Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Long Overdue Glossier Review

There is no doubt that Glossier is the most popular beauty brand of the year. It is the ultimate girl boss' - Emily Weiss - baby and was born out of the equally popular beauty website Into The Gloss.  At the beginning of the year, no less than 10'000 people were waitlisted to get their hands on the quickly sold out Boy Brow and similarly, pretty much every product they come out with sells out at its launch (although fear not, everything has been restocked). Glossier's success was absolutely phenomenal and exceeded everyone's expectation - hence the fact that the brand's online shop quickly ran out of supplies at first.  So what's the deal with Glossier ? I've heard someone describe the brand as a marketing coup-de-gĂ©nie and it's just that - an appealing yet approachable and modern brand that speaks to its consumers and involves them in process. It is the ultimate effortless, cool girl type of brand that spontaneously invites you to join the gang. Their products are simple, straightforward and, unlike many others, don't promise to do a hundred different confusing if extraordinary things - but they deliver exactly what they promise. Anyone can use and enjoy their products, whether you've never worn make-up in your life or you were born with a lipstick in hand. Products aside, the brand in itself has acquired many believers (literally, have a look at the comments on its Instagram, there's pretty much a cult dedicated to Glossier) by its innovative marketing strategy (the brand was born on social media as it was launched on Instagram!) and its irresistibly cute packaging. Every detail counts, from the pink pouches the products come in to the stickers that are provided as a mean of customization. I don't think I have every seen such a committed brand before - it reminds me a lot of the strategy of the now iconic green fashion brand Reformation. It's no surprise then, that millions of people jumped on the Glossier bandwagon. One bump remains: for now the brand is exclusively available in the United States, although international shipping is, as we have been told, on its way.  

Believe it or not, one of the things I was most looking forward to when moving to New York was to place a Glossier order - priorities, right? I got my hands on their Priming Moisturizer, Boy Brown, Haloscope and Balm dot com months ago, but I finally got to order the rest of the make-up line and after trying the products out for a couple of weeks, I can finally give you, hopefully, a comprehensive review. I'm sure you're already familiar with most of the following products - but as taste and skin-types differ, I guess there is no such thing as one too many review.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Priming Moisturizer. To be honest, I didn't expect much of this one. Skin prep is essential if you want your make-up to look good and to last, but my extensive skincare routine is already taking pretty good care of that.  However, I found that this moisturizer is an excellent multi-tasker. It does a lovely job at priming the skin if you did your skincare routine a while ago and need a nice slip to apply your make-up, or if you have particularly dry skin. It has a pretty thin consistency that is quickly absorbed by the skin and is designed to be buildable - so that you can basically apply as many layers as you need. It doesn't have a noticeable scent and contains no fragrance as to not upset the most sensitive skins. More importantly however, I found it was an excellent mixer. I'm no big advocate of full coverage foundations and as a result, nine times out of ten I'll opt for a tinted moisturizer. I do like to experiment with my bases though and I enjoy mixing my foundations with some moisturizer to customize my own tinted concoction. That being said, not all moisturizer do the trick - this one does. It is thin enough to help the product merge and allow you to get that extra bit of moisture when your skin craves it. Another trick I have performed multiple times during the summer was to mix it to a liquid highlighter to get an illuminating primer that is flattering on the skin and, on good days, allowed me to go foundation-free. You guessed it then, that one was a winner for me. I think it will work for most people, if not as a moisturizer, surely as a primer or a mixer. 

The Balm dotcom was Glossier's first born. There isn't much to say here except that it's your typical skin salve in the prettiest tube, in all kinds of flavors (and now colors too!) and that gets the job done. I like it as a lip balm but also on any dry patches - it'll make your life much easier when a full-blast winter hits us and you struggle to spread you foundation evenly! It also works as a natural highlighter when dabbed on top of your cheekbones. It may be worth saying that the Coconut version smells heavenly, the kind that takes you to a whole new place when you're having one of those days and need a pick me up. 

Similarly to the Priming moisturizer, I was taken aback by the Skin Tint.  It is designed to be a minimally pigmented fluid that allows you to even out your skin tone without loosing sight of your natural complexion. I was aware that the coverage would be extremely minimal, but I was mostly afraid that the finish would be overly dewy and that it would slip off my face half-way through the day - wrong. Yes, the coverage is very light but it does a perfectly acceptable job at evening out the complexion and what amazes me is that it sets on its own to a luminous but satin-y finish. Although I always make sure to set the areas that I know to be oily with a loose powder, I was impressed to see that my base makeup was still there, faithful to its task, even during the sweatiest days (gross but true). The rest of my makeup applied nicely on top of the tint and quite frankly, I don't have anything bad to say about this one, except that you cannot really build some coverage - but then, it  doesn't promise that you can. 

The Stretch concealer is yet another beautiful Glossier invention. If you know me, you know that I'm very much into my bases - especially concealers. They are one of my favorite items to test and make, I think, the biggest difference to any face - literally, everyone looks better with a dab of concealer on. That, and blush. Despite having a rather ridiculous collection of dark-circles-rubbers, I have never seen anything quite like the Glossier concealer. I was intrigued by its surprising name - Stretch - but when applying it I was amazed to see that it does in fact stretch and moves with your skin, almost adapting to it. What I absolutely love about this product is how luminous it is. It looks incredible under the eyes and brightens your whole face. The only issue with its oil content however, is that if you're a smudger, you'll have to carefully set it so that your eye makeup doesn't transfer too heavily. If you like the glow on the other hand, feel free to drop the powder - it looks great, and if you didn't went too far up close to your lash line it won't crease. You can build a decent medium coverage, which is always a good thing, too. It will therefore take care of minors marks redness. I'm not one to pick, but between us, this is probably my favorite of the range - I already ordered a backup to keep in my handbag. 

Next up comes the ever so famous Boy Brow. It is a clever brow gel that fills in your brows in a non-offensive way and for the most part, that tames the beast. The brush is small so that you can approach the front of your brows with confidence. My only complaint - and I know I'm close to alone in this - is the discussed brush size. Although it does allow for more precision, it doesn't always comb through your brow evenly. I have sparse but bushy (what an oxymoron, eh?) brows, which is why a larger brush allows me to get them tamed in one smooth go. That detail aside, Boy Brow is undoubtedly a lovely product.

Together with the Stretch concealer, the Haloscope highlighters now have a special place in my heart. Let's put it that way : they are phenomenal. Makeup artists and non-professionals alike love it and for a good reason. I love everything about those beauties. First of all, I love a stick as it is one of the most convenient packaging that you can tuck everywhere and easily apply or reapply (although that shouldn't be necessary) on the go. The pigment is beautifully sheen-y and buildable. Both colors are gorgeous, Quartz being my favorite since I'm basically white as a sheet, but Topaz will work amazingly on deeper skin tones. The balm in the middle of the stick is a genius addition, that allows the product to glide on easily without moving whatever make-up might lay underneath, while providing that extra touch of "dewy glow" that you traditionally get from dabbing some skin salve or oil on your skin. Much, much love for this one. 

Last but not least, the Generation G lipsticks have revolutionized your idea of a matte lipstick. Unlike others, those lipsticks have initially a sheer coverage that amazingly you can build up to your taste. One swipe will give you a hint of color, while two or three will give you a more prominent pay off. They are matte, but also moisturising - and apparently the formula has now been updated to an even more moisturising one! The first thing I thought when applying those was "damn, it feels like a lip balm! " and it truly does. You can't tell it's there, like you sometimes would with an uncomfortably drying matte lipstick. On the above picture, you can see swatches of their four original shades (from left to right): Cake, Like, Crush and my personal favorite, Jam. Two additional shades were released a couple of weeks ago, a deeper brown-y nude called Leo and a warm poppy red named Zip. The bottom line is there truly is a shade for everyone. 

If you've made it this far - first of all, well done friend !- but most importantly, you've probably guessed that I am a big fan of the Glossier line. The products' performance is remarkable, the packaging is sleek but pretty and the lot is reasonably priced. I have to say I was concerned that my review would be biased and my opinion blinded by my feelings for the brand. Yes, feelings. Glossier deserves to be admired and loved for the small but powerful revolution it is swiftly putting into motion by encouraging women to take or retake ownership of their beauty routine. Glossier aroused at a time when hundreds of thousands of products are being launched everyday - some good, some bad, most daunting - and confusing people as to what on earth it is they are supposed to do with their face. Beauty is supposed to be fun, spontaneous and easy - and Glossier is one of those brands that is just that. You understand, then, that when the products came into my possession I was worried that I was going to make myself love them because of what they stand for - turns out, they're inherently brilliant and I couldn't be more relieved. Let us all hope that Glossier will soon ship internationally so that the love and message can be spread and that we can all get excited about a little pink box of goodness and a lot of love - the world needs more of that. 

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Dark Matter

September is officially my favorite time of the year. Now that autumn is just around the corner, we don't have to worry so much about burning/sweating/fainting - although New York's most crowded streets are still pretty suffocating, I'll give you that. Although I'm most definitely not one to follow season-related trends when it comes to make-up, I feel like this look embodies what I picture as a transitional look from summer to autumn. Soft, bronzy eye, naked but glowy skin and a fall classic, the vampy lip. If you have a tan to show off, you should absolutely let it peak through your layers and enhance it on your face with some bronzer and highlighter. If you're as white as winter's first snow like I proudly am, feel free to indulge in some bronzer too. One of my favorite product at the moment to do so is Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar bronze and glow. I love this particular bronzer because it suits most skin tones (especially since a second darker compact was released!), it is warm without being orange and has a hint of shimmer to give you that JLO-esque glow we're all after. It's also very buildable, so that if you have fair skin you can easily wear it as long as you apply it with a light hand. The highlighter from the same compact is a winner in many people's book, too. As you can probably tell, I went all out with it on the inner corner of my eyes, cheekbones and bridge of my nose. I've come to learn throughout the years that highlighter is a lifesaver if you're fair and sick of people saying you look unwell - as is blush, by the way. Remember, pale skin isn't the enemy - dull skin is, no matter your skin tone. Other than that, I kept the skin fairly naked with a light layer of tinted moisturizer (Nars Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer is rocking my world at the moment) and some concealer wherever I needed it. On the eyes, I applied a wash of Tom Ford's Platinum eyeshadow cream and then added some more dimension using the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette - but I easily could have stopped at the cream shadow. I finished the look off with the boldest lip combination I've probably ever worn. Revlon Black Cherry is just that, an almost black, dark cherry red, that I topped off with a Laura Mercier gloss because why the hell not? The gloss definitely makes the whole look more glamorous, but also infinitely messier. If you're after a long-wearing look, stick to matte - but if you're in for some drama - and eating isn't your priority for the following hours - try to add some gloss on, it looks amazing and makes this edgy, slightly goth look interestingly more approachable as it doesn't look as harsh as a matte lip. Lipstick aside, this make-up look is extremely versatile, you could take it anywhere really, from a classroom to a dance floor or wherever life takes you.

As always babes, stay safe and get those layers ready - winter is coming

Monday, 1 August 2016

Beauty Talk : Meet Anna

Beauty Talk gives you a peek inside the make-up bags of some of the most inspiring human beings I have the chance to cross path with. There is more to beauty than a couple of lipsticks and a pretty blush, it is a self-indulging ritual, a moment we take for ourselves to not only care for our bodies but also to feel confident that we are getting ready to enter the world as the best version of ourselves. Beauty means something different to each and everyone of us and I believe that we all have a compelling story to tell regarding our relationship to self-care. I hope you will enjoy reading those stories as much as I forever do hearing them. 

I met Anna many summers ago in my favorite place on earth, London. She is the definition of elegance, always beautifully dressed and composed, with that flawless, rosy complexion and those sharp enviable cheekbones that Russian women are known to possess. She's a bright and talented young woman that I'm lucky enough to call my friend. She kindly agreed to show me the content of her make-up bag and tell me her beauty story. She started wearing make-up when she was around 14 years old, "because of my older sister", she explains. "I like my make-up to look natural, to make me a better, brighter version of myself. I find make-up can also be a protection. I learned how to apply make-up from my Mum, who studied to be a make-up artist and shared her products with me. I was very playful with make-up back then and tried something new all the time!" If you were to take a peek inside Anna's everyday make-up bag, you'd probably find an army of lip balms and lipsticks "I have a range of lipsticks in my bag and I'm obsessed with lip balms!" I think we've all been guilty of collecting one too many lipstick in our bag - but women need options, right ladies? "I've recently started wearing bold lipsticks, which is very different for me as I used to only wear nudes. I'm having more fun with make-up now, I think it's a great way of expressing yourself. It definitely tells something about you and your personality." Anna's favourite lipsticks are from Tom Ford and Armani and some of her favorite nudes are Tom Ford Pussycat and Armani Maestro lip Maestro in 500 (pictured below). "The Armani formula is my favorite, it's easy to apply, lasts well and yet is moisturising." Although she does rock a red lip regularly now (and boy, does she do it well ! Evidence A and B) when asked about her favourite lipstick, she doesn't hesitate: "MAC Honey Love! It's my favorite nude colour. It is a matte nude with a hint of pink that stays on for a long time. It makes me feel playful and flirty and is definitely the lipstick that makes me feel the most comfortable." Some of her most cherished lip balms are the EOS balm in lemon, and the Fresh lip treatment in Ruby "I love the smell of that one, it also gives a beautiful hint of red and can be built up and worn as a stain."

Anna's make-up is always natural and I can tell you that  she never, ever looks overdone. "I like to use Bobbi Brown foundation stick as a concealer, mainly under my eyes and around my nose. It's amazing because you can't detect it on the skin and it lasts well. I simply apply it with my fingers." She then sets her complexion with her favourite product of the moment, Chanel Les Beiges powder. "I've always come back to Chanel powders although I've tried many. I love their scents and the fact that they never look cakey on." On her cheeks, she uses the cult Nars Multiple in Orgasm. "That one is particularly pretty in the summer, when you have a bit of a tan." Anna's cheekbones aren't my only obsession, she also has incredible brows and long, fluttery lashes that don't need much attention. "I tend to change my mascara a lot,  I sometimes purchase mascaras from a super cheap and amazing Russian brand, but right now I'm using an Yves Saint Laurent mascara in a Blueberry shade that was limited edition. I never use waterproof mascara nor do I curl my lashes and I don't use anything on my brows."

I've witnessed the changes in Anna's skin over the years to see it become gradually clearer and naturally brighter. "I've always had problematic skin, I have tried every product under the sun ! Two years ago I read about the brand Fresh on Into The Gloss and purchased their Soy cleanser in London. I've been using their products for a year and so far, so good! I'm definitely going to stick with it." We all know however, that good skin first and foremost comes from within and I was curious to know what were Anna's secrets to her glowy skin. "You definitely are what you eat, so when I cut out gluten and dairy it made a huge difference to my skin. I also use coconut oil for everything, as a body moisturizer, to cook but I also do oil pulling. It only takes fifteen minutes a day and it's a great way to detoxify your body and it also whitens your teeth."

Anna is also the person I go to if I want to discover and adopt a new luxurious scent. "I've always had a passion for perfumes, I've read a lot about them. One brand I love is Jo Malone. I bought my first one four years ago, which was White Jasmine and after that many others followed! Amber and Patchouli is probably my signature fragrance, although it is more appropriate for the evening. I love English Pear for Spring and Autumn. I think perfumes show your personality, they also physically create something about you. I love that they're different on everyone." 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Let It Glow

As much as I wholeheartedly enjoy browsing through Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration, I cannot for the life of me understand nor embrace the more-is-more fascination visible through the growing market of false lashes, the daily use of full coverage foundations and the ever so (in)famous Instagram-brow. As always, I encourage you all to do whatever makes you happy - but I can't help but share my thoughts on those sometimes overwhelming trends and my concerns as to whether they'll be an influence on the generations to come. At the far other side of the spectrum flourishes the effortlessly beautiful babes gang slowly but surely empowered by brands such as Glossier (for non-US peeps, let us all make a prayer and hope that the Generation G gems and the glorious Phase 1  will land on our longing territories soon) that support a more skin-focused and approachable, beauty routine that enhance the natural you and let those freckles pick through. Now, despite the inevitable gaps between the various trends and their different views on beauty, there's one common denominator that brings them all together; everyone loves a glow. Healthy-looking skin won't ever go out of style and though we all know by now that a happy skin and a happy body go hand in hand, a sprinkle of artificial glow carefully placed is one clever way to brighten any day - and face.

As strobing is all the rage right now, there are a plethora of highlighters available on the market. My personal collection is expanding at an alarming rate (what can I say, they're a beautiful addiction to have) but there is one product in particular I was itching to talk about; enters the seriously popular Filmstar Bronze and Glow from Queen Tilbury. I withstood the temptation of buying the shiny compact for a considerably long time after it launched, convinced that it would not flatter my skin tone nor suit my taste after repeatedly stopping by various counters. One day however,  I found myself at a conference (starring Lisa Eldridge and Sally Hughes no less) sitting next to a stunning lady with a jaw-droppingly beautiful highlight on her cheek bone. As she was kind enough to share her secret and had a complexion similar to mine, I went out an bought it the same day without further doubts. The packaging alone is a show-stopper and if you're into rose gold as much as half the female population seem to be, you'll make room for this gorgeous little number on your dressing table. The price tag isn't exactly friendly, but you do get what you pay for with this one, as you receive plenty of product to last you a good decade if you're careful and as it also comes with a decently sized mirror - which is always handy. Aside from looking gorgeous, it performs well, too. Almost all skin-tones are covered as the compact now comes in two shades, only the fairest women out there will find the highlighter too gold - for reference, I'm around an NC15 if we're talking MAC and I find it ever so slightly too dark, but it still works beautifully if blended with a blush (for my beloved Snow Whites out there I'd point you in the direction of the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance baked powder highlighter). The bronzer however, will work for everyone as it isn't too orange nor red, it does a brilliant job at warming up the complexion. There is a slight hint of shimmer running through it however, which is why it isn't my preferred option to contour (I don't find bronzer are a suitable contouring product anyway) but it will softly structure your face and most likely give you enough definition for a day-time look. All in all, I don't have any complaint to make regarding this shiny compact  and I if you were contemplating the purchase, I hope my review was helpful.