Sunday, 27 November 2011

Brand Favourites

Even though we are coming to the end of another month, I thought I would do a different type of favourites post this time. There are certain beauty brands that I have been using since I was about 14 so I thought it would be fun to take a look at the first product I bought from some of these brands and now which one product I would really recommend from them. I'd love it if others got involved as well, mainly because I'm curious by nature and find it interesting to see which other products people tried first and are now staples. Here goes.

Chanel - As far as I can remember, this was my first proper luxury beauty purchase. Before then I used to mainly use Boots 17, I think I owned every eyeshadow trio they did! My first piece of Chanel was a limited edition set called Les Gouaches de Chanel (I think). It looked just like an artist's palette and paints and to be honest, I barely used it but it was so beautiful! I actually still have it and will probably keep it forever, for sentimental value, and because it is such a unique kit.

Now, I buy a lot from Chanel but if I had to recommend just one item it would be either a blusher or a foundation. I used to love Teint Innocence which has been replaced I think, but all their foundations are great quality. What would be even better was if we got the wider shade selection that is available in the US. Then I would be very happy indeed!

Laura Mercier - Another vivid memory. I had read so much about this range in magazines and desperately wanted to try it but this was the time before Bluewater was built and there were far fewer Space NKs around. I first went to a counter in Boston, when I was away with my Dad and they used the Tinted Moisturiser, Secret Camouflage and a cream shadow in a silver colour on me. Courtesy of my father, these all came home with me and even though I still can't use the concealer properly, I always have a tube of tinted moisturiser on the go (and I have the eye shadow somewhere still, I am very sentimental!).

As for what I would recommend, it would have to be either the oil free primer or the tinted moisturiser, both staples.

Nars - I got my first Saturday job the day after my 16th birthday, at Body Shop, and despite being slightly terrified of the store, went into Space NK Bluewater and used my first wages to buy Lip Lacquer in Baby Doll. We weren't really allowed to wear any makeup to school back in the day but I could just about get away with this.

Although their eyeshadow duos can be a little hit and miss in terms of quality, they are still the product I would recommend, along with the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. Favourites include Dogon, Misfit, Cleo and Rajasthan.

Some of my first Stila purchases
Stila - First product was their Lip Glaze in Strawberry and lipstick in Natalie. I haven't tried any of the newer (and cheaper) Stila range, but my favourites used to be their palettes and convertible colours.

MAC - I was a very late starter to MAC, only having access to the brand when I moved away to university in Scotland. I think my first buy was a Viva Glam lipstick in a light brown colour (very unflattering and yet I wore it to death) and Minted eyeliner.

Now I would recommend their eyeshadows and lipsticks, they aren't the very best quality but they have a fantastic shade range that can't be beaten. Shale and Patina are favourite eyeshadows and Impassioned a favourite lipstick.

Dior - First product was the eyeshadow quint in Beige Masai and despite having tried a small number of other products, this is the one I'd recommend.

Lancome - I think the only Lancome product I've ever tried is their mascara. Am I missing out?

Chantecaille- Grace London is guilty of getting me started on a number of expensive brands, this being one of them. It is impossible to read her blog and not tempted by beautiful things! The first item I bought was Lip Chic in Bourbon Rose and it is a beautiful everyday shade. I've tried quite a lot of Chantecaille products in the last 18 months but still the Lip Chics are my favourite, particularly the latest shade Violetta.

By Terry - First product was the famous Baume de Rose and I hate it. It does nothing for my lips and was a huge waste of money. It nearly put me off the brand completely but I tried the By Terrybly lipsticks and was a convert. I would definitely recommend Cherry Cherry if you like bright colours.

Le Metier de Beaute - I wish I had discovered this brand earlier so I could have stocked up before it left Europe, but my first purchase was an eye kaleidoscope in Chinoiserie Azure. The quality of it is amazing but now I have expanded my collection, this is my least favourite kit. I adore every product I have from this brand so picking a favourite is so hard, but I guess it would have to be a kaleidoscope and at a push, Le Cirque. I don't think you can go wrong with anything from Le Metier and it is one brand I am happy ordering sight unseen (thanks to lovely US friends).

YSL - First product was, obviously, Touche Eclat. Other than that I haven't tried much but my favourite is the Faux Cils Mascara, even though it smudges like crazy on me.

BECCA - First product was Eye Tint in Baroque but the one I reach for the most is Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Pearl, which I now use instead of MAC's Strobe Cream.

Bobbi Brown - Mainly because of its presence on QVC I have bought far too much of this brand in the last few years! I think the first product was a neutral eyeshadow palette or a shimmerbrick.

Benefit Face Powders
Benefit - Probably my favourite brand as a teenager, my first purchase was High Beam. I managed to smash my bottle on a flight (back when you could take glass on board) but then I became obsessed with their face powders. I own them all and would recommend any of them especially Dallas, Georgia and Dandelion, but their cream shadows are also excellent quality.

Rouge Bunny Rouge - Wen I first read about this brand on blogs I dismissed it, thinking it had something to do with the Playboy bunny! Luckily, after more and more reviews appeared I gave in and ordered the eyeshadow in Solstice Halcyon. I reach for this almost everyday and although their new cream shadows are also excellent, if you are new to the brand this is the shade and product I would recommend. Their blushers are also fabulous.

Urban Decay - Another favourite of mine as a teenager, my first buy was one of their palettes which I still have, containing 4 eyeshadows, 4 lip products and one cheek colour. What would I recommend? Probably no surprises here but it would have to be the Naked palette.

My very grotty first ever Urban Decay purchase
Tom Ford - I made my first purchase with apprehension, buying without even seeing the products in person let alone trying them, but I went for the lipstick in Pure Pink and haven't regretted it. It is one of the only products I have a back up of as it has been sadly discontinued. I haven't tried any non lip products (although their are some on my Christmas list) so my recommendation has to be lipsticks. I am not keen on the nudes or mid tone shades though so if you are going to spend a crazy amount of money on one shade, I'd go for one of the brights like True Coral, Cherry Lush or Violet Fatale. Lisa Eldridge has done a great You Tube tutorial on Black Orchid and how to get maximum use out of it, which helps go someway to justifying the astronomic cost.

I've probably left out a load of brands that later will become glaringly obvious, but these are what immediately come to mind. Which products were your first purchases and would you buy them again or has another item stolen your affections? Whatever they are I'd love to hear about them.

Finally, check out my blog sale for reductions, still Chanel, Armani, Bobbi Brown left!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Blog Sale - Tom Ford, Armani, Le Metier, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Edward Bess, Chanel, By Terry

Whilst I've been very bad at posting, I have been very good at reorganising all of my makeup. I've had a ruthless clear out and here are the results. The rules are as usual:
  • If you want an item, please leave a comment stating which item you would like with your paypal email address and then I will send you an invoice (I won't publish your email address in the comments section)
  • It is a case of first come first served.
  • Please pay promptly, if I don't hear from you within 24 hours I will re-list the item.
  • Paypal is the only form of payment accepted
  • I will ship worldwide.
  • Postage will be £2 and then 50p extra for each additional item. If you would like your items sent recorded delivery, please say so in the comments but it will be £3 instead of £2 (lots of the items are quite heavy). For overseas buyers, postage will be £4 and then 50p per additional item. I have had to estimate postage costs and I will refund any difference in actual cost if it is £1 or more.
  • Please don't rely solely on my descriptions, I have put them there as a guide, but I would suggest if you are unsure about something, to check out swatches on other beauty blogs first.
  • All sales are final.

Armani Transluminence Eyeshadow Quad - Swatched (for swatches see here) - £15

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Metallic Cream Eyeshadow in Oyster Pink (16) Used Once - £7

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation spf 15 in Porcelain - 70% left - £10

Clinique Redness Solutions Foundation in 01 Calming Alabaster - 85% left - £10

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer and Sheer Finish Loose Powder Kit in Porcelain/white - used 5 times - £6.50

MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW25 - Used once  - £5

    Laura Gellar Cosmetics Set - £10 + £3.50 postage as so much product
    Includes the following:
    • Blush N Brighten In Como
    • Marble Shadow Duo in Rome/Milan
    • Eye RImz in Bewitching Bronze
    • Baked Eyeliner in Creme Brûlée/ Dutch Chocolate

    Wednesday, 16 November 2011

    Le Metier de Beaute Modernist Merlot Kaleidoscope - Swatches, review and FOTD

    Finally I managed to get my hands on this limited edition kaleidoscope from Le Metier de Beaute, released just in LA (I think) especially for Vogue's Fashion Night Out. I saw it on a couple of blogs on release and loved it but knew I couldn't get it, so I finally caved and paid a stupid price on eBay to get my own. Now it's here, I think it is money well spent.

    Le Metier de Beaute Eye Kaleidoscope in Modernist Merlot
    For those who aren't already familiar with the genius that is Le Metier kaleidoscopes, here is a brief description. They consist of four carefully selected eye shadow colours that are designed to work together with a simple layering technique. You can apply them top to bottom or bottom to top, depending on how intense you want the finished look to be, the first colour going up to the brow bone, the second up to the crease, the third over the lid and the last near the lash line. I freely admit that my makeup skills are severely lacking but even I can manage a half decent eye using these simple steps as the colour selection (hard work) has already been done. Although sometimes the four colours can look a little scary or an odd combination in the palette, once combined, they create a beautiful shade that focuses attention on your natural eye colour, not the makeup.

    Saturday, 5 November 2011

    Nieman Marcus, Houston - Help needed!

    This is a bit of a strange post that probably only applies to American readers but here goes. My brother is heading off on a business trip to Houston tomorrow so obviously, I don't want to miss the opportunity to guilt trip him into picking up some beauty products for me. I did try this before but with little success, lesson learnt is I have to be very specific on what I want and where to get it from, and then continuously pester him until he relents!

    As we no longer get Le Metier de Beaute in Europe, I think Niemans in Houston stocks it. Can anyone clarify this and has anyone been to the store in Houston, i.e. is it easy to find for a 31 year old male? The address says it is in the Galleria, is that the main mall in the area? Try as I might I can't get a list of what beauty brands an individual Niemans has, only what is available online so my other question is do most Niemans have a Chantecaille and Edward Bess counter?

    Finally, Tom Ford Beauty seems to work out quite a bit cheaper in the US and it has just appeared online at Nieman Marcus. Does this mean it is unlikely to be in actual stores next week? Anywhere else I should try and convince my brother to visit whilst he's in Houston?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Friday, 4 November 2011

    Tom Ford Lipstick in Flamingo

    It was my Birthday on Sunday and as Tom Ford makeup was on my list, one of the new lip colours, Flamingo, arrived in the post from my brother. This means he actually ventured into Selfridges Beauty Hall so I'm very impressed and obviously very grateful (I thought he might have a fit once he realised the price).

    Tom Ford Lipstick in Flamingo - £36 (photo taken in very poor artificial light)
    Many, including me, are upset that Pure Pink was not part of the new makeup collection and when I visited the Selfridges counter, the sales staff tried to convince me Flamingo was a good alternative. Personally I don't think it is, Violet Fatale is more similar, but I do still like it in its own right and thought a comparison post would be useful. If you want my impressions of the Tom Ford lipsticks, you can see one of my previous posts here, this one will just be focused on the colours.

    Tom Ford Flamingo applied to the lips (photo taken in natural light)

    Left to right: Tom Ford Violet Fatale, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Tom Ford Flamingo, Tom Ford True Coral

    I would describe Flamingo as a mid-warm pink. I originally thought that it would be very similar to By Terry By Terrybly lipstick in Torrid Rose, but when the two are side by side, the By Terry looks almost cool in contrast. I was surprised at how close Tom Ford Pure Pink and Violet Fatale look but the nearest match in the Tom Ford line to Flamingo is actually True Coral. This reflects the warmth in the pink. I dug out MAC's Impassioned so you can see that comparison as well in the swatches.

    Swatches left to right: Tom Ford Pure Pink layered over True Coral, MAC Impassioned, Tom Ford True Coral, By Terry Torrid Rose, Tom Ford Flamingo, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Tom Ford Violet Fatale
    Swatches left to right: Tom Ford Pure Pink layered over True Coral, MAC Impassioned, Tom Ford True Coral, By Terry Torrid Rose, Tom Ford Flamingo, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Tom Ford Violet Fatale

    Finally I tried a little experiment, layering two shades from the original Tom Ford lineup of just 12 lipsticks, to see if it created Flamingo. Pure Pink layered over True Coral is pretty much a perfect match so in short, if you already have those two shades, there is no need to buy Flamingo. I think it also gives the best impression of Flamingo's true colour, a mix of pink and orange. Overall, the quality is same as my other TF lipsticks, very high, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked this shade. It doesn't quite have the same impact as Pure Pink, Cherry Lush and Violet Fatale (my favourites), but it is still flattering. I tend to avoid warmer colours, particularly when it comes to pinks, but somehow Flamingo works for me.

    I will try and do a full review and swatch comparison on Tom Ford Violet Fatale, Casablanca, Vanilla Suede, Black Orchid and Smoke Red in the forthcoming weeks. Unfortunately it is proving very good to take a decent picture as natural light seems in short supply at the moment!