1 September 2014

My Half British, Half Japanese August Favourites

My Twitter and Instagram has lately been full of posts about my time in Japan - I am absolutely loving being back. But with my MacBook on its last legs, I wasn't able to bring her back with me which means no iMovie, and this monthly favourites is going to be blog-based! (and no usual life update this month I'm afraid.. we'd be here til New Years!)
Also, I haven't brought too many things back with me, and for that reason I was quite limited as to what I could pick for my favourites this month (and definitely didn't bother bringing back any fails)! So I decided to throw in some things that I've bought since being back, otherwise it would have been a very short and boring favourites.. and also because I actually believe I'm on to quite a few winners!
The UK Favourites

LancĂ´me Hypnose Doll Eyes Waterproof Mascara
My one and only duty-free purchase - I bloody well deserved it after sticking it out for a few weeks to save a few quid! This mascara is my absolute favourite - it holds curls like a crazy person, and adds volume without clumping. In fact, it fans out your lashes. A full review here!
YSL 5 Color Ready To Wear Palette in 02 Fauve
I can't praise this palette enough - the colours are just perfect for a mid-toned brown lover. The satin finish, the shades and the super blendable formula means you get a perfect, soft, gradient look no matter what combination of shades you choose. I've got a full review of this here.
YSL Fusion Ink Foundation in BD55
My first impressions that I posted here haven't changed - it's an AMAZING foundation. With a lightweight, natural matte finish with a medium to full coverage that can be built up without looking cakey, it's pretty close to perfect! Oh, AND it lasts ages. My only niggle is its packaging.. even in the full price - a spatula?! WHY?! Am I the only person who's bothered by this? I'm hoping to compare it to Dior Star Foundation before deciding which one to treat myself to!
LUSH Aromaco Deodorant
This is, without question, the BEST deodorant I have ever used. I can only imagine that the maker just said, "Screw it, just throw in a sh*t ton of spices!" - it smells divine! I dampen it before I apply it, and it lasts 24 hours - yes, I actually have to wash it off the next morning in the shower before I apply it again! It also strangely acts as an antiperspirant too. My Weleda Citrus Deodorant was failing me a bit since the summer hit but this? This is one tough deo.
The Japan Favourites

KOSE ESPRIQUE Powder Foundation in OC-410
This was a bit of a rushed purchase after I noticed that my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua was sliiiiding off my face in the heat and humidity here (and also I've been eyeing this foundation up for years anyway). In Japan, it's quite common that you have to buy the case and the refill for products separately (even for eyeliners!), so I was lucky that they were releasing this limited edition case for free if you bought the refill! Unlike in the UK, powder foundations are quite popular in Japan. And you can totally tell why if you use this foundation - it blurs pores, it has a medium to full coverage, it's buildable and it settles into a beautiful natural matte finish which lasts all day. I couldn't actually believe that I wasn't a chip pan at 5pm!
KOSE ESPRIQUE Foundation Brush (Limited Edition Ribbon Design)
After falling so hard for the foundation, I decided to try it with their brush as well. I chose this ribbon design out of the two limited edition designs they currently have out (the other is black with hearts). It's a lot like my well-loved Sigma F84 except the barrel isn't pinched. This brush allows me to buff in the foundation a little bit more, and use lighter layers to build up a more natural coverage. It's so so soft.. I'm so in love.
Rimmel Exaggerate Creamy Eyeliner Waterproof in 02 Brown
After researching about beauty trends in Japan (more on that later), I noticed a distinct lack of bold black liner. And, I've seen many people in the UK rave about brown liners that define but isn't too stark. However, I've never been able to find a shade that I thought wasn't too warm or too sparkly. This pencil has a bit of pink tones in it, that makes any line it draws more like a shadow than a line. Using this really defines my eyes, but it looks like I'm not wearing eyeliner at all! I think it'd be perfect for work. It's also super creamy and very long lasting. I'm not sure if they have the waterproof version in the UK, but I'm tempted to pick up the black one too!
FASIO Perfect Eyebrow in BR300
I was SO intrigued when I read about liquid brow pens.. doesn't it sound so scary?! In fact, they're relatively translucent inks that add more of a shadow than a line (again). I run this along the outsides of my brows to straighten the lines, and magically, when you step back it's like your brows are perfect anyway. The other end actually contains a powder on a sponge applicator which I like to run with and against my hairs, so I can lighten my black hairs a little. It creates such a lovely, natural but defined brow!

 The FASIO Perfect Eyebrow's liquid brow pen
 Left to Right: FASIO Perfect Eyebrow powder, FASIO Perfect Eyebrow liquid, Rimmel Exaggerate Creamy Eyeliner Waterproof.

 Japanese Beauty
I put this under the generic title above, because I've just been on a bit of a research mission since I got here about the trends in make-up and skincare in Japan. The magazines you see above are VoCe and MAQUIA, two of the beauty magazines for younger women here in Japan. They are crammed full of tutorials, launches and looks that it truly puts many British magazines to shame. I can't wait to pick up a few more!
At this point I was noticing a trend in teaching how to "do" skincare - and it made me wonder if HOW you apply your face wash or serum makes a difference. Application is so key in make-up, is it the same in skincare? So instead of buying more magazines, I bought this book - Correct Skincare Encyclopedia by Nobuko Yoshiki (a dermatologist), Miyoji Okabe (a former product developer) and Makiko Oda (a nutritionist), about correct skincare to get more in depth knowledge, and it's just fantastic. It's been running me through the anatomy of the skin, correct ways to use skincare products (who knew the temperature of the water and the time you spend on each stage could be so specific?!), and foods and recipes that are good to target specific concerns. I do feel like there's a culture of people reading books when they are curious about something in Japan, instead of Google-ing for a short brief - I think it's great.
Of course by the end of all this, I'm wanting to try out some of my newly acquired theoretical knowledge, so I picked up two popular products - the Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Face Wash and the incredibly famous Hada Labo Lotion (or toner, as we'd call it). The former was because face wash here is all about the foam, and cleansing with the foam - I find this one slightly drying when I wash it off, BUT I notice that my skin is much, much brighter after each wash. We'll see how it goes! The Hada Labo though.. phwooar. It's slightly viscous, and the key is to work it into the skin rather than just wipe your skin with it. I feel like it's made a huge difference to how plump my skin feels! Again, we'll see how it goes.
Either way - my little project has definitely been one of my favourite things to do this month.
So overall..
A pretty amazing month :)
Hope you all had a fantastic August, and are off to a great start to September!

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30 August 2014

REVIEW: YSL Couture 5-Colour Ready to Wear Palette in 02 Fauve


For all the brown eyeshadow lovers out there - you must, must read this. I've been sent one of YSL's new palettes, the 5-Colour Ready To Wear Palettes, in the shade 02 Fauve and I come bearing good news! If you're interested in other shades, you can see them on YSL's website.
The solid gold bar is lovely to look at, but boy does it attract finger prints. But it's slim, shuts perfectly and comes with a mahoosive mirror, and great quality applicators - an eyeliner brush, a thin sponge and a thick sponge. I noticed that the packaging wasn't as extravagant as many of their other products which often put me off paying their high price tag as I feel like I'm paying more for the packaging than I am for the product - but in this case, I was happily proven wrong.
Having revered the Chanel eyeshadow formulas since forever, I wasn't sure whether what the other designer brands offered really compared. Let's just say YSL does.
Initially the formula looks slightly shimmery, but in reality they're all more of a satin finish. They're quite tightly packed so you're going to need something rough, like the applicators they provide. These are roughed up sponges, so do amazingly to pick up colour. I'm usually one for using the MAC 224 for all over eyeshadow, and that works really well - but something like the MAC 239 doesn't pick up and blend out colour quite so well.
The blendability is bloody fabulous, and perhaps the most outstanding part of this palette. The colours play a role, but on the whole, the blendability of the shades is what lets you create the softest, glowy brown looks with the palette.
The staying power is also great, with it lasting much longer for me than MAC and Urban Decay, and lasting me a good 8 hours, but not looking as fresh as the ranks of Chanel and NARS - but still definitely there, just a bit faded.
My initial thoughts were that the colours in this shade were a bit dark for my every day looks, but this actually pushed me to experiment with mid-toned browns. If these are up your street, you probably can't choose a better palette.
You can tell these shades were chosen carefully, because despite the base shade being warm, the rest of the shades balance this out by being cooler. This gives it a bit of a lovely taupe hue. I also love that while the shades are different shades of darkness, that the intervals are quite small, which means any look can be super blended, gradient, and soft :)
YSL actually provide a little booklet with three looks based around using the base colour (the lightest brown) and the highlight (the cream shade) as the bare minimum. The three looks add 1, 2 and then 3 colours on top of this. Here I've shown you two - one which is the one with one added colour, and another which I whip up when I just CBA.
The #1 Day OR Night Look
This is my preferred look with this palette, and it involves just darkening the outer corner with the third darkest shade. The thick liner also adds to the drama of the look which makes it great for the nighttime. It gives a played-down smokey eye look which is perfect for either day or night time. To be perfectly honest, this is my first choice for my wedding day so far!
The "I CBA" Day Look

This is a common option for one of those "popping out" days. In addition to the base and highlight colours, I just simply lined my eyes with the darkest shade using the eyeliner brush included. It saves the faff of gel/liquid eyeliners, and creates lashes that look super full at the base! Because the eye colour is still light, your lashes still stand out great in front of your lid :)
I'm sure everyone has their share of shimmery dark browns, but this palette offers the satin version that can be so much more classic and everyday-friendly. I don't use these words lightly, but if you love soft, easy, neutral looks - this palette is a must have.
This palette is available for £39.50 from John Lewis.
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25 August 2014

The Summer Base Collective

Left to Right: Make Up Forever Mat Velvet+, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturiser

Us beauty bloggers are most often times quite fickle - we'll confess our love for a product, but that love is often matched by another love to try new and different products. But I think if you ask anyone of them, they'll still have that handful of products that they come back to all the time. I definitely do anyway! After 2 summers in a row of busting out these three bases, it seemed wrong not to let you guys in on it.

The Matte One
This of course is my trusty Make Up Forever Mat Velvet+ in 35 which really isn't a summer pick exclusively - I use this all year round. But I think that's just a testament to its consistent performance. It's comfortable to wear, it gives a nice medium to high coverage, it's creamy and easy to apply, and boy does it last.

Best uses: long days out, events requiring more flawless looks, self-loathing days resulting from terrible skin.

The Natural One
Every year, I can't wait to use this foundation - it's seriously getting to the point where I should just buy a lighter shade. The Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B40 is my natural go-to foundation, that is casual but polished. It's insanely easy to use and wear, it's got a buildable coverage which I usually wear at around a medium level and it leaves you with a skin-like finish.

Best uses: shorter outings including "lady of luxury" lunches and dinner dates.

The Glowy One
I still don't understand why the Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturiser (which I have in Light to Medium) isn't more popular - to me, it is beauty in a tube. The crazy blendable formula, light coverage (heavier than your average tinted moisturiser) and its magical abilities to blur out pores and give you a glowy, but not shiny (you can see how softly it catches the light in the swatch above), finish seems to go relatively unnoticed in the beauty world!
Best uses: "CBA but have to" days and "my skin is definitely always this amazing" days.

Needless to say, all 3 made the cut to come back with me to Japan this summer! :)

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