This 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!
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fun and festive holiday season and are returning to every day life bright eyed and bushy tailed (as opposed to hungover and broke, which is the other, less attractive option).
I’m going to kick off the year by declaring a new love, although it’s one that’s been around for awhile. And alright, I’ve been crushing on it for a bit as well, most of last year in fact, but still! Let’s put it in the New Year, New Love category.
It’s Lancôme. My interest in this brand goes from strength to strength. I used to just like their skincare – their Bi-Facil Eye Makeup remover has been in my kit for years as it removes even the toughest eye makeup with one gentle swipe, and I love their Hydra-Zen moisturisers. I had a few makeup bits of theirs floating around, but nothing major. By the time I got to Lancôme I felt I had really built my kit and there wasn’t much room for anything else. In the last couple of years though it feels like it has really become more interesting as a brand – the formulations are the same high quality they have always been, but with Aaron de May now as Global Creative Director it feels like it’s breaking new ground and this grand dame of French cosmetics is loosening up a little, getting a younger, fresher image.
So just before Christmas I found myself SQUEEZING in a new Strasse eyeshadow (and I do mean squeezing – that kit is TIGHT). The colour? Dazzling Steel, which you would expect to be a rich pewter but is actually an unusual khaki grey colour. Why is it getting crushed into my kit? It’s sparkly, and I’m still loving metallic makeup – it’s not just for the holidays you know!
I like the way the shine catches the light but still looks elegant, not like some 15 year old let out of a school disco. This is sparkle for grown ups, and whilst it’s lovely as a liner I’m looking forward to letting this sparklepuss out of the bag and rocking it with a smoky eye combo for some true sexy evening allure. And Lancôme? I have a feeling we ain’t heard nothing yet.
Let’s talk about eyebrows for a moment. This is one of those products that is so mind-bogglingly simple and effective that you think everyone must know about it, but I’m always amazed when I do private clients and they have never even heard of it.
Brow Gel is a tube like a mascara wand and tube that has a clear gel inside it, and when you run it through your brows it invisibly grooms them, gives them an oh so subtle sheen, and most importantly, holds them in place. Why is that so exciting I hear you ask? Well if you have to ask that, you apparently don’t need it. Some brows need it more than others. For those with sweet, tame little arches that look the same year in and year out and never need plucking, tending, pencilling or re-arranging, you can just stop reading now. I know there are a few of you lucky people out there. I am however, not one of them.
From having gigantor brows in the 80’s that needed a hedge trimmer to tame them, through to the 90’s when my brows all but disappeared when I plucked them all away (curse your elfin beauty in those CK Calvin Klein ads Kate Moss, it’s all your fault!), and now to the noughties when my brows have valiantly struggled to grow back but in sexy patches, I am one of those people who need brow help. Lots of it. Of the grooming and pencilling kind, every day, or else I look like a mad woman.
So brow gel is always in my kit, both personally, and professionally – and the one I love the most? MAC. They also do fancy coloured ones which I have, but to be brutally honest I don’t really use. Clear looks good on every brow colour, holds it in place and a tube will last you forever. So no more mad woman brows. The hedge trimmer is optional.
Way back in the mists of time I wrote one of my first posts for MM, and it was telling the world how crap I thought NARS’ old mascara was. (There was also something about Huey Lewis and the News in there, but Lord knows what that has to do with mascara, crap or otherwise).
However I am thrilled to report that after extensive testing, NARS new Larger than Life Volumizing mascara is proving itself to be a winner. The brush is a bit bigger than normal but not jumbo oversized like Diorshow mascara or Benefit’s Bad Girl Lash, and the main thing I like about it is that it doesn’t get goopy or overload the lash. Thus you can build a few coats with it still looking lovely and fluffy, and it really is quite volumizing.
One thing I would say is that sucker is staying on once it’s on! Make sure you have a good remover because it has the staying properties of a waterproof mazzie, without the crunchiness – which if you live in a hot climate or like a badass, long last mascara, this is for you.
In the mascara stakes Monsieur NARS, you have well and truly redeemed yourself.
Just when I think I couldn’t be any more in love with Topshop, they go and produce these lovely videos for their new makeup collection, Heavy Duty. It’s a rockin’ London eye, fabulously cool makeup artist Hannah Murray (who is the Creative Director for Topshop makeup) is on beauty duty, and they have one of my favourite singers, Sia, providing the tunes. All r-i-i-i-ight.