Combined Holiday and B-Day Gift Haul

I don’t usually receive that many beauty related gifts. But last Holiday season I did get some interesting bits, so here’s my ‘gifts I got in the past month or so’ haul:

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What do you get a person who has been massively obsessed with perfume lately? Perfume! And a book about perfume! ๐Ÿ˜„ The book is ‘Perfumes the A-Z Guide’ by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. It is hilarious and I greatly recommend it. The perfumes are L’Eau d’Ambre Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur and Al Oudh, also by L’Artisan Parfumeur. And Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain.

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The naked bottles. ๐Ÿ™‚

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And I sort of forgot to photograph these with the outer packaging: Tom Ford Black Orchid, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mechant Loup and the pretty lipstick is Givenchy Le Rouge Beige Plume. Look at the pretty packaging!

So reviews for all of these will come up… sometime. I’m sorta behind on reviews. ๐Ÿ˜„

All Used Up Dec 2016

Here’s my last empties of the year 2016:

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Another Shiseido cream, this time it’s called the Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum. Now, I liked this one much better than the Ultimmune serum. It’s called a serum, but texture-wise it was pretty much a cream so I used it as such (meaning I didn’t put anything on top). Smell and texture of this remind me of some Kanebo Sensai products I had before, a very cashemere-y smell. The cream contains a little bit of shimmer but it was bearely visible on the face.

It is supposed to help with unevenness, redness and pores. I’m not sure it actually did anything, though. My skin didn’t get worse either, at least.

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Teeny tiny list of ingredients. Alcohol is seventh on the list. There are irritating fragrance components in it. The real good stuff like Camellia sinensis leaf are at the very bottom. Would not buy a full size.

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Then I used up my eye makeup remover by Balea. It was so-so. The Body Shop one I had before removed my makeup better. However, this one isn’t like bad or something. Will not repurchase for now, but am not ruling it out either.

Also used up: My brow wax pencil by Sumita. It got too short to hold. What I don’t like is that it has to be constantly sharpened, like I use the same eyebrow stuff every day and while the pencil as a whole has lasted for the better part of a year I had to sharpen it all the time. I really prefer twist up pencils and such for brows. Apart from that it was super easy to apply though. Brow wax or brow gel is a matter of taste. I found that I could feel the wax, while I never feel the gel, but I grew used to it. Wax doesn’t set, so if you mess up your brow, you simply push it back into form and it will hold again. I find it doesn’t last as long as gel, though. Right now I am using up another product and I will not repurchase this pencil because of the sharpening problem.

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Last product used up last year: Vichy Neovadiol Magistral Elixir. What a name. It’s actually a face oil, but that would have been too easy for a name? This is not a cleansing oil, it’s the kind you leave on. Now, putting oil on your face when you used to be a teen with acne and an oily T-Zone? Weird feeling. When I was a teen everyone would say, no oil, never. And you would lots of alcohol and other irritating stuff and your skin would always be wayyy too dry from all the stuff. Those were the days.

So I used this oil as a last step in my skin care when winter hit and it started to get cold and my skin got dry. And it did help keep my skin plump and whole. It was still weird to put on. I mean the majority of it sank in, yes, but some oil stayed for a while. This was a night time only product for me. It was interesting to test, but I didn’t really like it. I prefer creams. So I would not use a full size, but I do want to point out it was good for dry skin.

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No list of ingredients, but they were okay. No irritants as far as I could tell.

And that’s it. I haven’t yet used anything up in 2017 so there may or may not be a short post in February. I have a lot of shower gels and such almost used up, so I may even be allowed to buy some this year. 2016 I had a body product no buy. I actually managed to gain some empty space – which I immediately covered, not with shower gels, but with perfume bottles. Sigh.

essence do you speak love?

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A little late, but here’s the nail polish I wore for the X-Mas Holidays. Basically I’ve been super sick for almost a month now, so most of my posts up until today were made with pics I did loooong before the middle of december. ๐Ÿ˜„ we’re finally nearing the pics I made around the new year. Actually I made no photos around the new year as I was too sick. I’ve also barely worn any makeup the last weeks, which is why I am super behind on my testing.

Sorry for the rant. So in this pic I am wearing two coats of essence nailpolish in the color do you speak love? . This was the first of four polishes included in the calendar and also my first essence nail polish in years. I still have some old ones, but nowadays the line is called “the gel” nail polish. This red one up here does have a satisfying gel shine. After I took the pic I put a gel top coat over it, so I can’t say how long the polish would have lasted on its own. With the top coat it absolutely refused to come off for a week and a half. That was crazy.

Application was easy (if you like their wide brush which I do). The color is beautiful. What’s not to like?

L’Artisan Parfumeur Rappelle-Toi

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This massive pink box houses my second ever purchase from L’Artisan Parfumeur. It’s a huge box, considering it houses ‘only’ 50ml of perfume. I have the old packaging here, the newer bottles have the same look as all the other L’Artisan bottles now.

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The perfume is Rappelle-Toi EdP, originally part of the Explosions d’Emotions collection, now part of the permanent line. My bottle is eight-sided, but it has the usual seven sided cap. It took me forever to realize why I couldn’t line up the sides!

Rappelle-Toi was released in 2014, perfumer is Bertrand Douchafour.

For me, this was a blind buy. Bad, I know. ๐Ÿ˜„ I just loved Timbuktu so much I was like what the heck. So rip the packaging open and spray with abandon.

And OH EM GEE, best smell ever? I will never ever wear anything else again. So good. Best Gardenia I ever smelled, hey.

Half an hour later: Oh, dear what is that nasty smell? Has a cat come in and marked the place? Oh no. I close all windows, make sure there’s no animal inside. Oh wait, is that me? A sniff on my wrist. BLERGH. This is awful. (That’s what you get for blind buys, eh?) Scrubbing it off? No dice. This thing stays on. But hey, after scrubbing it now smells a godly as before. Yum.

So the first thing I learn: don’t put on too much.

Second test, a day later: one single spray. Godly, best perfume ever I will never wear anything else. Half an hour later: oh, this is nasty. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Whyyyyyy? Same day, two hours later: I ask several people what they think of my new perfume. Does it stink? No, they all say, smells really good.

Second thing learn: This is the kind of perfume that smells better on other people – it’s the distance that does it. Do not press nose on wrist.

Not wearing it? Not an option. This is still the most wonderful Gardenia. I make sure to spray it only on my legs.

A couple days later – the revelation: I eat dinner and grind black pepper on it. Hey, is that…? I inhale.

When I stop sneezing I am sure: Rappelle-Toi smells just like a huge noseful of freshly ground black pepper. That is the stink! And funny thing, now that my brain knows what it is smelling I find the perfume a lot more tolerable. I can wear it on my torso now. From time to time I still get the PEPPER waft, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s as if the brain only needed the reassurance, no, this is not poisonous, it’s edible. ๐Ÿ˜„

Apart from the black pepper and gardenia another note I get is honey. Honey can be rich and sweet, but also have a bit of a stinky side. It’s probably part of this weird package. I don’t smell much else, I keep getting distracted by the pepper and the gardenia.

Overall this is a lovely perfume but more on the intense experience side. Luckily the sillage is not huge so it’s unlikely to assault coworkers etc. Lasting power is pretty good, around ten hours.

End of story: this might not be the best perfume for a blind purchase, but I came to like it anyway. To be honest, I kept on doing blind purchases and I was really lucky so far. There will be a lot more reviews for L’Artisan Parfumeur upcoming.

MAC 4Eva

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Last fall there was another expansion of MAC’s permanent line. There were many great colors included and I want most of them. ๐Ÿ˜„ So it was only a matter of time until I picked up another one. This time it’s the purple 4Eva (matte). Unlike all the other purples I showed on this blog, this one does not flirt with pink. It’s straight up purple with a hint of white pigment. It reminds me of the packaging for Milka chocolate.

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Swatch. The finish is the typical MAC matte finish, so don’t expect this to be hydrating. Purple always gets pulled a bit darker when applied on my lips, so let’s have a lip swatch as well:

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Mwah!

Lasting power: four hours until it started to show some wear. Wears off on the inside of the lips when eating. Pulled visibly into lip lines when it started to wear off, but pressing my lips together and moving them around helped some.

I wish it lasted a bit longer, but this is just the sort of outlandish color that shows wear more than a pink. It needs a bit of reapplication from time to time (only on the inside of the lip).

Still, this is such a cool color. I paired it with orange tones and looked so easterly. ๐Ÿ˜„

4Eva is part of the permanent range.

Essence All About Matt fixing compact powder

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I bought the Advent Calendar by essence cosmetics for the 2016 X-Mas season. It was full of full sized regular (meaning non-limited) essence products, so there’ll be a couple reviews of essence products coming up. The products have a special wintery design, but can be purchased in the normal design at counters.

So one of the first items was this face powder: all about matt fixing compact powder. They’ve got a whole all about matte line, I always buy the blotting paper. Other than that I haven’t paid much attention to it because usually I am all about the glow instead.

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The fixing compact powder looks stark white, but it’s actually an one size fits all transparent setting powder.

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I tried to swatch it anyway. ๐Ÿ˜„ Out of all the pics I took, this was the only one where you could see something. Here it looks like a bit of white against my skin. I swatched it heavily with my finger to achieve that. Usually you would apply it with a big fluffy brush all over your face. So I’m pretty sure it should work for all skin tones and not make your face look lighter. Although, being as pale as I am I cannot give you a 100% guarantee.

What this powder does do, however, is mattify the face. You do not need a lot of powder to achieve it, either, so that’s good. So it does exactly what it says on the tin. On the back description it also claims the finish will last all day long. Well, all makeup items claim that don’t they?

Usually I reach for a more glowy finishing powder. With that, my nose gets shiny after about three hours, which is completely normal. (That’s what I have the all about matte blotting paper for.) Without any sort of powder at all, my nose gets shiny at the same time, but worse.

With this powder, the matte finish does not last longer. I still get shiny after three hours, the same as with my dewy powder. The difference is that with the matte powder my whole face is mattified and then the T-zone gets shiny, making the shine a lot more visible. When I wear a dewy finish, the shine is simply not as noticeable. This is why I will still prefer my dewy finishing powders over matte ones.

So in a nutshell, yes, the all about matte fixing compact powder gives a matte finish, but it does not make makeup last longer. It all depends on which kind of finish you prefer. ๐Ÿ™‚

Guerlain Eau de Cologne Imperial

For the first Fragrance Friday of 2017, let’s review something really old:

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Guerlain Eau de Cologne Imperiale was released in 1853 and is still available today. The perfumer was Pierre-Francois Pascal Guerlain. I have the current version sold right now, no vintage, so I guess this is the version subtly reformulated by Thierry Wasser to meet all modern regulations.

I don’t even know where to begin my review. This is just, so good? So very, very good? That’s not helpful, is it? Alright, first off, this is a real cologne, an old fashioned one, so don’t got expecting it to have longevity. Colognes are more to refresh yourself quickly. On the official webpage Guerlain even suggests using your regular perfume right on top.

At the start you get a stark wave of, well, I think it’s rosemary and something else, so it is herbal for like a second. Then it’s all lemon and other citrus and citrus blossom. Very yummy. I think I get lavender sometimes but I’m not 100% sure. The drydown is very Guerlain: tonky bean. Still yummy.

I was so unsure about even trying this because it’s so old and what if it’s terrible to my modern nose? But then I loved it instantly. I wear it both in summer and winter. I think it’s a bit sharper in hot weather and a bit sweeter in cold, but that could just be my imagination.

The biggest downside is that you want to reapply all the time and you can go through a bottle fast – and it’s not exactly cheap. And the bottle is also too big to carry around. The upside is you can put it on, enjoy it, and wear another perfume an hour later without much interference.

Imperial is my personal favorite of the Guerlain colognes. I find it to be the softest one.

Zoeva Blanc Fusion

Another palette in the Zoeva Plaisir box is the Blanc Fusion palette:

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As the name suggests, this one is all about light tones:

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I’m ususally dismissive of too many light colors in one palette, but this one is very well curated. The first line is all shimmery, the second is all matt colors. The matt ones are great neutrals, the shimmers add some interest. While all of the Plaisir palettes are warm toned, the Blanc Fusion offers cool tones as well. This palette is balanced very well.

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Swatches, left to right, first top row, then bottom row (click pic to see it bigger). The first two colors, Noble and Single Origin look different in the pan, but aren’t that different applied: both are sheer with golden shimmer. Noble is more white gold, while Single Origin is more yellow. Still, that’s the weakest part of the palette, because they don’t look that different on the eye. Both are incredibly pretty, though. The third shade is the pop color of the palette: Visions of Gold, despite the name more a shimmery yellow than a gold. Very eye-catching and the one shade that keeps the palette from being completeley nude.

Then comes a regular bronze shade, Late Bloomer. The next one, Sweetness Lingers, is a tad more taupey.

The second row starts with a light matte shade, Travel Inspired. This one serves well as a shade to blend out or an all over base shade. The second shade, Joy in a Box, is my most used shade so far. It’s a perfect light beige that does not lean orange at all. The next one, Conched, is a bit darker. Second to last shade is Question of Taste, which is warmer toned than the other two. Last and only dark shade (and compared to other palettes isn’t even that dark, but this is the Blanc Fusion palette for a reason) is Last Bite. Last Bite is a great color, a matte chocolate brown, that pulls the look together. Without it, the palette wouldn’t be as great as it is.

Overall, I am very fond of this palette. You can do a quick and dirty look or something big and it works. Quality of the shades is great, all are pigmented and apply well. They last very nicely, too. With a primer they don’t crease on me and stay about nine hours.

This palette is amazing for pale kiddos like me because it offers shades which aren’t too harsh but are still distinctive from each other. The yellow is a bit out there, but lovely if you want to experiment.

MAC Viva Glam V

Happy New Year!

I hope you’re all safe and well. To kick off the new year I decided to start with a charity item: MAC Viva Glam V:

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Viva Glam V (lustre) is part of the permanent six Viva Glam Shades. I already owned the red I and the nude II and then I made a jump in the numbers. My goal is to own all of them eventually. You can always buy them as single lipsticks, and usually they are also included in the Holiday Collection somehow, though usually in a pan. I prefer the traditional lipstick bullet.

V is sort of a MLBB (my lips but better) shade, but with a twist: being lustre, it is very shimmery.

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The shimmer is mostly fine gold, but also frosty. The more you apply the more shimmer you get. The color itself is not opaque, but not sheer either. It lasts only about three hours on my lips, the shimmer clinging on a little while longer. It settles some in lip lines, but not bad. The texture is creamy, so you can still move it around by pressing the lips together. It’s not too creamy, though. The color stays on the lips and doesn’t go wandering off. In fact, compared to all my other lipsticks, the texture is almost a bit gel-like.

Viva Glam V is the perfect lipstick for when you want to try out the current trend of metallic finish, but not get too obvious about it. Plus, 100% of the proceeds go to the MAC AIDS fund.

Best of 2016

It’s that time of the year again! I didn’t feel much like doing a best of beauty products last year, but this year I have enough product loves to make a list:

  1. best lipstick: 2016 was my purple pink year. I bought probably too many similar shades, but my absolute fav this year was MAC‘s Ariana Grande 2.
  2. best new perfume release: There are so many releases each year I usually only discover them later on. But of the new ones I smelled this year, Chanel Nยฐ5 L’Eau was the best. Even if I can’t smell the drydown, it so good while it lasts.
  3. best bottle:ย Moschino Eau Fresh. The smell is boring but the bottle is hilarious.
  4. best mascara: essence forbidden volume top coat. The plain mascara of this line is good, too, but the top coat rocks everything.
  5. best cheek product: I’m still on the fence with the blush part of the Zoeva rose golden palette, but everytime I put it in storage I missed the highlighter so much I had to get it out again.
  6. best foundation: Chanel Les Beiges (although essence camouflage is a strong contender here)

I don’t have a best nail polish because I loved pretty much everything I put on this year. Go to the tag and take your own pick. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Products most used that I didn’t purchase in 2016:

  1. lipstick: Chanel Rouge Allure Precieuse
  2. base: Urban Decay primers. Still a life saver.
  3. perfume: Chanel Nยฐ5, probably.
  4. eyeliner: Chanel Santal. Sadly, my Chanel liners are slowly falling apart, they’re not as sturdy as I want them to be.
  5. eyeshadow: Dior quads, surprisingly. They have the most interesting color combinations in my stash.
  6. nail polish: Essie nourish me basecoat goes under everything I put on.

 

Some picture impressions:

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Moschino Fresh

Zoeva RG

Chanel 1

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Urban Decay Sin 1

So, it seems a little Chanel heavy. Funny, but I guess I only buy Chanel items when I really love them also they are decorative and so most often out of storage* compared to other brands…

 

*storage being a desk drawer.

So, that concludes 2016 for me, next post will be in the new year. ๐Ÿ˜€

What were your favorites this year?