Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Best of Beauty 2012 - Makeup

Best of Beauty 2012

Best of Beauty 2012

I'll start first with KohGenDo, some of my favourite products for 1.5 years:

KohGenDo Maifanshi Makeup Color Bases - After discovering primers for the eyes and face a couple of years ago, I've tried my fair share of brands and formulations. I must say that I am not a fan of silicone-based primers. I don't like that feeling on my face, which is why I really love KohGenDo's silicone-free primers. Similar to Smashbox or Make Up For Ever, they come in different "colour correcting" shades.

I have tried every colour and they are all great. They don't leave a coloured cast on the skin, and I was even impressed with the Pearl White base. The white base has fine pearlized powders which is supposed to have a brightening effect. I hate anything that's too sparkly or glittery, but this really does disappear into the skin and just leave a radiant glow (I hate saying "radiant glow" because it sounds so much like a sickening product commercial, but that's really what you get!)

KohGenDo Maifanshi Moisture Foundation - In fact, both formulations of KohGenDo's liquid foundations are great. I have both (the other is called the Aqua Foundation), but for most of the year prefer the Moisture foundation as my skin can get quite dry, and I find it a bit more hydrating. It feels very rich, but not oily, and blends into the skin really well. I would say the coverage is light, but buildable and the finish is satin. Not super shiny, but not matte either. It seems like a small tube, but it really does last quite a while.

Another foundation which I tried and really loved, but found a bit too drying for me (would be amazing on oilier skin) was Givenchy's new Fluid Foundation Airy-Light Mat Radiance. It has an amazing finish- you can't feel a thing on your face all day. I highly recommend you try it if you have oily skin.

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel - This is something I never thought I would love so much. Usually looking "bronze" is the last thing I go for, but this can be applied with a very light hand for a more subtle look to shade cheekbones and just give a touch of colour around the face. It works great to contour the face in the summer. This is a cream product, and I like to use it with a duo-fibre stippling brush (like the MAC 187 brush) but I've also seen it used with a short kabuki brush. It has such a lovely scent and amazingly satin smooth finish that I've actually thought about buffing it all over my face... and probably would if I was much darker.

Bobbi Brown Corrector - Up until about a year ago I always though lighter was better under the eyes, but that's not always true, especially for dark circles. Dark circles + light concealer = ashy, grey-looking under eyes. I've learned that a peach colour does wonders for countering the dreaded dark circles, of which I am all too familiar with.

Chanel Joues Contraste powder blush in Rouge - This colour is so beautiful for pale girls, it reminds me of Disney's Snow White with an apple red flush on her cheeks. It looks very natural too, because if you think about it, we don't blush pink or peach or coral, we blush red! I am one of those people who benefits from blush, otherwise I can look a bit flat and dead. It is quite pigmented, so it needs to be applied very lightly (I recommend a duo fiber brush).

I knew I wanted this blush already after researching it online, but when I went to the Chanel counter the salesperson offered to put it on my cheeks. She was a bit overbearing, which should have been a warning sign, but I agreed anyway (I must have been in a good mood) and let her grind her blush brush feverishly into the tester and loom towards me in slow motion. I knew exactly what was happening but couldn't stop it. I looked into the mirror and saw the bright red clown cheeks that were given to me.

Me: "oh my god"

My mom looks at me and starts laughing. I felt bad for the sales associate, but damn woman, you can't load up blush on a pale girl!

SA: "oh.... do you like it a bit lighter? here let me blend it out..."

She tried, but the damage was already done. You can't redo blush. I walked around for the rest of the day looking like I had a severe case of rosacea, but despite that, it didn't stop me from loving the blush when I applied it myself!

KohGenDo Moisture Concealer - This concealer palette only comes in one combination of three shades. Originally I thought this would be far too dark for me, but after I learned about the fine art of colour correcting, I found that these three shades really work well for me. The darkest works great under the eyes, while the two lighter shades work best on the rest of the face. Usually compact brushes never see the light of day in my routine, but this one comes with a little retractable brush that is actually useful and good quality.

Clarins Instant Light Blush - This liquid blush is amazing, and perfect in the summer when you want something light, natural and anything but powdery. The formula is great- super easy to blend in and the finish is satiny- nothing like the sticky mess I got with MAC's cream blushes. This was a bit hard to find here, but I think they are easier found in the USA and UK.

What were your favourite products this year? I'm trying to curb my spending on beauty products (and doing quite well I might add!) but I can't resist hearing your recommendations.

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Best of Wardrobe 2012 - Purchases

I had a lot of great buys this year, and happily, very few mistakes. I think the more I focus on buying things that complete other outfits, or that work well with many other different things in my wardrobe, the more I win. Even so, I'm often derailed from my master list. You will notice that another year has passed without me getting a pair of leather leggings! Will 2013 be the year?

Best of Wardrobe 2012

Rick Owens mohair blend sweater dress
This has been surprisingly versatile, and quickly becoming one of my favourite winter pieces. It is a great length to wear over jeans, my over-knee LD Tuttle boots, and drop crotch shorts. Being sleeveless, it layers perfectly under tight-armed Rick jackets (I wear it with a long sleeved Rick tee for some arm warmth) and is super cozy to boot.

Best of Wardrobe 2012

Rick Owens "Pillbox" wool and leather jacket [yoox]
This was one of those things I purchased in the spring or summer and squirreled away in my closet until fall. It's a tight shouldered jacket and really promotes good posture (no slouching in this one) and integrates really well with my wardrobe. I have such a weakness for outerwear that I would love to add the padded knee-length version to my closet as well, but I'm not holding my breath.

Best of Wardrobe 2012

Rick Owens cashmere cape with leather trim [ebay]
I never thought I would find such a great deal on one of these capes, and in black nonetheless. Ebay France came through for me and this exquisite cape is a welcome outerwear choice for bulkier underpinnings and such a nice change from all my other options.

Best of Wardrobe 2012

Rick Owens silk crepe twisted dress [Barney's New York in Beverly Hills]
This was a bit of an impulse purchase, as a white dress wasn't on my master list, but to have a dressy option that isn't black was something I couldn't resist. It is also something that can be worn all year round. I wore it Christmas day with a black drapey cardigan, black stockings and Rick wedge boots.

Best of Wardrobe 2012
Best of Wardrobe 2012

Ann Demeulemeester viscose twisted skirt [MyHabit]
I have worn this skirt a lot this year, as it is another season-less item. Works great in the summer with flat sandals and a tank, and equally in autumn or winter with tights and boots.

Best of Wardrobe 2012
Best of Wardrobe 2012

Rick Owens check skirt [net-a-porter]
This was one of the only things I wanted to pick up from Rick's AW12 collection, so when it hit 50% off at Net-a-porter, I pounced. It is a manageable below-knee length: has a hobble skirt appearance but one can still walk without much restriction. You can also wear it front-to-back or back-to-front. Wearing it the way it was made (with the slit in the front) makes it a bit more difficult to walk, so I prefer the slit in the back. I appreciate that the pattern matches up at three converging points, as it should in expensive garments.

Best of Wardrobe 2012

Ann Demeulemeester talon heeled knee-high boots [ebay]
Finally I have these babies! And not only these, but the ankle-length triple lace stiletto too. Hoarder? Perhaps. I did buy many shoes this year, as it's really hard for me to resist deeply discounted shoes that I've been pining over for ages- can you blame me? These Ann boots were more than I wanted to spend, but considering that I already had a black triple lace version, I thought that the single-lace eggplant (darker in person) iteration would be justifiable (maybe?) At any rate, they were one of the purchases that I was most giddy about (smelling, hugging, wearing around the house in sweatpants, etc.)

- - - - - -

Now that the year is almost up, and I have a weakness for making lists, I thought I would jot down a few things I wouldn't mind picking up next year:

- Rick Sneakers: I've wanted these for years and I think it's time

- Leather leggings (Rick or Ann): see above

- Guidi boots: heeled or ankle (can't decide), back zip

- sweater

- non-jersey cardigan

- flat sandals

- knee-length jersey skirt

- lightweight leather Rick jacket for spring

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Best of Beauty 2012 - Oils

I thought I would do a round-up of some of my favourite beauty products of 2012. Some are fairly recent additions that I am really impressed with, and others have been indispensable products used throughout the year. I will start with oils.

Best of Beauty 2012
Best of Beauty 2012

After learning how good oils can be for oily skin (and now my dry-ish skin) I can't be without them. Lightweight and non-sticky for the summer and nourishing in the winter, I cannot complete my beauty routine without hair, face and body oils.

Best of Beauty 2012Best of Beauty 2012

Aesop Fabulous Facial Oil - I like this face oil, but it does smell heavily of ylang ylang (just bear that in mind if you're not a fan of that scent). After I finished this bottle (I think it took me about a year) I debated whether or not I wanted to repurchase. Ultimately I moved on to Rodin face oil, just because I had wanted to try it for a while, but another face oil I prefer more than the Aesop version are Darphin's (Chammomile or Tangerine)

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Oil - I wanted to try an oil cleanser after using a milk cleanser for a long while. Having used Shu Uemura's cleansing oils heavily before, I wanted to try Aesop's version to see how it measured up. I have only been using it for about 2 weeks. While I like it (the smell is very soothing) it doesn't do the same job removing makeup as Shu's cleansers. I find myself needing to use Bioderma beforehand, and then go in with Aesop's Parsley Seed Cleansing Oil afterwards.

Best of Beauty 2012Best of Beauty 2012

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo - After being a devotee of their oil facial cleanser for years, I was very curious about their cleansing oil shampoo. I was expecting it not to lather, but it does make an adequate lather, smells nice and my hair feels so much softer than after using the budget friendly shampoo I was trying previously. It is rather costly, but I expect such a large bottle to last for quite some time.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse - I've used this oil for years and really love the smell and how quickly it sinks into the skin. I use it exclusively as a body oil, though I have tried it on my face (when I ran out of face oil) but prefer a richer, thicker oil more gently scented for that use. I find the scent lingers quite a while, which is nice on the body, but I find it to be too much for my face. It's a good multi-purpose oil for travel though, as you can use it on your hair too.

Best of Beauty 2012Best of Beauty 2012

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Essence Absolue - This can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, or a post-shampoo leave-in treatment. Basically an oil conditioner. The scent is divine and leaves my hair sikly smooth and super soft. Another nice oil pre-shampoo treatment is Leonor Greyl's Huile de Palme, but it only keeps liquid in a warm bathroom ("c'est comme ├ža", as the sales associate at Le Bon Marche explained to me when I brought it back confused, and the typical French response for everything) If it solidifies you can warm up the bottle under hot water bringing the oil back to liquid.

Rodin Olio Lusso - As I said, I got this (after much deliberation) to replace my empty bottle of Aesop oil. I had always wanted to try it, and knew that I wouldn't be happy until I did. I love how rich it is (a little goes a long way, though I seem to be using it up rather quickly) but due to the price I'm not sure if I would repurchase it or not.

I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas! I hope to get up a few more "2012 favourites" posts before the New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cloud Atlas

I saw the movie Cloud Atlas the other night, and I'll have to watch it again, more attentively, because the only thing I took away from it was the costumes, notably in the storyline set in Seoul, 2144.

Can you spot the Ann Demeulemeester boots?

cloud atlas 4

cloud atlas 3


The future is Spring 2011.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It is my lady. Oh, it is my love!

It's back!! With some minor tweaks.

Ann Demeulemeester Belt SS13
Ann Demeulemeester Belt SS13
Ann Demeulemeester 6-buckle belt (images from Luisa Via Roma)