THE Powder (for me): Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

I always kind of want to kick myself in the butt when I write glowing reviews of products that aren’t available in the Philippines. Lately though, it’s only the best of the best in my makeup arsenal that get me excited and wanting to write. The best of the best are also slowly but surely ousting the average, mediocre items that I only recently realised I was just putting up with. I’m not even talking “Holy Grail item” in the way I used to use the term — my HG picks were the best of the bunch, but I still kept a line-up of second-best and even third-best items in the bunch around because, well, I liked them enough to keep them around. These days, I’m nearing what you might even be able to call… a capsule collection (gasp).

I have a couple of bases I swear by, concealers that I never switch up, a brow routine that I could execute with my eyes closed, a bronzer that I slap on day after day (it also acts as my blush, highlight, and even my eyeshadow on occasion), and a single mascara that I purchase over and over again. Oh, and I have this setting powder, of course. The setting powder that sent all my other setting powders to the trash.

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The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder ($45 / £33) is a “super luxe micro-fine powder with soft-focus nano particles that blur away lines and imperfections.” It comes in three translucent shades: 1 Fair, 2 Medium, and 3 Dark. I use Medium and it’s great — and I do think that because the product is translucent that the three shades are enough to cover a wide range of skin tones, but you will hear differing opinions on that, no doubt.

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This Is Gold: Hourglass’ Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Golden || Review

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is obscenely priced at £42 for 0.25oz of product. It is also unbelievably good and you only need the tiniest amount of product, so I’m going to go ahead and say that in my opinion it is worth the price tag.DSC08986Vanish boasts the “coverage of a concealer, the weightlessness of a powder, and the fluidity of a liquid,” all in a convenient stick form. Stick foundations have never really appealed to me because they tend to be thick in texture and difficult to blend, but Vanish is nothing like other stick foundations — it really does blend like a liquid. That would have been impressive in and of itself, but it also feels as light as the finest of powders when it sets, while also providing the heavy-duty coverage of a spot concealer.

I’m having a difficult time not sounding like an ad as I write about this product, but what can I say? The blurb is actually accurate. 

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Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks: Nighthawk, Twitch, & Liar (Cream Formula) Review

Before it’s stale news, let’s talk about Urban Decay’s new line of lipsticks: Vice. There are 100 shades that come in 6 different finishes, plus there are 50 lip liners available to match certain shades. That’s a lot of colours.

Of course, Christine of Temptalia has posted swatches of all 100 shades, plus 20 more shades that will be available only at Sephora (bless her). DSC08322It’s more than a little bit overwhelming to browse all of the shades online, so I went to the UD store at Covent Garden to have a look instead. It was still overwhelming to see 100 shades spread out in front of me, but I let the excitement take hold and my instincts directed me to a few shades to begin. Those were: 1993, Nighthawk, Violate, Liquid, Twitch, and Uptight.

For the sake of my wallet, I decided that I would allow myself two shades to take home initially and if I really liked the formula, only then would I allow myself to go back for more. DSC08326Nighthawk (a brown-red) and Twitch ( a soft purple with a blue undertone) are the shades that made the cut. 

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At The Beach With Bobbi Brown Beach (EDP Review)

I come from a country with some kick-ass, world class beaches. It’s only to be expected, really; the Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands (yes, there are three zeros following that seven), and while I myself grew up in the painfully urban capital city, a good beach is as little as a couple of hours away by car.Needless to say, my entire life is filled with memories of the beach: of sun and sand and salty sea air and sunblock slathered all over my body. It isn’t just a childhood or summer memory to me — it’s part of my life as a happy inhabitant of the tropics.

And so when a fragrance not only purports to capture the essence of the beach but is also named precisely that — “Beach” —  I am more than interested in being the judge of that.DSC08318Bobbi Brown’s Beach eau de parfum (£50 for 50ml) caught my attention during its most recent re-promote for summer 2016 (originally launched in 2009). The 50ml bottle is very simple, which I love, and there is also a 6ml rollerball version avialable. The fragrance itself is permanent, but for summer there are a limited edition body oil, shower gel, and lotion on offer as well.

The scent is described as a “blend of sand jasmine, sea spray, and mandarin.”

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Genius New Product or Total Gimmick: The Origins Maskimizer

If you like face masks, Origins has a range of some twelve or thirteen to choose from. The most popular ones are the Clear Improvement charcoal mask, the Drink Up Intensive mask, and the Out of Trouble mask. I own all three of those, plus the new Original Skin retexturising mask, and they are all really great. I have my eyes on the Ginzing refreshing mask to try next because I love the moisturiser from that range, but I was popping into Boots to restock my charcoal mask when I caught sight of a new product: the Maskimizer (£ 18.50), which is a “skin-optimising mask primer.”

Origins says that the Maskimizer is a “(p)riming mist with Marine Algae Complex (that) helps hydrate, soften and optimise the appearance of skin so it’s fully prepped to enhance your mask experience.” DSC06413Sounds a bit gimmicky, eh? It’s either gimmicky or absolutely brilliant — and I wouldn’t have picked it up if not for the special offer that brought its price down to just about £7 if I bought it together with my fave Origins mask. Like I said, I was in need of a new charcoal mask, so I thought: why not! I could test it out with all of my other Origins masks as well. 

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The New Elizbeth Arden Eight Hour All-Over Miracle OIL + An Impulse Buy My Grandmother Would Be Proud of

I love, love, love the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. I professed that love in a post I put up a couple of years ago and have been through several tubes of the stuff since. I was about to restock mine at Boots when I got sucked into trying out the shiny and *new* Eight Hour All-Over Miracle OIL, instead.DSC06399The oil (priced at £29.00 for 100mL) is the newest addition to the vast Eight Hour line and is a multi-purpose dry oil that you can use on your face, hair, and all over your body. As it is a dry oil, it is meant to sink in much faster than its heavier sister, the Eight Hour Cream. It smells nothing like the cream (this is slightly floral, the cream slightly medicinal — the original scent at least) and it pretty much behaves nothing like the cream. I thought I would be able to replace the cream with this, but that just isn’t the case.

I only found exactly one use for this multi-purpose oil in my life: as a hair oil. I can’t use it on my face because the scent irritates my skin and as a hand cream, it doesn’t last long. In fact, my hands felt a lot drier when I was using the oil.  Weird. Anyway, it’s saving grace is that it’s a damn good hair oil. I still need a new Eight Hour Cream though!

Right, on to more positive things!DSC06397I also got sucked into buying a new foundation that day. There was some promo that knocked £7 off any Elizabeth Arden base, so I picked out the Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin 24 Hr Foundation (£28.00), which is a medium coverage, oil-free, and low SPF base that’s great for combo-oily skin types.

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Handbag Staples: Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream & Res-Q Ointment

DSC05803Burt’s Bees has a lot of hand care options for just one brand (see here) and I’ve actually had the chance to try out most of them. I’ve never really liked the ones in tubes much for some reason, but the Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (650.00 Php / 6.49 GBP) is something that I’ve had for a while and like to take around with me when I carry smaller handbags.

Recently, I received the Res-Q Ointment (650.00 Php / 6.49 GBP) as part of an outdoors-themed Christmas set and although it isn’t described as a product just for the hands (it’s more like a multi-use healing balm — will explain more below), I like to use it on my hands because my terrible habit of biting the skin around my nails leaves me with little wounds.

I use the Cuticle Cream and the Res-Q ointment almost interchangeably these days, but they are technically not the same product. Let’s have a look at both of them: 

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Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Hepburn Honey

I’ve been living in London for some four months now. I’m having a great time, and one of the things I’ve learned to do to help keep things that way is to not always convert item prices into Pesos in my head. 1 GBP is some 68 PHP, so even a lipstick from Boots that’s only around 6 or 7 GBP isn’t actually as cheap as it might seem to be. Maybe I’m just used to thinking of things in US Dollars (slightly lower change rate) or I just haven’t gotten used to thinking of things in a different currency… in any case, I find that I helps to just not do the conversions before I buy things (unless I’m making a huge purchase, which is rarely the case — all I buy is food and more warmers because it’s freezing here). I’m happier that way.

And so it was that on the day I decided to finally go and buy something from Charlotte Tilbury, I forked over my 23 GBP without much thought– happily, even. It took me ages to pick anything from the brand precisely because I knew it wasn’t cheap, but that didn’t make the realisation that this is a 1,500 PHP lipstick any less painful. Haha. DSC05655Don’t get me wrong — this little tube is worth it (to me). I just don’t normally go for high end lipsticks because all my favourites tend to be from the drugstore anyway. I do think though that because I have been buying a lot less product lately (this is relative to my former self, so I still buy lots compared to most) — and because this is related to me finally knowing exactly what works for me (i.e. I have become boring) — that I can more safely spend a little more on a luxury product. Oooor maybe I’m justifying my purchase. It is a very pretty purchase, no? DSC05668The K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipsticks are Charlotte’s signature range, “curated with modern and classic icons in mind.” I have the shade Hepburn Honey, which is a lovely peachy nude –totally up my alley. The formula for these is supposed to keep your lips looking plump, protect them from the sun, and wear comfortably without bleeding out of the lip line.

You have to give it to Charlotte: you are totally purchasing an experience when you shop her line. Browsing the store was immensely fun and you sort of take that memory home with you, aside from having a beautiful product to hold and love, too. 

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Create Your Own Base With Cover FX’s Custom Cover Drops (G50)

I first heard of the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops (44.00 USD) when Tati (GlamlifeGuru on YouTube) did a first impressions video about the product in April. There is seriously no way anyone can watch that video and walk away from it not wanting the Custom Cover Drops. Tati’s skin looked flawless, the product seemed like such a novel idea, and I was just completely sold.

I picked up a bottle for myself at Sephora when I visited the U.S. in May and since then I have been these magical, innovative, revolutionary drops consistently.
DSC03435The Custom Cover Drops are essentially concentrated pigments that you can mix in with other bases, moisturisers, or even sunblocks, to achieve the level of coverage you want. The Cover FX website describes the product as follows:

Custom Cover Drops can be mixed with anything liquid to add coverage – moisturizers, serums, oils, primers, foundations and tinted moisturizers that are water, oil or silicone-based. These revolutionary drops feature our Flash Fusion Technology™ formula, so as soon as you drop, the solution flashes off leaving behind the pigment that weightlessly transforms your favorite beauty product into the sheerest tint all the way to a total coverage foundation, depending on how many drops you add. The pigments are coated with Lecithin, which is biochemically similar to the skin, to ensure ease of blending and the smoothest application. With unprecedented control, you are free to customize coverage like never before.

What a freakin’ amazing idea, right? The website instructs that 1 Drop = Sheer Coverage, 2 Drops = Medium Coverage, 3 Drops = Full Coverage, and 4 Drops = Total Coverage.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 2.29.37 PMThe product comes in an impressive range of 24 different shades. I asked a sales assistant at Sephora to help me find the right shade and just because their colour IQ system couldn’t suggest a shade for me, she gave up. Uhm. K. So I picked out a shade for myself. Good thing I know my skin well enough!

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An O.K. Product: NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving (Review)

NARS, to my mind, has always been the cool kid on the block. He’s got the good looks and the “it factor”, but when you dig down deep and get to what’s on the inside — he’s not all he’s cracked up to be. Laura Mercier, on the other hand, is the unassuming, simple girl who happens to pack a punch despite her plain Jane appearances.

François and Laura are the stars of my imagined world of personified makeup (because the token bad boy and sweet girl figures are the bare bones of any clichè story, obvs), but there’s also Bobbi (Brown) — the clean-cut preppy girl who cares way too much following the rules — and Pierre (Guerlain) — the snooty rich, foreign guy who drives a Lambo and vacations at Turks and Caicos in the summer.

Other than Holy Shit I want it all, I want it aaaallll, this is the kind of stuff that I think about when I’m walking through Rustan’s beauty section. I can’t be the only one… so — care to add some character write-ups in the comments section? I’ve thought the whole set through, including “younger” brands like Benefit and MAC, but it should be fun to her how other people view brands, personified. ;)

DSC01867Anyway, yes. I am primarily here today to talk about a NARS product. The NARS Dual-Intensity Blush ($45 / approx. 2,450 Php) is another one of the products that I picked up from my trip to the U.S. in May. I was seriously considering the dual-intensity eyeshadows as well, but for one reason or another I ended up with this bugger instead.

It looks cool, as is always the case with NARS products, but it’s also got a hefty price tag attached. I’m always hesitant to drop money on NARS’s skin products (only the Audacious lipsticks have fully impressed me), but I thought I would take a chance on the dual-intensity products because they’re relatively new and rated pretty well by other bloggers. 

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