Friday, 29 April 2011

Kate's makeup: The Verdict

It has been widely reported that Kate Middleton eschewed the services of a professional makeup artist on her big day.

The world waited with bated breath to see the dress. It did not disappoint. 1950s inspired; surprisingly modest - and her sister Pippa in a wedding gown too! Which one will be copied more for future brides to be?

The makeup was a more garish version of her signature look. I applaud the deeper blusher, it looks much better and helps make her a little more youthful. But.... that heavy liner! I think it would have been nice if she had allowed a makeup artist to gently illustrate that heavy liner is not the only way. And smoky eyes on a wedding day just seems wrong to me. The gown has been accurately compared to Grace Kelly's wedding dress. If only the makeup had echoed that too. I would have loved to see Kate Middleton in soft eyes, blushing cheeks and a rosey red lipstick.

Above: The Kiss - with that hysterical bridesmaid (Grace Van Cutsem.) As Vanity Fair wrote, "Wedding-weary Republicanism could not have hoped for a better public face. "

The bride did look beautiful, and what''s more, she looked very comfortable and confident. By all accounts she kept saying she wanted William to "recognise" her, so hair and makeup was not allowed to deviate from the norm.

Above: Bold brows, and those wonderful earrings

...What did you think about the makeup?

PS. The makeup was reported to be Bobbi Brown.

[Pics: AP, Reuters.]

EDIT///poll added above!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Estee Lauder?!

As if further evidence were needed that Estee Lauder is not just for your granny...

These are just some of the amazing, vibrant polishes Estee Lauder currently have on counter. I say "currently on counter", but sadly in fact most of these are sold out. And - grit your teeth - Limited Edition.

I had my eye on the disability sign blue and the racing green /"Harrods" green, and of course that delicious blue toned purple, the exact colour of my handbag - but sadly all gone. I did luckily manage to get the very sophisticated "Sizzling Taupe", a shade that reminded me of Illamasqua's "Bacterium". I had been meaning to buy the Illamasqua one for so long but that means a trip to Selfridges, and their Beauty Hall has become a place I dread - a very unpleasant shopping environment these days. So, this is the next best thing.

Estee Lauder polishes are a pleasure to use - instantly glossy, and they last for days on end without chipping. My Eyeko £3.50 "Cosmic" polish is so beautiful - black which glints holographic in the sunlight - but even with trusty Seche Vite as armour, it chips within 3 days. So, somewhat balking at £14 for a small polish (it used to be £12.50, only £1.50 less, but that just sounds so much more digestable than "£14" does!) I now have this - and it is very beautiful:

It reminds me of a minky blonde perfect hair colour. It's a brushed gold taupe. Less iridescent than the Illamasqua one, but still eyecatching in an underhand way.

I am hoping Barry M will quench my need for a true, creamy blue. Sometimes a high end polish can be less high maintenance than a cheapie though.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Illamasqua continue to Establish themselves!

Illamasqua, the self-proclaimed rebel of the makeup landscape, have announced a rather Establishment "Distinction in Make Up Artistry Awards 2011" opportunity.

And it is fantastic. Reassuringly stringent, the competition sounds like it is destined to be the marker for makeup excellence . It is for those either enrolled in, or graduated from, a recognised makeup course. With the world and their auntie claiming inherent makeup skills and brandishing their Youtube channel as evidence, I think it's great that this is limited to those who clearly intend to direct and devote their working lives to the makeup industry. Illamasqua have already held numerous popular contests for the everyman, this heralds something entirely different.

For the chance to win incredible career opportunites and thousands of pounds in cash and Illamasqua products, check this link for all the details. The judging panel is extensive: a huge chance to shine in front of all the right people - including Katie Shillingford – Dazed & Confused Senior Fashion Editor (yes her of the fabulous and famous two toned hair that looked so brilliant we all wanted it) and of course Alex Box, and many others to inspire you to do your BEST.

You must register as an Illamasqua Professional before 31st May 2011. Entries must be made by Friday 26th August 2011.

...Good Luck!!!!

L'oreal New Makeup Collection

L'Oreal continue their reign, hiring every hot celebrity and fronting trends. This season: Colour blocking and juicy, tropical vibrant hues on nails and lips; neutral, matte eyeshadows for a soft and unexpected contrast. JLo and Frieda Pinto do the honours here with fantastic visuals:

I have tried the nail polishes "Resist and Shine Tropical collection" in Popping Pomegranate and Wonderful Watermelon, £6.12. They lasted around 4 days with no topcoat, before chipping began. I also tested out the Glam Shine Fresh lipglosses, £7.65, in Aqua Lemon Tonic, Aqua Curacao and Aqua Grapefruit. Grapefruit was a sheer but detectable peach, the others seemed simply a high shine (yes, "mirror shine") but no visible colour on application.

The standout product was the Colour infallible matte eye shadow, £6.99, in Pebble Grey. Housed in a very stylish clear cube, with more than 3g of product, it's an exciting sponge-like, densely pressed, pigmented matte powder. The collection shades are limited to 3 - two neutrals, (the grey and a beige, "Coconut Shake" ) with a pure blue ("Blue Curacao") there for variety. I will definitely be collecting these. I was so impressed with how long this formula lasted - even without an eyeshadow base.

Review here (vid) for swatches.

Estee Lauder Mineral Rich Loose Powder Makeup SPF12 - REVIEW!

I rely on Estee Lauder's renowned Double Wear foundation, a true hero product for anyone who needs to control shine. But since my Clarisonic seems to have evened out my skintone, and Summer has hinted it may be coming to our shores, I am hesitantly wavering from my touchstone.

I was excited to see a new foundation graced with the "Double Wear" promise. In keeping with this label, Mineral Rich Loose Powder Makeup SPF12 boasts 12 hour staying power. It's oil free, and can be worn either as a full coverage foundation using the enclosed puff, or lightly dusted as a finishing powder.

I have tried this in Intensity 2.0, which is quite neutral and I would suggest is eqivalent to Ecru in standard Double Wear.

I enjoyed the way it is so quick - easily buildable, and can reach medium coverage without losing its absolutely natural finish. I would warn that it certainly does not have the same ability as Double Wear to control oil, but for those who find Double Wear too drying, or "paint" like, this will be a welcome change.

The packaging is elegant as ever, and although mineral makeup is always messy, the sifter and secure screw-top makes things easier. I have found mixing this with a primer or Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, means it does last well - around 7 or 8 hours on a hot day.

Priced at £25.50 for 10g jar. Available here or at any Estee Lauder counter.

Fit for Royalty

...Although what does that mean in this day and age? hmm. Well jaded as some may be, we can all agree that one of the high points has to be MORE MAKEUP! And as I have already declared my allegiance to Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolour, I am thrilled to see a new shade launched in celebration of the impending Royal Wedding.

I have already analysed Kate Middleton's favoured neutral look, and I must admit this new addition, Rose Gold, is a colour she herself would be delighted with. High Shine Eyecolours are in general very vibrant, but Rose Gold is softer and can even be worn sheer if desired. When I first saw it in the tube, I worried it would be too warm for me, like MAC Melon et al - but in fact this applies as a very pretty peached gold, as if infused with glinting sunlight. As per the previous releases, this works even without a base, resisting creasing with panache. Combined with an eyeshadow base these would last through even the most enthusiastic Royalist street parade. Unfortunately this perfect Royal Wedding colour is only available from June.

Despite its subtlety, this makes eyes look captivating. I will definitely be relying on this for my classic bronzed beachy face. Rose Gold is very aptly named. And, it achieves a luxurious gold which is not trashy. Excellent!

Available from June at Bare Escentuals Boutiques, select Department stores, spa and salons and online. Priced at £15

Stockist info: call 0800 028 7187

Saturday, 23 April 2011

InStyle magazine: Murad freebie!

I grabbed this at my local newsagent and wanted to let you know... InStyle magazine, which is actually one of my faves anyway, is giving away a travel sized 60ml Murad Essential C-Cleanser (worth £10) and I've just tried it with my Clarisonic and it's fantastic! I am already a big fan of Murad skincare and this cleanser had been on my wishlist. I was just about to buy a full size when I realised it made better financial sense to buy another magazine (May edition, £3.70, Julianne Moore on the cover. Valid until 4th May 2011.)

Let's hope you don't live in my area, because you know what that means...

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Origins Freebie Alert! YAY!

...And the best thing is, it's helping the planet!

As part of Earth Month, Origins has established a partnership with Global ReLeaf to plant trees to help restore areas damaged by wildfire and help clean our air and water. For every Plantscription sold during 17th-30th April 2011, Origins will plant a tree on the customer's behalf.

And for one day only, on the 22nd April (this Friday!) customers can bring in any skincare product (of any range, full or empty) and trade it in ABSOLUTELY FREE for a FULL SIZE of either Checks and Balances frothy wash (a personal fave of mine) or A Perfect World Antioxidant cleanser with White Tea. 150ml size. Worth £16. They come in these special edition packaging:

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Dangerously Attractive?

Beauty can often be reductive, especially if you ask men - who seem incapable of accepting that maybe women wear makeup and pretty clothes for
their own satisfaction. Indeed such justifications are invariably met with indignation and scorn.

I have spoken before about a post feminist stance many female celebrities have taken, presenting themselves as deliberately and almost comically seductive. This has always been most evident within the rap/RnB context, and the recent furore caused by UK grime artist Skepta, whose music video tips the buttock wobbling and gesticulations into a full on literal porn show, throws off the last scraps of pretence. Reaction to overstepping a subtle but crucial line has been usually one of outrage. (typical reaction video.)

To me, it seems inevitable that boundaries were bound to be pushed - but apparently the status quo, at the very periphery of voyeurism, was deemed finite. Rappers may have a sideline in the Porn industry (perhaps mostly inspired by Snoop Dogg's success) but this is always regarded as separate. Ironically - as a skit in Family Guy made me realise - although prostitution is illegal, throw a video camera into the mix and it is actors and simply part of the adult film industry. The incredibly arbitrary definitions imply that a deliberately attractive woman is "an invitation to treat" - if not an offer! Is looking attractive a challenge for ownership?

Lyrics grouping cars, money and women, explicitly accounts for them as objects to be bought or at least earned as rewards. Adverts have consistently used attractive women to entice a sale. Famously, Ted Bundy's frenzied sexually motivated slaughter of attractive young women was explained as a route to "possesing" them, just as one would possess a pretty ornament. "La petite mort" afterall borrows death as a term for victory and loss of control... Only in death can the "invitation" be revoked.

Humiliation is akin to la petite mort in its more literal sense, and men shouting abuse - which masquerades as harmless banter or even compliments - have become an unpleasant side effect to feeling attractive. According to "Hollaback!", a new website advising women to cast aside the tried and tested "head down, ignore" attitude and adopt a more aggressive response instead, over 80% of women experience catcalling of some kind. A recent article in Grazia magazine on the initiative sheepishly admitted that the origin of these catcalls was paramount: a rich and attractive city banker is allowed and appreciated; a white van man, not so much. "Hollaback!" also has the inadvertent effect of at times being rather amusing. However, it is a serious issue, men potentially can get extremely frustrated by what they deem as provocation or being ignored; making women feel like objects for derision could be a precursor to more serious assaults.

Conversely, the other objectification of women (perhaps as old as time but never more protected and financially motivated by Law and the Press) is the trend for young "aspiring" models/actresses/singers/delete as appropriate/ to ensnare rich vacuous footballers/playboys/delete as apropriate/ and even to become pregnant as a contingency plan.

Is the quest for beauty always bound up with sexual attraction, just as a beautiful rose attracts a bee, and a peacock struts and shakes its feathers to attract the female? (In nature, often the pressure is on the male to look attractive and fight for a dull coloured female. Perhaps with the boom in male grooming, this will become the standard.)
I had always assumed that preening ourselves distances us from Nature... But if looking attractive means inviting leering and worse, is the only solution to get thee to a nunnery?

Can beauty be an end in and of itself, or does it neccessarily involve the appreciation of "the Other" to be true?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The BEST volumising mascara!

Quick post - this mascara is my new found fave for creating the best volume ever. The incredible thing is that it never clumps, and you can build it up endlessly without fear of spider lashes or any messy flaking.

I have been very devoted to Lancome's Hypnose mascara, which is still wonderful and has a brilliantly shaped small curved brush. This mascara instead has a far larger and cone shaped brush (yet still, not too big to be unwieldy) and took a little pratice. But once mastered, this mascara is truly dramatic and lavishes lashes with immense volume. I first reviewed these here, and adored the navy version. Next on my hitlist is the purple (if any counter actually has it! The fun coloured versions are limited editions.)

The mascara is of course Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme in Extreme Black. It also comes in brown. The black is dark and works exactly as promised:
"Acts like lash extensions multiplying and growing the look of lashes. Fortified with conditioning Lash-Advancing Vitamin Complex."

This mascara makes any makeup look dramatic, and most importantly it also feels conditioning and comfortable. I find many volumising mascaras make my lashes feel stiff and dry. This mascara gives fluttery lashes or huge fake looking lashes depending how enthusiastically it is applied. Check it out! Bonus points for the elegant gold design. Hugely recommended.

£22 from all Estee Lauder counters and online.