Charlotte Tilbury: The Dreamy Look

A couple weeks ago, I fell in love with the images from Charlotte Tilbury’s Holiday 2016 collection campaign:

mtqwmtq5odyymja0mtg4mtc4Because just how beautiful is that makeup.

I purchased three items from The Dreamy Look: the Legendary Muse luxury eyeshadow palette, the much-raved-about Filmstar Bronze and Glow, and the Hot Lips Matte Revolution lipstick in Secret Salma. I bought the lipstick in Charlotte’s flagship store at Covent Garden, the others I ordered online. My online order came with two samples — of the matte revolution lipsticks in Amazing Grace and Very Victoria (which I think I have to pick up soon, because the name! and it’s such a beautiful, soft taupe-nude shade).

The Legendary Muse palette is completely up my alley: it’s a beautiful collection of subtle warm honeyed shimmers. The absence of a dark shade from this palette was a plus rather than a drawback for me, since having monolids, I don’t wear deeper colours on a day to day basis. Charlotte describes the shades in this as a “dreamy, pretty, flattering combination of champagne golds, Ibizan sunset golds, and pale, angelic, softer bronzes”.

The compact was lighter than I expected. This palette comes in the limited edition packaging that her Fallen Angel palette from last holidays had. Pigmentation was good, but not fantastic. This palette is not suited to fans of bold, cut-crease eye makeup — it’s very subtle. On me, it lasted from morning to evening without fading noticeably.

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The Filmstar Bronze and Glow is something I’ve wanted in a long time. Just about everybody that’s used this loves it, and I have to agree — it’s a fantastic cheek duo. First off, the packaging is stunning, an embodiment of vintage glamour. The bronzer is not too warm, has a slight sheen but isn’t shimmery by any means, and the highlight is glowy and luminous without being over-the-top. The bronzer is subtle on me, even though I’m fairly light-skinned, and has to be built up for a stronger definition. The highlight goes on quite strong with just one or two swipes. Both powders blend out effortlessly and seamlessly; I don’t think it’s even possible to mess up with this.

img_0008Swatches. L–R: Legendary Muse eyeshadow palette prime, enhance, pop and smoke, Filmstar Bronze and Glow sculpt and highlight.

img_0009Bottom to top: Legendary Muse eyeshadow palette prime, enhance, pop and smoke, Filmstar Bronze and Glow sculpt and highlight.

Charlotte’s Hot Lips Matte Revolution lipstick in Secret Salma is described on her website as a “natural deep-rose plum”, which I think is pretty apt. It’s designed for tanned skintones, but I think it suits my light Asian skintone really well. The packaging is the standard rose-gold bullet, with the squared-off lipstick shape for easy application. The Hot Lips lipsticks also come with a kiss embossed into the bullet.img_0010This lipstick is a flattering rose pink shade. As I’m sure everyone knows, the Matte Revolution formula is incredibly comfortable and long-wearing. This hides rather than enhances my lip lines, making my lips look fuller and healthier. It applies smoothly without tugging or dragging.

Overall, I think this is a beautiful collection and definitely worth checking out in-store if you’re into natural, softly glam makeup looks. Such a collection, I feel, could easily read as dated and old-ladyish, but this collection manages to stay modern and wearable while still conveying elegant, yesteryear glamour. All the products are an absolute joy to use and look at, look seamless worn and last well throughout the day. If you’re after a stronger Instagram-worthy kind of look, though, you might want to pass over this one.

Jouer Cosmetics: Mermaid Collection & Dulce de Leche

Jouer Cosmetics released a limited edition mermaid-inspired collection for summer 2016, and it was love at first sight. Everyone loves mermaids. They’re such beautiful, mystical creatures — they make me think of the misty ocean mornings, tails glistening with dark opalescent shifts, the mysterious deep sea, sunlight hitting aqua… and they bring to mind the last few lines of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

“We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”

I was kind of sold by the concept of the collection alone, and after looking at some swatches I placed an order on Cult Beauty for the eyeshadow palette and lip topper from the mermaid collection, as well as one of their long-wear lip creme liquid lipsticks in the shade dulce de leche.

The Iridescent Eyeshadow Palette (£30) and Skinny Dip lip topper (£12.50) are limited edition as part of the mermaid collection, while the long-wear lip creme in dulce de leche (£14) is part of the permanent collection. I was initially considering the cream highlight palette as well (I love cream products) but I was only really interested in the two limited edition shades and couldn’t justify the purchase. The collection also included 4 limited edition long-wear lip cremes, but I didn’t pick any up because I’m not into bright lipstick colours.

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Swatches of the four shades. From L–R: coconut, pink pearl, splash, dreamer.

coconut: iridescent ice white
pink pearl: iridescent soft pink
splash: iridescent aquamarine
dreamer: iridescent duochrome peacock

All the shadows are very soft to the touch. I prefer to apply with fingers, as I got quite a lot of glittery fallout when I applied them dry with a brush. Coconut has a very slight icy-blue hue to its sparkle. Splash applies significantly lighter than it looks in the pan. Dreamer is slightly harder than the other shadows but applies just as smoothly. I love all the shades and think they’re beautiful, but this is not for you if you don’t like full-out glittery sparkle in your eyeshadows — all the shades are very iridescent as the name implies.

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L: long-wear lip creme in dulce de leche, R: long-wear lip topper in skinny dip

dulce de leche: matte cool nude
skinny dip: metallic shimmering golden nude

Dulce de leche dries down darker than it initially applies and compared to how it looks in the tube.

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Wearing long-wear lip creme in dulce de lecheIMG_6358.JPG
Wearing long-wear lip topper in skinny dip over dulce de leche

I love the formula of these liquid lipsticks. They’re comfortable (feel almost like balms), lightweight, don’t feel drying or sticky, and stay on for ages. They do settle into my lip lines, but my lips are so perma-parched that just about every product does. I don’t think they make my lip lines look particularly prominent.

Dulce de leche is a perfect everyday shade. It’s a slightly muted, neutral rose pink nude. Skinny dip is a shimmering golden with a hint of copper, and it’s not subtle at all — it has a decidedly strong metallic sheen and obvious sparkles (though you can’t feel it). This would be a bold look even used on its own — despite being called a “lip topper” it’s nothing like a subtle gloss. It might not be suited for a low-key natural look, but somehow wearing this really does make me feel like a mermaid. I think this would look especially amazing on people with more tanned skin tones.

By Terry Sun Designer Palette “Light and Tan vibes”

This is a limited edition release for spring/summer, a face palette of “sunkiss powders”, meant to “sculpt contours, brighten features, correct or intensify the complexion, all the while revealing the full splendour of the tan”.

It comes in two colours — Tan & Flash Cruise, which has darker bronzers and more vibrant blush shades, and Light & Tan Vibes, which is the lighter and more tonal palette I picked up. This retails at Space NK for £64, but I got mine for £44 (including the £5 delivery) with the help of some discount codes and accumulated reward points (university students on a budget have to do what they can).IMG_6185The palette is beautiful to look at. It’s elegantly packaged in a sleek art deco inspired plastic casing, which feels sturdy and well-made. The six shades (15g of product in total) are arranged in a zig-zag pattern that mimics the outer shell, allowing for easy mixing of colours.

The powders are very soft and very pigmented, especially the warm pink blush shade and the bronzer — I had to be much more light-handed than I’m used to. However they do blend out really smoothly, so it’s easy to make these look seamless.

IMG_6187Here are swatches:IMG_6312.JPG

The shades in this palette are:

  • a bronze shimmer — this could be used on top of bronzer to create a radiant glow, or mixed in with the pink blush to create a warmer shade.
  • a warm watermelon pink with slight shimmer — I love this shade. It looked a little daunting in the pan, but once blended out gave the most beautiful vibrant flush.
  • a shimmering champagne rose — this is very pigmented and gives an intense highlight.
  • a matte beige — I’m not sure if this is supposed to be used as a highlight, but unfortunately it’s extremely close to my skin colour and doesn’t show up. It could also be mixed with the other bronzer shades.
  •  a matte rosy beige — this is beautiful mixed in with the bronzer, or worn as a neutral blush colour.
  • a warm bronze with slight shimmer — the shimmer doesn’t translate much to the face.

I can definitely see these shades being flattering on a wide range of skin tones, even sun-starved people who don’t have much of a tan to enhance. The shades are all stunning, there’s an excellent mix of mattes and shimmers, and they work together harmoniously to liven up the face. The formulation of these powders is also excellent, they’re a treat to use and last all day without fading.

On the whole, I’m thoroughly impressed with this palette and definitely recommend this to anyone who can get their hands on it. The neutral, tonal range of colour is perfect for creating a soft, diffused and radiant summer look.

Edit: I’ve read on several other reviews that people had problems with kickup. I tested this out by swirling a large Zoeva powder brush in the palette and it did have significant powdery kickup. However I hadn’t actually encountered this problem prior, because these powders are so pigmented and soft that I usually just touch my blush brush to the powder and that would pick up enough product — no kickup at all.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge “Powder Pink”

I purchased this (off the Bobbi Brown website, for £19.50) after seeing it on a few people online. It looked like a subtle, natural flush of neutral pink-beige, and it’s a lip and cheek dual product, which is right up my street. (The Becca beach tints are my absolute favourites.)

The actual colour isn’t what I was expecting — it’s considerably darker and more warm-toned. I was quite disappointed because I tend to bring out the orange tones in everything, and this pulled distinctly peach on me. IMG_6147.JPGHere’s the Powder Pink pot rouge worn on cheeks. As you can see it looks peachy rather than pink. It’s got a very dry and solid consistency, and it’s quite pigmented — has to be applied in very small amounts,  and blended out quickly and well. For this reason I feel that this would work best for people with good, unblemished skin — the vigorous blending you’d have to do after applying this would easily mess up any foundation or concealer underneath. IMG_6134.JPGHere’s the Powder Pink pot rouge worn on lips. I much prefer this on the lips, because it’s much easier to apply and leaves a nice emollient finish. I didn’t find it drying.

Overall, I think this is a product best suited to people with clear and unblemished skin, on whom this would look very seamless and natural when worn as a blush. It functions decently as a lip colour but being emollient, doesn’t last very long. I would recommend this to people who like their blush pigmented and long-wearing.

Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream

Over Christmas break my family and I had a staycation at a resort near the beach — a beautiful colonial hotel with a villa and private lap pool. The toiletries the hotel provided for us were all Aesop — their classic shampoo, geranium leaf body wash, orange rind concentrate balm, etc. The products were beautifully scented and blended in magically with the lush, earthy surroundings. Using each product was a luxurious, sensual experience.

And hence I was motivated to try out more Aesop products. I picked up a 60mL jar of the Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream from the store at Ngee Ann City in Singapore, for S$63 (it retails here in the UK for £33).

The sales associate recommended this to me after I’d explained my skin issues — dryness, sensitivity, occasional breakouts. I have to say the service I received in-store was first-class. The sales associate was extremely polite and helpful, she explained each product patiently and in detail, and tested a few out on my hands to let me decide which one I wanted. My moisturiser was then placed in a linen dustbag and sprayed with perfume before being handed to me. I was given a generous amount of samples despite only purchasing this one item, and even personally escorted out of the store.

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I’m a total sucker for packaging, and this comes in a beautiful minimalistic jar (like all Aesop products).

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It’s a lightweight and gentle moisturiser with a pleasing scent — I’d say the strongest notes are camomile and lavender. Many people are against fragrance in skincare products, but this doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin at all — it gently hydrates, mattifies and softens my skin. (“Parfum” isn’t an ingredient in the list, the scent comes from all the oils, but I’m not sure if that counts as fragrance.) I love using this — it doesn’t feel oily at all, just soft and soothing — and I apply this every morning under my makeup. It’s got lots of beautiful ingredients like aloe leaf, camellia seed oil, macadamia oil, rosewood and cocoa seed butter. However, I need a stronger moisturiser at night for my dry skin and am still on the hunt for one.

Needless to say, I love this product and look forward to trying more from Aesop.

 

MAC “Spirit”

This particular lipstick isn’t talked about much online. It’s a satin formula, and the colour is difficult to describe — it’s too dark to be really considered a part of the nude family, but it’s not a straight-up brown either. It’s definitely a 90s-esque lipstick, and darker in colour compared to many of the trendy “90s” lipsticks that read more like a modernised interpretation.

Colour is very pigmented and opaque — this is a single swipe.

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It’s a satin formula, which is supposed to be smoother than the matte formula, but still retain a matte finish. However you do need to make sure that you have hydrated and smooth lips before applying this to prevent it from sinking into lip lines. Some would say you could wear a balm under, but personally I don’t get that — I find it tough to apply lipsticks evenly over balms. Could be just me though.

Left: My bare, pale, chapped lips. Right: Wearing MAC “Spirit” lipstick. As you can see it settled immediately into my lip lines.

Wearing MAC “Spirit” lipstick

The undertones in the lipstick are complex — it changes in different lightings, shifting through terracotta, brown, mauve. I’d say it’s a MLBB colour with an edge — it straddles the line between neutral and bold. I really like the colour, but you’ll need hydrated and unchapped lips to make this work well. The lasting power is pretty good and it doesn’t move for the most part, but it won’t last through a meal. It’s also very slightly drying.

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Bronze 01

Prior to buying this, I’d thoroughly scoured the Internet for swatches and found around … one, with not a cheek swatch/ demo to be found. However I’d seen enough raving about shades Bronze 02 and 03 to decide that I’d give this a try.

I bought this blind off Space NK’s online site for £25. This is the lightest shade of 4 bronzer shades. The Matte Radiance Baked Powder is also available in a highlight shade, Highlight 01. It’s packaged in a rather bulky compact with a curved top and a good-sized mirror.

Swatched on my arm in daylight:

This is most definitely a warm bronzer with golden undertones as opposed to grey. Here is a comparison swatch against my The Body Shop Honey Bronzing Powder in 01 Light Matte:

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Left: Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Bronze 01, Right: TBS Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder 01 Light Matte

You can clearly see that the LM is much warmer and more golden compared to the Honey Bronzer, which is redder and greyer.

I really like the way this applies. It’s a baked formula, so it’s incredibly smooth, and glides onto my bare skin uniformly without patchiness. Pigmentation is pretty good, but since I got this in the lightest colour, it takes a while to build up — which is what I was looking for.

Left: Bare skin, Right: Lightly applied

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Applied more heavily. Please ignore my pigmentation and slightly visible cheek veins.

Overall, I’d recommend this to light-skinned people looking for a subtle, warm bronzer. I find that most bronzers targeted at fair people tend to lean cooler, so I’m glad to find a warm-leaning bronzer that’s still light in colour. This is great if you want to warm up your complexion but are scared of darker bronzers that might easily make you look stripy/ orange. The formula is also great — its lasts a long time, fades gracefully (being so light helps) and is extremely easy to apply.

This is not for you if you’re looking to contour — it’s best worn on the cheekbones, for warming up the complexion. I imagine that it could be layered over contour powder to soften it out, but this won’t do a good job of contouring on its own.

NARS “Impassioned”

When I first saw the description of this on the NARS website — a “rich orchid”, I knew I would like this. It’s the exact kind of dusty, minimalist rose shade I often gravitate towards. I also saw this on the models at the Rodarte SS16 show, and loved the natural, romantic-yet-modern vibe it had.

NARS Thakoon SS16 Beauty Look 2

I picked this up for £23 at Selfridges, after trying it on in-store. Impassioned is a matte blush, with neutral, greyish undertones, released as part of the Spring 2016 colour collection “Nouvelle Vogue”, and has been added to the permanent collection. I feel that muted, grey-undertone shades like Impassioned work best with neutral soft summer colouring.

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Here is Impassioned swatched. It’s not very pigmented, and I had to swatch quite heavily to get it to show up on my arm.

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Impassioned worn on cheeks

Overall, I really like this blush as it’s subtle and wearable. It’s got decent staying power and the shade is modern and minimal, great for daily wear all year round. I recommend this to anyone with a more muted complexion, however I think it’d be hard to get this to show up on darker skin tones.