Four the love of violets!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 24 - 2013

I’ve long held the opinion that I wasn’t a great fan of floral fragrances… at least, that’s what I’ve always thought until I recently took another look at the perfumes I’ve gathered over the years.  You know, for someone who proclaims such nonsense, I own far too many rose, violet, and iris-based scents… and of the three, I think it’s the violet ones that I’m drawn to the most.

I thought that today, I’d share with you some of my favourite violet-based fragrances.  There are actually two missing from the list (PR Ultraviolet & Yardley(!) April Violets) because they’re still boxed up at my Mum’s house and writing this has now made me desperate to raid her garage for my long-lost loves!

violet fragrances

The first thing I should say is that I don’t own any pure-violet fragrances, not the posh ones anyway and I’m still no fragrance expert but hopefully I’ve sniffed my way through enough perfume departments to form a coherent opinion!

My favourite thing about this note in particular is just how fickle it is, sometimes seeming greener than a freshly-mowed lawn and at other times, more powdery than your grandma’s old compacts.  It’s a chameleon of a note, beautifully suited to this changeable Spring season.

It’s also a note that pairs wonderfully with others, and infact (in my opinion) works far better when working as a flanker, as part of a well-structured accord rather than singing a solo chorus.

The first perfume in my list of four, is a great example of precisely, this.

Armani Prive Cuir Amethyste (£145, armanibeauty.co.uk) is not an easily-tamed fragrance.  For a scent that calls into play such a beautiful floral note, it’s a growling animal of contradictions.  From the opening headiness of the sticky, woody violet to the dirty leather, well-worn and battered into a masculine suppleness that shouldn’t work on female skin, but does.

The tenacity and indeed, audacity of this scent appeals to me for its unique take on the genre.  It’s an over the top indulgence complete with powdery nostalgia that makes me feel all the more a “lady”.  Albeit, a slightly sleazy one.

violet fragrances

In stark contrast, YSL’s Paris Premieres Roses 2013* (£25.50, escentual.com) is a recent re-issue that puts the violet firmly in the back seat.  That’s not to say you won’t find it there because it’s confidently lurking, flanking the rose and smoothing the petals until they reach a state of velvety creaminess within the heart of the scent.

It’s the epitome of fragrant youthfulness without the pink-pepper, juicy-fruit explosion up your nostrils.  A refreshing and commendable take with mass-market appeal in an often tired genre.

violet fragrances

For a greener, fresher take on the wonderful floral, look no further than Balenciaga Paris EDP* (£44, debenhams.com) for a new opinion.  You can see that I’m running low on my bottle and it’s not hard to understand why.  Paris is a perfect rendition of how Spring should be, with a clean opening that descends into a softer, sweeter heart and powdery base.  All the while, remaining light, airy and a little bit watery but never so sheer as to be unappreciated.

Floral-chypres can often be difficult to stomach for those under the age of 25, but Balenciaga’s Paris bucks this trend and delivers a grown-up yet flirty scent that takes you on a true violet journey from the sharp leaf, all the way to the sweetshop!

violet fragrances

My final pick of the bunch (gettit?) is for Tom Ford’s Violet Blonde (£45, johnlewis.com) which I picked up not long after its release in 2011.  I immediately fell for its well-projected, prickly opening that blends a green violet with pink pepper before developing into a richly sueded base.

Despite being a wonderful choice for a sharply-dressed young professional woman (you know the type), I don’t mind admitting that my husband wears this with great skill.  His skin chemistry thrusts forward the spice and musk and conjures up something more masculine and vintage-feeling, tempered beautifully by the violet.

Do you like violet-based fragrances?  Please share your favourite!

* press sample


That beautiful moment when makeup does what it’s supposed to…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 27 - 2013

We wear makeup for many different reasons. Some of us like to experiment with colour, some of us like to improve upon our natural beauty *cough*, and some of us enjoy piling on everything we own just because we can.

At the moment, I’m somewhere between number two and a facefull of slap. Whenever I’m sick (is she still going on about that?), my skin is the first place it shows and the last place it recovers. Flaky, blotchy, purple under the eyes, and spots a-plenty are the order of the day. Which is exactly what one needs when you already feel like shit, of course.

Whilst I’d love to tweak my skincare routine to improve my natural radiance and rebalance my complexion from the inside out… I’d also like to be able to sprout a pair of wings and crap on the EDL headquarters from a great height. Sadly, neither are happening any time soon, and so instead, I turn to my makeup routine for the answers and pray that it won’t fail me.

a skin transformation_01

This isn’t a tutorial as such, I’m no bleedin’ make up artist after all… but I thought I’d go into some real depth about the products that I’m using to work, what is basically, a skin miracle at the moment.

a skin transformation_02

First things first, skin prep. If your skin is suffering, you can’t ignore this step in the routine. It’s imperative that you give your makeup the best possible base upon which to sit. It may be that you’re fighting an oil-slick or something akin to moon craters, or perhaps like me… you’re battling dryness of epic proportions. Take an extra five-minutes to target these concerns before you even go near your face with foundation, the finished result will be worth the effort.

a skin transformation_03

Starting with a cleansed, exfoliated, and moisturised face… I deal with the dryness that has been causing my foundation to cling in patches. Upon Caroline‘s advice, I’m treating my skin to a moisture sandwich of oil and cream, first with an Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss (£62.00) capsule which delivers an antioxidant-rich hydration boost in the form of moringa oil, followed immediately by a generous layer of La Roche Posay’s Nutritic Intense Riche* (£14.00)

And then I wait. A couple of minutes later, I can tell where I need additional hydration, so I work a little more of the LRP into the skin, avoiding the areas that are prone to midday oiliness. That done, I move onto the one product that generally replaces “primer” for me during the colder months.

a skin transformation_04

Maqpro Makeup Mixer (from £8.00) is a makeup artist’s trick taught to me by the wonderful Kenneth Soh who recommended it to me a couple of years ago as a great base for mineral products on drier skins. It’s a tip that continues to save me whenever my skin is behaving badly. Not only is it a wonderful mixer for sheering out heavier foundations, it also does wonders for improving how a product applies over, and sits ontop of dry skin without compromising the moisture levels underneath.

At this point, I use a brush to apply the Maqpro but I don’t work it fully into the skin, preferring instead to dot the product allover with the brush and only lightly blend. This way, it combines easily and increases the glide of the next layer of product.

a skin transformation_05

a skin transformation_06

Before even contemplating foundation, I still want to improve the radiance levels of my skin. A lot of the time, I reach for a liquid illumintor that I can apply allover and then “tone down” with foundation. I’ve been trying something a little different recently in the form of this rather splendid Lyster Cream Bronzer* (£36.00) from Swedish brand Manasi Makeup.

The pot contains far more product (55g) than I could ever see myself using and as such, I do wish they offered a smaller-size for less money but I can’t deny that the product itself is beautiful. Free from mineral oils and parabens, it delivers something inbetween a bronzer and a luminizer that works very nicely against my pale skintone. If you’re blessed with naturally great skin, I could see something like this being your one-pot wonder for sunkissed, healthy-looking skin without fear of looking orange or overdone.

I tap my brush lightly on the top (you don’t need much) and work the bronzer all over my skin using a circular motion, it blends nicely… but even more beautifully with my layer of Maqpro beneath it.

a skin transformation_07

Finally, it’s time for foundation! At the moment, I’m alternating between my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 4.5 (£34.50) and my beloved tube of Clinique Supermoisture Makeup* (£19.35) which is a better option for when I don’t have the time to do this kind of skin prep. If I am using the Clinique, I skip the Maqpro in this next step as it’s an exceptionally moisture-rich foundation on its own merit.

When I’m using anything other than the Clinique, I reach again for the Maqpro (as shown below). One blob of each and using the same face brush as I’ve been using all along, I give the products a little mix on the back of my hand before working into my skin lightly.

a skin transformation_08

I never apply foundation heavily or in more than one layer when my skin is playing up because it doesn’t matter how much preparation or effort I put into the application, after a few hours… my foundation will clump over the dehydrated patches if it’s too heavy. Which is why, I always reach for concealer as the last step despite usually being a bit of a concealer-phobe when my skin is less fussy.

a skin transformation_09

Bare Minerals SPF 20 Correcting Concealer* (£21.00) is the perfect choice for dry skin-types thanks to a light texture and a lot of slip. It’s very creamy and offers a good amount of coverage, making it a great choice when your aim is to keep your layers as thin as possible. The final step is a little precision highlighting with something like the iconic YSL Touche Eclat (£25.00).

Now, that’s quite a lot of product but use my “how-to” as a guide rather than a manual. The principles are simple and you’ll already have certain products in your collection that you know you can substitute…

1. Make a real effort to get your skin in the best condition possible before you go near it with colour.
2. Work in thin, lightweight layers.
3. Add additional moisture or “slip” as you go.
4. Now isn’t the time for powder, keep things creamy.
5. If you’re nervous about being too heavy-handed with illuminator or bronzer, apply it before your foundation.
6. Leave concealer until the last possible moment, you’ll end up using less product as a result.

How’s your skin behaving at the moment and what trickery are you employing to get the best from your complexion?

* press sample

The (discontinued) lipstick love-in: Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick #18

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 11 - 2012

I know it can be a bit annoying when bloggers feature products that you can’t get your hands on anymore but the thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever told you about one of my favourite lipsticks EVER, have I?  Well, now’s the time to introduce you because I’ve just broken into my backup.

Now, according to Makeup Alley, Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick (#18) was a limited edition release for Autumn 2003!  Am I really that old that I was buying grown-up lipsticks THAT long ago?  Really, really?!  I thought it was more recent than that… but I can’t honestly remember.  What I can remember is how I fell in love with the shade in the tube.  And then fell in love even more when I applied it.

You see, I haven’t always loved bright lip colours… I’ve grown to love them, but I used to only wear sheer, slightly glossy shades.  As I twisted up the new, pristine Armani bullet the other day – I decided that I had to pay homage to this one before it went the same way as some of my other previous lipstick loves (YSL Rouge Pure Shine also had one that I used to live in (now long gone *sob*)).

Ain’t she pretty?  She’s much brighter and more popsicle orange in the tube than she is on the lips, I was a little bit intimidated by her at first but we soon became inseperable!   One of the things I liked most about this lipstick was the texture, which isn’t too soft, almost semi-matte without being at all drying on the lips.  Wear isn’t great but it’s such aneasylipstick to topup that it truly doesn’t matter.

Gah, I’ll miss you when you’re gone!

Can you remember your first lipstick love?  Tell me about it!

Sometimes, my FOTDs are semi-interesting…

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 22 - 2012

…but most of the time, I take the photos – write the post, upload the photos, think “job done”, click preview and then wonder why the hell I bothered.  Today is one of those days.

I would blame the camera, the lighting, the mis-calibration of your monitor… but the truth is, my face absorbs colour.  Unless of course, I wear a shade from one of my Sleek palettes which seem to encourage my chemistry to saturate the colour to the max, turning me into some kind of deformed caricature of myself.

Grumbles aside, and seeing as this was intended to be a FOTD post, I’d better get on and list the products just as I would for any other FOTD post… who cares if you can’t actually see them right?

Face

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #2
MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NW15
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX03

Cheeks

Trish McEvoy Golden Bronzer*

Eyes

Trish McEvoy Glaze Eyeshadow in Rose Quartz
Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Mascara
Estee Lauder Intense Kajal Eye Crayon in 01 Dramatic Black*

Lips

Clinique Chubby Stick in Oversized Orange*

I’m liking the MAC Studio Fix more than I thought.  It’s a little drying and perhaps a touch too matte for me but I mix in some Fluid Sheer to give it a boost of luminescence and I’m quite enjoying it.  The Kevyn Aucoin SSE is starting to work for me now that I’m using it to conceal rather than as a fuller-coverage foundation – though I am still determined to work out how to get full-face coverage from it.  I received the Trish McEvoy Golden Bronzer last year and it’s a sheerer formula which is quite forgiving despite my pale skintone, it has a subtle sparkle and is quite buildable.  I’m not the best at applying/blending bronzer though… consider me still a bit of a bronzer noob.

The eyes were the most disappointing aspect of today’s look.  The Trish McEvoy shadow I bought for my palette, although a beautiful colour didn’t create much impact – which to be honest, is fair enough – it is intended to be a sheer wash of beautiful rosy taupe… nothing too dramatic, it’s my fault for not bothering with a contour.  I’m sitting on the fence when it comes to the MUFE Smoky Lash mascara, I know that many of you swear by it and although it’s certainly quite impressive at creating some drama, I feel that it’s a little prone to clumping and I don’t like the way it makes my lashes feel.  Finally, the Estee Lauder Intense Kajal Eye Crayon in 01 Dramatic Black seemed to look more ‘dramatic plum’ on my waterline… perhaps it’s those sleepless nights finally showing through!

The one component of today’s FOTD that I thought I’d be indifferent about (sheer lip colours – “meh”), I ended up really liking.  The Clinique Chubby Stick is such a nice formula to wear and for me to reach for it, well… perhaps I was feeling more ‘subtle’ than I was letting-on!  You won’t see a huge amount of colour with this range but the Oversized Orange gives my lips a nice polish and a hint of warmth.

What’s your favourite product that you’re sporting today?

* indicates press samples

An Armani FOTN courtesy of Cesar Santos

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 13 - 2012

You’re gonna have to excuse the late-night point & shoot pictures, these were taken at around 11pm and I’d just dragged my tired bum through the door after spending an evening at Selfridges enjoying an Armani masterclass with Cesar Santos, one of Armani’s International Face Designers.  I’d already managed to eat my lipstick and gloss off whilst on the train home, so what remains in the photo below is a five-hour old base which my dry skin instantly fell in love with (Luminous Silk 4.5), some phenomenal mascara (Eyes to Kill (VexInTheCity, you were right)), and one of the new Eyes To Kill eyeshadows (#24 – RougeDeluxe has more info on them here).

There was also a blush (blushing fabric #1) which the camera has failed to capture.  I’m sad that I ate the lipstick off, it was probably the best warm pink I’ve ever worn for not looking clashy against my skin.  Don’t comment on my brows, I would say that I’m “growing them out” or something bloggery like that, but I’m not… I’m just too idle to phone my threading lady and my fringe does a great job at hiding them.  Usually.

How about that mascara huh?

Cesar Santos usually resides on the Giorgio Armani counter at Harvey Nichols, London.  You need to track down this man, seriously.  He’s ridiculously easy to talk to, completely non-judgemental when admitting your makeup crimes, and did not put a single foot wrong when selecting shades that complemented both my skintone AND my hair.  Basically, if ever there were a case for human cloning (especially if we could turn them into our makeup minions)… Cesar is it.

I shall be blogging more about the evening soon!

Pink to make the girls wink (and clutch their credit cards in tears)

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 19 - 2011

I don’t usually fire out many lust posts but I had to share my OMGWANTITNOW for the new Rouge d’Armani Hot Collection.  I’d been sorta thinking about (trying not to think about) it for a little while… but Karla’s swatches, oh my… the swatches.

Yeah.. whatever… I was talking about the SWATCHES <<<< click this link and be prepared to want one.

Want one?  I want TWO.

I always seem to fall in love with Armani Limited Edition items and I swear that the counter in Selfridges has the worst stock levels of any counter, ever.  Wish me luck on Wednesday, I’m taking L into the big city and if I don’t come back with one of these beauts in my hot little hands, I won’t be a happy pink-lipstick lover.

.

Do you have a favourite from the line up?

FOTD: Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense #3 Purpura

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 3 - 2011

I had a few requests to see how the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense #3 Purpura looked when worn, so I applied it as an all-over wash yesterday and snapped some photos.

I love it because it’s such an easy-to-wear shade, it applies and blends excellently with just my finger, is dark enough to give some great definition and a hint of smokiness yet light enough to be suitable for Summer.  Having said that, longevity (on me) isn’t all that much better than the L’oreal clones I tried a couple of months ago.  It doesn’t disappear from my lids completely but after around 4hrs, 70% of it resides in my socket line.  Still, it’s beautiful while it lasts… I’ll definitely pair it with a primer next time.

please excuse the pores!

Face

Shills Super Magic BB Cream SPF50 PA+++
Guerlain Meteorites Teint Rose 01
Bare Minerals Blush in Promise

Eyes

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense #3 Purpura
Avon Supershock Gel Eyeliner in Black
L’oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara in Black
Suqqu Brow Powder in 04

Lips

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Speed Dial

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Intense #3 Purpura

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 1 - 2011

Well, I wasn’t gonna get sucked into the hype.  Oh no, not me!  But then I thought “oooh just one little look to see what everyone’s going on about… *swoon*, *thud*, *kerching*”

Sucker.

Priced at £24.50, I believe this makes the Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Intense in #3 Purpura, the most expensive single eyeshadow I own, roundly beating my Le Metier de Beaute spangly silver that I bought on impulse and have barely worn to this day.

So first things first, is it worth that horrendous price tag?  Of course it’s not… but like my Tom Ford lippies, the numbers that ring up on the till matter less once I’ve fallen head over heels.  All that matters is finding ways to justify why I require at least one more from the range.  Sucker.

The Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Intense range of 12 shades incorporate multi-faceted pigment with impressive colour payoff and a rich, creamy formula.

I initially approached the counter with Lust Red in mind after seeing Temptalia’s swatch of the blackened-red shade… but a quick check at the alternatives available had me lusting after something a little lighter for Summer.  Don’t worry Lust Red… I’m coming back for you in the Autumn!

Purpura, #3 is a beautifully blended mix of purples and gold that combine to create a violet-toned charcoal that dances with a golden glimmer.

I wouldn’t class this as sheer when applied dry but it’s definitely more ‘buildable’ (that’s a diplomatic way of putting it!) than some of the other, more intense shades.  This is actually one of the reasons I purchased it as it felt “airier” and more befitting for hot days when a ‘made up’ face just looks a little too much.

The three swatches above show Purpura applied dry, ontop of primer (Urban Decay original) and with a damp brush.  There’s not a great deal of difference between using a primer or simply applying it with a dampened brush so I’d imagine the question of preference will come down to longevity.

As for longevity, well I don’t have any opinion on that yet seeing as I only bought this yesterday.  All reports sound good so I’m looking forward to decent wear from this really, rather expensive but ultimately flippin’ gorgeous eyeshadow.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense eyeshadow in #3 Purpura is priced at £23.50 and available to buy on counter if you can find stock.  As of yesterday (31/5), Selfridges in London was out but Harvey Nichols came up trumps!

What do you think?  Like or no-like?

Join Acqua for Life on Facebook and raise a bucketload (literally)

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 30 - 2011

Let me introduce you to the “Acqua for Life Challenge”.  A facebook campaign set up by Giorgio Armani Beauty (in conjunction with their popular fragrances Acqua di Giò and Acqua di Gioia).

The campaign aims to provide a minimum of 40 million litres of drinking water to populations without any access to it, working in partnership with Green Cross International to raise everyone’s awareness of this issue.

900 million individuals are still deprived of safe, clean and healthy water for their daily essential needs. Water that is essential for drinking, eating, guaranteeing a minimum of hygiene and maintaining one’s health.  The goal of this challenge: To offer this year a minimum of 40 million litres of drinking water to populations in need.

Because they are the most vulnerable to water-borne diseases and it is their future that is taken hostage by this uncertain water supply, children will be the primary beneficiaries of the donations collected by the “Acqua For Life” campaign.

The operation will initially begin in Ghana, supporting the Smart Water for Green Schools project: In this west African country some 40% of the rural population does not have access to drinking water.

The money raised will then be used, over time, to finance similar operations in other countries.

So, how can you contribute?

Easily and quickly.

I’ve set up a Lipglossiping Acqua For Life Facebook group and all YOU need to do to contribute 10 litres of water to the cause is join up.  It will literally take you 15 seconds.

Click the link above and grant the app access (it won’t do any funny business with your account!)

SEARCH for the term Lipglossiping in the left hand side community search bar and hit on JOIN.  Thassit!  All signed up, 10L of fresh, safe drinking water with your name on it!

If you join up, consider your good deed for the day done and dusted and have a BIG thank you from me. x

RANDOM

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