Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Favourite Online Stores

I love online shopping, I really do! The huge range of brands, great GWP offers, (usually) good customer service and the game called: Fill-the-online-basket and Empty-the-online-basket. Also, the calculating of the GBP-USD-EUR exchange rates is always fun!
Of course there are some drawbacks: obscene shipping rates to Slovenia (Hello narscosmetics.eu!), problems with the post, out of stock products, but still in my opinion most of the time the pros outweigh the cons.

- Aus Liebe Zum Duft: This is a wonderful Germany-based online website that stocks an incredible range of niche perfume brands and some skincare as well. The shipping rates are quite high (8-12 EUR) but the delivery was very quick, 2-3 days from Germany to Slovenia and  some lovely samples were included. A little tip: if you're registered to their newsletter they will send you a code for your birthday for 10 EUR off your order.

- Benefit Cosmetics (US): I've only ordered once from the US Benefit website - I don't really order from the US too often because of the custom charges. The shipping fee was actually very low considering the package came from the US, they always include samples and when I ordered they sent me a full sized highlighter as a gift, even though the amount of my order was actually a couple of dollars short of the minimum value to qualify for the GWP. Very impressed!

- Lookfantastic: they have a wide range of brands, some great sales (a spring sale at the moment) and the shipping to Slovenia is actually quite reasonable, starting at 3.75 GBP  for one item. Also, when I had some problems with returning a product last year they solved the matter very quickly, offered me a refund and I got an additional product for free.

- Ormonde Jayne: Their online customer service is lovely (I can't say I was really impressed with the SA when I visited their Bond Street Store), they often have some great offers - I got a free mini candle with my order last year, and the packages are always beautifully wrapped.

- Serge Lutens: The shipping to Slovenia is usually 20 EUR (awful, awful, you'd think that we live on Mars) but in December just when I had the Chergui on my wishlist, they had free shipping with orders over a certain amount . The delivery was quick, the package came in a beautiful Serge Lutens bag and there were generous samples included.

- Space NK (UK): Again, a great array of brands, the shipping to Slovenia is 10 GBP and if you're not from the UK you can't place an online order, you need to order via phone which is a bit annoying. Last year they have introduced the N.Dulge loyalty card which is worth getting if you plan on ordering from them. The delivery to Slovenia was extremely fast, 3 days and there were always some nice samples enclosed.

- Zuneta: Now, my Zuneta wishlist is always crazy long - they really have some great brands there, I wish they'd stock some perfumes as well. The shipping costs to Slovenia are 10 GBP or 0 GBP if you order above 65 GBP (Guess how many orders below 65 pounds I have placed. Yup, zero.) Also look out for their weekly newsletter, sometimes they have great offers (GWPs, sales and sometimes even 20% off everything).

What's most important for you when you shop online and what are some of your favourite online shops? I'm always open to new suggestions :D

Monday, March 28, 2011

Le Metier de Beaute Splendid Frost Kaleidoscope in action

I promise this will be my last post on the Le Metier de Beaute Splendid Frost Eye Kaleidoscope and then I'll stop torturing everyone. I posted some photos and swatches of the palette in this previous post. Today I just want to show you a soft smokey eye look that I did last weekend.

I tried to use the Le Metier de Beaute "Couches de Couleur" technique - layering different colours that is supposed to create a unique prismatic effect. I was initially a bit afraid that the end result might be too muddy but I think it actually turned out ok and is quite flattering.


Here are the products that I've used (I forgot to include the Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink):


First, I smudged the Urban Decay Eyeliner in Zero (black) with the Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Crease Brush all over the mobile eyelid, so that I got a nice dark grey base. Then I added the Le Metier de Beaute eyeshadow in Crystal Ball (golden taupe) all over the greyish base and applied the LMdB eyeshadow in Empire (matte gray) mainly in the crease and near the lashline. Lastly I applied the LMdB eyeshadow in Sugar Plum (shimmery dark blue) closely to the lashes and a little bit in the outer v. I finished with the Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink on the upper lashline, UD Eyeliner in Zero on the lower waterline, a mixture of the grey and blue LMdB eyeshadows smudged between the lower lashes and of course mascara - I used the Le Metier de Beaute one.


I think that the Couches de Couleur technique would work well with any kind of soft, pigmented and non-chalky colours and using a darker base (pencil or a cream eyeshadow) definitely makes a difference. I also like that this Kaleidoscope "forced" me to try out a combination of colours that I wouldn't normally go for.

As you can see, I still haven't used the pink Rockette from the Kaleidoscope on my eyes but in my defence, at least I used it as a blush :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation



I got the Laura Mercier Oil Free foundation (33 GBP) a while back, during my short trip to London. I've read some quite good reviews beforehand online and the ingredients list sounded promising:
- no silicones
- no added fragrance
- oil-free
- and some antioxidants thrown in for good measure.


When I visited the Liberty counter I asked the makeup artist to try this foundation on me and I have to say that the initial effect was nice - medium coverage, silky finish so I decided to take a bottle home with me. The colour that I got was Warm Ivory (the lightest warm colour in their range which then proved to be too light for my skin tone).


After weeks of wearing this I can honestly say that this foundation does not work for me at all - no matter how I apply it (with a brush, fingers or a sponge) it just makes my skin look very dull, it accentuates every pore and dry patch, feels heavy but at the same time doesn't offer enough coverage and it makes my skin oily very quickly. The texture is creamy and thick and quite hard to blend which is probably also due to the lack of silicones.

I think that this foundation might only look ok on those people who have perfectly even skin tone but then again there are much better foundations with nicer texture out there. 

I've really been liking the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua lately and of course my staple Revlon Colourstay. I "need" a lighter coverage foundation / tinted moisturizer for the summer and I've read that Clinique is coming out with a new tinted moisturizer although by the time it reaches our counters the summer will probably already be long gone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP - a miracle in a bottle?


Sometimes the best products are the ones you run into by accident. About a month ago I just placed my Haus of Gloi order for some body butters and scrubs (I received the products this weekend and I love the smell of Satyr!) and at about the same time I ran out of my previous body milk so dry-skinned I went to the pharmacy looking for a good body milk for sensitive skin and got the La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP.


According to the La Roche Posay website, this body balm is formulated specifically for extremely dry, irritated skin subject to itchiness and it's fragrance-free and paraben-free. 

The ingredients don't really sound all that special - a mixture of oils, waxes and butters with one exception: niacinamide. Niacinamide - a water soluble vitamin, part of the vitamin B group, is a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredient. It is supposed to strenghten the outer skin layer, help with discolorations and increase the hydration of the skin. Very often niacinamide is mentioned as a good ingredient for rosacea and acne-prone skin. (you can read more about the benefits of niacinamide at Skincare for Men, Paula's Choice, Livestrong...).

Niacinamide is used in many Olay and NIA 24 skincare products but as far as I know it hasn't really been used in body products. And it might be the niacinamide or some fairy dust thrown into the balm but this product has really made a difference to my skin. My skin gets very dry, red and itchy and because of the dermatitis I need to use corticosteroids very often.

The texture of the balm is creamy and thicker than your average body milk and the scent is a bit odd because of the lack of any artificial fragrance or essential oils. Even though it doesn't feel sticky I apply it only at night and honestly, my skin is incredibly smooth the whole day after. And I don't know if this is a coincidence but the eczema and redness on my arms has substantially diminished as well.

I highly recommend this product - especially if you have sensitive or very dry skin, problems with redness, itchiness etc.

La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP usually comes in a tube and costs 14€ for 200 ml however, there was a special offer at the time I bought it and I paid less than 20€ for a 400 ml bottle. And yes, for me it's the closest thing to a miracle.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Le Metier de Beaute: Splendid Frost Eye Kaleidoscope

Finally, after almost a month after receiving the Le Metier de Beaute products, I thought I would show you some photos of the limited edition Eye Kaleidoscope in Splendid Frost. When I got my LMdB package I just couldn't stop looking at the beautiful colours in this Kaleidoscope. Unfortunatelly, Le Metier de Beaute is not available in the UK at the moment/any more, but you can still get this palette online at Nordstrom.com.

L-R: Crystal Ball, Empire, Rockette, Sugar Plum
The colours are gorgeous, very soft and pigmented (I was afraid that they might be too sheer) and the colour combination is very rich and quite unexpected with the pink and grey thrown in.

First up is Crystal Ball, a beautiful shimmery mixture of gold, taupe and olive, it looks gorgeous as a simple wash over the eyelids.


The weird eye shadow in the bunch is probably the matte medium grey Empire but it is surprisingly very versatile, I use it mainly in the crease to smoke out other colours.


Rockette is a shimmery warm pink that works beautifully as a blush as well.

Lastly, there is Sugar Plum, a smoky blue with lots of very fine pink glitter. 


As with all Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscopes this one is also limited edition so I thought that I would just show you some quick swatches of the colours compared to some other similar eye shadows that I have. Unfortunatelly, I don't have any similar colours to the grey Empire (I never thought I'd be able to say that!)
L-R: LMdB Crystal Ball, theBalm Insane Jane, MAC Satin Taupe

L-R: LMdB Rockette, blushes: Shu Uemura Pink P 30, Estee Lauder Pink Kiss, Nars Deep Throat
L-R: LMdB Sugar Plum, MAC Flashtrack, Estee Lauder Amethyste, theBalm Bossy Bobbi
As I said the texture of the eye shadows is lovely and the only one that has a little bit of fallout is the shimmery Sugar Plum. I'm planning on taking some photos showing you how the eye shadows look on the eyes (in a week, two weeks, who knows?). I really like the combination of Crystal Ball and Empire, but I haven't really given the Rockette much attention yet. Let me know if you have any suggestions or questions about the Kaleidoscope.

The Le Metier de Beaute Eye Kaleidoscope in Splendid Frost is limited edition and it costs 95 $, the eye shadows are generously sized and each one weighs a bit more than 2 grams.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MAC Viva Glam Cyndi lipstick

When MAC first announced that they would be doing a collaboration with Lady Gaga and Lady Lauper I think most people were interested to see what kind of lipstick Gaga would "create". And while the barbie pink Gaga lipstick is definitely successful, the not-so-in-your-face Cyndi proved to be quite a hit as well.


The colour is a beautiful corally red with a bit of pink thrown in for good measure and I think that's reason it suits so many different skin tones - it's just a mixture of different tones, not too cool and not too warm (also, it has a high rating of 4.6 at MakeupAlley).  It's a lustre finish, the shimmer is very fine and it just looks glossy on the lips. This colour would probably be a great starter red for anyone who doesn't want to go fully opaque and bright yet.

The pink is most obvious in this photo

 

It feels comfortable on the lips although it's not in any way moisturizing but it's not drying either.

It's a bit brighter in real life but you get the idea. Sheer but buildable, shiny, very wearable, my idea of a lipstick that just looks great with any type of makeup.

Cyndi weighs 3 grams and costs 13.50 GBP/16.50EUR.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Liquid Eyeliner (Brown)


I hate this eyeliner! Yes, I'm getting right to the point, no beating around the bush for this one.

The actual product is quite nice - a gorgeous shimmery brown colour, it applies very easily. However, even though it's supposed to be long-wearing I found that sometimes it started peeling off my eyelids - almost like those nailpolishes that you could remove by simply peeling them of the nail. Does anyone remember those? So, Double Wear in my opinion this product is not.


But the worst thing about it is the packaging:

Evidence A
If you're wondering what this is, it's the plastic stopper and I guarantee that I didn't have half of it for lunch. After a few uses the rubber stopper kept coming off and it started flaking off at the sides - I don't really know why, maybe the golden cap was too harsh and tight.

So I then removed the stopper but then every time I used it, the liquid would just get all over the packaging and the tip picks up way too much product because of course there is no stopper to control it. I give up! 

Evidence B
Also, if you check a review of the Double Wear eyeliner on Makeup Alley you'll see that quite a few people mention that they've had problems with the packaging so it's not just me.

What products deserves the "worst packaging" award in your opinion? I'd love to know so that I can avoid it :)

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