Saturday, 25 May 2013

Glowing skin makeup look and tips

Ban dullness and uneven completion with a few illuminating products and simple tricks for a radiant and healthy look. In this post I am showing you how.

I first prepped my skin with my favourite serum like Bobbi Brown Skin Supplement (review here), which makes my skin look brighter, more supple and healthier and works beautifully under makeup as a primer.
Then I applied an illuminating foundation like Diego dalla Palma lightening fluid foundation (review here) all over my face. I love how this foundation manages to blur my imperfections and mimic my skin's inner light thanks to its light-reflecting but not sparkly particles.
After that I dabbed Diego dalla Palma lifting effect fluid concealer (review here) on the critical areas of my face like under my eyes, at the sides of my nose and at the centre of my chin.
In order to set my base I dusted a super-fine loose powder like Nars Reflecting setting powder (review here)
To give my face a healthy flush I blended a slightly shimmery peachy blusher like Nars Orgasm on the apples of my cheeks, followed by a dusting of light pink highlighter, like Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Pink Quartz to illuminate my cheek bones. For a more subtle effect you can use a mat blusher underneath the highlighter instead. I also swiped Shimmer Brick on my temples, under my eyebrows and on the bridge of my nose.
To make my eyes look more vibrant I dusted a neutral satiny eyeshadow like Max Factor Max Colour Effect Mono Eyeshadow in Creme Champagne (review here) on my entire eyelid followed by two coats of black mascara.
To finish my look I swiped a light reflecting lipstick in a browny shade like Dior Addict High Impact Weightless Lipcolor in No. 819 Havana Beige.

Glowing skin makeup look

Nars blusher in Orgasm

BB Shimmer Brick in Pink Quartz

Dior Addict High Impact Weightless Lipcolor in No. 819 Havana Beige

Diego dalla Palma products available from Diego dalla Palma or Marks and Spencer. Nars product are available from Nars, John Lewis, Space NK, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Sephora. Bobbi Brown is available from Bobbi Brown or the before mentioned stores. Christian Dior is available from Boots or the above mentioned stores.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Kids face painting design: butterflies and flowers

Last weekend one of my children went to a birthday party and she got her face painted in pretty butterflies and flowers: here are a couple of interesting pictures... 

Face painting idea: butterflies and flowers

Face painting idea: butterflies and flowers

Favourite coral lip shades: review and swatches

There is nothing like a coral lipstick to brighten up your face when the sun comes out and here are my favourite coral lip shades: Estee Lauder Signature Lipstick in Honey Rose, No7 Colour Drench in Coral Whisper and Estee Lauder Signature Lipstick lipstick in Coral Sun. 

Honey Rose is a pale coral with a touch of rose which is perfect for a nude lip look (click here to see the look) and looks fab on blondes, Coral Whisper is an orangey coral which suits both blondes and brunettes and Apricot Sun is a medium to dark coral with a touch of pink great for brunettes. 

Estee Lauder Honey Rose, No 7 Coral Whisper, EL Apricot Sun
Honey Rose, Coral Whisper, Apricot Sun

The Estee Lauder lipsticks are very moisturizing but Honey Rose is not as pigmented as No7 or Apricot Sun and wears off quite quickly. The No7 lipstick is quite creamy, pigmented and longlasting and costs 1/3 of the price of an Estee Lauder lipstick. My favourite one is probably is Apricot Sun because it is moisturizing, pigmented, longlasting and it really brightens my dark brown eyes and gives my face an instant lift!

Estee Lauder Honey Rose, No 7 Coral Whisper, EL Apricot Sun
From left: Honey Rose, Coral Whisper and Apricot Sun

What do you think? Do you have a favourite shade of coral lipstick?

Monday, 20 May 2013


When the other day I purchased a couple of Max Factor products from Boots I received the Simple Summer Brights set as a gift, which includes four must-have products for summer: a full size Colour Elixir Pen Stick in Foxy Amber (limited edition), a Mini Masterpiece Max Mascara in black, a full size Max Colour Effect Mono Eyeshadow in Creme Champagne and a Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in Deep Coral.      

The two most interesting pieces in the box are The Giant Pen Stick in Foxy Amber and the Max Colour Effect Mini Nail Polish in Deep Coral.

Foxy Amber looks like a punchy pink in the pen but applies like a beautiful wash of glossy colour over my lips which looks bright but not overpowering. (Click here for a review of Designer Blossom) 

MAX FACTOR Giant Pen Stick in Foxy Amber SWATCHES

Max Colour Effect Mini Nail Polish in Deep Coral is a beautiful dark orange shade with gold shimmer which looks perfect for summer.

Max Colour Effect Mini Nail Polish in Deep Coral swatch

Max Colour Effect Mono Eyeshadow in Creme Champagne is a universally flattering satin fleshy shade which imparts a subtle warm gleam to my eyes making them look brighter.

Max Colour Effect Mono Eyeshadow in Creme Champagne

Last but not least Masterpiece Max Mascara gives volume and definition to my eyelashes thanks to the slim plastic brush with short bristles. It is quite long lasting, even though it tends to slightly flake after a few hours. This mascara offers more definition that the False Lash Effect one (see review here) even though I prefer the latter for volume.

Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Easy speedy red lips and luscious black eyelashes with MAX FACTOR pen stick in Designer Blossom and False Lashes Effect mascara

In the mood for red lips but not sure which shade to pick? If you, like me, love an easy to wear shade of red which applies in a whim, try MAX FACTOR COLOUR ELIXIR GIANT PEN STICK in DESIGNER BLOSSOM.


In fact this is a universal shade of red, which is neither too warm nor too cool, looks glossy upon application and sets to a medium pink stain after the gloss has worn off (for a stain free result just wear a lip balm before applying the pen stick). It is also very quick to apply because it is a soft crayon with a jelly-creamy texture which does not dry out my lip. 


In order to balance the bright lip and complete the look, just swipe a lot of mascara on your top eyelashes only. I used two coats of MAX FACTOR FALSE LASH EFFECT in black, which makes my eyelashes look fuller in a natural way, thanks to the large plastic brush with short bristles. The only drawback of this mascara is that it tends to flake, though minimally, after a few hours.


Easy speedy red lips and luscious black eyelashes

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Best bugdet powder blushes: Bourjois little pot blush and Kiko soft touch blush

Since blush is one of my favourite makeup products, I have  always bought high end blushes in the belief that you get what you pay for, till I recently caved in to the temptation to try the inexpensive Bourjois little pot  powder blushes and Kiko soft blush and I have been impressed with their good quality. 

As you may well know, Bourjois little pot blushes are housed in a pretty round pot, which is the same colour of the blush inside and it includes a mirror and a brush. Even though the brush is quite small and thin, it does a decent job at picking up the powder and evenly swiping it on the cheeks thanks to its firm but not too scratchy bristles and its curved shape.  The texture of these blushes is fine, lightweight and a bit dry but easy to blend. The wide array of shades and finishes (mat, satin, shimmery) is a step above from the usually limited drug store range of colours and effects. I am not mad about the scent of these blushes but at least it does not linger. The staying power on the skin is quite good. Most of all I love the natural glow that these blushes impart to my cheeks.

My favourite Bourjois powder blushes are Brun Cuivre (Copper Brown), Rose de Jaspe (Jaspe Rose) and Lilas d'Or (Golden Lilac).

Brun Cuivre is a light coppery brown and it reminds me a little bit of Nars Luster even though it is not as shimmery. I love how it imparts a warm glow to my cheeks for a sunny look. 
Rose de Jaspe is a delicate warm pink with silver shimmer. The shimmer looks more subtle on the skin than in the pot.
Lilas d'Or is a warm rose with golden shimmer. Even in this case it looks more shimmery in the pot than on the cheeks. 

Bourjois blush in Brun Cuivre, Rose de Jaspe, Lilas d'Or

Bourjois blush in Brun Cuivre, Rose de Jaspe, Lilas d'Or

Bourjois blush swatches: Brun Cuivre, Rose de Jaspe, Lilas d'Or

Another bargain blush is Kiko Soft Touch Blush which was recommended to me by my  mum (related post here). As the name of this blush implies the texture of the powder is velvety and does not tend to harden with wear like Bourjois does. It is also fairly pigmented and buildable, easy to apply and quite longlasting. The shade in the picture is 104 Pastel Pink, a beautiful rosy pink with a hint of shimmer which imparts a healthy flush to the face.

Kiko Soft Touch Blush in 104 Pastel Pink

Kiko Soft Touch blush in 104 Pastel Pink

So you can get a healthy glow on your cheeks while retaining a healthy account in your bank! 
What are your favourite bargain blushes?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Favourite lip shades around the world

Have you ever wondered what is the favourite lip colour of English, American, Italians, French, Germans and Japanese? An article published in Cosmo Beauty No.1 in 2013 revealed that...

English women favour rosy shades, like for example Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color Desert Rose 25

American women swear by nudes, like Clarins Jolie Rouge in Desert Rose 708 (makeup look here)

Italians are attracted to orangey-brown shades, like FREE age Rossetto 03A (find out about Italian beauty secrets here)

French Mlles prefer 'just-bitten' stain, like Revlon Just Bitten Balm stains (see blogger Eagle Rowe's review here)

Germans love frosty pinks, like Nars sheer lipstick in Venice (full review here)

Japanese ladies adore sheer pinks and lavender shades, like Estee Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick in Tender Mauve 17

And here are a couple of pictures of the above mentioned lip colours from my personal collection.

BB Desert Rose 25, Clarins 708, FREE age 03A, Nars Venice, EL Tender Mauve 17

BB Desert Rose 25, Clarins 708, FREE age 03A, Nars Venice, EL Tender Mauve 17
From left: BB Desert Rose 25, Clarins 708, FREE age 03A, Nars Venice, EL Tender Mauve 17 

And what about the other nationalities? We would love to know what your favourite lip shade is, so please feel free to post your comment down below!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Review: Diego dalla Palma lifting effect fluid concealer

Diego dalla Palma lifting effect fluid concealer

Diego dalla Palma lifting effect fluid concealer has a smooth, lightweight texture that blends easily without creasing into lines. It does a brilliant job at disguising my dark circles and giving my eyes a 'lifting' without looking cakey. Shade 100, which is the lightest in the range, may appear a bit dark and peachy to start with, but it goes on lighter than it looks and it blends perfectly with my skin colour. Overall I am very pleased with this concealer.

Diego dalla Palma illuminating foundation and lifting concealer

Click here for a review on Diego dalla Palma fluid lightening (or illuminating) foundation.  

Sunday, 12 May 2013

How to choose the best moisturizer for your face and your pocket

When buying a moisturizer it is not only important to pick up one which is suitable for your skin type but which is also formulated with skin repairing ingredients, antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients and no irritants in order to help your skin behave and look better...

What are skin repairing ingredients, antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients and how do they work?

Skin identical or repairing ingredients are the substances between skin cells (technically referred to as the intercellular matrix) that keep skin cells connected and help maintain skin’s fundamental external structure.
Some skin identical or repairing ingredients are: ceramides, lecithin, glycerin, polysaccharides, hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, amino acids, cholesterol, glycerol, phospholipids, glycosphingolipids, glycosaminoglycans, glycerides, fatty acids, antioxidants and many more.

Antioxidants can be natural and synthetic substances that work to reduce or prevent free-radical damage and environmental stress on the skin, by allowing healthy cells to proliferate.
Some antioxidants arealpha lipoic acid, beta-glucan, coenzyme Q10, grape seed extract, green tea, soybean sterols, superoxide dismutase, vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl palmitate), and vitamin E (alpha tocopherol, tocotrienols) to pomegranate, curcurmin, turmeric, etc...

Cell-communicating ingredients, theoretically, have the ability to tell a skin cell to look, act, and behave better, more like a normal healthy skin cell would, or to stop other substances from telling the cell to behave badly or abnormally. They do this by either direct communication with the skin cell or by blocking damaging cellular pathways or other cell-communicating substances. Cell-communicating ingredients complement antioxidants to improve skin-cell function.
Cell-communicating ingredients are: retinol, retinaldehyde, retinoic acid, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, eicosapentaenoic acid, niacinamide, lecithin, linolenic acid, linolenic acid, phospholipids, carnitine, carnosine, adenosine triphosphate, adenosine cyclic phosphate, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tripeptide-3 (and most other peptides), and pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract.

So next time you go shopping for a moisturizer, check if any of these ingredients appear in the ingredients list and where they are positioned. In fact the higher an ingredient ranks up in a list the more concentrated and effective it is. This also applies to skin irritants which can inflame and damage your skin if they appear in the beginning of a list (especially in the first four positions).

What are the most common skin irritants to avoid if they appear in the beginning of a list of ingredients?

SD Alcohol or denatured alcohol, Ammonia, Arnica, Balm mint, Balsam, Benzalkonium chloride, Benzyl alcohol, Bergamot, Camphor, Cinnamon, Citrus juices and oils, Clove, Clover blossom, Coriander, Essential oils, Ethanol, Eucalyptus, Eugenol, Fennel, Fennel oil, Fir needle, Fragrance, Geranium, Grapefruit, Horsetail, Isoeugenol, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Linalool, Marjoram, Melissa (lemon balm), Menthol, Menthoxypropanediol, Menthyl Acetate, Mint, Oak bark, Orange, Papaya, Peppermint, Phenol, Sandalwood oil, Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfate, Sodium lauryl sulfate, TEA-lauryl sulfate, Thyme, Wintergreen, Witch hazel, Ylang-ylang

Another factor to take into consideration when choosing a cream is  the packaging. In fact a moisturizer housed in a jar will be exposed to  the deterioration of air (oxygen) and light and the contamination of fingers dipping into it as soon as the jar is open, whereas a product housed in an opaque bottle, tube or properly air-tight container will keep better for longer.  

If you buy a day moisturizer you may also want it to offer a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or above which includes one of these ingredients listed as active to ensure adequate protection from UVA rays: avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789 or butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX (ecamsule) or Tinosorb.

Last but not least, even if it is true that you get what you pay for, inexpensive moisturizers can be as well formulated as expensive ones, if not better. 

An example of a well formulated but expensive moisturizer with sunscreen is Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant SPF 15 Lotion which I bought many times through the years.

Estee Laur DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant SPF 15 Lotion

Ingredients: Active: Octisalate (4.9%), Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (2%), Other: Water, Dimethicone, Methyl Trimethicone, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Polyester-8, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates Copolymer, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Guava Fruit Extract, Polygonium Cuspidatum Root Extract, Barley Extract, Wheat Germ Extract, Fumaria Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract. Lemon Fruit Extract, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Hydrolyzed Rice Extract, Artemia Extract, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Dipropylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Chloeth-24, Ceteth-24, Linoleic Acid, Cholesterol, Caffeine, Phospholipids, Polysorbate-80, Squalane, Sodium PCA, Urea, Ergothioneine, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Benzoate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Sucrose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Trehalose, Polyquarternium-51, Lecithin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Polyethylene, Palmitoyl Hydroxypropyltrimonium Amylopectin/Glycerin Crosspolymer, Cyclodextrin, Nordihydroguairetic Acid, Fragrance, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate, Fumaric Acid, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Yellow 5, Blue 1

An example of a well formulated and inexpensive moisturizer with sunscreen is the new Olay Total Effect Moisturizer + Serum Duo SPF 20 which I have recently bought.

Olay Total Effect Moisturizer + Serum Duo SPF 20

Ingredients Water, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Salycilate, Niacinamide, Homosalate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmetane, Tapioca Starch, Octocrylene, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Dimethicone, Panthenol, Behenyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin,Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Isohexadecane, Dimethiconol, Titanium Dioxide, Nylon-12, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryoyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Glucoside, Polysorbate 60, Stearic Acid, Sorbitan Isostearate, Sodium PEG-7 Olive Oil Carboxylate, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-4 Dilaurate, PEG-4 Laurate, PEG-4, Ammonium Polyacrylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Parfum, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Geraniol, Citronellol, Limonene, Benzyl Salycilate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Caramel, CI 77492


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Review: Diego dalla Palma fluid foundation

As soon as I realized that Marks and Spencer were selling Diego dalla Palma cosmetics, I got really excited not only because these products are 'made in Italy' but especially because they are of high professional quality and deserve a place in every woman's beauty case. 

So last weekend I headed to a large M&S and among a few  interesting products  I picked up Diego dalla Palma lightening (or  illuminating)  fluid foundation in shade 21 and Diego dalla Palma lifting concealer in shade 100 and here is what I think about the foundation (click here for a review of the concealer). 

Diego dalla Palma Lightening foundation 21 and Diego dalla Palma Lifting concealer 100 swatches

Diego dalla Palma lightening fluid foundation is a fluid base which starts with a lightweight creamy texture and sets to an attractive  glow finish without looking sparkling or greasy. Coverage is light to medium. I love how it manages to blur away my imperfections while looking natural also when I build it up on critical areas.
The shade 21, a slightly warm ivory, is the lightest shade and it is ever so slightly darker than my winter skin tone but it looks perfect for the sunny season. Moreover the colour stays true all day without oxidizing. On me this foundation lasts for about 8 hours. 
For me this is the first ever foundation that does not pool in my pores or creases at all, not even at the end of the day.
It is fairly easy to apply with my fingers but because it tends to set quite quickly I pat and blend a small amount at a time to the different areas of my face. 
It is a pity though that this foundation does not come in a wider range of shades, like for example a porcelain shade for very pale ladies or a very dark shade. Moreover the company says on  their web site that this foundation contains both inorganic and organic sun filters and they mention a 'theoretical SPF 13-15' but they do not provide any SPF rating on the foundation packaging. I guess that the inorganic filter they refer to is ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (third position in the product's list of ingredients) and that the organic  filter is probably mica (fourth position in the ingredients list). In fact ethylhexil methoxicinnamate protects against UVB rays (which cause sun burn), whereas mica  'may' protect from UVA rays (which cause long term damages to the skin) but in absence of a clear and official labelling on this product packaging, I would personally use  a separate  UVB/UVA sunscreen under this foundation to make it sure I get adequate sun protection.
Even though it is quite expensive (£27.50 for 25ml) a little goes a long way and inspite of the dubious sun protection it is a great every day foundation which is worth the splurge.

Here is a picture of me wearing both the foundation and the concealer.

Diego dalla Palma foundation 21 and concealer 100

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Review: Benefit - They are real! Beyond mascara

My mascara is running out and as soon as I spotted a free luxury sample of Benefit - They are real! beyond mascara, given away with the June issue of Elle Magazine UK, I had to get my hands on it to see whether it lived up to its claim of giving you eyelashes as impressive as false ones. 

Benefit - They are real! Beyond mascara

In my opinion my eyelashes look definitely longer, a little bit thicker and slightly curlier after applying Benefit - They are real! beyond mascara in multiple coats, but I cannot see results similar to what I get by wearing false eyelashes. 

Benefit - They are real! Beyond mascara brush

The plastic brush is quite large and it tends to leave traces of mascara, that I need to remove with a cotton bud, along my eyelashes line. Nevertheless the bristles are well designed for  achieving definition without clumping. It does not flake or smudge either and it removes easily with a standard face wash or eye makeup remover at the end of the day.
Overall this is a good mascara and I will enjoy using up my sample even though I am not sure I would buy a full size because there are other mascaras in the same price range (e.g. Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour, Makeup Forever Smoky Lash) which I still like best.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Birthday beauty treats: Maybelline Dream Touch Blush 06, Color Tattoo 24hr in 85-Light Purple and Max Factor mini nail polishes in 37 and 41

Yesterday it was my 40th Birthday and my friend Kate treated me to a lovely beauty surprise...

My friend knows that I am a bit of a beauty junkie and she thought about getting me a couple of must-have products from Maybelline like Dream Touch Blush in 06 and Color Tattoo 24hr By Eyestudio in 85-Light in Purple and two Max Factor mini nail polishes, one in 37 Prussian Blue and the other in 41 Meteorite.
Are not I a lucky girl? Thank you Kate!

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush in 06 is a luminous peachy cream-  to-powder blush which goes on smoothly and blends effortlessly with my fingers giving my cheeks a gorgeous natural glow from within.

Color Tattoo 24HR in 85-Light in Purple is a metallic blue lilac gel-cream eyeshadow which blends easily with my fingers and does not seem to smear, smudge or crease on my eyelids. For me this almost frosty shade works well paired with a powder eyeshadow in a similar shade applied on top for a glamorous look. Both the blush and the eyeshadow are definitely long-wear.

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush 06, Color Tattoo 24hr 85-Light Purple

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush 06, Color Tattoo 24hr 85-Light Purple SWATCHES

Max Factor Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in 37-Prussian Blue is an elegant alternative to black nail varnish. 

Max Factor Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in 37-Prussian Blue

Max Factor Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in 41 Meteorite, a dark blue with silver and purple shimmer makes me think of a magic starry night.

Max Factor Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in 41 Meteorite