Wednesday, 23 February 2011

How to wear MAC eyeshadow in Fig.1

I recently purchased MAC eyeshadow in Fig. 1 to fit in my 4-pan palette along with Woodwinked and Mythology. 

Fig. 1 is a great versatile colour that would work on a variety of skintones and eye colours! MAC describes it as "eggplant purple" and I would say it's pretty accurate. It's definitely on the warmer side of purples. It belongs to the group of shadows called "Matte²", which are richly pigmented and obviously have a matte finish. Compared to the regular MAC matte eyeshadows, these are superior in quality and blendability, and generally have more vibrant colours. Forget dull, flat matte shades.

Here I'm suggesting three possible combinations to wear it.
Eyeshadows swatched on my NW15 arm, over E.L.F. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer.

The first combo would be great for a soft, warm, everyday look. Fig.1 goes in the crease to give dimension, while on the lid I put a rosy-golden shade, possibly with some shimmer/metallic finish to contrast the other one. In this swatch I used Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eyeshadow in Rose Gold, which has a really beautiful rosy base with a golden duochrome effect. It's a cream eyeshadow but it lasts throughout the day.
Left: Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eyeshadow, Right: MAC Fig. 1

Left: NYX grey eyeshadow, Right: MAC Fig.1
The second option would be to wear a shimmery, light grey/silver shade on the lid, and Fig. 1 again in the crease. In this combo the pop is given by the contrast between a very cool colour (grey) with the warmth and softness of Fig.1. In this picture I used an eyeshadow from NYX Caribbean Palette in I Dream Of Saint John, namely the second shade from the left. Another option would be to use an even bolder lid shade, such as a metallic cream silver shadow like Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #3, which looks like foil once applied and won't crease or smudge.
This colour pairing reminds me of the new NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Melusine, which you can see here.

Finally, Fig. 1 could be used on the lid for a bold, nighttime look, with a deep black in the crease. For this swatch I used KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow n.20, a creamy true black, which is a great alternative to MAC Shadesticks (basically the same type of product for a fraction of the price). For added drama, apply some golden glitter over Fig.1 (KIKO Electric Lights Loose Pearl no.03), to achieve a sort of duochrome effect. This combo would make for a perfect classy, sexy smokey eye.

I hope this was useful! Feel free to leave a comment!

Monday, 21 February 2011

The importance of being primed

An eyeshadow primer is a must-have, whether you have just started experimenting with make-up or you are a pro already. 
Before running out and getting one, read this basic info and have a look at my swatches to understand why they are so important!

What is it?
An eyeshadow primer is meant to be a base for your eyeshadow. You have to apply this after your moisturizer and before any eye make-up. They usually come in a liquid, creamy or compact formula and are mostly silicon-based (just like face primers), because silicon smooths out any imperfection or messy texture you may have on your eyelids to prep them for eyeshadow application. 

How should I use it?
Wait a few seconds after you have moisturized and gently pat the primer all over your lid, crease and browbone. Let it stay for a few minutes before doing your eye make-up, so the primer will set properly on your skin. 

What difference does it make?
The first time you'll use an eyeshadow primer you will probably notice how different your shadow will look. It will be easier to apply and blend it, the colour will be more vibrant and true-to-pan, and it will also last longer! You will also experience less fallout and fading throughout the day. 

I have tried three different primers so far, probably the most popular ones (E.L.F., Too Faced and Urban Decay). In the picture below you can see the same eyeshadow (MAC in Fig. 1) swatched on my bare arm with and without primers. *

Left to right: 1) no base, 2) over E.L.F. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer, 3) over Urban Decay Primer Potion, and 4) over Too Faced Shadow Insurance:

The swatch with no base looks definitely duller than the other three. There is probably no noticeable difference between the three swatches with primer on, except maybe that swatches 3 and 4 have a more intense colour compared to swatch 2. 

Staying power is something that can be really boosted with the right eyeshadow primer. Therefore I put my swatches to test and rubbed a clean tissue over them several times.

As you can see, the eyeshadow with no base faded away quite easily and the colour is barely noticeable. The other three performed better, Too Faced Shadow Insurance (4) being the most resistent one. To my surprise, Urban Decay Primer Potion (3) came off more easily than E.L.F. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (2)! 

*Swatches in natural light, no flash

There are some final budget considerations. If you've never owned an eyeshadow primer before, you might want to start off with something relatively simple and cheap, such as the E.L.F. one, which retails for about €3.50 or €4 (depending on discounts) on their website. This is a really good product for the price, and probably one of my favourite items from the whole E.L.F. line. 

Urban Decay Primer Potion is no doubt the most popular eyeshadow primer out there. Urban Decay is not currently available in Italy, except for one Sephora store in Milan. I have a sample size of the Primer Potion which came with the Naked Palette I bought back in the UK. You can buy this online from some UK websites or on for about £12. Personally I'm not a fan of the packaging: although it looks kinda cute it gets really difficult to get the product at the bottom, and the sponged wand doesn't help. 

Packaging wise, Too Faced Shadow Insurance is a much better choice. It comes in a small clean tube which makes it definitely easier to squirt out the right amount of product you want to use. It's also easier to find in Italy, you can buy this at any Sephora store for €14.
This one is a total winner for me and the one I reach for most of the times. 

I'd love to hear your experience about eyeshadow primers! Have you used others I did not list in this post? Leave a comment!

Warm eyeshadow for blue eyes: copper tutorial

Here we go with warm eyeshadow for blue eyes, second take! 

This time I used three different colours in the range of reds and coppers plus one highlighting shade. If you have blue eyes, bear in mind that copper, gold, orange and red will make them pop and stand out more than any other shade. 

How did I achieve this look? 

1. I combed and filled in my eyebrows with E.L.F. Brow Kit in Ash using a small angled brush.

2. I primed my entire eye area with Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Make sure you are using a silicon-based primer because it will keep your eyeshadow from creasing and smudging. 

3. I applied Urban Decay eyeshadow in Half Baked all over my lid. This is a gorgeous yellow gold that goes on like butter. I used a large shading brush to get an even application and lightly blended out the edges.

4. As the second darkest shade I chose MAC eyeshadow in Mythology, a classic orangey colour for blue-eyed ladies. I packed the colour on a tapered brush and tapped off the excess to prevent fallout. Then I put the colour in my crease in layers to achieve contrast with the golden shade on the lid. Then again, blended the edges with the same brush.

5. I picked up MAC Pigment in Vanilla to use as a highlighter on my browbone and inner corners of my eyes, using a fluffy angled brush with natural bristles. I made sure I blended the highlighter with the other colours to make harsh edges disappear.

6. With the same small tapered brush I applied the darkest shade, KIKO Highly-Pigmented Eyeshadow n. 30, in the outer corner of my eyes, forming a V-shape, and on the lower lashline for about two thirds of its length. This colour can be described as a deep, pearly, burgundy. In this tutorial I mostly used shimmery eyeshadows but you can play up with textures as well by using a mix of matte, satiny, and shimmery eyeshadows, it's really up to you. 

7. I finished off with a defined black eyeliner (L'Oreal Lineur Intense), winging it out a little bit, and three generous coats of mascara (Rimmel Extra Super Lash). On my lower lash line I also applied some black pencil liner (Estee Lauder Double Wear Eyeliner in Onyx) with a light hand and smudged it out with its own sponge applicator.

This makes for a pretty bold eye, so if you need something more wearable during office hours, I would recommend using the two medium shades only, that is the yellowish gold on the lid and the orangey shade in the crease. You want to use some black liner and mascara anyways, otherwise you might look like you just got punched in the eyes, and that's not quite the purpose of this make-up. As I said in my previous post, make sure you use black or cool-toned eyeshadow in between the reddish shades and your eyes, to tone down the redness and make the most out of this contrast.

Do you like this look? Have you tried it yet? Tell me in the comments!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Warm eyeshadow for blue eyes: combo and tutorial

Until a while ago I was unhappily convinced that only cool colours would look good on girls with blue eyes, fair skin and blonde hair (read: me). Thanks to YouTube and some beauty bloggers I learnt that the best colour combinations for blue eyes often include many, many warm colours. In fact, if you haven't, you should have a look at the classic colour wheel that you can find here.

Colour theory is really very important when choosing which eyeshadows you want to apply when doing your make-up. The goal would be to make your eyes pop, and that is achieved by using the shades that are opposite to your eye colour on the wheel. In my case, blue is directly opposite to oranges, yellows and reds. What?! Orange eyeshadow on my eyelids?!

Yes sir. There are a few tricks to bear in mind when picking these shades, but by using them carefully you can achieve a really stunning gaze. Here's what I'm talking about:
(excuse the poor photography)

How did I achieve this look?
1. I filled my eyebrows with E.L.F. Brow Kit in Ash and primed the entire eye area with Urban Decay Primer Potion, from the inner corner of the eyes up to the browbone. Always remember to apply your primer in every area you are planning to apply eyeshadow. 

2. To highlight I used a small amount of MAC Cream Colour Base in Luna and gently patted it along the browbone and tearduct area. 

3. On my eyelid I packed on MAC Woodwinked, a gorgeous, shimmery, slightly dirty gold.

4. Applied MAC Deep Truth in the crease and outer corner of my eye. Deep Truth is a deep blue with an uber metallic finish, which in this picture does not quite show up.

5. I blended the two colours together, then lined my eyes with black liquid eyeliner (L'Oreal Lineur Intense) and finished off with three coats of black mascara (Max Factor 2000 Calorie).

One of the keys to make warm eyeshadows work with blue eyes, IMHO, is to put them in contrast with cooler shades (e.g. blue, purple, etc.) and/or a deep black eyeliner. This way your complexion too won't look too washed off if you're very pale like me.

The next post will be about another great warm eyeshadow combo for blue eyes... Keep reading!

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation Photo & Swatches

As I was finally able to grab a decent camera, I took pictures of MUFE HD Foundation #117, which I reviewed in my previous post.
Here is the bottle (please note that the lighting is quite warm, bear with me until I find the proper shooting equipment):

And this is the foundation swatched on my NW15 hand:

It might look a tad dark in the pictures but it actually blends heavenly with my super fair skin. In fact, it is the second lightest shade in the HD range.

Have you tried this foundation yet? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation Review

I decided to write my first post about this product because:
a) I've just purchased it.
b) It's a widely popular foundation.

What was I looking for?
As an everyday make-up base, my favourite one has to be MAC Face and Body Foundation (which I'll review later), but lately I began to realize that it might not be suitable for winter, when my skin tends to get rather dehydrated. Because it is so sheer, sometimes I felt it did not provide enough protection, especially in harsh conditions such as dryness, strong wind, etc. So I started my research for a new foundation that would be suitable for the cold weather.

Which shade was the best match?
I was led to try this popular foundation because it truly has a great shade choice! I was matched to #115 by the SA at Sephora, but she obviously didn't know her thing, as I have to stay away from pinkish foundations to counteract redness on nose and cheeks. The actual perfect match was #117 (I am NW15 in MAC). I think anyone can find a great colour match with this product. #117 is great for fair ladies with yellow undertones and/or redness that needs to be covered. I would recommend #115 to someone with a strong yellowish cast to brighten up her complexion.

What were my first impressions?
Now, down to the product itself. It comes in a nice and functional plastic packaging, and fortunately it has a pump, which makes it more hygenic. The foundation comes out very liquidy in texture, but not as watery as MAC Face&Body or MUFE Face&Body. It is easy to work with, although it tends to dry out quite fast, so you might want to do every part of your face separately for a flawless finish. As I said, the colour match was absolutely perfect for me, with no detectable difference in the jawline area!

How would I apply this foundation?
a) Fingers: I always use my fingers when it's the first time I've tried a new foundation. Coverage is moderate and it allows you to warm up the product so as to better let it sink into your skin.
b) Regular foundation brush (Sigma E60): this is my favourite one. Application was easy, hygenic, with medium but very natural coverage and no streaks. I think this would be the method to go.
c) Stippling brush (MAC 187): the stippling technique allows to build the foundation up to full coverage, with a fairly natural result. I didn't like this one very much though, as it made the product feel quite dry after the application.

Did it live up to my expectations?
In general, this is a medium coverage foundation, that can be built up to full, suitable for normal to dry skin IMHO. It feels comfortable on my skin, and I can definitely see the "HD effect" when I'm wearing it. It DOES look good in any lighting, my pores disappear, and it generally improves the appearance of my skin!

I do wear it over the HD primer (#5 Blue), which makes a difference. I find it doesn't look that good without a good base. Also, if you have normal to dry skin like me, you want to make sure you use a rich moisturizer underneath because oddly, this foundation dries out to a satin/matt finish but when it settles it blends with the natural oils in your skin and can look a little bit dewey (not greasy on me, but I guess it would be an issue for people with oily skin). I also realized that, for the same reasons, it is a good idea to dust a finely-milled powder over it to set. I use ELF's HD Powder or Clinique Redness Solution Mineral Pressed Powder. The only other minor con I could find is that it tends to emphasize any dryness or uneven spots when you haven't exfoliated for a while.

What are my final thoughts?
In sum, this is not a low-maintenance foundation: I feel I need to exfoliate, prime and powder for best results. Otherwise, it truly looks AMAZING and lives up to my expectations!

This is not the thicker, protective foundation I was looking for and it does have some minor flaws. However, I definitely liked it a lot for how flawless my face looks when I'm wearing this (read soft focus effect!). I gave in and bought it, for €38 (NOT cheap).

DO buy this if:
- you have normal to slightly dry skin
- you want something lightweight that provides medium coverage
- you need a good makeup for flash photography

DON'T buy this if:
- you have oily or extremely dry skin
- your skin is ruddy, very uneven or has bad acne issues
- you don't like splurging on foundations

Final rating: 4.5/5