Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The survey results are in... You prefer glowy neutral beauty AKA Oscars beauty!!

To my disappointment, not everyone prefers to look like an extreme catwalk creation when it comes to makeup. Getting the compliment, "You look beautiful" seems more appealing than, "Wow your makeup looks amazing!" in other words.

I had 21 votes, thanks to all who voted! So the breakdown is up for you to see. Double the people who chose colourful looks chose neutral. However if one combines the people who voted for "Colourful looks, always!" with "Colour in principle, but not on me" then we can stay equal with those who say " glowy natural beauty"... However that is to bend the rules somewhat. Although 5 said they had no standard, it seems pretty clear that "Glowy natural beauty" is what most consider their priority, if pushed to choose. And nowhere was this more clear than at this year's Oscar's.

Indeed, Reese Witherspoon, who uncharacteristically went for a smokey blue eye to match her, ahem, "forward looking" dress (to quote 'People') recived scorn- perhaps not rashly for her visble 'transparent' straps, but surely the eyes were ok?! No, too much.

This year more than previous years, it seems bronzed skin is out; porcelain is in. No one takes this to more extremes than Anne Hathaway. She has a funny face. But anyway, she matched her dress to her skin and came up with a fool-proof Oscar look. Marisa Tomei in my view arguably looked the best, her deltoids looked fab and the dress was modern yet classic. Penelope Cruz did her thing, and looked pretty in those gowns she wears so well. Her makeup too was typical: bronze eyeshadow and heavy black eyeliner. No need to fix it if it ain't broke, and so on.

The only colourful shadow, aside from Reese Witherspoon's matching her makeup to her dress, was Natalie Portman (lilac) breaking the cardinal rule, and Sarah Jessica Parker (blue green to match her couture dress, which was, as she put it,"barely mint").
(Natalie Portman unwisely breaks the cardinal rule and goes for lilac makeup to match her dress)
Tilda Swinton has not renewed her decision to go to the biggest night of the year without a scrap of makeup and shrouded in a bin bag
(Tilda Swinton Oscars 2008, no makeup)
well, at least, some of that is true:
and actually looked like her makeup was more visible than many others' this year. Not sure what she has against mascara??
Well, you could see lipstick. (We all know Tilda Swinton, Helena Bonham Carter and Chloë Sevigny all have license to do their own thing without being judged.)

Nicole Kidman also had visible classic style makeup- discreet dark eyes, red lips, blushing cheeks; Marion Cotillard had vampy dark lips and dark lined eyes.
(Marion Coutillard last year with bronzed skin and silver eyeshadow; and this year in navy with porcelain skin and dark lips.)

But the majority of looks conformed to natural glowy makeup, almost imperceptible. Kate Winslet, Frida Pinto, Marisa Tomei, Beyonce Knowles (yucky dress, no doubt her own House of Deleon creation), Heidi Klum, Angelina Jolie (who let her jewellery do the colour) all fell into this category. This makes sense on two levels: 1, most importantly, so that they and not their makeup artist, receive credit for looking stunning; and 2, to allow their elaborate gowns and jewellery to shine.
(Beyonce in her performance makeup, pink lips, contoured eyes and lips, and below, in her natural understated makeup)
Meryl Streep went almost self-consciously natural in her makeup, and intensified this by her grey dress. I prefer the way Sophia Loren clung on to her signature sultry cat eyes and showed some cleavage and colour! Their different approaches are stark when you see them posing together.
Miley Cyrus wore like a bad version of the fabulous gown Marion Cotillard wore to great aclaim last year. On last year's Jean Paul Gaultier design, the dress had a fish scale quality that was quirky, yet on Miley this Zuhair Murad dress looks grotesque- those huge scales- I think she is just too young for it so it made it look a bit like what Ariel might wear if A little Mermaid came to a panto near you. It looks good on the catwalk, perhaps hair down helps?? Anyway it didn't work. Her makeup was very neutral and unremarkable though.

Another bad version of last year's dress came from Heidi Klum: last year she looked incredible in her Dior red dress. Red is her colour, but this year's Roland Mouret design paled in comparison-
(Last year left and this year, right)
The fabric, the thigh split, it looked less glamorous... Makeup the same as last year. Afterall, like Jennifer Aniston, they pull off the sunny natural beauty to perfection.
(Jennifer Aniston, just keeping within the bounds of beachy makeup to look effortlessly glowy beautiful and elegant)

My favourite Oscar makeup has to be Audrey Hepburn though....

....What about YOU? Thoughts on this year's Oscars makeup??

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Review: Steam Cream

British Beauty Blogger wrote about this last year and it sounded very interesting, and more recently, Musings of a Muse, a great expert, and not prone to waxing lyrical without cause- gave this a spotlight piece, resplendent with an interview which dispelled any doubts that this cream was anything less than, in her words, "the secret and solution to life, the universe, and everything".

I've been using humble little Nivea Oil Free moisturing lotion daily, after abandoning all my Lancome jars, and I haven't looked back since. But I was completely arrested by that piece, and at an affordable price (A 75g jar is £9.95 from Liberty's and Whiteley's in London, or available online with low shipping) -I couldn't wait to give it a go.

The jar itself is very pretty ( I went for the classic red rose design) and a good size, fits into your palm in the same vein as a Nivea blue tin but more substantial.

The cream itself is infused with all sorts of good stuff- Oatmeal, orange flower water..... and then a multitude of oils: Lavender oil, Jojoba oil, Neroli oil, Camomile blue oil, Almond oil, and all topped off with Cocoa butter. It has the overriding smell of Lavender to it though.

As soon as I put it on, it felt 'wrong'- way too rich; my skin seemed horrified to be subjected to all that oil. I guess I should have checked if the Muse had greasy/combination skin first really...

For dry skin possibly this is the wonder drug. But on me, within moments - literally, my skin broke out in an angry itchy rash!!! Whether this is an allergy or a reaction to the oils it's imbued with, I can't say. But I haven't changed anything else in my routine, so I'm currently blaming Steam Cream unless I can think of another culprit. This has been a traumatic experiment.

It even feels too heavy for my body. I am not a fan. This may be excellent for eczema or very dry skin, but if you are oily to combination I would steer clear! Oh well, back to Nivea eh? Although, I am now tempted to investigate another raved about moisturiser, Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Cream... or, as Lollipop26 suggests, getting Sudacreme nappy rash cream?!

............ What are your tips for a great moisturiser? I need to start thinking about anti-aging, so please help!!!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Tagged!! ... Now please check if I tagged YOU?? X

* TAG!*
Thanks to LLYANGEL for tagging me!

Shampoo: Paul Mitchell Shampoo 2 (great for greasy hair) alternated with Tigi Bed Head Moisture Maniac shampoo as my hair is in terrible condition from millions of bad dye jobs.

Condtioner: Tigi Bed Head Moisture Maniac conditioner, and weekly mask treatment from Sally's which really helps, called Osmo Essence Intensive Deep Repair Mask. And Alterna Cavia Anti-Aging polishing serum (amazing stuff!!!)

Styling products: Bed Head Tigi 'Health Godess' vitamin booster spray, L'Anza Urban Elements spray-in conditioner. Fudge wax.

Shower Gel: Au Courant face wash scrub (use this for my body, I am so decadent!!) Only as it didn't agree with my face, mind. Uusally I am happy with St Ives vanilla body wash or similar.

Body moisturiser: Vaseline Intensive Care (when I remember)

Deodrant: Nivea Pure Invisible.

Fake Tan: St Tropez whipped Bronze.(I used to, anyway. It is the best!!!)

Cleanser: Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean

Eye makeup remover: Lancome Bifacil.

Exfoliator: NADS Xfol (body) Elizabeth Arden Deep Cleansing mask (face)

Primer: N/A

Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear

Foundation brush: Mac's 187

Concealer: Lancome Effacernes

Powder: MAC Blot Powder.

Blusher: currently loving MAC Plum du Bois (Cult of Cherry).

Bronzer: Bare Escentuals Warmth.

Highlighter: IPSA highlighter stick.

Eyeshadow base: MAC paint in Bare Canvas, or UDPP.

Eyeshadows: Guerlain quad Touche de Brun, been using this religiously recently! Or MAC Blanc Type and Moth Brown (Barbie).

Eyeliner: Lancome crayon Khols, love them. Or Chanel cake liner for blackest black neat line.

Eyelash curler: Model Co. a mascara type heater one, I had an awful experience with a real eyelash curler once. Suffice it to say it ended in tears (literally) and involved eyelash loss.

Eyelash base: N/A

Mascara: Lancome Hypnose

Lipstick: lately loving Guerlain Kiss Kiss Maxi Shine in White Shine (600)
Lipgloss: not a fan, but used a Besame one today (it smelt nice)

Nail Colour: Guerlain matte top coat on bare nails right now, not very glam.

I tag .........

---------> Hope I'm not re-tagging anyone:

* Aestheticcoo

* Natalya

* LamiatS

* Lizz

Thanks!! Usually I hate tags actually, but I'm no killjoy, so let's keep this tag going..................

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Rational make up discourse

After the recent thunderstorm provoked by one girl and her opinion on Coastal Scents... (gosh, déjà vu anyone??) I feel it is timely to point you in the direction of a few websites which always prove valuable resources when I start to panic.

Make up is created to make you look flawless, young and beautiful... but when you start wondering whether the ingredients will break you out, age you, or, as in this case- cause severe, perhaps fatal! lung disease, then it is time to take stock. Although scaremongering will always prove more exciting than platitudes, I felt unconvinced by the Youtube video. Nevertheless, Coastal Scents are developing a notorious reputation over these scenes, which will undoubtedly cost them dear.

....Knowledge is power, peeps!

Check out http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/index.php if you ever need to know what's what.

Check out http://datecalculator.googlepages.com/englishhomepage as an easy way to tell how old your make up is!

Check out http://search.caringconsumer.com/ if, like me, you worry about the ethics side of your make up.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Hello Kitty video... thoughts?

I preferred the one for Cult of Cherry... this one is a bit too 'abstract' (read: pretentious, boring and shallow). It doesn't make me want the makeup more... and I still find those men in gimp masks very sinister, in fact kind of disturbing that almost gang rape like scene, hmm... But on the plus side, I do love the blonde girl's dress, ooh! And the cat turning into the toy by the end. Although, it was nicer as a cat. I still don't get what it was about Hello Kitty that made MAC think bondage, S&M and black cat?? Seems to turn that sweet minx we know and love, into her nemesis... is that what they're aiming for!?

*Anyway knowing me I'll decide it is worth getting; apparently in person it's all fabulous. But for now, it's NOT grabbing me.

-----------> Thoughts???

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Random... Facebook, motivation, Hello Kitty mania. Plus, Topshop skinny trews anyone?? (Kate Moss/ Alice McCall)


I'll blame the weather, but lately it's been really hard to motivate myself. I have neglected the gym and all my very hard-earned strength has vanished as it's been so long since I kept up my 3 times a week gym habit. I used to get anxious if I hadn't been in 2 days; now I'm secretly relieved when I hear rain starting, because it means it's not my fault- it's the weather. But the fact is, I'm angry with myself for not going. I know it's not just me though, because when I ultimately do drag myself there, it's practically empty.

The other night I made the decision to de-activate my Facebook account. I used to love Myspace, though I haven't been on for months, at least it was creative- you could change your background, add music, discover bands and artists... find gig listings and blogs. Facebook is like the geeky cousin: everyone has their page, with a neat wall. Granted you can muddy it up with a billion applications, but ultimately there is something abit sterile about it in comparison. Also, you leave yourself suddenly vulnerable to being 'found' by all those people you were glad to shake off. Initially Facebook was so exciting, giving you the opportunity to locate long lost loves and childhood friends etc, but generally this quickly revealed why you weren't in touch in the first place. When it gets to the stage where most of your 'friends' are 'frenemies' or people who barely know, it's time to take stock. I had an extensive list of 'friends', suggesting I was some wildly social maverick, yet a grand proportion were people I would cross the street to avoid. And not accepting friends leads to particularly awkward moments when you run into them at gatherings and such.

Every time I logged in, the same usual suspects had changed their profile picture to an even more ecstatic pose, or had given themselves pointless straplines "__ is so angry about the weather"; "__ hasn't been to the gym. Again." (Yes, yes- I do see the irony.) And then my real friends would post events on there, but it'd be drowned out by aforementioned individual's status updates (aka gloating). At best, Facebook would gobble up hours of my time whilst I became embroiled in photo albums of exotic locations, or luxurious weddings and exclusive soirées. And then feel guilty for snooping. I just want my friends to contact me directly, I didn't actually enjoy the round robins followed by the convoluted 'threads' clotting up my inbox.

I also know of course that employers - and even prospective friends etc, will routinely assess you based on your facebook profile, which I find annoying and slightly stressful. So, I'm off it now and I'm very glad!

Regressing into childhood?? What IS this trend: Hello Kitty, Smurfs, Barbie, whatever next... Teletubbies!!!?????
At my age and upwards, it's natural to see makeup as a crutch to look younger. But how much younger... do we really need to induce this all- out nostalgia?! MAC is of course bringing out the long antipated and much-hyped Hello Kitty line; Stila is having a stab at Barbie, aiming presumably for the same electrifying results that MAC had with her first time around; and Too Faced have a Smurf palette out. None of these are available in UK as far as I can see, so I cannot comment on the products themselves, but I certainly see a bizarre pattern. Is it a strategy to rope in the young'uns, just like banks rope in university students with funky leaflets and promises of free ipods or rail passes? To form the brand allegiance early??

I think Barbie in many ways transcends ages, having become rather a classic example of misogyny or feminism, depending on your point of view. (i.e: Is Barbie looking sexy in a pilot's uniform A. patronizing or B. empowering??)

Besides, any make-up loving consumer probably wants elements of Barbie's polished perfection, so logic prevails. Stila have even incorporated a 'Foxy' Barbie set, to pre-empt any objections that Barbie panders to the blonde stereotype. This all should sit fine with a new make-up collection theme. Well, that is, aside from the whole 'sloppy seconds' effect and lack of loyalty to one make-up brand... come on, Barbie, can you really be everything from astronaut to police officer to cowgirl to spoilt Dynasty- inflected rich Barbie with luxury walk-in closet (my fave) and also 'love' MAC and Stila!!? [Yes.] Personally, if I were in Stila's marketing department, I would have chosen 'prefers' or something to cheekily acknowledge her past preference, rather than come over all copycat- like. But anyway, Barbie passes the test. Because she can.

Hello Kitty and The Smurfs, on the other hand are rather less natural choices. MAC has dealt with this by making Hello Kitty lose all her coquettish charm and become instead some sado-masochistic cypher.
Did you see the photos of those male models with hideous Hello Kitty black (gimp?) mask:

Not to mention the packaging is black, with crappy stencil design. I think I'd be embarrassed to pull out HK make up in public. Even the rhinestone encrusted one looks like it was bought in Wembley market. Oh but I haven't seen it yet, so I'll be repeating this like a mantra and hoping it does the trick.

Smurfs packaging is as childish as its namesake, Too Faced don't seem to have strived for any irony like MAC's. Still, the colours look nice. And I can see how pulling out this jolly compact would cheer you up on a gloomy Monday morning.

Hmm... maybe even energise you so you can face the gym in the evening?? Is this at the heart of why these novelty collections mean such big business?!

Topshop trews...?
And lastly, not to turn this into a sales blog, but I recently bought 2 pairs of trousers from Topshop but I really don't need them... Not sure where receipt is as I'd already put this in my heaving wardrobe. But they both still have tags on and were £50 each. One is from the Kate Moss range (skinny flare pinstripe, see below) and the other are studded skinny Alice McCall trousers from the limited capsule collection she designed for Topshop recently. Both are now sold out, but I will naturally accept less than I paid if anyone is interested then drop me a line... [size 10]