Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dior 'Diorshow' Fusion Mono Eyeshadow - 381 Millenium

Hello, everyone! <3

I recently picked up one of the Dior 'DiorShow' Fusion Mono Eyeshadow up on a whim and it was LOVE at first swatch. I had seen the previews originally a few months ago but wasn't sure how they'd compare to my favorite Chanel Illusion d'Ombre. I picked this up at the Riyadh Gallery here in Riyadh. According to the preview this shade is one of the Middle East exclusives.

The one I picked up is (what was to me) the most unique color out of the range in #381 Millenium (actually spelt that way) which I would describe as a complex multi-shimmer pewter shade with a slight shift to a taupe in certain lighting. It is absolutely gorgeous and is unlike anything I own.

All the Dior Mono eyeshadows come with a useless brush similar in size to the Chanel's but the Dior is a sponge. The texture is very different than the typical cream eyeshadows which feel "wet" to the touch and are usually mousse-y. These feel more like a powder-cream hybrid and are slightly dryer almost feeling like pressed powders. All the shades are SUPER shimmery but Millenium was an extra chameleon under that sneaky Sephora lighting because I literally gasped when I saw it. LOOK AT THE PRETTEH SPARKLEZ.

From a distance it looks like a basic silver-pewter shade but it's upon closer examining or under certain lights when it starts glowing and shifting shades. 

Some swatches to show the color but also the duo chrome-goodness that this color is. This seriously sparkles like crazy on the lids and is one of those shadows you catch yourself constantly looking at in the mirror. >.> 

To show the contrast // via my Instagram 
The longevity and wear from this is pretty impressive, lasted five hours *without* a primer on my usually-oily lids. I love this for a quick sparkly wash and because of the duochrome-yumminess it ends up looking way more complex than it actually really is.

These retail for $30 USD or SAR 160 here in Saudi Arabia (approx. $42USD =_=) and are available wherever Dior cosmetics are sold. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Best Discoveries of 2012 - Part One

...better late than never, right?

I have made so many new additions to my stash in the last several months that NOT blogging about them drives me crazy because I'm unable to use them until they are photographed. This also means a very embarrassing percent of my stash is untouched. =_=

Note: Anything marked with a (*) will be reviewed soon. 

Here are some of my favorite discoveries from twenty-twelve; the year I *really* got into refining my collection and purged whatever didn't work for me. Some of these may seem absolute basic (i.e. something one discovers early in their makeup-obsessed journey) but these have now become products I call favorites/go-tos/the bombdigity/holy grail -- sorted by category and broken into 2 parts (soon to follow):

1. Face:  

The ideal 1-minute face includes a dab of the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach to cancel darkness as well as sallowness. To brighten the under-eye as well as the face, a few dots of the Garnier Anti-Darkness Roller (the lightest (not light enough, obviously) shade is perfect for NC20-25 skin, IME). To finish the under-eyes and to help prevent creasing/migrating eyeliner the Laura Mericer Secret Brightening Powder in #1 (*) has become an OBSESSION. I literally recommend this everywhere I go and have depotted it for several people who then became believers, too. The perfect brush is listed below with the rest of the tools. 

My two favorite concealers are the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer in SC-3 which is a waxier concealer for a long-lasting dryer formula to stay on spots. For overall concealing, particularly redder spots and general blemishes, the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (*) in SX-06 is amazing. I've added the shade SX-07 (lighter + more neutral/less yellow) to my collection recently for the under-eye/all-over foundation. 

2. Lips:  

Yves Saint Laurent, Y U SO AWSUM? YSL has become my go-to brand for lip products. The two standout formulas being the Glossy Stains (shade shown in #13, reviewed here) and Rouge Pur Couture (*) (pictured in 03 Saadi//possibly getting discontinued?!). I went on to add several more Glossy Stains because they are perfect to mix and cocktail your own shades with. Hourglass Rouge Femme Velvet Cream lipsticks (shown in my favorite MLBB color Fresco) have a fantastic velvet finish which leaves your lips looking + feeling supple. Guerlain Rouge Automatique (shown in shade Nahema, reviewed here) is another favorite formula.

I've become semi-obsessed with tinted balms over the last few months and my favorite has to be the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Sugar Rose which adds the perfect pink tint while moisturizing my lips while Sugar (colorless version) is more hydrating and perfect for under lipsticks. My favorite hydrating balm/salve after a lip scrub is the Vaseline Lip Therapy (NOT Vaseline in a mini pot).

3. Eyes:  

Shiseido eyeshadow trios (shown in Fire (*)) were, for me, the best find in this category by far. The textures are amazing, the color story always unique (in the case of Fire, the color-story was Dick Page's take on fire with the black being charcoal; the orange being flame; and white being ash. Kind of genius, no?); for a stand-alone shade and yummy buttery texture Rouge Bunny Rouge does it right (single pan in Abyssinian Catbird, reviewed here). MUST. GET. MORE. Also discovered the apparent classic MAC pigment in Vanilla (reviewed herewhich makes for a great wash on the lids, and a killer highlighter for the cheeks. 

My favorite mascaras were the Maybelline Full & Soft (perfectly soft, fluffy and separated lashed) and for volume, the slightly more wetter formula of Armani Eyes to Kill does the job well. Not shown but note-worthy: Lancome Hypnose Drama in the waterproof formula. 

why so over-exposed? =<
Another Armani eye-favorite was the Armani Eyes to Kill Waterproof eyeliner pencil. Tested its longevity by accident when I was unable to wash my face for 4 days straight (long story) and this stuff DID NOT BUDGE. Sephora's Long-Lasting 12HR liquid eyeliner in #13 Fancy Blue is the perfect hue of cobalt blue while the Max Factor Eye Kohl in Natural Glaze is the perfect nude for the waterline; never stark-white but brightening enough. 

For vibrant colors and longevity on the lids NARS Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Primer is the best eyeshadow primer on the market. 

4. Cheeks:


Rouge Bunny Rouge Liquid Illuminator in Sea of Clouds (reviewed here) was my go-to highlighter for year-round; blush in Naked Rose by IllamasquaOrpheline by Rouge Bunny Rouge (reviewed here) and the Sleek blush palette in Lace were favorites in color but also texture; and my favorite pressed highlighter of ALL time? Kevyn Aucoin's Candlelight (reviewed here). 

5. Tools:

These 7 are the only brushes I'd ever need. (Left - Right) For crease-work and specific placement (cut-crease or inner-corners) the Shu Uemura 5R is cut to perfection; Shu Uemura 10N for lid colors, wash and light blending; and for blending and diffusing the Hakuhodo S142 is blue-squirrel perfection. 

The Hakuhodo Misako Portable Lip Brush is not only beautiful-looking, it also happens to have the right amount of stiffness I like in a lip brush to create a beautiful application. 

For setting under eye concealer (using the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder mentioned above) the Real Techniques Setting Brush is the perfect amount of stiff + fluff + width; the Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlighter Brush for being my go-to highlighter/contouring/bronzer/errythang brush; and the Hakuhodo K020 for having the softness to diffuse the most pigmented of blushes into a seamless soft flush while also distributing powder in a thin even veil. 

And now, moar favorites (6-11) to follow in the upcoming post. =* 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Inglot O2M Nail Enamel (The "Muslim" Polish?)

I know this appearance after 2 months of being MIA is embarrassingly-lame but long story short: a massive tragedy hit extremely close to home in February so blogging was the last thing on my mind. But thankfully it will now be keeping me sane. :)

I'm sure many of you heard about the new nail polish formula released by Inglot called the O2M (oxygen and moisture) Nail Enamel which has now become synonymous with the term "Muslim polish". Inglot's attempt at creating a "breathable" and healthier alternative to nail polish also ended up answering the prayers (no pun intended, har har) of many Muslim women who avoid using nail polish (unless it's TOTM) as it prevents water from passing over the nails during wudhu (the ritual of washing before prayers) and in order to make wudhu properly, water *must* touch the nails. 

Unlike regular nail polish which prevents oxygen and water from penetrating to the nails (almost creating a seal over the actual nail) the Inglot formula is designed to allow water and moisture to penetrate to the nail through a technology which uses polymer (found in contact lenses) to make water permeable. O_O

I was going to buy a few to test it out...for science (you know, swatch some on a cloth and see if water went through etc) but SOMEBODEH beat me to the punch. :P This blogger, Mustafa Umar, actually had it tested on a coffee filter and the Inglot swatch was able to absorb water whereas the water pooled on top of the standard polish's swatch. 

Credit: Here // Pink = Regular Nail Polish // Purple: O2M Inglot Polish

It's not surprising that these polishes are literally flying off the shelves here in Saudi Arabia  where the makeup-savvy girls are probably buying by the bucketload since they are usually out of stock. However, I know for a fact I have to get some for myself but also my mom, aunts and cousins who will be AWL OVER THIS, so I will be stalking the Inglot stores to pick up a few. A review to follow whenever that happens, of course. 

They are available online in 53 shades, retail for $14/each and can be purchased HERE. A base and top coat using the same formula are also underway. 

Wojciech Inglot, Polish Chemist and founder/creator of Inglot, passed away on Feb. 23 at the age of 57. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Inglot 10 Eyeshadow Palette

Up until recently I had kind friends from America helping me shop in USD because almost everything is hiked in price here and I get annoyed having to foot the extra amount knowing I could get cheaper in America. I've done 2 MAJOR hauls (one which arrived and the 2nd should be on its way soon) but in the process of saving money, it all adds up in the amount of shipping costs and hassle. So the 2nd box will be the last, hopefully. And yes, that also means I have LOTS of stuff to get to blogging about.

My resolutions for 2013 is to not only buy everything in Saudi Arabia/locally, but to also buy less overall. I think I will be sticking to 13-products-for-2013 (I've already purchased the first 2 >.<) so lets see how that goes.

...enough of my ramble but that is why this was an exciting purchase because it's the first and only purchase made in-person and in Saudi Arabia thus far. Lo and behold! Look who finally got their hands on some Inglot? Moi. I had been wanting to make a palette for AGES.

I picked these up from the Inglot in Royal Mall in Riyadh and it the selection process was UBER-frustrating because it took me at least 3 hours narrowing down to the 10 I wanted, only to find out 5 of them were not in stock. =_= I had to write down the names of the missing ones and call back and finally managed to pick them up from another Inglot branch. Overall, the experience was a little annoying and frustrating and I've heard from lots of people with a similar experience so I would suggest going to a store and writing down all the names and purchasing them online. 

I chose not to get the bulky Inglot packaging and decided upon this palette from AnotherSoul from Etsy instead. Sparkleh' *_* 

Each Freedom System Square shadow retails for $6 or 35 SAR ($9.3) in Saudi Arabia. You get 2.7 grams (!!) and each shadow is made in Poland. 

I chose colors based on the fact that they were stand-alone shades rather than the type to compliment each other (although some could work together easily). I decided to save the basic shades for later so these were the 10 most complex/sparkleh'/exciting colors I could find. The two empty "slots" will probably be filled with some basic mattes, me thinks. 

Here's some Ingot terminology to keep in mind:
- AMC Shine: super-pigmented with a frost, or pearl finish 
- DS: Double Sparkle 
AMC (Advanced Makeup Component): semi-matte with sparkle but less glitter than DS. 

Top row:
Shine 37 burgundy-brown with silver micro-shimmer. 
DS 471 olive-khaki matte base with grey shimmer through out
DS 457 chocolate brown semi-matte base with red-gold-green shimmer
DS 459 a cool-toned matte deep-brown with silver-blue shimmer 

Middle Row: 
DS 482 matte rich blue with silver-purple-blue shimmer
DS 502 purple-grey (dare I say, taupe-y?) semi-matte base with rainbow shimmer
DS 465 cool-toned light brown taupe with a TON of gold/multidimensional shimmer
DS 460 grey-lilac matte base with gold shimmer

Middle Row: 
Pearl 444 grey-silver with slight taupe undertones and outstanding texture
AMC 68 a purple-blue with rainbow micro-shimmer 

The texture could be smoother (the Pearl shadows are the smoothest in the range) and they do require a primer but wear well and blend flawlessly otherwise. The quality and color selection is outstanding and at that price they are a great value. I will be trying some mattes next time (which I hear Inglot excels in) but overall the colors are beautiful and I LOVE the shimmer in them. Go play with the various textures/finishes on your next visit to get a feel.

Do you have any favorites or other recommendations? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Brush Roll

When moving to Saudi Arabia from Wisconsin, I made sure to keep all my brushes with me at all times so I actually had my brush roll in my purse the whole time. >.< This brush roll stores all my brushes when I travel. The previous post was about my entire brush collection detailing all my face and eye brushes. 

The brush roll I use is by the Etsy seller ASoftBlackStar who hand-makes beautiful brush rolls, and other smaller bags for travel. Unfortunately she's not accepting any orders at the moment. Check back on her Etsy store because she offers various patterns and sizes. And while googling her shop's name I discovered she's a fellow blogger! You can check her blog here

What drew me to this particular one was the damask pattern which I have a soft spot for, ahem. And at around $22 + shipping how could I resist? The fact that it's all hand-made seals the deal. The material is all cotton and it has 12 slots with generous room to hold brushes of all most sizes. 

What I love is the flap that comes over the top so everything stays securely inside and the ribbon is a nice touch that secures and bundles everything nicely. 

I haven't washed it in the 2+ years I've had it (never found the need to thus far) so I can't comment how it holds in the wash but I will add that it is superbly-made and hasn't fallen apart on me, nor has the stitching come apart or frayed. The only thing I wish I could add would be to some how make it wipeable but other than that, no complaints.

I have some pretty fabric I found while digging through my mom's stuff and found a gorgeous vintage sparkly pale gold and black fabric which would make for the most beautiful DIY brush roll. I definitely need to see how I can put it to good use or incorporate it into something like a brush roll or...something. Let me know what you guys use to store brushes when traveling and if you use a brush roll. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Brush Collection & Storage

Apologies for lack of posts in the last few weeks! >.< I've finally settled down in Saudi Arabia and should be cranking out posts frequently now. And not to mention the countless new additions I've added to my stash lately, so there is LOTS to get to! Also, cannot believe it's 2013.

2012 was definitely the year of brushes; especially towards the end when I acquired most of my face brushes. The process of refining my brush collection was a lengthy one because I cannot stand clutter or too much selection so purging my old collection was a must. My previous brush collection mostly consisted of hasty-impulse-will-do-for-now type purchases and an upgrade was majorly overdue. I'll get into my purging/upgrade process in another post...but first how I store them!

I use these two glass crystal candle holders which I picked up from a local store here in Saudi Arabia (CenterPoint for those within the region) and they are perfect! The pictures don't do them justice but they are beautiful and were pretty decently priced at about $30 for the set. I love that these are the perfect height to not be too deep or too low and store any size brush save for super-minis.

Eye brushes, sorted by brand:

MAC (left - right):
- #266 (natural // $20)
- #239 (goat hair // $25)
- #242 (horse + synthetic hair // $25 // I love this for cream shadows)
- #217 (goat hair // $23 // A classic but might be replacing it w/ the Hakuhodo version soon)
- #219 (goat hair // $25)
- #224 (natural hair // $31 // one of my favorites for blending out the crease and transitioning colors)
- #227 (natural // $31)
- #214 (natural // $25 // go-to for smudging at the lash line and as recently discovered: for creating photogenic swatches, ahem)

- Urban Decay Good Karma Multi-Tasker Brush (synthetic // $24 // gel liner and pin-point concealing)
- cheapie bent liner brush from eBay ($1-$2)

- S142 (Blue Squirrel // $40 // perfection for blending/crease. A favorite!)
- S133 (Canada Squirrel // $48 // lovely for washes, loose pigment and glitter)
- K007 (Weasel // $15 // basic script liner brush)

Shu Uemura: <----the 3 MUST-haves from Shu Uemura and you won't need anything else.
- 5R (pure Kolinky (!!) // $60 // must-have; perfect for crease work, inner-corner highlight and smudging)
- 10N (Kolinksy + Sable // $68 // tilted at an angle in the photo but it's a staple and another absolute must-have. A shader brush that makes the crappiest of eyeshadows go on pigmented and can even blend edges, too. A favorite!)
- 8HR (Sable // $63 // great for color placement in the crease and blending)

I realize I am missing a synthetic angled brush and a synthetic shader brush for creams. Eyeing some Hourglass or Real Techniques to fill out those gaps.

Now for face brushes.

1. Hakuhdo Large Pointed Yachiyo (goat // $48)
2. Hakuhodo K020 (blue squirrel // $65 // my favorite brush for scary-pigmented blushes such as those by NARS, Sleek and Illamasqua. The soft blue squirrel allows for pigment to be deposited softly and evenly. Almost like using a duo-fibre brush but so much softer and diffused)
3. Hakuhodo B103BkSL (Goat (Sokoho) // $72 // a true multi-tasker; I use this for powder)
4. Hakuhodo 210 (Goat-Sokoho // $36 // great for bronzer or softly-pigmented blushes that need a stiffer brush)
5. Chikuhodo Z-2 (grey squirrel // $105 // THE. MOST. AMAZING. BRUSH. EVAUR. I use this for anything and everything non-cream/liquid)
6. Hakuhodo Misako Portable Lip Brush (Weasel // $36 // Shown here with the cap on. Stunning lip brush w/ beautiful vermillion and wood detail and a 24-karat coated brass ferrule)
7. Shu Uemura #14 (synthetic // $42 // A little expensive for synthetic but the shape is unlike any other)
8. Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush (synthetic // cream blush)
9. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (synthetic // $8.99 // creams and foundation. Flawless)
10. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brush (synthetic // $26 // go-to concealer brush)
11. Real Techniques Setting Brush (synthetic // $7.99 // HG brush for setting under eye concealer)
12. MAC #109 (natural // $35 // workhorse of a brush; does everything right down to liquid foundation)
13. Laura Mercier Blush Brush (natural // travel-sized for the purse)

Not pictured is the Illamasqua Highlighter Brush which I have coming to me soon. From what I hear it's great for cream blush. Will report back shortly!

I am in need of just the Suqqu Cheek Brush and a traditional powder brush and my collection is complete. \o/

The next post will be about how I store them while traveling. Thank you for reading!