MAC Retro Matte Lip Color Divine-Divine

MAC Retro Matte Lip Color Divine-Divine

Here’s my review of the third MAC Retro Matte liquid lipstick I bought back in spring. It’s the color Divine-Divine, which is basically Barbie Pink. This is from the regular MAC retro matte lineup. They have recently released new ones with shimmer in, but this is not one of those.

Before I go on, allow me to give a little history of lipstick trends: when I was a teen, lipgloss was all the rage. Nobody wore lipstick, nobody. This has led to adult me despising lipgloss, because it’s sticky and doesn’t last well and hair constantly sticks to it, ugh. Then Chanel released their Rouge Coco Shines, to seduce people who loved gloss back to lipsticks. And it worked, so for a while shiny, sheer lipstick was the thing. Then the Chubby sticks came out, going for a similar but slightly less glossy finish. Then the trend slowly went towards glossy stains. I dislike glossy stains because they’re still too much like lipgloss to me. Luckily technology marched on and liquid lipsticks that were not glossy became a thing. This was the biggest lip trend for the last few years: very matte lips. Then, this year people got bored by super matte lips and the metallic lip trend was born. There will be several matte metallic lipstick reviews coming up on this blog. But this one right here is still on the very matte, non shimmery side of things.

Still mostly wet swatch of Divine-Divine. You can already see it drying to the thin, very texturized finish typical for the liquid retro mattes. The color is a light bubble gum pink. Basically every time I put it on I was surprised at how light it is, but it ends up looking pretty good (might depend on your skin color). Most of MAC’s retro mattes were too dark for me except for this one and Flesh Stone.

Lip swatch shot with my phone. This is basically what Divine-Divine looks like after a couple of hours. This is not cracked, but the lip lines show super deep. In my experience this is completely normal with this sort of finish. To avoid cracking it is important to smile after application so that the color can settle in there before it dries. If you do that, the lines will show, but if you don’t you’ll get cracking as soon as you move your mouth.

Divine-Divine lasts very well and is really only affected by oil. So oily food takes it off (on the inside mostly) or oil remover. Otherwise it sticks on. The finish feels and looks dry and the next day my lips felt drier than usual. But for me this was not worse than matte MAC lipsticks in a bullet. Matte MAC stuff is just drying. I combat that by applying a strong lip balm before application and then again after I take the lipstick off. If you generally have a problem with flaky lips you probably won’t get happy with Divine-Divine as it does show the flakes.

While I like the colors I own I don’t feel the need to have any more of these. They’re okay for a certain sort of look, but then I’m glad when I can reach for more creamy stuff again. As mentioned, there’s going to be some more shimmery stuff up next, right for fall and holiday season!

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L’Atelier des Bois de Grasse Ambre Pamplemousse Rose

L’Atelier des Bois de Grasse Ambre Pamplemousse Rose

So, for this Fragrance Friday I want to talk about the last L’Atelier des Bois de Grasse perfume I own.

It’s called Ambre Pamplemousse Rose and is, like the others called a “Cologne de Luxe” whatever that’s supposed to mean. It was also released in 2016. Specifically my bottle says 09/16 on it and I know I mentioned this already before but I love that you don’t have to decipher some codes to find out your production date. It also comes with the same no-nonsense design as the other bottles of this brand, which I love. Unlike the other two perfumes I reviewed this one isn’t as straight forward from the name. Cuir Iris was as promised a leather iris. This one on the other hand is so innocently named Ambre Pamplemousse Rose, but I find it neither an amber perfume nor a pink grapefruit.

It is, instead, a booze perfume.

I always loved the opening of Margiela’s Replica Jazz Club. The sweetness, the rum, the smoke. However I never bought it because it changed after ten minutes and I didn’t like the rest. Now I’m not saying this one here smells like Jazz Club, because it doesn’t but it basically smells like what I wanted from Jazz Club. And the smell of Ambre Pamplemousse Rose doesn’t change too much. The drydown differs from the fist two hours, yes, but it mostly stays the same perfume.

I personally don’t get a lot of pink grapefruit here, except maybe it’s actually the candied zest I smell here? And all throughout a good dose of alcohol. Not the sharp bite of it that you get in the start Clandestine Clara and not the sweet rum of Jazz Club either. It combines with the candied fruit instead creating a smell a bit like a Rusty Nail?

The dry down is a bit tamer, but still recognizable. The official notes list is a bit more elaborate than my rambling so here it is:

rum, natural frosty lemon, pink grapefruit

rose, violet, white woods (cedar, cypriol, vetiver and elemi)

sandalwood, everlasting flower, golden ambergris

I’m not sure if the golden ambergris isn’t a translation mistake from the french, which says “ambre dore”. Amber and ambergris are different things, but they sound so similar that you can never be quite sure what is meant. On the other hand, they way it smells, there could be ambergris (or rather ambroxan) in it so who knows.

Anyway, this one here smells special and different and not like all the other mainstream stuff. It’s totally worth a try and is the most surprising out of all the Atelier scents I tried. Even more surprising is that it smells so good and different and everything at this price – last time I saw it at a perfumery it cost less than € 20 for 100 ml.

This is also the most long lasting of the three I tried I got a solid six to seven hours, although it was mostly close to the skin. Luckily in this case as I don’t want other people to think I’m drinking…

essence Fresh & Fit Awake Primer

essence Fresh & Fit Awake Primer

When essence released their new foundation I was so busy getting it that I didn’t even notice they had also released a primer to go with it. Weeks later I’m at the drugstore and I go, hey, what’s that thing with the “new” sticker on? Why, it is the Fresh & Fit Awake Primer that promises you a healthy glow and a pore minimizing effect.

Like the foundation, it actually does contain all those promised vitamins and in fact, more than that. Like the foundation, the back of the packaging (not pictured) promised you “vitamin b3, vitamin e, provitamin b5 & cranberry water”. Looking at the ingredients there is also retinol in and vitamin c, but vitamin c is the lowest on the list, so there’s probably not all that much. Neither the foundation nor the primer promise SPF, but both contain some iron oxides and titanium oxide, so it might give a little bit of SPF. Still, personally I also put on my normal sun protection when using this, especially since retinol makes you sensitive to light.

Unlike the foundation the primer does not contain alcohol, so if that was a no-go for you for the foundation or the foundation color didn’t work for you, you might get happy with the primer. So, seriously, even though this is sold only as a makeup item, it packs more skin care punch than most of the regular skin care in the drugstore! If you have trouble finding a good cream you might as well just use this.

But for now, on to the makeup part:

The product comes out like this, a little peachy and shimmery.

But when you blend it out, it is colorless so it will work for every skintone. In this pic, the top half is covered in primer and the bottom half isn’t. So one half is all glowy and the other is just dry skin. So yes, it delivery on the promised glow, but keep in mind this isn’t a liquid highlighter. Five years ago you might have called it a highlighter, but today it really isn’t. And to be quite honest when you put foundation on top you won’t see much of the glow anymore. Combining it with the Fresh & Fit foundation will give you a “glowy” face but that’s because the foundation has such a “glowy” finish. I put that word in scare quotes because one person’s glow is another one’s oil slick.

Anyway you can use this primer with whatever foundation you want but with a full coverage you won’t see much of the shine anymore. Which personally I prefer (see oil slick).

I super love the texture of this it feels like you’re putting on a much more expensive thing! It just glides on. This is a silicone primer, but feels less siliconey than my other silicone primers. Being silicone based helps it minimize the appearance of pores, as promised on the packaging. However, this will only work if you then put foundation on top. Because the primer makes your face smoother physically, but it will not cover your pores optically, especially with that glow going on. So keep that in mind if you want to use it alone.

As a primer it worked well for me aka it was easy to apply makeup on top and it made makeup last longer (compared to using no primer). It did not last any better than my usual primers and it did not keep me shine free on my T-zone at all (well, it IS called a glow primer).

Let’s go back to the skin care properties. This isn’t sold as such and isn’t making any promises, but I think that using this for a while did help my skin. In the long run it was a bit annyoing to use as a primer because I always had to put on extra sun protection as well. So sometimes I’d just use it on normal, no makeup days as well.

Note that this product includes both niacinamide and vitamin c, which many blogs will tell you not to mix. There’s an interesting thread on reddit about it here, if you want to read up more on that. You will also find advice not to mix retinol with vitamin c. This cream obviously does not care, it just throws all of it together.  Here‘s a link to Paula’s Choice talking about retinol myths. I just wanna mention it in case that’s something you personally don’t wanna combine on your face.

Me, I’ve been using a vitamin c toner with a niacinamide serum for six months now and I had no problems with that. They don’t seem to cancel each other out. Worst thing that happens is that my face flushes for a few minutes (less than five) but that happens whenever I apply niacinamide and is normal.

Word of caution if your skin is not used to niacinamide or retinol you might get some redness or small pimples at first, but this is normal and should stop soon. If you have any worse reactions or if it doesn’t stop after two weeks, stop using product.

Whoa this post eneded up longer than I thought. So long in fact, that this is posting on a thursday instead of wednesday. I guess I was very happy to find a good quality primer in the drugstore. I hope you enjoyed this post. Tomorrow there’ll be another perfume review up. Next week there might be some more lipsticks (highly probable).

 

OPI Senorita Rose-alita

OPI Senorita Rose-alita

For Mani Monday today I have an old OPI: Senorita Rose-alita. I am wearing two coats and no top coat. This is a mid tone pink with golden shimmer. The shimmer is so rich it looks sort of frosty but since the shimmer is warm toned I wouldn’t really call it frosty. I super liked wearing this polish – and it looks even better in real life. Somehow it was really hard to catch the color on camera.

It was also easy to apply and lasted almost a whole week. I think it was chip free for five days, or at least four. However, upon removal my nails were stained despite wearing a base coat underneath. I’m not sure if it was because it’s such an old color or whatever. Otherwise, this polish was just fine.

Sisley Izia

Sisley Izia

Izia EdP by Sisley is a new perfume released in 2017. The noses are Isabelle d’Ornano and Amandine Clerc-Marie.

I got a lovely luxury mini as a GWP. What I love about this mini is that it came with a sprayer. A mini with a sprayer is just infinitely more useful than a tiny bottle mini without a sprayer. But I digress.

Izia is a rose perfume and I am a certified rose hater. So please keep that in mind. I do own some full bottles with roses in, but mostly those barely smell like roses anymore. I have the woodsy, the green, the dry and very dark roses. The Morticia Adams roses, so to speak. Izia is none of that. Izia is the ray of sunshine rose. It’s bright and lovely and tame and entirely too un-goth for me. Izia is that pretty girl from the Munsters, what was her name? Marilyn? However, at least it’s not soapy at all. Soapy roses are the worst.

Izia starts with sparkling citrus and then you get the rose, like a huge yellow thing? And that’s it. I mean I’m sure there’s some other notes in it but I don’t smell them. The rose gets quieter after a couple hours, but overall this perfume is pretty long lasting. I got six hours for sure.

Now I’d never get a full bottle of this but I do have to admit it’s well made and if you like bright roses, this should be worth a try. Spray it and be the lovely Marilyn Munster. She may be ugly but her heart is in the right place. 😉

Meanwhile, I think an Addams Family rewatch is in order.

L’Oreal x Balmain Lipsticks

L’Oreal x Balmain Lipsticks

Last week we had Woman Day, which is a bit like Black Friday and I went a little bit trigger happy on lipsticks. Ahem.
This month saw the release of a collaboration between L’Oreal and fashion house Balmain, resulting in a lipstick collection of 3×4 lipsticks. There’s a black, blue and a green set, although I’m not sure what that’s supposed to signify. I bought three of the green ones, as they had the prettiest packaging and two of the most unusual colors, and one blue and one black lipstick:

left to right: Confession, Legend, Glamazone, Balmain Instinct and Fever. I only really wanted Balmain Instinct as it was the most unusual color (I’m at the point where I just have so many reds, pinks, nudes that I’m just meh at seeing them although the Balmain collection has a very pretty red so if you’re in the market for that check it out), but then I thought you’ll also have to take Fever as they’re so pretty together and then… idk I took the others as well. What I left was a very light and very glittery nude (too light, too gritty), two purples (didn’t seem to be swatching evenly and I have a few purples already), a red (soooo pretty), a blue (pretty color but seemed to swatch unevenly) and a dark brown with red undertone (very dark on my too pale skin but will probably look great on others).

Have swatches of what I did take home with me:

Same order as above: first Confession, which is a satiny coral nude. It is darker than MAC Nicki’s Nude and also darker than Givenchy’s Beige Plume. It’s certainly the most normal color of the whole bunch and among the most wearable ones. I suspect it will sell very well. It should suit more skin tones than the linked MAC lipstick since it’s not so pastel. On me it pulls very corally, but I believe it will pull less coral and more pinkish on darker skintones. Confession applies easily and feels almost hydrating, in the long term it was neither hydrating nor drying. Sadly the creamier finish affected the wear time. It only made it to the three hour mark. Eating destroys it, but with a normal color like that it’s not so huge a problem. Just slap it on again.

Next is Legend from the blue part. Legend is a cool, dark taupe. I was very much on the fence, since I also took Glamazone which seemed so similar. But now that I wore it I am convinced. I think it looks really good when worn and is very wearable for light skin tones, because it is so cool toned. The color is in the realm of MAC Flesh Stone, but so much darker. The finish is matte, which makes it a bit drying long term, but also makes it last better. I got five hours wear time with eating. It wears off with eating though, and sadly more visible on the inside of the lips, so this isn’t what I’d wear to a business lunch or something. Still, really cool color and since I don’t really do business lunches I simply reapply after food.

Glamazone is also a taupe, but lighter and also more transparent. The finish is creamy and it feels hydrating all through the wear. So it is different enough from Legend I guess (the eternal blogger’s song: but this is a different shade of red, don’t you see?). While it seems a bit transparent at first a second coat makes it opaque. The cream finish sacrifices longevity: I got about three hours out of it. It wears off most visibly on the inside of the lip, a lot worse than Legend. Maybe best applied lightly and not opaque and crisp.

Lets go to the pièce de résistance: Balmain Instinct. It’s green, but not any green. It’s olive with golden shimmer and a matte finish. This makes it actually the most wearable green I have ever seen. Despite what it looks like in the bullet you won’t look like a pea. It looks a bit darker on the lips than in the swatch and that makes it more wearable. From far away you could almost mistake it for taupe, but it’s not. This is one of my favorite eye colors and so I own not one, but two eyeliners in this color, which I reappropriated as a lip liner. With lip liner worn all over the lip and then the lisptick added on top it lasts until you take it off again. Worn alone it also lasts well, I got almost five hours out of it! It wore off evenly which helped a lot there (why can’t the other colors do this?) I would have bought this one even if the quality were bad, but luckily it isn’t.

Lastly, Fever: This is a sorta carrotty orange, but it has a good bit of brown which you can see if you put it next to a really orange orange. This one is such an autumnal color. The finish is matte and again, this one was lasting pretty well on my lips, five hours and going. Eating reduced it but didn’t wipe it off competely. If you’re looking for such an orange I can recommend this one.

Now, the reason I bought Fever at all was that it looked so lovely next two Balmain Instinct. At home I was like, oh but how do I wear both at the same time? My lips are too small for such an intense gradient, so I put Fever on the lips… and Balmain Instinct on the eyes. It applied pretty much like any cream shadow of the drier variant. I blended it out with my finger which worked fairly well. On the lid the color was transparent. Then I decided to also use it as an eyeliner and applied it as such straight from the bullet with the tip and it worked so well! (Yes I am aware I own two real eyeliners in this color as well, thank you very much.) The lipstick eyeliner lasted all day and did not smudge either. On my lids it did crease and fade some but my eyelids are notoriously bad with creasing. While this isn’t going to be something I do every day I do like the results of my experiment. And it’s sort of useful to know when I want to do touch ups, as those are far easier done from a bullet than from a pot.

So that was my experience with the new LE from L’Oreal. I’d also like to add that all of the lipsticks have the typical L’Oreal smell and taste which many people hate, so be aware of that. Also while the packaging looks pretty from afar, you can tell that it was cheaply made. The gold coloring is simply not evenly applied and scratches off easily, revealing the color part underneath. The color parts (blue, green, black) also scratch off easily, revealing gold underneath. How does that work? I don’t know but don’t buy these if you want your pretty lipstick packaging unscratched. I never have this sort of problem but I swear I bought them looking mostly good and when I took these pictures a mere half an hour later, they were scratched.

Availability in Austria: you can get the whole collection at Müller. My local Bipa drugstore only had a reduced collection of three colors and none of the really interesting ones. I don’t know if other drugstores get more than that. Also make sure to compare prices because the prices of L’Oreal vary wildly! We’re talking a price difference of up to 33%.

All in all, this is probably the most interesting collection I’ve seen in the drugstore all year. I hope the brands keep up and with some luck, we’ll get similar colors from cheaper brands with less smelly lipsticks.

This post is neither sponsored nor a PR sample – I was actually crazy enough to buy all these. °^°

If you are so inclined, please tune back in on Friday for a review of Sisley Izia.

Essie Too Too Hot

Essie Too Too Hot

So, the thing is, I put this nailpolish on in August and it took me forever to do a post on it here because the photos got sort of lost. Like I thought I had put them on the computer but I hadn’t, but they weren’t on the phone either etc. And I finally had to go sleuthing on instagram to find out when I took the picture to find it like that. So, don’t say instagram is worthless, I guess. At least it’s organized while my computer is a mess. Behold, my instagram post:

 

#notd is #essie too too hot. It's a lovely squishy red-coral thing. #nailpolish #red #coral #notd💅🏻

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Dandygal (@the_dandygal) am

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

does that picture load for anyone? my poor Too Too Hot post is cursed. Here’s the picture I finally found on my hard drive:

So what I can tell you after all that time is that this was a great nail polish, it lasted almost a week and applied like a champ, too. Good polish, my organisational skills: not so good. End of story.

 

If the gods will it, there will be a BalmainxLoreal post on wednesday. If I can find the photos I shot, that is…

L’Atelier des Bois de Grasse Cuir Iris

L’Atelier des Bois de Grasse Cuir Iris

Today I have another one from L’Atelier des Bois de Grasse to show. At least this time the perfume name is not that long: it’s Cuir Iris.

I love the no nonsense design and the descriptive name. You get what you’re promised: leather and iris. The leather starts out pretty harsh but it’s mostly in the opening. Then the perfume softens up over time ending in very soft vanilla and musk. There’s surely some stuff in between but I’m not good enough to pick it out individually. The official notes list on the packaging says:

top notes: pink peppercorn, balsam of peru, mugwort

middle notes: lily of the valley, iris, cedar

base notes: leather, vanilla, tobacco, musks

I guess I’m getting some of the tobacco and cedar, but that’s just because I read the list.

Overall a lovely perfume, because it is just leathery enough to be interesting but not too much. It gets pretty cuddly later on. Lasting time is about four hours, but after all it’s only a cologne.

A lovely perfume for people who want something a little bit different and not spend an arm and a leg. Sadly, Cuir Iris is not available everywhere. Often stores that do carry the brand only have the orange blossom and the amber one. I’m still trying to get my grabby hands on Bois de Cedre Petit Grain, but no luck so far. 😦 Of the brand’s five perfumes I own three, this one, the orange blossom and the amber (review upcoming). The fifth one is a rose perfume which I intend to skip as I’m not a fan of roses. But I do want the Bois blabla one. If only the names were a bit shorter. I wrote it down for the SA when I asked for it and she was like “which part is the perfume name” and I was like “all of it” and she was like “oh my”.

This perfume line is still very new, having launched in 2016 and I do hope they’ll get more easily available instead of sinking into oblivion because they produce quality stuff imho.

Catrice Nude Illusion Loose Powder

Catrice Nude Illusion Loose Powder

I bought the Catrice Nude Illusion Loose Powder in transparent matt, because I wanted a cheap powder for baking (and weeks after I bought it some brands came out with their special powders for baking, typical).

It looks like this on the inside. To be honest I find it a bit hard to get the powder to go through the tiny openings in the plastic, so it doesn’t usually look like this.

The powder looks white and I applied a lot here to make it show up on photography, but it is transparent, so unless you bake you’re not going to see any color. Therefore it works for everybody. The finish is matte, but not as matte as I feared. I’m usually a fan of a more luminous finish, because my skin is combination. So my nose gets shiny no matter what I do and with a less matte finish to my makeup the difference to my cheek is nowhere near as noticable.

However, this finish is matte, but still somewhat luminous. It’s hard to describe, but it’s not that deadened kind of matte that was en vogue when I was a teenager, but a good matte. My nose still got shiny after the same amount of time that it always does, but it did not look too bad. Overall I am very happy with the finish. If you use it as a regular setting powder you only need the tiniest amount, so this this 11g powder will last a long time.

And baking? It turns out I am way too lazy for that. Sorry guys. But I assume that since this already such a great powder when used normally it will work for baking as well. I don’t think it settled in my wrinkles.

Overall I love this powder and the only annoyance is the opening. You have to hit the surface to make powder spring up and I’m not sure if that will still work when the powder is half used up. I mean you can close it and turn it upside down as well but even if you hit it several times only a little bit comes out. I’d remove the plastic sieve part but it won’t come loose. Maybe I’m just more of a compact powder  person.

MAC Flesh Stone

MAC Flesh Stone

It’s October! Get out the Halloween gear! Ahem. Not that this blog is going to be any spookier than usual. I’m still working through stuff I picked up during summer…

Alright I’m finally getting around to reviewing another liquid lipstick by MAC. (I have three but only reviewed the red one so far.) This is the Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolor in Flesh Stone. For once, a MAC item that is not LE! Whooo!

Half dried arm swatch. It dries quickly and gets very matte. It’s one of those liquid lipsticks that emphasize every nook and cranny so to say. But I think it doesn’t look too bad on the lips:

Fully dried lip swatch. I love how grey the color is. As pale as I am, every brownish color with only a bit of red looks pretty off on me, but this mud color here works.

The product is very long lasting, only oil gets it off at all. When I eat it does get removed on the inside but not too much. As such, it is drying. I can live with that since I use a strong lip balm morning and evening, but those with very dry lips might not like it.

To prevent the color from cracking it is important to smile after application so the color can settle everywhere. Then I had no problems with cracking, but like already mentioned it totally highlights all lip lines. All my very matte liquids do this.

Honestly after I got Flesh Stone I stopped looking for the perfect grungy brownish nude lip color, because this is it. (Then I decided I super needed metal finish lipsticks, because.)

Huge recommendation if you’re looking for a light greyish very matte color. That’s not a specific category at all…

That’s it for today. Be safe and tune in Wednesday for a review on a good affordable face powder.

Armani Code Satin

Armani Code Satin

I guess I reviewed lots of niche stuff lately. Let’s take a look at a mainstream fave of mine:

This is Armani Code Satin EdP. Satin is a flanker to Code. There’s a new flanker every year, you can ususally tell them apart by color. Satin is red, the usual Code is blue. Satin was released 2015 and is still available.

I also like the normal Code, but I only own a bottle of Satin. Code and most of its flankers are what a good mainstream perfume should be imho: a bit sweet, good sillage, long lasting. Code Satin is interesting enough because it has ginger in the top note which gives it some zing along with the ubiquitous orange blossom/jasmine combination. Now I personally like this combo, but your mileage may vary. It is not a massive orange blossom or jasmine bomb like some Elie Saabs, for example.

There’s not a whole lot of a journey to this perfume. The heart and base set in almost immediately and the perfume sometimes wafts more ginger/orange (head), sometimes more flowers (heart) and sometimes more patchouli or sweets (base). It does get more quiet over time, but the sillage is still strong. This is the kind of perfume that fills the floor if you let it.

I like it because it is so sweet and cozy, but not screechy, not too oppressive (jasmine can do this sometimes), also not too powdery. It’s not one I could wear everyday but luckily I don’t have to. And I find myself reaching for it more often than I expected, especially when it’s rainy and I don’t feel like wearing spicy orientals.

Verdict: 100% worth a try (unless you hate vanilla or praline notes)

Dior Diorshow Brow Chalk Blonde

Dior Diorshow Brow Chalk Blonde

 

Last year Dior came out with these brow chalks.

This is the Diorshow Brow Chalk in 001 Blonde, presumably the lightest color available. It’s a brow pencil, but with a thick side.

Swatch, once with the whole chalk and once with the edge. The color looks almost green tinted here, but don’t worry, when it’s in the brow it somehow turns more yellow/ochre. Honestly, why is it that no matter how cool a color looks on the skin, it turns red in the brow? However, this one isn’t too bad. In fact it’s a pretty good brow color. It’s lighter than my real brow hair and turns them thicker in a soft way. It looks very good and subtle and I have immediately declared this to be my everyday brow product after trying it out the first time.

My real hair color is an ashy blonde, very cool, almost grey. Usually I go for brow colors that are darker than this one here. But it was a present and it turned out so well. I think this stick would actually work for most blondes. Unless the goal is to darken your brows, of course.

This brow chalk is softer than my usual pencils. That means it needs only a very light hand to apply. I fear that also means that it will be used up quickly, but we’ll see that when I’m done with it.

For the swatch I used the edge as well, but in real life I only apply with the broad side (the edge wore off very fast, as well). It is so easy and quick to apply this way, but of course you’re ending up with a full stripe of color. You can’t draw tiny hairs as you could with a very thin, hard pencil. You can just apply very lightly and then blend a bit if necessary. If you make a mistake it can be rubbed off easily. I blend/remove with my finger; this is also recommended on the packaging.

I think this is best for people who have brow hairs though, then you can just wipe it over your brow hair and be done. People who shave their brows or who have very thin brows might have a problem with the broadness of this chalk. It’s not that precise and very soft.

The product claims to be waterproof. I took a shower with it and it was still on afterwards, so water alone doesn’t affect it. However, I do think it vanishes throughout the day. I’m not entirely sure how long it lasts, maybe six hours, maybe more. But when I wash my makeup off there’s not that much visible difference, indicating that there wasn’t much makeup left.

Pros: super easy to use

Cons: possibly not that long lasting, expensive

Certainly worth a try if you ususally shop luxury makeup.

MAC Nicki Minaj Lipsticks (plus other pink stuff)

MAC Nicki Minaj Lipsticks (plus other pink stuff)

The MAC Nicki Minaj Collection was officially released here on Sept 1st, but it was a bit of an odyssey until I finally had mine. While I was at it I went on a rose gold spree and picked up another metallic lipstick and a pigment from the previous collection as well. The SA chuckled and gave me samples of a rose gold perfume to match.

So here’s my pink haul: Pigment in Rose Gold, Nikki’s Nude, The Pinkprint and Love’s a Gamble (this one not from the Nikki Collection, but from Metallic LE).

So, the Nicki Minaj LE was supposed to be a collection of nude lipsticks and dark skinned girls had hopes of, yaknow, finding a nude lipstick that suited them… and then the majority of the collection turned out to be quite light in tone. On the one hand I’m not surpised as Nicki Minaj is someone who likes her lippies very light, on the other hand how hard can it be to throw in a few properly dark colors? I guess Nicki Minaj isn’t the one to go for if you want subtle and nude. As such I was pleased by her two colors because they are just what I expected – pigmented pinks (those two are so not nude on me). But the criticism of this LE is well justified.

Although, please do watch this video of the wonderful Nyma Tang, who is totally slaying these lipsticks:

Alright, enough soap-box, on to the swatches:

First swatch is Nicki’s Nude (Amplified), then The Pinkprint (Amplified), last swatch is Love’s a Gamble (metallic). You can see that the first two are a lot more pigmented, almost opaque in one swipe. The metallic one isn’t really opaque at all no matter how often you apply it – skin or lip color shows through. At the same time it’s got a lot of shimmer, while the other two are shimmerless. They just look so lush because they’re creamy. Honestly while I love matte lipsticks I’m glad to see something else now.

The two Nicki lipsticks look innocently pink against my veeeeery white skin, but note that these have quite some white pigment in them, making them very pastel on the lips. The Pinkprint is a light pink with yellow undertone. Nicki’s Nude is one of those coral leaning nudes, not as light as The Pinkprint, but also pretty light in color.

Both are easy to apply and last very well, about four to five hours. Eating reduces them but they’re still on. They never dry down and that also means they wander around some. That means they settle in lip lines after a while. This can be lessened by pressing the lips together and moving them around to spread the color again, but once the color has settled in the lines, some of it stays there. After a couple hours the colors also emphasize dry bits of skin. It’s worse with the Pinkprint, I think because it’s the lighter color and therefore more visible. Despite this, the lipsticks feel hydrating and not drying.

A lot of this can be lessened by applying primer and then lip liner. Lipliners that work with these colors for me: MAC Stone, pulling them more into real nude territory; Whirl, also nude but darker and more red undertone; Rosy Rim, staying in the light coral pink territory. Rosy Rim would darken The Pinkprint, but not Nicki’s Nude – it’s actually a good match for Nicki’s Nude, only a bit more pink. Then I’ve got Chic Trick, which is a bright pink and would change the colors the most, but still works. And for non-MAC lip liners I have Bobbi Brown Blondie Pink, which is actually not pink at all but a proper nude and would be the most subtle of all the liners here. And lastly, ModelCo Illusion Nude lip liner, which is a yellowish brown nude.

Too many lip liners? Who, me? But they’re all so different, see!

Before I move on to the next lipstick I want to point out again that The Pinkprint is super pale, almost too light for my comfort (my skin color is NC15) and I prefer to use it with lip liner to ground it some. If you want something similar but a tad more pink or long lasting, try the Retro Matte in Divine Divine (review upcoming).

Love’s a Gamble (metallic) is a salmon color with pink sparkle. The base color is sheer, this is mostly shimmer. It can be used as a topper or alone and will look different on everyone as your lip color will show through. If you pat it on lightly enough you can use it as a highlighter as well. Lasting power is good and this doesn’t slip into lip lines as much because it’s not as emollient as the two lippies above.

And finally, a swatch of the pigment Rose Gold. First swiped on, then sheered out. I prefer it dabbed on as eyeshadow and not sheered out at all, but in theory you could use these pigments as highlighters as well (if the color worked out for you). Like Gold, Rose Gold looks lighter in the bottle. It’s somewhere in between bronze and warm gold I’d say. It’s not as pink as you could expect from the name.

It’s easy to apply but also easy to accidentally spill (don’t breathe too hard when handling this) but once it’s on, it sticks very well. I still use a primer underneath, but I always do. Nothing sticks on my lids without primer.

Phew, thanks for reading this monster post. See you on wednesday with a much more compact review of a Dior item.

Boucheron Jaipur Bracelet

Boucheron Jaipur Bracelet

Jaipur Bracelet EdP (released 2012) is a flanker to Boucheron‘s Jaipur (released 1994). I’ve never smelled the pillar so I can’t tell you how close those two really are. Bracelet is still being sold, but I’m not sure if Jaipur is still being produced. The nose for bracelet is Carlos Benaim.

I dedicate this review to the south half of our planet, since this perfume is sort of a spring perfume and we’re heading into fall up here. XD Bracelet is a bright, happy flowers thing and turns into a cream perfume later on. It hits right home with me because I love those orange blossom/sun cream combinations (like Yves Rocher Neroli).

Now, the notes list contains neither orange blossom nor creamy notes, which is weird because the start is a dead ringer for Pure Poison, a jasmine-neroli-gardenia-bomb. Bracelet is fresher and less jasmine but the connection is there.

The notes for bracelet include neither neroli, nor orange blossom, nor gardenia or jasmine. It says Hyacinth, Lily of the valley, iris and cypress. This makes it sound fresher and greener than it is, in my opinion. Before I looked up the notes I was so sure I’d find orange blossom/neroli. Although I guess when I look for it I do get some Lily of the Valley…

The flower phase doesn’t last very long, sadly. Maybe half an hour. The cream note gets stronger and stronger until the whole thing ends up smeling like very good and expensive skin care. For comparison, Pure Poison lasts much longer in the sweet flower phase.

The cream phase does last several hours but very close to the skin. This is my experience with it. A friend says that she finds Bracelet to be very heavy and strong. So it’s pretty subjective (however I am not entirely sure she meant Bracelet instead of Jaipur which sounds like a heavy oriental compared to this light flower).

verdict: lovely if you find Pure Poison too strong.

Essence Fresh & Fit Awake Make Up

Essence Fresh & Fit Awake Make Up

Last year essence released the wonderful Camouflage foundation, which has become my absolute favorite foundation ever, surpassing all the more expensive ones. So when essence released another foundation in their current fall product range change (pro tip: if there’s an essence product you love always check bi-yearly if it’s going on sale because then it will be GONE not even best sellers are safe) I bought it just in case it was another hit.

It’s called Fresh & Fit Awake Make Up and it boasts to give you a healthy glow. Now, healthy glow foundations were all the rage a couple years ago when brands simply added light shimmer to their foundations. This is not one of those, no shimmer (not needed anymore since nowadays everyone has a ton of highlighters at home). Howeverrrrr, this is so not for the kids with oily faces. The glow is very, ah, wet looking. This is the un-mattest finish I ever owned.

The color I bought was the lightest of four available ones, it’s 10 fresh ivory.

For my swatch I hit the pump with gusto – and got out wayy too much product. This affected the swatch a little, sorry.

Had to cover half my arm with the swatch. The coverage is light to medium – you can still see my blue veins here. The coverage is not builadable, no matter how much you put on.

Comparison swatches. The other pics were made in the shade, this one in direct sunlight. The first line is the Fresh & Fit, again I got out too much product so the swatch is still super wet here. However, it will not dry down as much as the other two anyway. Good news is, it does not oxidize and get darker.

The second swatch is MAC NC 15, which is much lighter than ‘fresh ivory’. Last swatch is essence Camouflage in 10 ivory beige, also the lightest available of that foundation.

Now, the fresh & fit is clearly darker than those two, closer to MAC NC 20. However, the lighter products swatched here have a lot more coverage, so blended out on my face I can wear this foundation. But still, the 10 in this foundation is a different color than 10 in the other foundation of the same brand and that’s pretty annoying.

I already mentioned that this foundation is not kidding when it says glow. I need a good primer and a lot of powder to keep the shine at bay. It ends up shinier than my favorite glowy foundation (Dior BB Creme). Longevity was not affected, though, it lasted a whole work day just fine. So from the finish, this is not a foundation for oily types, it’s okay for combination skin IF you can live with the shine, and will probably look best on very dry skin.

So far so good, but please note that this foundation contains alcohol on the fourth spot of the ingredients list, meaning it could potentally irritate your skin in the long run. (My beloved Camouflage foundation also includes alcohol, but much lower down the list.) The alcohol is especially annyoing because apart from that the fresh & fit actually includes a lot of good stuff, like Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin A! This means that this stuff is basically skin care and would make your skin look better in the long run – provided you also used sun protection because retinol makes you sun sensitive. The retinol is not advertised on the product, it only says ‘vitamin complex and cranberry water’, which is technically correct I guess. The foundation also includes titanium dioxide and iron oxide, but I would stil use a sun screen with it.

The foundation is lightly perfumed, but the smell vansihes quickly and there are no declarable materials (aka known irritants).

My verdict: best for aging skin if you can live with the alcohol content and shine. For more coverage and a matte finish I greatly recommend the Camouflage instead.

MAC Sweets for my Sweet

MAC Sweets for my Sweet

Let’s talk about a non-limited item for once.

A while ago MAC released the Extra Dimension Blushes. Like the Extra Dimension Skinfinishes, they have a fine, yet strong shimmer. The blushes also have more of a base color. All of the blushes are very shimmery, often to the point that they look completely different in the pan than on the skin, because the shimmer is a different color. For me the blushes were too shimmery, it is like applying a strongly colored highlighter. So I picked up one of the darker pinks as this one was the only color that had shimmer in the same hue as base color which makes it not stand out so much.

Lightly applied swatch. The color is rosy pink (almost berry but not quite) with pink shimmer. It can be applied lightly or built up to medium coverage. The color looks innocent on this swatch but on my face I have to use a light hand or be overblushed.

I like this blush and I already made a dent in it. It is so useful because you can skip highlighter and the color goes with everything. The brush picks up the powder effortlessly, no swirling necessary and I need only a quick swipe across cheeks.

It lasts about eight hours on my face, give or take an hour.

So I can recommend this one and I’m sure the others are great as well, but those were too shimmery for me personally. Sweets for my Sweet is certainly the most subdued of the bunch.

Guerlain Black Perfecto by La Petite Robe Noire

Guerlain Black Perfecto by La Petite Robe Noire

As promised on monday, here’s a review of Guerlain‘s latest mainstream release: Black Perfecto by La Petite Robe Noire EdP Florale. As usual with LPRN flankers it’s quite a mouthful. It comes in the typical Guerlain spade bottle (again, that shape up there is not an “upside down heart” it’s clearly a spade!) but all black this time.

So Black Perfecto is this year’s flanker for LPRN (pillar). Allow me to link to my previous reviews: LPRN EdT (2012), LPRN Couture (2014), Ma Robe Petales (2015, green), Ma Robe Sous Le Vent (2016, blue). I think I got most of the flankers covered. However, the pillar is more complicated than that.

The first version of LPRN was released in 2009. The bottle wasn’t pink, more greyish and the dress was long. This scent was discontinued. In 2011 they released the first flanker, named Modele 2. This perfume was also discontinued and later renamed Mademoiselle Guerlain, which is now sold in the bee bottle. And finally in 2012 they released the LPRN which is still available today in EdP, EdT, Extrait, Hair Mist etc.

Why the history lesson? Some people still mourn the loss of the first LRPN, the 2009 one. And as Black Perfecto was released some say that this is pretty close to the old LPRN. So just in case you are looking for such a scent, go check Black Perfecto out. Me, I only know the 2012 version so I cannot say if it’s true.

Anyways, the perfumer for this version is Thierry Wasser. Perfumer for the 2009 LPRN was Delphine Jelk. Also the officially listed notes are completely different.

Black Perfecto is supposedly a rose perfume with leather notes. Honestly I’m not getting much leather, not like what you get from proper leather perfumes. What I smell is a very, very dark and not so sweet cherry. And then a candied rose. Something light that could be almond – there’s certainly something in it that makes it a sweet floral. But it’s nowhere near as sweet as what is currently sold in mainstream perfume. If the original LPRN smelled like this I can see why they discontinued it – for a mainstream hit you need more. That of course doesn’t make Black Perfecto a bad perfume. One might even argue it makes it a better perfume. But I doubt it’s going to be a major hit. Apart from not being so sweet (imo good, ymmv) it also doesn’t last long at all. I kept reapplying almost every hour. I went through my samples at lightning speed. It becomes a skin scent very fast. It does linger veeery light throughout the day. It does a lot better on fabric.

My verdict: nice, but I don’t feel the need to own a bottle or even a decant. But I’m not really in the market for a cherry perfume anway. I own a full bottle of Lolita Lempicka Sweet, which is all the cherry goodness I need. If I had to get a full bottle of any LPRN it would probably be the 2012 version. My second favorite is last year’s flanker, the blue ‘intense’ one.

Test Black Perfecto if: you miss the 2009 one or you want a cherry/rose scent that is not so overwhelming and sweet.

Chanel Rouge Allure Ultraberry

Chanel Rouge Allure Ultraberry

As I mentioned in my monday post I picked up two older Chanel lipsticks on sale. Today I’ll talk about the Rouge Allure lipstick in Ultraberry.

Ultraberry was part of last year’s Holiday Collection. That collection didn’t sell well at all. It felt disjointed and not very Holiday at all. It was one of the few years where I didn’t pick up anything from Chanel. But when I saw Ultraberry on sale I decided that the color on it’s own is actually quite pretty.

Swatches! So the good news is that while Ultraberry was limited edition and may be sold out now, MAC Diva isn’t all that far from it. The difference is that Diva is a matte lipstick and opaque. Ultraberry has a creamy finish and is a bit see through. This makes for a very lush and beautiful finish. I swatched La Sensuelle next to it, but it’s lighter and also a Rouge Allure Velvet – so it has a luminous matte finish. Last I swatched one of my few other Rouge Allures – Maniac. Of course the color is quite different. You can also see that Ultraberry applies a lot more even.

So I think the dark red/berry of Ultraberry is super pretty when worn and a great color for fall. It feels creamy against the lips, does turn drying after five/six hours though. Lasting power is quite good, six to seven hours. It wears off on the inside of the lip when eating a bit, not too visibly. I simply reapplied regularly – after a while it stains the lips.

So overall a wonderful lipstick and I like it a lot. Worth a try if you can stil find it. And if you can’t and want something similar, go for Diva.