19 September 2014

First Impressions (in humidity!): The Dior Diorskin Star Foundation


Those of you who have been with me for years (firstly, thank you!) will know that my love for Dior's old, early 2011 formula of their Diorskin Forever Foundation - tagged their Extremewear Flawless Make Up, was an HG-status foundation love that ended abruptly at their reformulation, which I can only describe as a massive mistake. So my approach to this newly launched Diorskin Star Foundation was excited but cautious.

When the raves started pouring in from the bloggers over in the US, I found myself at a Dior counter here in Tokyo and made a relatively uneducated foundation purchase - this is something I haven't done since an impulsive yet extremely successful purchase of the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua back in June 2012. So before I go on, I have to put a massive caveat on these first impressions - I've only tried this in the insane humidity of Japan, where liquids that stay on my face and don't get oily all day in the UK, slide off my face in a matter of hours.

So how have I got on in this climate?

Packaging

There was no question about whether I'd love the functionality of this bottle - it's practically the same as the Diorskin Forever. The pump is still the best one I've tried - it dispenses a decent amount, but not too much, and it's intricate enough that you can get even a quarter of a pump. If I were to pick at straws, I'd say I prefer the frosted glass of the Diorskin Forever, and its navy and multidimensional lid.

Formula

In terms of texture, I find this extremely similar to the old Forever - it's fluid yet creamy, which allows for an extremely luxurious applying experience. It's super easy to blend, and is soft enough to almost caress your skin while you apply it. No tackiness, no dragging, no dryness - just pure, silky luxury!

The coverage is just superb. I probably use less concealer than I do with my MAC Studio Fix Fluid, but this foundation is as weightless as, if not more than, Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua. I'm confident most people will say this is on the lower end of a high coverage foundation.

The finish is what everyone talks about, and it truly is a hybrid and so very difficult to describe. I'd say it's the most skin-like finish I've seen, in that it just looks like what true, normal skin looks like - not the semi-matte Hollywood make-up skin. Just bare, everyday skin. It is quite literally "no make up make up". This does not catch the light and disperse it over a large area - you will get a healthy, normal amount of shine focused on small areas like the tip of your nose and the highest points on your cheek and forehead, but it'll be beautiful and soft elsewhere.

So is this finish what I expected? Absolutely not. But as I said earlier, in London, I might get a totally different result. I was expecting that soft glow. However, perhaps that definition of "studio" make up is dated - the runways these days are often full of natural, skin-like finishes.

Now most foundations that are on the non-matte side of the spectrum don't tend to last very long. But the lasting power is where I am perhaps the most flabbergasted by this foundation - it lasts yonks AND it looks beautiful in the process. It defies what we have come to expect from natural finish foundations. And yes, this is even in the heat and humidity in Tokyo. It basically stays and doesn't break apart with sweat and it stops getting dewier before you become a chip pan. It just stays that beautiful midway between dewy and semi-matte.

In conclusion..

Am I in love? I am and am not - I'm so used to being semi-matte, that it's difficult for me to instantly fall in love with something different. BUT, I'm also in love with the foundation because of how well-designed this foundation is. It's just so.. "now". The combination of a high coverage and the unique finish makes it THE perfect no-make up make up, because you have that flawless coverage but natural glow, AND it lasts ages which makes it perfect for the busy lifestyles that many people lead. It is an incredibly, incredibly modern foundation. It is such a beautiful creation on Dior's part - it is a very very advanced formula that pushes our existing expectations about foundations.

Anyway - enough geeky gushing. If you live in humid, hot places, you can take this review at face value. But if you live elsewhere, please keep an eye out on here and on my Twitter for other instalments :)

Have you had a go at the new Diorskin Star? What are your thoughts?

Yu
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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!
 
Yu

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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.
 
Packaging
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.
 
Formula
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.
 
Colours
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 :)
 
Overall..
 
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.
 
Yu
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