Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blue Tuesday - NARS Liquid Stylo Eyeliner in Atlantis

As i've mentioned in many other posts, i'm a complete fiend for liquid eyeliners;  i learned to use them back in my Punk Rock Girl days in the mid-1980's and i've never tired of them.
When i got a bit older, i branched out from the requisite black and ventured into the different colours that became available.  Back in the day, NARS came out with these amazing liquid-gel eyeliners in these little glass jars.  They were new and different because their texture was somewhere between - as i said - a liquid and a gel.  The came with a little brush and the colour selection was incredible.  I was in love with those liners, and had one in every colour.
For whatever reason, they were discontinued sometime after 2007 (i'm not entirely sure - during that time i was taking a break from the cosmetics industry and dealing with other things) and for me, eyeliners have never been the same.  I miss them.

Then, NARS released their version of a liquid eyeliner pen - it was pretty horrible.  The formula was thin, weak and runny.  I was crushed.

And then, in 2011, i believe, they reformulated the eyeliner pens and released the current Stylo Eyeliner.  Apparently they listened to their customers, because this new version ROCKS.  Every liquid eyeliner pen i ever try is compared to my Holy Grail, Le Metier de Beaute's Precision Eyeliner - it's a tough eyeliner to live up to.   NARS Stylo is very close, in my opinion.  Like the LMdB, the Stylo is opaque yet buildable, applies smoothly and stays on  my oily lids all day.  The ONLY complaint i have is that when my eyes get watery in the corners, it can smudge just the teensiest bit - which the LMdB somehow manages to never do.  BUT.  This is only under the extreme conditions of my allergy-riddled eyes when they're really leaking up a storm.
For instance, today my eyes do have a bit of the watery thing going on, but the NARS Stylo hasn't budged yet. It's not a waterproof liner, so that is pretty impressive, really.

Another really nice thing about these eyeliners is the colour selection.  There is, of course, the requisite black (Carpates)- but they also come in a navy blue (Atlantis, shown below), rich, lightish brown (Nuku Hiva), and grey (Koala). I find the brown one to be a bit too light, even bright for my tastes, preferring a darker, cooler brown.  However the rest of the shades are really gorgeous.

NARS Stylo Eyeliner in Atlantis

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hourglass Girl - Primer and Tinted Moisturizer Review

Here's a little review of a Sunday evening for you all - i fully intended to write this a bit earlier, but i am a lazy slug today.  However, i took the first photos quite early and then gave the products all day on my face so i could take periodic pictures for the sake of being thorough.

Because i CARE.

Right - so anyway, i did a few things here today with my makeup, but this is entry is going to concentrate mostly on the skin products as opposed to my fabulous eye-makeup - which i'll address in detail tomorrow, which is Monday, which means my makeup will be un-exciting and ill-executed, if history is any indication.

Lately i've been on a serious skincare kick - which, for me, includes the primer and foundation (or lack thereof) i use.  In fact, i generally avoid full-on foundation when i'm trying to give my skin extra care, and tend to stick to tinted moisturizers/BB creams.  But then i decide my skin is disgusting and needs the heaviest foundation i can find in order to hide it...
It's a problem.  I'm sick.

These days, however, i'm mostly wearing my Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer and Veil Mineral Primer.  Well, in reverse order, really.  Obviously one puts on the primer first.
I told you i was tired!

I just recently started wearing primers on my face again (i know - the horror), and started out with one of the very originals back in the day - Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.
I ran out about a year ago and never bothered to replace it, but in the interim there have been so many new primers that have come out that i have a lot of catching up to do.
One of my favourites is Mister Mat by Givenchy, because it can be put on under AND over one's foundation - a MUST for people like me who get super-oily in the summer.
I much prefer slicking that on over my makeup as opposed to just constantly piling on powder, because gross.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Crush With Eyeliner - Le Metier de Beaute Precision Eyeliner

I'm a huge fan of liquid eyeliner.  Let me just get that out of the way right now.  Especially black liquid eyeliner.
If i were stranded on an island and was actually dim enough to be worrying about makeup instead of - you know - surviving, i'd want my favourite liquid eyeliner with me.

Not all liquid eyeliners are the same - and this becomes more apparent/important when your lids begin to show the signs of ageing.  In point of fact, the main argument against them -  for Women of a Certain Age - is that they can tend to look too "harsh".  It's a simple reality that, as one no longer possesses bouncy, fresh, elastic lids, one must use "softer" eye-makeup to compensate or one runs the risk looking looking like Cruella DeVille.

My lids are in fairly good shape for an old bird - but i most emphatically do not have flawless skin in that area.  There's just the faintest signs of sagging - but they are there.
However, i am not about to give up my favourite makeup item - perish the thought!  So, for a while, i compensated by first laying down a pencil-liner for the softening effect, then drawing a thinner, less-obvious line, very close to the lash-line with whatever random liquid liner i had on-hand.  That way, i'd get the soft, blurring effect of the pencil liner without sacrificing the intensity of the liquid.

The problem is, i abhor effort.  Because i like to do a finished-eye/bare face kind of look a la Edie Sedgwick, Brigitte Bardot et al most days, i don't enjoy having to do two steps to achieve an effect in deference to not being 23 anymore.  It's...irritating and inelegant, ultimately.  Not only that, many liquid liners don't hold up well layered over pencil.  They can crack, flake and smudge.

Enter Le Metier de Beaute's Precision Liquid Eyeliner.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review - Givenchy Teint Couture Long-Wearing Compact Foundation & Illuminator

No. 2 Elegant Shell (looks darker here than in person - sorry)

Over the weekend, I managed to get my hands on a brand-new powder foundation from Givenchy - the Teint Couture Long-Wearing Compact Foundation & Illuminator (SPF 10).  I realize that's quite a mouthful, there - but then, the cosmetic world is seldom known for its' brevity...

It is so new, as a matter of fact, that they didn't even have the testers out on the display at Sephora yet.  But i was drawn to the lovely photo on the display of the model with hair identical to mine, which certainly grabbed my attention - but also to the cute little strip of pink at the bottom of the pan and the positively HUGE mirror.

So, i grabbed a sales-woman and asked - no doubt with a sincere, puppy-doggish desperation gleaming in my eyes - if she could please see if there were at least one or two testers somewhere in the back for me to paw at, please?

She took one look at me and said - "You'll be the palest one, of course - let me go check!".

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Basic Eye Tutorial - In Excrutiating Detail, with Pictures!

Last week, i was asked on my Facebook page if i could do a tutorial for a very basic eye-makeup look.

Oh, what a can of worms you opened up, my dear girl!

For i love to do detailed tutorials with LOADS of pics and many many words :).  I realize it would most likely be much easier to follow if this were a video, but alas, my video camera is God-only-knows-where; and besides, i enjoy writing. So, hopefully, this will be clear and practical enough to follow, even for the most severely Makeup Challenged of you out there.

I asked Husband to read it through - thinking that if he felt HE could do this look afterwards, then i will have succeeded.

*waits patiently for Husband to email over perfectly made-up photos from North Carolina*

First, let's gather our tools.
The following are some basic tools you should probably have in your eyeshadow-brush arsenal in order to achieve the best result for most looks. Of course you can do your eyeshadow with your fingers (i worked with a Makeup Artist in Honolulu who did just that - it was amazing), or even those crappy little sponge applicators they always insist on giving you when you buy eyeshadow.  But these are what i'd consider to be the most basic, useful brushes to have around.  You can make do with what you've got available in the meantime.  
I use and adore Hakuhodo brushes, and also have a few MAC and Sephora brushes as well.  In my opinion, the Sephora brushes are the lowest on the totem and the cream of the crop are Hakuhodo.  MAC has generally decent, servicable brushes that are a good investment if you want brushes that will last you a bit, provided you care for them.  However, many of the Hakuhodu brushes are comparable in price to MAC - but they are ever so much softer, denser and of such all-around better quality that it's worth it to me to have to order them online instead of popping into a MAC counter for ultimately sub-standard brushes.  

I'll do a post on my all-time favourite brushes in a following tutorial, but for now, let's just get the basics down:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Novocaine Beauty - How My Makeup Held Up at the Little Shop of Horrors

Today, my little Kumquats, was a dismal day indeed for me.  Once again, i had to steel myself for another installment in The Teeth Chronicles.  My teeth and i, you see, are at War.
For various and sundry reasons (including poor diet, years of seizure medication and a long and unfortunate stint of entirely Too Much Wine which is now thankfully over), my teeth are falling to pieces.  In some instances, quite literally.
However, thanks to being blessed with incredibly generous in-laws and a husband who is willing to go to bat for me in such matters, i am getting ALL THE THINGS done in one fell swoop.
I'll be paying it off until i'm 108, but if the rest of the women in my family are any indication, i may just make it to that age...

In any case, one cannot face a long and invasive trip to the dentist with a bare face.

So, despite waking up with a burgeoning migraine (which of course transformed into a full-blown Migraine with capital letters, bells, whistles and flashing lights once under the drills) and being in a Terrible Rush, I decided to test out a few products for their chops under extreme circumstances.
Such as, bright-ass lights shining in your face, drooling, novocaine, uncontrollable eye-watering, blood and possibly explosions.  I didn't have time for a Before Dentist photo with the finished result, but i did take an After (see how brave i am?  Or maybe it's the drugs...)

                                              Lopsided, half-numb-faced grin

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

La Fee Verte - Green Fairy Eyes

This morning i felt inspired to do something fun and whimsical with a good, old fashioned liquid liner cat-eye.  Probably because i'm cranky - and a good cat-eye with punk-rock BLACK liquid eyeliner always puts me in a better mood.

This crankiness is, of course, due to having unpleasant dental work done  last night - i'm still bleeding from my gums, PLUS (wouldn't you know it)  i'm hormonal, and have killer cramps.

There's just entirely just too much blood involved in my day today.

But, there is a silver lining (even if it is just an eyeliner) -  I have this gorgeous green eyeshadow i've been dying to play with, and it turns out that today is a green eyeshadow kind of day.  I imagine it's some sort of subconscious desire to cancel out all the red...


So i don't know about you, but when i'm having a cruddy day, i have certain clothes and makeup i like to  wear to make me feel better.  A particular dress, a certain lipstick - or something new and fun.
Today i was missing my old favourite green dress; a diaphanous, fay little thing that made me feel like a dryad, it eventually fell to pieces a while back because i wore it so often.
As it turns out, it was almost the exact colour of this eyeshadow.  So, in lieu of my makes-me-feel-good-no-matter-how-crappy-today-is green faerie dress, i used makeup!  A pretty green eyeshadow, my trusty liquid eyeliner and a favourite lipstick.

My gums may be aching and bleeding, my hormones may be raging - but at least my makeup looks pretty!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Brigitte Bardot Eyes - and a little LMdB technique rant

Ah, Brigitte.
Fifty-odd years and counting later, and we're still enthralled by your beauty.
And your makeup...

                                              Bardot and her smokey eyes

If you've been reading this blog at all, you know how obsessed i am with black eyeliner, pretty, natural blush and nude lips.  And Ms. Bardot was the Queen of this look.  Whenever i tire of my ubiquitous cat-eye look, the 60's Bardot smokey-eye is my next favourite .
But i have to be feeling extra-confident to do that whole dark-liner-ringing-the-eyes-and-in-the-waterline thing, because i feel it makes me look all squinty if i'm not looking my absolute best.
A good 8-hours of sleep is a definite pre-requisite.
But on her, it seemed so natural and looked so good, her makeup almost seemed like an extension of her.  Her image is inextricably tied up with her signature makeup look - and i'm STILL trying to nail it.

                                        Bardot - so gorgeous it makes me kinda ill

The key, of course, is to balance out that fully-lined and shadowed eye with a fresh, glowy face, natural-looking blush and a pale (but not corpse-pale, ditch the concealer lips, people) lip.  Not many women know how to find that delicate balance between sultry and girl-next-door.  Bardot not only owned it - she tied it up, branded it, knocked it on its ass and then sat on it, lighting up a cigarette.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Couches de Couleurs with Eyeliner

Yesterday i waxed rhapsodic over my Le Metier de Beaute Melange de Couleur palette, and promised another look using the Couches de Couleurs technique, LMdB's "proprietary" method of applying eyeshadow.  I use the quotations with a touch of smarminess because truly, makeup artists have been blending, layering and smudging colours on the eyelid to achieve a wash of complex gradient colour since - well, since i started as a makeup artist, which was back in the Time of the Dinosaurs (the late 1980's).

However, before LMdB, no makeup company brought it into the light, embraced it and incorporated it into their company image the way LMdB has.

And they rock the Hell out of it.

And what they did for me was to remind me that makeup doesn't have to make one look like one has a "walking art installation" (thank you for that one, Mikey Castillo of LMdB) on one's eyelids to be fresh, unique and creative.
Now, i love a creative, Siouxie Sioux inspired eye as much as the next girl - even if a dismally depressing number of these people don't even know she's the public figure who single-handedly, with her black-painted talons glistening, brought the look into popularity back in the early 80's.  And of course, she was in turn inspired by the Egyptian eye-makeup from back before even my time...

But i digress.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's a Le Metier de Beaute Kinda Day

August is already here, and i'm in the mood for some Fall colours, damn it.  Not that i don't love Summer and all, but it's been a scorcher here, and frankly i'm sick of seeing TANS everywhere.
As a Tubercular Irish Wastrel with the pallor of a laudanum addict, i object to such displays.
Also, i can't tan.  I just turn beet-red and then peel for two weeks and then go back to ghostly-white.

So today, i used some rich jewel-tones using LMdB's couches de colours  (video) technique - which is a specific way they teach of blending their eyeshadows in combinations of both cool and hot tones to create an ostensibly endless palette of colours to work with, and to balance out the overall end-result.
The Beauty Professor generously provided their face charts, featured looks and techniques in her post here!  They emphasize that one mustn't necessarily follow their techniques precisely - that it's all about creativity and having fun, which is exactly what i did!  

I used the absolutely gorgeous palette from this Spring, Melange de Couleur.  I know, i know - i'm an evil temptress; i realize the palette has been sold out since about April or so.  However, the resourceful amongst you can still occasionally find it on Ebay, or find a similar match to many of the colours used in their permanent, full-sized line.  

                                LMdB Melange de Couleur palette, Spring 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Confederate Blue & Gold Eyeshadow and the Insomnia Blues

At this writing, my Husband is blazing through the winding roads of Black Mountain, NC - fueled on energy drinks and waving the Confederate Flag out the window in honour of our new home.
He left at 9pm and drove through the night like a crazed bat-out-of-Hell (aka Chicago), sustained only by Red Bull and an intrepid spirit!
Hunter S. Thompson, eat your heart out.

And yes, gentle readers - Yours Truly is still in Hell Chicago, tying up loose ends and completing my obligations here in the city before i hop a Greyhound to join him in a few weeks.  As you can imagine, i didn't sleep much last night - envisioning my adventurous husband driving through the night in unfamiliar territory, Deliverance music playing ominously in the background, stalked by bears, without Moi to nag him about all and sundry and telling him to eat and ask for directions.  
So, my little Kumquats, this post is in honour of my husband, Dan and our new Mountain Home - as well as yet another tutorial on how to look human when one is feeling like Microwaved Death...
Let's walk through it step-by-step, shall we? 

1. Wake up - if one can call it that - after getting a staggeringly useless 2 1/2 hours of fitful sleep.
2. Stumble heavily out of now far-too-large bed, bang shins on footboard.  
3. Curse colourfully.
4. Stagger downstairs to get coffee from yesterday out of fridge to nuke before shower.
5. Find house-mate has helpfully tossed out my coffee.
6. Curse colourfully.
7. Find coffee in coffee-maker, house-mate instantly redeemed!
8. Upstairs, shower - i now have 45 minutes before i must walk to bus.
9. Stare helplessly at massive palette of eyeshadows.
10. Pick out Confederate-blue peasant blouse from closet in a fit of Irony. 
11. Decide to go all matchy-matchy with eyeshadow - because i'm all about irony.  And because Confederate-blue & gold eyeshadow, yo.
12. Finish eyes in record-time, narrowly escaping gauging eyeballs out with pointy eyeliner-brush.
13. Slap on a bit of stick-foundation on red-bits, blush/powder/lipstick GO!