen people apply it on Youtube and it looked a bit sheer, but I was soooo happy when it went on quite color-true and quite intense for me. (Or maybe it's just that I always apply a very generous amount. I didn't see any bleeding but if you're wearing any dark creamy lipstick, it's always a good idea to wear a liner around the edges at least.

If you want a subtle "ombre" effect, you can also apply the Expert Lip Color, then run the Lip Pencil around the edges after. It's slightly darker than then lipstick so it gives a 3D look. I personally prefer applying liner all over the lips as base first and layering the lipstick over for opaque shine.

Bloodroses: The Matte Lipstick with The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in the matching shade just around the edges

I'm most obsessed with The Matte Lip Color. This doesn't quite have a true "blood" tone. It's a cool-toned Bing cherry color with a berry undertone to it, which can help balance out yellow-toned skins and stop everything from looking too sallow. It's also much more dramatic looking and deep than the Expert Lip Color. The liner and matte lipstick are the two products that truly match each other in tone.

The texture of Kevyn Aucoin Mattes is very creamy and non-drying. But just like some of the newer MAC Mattes which are smooth and light in texture, they won't be as opaque and intense as old-school MAC mattes like Russian Red and Prince Noir, or Viva Glam I. You can't keep building and building the color. That said, it's pretty intense all on its own.

But you can always take it up a notch if you need perfect opaque coverage for a shoot, and layer the matte lipstick over a coat of the matching liner and then lightly kiss a sheet of tissue to take down the shine. That's going to give you that dramatic velvety rose-petal effect.
Kevyn Aucoin makeup is not available in Singapore, so I purchase my products from and FragranceX has free international shipping with purchases over $69 (enter coupon code FREE69) so it's usually where I check first, but they don't usually have stock for all shades. (correction - I'm sorry I don't know why I listed Harrods!) is my second choice as they have a better selection, but you have to factor in international shipping cost.
Prices can vary depending on site, shipping rates and exchange rates, but these are definitely in the luxe range and currently cost around SGD$45-50 per tube. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

MAC is Beauty Collection Swatches

The sugary girly MAC is Beauty collection launches 24 April in Singapore, and has a ton of gorgeous color products including 16 Fluidline gel liners, and 12 lipsticks. Perfect for those of us who like a simple swathe of liner and a pop of color on the lips.

Firstly, I apologize for the less-than-perfect liner swatches. There wasn't any brush available where I previewed the products, so I had to make do with cotton buds. These will just give you an idea of the shades and finishes (matte, sparkly or metallic). If you use a proper liner brush, these will go on much more intensely.

Deliciously Rich is a nice sparkly brown. It's not as opaque as the other brown shades as the formula has a tendency to sheer out when you apply it, so you might need to go over a second time after the first layer sets.

I personally love Looking Good and Copperthorn for statement eye looks. You might or might not remember I did a red/wine winged eyeliner look using Make Up Geek's red gel liner previously. It's a LOT more wearable than you think. Copperthorn on the other hand, is like Copper Sparkle pigment on crack.

Blue Peep is a permanent color, and Shade is going to be added to the permanent line as well. Yay because I love this deep green matte liner. It might not look like much, but it's so flattering, and not too loud.

Macroviolet is another fave of mine which is being re-released with this collection, so if you have not tried it, do. It's a deep purple/plum with a slight bronze hue to it. Wear with a matte pinky-brown eye look and see how gorgeous it is. 

Waveline is a classic deep navy/cobalt which is not so dark that it looks black, and not so bright that it looks over-the-top. You get definition as well as color. 

Siahi, I would suggest you check out as well if you love blue-green shades like Tilt, Steamy, etc. The swatch doesn't do it justice.

For the 4 shadows, Yogurt (not swatched here) is a permanent matte pale ivory beige-pink. Of the 3 limited edition shades, I would put my money on Bouffant (frosted peach-pink) and Preening Pale (satin pistachio ice-cream green). Wow Factor looks pretty but if you don't pick up a lot of product and really pack it on, it's the kind of almost-matte shade that will grab on the skin and go on a bit darker and duller than it looks in the pan.

The Cremesheen Glasses I'm not extremely impressed by. But then I've never been a huge fan of Cremesheen Glasses anyway. I think of the 4, Star Quality is the only one that would make much of a difference. The rest just add a bit of shine and the subtlest bit of hue to light or nude lipsticks. If you already own a pale creme-textured gloss, there's no need to get more because they all mostly look the same on the lips.

The lipsticks in this range I LOVE though. There are 12 shades, and I love several.

Reel Sexy, Make Me Gorgeous, Catty and Call the Hairdresser are all super-pretty and lean on the warm side of pink.

The nudes are all sheer and wearable. Which is the way I prefer it. No concealer lips for me. I especially like Real Redhead, which just evens out the lips and doesn't look too rosy or too beige.

The cooler pinks/violets are fun, but I recommend Silly and Diva-ish more than the others. Real Doll is pretty, but a bit sheer, so you will just get a slick of soft cool-pink gleam on the lips. Notice Me is one of those very cool lavender shades that some people can pull off, and most of us can't.

Diva-ish, the deep fuchsia tone, is the most universally wearable, but Silly is so fun. This is not like Candy Yum Yum although the texture is very similar. It's a little lighter and warmer toned. If you want a slightly more "pastel" effect on your lips than you get with Candy Yum Yum, pick this up quick because I just know it will disappear once it's available.

Beauty Powders are always optional. These multi-use powders come in pressed powder compacts and can be used for dusting all over, applied on high points of the face as highlighters, or worn as blush, depending on the shade and your skintone.

Alpha Girl, the warmer coral-peach shade, is matte and will work as a gorgeous blush on pale girls. On medium skin tones, you will need to build it up a bit. On tan to dark skins, it won't show up. 

Pearl Blossom on the other hand is a nice cool-toned pink pearl shade which you can check out if you like the color of NARS Copacabana Multiple, but wish it were less shiny.