Category Archives: The Best Ever…

Best Blush Ever

The Best. Blush. Ever. NARS

This post is so overdue as I have been back and forth in my mind on a few brands who have blushers that I really like, but NARS eventually won out. As always with my Best. Ever. posts it’s some big shoes to fill, but I feel pretty confident about awarding this major beauty category to NARS.

Comprehensively I believe that NARS has the best blush selection on the market. They cover all skin tones, from the incredibly pale (Angelika and Amour) to the deepest, richest mahogany (Taj Mahal, Exhibit A and Taos are all divine on black skin). They do a huge range of powder AND cream blushes, (48 in all! Which should keep even the most blush happy amongst you more than satisfied), especially when you throw into the mix their amazing Multiples, which truly are the fast food of makeup – chuck them in your bag, swipe them on your cheeks and lips and bingo! Instant pretty.

The powder blushes come in a gorgeous array of tones and finishes, and have good colour pay-off. They even do ones that are more like powder luminisers, like Albatross, Nico and Miss Liberty. I have been collecting NARS blushes for years, and the hardest thing is deciding which ones to take on a job. A quick count of the Vault and my kit has revealed a pretty staggering 30 NARS blushes to choose from, so you can see I’m a fan from way back.

The cream blushers are also beautiful and can be applied with fingers or a brush, and if you’re feeling really crazy, you can layer them with the powder for long lasting wear.  They have reduced how many creams they have in the range now, which is a shame as they are beautiful, but with a range as expansive and constantly evolving as NARS, I guess things have to go periodically to make room for new makeup lushness.

I love the black rubberized packaging courtesy of master designer Fabien Baron (still so chic, seventeen years on! That’s the hallmark of truly great design), and the names. After all, who else could get away with calling a blush Orgasm and Super Orgasm but NARS?

And even though there are a bazillion shades already available, they just keep coming up with more covetable colours. How is that even possible? I have boxes and boxes of blushes and yet still each season I keep finding another NARS must-have shade. Currently on my radar to add to my collection – after all, a girl really can’t have enough blush, no? – Enchantment, Sex Appeal and Douceur. Do I need them? Hell to the no!  Do I want them? Bet your ass yes.

Also if you can ever get your sticky blush-loving paws on some of the discontinued shades, there are some crackers there too.

Monsieur Nars, thank you for the best range of blushes in the world. I am however still waiting for an invitation to your private island in Bora Bora to enjoy the shade of the palm tree that my NARS habit has funded over the years. Next year around March works for me if that’s good for you?

narscosmetics.com

 

The. Best. Eyeshadow. Quads. Ever. Chanel

Chanel eyeshadow quadThis post is slightly cheating – really it should be “Best Eyeshadow Ever”, but I just couldn’t pick one brand. I have too many eyeshadows that I like – MAC and Dior and NARS and Illamasqua and Chanel and my old Stila ones and Myface and Laura Mercier – oh, and Bobbi Brown! It would be like Sophie’s Choice but with about 50 kids to choose from. Horrible, and too distressing to contemplate. So instead I decided to cheat and start with Eyeshadow Quads. Chanel win those hands down. I was doing makeup for a private client at the weekend and I got seriously back into them.

I have loads! I have at least nine that come with me on every job. Old ones that have been discontinued for years, and newer ones (like last year’s delicious Kaska Beige), and they all get a regular work-out. The colours are super-flattering and can be mixed beautifully, either from within the quad or with others in the Chanel range – or if you’re feeling crazy, from other brands!

Yes I know, the pigment pay off on other brands can be superior, but the finish is so beautiful! And the colour ranges are gorgeous, and go together so well. And yes they are expensive, but you wouldn’t expect to get a discount Ferrari would you?

One thing I have found though is that I much prefer the US versions of the quads – I just prefer the texture, and the texture is markedly different to their UK/European/Australian versions. But sill I love all of them, no matter where I bought them from. And the packaging, well, there is no substitute for that elegant black lacquer.

The only downside is that they have terrible tendency to encourage you to want more – as in new ones every season, as every new collection is more delectable than the last. Ombres Perlees de Chanel for Spring? Don’t mind if I do!

www.chanel.com

Best. Luminiser Ever. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector

Best. Luminiser Ever. Becca Shimmering Skin PerfectorI realized (rather belatedly, since my blog is over 18 months old now), that I very rarely post about luminisers and face glowy things (my last post for becauselondon.com made me realize I’m rather tardy to that party).

It’s not that I don’t believe in them, – in fact I have a whole drawer full of them that says I do, but rather I have whittled them down now through many years of trial and error to a few key items that I swear by. And the best luminser on the market? To my mind, it’s Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector.

I love these. I carry four colours in my kit that cover me for all luminising emergencies and eventualities, from super pale to the deepest bronze. I have blogged about Becca the Aussie wonderbrand before, but perhaps not enough. I think it’s such a beautiful range for real women, and every day life. The whole philosophy of the brand is about skin, and looking gorgeous IN that skin no matter whether you’re super pale or very dark, or somewhere in between. It’s a range that’s particularly great if you’re mixed race as these can be skintones who have a notoriously difficult time matching undertones. I have posted about my love of their concealers before, and these luxurious luminsers definitely make it on to my favourites list as well.

I use Pearl on very fair skins, Gold on medium, Opal on everyone but the darkest, and Bronze (which I can no longer see on their website, so it may have been discontinued, which would be a CRYING SHAME for our darker-skinned sisters) is absolutely amazing on deep skins. It can be used on face or body and the packaging is even travel friendly – very handy when you’re lugging that kit around. The best thing about it is the pearl particle is very small, so it really does mimic skin and give you a healthy glow, instead of looking like you’re auditioning for the remake of Studio 54 (NOT what you want in direct sunlight with a hot guy around. Not. At. All.)

And since everyone who doesn’t live in a yurt knows how and where to apply luminser – on the high points of the face silly, where the light hits (cheekbones, cupid’s bow, browbone if you must and for a sexy sheen, the clavicles), so I won’t go into it here. Brush or fingers is fine, summer or winter, you know you need some shine in your life!

www.beccacosmetics.com

Best. Concealer. Ever.: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage

Best Concealer Ever: Laura Mercier CamouflageI can’t believe I’ve been blogging for well over a year now, and I haven’t  mentioned this trusty little helper that comes on literally every job. It’s almost as if because it’s there, just when I need it for dark circles and nasty red spots, I don’t even think about it. All these other concealers step in and steal its limelight, when really, it’s the star of the show.

It’s super thick and dense (so great for spots and blemishes), and each colour has two pans of product, one more yellow-y skin coloured one and a peach, so it can be mixed up to just the right shade. The peachier tone is perfect for concealing under-eye darkness – let’s be honest, the scourge of women everywhere.

But the trick is, you need to know how to use it. You need a brush – the Laura Mercier concealer one is pretty good, and then use the brush to mix the colours up the right way on the back of your hand. Then apply with feathering motions (or dabbing motions if it’s a spot) onto the offending area. It can be sheered out or coverage built up until all imperfections just melt away under its tender ministrations.

For under eye circles it really is usually too thick, so I generally put a bit of basic moisturiser on the back of my hand (Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturiser is a favourite for this task), and dip a tiny bit on the brush, then onto the product. The moisturiser breaks it up slightly so you get sheerer coverage. Laura Mercier also makes a Secret Concealer which is more peach-y, and more emollient which I sometimes mix in too. And LM Secret Camo (for it is Secret Camo, and I am Australian, and I will abbreviate things even when it’s not appropriate) can be layered under other products too, for even more superior eyebag coverage.

It comes in 6 shades from really quite pale to reasonably deep tones, although if you are extremely pale or very dark I would stick with Becca as they have a wider selection of colours to choose from.

All in all it is my go-to concealer guy, and I owe it a major apology for not covering it sooner. I may even buy it a drink.

For more information visit http://www.lauramercier.com

The. Best. Tinted. Moisturiser. Ever.

Laura Mercier tinted MoisturizerLaura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser

I’ve had this post kicking around in my head for a long time, and in the meantime I’ve tried at least four other tinted moisturizers, and not one of them has come close to beating the original and the best – Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser.

Calling a product The Best Ever is a big statement, but when I do it’s because I feel pretty confident that I’ve tried a lot in that category, and this is the best on the market. There is a reason why this turns up every single year in the Allure and Instyle Best of Beauty Awards!

Tinted Moisturiser was one of Laura Mercier’s first products in her eponymous line, and it’s wonderful for just giving a light touch of something for those who don’t really need full-on foundation. In Foundation Land, a very confusing place most women are obligated to visit at least a few times in their lifetime, a place filled with unhelpful sales assistants trying to take your money – it’s the lightest coverage, the first step on the foundation ladder. It’s for those with good skin naturally, and it’s particularly awesome when it’s hot (as it’s a lighter product and won’t slide off your face so much), and on holidays as you can just whack it on with your fingers and be out the door and off to the beach. Because it is such a light coverage, I like to go a shade darker in Tinted Moisturiser – it gives your skin a sun-kissed glow without being too much.

It has an SPF of 20, comes in  2 formulas (normal and oil-free), plus an Illuminating one for dull, dry skin (great in winter, although not for those with oily skin), and comes in 10 shades, from very pale to pretty dark. I’ve used it myself and I’ve used it at work for upwards of ten years, and no other brand comes close to getting the right creaminess, range of shades and lovely texture that evens your skintone and gives your face a much-needed lift in the morning.

Laura Mercier’s range specializes in products that make your skin look perfect, and of her foundations, this is my favourite. That’s why Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser is the best one ever.

Best. Foundation. Ever. Chanel Vitalumiere

Chanel VitalumiereThis is a big call. I mean, how do you choose the best of something that is so specific, and so personal? After all, it is supposed to replicate the skin you’re in. And whilst this is my Number 1, (and 2, and 3) foundation in my kit because of how it meets the demands of my work, it may not be right for you.

But I do want to tell you why I love it so. For a start, it’s nice and dewy, just like gorgeous healthy skin should be. It blends like a dream and doesn’t get dry or cakey. I use this on everyone – models on shoots, real people, for the red carpet, for the shows, straight beauty, advertising – I can hardly think of a job I DON’T use it on. You can sheer it out or beef up the coverage, go all over or just where needed, use it with a brush or a sponge or your fingers. Sigh. Can you tell I’m still enamoured after all these years?

Oh sure I’ve toyed with many other foundations – in fact I have a drawer full at home! Even other Chanel foundations don’t rock my socks off like Vitalumiere. I flirted with Teint Innocence and had a brief decamp to Pro Lumiere (too heavy for winter, doable for those who like a more matte finish), but always, always I go back to my trusty VL (I’m Australian so we abbreviate everything, even things that shouldn’t be abbreviated, like Chanel products). Anyways…

It does have its drawbacks however – if you have very oily skin it might be too glowy for you. For me it doesn’t matter because I’m always there to top up with powder to keep the shine at the right level, but equally if you live in a hot or sunny climate (Australia and the American South, I’m talking to YOU!) it’s probably going to move around too much and be a bit heavy. In which case can I recommend something lighter like MAC Face and Body, or Chantecaille’s Oil Free Future Skin?

Chanel Vitalumiere only comes in 7 shades in Europe, so it’s great for lighter skintones, not so ace for black or mixed race people – this is the only downside of this foundation for me. So I keep Bobbi Brown and Becca foundations also in my kit to cover all the bases – so to speak!

Vitalumiere gives your skin the glow it wishes it had, and every makeup artist I know has this in their kit. For me as a makeup artist, it’s the Best. Foundation. Ever.

Best. Waterproof. Mascara. Ever. (at least for this week)

Cover Girl Waterproof MascaraCover Girl Volume Exact in Black

The fact that I’ve been kicking back and tanning, swimming in the pool and sipping frozen margaritas, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m on holidays. But I assure you that it’s a cover (a deep cover) for my real purpose, which is bringing you the best of American beauty – including finding the world’s best waterproof mascara.

I’ve been relentlessly testing, through sunscreen applications, evening cook-outs and trips to Austin’s Barton Springs in 45 degree heat, and this is the one that’s held up – Cover Girl’s Maximum Volume Waterproof Mascara.

It’s got a pliable rubber brush that gets to the base of every lash, and so far even with multiple coats it doesn’t create the dreaded Stick Lash.

And let’s be clear – this is no lightweight testing process. We’re talking underwater breastroke, twice-daily dips and margarita fuelled poolside frolics, and always, always I have smudge proof, splash-proof, sweet and fluffy lashes. Meaning I don’t have to look like an egg (my natural state without mascara), even though I’m poolside.

I’ll be continuing my stringent testing methods all this week and next, and there are a quite a few more things on my list, so I’ll keep you posted on what other little makeup gems I find. Sadly for my UK readers they will probably be mainly US products, since I plan to take full advantage of what’s on offer in the nirvana of the American drugstore. But if you do find something you really like, you can always buy it on www.drusgtore.com as they now ship overseas. Which is dangerous. Not as dangerous as my mascara testing, but someone’s gotta do it!

The.Best.Gloss.Ever. Lancome Color Fever Gloss in 206

Lancome Color Fever Gloss in 206Regular readers of MakeupMole might have noticed I’m not big on glosses at the moment. That’s not to say I haven’t been partial to them in the past – oh no! I have two whole drawers of them in the Vault that are testament to my crazy gloss-loving days, back when I never knew you could have too many of the suckers  and models looked like they had been shellacked – any job without a mixture of three different glosses to get just the right color – well I wasn’t on it.

Since lipstick and lip liner have been taking centre stage again, I readjusted my kit and ditched a lot of my shiny stuff, in favor of matte and satin lippies, MAC lip mixes and Make Up For Ever Matte Lip Creme. But I do still carry a few lip glosses for those moments when you need it – clear MAC lipglass, some randoms I NEVER use but I have in case I have a pastel or cream colored lip emergency, and this fella, which still even in these gloss-starved times, seems to come out to play – Lancome Color Fever Gloss no 206. It’s a sparkly (but not too sparkly) pinky beig-y nude that was one of the earlier holographic lip glosses which normally I’m not too fond of – Acid Trip on your Lips, anyone? But this one just gives superior shine in a great color that looks gorgeous either on its own or layered over lipstick. I’ve used it on beauty shoots that were all about the skin and red carpet appearances alike, and it’s always a winner.

So if they’ll be prying your gloss out of your stiff cold hands (and let’s face it, for mere mortals a little bit of lip sheen is just prettier than a dry, dusty mouth) then this could be the gloss or you.