Monday, April 26, 2010

SPF must-haves

Last Sunday was the first time this year when I digged out my serious sun protection products. With the summer approaching, I thought I could share some of my favorite skincare and make-up products with built-in SPF protection, which is crucial for those sunny days!

1. First up, my favorite product as of this week: Sleek Makeup Pout Polish in Perfect Plum. I got this tinted lip conditioner from one of my fav bloggers ever, Loveaudrey, who might possibly know my make-up taste better than I do! I know it's also Cami's favorite, and she knows her darker but still wearable shades :) I wasn't swayed at the first glance, as the color seems to be a bit murky, brownish red, but on the lips it can look as either a soft wash of my-lips-but-better loveliness, or dabbed on more heavily, a perfect daytime red. It's very creamy without any sparkles and smells faintly of vanilla. And, more importantly for this post, it has SPF 15!

2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen SPF 45. It does exactly what it says on the can: it has a non-greasy, fast absorbing formula and thanks to the aerosol applicator, can be easily used at every angle on even those difficult to reach areas, and on the face as well! My husband likes this one too as it helped a lot with a sun allergy he developped on our holidays in Cyprus. It has quite a strong smell when you first spray it, but it does fade on the skin.

3. Dove Summer Glow Beauty Body Lotion SPF 15. It's a moisturizing gradual self-tanner with added sun protection, which I think is pure genius! It protects your skin from sun damage while tanning it at the same time, a perfect solution for the pale me. The mouldy biscuit smell is quite bearable in this one and it makes my skin feel soft and hydrated. They also have other versions in the range catering for different skin tones as well as a shimmery one, and I think Dove's self-tanning lotions are among the best on the market.

4. Softlips Lip Balm SPF 20. What can I say? I love it so much that I already have a back-up, as you can see in the photo. I wear it every day under lipstick, it provides a great, smooth, moisturizing base for any lip products. It also feels a bit tingly on the lips and comes in the most yummy flavors. They also have an organic one too, but unfortunately without any SPF.

5. MAC Studio Finish concealer SPF 35. It's not that obvious that a concealer should have an SPF in it, but it is a great idea in fact: it's always a good idea to wear a high SPF on the delicate under eye area to prevent premature wrinkles, and if you use it to conceal redness such as broken capillaries, it protects those problem areas as well. I've raved about other qualities of this concealer in other posts, so I'm not going to repeat myself here, but yes, it is my HG concealer (so far).

What are your favorite products with SPF? I'm on the lookout for a good, oil-free moisturizer for my face with SPF of at least 30 - would you have any recommendations? I'd really appreciate your help! xxx

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Green helping hand

Lots of you, lovely ladies, were kind enough to comment on my last post saying that you couldn't see anything wrong with the state of my skin, which is my major inferiority complex. I can't say how much more confident it has made me feel, so huge thank you for all your sweet words!

Anyway, I also think the not-so-bad appearance of my skin might be due to a new beauty product in the regimen: green color corrector. I remember having one of those when I was a teenager, but since I've never really felt the need to get one, until quite recently. I've noticed that with my uber pale pinkish skin, it's extremely difficult to find a good shade to conceal acne scars, spots or other red areas. I love my MAC Studio Finish in NW20 for under eye circles, but it looks way too orange on blemishes - and having a mismatched concealer on blemishes just accentuates them even further!

So, on my recent trip to Inglot, I decided to invest in their Perfect Concealer in shade no.41, which is basically a pale, slightly yellowy green. It was 15 zlotys (about 3,5 pounds/5 dollars), so after I made sure it didn't contain any mineral oils, I gave it a go. And you know what? This DOES make a difference.

It comes in a pencil form and has a nice, creamy texture, unobtrusive smell and fairly good pigmentation, but nothing crazy, which I like, because I can build up the coverage. It's a satin finish and set with some powder lasts all day on my oily skin. I just smear some on a clean finger and then dab on problem areas, or sometimes put a bit on the brush, or just use it straight from the bullet if I need some more precision and coverage. Here are some swatches for you:

And here you can see it in action on a randomly reddish knuckle. I initially planned to show you how it works on a spot, but I'm not THAT condifent yet, so my hand has to suffice for now:

Definitely check green color correctors out if you have problems concealing redness, and especially if your skin is as pale and cool toned as mine. I have to admit that I don't always top it up with a regular concealer, because when blended out, it matches my skin quite well - bizzare, isn't it? Thumbs up for this one!

Do you use color correctors? What products or tricks have you recently discovered? I'd love to hear your thoughts! xxx

Saturday, April 17, 2010

FOTD: Bright and Simple

I haven't done one of those in ages, frankly because I've been feeling quite insecure about my skin's condition lately. I'm trying hard to change the attitude I have towards my face; it's quite unbelievable how critical we can be of ourselves. I've noticed I don't even pay that much attention to uneven skin texture in others, but it drives me to tears in myself.

Anyway, back to business: I neglected my black liquid eyeliner a lot in the past months, so I decided to whip it out together with another forgotten product, Inglot Gel lipstick in a vibrant deep pink shade. Here's the effect:

The photos were taken after a few hours' wear, so excuse any smudges or imperfections. I was after very clean, minimalistic lines on the eye and a bold splash of color on the lips. I think of this make-up as of a modern version of classic pin-up look, and in my opinion it goes quite well with a very pale complexion like mine because of the huge contrasts between the paleness of the skin and black and berry make-up colors.

I don't know how much of those guidelines I managed to put into practice, but this sure was a hit with my father. He likes darker lip colors a lot, maybe being educated as an actor he's not really into the whole 'make-up no make-up' trend :)

Products used:
MAC Studio Finish concealer in NW20 under eyes and on blemishes
Coastal Scents Flawless Finish mineral foundation in Honey Light
NYX blusher in Angel

Annabelle So Foxy eyeshadow through the brows
Benefit F.Y... eye! primer
Inglot pearl eyeshadow no. 397 on the lid (and this color deserves a separate post, it's so pretty! Not that you can see in the photos...)
GOSH black liquid eyeliner pen
Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara

Softlips SPF20 lipbalm
Inglot Gel Lipstick no. 58 (review & swatches here)

What forgotten products did you dig out this week? xxx

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

5 products I regret buying

I have to admit that I very rarely get products that I later regret buying, because I always try to research everything carefully before hitting the stores. However, like most of us, sometimes I also take those spur-of-the-moment decisions, or simply get something that works for most gals but not me.

Anyhow, here's the list of 5 products that didn't really do it for me:

1. Sephora Professionnel Zero-Shine Base

Sephora claims it's an instantly mattifying primer that lasts on the skin for a long time. I agree that it has a nice consistency and smell, spreads well and gives your skin a matte and smooth finish right away. Does it last though? No, not on my oily skin. It does get shiny at the 4 hour break as usual, plus I find that putting a moisturizer and a primer under foundation is just too much for me. It's also jampacked with silicones, alcohol and parabens. Good news is that I've just swapped it on MUA, so no more buyer's remorse!

2. Miss Sporty French Manicure nail polish

It's a beautiful baby pink shade, but a nightmare to apply. This polish is streaky, bubbly and very sheer. The argument that you can't expect much from a cheapo varnish doesn't really stand when you think about brands such as Barry M. I was quite disappointed with this one, especially that I have two other Miss Sporty polishes and they're both great quality!

3. Maybelline Shine Seduction lip gloss in Pink Whisper (110)

I like the idea of the slanted applicator, but in practice the tiny holes which dispense the product get stuck and you just get a random blob out of one or two. I really like the shade, on the lips it's pretty much transparent, but with multidimensional sparkles in gold, pink and blue. What I don't like is how incredibly heavy and sticky this feels on the lips. Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible product, but annoying enough to throw it to the back of my make-up drawer.

4. Max Factor Colour Perfection eyeliners in Olive (70) and Ice Blue (60)

I got these pencils before my make-up obsession started and I thought back then they were the best thing since sliced bread. Now I think they're impossible to use: poorly pigmented, flaky and incredibly hard and tugging on the skin. I admit they might have hardened over time, but they just don't compare to some other and often cheaper brands I tried. They're both broken now, plus the sharpeners they come with simply don't work. Max Factor, you've got a long way to go!

5. Wet n Wild MegaGlo Face Illuminator in Blushing 341 (discontinued)

Actually, I like this cream highlighter per se... I just don't like it on me. Granted, it imparts a beautiful, pearly light pink glow to my cheekbones, which looks very natural on my pale skin, but I have a strong suspicion the mineral oil in it breaks me out in tiny but numerous bumps. Also, it does feel quite thick and oily on the skin, so I think I should rather stick to highlighting powders for now.

What are the products you regret buying? xxx

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The scariest eyeshadow


Meet the scariest eyeshadow in my collection so far: Inglot no. 366. This screaming crimson shade seemed quite bright when I swatched in the store, but definitely more on the warm coral rather than brick red side. When my pan was laying on the counter ready to be paid for and taken home, I pointed out to the sales assistant it wasn't exactly the same color as on the display. She immediately replied that all pressed powders seem to be darker at first, but it's just a surface layer, and then they oxidize and become lighter. I always thought oxidizing actually meant that the products go darker and more orange in case of face powders or foundations, but I wasn't really in the mood for discussion so I sheepishly nodded and put the culprit in my handbag.

... Together with MAC Deep Truth, they look like total outcasts in my otherwise neutral palette.

All the way home I kept having those visions of myself wearing this eyeshadow and looking like I've just cried my eyes out or had a severe allergic reaction... And then I tried to be rational and convince myself that a) I need to step out of my comfort zone, b) I can make it work, c) I can always use it as a blusher.

And you know what? I was actually right!

I attempted a very subtle warm coral eye the next morning and absolutely loved the effect. I put a matte beige eyeshadow on the lid over Benefit F.Y...eye! primer, contoured the crease with Benefit Hoola bronzer and then swept a tiny bit of my Inglot shadow over it. I finished off with some Benefit Eye Bright in the inner corner, under the brow and on lower waterline, smudged Annabelle liner in Rich Chocolate on the upper lash line and put on some Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara on top and bottom.

These photos were taken after a full day of wear, so it's pretty long lasting dare I say!

Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase and I feel you can create a lot of different looks with this eyeshadow depending on how much you put on, as it is highly pigmented. Also it seems to me that warm, red-based shades make my dark brown eyes stand out more and bring chestnut tones to the iris.

What's your take on reddish eyeshadow? Fierce or fearsome?

PS I'm not sure if it's only the case in Poland, but you can buy single eyeshadow pans at Inglot when you bring your original eyeshadow palette with you to the store. The pans are slightly more expensive when bought separately, but for the equivalent of 2 pounds a pop, I really don't mind. Try it next time you stop at their counter, Inglot eyeshadow pans fit MAC palettes perfectly.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Today at about 9 am a Polish governmental plane crashed near Smoleńsk, in the territory of Russia. On the board were present many of the most important persons in the country: Polish President Lech Kaczyński with his wife, many ministers and Members of Parliament as well as military commanders, leaders of different denominations and others. None of 88 passengers survived the catastrophe. They all travelled to take part in a celebration commemorating the victims of 194o' Katyn massacre, where thousands of Polish prisoners of war, mainly military officers, intellectuals and other public servants were mass murdered by the Soviet NKVD.

Today is a day of great sorrow for all the Polish nation, regardless of our political views or affiliations. It's truly an unimaginable loss for our country.

All those who died today in their fatherland's service, requiestat in pace.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Perfect Peachy Pout

At last, I can call this season's mission to find my perfect peachy lipstick accomplished!

Meet Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Soft Coral (no. 600). It's the most beautiful, moist and shimmery pastel coral shade, not too orange and not too pink: just the perfect balance of natural freshness for everyday wear. I was immediately sold and knew I had to have this lippie after I saw the make-up artist Lisa Eldridge use it in her 'Soft Coral Make Up" tutorial. The look she created was simply stunning, so warm and youthful, I strongly recommend you to check it out if you haven't already!

My only concern is that the shimmers might feel a little gritty, and that it tastes a bit soapy, which is my pet peeve; though nowhere near as artifical as The Body Shop Yes Yes Yes lip butter, so if you can handle that, you won't even notice anything bad in this lipstick. Also, because it feels quite moisturizing on the lips, it's not the most long lasting, but I don't mind whipping the tube out of my purse anytime during the day as the packaging is really pretty :)

Some more lip swatches in different lights for you, however the swatch in the first set seems to be the most color accurate. In some pics I have a bit of clear gloss on top of the lippie.

And a comparison with some other peachy shades I have in my collection:

I'd say for the price this beauty is definitely worth a look, and I feel it'll get a lot of love from me this season. What is your perfect peachy lip product? xxx

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review: Inglot Cream Foundation

Here goes a review of a product by one of the most recently hyped up brands: Inglot. I feel ridiculously emotionally attached to this brand, as it is Polish (like me) and has been present on our market for years now. Inglot products accompanied me during many important moments in my life: first dates, family weddings, the prom. I have to admit I'm very proud of its international career and well deserved popularity :)

Inglot Cream Foundation claims to be a balancing base with a "unique system of spheric polisilicones and silica in a matrix of skin friendly esters and polimers". What the hell?! It also says on the packaging that the product contains natural UV filters, but there's no mention of the SPF protection level, which to me always sounds like there is NO sun protection in the product, and includes an ominous warning not to put the product on the eye area, which makes me even more suspicious.

The Good:
- nice consistency: a small blob goes a long way and spreads with no streaks, medium coverage
- good packaging: a sanitary tube which allows you to control the amount of product you squeeze out (but when running low, requires a bit of force to squeeze)
- didn't break me out nor caused any allergic reaction
- very affordable (approx. 10$ for 30 ml)

The Bad:
- finish: in daylight seems matte, but a closer inspection in the bathroom revealed that it contains tiny shimmers, a big no no on my oily skin
- despite wide range of shades, the lightest shade (no. 21) is waaay too dark on my palest of pale skin
- the product seems to sit on the skin even when vigorously blended, which you can see in the close-up photo. It sinks in a bit more after a couple of minutes, but still looks quite unnatural
- not very long lasting on me
- chemical smell

Would I repurchase? No. Even if the brand started catering for lighter skin tones, I don't think it's a good product for my skin type. It might perform better on drier skins, but it's not moisturizing either, so I'm not too sure. All in all, I haven't had much luck so far with Inglot's foundations and concealers, and I definitely prefer their lip and eye products.

What foundation are you using at the moment? What are your most and least favorite Inglot products? xxx

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Products I'm loving

I'm definitely NOT too diligent in terms of posting my monthly favorites, but instead I thought I could ramble a bit about the products I'm recently loving as these are the type of posts I enjoy reading myself.

I went a little collage-crazy but hey, sometimes we all have to satisfy our innate artist...

1. Benefit CORALista. I wrote about it last month here, and it's still a favorite. The only problem I sometimes have with it is that it can look overly shimmery and emphasize any bumps I tend to have on my cheeks. However, this can be easily fixed by buffing it in a bit more with a kabuki brush. It's the bottom swatch in the collage, the top one being this:

2. The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain in original shade. I got this in a MUA swap I did a couple weeks back with a lovely girl from Italy. It's a beautiful, deep pink/ berry shade which is supposed to work on every skintone. The texture is of a watery gel and comes with a handy doe foot applicator. I use it mostly on my lips for a matte, 'bitten' lip - looks pretty much as if I just ate some raspberries, and depending on how many layers you put on, can be very subtle or more noticeable. It's not too drying on me and feels super lightweight, but I always use a lipbalm underneath, and if I feel like adding some glossiness to it, I top it with a clear lipgloss or balm.

3. Benefit Eye Bright. I guess everything that can be said about this product has already been said by others. It amazes me how something so simple can make such a huge difference. I especially like wearing it on my lower waterline for a wide awake look.

4. Annabelle Smudgeliner in Rich Chocolate. I brought it with me from my last trip to Canada and I wish I had bought more shades! As the name suggests, this can be smudged for a pretty smoky look (using a brush or the rubbery end depicted above), but once it sets, it really stays put on your lid. I find dark brown looks more natural on me and I love it paired with some neutral, shimmery wash of color on the lid for a quick everyday look. It's such an affordable, high quality product!

5. Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara in Intense Black. I wanted to try it for a really long time after all the hype it caused in the blogosphere. I was quite dissapointed in the beginning, because the curvy brush made for an uneven, clumpy application even with a very light hand. I decided to persevere and I was right: with a right technique, it gives amazing, voluminous and very black lashes. Basically I put the wand at the roots of my lashes in the outer corner of the eye at quite a sharp angle and massage it in for a good while, and then sweep it up. Then I lightly finish the lashes in the inner corner, as they don't need so much drama. Voila! It holds the curl quite well, doesn't flake and for some reason lenghtens my lower lashes a lot, giving me a doll like effect.

What are the products rocking your make-up world recently? xxx

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boosting your energy with alkaline foods

As a follow-up to my post about balancing the skin, here goes a couple of words about balancing your diet; can you tell I'm all 'bout pH levels recently ;)?

The topic of alkaline foods and cleansing/detoxing diet came to my attention some 2 weeks ago when reading an article devoted to it in the Polish edition of Shape magazine. Basically (and I'm not a specialist by any means, I'm just reporting what I read), the reasoning behind it is that unlike your skin, which is supposed to be acidic and is often made more alkaline through wrong skincare, the rest of your body needs more alkaline environment but is often acidic because of the products we eat every day. The more acidic your organism gets, the lower your energy levels and higher the probability of migraines, inflammation and getting overweight.

While weight is not something I'm terribly worried about, the lack of energy and headaches definitely struck a chord. However, I didn't think much of the theory (seemed a little bit 'gimmicky' to me) until I found many other dieticians and nutrionists also support it, and I decided to give it a try, as some of the tips are super easy to incorporate into your daily routine. It couldn't hurt, right?

So the most acidic foods in the diet include, not surprisingly, red meat, fatty cheese, alcohol, coffee (nooo!) and tea, chocolate (double nooo!) and candy, as well as some seasonings such as vinaigret, soy sauce or mustard.

As for the healthy alkaline foods we should eat more of, the list includes wholegrain products, green veg such as leafy greens, asparagus or broccoli (yum!), herbs, sour fruit such as cherries, limes or lemons, avocado, and spices such as cayenne pepper or chilli powder.

photo source: weheartit

What I've been doing recently is: I've been trying to limit the amount of coffee I drink to 1 per week (I reserve it only for special occasions), cut down black tea (to 1 per day max) and sweet treats, and eat more veggies altogether. While these steps might sound quite difficult to you, there's one amazingly simple thing you can do: add lemon to your drinks and food. I know lemon sounds counterintuitive for alkaline food, but while has a very acidic pH of about 2, it has an alkaline effect once in your body. Right now, I'm always trying to start my day with a glass of water with a good squezze of lemon juice.

And you know what? I really do feel it has made a difference. I'm not 100% sure it's just alkaline diet or maybe also some other factors such as the beginning of Spring weather, but I've noticed I have more energy, don't get irritated that easily, and my skin is looking more radiant. I'd say give it a try if you feel like you could use some extra verve.

I'd also like to give a shout out to my beautiful friend Marina, a blogger behind the fabulous website Makeup4All. She's been a very busy lady lately working on a new magazine, which is a guidebook on S/S 2010 make-up trends and must-have beauty products. Definitely check it out, it's amazing! I'm very proud to say that I also had a tiny part in the project by giving Marina some thoughts on my favorites for the season. Congrats on your work, hun!

Have a relaxing Friday night, lovelies xxx