Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune

The tropical weather in Malaysia drives me to seek scents with crisp green or juicy citrus notes to counteract the mind-numbing, soul-crushing humidity. I love grapefruits, both to eat and to wear, which made this bottle difficult to resist when I chanced upon it in an airport duty free shop. Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune EDT contains all the bright, sunny juiciness of a ripe grapefruit without the bitter tang that divides the population into grapefruit fans and, well, chumps (Just kidding!). It is easily the happiest perfume in my collection, and the memory of the scent alone is enough to bring a smile to my face.

The best part about Pamplelune is that it is part of the less expensive Aqua Allegoria line -- I paid about RM160 duty free for my 75ml/2.4 fl oz bottle, which is priced at US$52 on Sephora. Pamplelune is easily found at airport duty free shops as well as Guerlain counters in department stores.

Top notes: Acidulous grapefruit
Middle notes: Flowers from Provence, grapefruit
Base notes: Delicious grapefruit, patchouli, vanilla

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kat Von D at Sephora.

I am obsessed with two TLC shows currently airing on Discovery Travel and Living in Malaysia -- Miami Ink and its West Coast spin-off L.A. Ink (see pic above for cast). The show revolves around the young tattoo artist Kat Von D (white swimsuit, centre), first spotted on Miami Ink before she was fired, and her talented, quirky colleagues at High Voltage Tattoo in Hollywood California. My own fascination with tattoo art aside, I adore the alterna-chick look the women cast members rock and the absence of magazine-ready blonde glossiness (see The Hills) on the show.

You can imagine how thrilled I was when I learnt that Kat Von D was collaborating with Sephora on a makeup collection, which is now for sale online. I don't know the extent of Kat Von D's contribution (celebrity lines, y'know?), but the finished product has a romantic goth-glam feel to it so it feels like a collection the creator would wear herself. The plastic casing is stencilled with silver roses and comes in a specially silk-screened paper box.

The Kat Von D makeup collection isn't large -- there are two shadow palettes named after her favourite composer, creamy red lipsticks, liquid liner (of course) and an eye brush set. I'm personally lemming:

True Romance Eyeshadow palette in Beethoven (the other's named Ludwig. God, I'd buy both just to keep them together)

Painted Love lipstick in Hellbent because it's described as 'blood red'. Which I think is the perfect lipstick to wear when I'm carving my lover's initials into my skin while listening to My Chemical Romance.

It goes without saying that both images are from Sephora.

Prices for the Kat Von D makeup collection range from US$16 for an eyeliner and US$48 for the eye brush set, so it isn't exactly inexpensive. Still, this is one thoughtful eponymous celebrity makeup collection that may very well be worth every penny.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lipstick as an economic indicator.

When the economy tanks, women appear to buy more lipsticks as they scrimp on traditional big-ticket items, a theory posited by Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estee Lauder companies. From the New York Times:

After the terrorist attacks of 2001 deflated the economy, Mr. Lauder noticed that his company was selling more lipstick than usual. He hypothesized that lipstick purchases are a way to gauge the economy. When it’s shaky, he said, sales increase as women boost their mood with inexpensive lipstick purchases instead of $500 slingbacks.

Beauty brands remain true believers in the theory, even though in the last few years the lipstick market has fallen on hard times as its glistening cousin, lip gloss, has had robust sales.

With the specter of another recession, brands like Clinique and DuWop Cosmetics are preparing for a big year in lip color, for two reasons.

First, they would like to see a return to lipstick, which usually costs slightly more than gloss. Second, the companies believe that in down times women will continue to splurge on lip lacquer even as they make do with last season’s dress.

In the light of a global rise in food and gas costs, are you making or do you plan to make any changes to your beauty consumption habits? Please share in comments!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Bold Choice, I'm Told

It's a chain reaction. I woke up 10 minutes later than usual so I miss all my 73x's City Loop and that in turn I miss my 73x's Blackburn/Belgrave/Lilydale and that in turn makes me miss my 80x's to Doncaster.

The reason for being late? I couldn't make up my mind what eyeshadow to use. I ended up being very pleased with my choice. I chose pink from my Diorissime palette and the deeper green from my RMK palette. I highlighted with the light pink from the Diorissime palette.

The flash makes the pink look slightly purple-ish but it's really a very deep and cool pink.

Mineral Confusion

As mentioned, I got my delivery of Everyday Minerals a few days ago.

I've been faithfully testing each sample and I've gotten more confused each day. I picked Olive Fair, Fair and Ivory as my foundation samples.

The first test was Fair on Tuesday. It worked out alright, I think. I used only the tiniest bit to even out the redness. I wish I could say my skin is so fair that it's translucent; which was why the redness was more prominent. Somehow the redness have come about from my diet of lots of beef and vegies. Not to mention fruits and lots of coffee. I wish it was rosy cheeks that I have but it's just patches of red that's underneath the skin. So, the primary reason for a foundation for me is to even out the redness while still letting my original skin shine through.

The second day, yesterday, I went on Olive Fair. The colour seemed to work as well.

And, today, I went on Ivory. And, yes, the colour seemed to work too!

You know all these articles in the media telling you that there's one perfect foundation colour for every woman? Well, I'm all confused now. How can 3 different colours work on me? Not, one, not two, but THREE!

All 3 of these colours are not as yellow-based as Fairly Light from i.d. Minerals so they're a wee bit closer to my skin tone. And, with everyone telling me you only need to tap a couple of taps to cover the whole face, well, I think I'm using a lot more than that! Either I'm doing this wrong or my mineral foundation brush is having a fine feast eating up my precious powder!

Because the tiny little sifter jars come with tiny little sifter lids (naturally!), I took a tip from Tine to use a saucer dish. Disinfected it well with hot water, washed it with a mild cleanser and left it out to dry. Tap a couple of taps into the dish, swirl my brush around until it's picked up the powder, buff everything into my skin. Repeat for the other side of the face. One more time for forehead and a final brush over.

I only do a couple of taps for the blush for both cheeks and that's plenty enough.

So, am I doing anything wrong on the amount that's going on my skin, on picking out the colour, on application? See, that's why I need Shryh in Melbourne!

Surprise! Surprise!

I came home yesterday, wanted to sit on the heater to defrost my butt. Literally. But, what stopped me was this on the dining table!

It was small enough to be shoved into our mailbox

So nicely-packaged. Not!

Packed in 5 of the cutest sifter jars ever

My choices

My pathetic attempt of swatching the foundation

The blush and the concealer

This morning, I test drove one of the foundations. I chose 'Fair'. Because of the miniscule amount of foundation I use, it's really hard to gauge if it was the perfect colour for me. All I can see is, my-skin-but-better, which was a good thing, I think? It evened out my skintone, covered up the redness and closed up the pores. The colour was not too dark nor too light.

Too soon to tell if it's the perfect one.

I'll try 'Olive Fair' tomorrow.

Benefit Her Glossiness Lipgloss: Who Does Your Work?

Thanks to so many times of trial-and-error, I've finally figured out that the best lip colour to suit my skintone as well as my lips would be something that's berry-ish. I've yet to find my perfect red, pinks make me look ill, but something that's berry-ish or even plum-ish is very flattering.

A very simple gloss which does as it promises and nothing more. Very glossy, slightly sticky and with a hint of berry scent.

The stickiness does not bother me because I love it for the colour. There's not a hint of shimmer or glitter in it which makes it suitable to wear in almost all circumstances. I love to pair this with a nude eye. The pop of colour on the lips is all that's needed for a 9-5 day at work.

However, I do find that it stings a little on the lips upon application. I'm not sure if the stinging comes from the plumping effect but I most definitely do not find my lips plumped up.

Benefit glosses are, well, glosses. Nothing more, nothing less. Would I re-purchase? Probably not. But, the consistency and the texture is good. BUt the one thing I'd noticed is that the colour does not last long. The gloss and shine effects are still rather prominent after 3-4 hours but the colour is all but gone. I'd say not as pigmented as I thought it would be.

There are always new and more exciting glosses out there so it's always fun to try and experiment new ones.

The Process of Elimination

This online shopping thing is just way too easy and way too convenient. The only drawback is the lack of instant gratification. Well, and also the burning of way too much plastic.

Thankfully for me, each purchase is just less than 10 dollars.

My latest purchase, having jumped onto the mineral foundation bandwagon is another Sample Kit from Signature Minerals. I picked:

Foundation: 3.0 Light Foundation
Concealer: Soft Sunshine Color Corrector
Blushes: Buff Apricot - Matte Blush, Palest Pink - Matte Blush, Seashell - Matte Blush
Mineral Veil: Translucent Veil

Now I've just to wait for them to arrive.

The wonderful thing about mineral foundation is that it really does make my skin look flawless and at the same time minimizing the pores. Someone mentioned once that you only need a little bit and anything more, the pores are actually exaggerated instead of minimized. I've yet to get to that point (and have no wish to) but I love it that it is so easy to use.

On a downside, I have been getting a fair bit of spots. I'm not sure if it's due to the bare i.d. or if it's due to the Bloom mineral foundation brush or the fact that it's TTOTM. It could even be the fact that I'd been forgetful and let my procrastinating side resurface: Forgetting to change my bedsheets. It's been 1 1/2 weeks and I always sleep with my quilt covering up to my nose, at least. So, it could be anything and I don't want to be hasty to blame it on mineral foundation.

I'm trying to eliminate the cause for it. It's not a fun task but well, it's got to be done.