makeup – mascara

RMK Christmas Palette 2011 Holiday 2011 Makeup 1


In the last few years, RMK brought out deluxe makeup palettes for the holiday seasons. (See the palettes for 2008, 2009, and 2010.) There is no exception for holiday 2011, and today I am taking you though RMK Christmas Palette 2011.

[Click to continue reading…]


SUQQU 2010 Christmas Makeup Kit A Holiday 2010 1


SUQQU‘s holiday 2010 collection features two makeup kits, one base makeup and skincare kit, and a pressed face powder. Today I am featuring 2010 Christmas Makeup Kit A, with a particular focus on the limited-edition Blend Color Eyeshadow in EX-01 Yukiyo.

[Click to continue reading…]


Early last year, my friend Lynn (who reviewed items from Thierry Mugler) told me about Dutch makeup artist Ellis Faas, whom she read about on the February 2009 issue of W Magazine. (You can see the article here.)

Ellis Faas used to work on special effects as she recreated wounds and bruises for public service campaigns and music videos. Knowing that I loved purples, Lynn drew my attention to one of the things Faas said about purples:

During shoots, Faas, 46, noticed that the unsightly bumps and gashes she was trying to create were made up of hues that looked shockingly good against skin. “I started to use those colors in a beautifying way rather than a gory way,” she says. “Why not take the purple in a bruise and use it as an eye color? It’s a very natural thing to do.” (p. 74, W Magazine, February 2009)

I was fascinated by how Faas looked at colors. In the same article, she also mentioned pinks (from the palms of the hands) and browns (from pigmentations like freckles). Coincidentally, I mentioned in my report on makeup trends of spring 2009 that pinks, purples, and neutrals were the three main ways in which many beauty brands interpreted wearable colors. Faas’ philosophy on “human colours” provides her own perspective on why these colors are considered to be wearable and flattering and, on a more personal level, why I think pinks, purples, and neutrals look good on me.

Nearly all the items in Ellis Faas’ makeup line are in a fluid form and they are packaged in pen-shaped cases. Here are my thoughts on some of the items.

Creamy Eyes in E105 is a well-pigmented medium-to-dark brown. It has a mousse-cream consistency that feels light and fluffy. It spreads easily on the skin and has a velvety, suede-like, and semi-matte finish (with minimal shimmer). The staying power is very good.

It sets very quickly so blending has to be quick. I find that it is not very easy to fade the edges with fingers and that it works better in creating a dramatic block-color look (which you see in the link above). Personally I like it as an eyeliner. The brush makes it easy for the color to go on the lashlines smoothly and efficiently.

I tend to think I am far from the best person to review mascaras, because most mascaras don’t smudge or flake on me and they very rarely irritate my eyes. For me, Mascara in E401 Black is a standard mascara that performs relatively well. It lengthens and volumizes the lashes reasonably well, and the clumping is minimal.

Creamy Lips in L101 Ellis Red is a well-pigmented and intense red that is slightly on the cool side. (It seems cooler than how it looks on the official website.) It has a lightweight gel-like liquid-to-cream consistency that does not feel heavy on the lips. It imparts a creamy sheen on the lips, and, applied light-handedly, it creates a stained look. The color is rich and dramatic.

Blush in S302 is my favorite item of the four. Before I tried it on my skin, I thought it might be too peachy for me. But it turns out to be a sheer peach that looks very natural. It is easy to apply as it has a lightweight creamy consistency that doesn’t drag on the skin. It can be layered for slightly more intensity.

I personally like blushers that are on the sheer side so this item appeals to me. If you like pigmented blushers, then it might be too sheer for you.

When I first got to know about the line, it wasn’t available in the UK. It was great to know later on that the line was launched in Liberty in London in February. It is also available at

The French Vogue described Ellis Faas as “one of the most influential make-up artists of her time”. Her Human Colours makeup line carries a unique identity and is able to make a clear statement which reflects her views on beauty and colors. Whether you like your makeup to be natural or dramatic, you are likely to find items that work well for you.

(The items featured in this article are provided by Ellis Faas.)

Related posts:

New Japanese Beauty Brand: Addiction
(created by Japanese makeup artist Ayako)

SHISEIDO Luminizing Satin Eye Colors
(in collaboration with Dick Page)

SUQQU: Sensuality with an Attitude


Late last year, one of my readers suggested that I recommend items for a complete makeup look. I thought that I would recommend items that create a natural look that is suitable for daily wear. Today, I will focus on eye makeup items.

Coffret D’Or 3D Lighting Eyes in Purple Variation (right)

Released in December 2007, it is still one of my favorite eye palettes. The dusky pink and the light lilac are a winning combination. The violet lining shade is one of the most beautiful lining shades I have come across.

Coffret D’Or Trance Deep Eyes in Rose Variation (left)

Try this one if you want a palette that is similar to 3D Lighting Eyes in Purple Variation but with more warmth. (Do note that this palette is more shimmery.)

Magie Deco Shadow Brilliance II in Foxy Lady (top)

This is my recent favorite. It includes soft warm neutrals that create a natural depth for the eyes.

Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara in Jet Black

It is one of the most natural-looking mascaras that I have come across. It creates subtle length and volume for the lashes, and it has never clumped on my lashes.

SUQQU Eyebrow Brush L

I think this is one of SUQQU’s finest creations. Use this brush with any eyebrow powder that suits you. I like the fact that the brush is able to enhance the structure of the eyebrows without leaving any hard edges.

More recommendations for cheeks & lips as well as the complexion!

(The SUQQU Eyebrow Brush L featured in this post is provided by SUQQU.)

Related posts (other wearable items):

Coffret D’Or 3D Lighting Eyes in Gold Variation

SUQQU Blend Eyeshadow in 10 Sakuragi

Chanel Irréelle Duo in Désert-Rose


Earlier this month, I posted a preview of Lancôme’s fall 2009 Declaring Indigo collection, with information on the idea behind the creation. Today I am reviewing some of the eye makeup items in this collection. (The second part of this review will be posted next week.)

The three feature colors in the Declaring Indigo collection are blue, red, and gold, and one of the key items is Palette Liberté in 01 Bleu Royauté, which includes a mix of royal blues and gold-toned neutrals.

Color-wise, the two royal blues are almost the same. Also, they both have a satiny matte finish with a faint iridescence. The main difference is that the bottom-right blue contains gold flecks. The bottom-left is a yellow-toned gold (light-reflective shade), while the top-right is a cool medium molten gold (shadowing shade). Both have a softly metallic finish. All the colors in this palette are well-pigmented and have a good staying power.

The two blues can go on sheer or very intense depending on how much is layered. I personally think that, for such strong colors, they look better when they are layered to reach full intensity.

One thing worth noting is that the blues have less movement than the golds. (This seems to be a typical difference between matte and shimmery/metallic shades.) Careful blending is essential. Or you can go for a dramatic block-color look with minimal blending.

For those who would like more subtle and wearable colors, 02 Or Liberté would be a good choice. It features a complete palette of colors, with a highlighter, lighter/darker shades and a lining shade.

The two shades on the right are essentially the same as the two golds in Bleu Royauté. The bottom-left is a light beige-gold with a similar softly metallic finish, and the top-left is a soft black with gold flecks.

To my surprise, my favorite shade in this palette is the black. While it remains a black when worn (which doesn’t look greyish or brownish), it is a soft black that doesn’t look harsh on the eyes. With its subtly shimmery finish (which resembles the natural gloss of the lashes), the color very naturally enhances the base of my lashes without making my eyes look too made-up (which is something I tend to worry about when I use black as an eyelining shade).

Overall, I think this yellow-toned gold palette would suit those with a cool-toned complexion better. For those with a warmer complexion, try pairing this palette with warmer beige-golds.

(The two palettes are housed in gold cases
with Lancôme’s rose motifs.)

The collection includes other eye makeup items that help enhance the look created by the two palettes.

The Ink Artliner in 01 Black Carbon Ink is a cream eyeliner that is applied with the brush designed by Aaron De Mey (available separately). Black Carbon Ink is a very rich black with a matte finish. The waterproof cream goes on smoothly and has a very good staying power. When I test it on the back of my hand, the cream seems to have ample playing time before it sets. When I test it on my eyes, it seems to dry up much more quickly since there is (dry) eyeshadow powder underneath.

The brush is flat with a round tip, which is an optimal shape for an easy and precise application. I also like the fact that the hair is short enough so it is easy to control the brush.

The Virtuôse in 015 Royal Gold Top Coat is, as the name suggests, mainly an eyelash top coat. It has a light-gel texture and is infused with gold flecks. The blue in this mascara is more muted than the blues in the eye palettes. This particular shade is more about adding shimmer to the lashes than about adding color, length or volume. The effect is nicely subtle. (This is a non-waterproof product.)

If you would like to see swatches of the Bleu Royauté palette, please check out this post on My Women Stuff.

The second part of the Lancôme fall 2009 collection review will focus on the three Color Fever Matte lipsticks, the two Color Fever Glosses and the Rose Liberté highlighter. I will also share my thoughts on the whole collection as well as my personal picks.

Updated on July 1st 2009:

You can read the second part of the review here.

Related posts:

Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate

Lancôme Tonique Douceur

Spot the Difference – Lancôme Spring 2008 Collection L.U.C.I.


There are now a few mascaras with a vibrating brush (Estee Lauder TurboLash, Lancôme Ôscillation, and the very recent Maybelline Pulse Perfection). The main claim of these mascaras is that they can coat the lashes evenly and build up length and volume more easily. Today I am reviewing Prescriptives‘ vibrating mascara, Motor-Eyes Instant Action Mascara.

The mascara comes with a battery, which is inserted into the back of the brush handle before the first use. The mascara wand starts to vibrate when the brush handle is twist-opened.

According to Jullian Veran, Prescriptives’ Director of Artistry, the mascara wand vibrates 125 beats per second and this helps lift, curl and separate the lashes. (See the video clip on Prescriptives’ US site.)

This mascara adds more length than volume, and it separates the lashes effectively. The look it creates is more natural than dramatic. For me, it is not easy to tell how much is achieved by the vibration. (I think the success of a mascara is essentially down to the shape of the brush and the formulation of the pigment.) Nonetheless, this mascara performs relatively well, with no flakes or smudges after a day’s wear. Clumps are very minimal during the application with a sweeping motion.

Motor-Eyes Instant Action Mascara is currently available in one shade (Black, which is a dark grey-black and not an intense black) and is a non-waterproof formula.

Related posts:

YSL Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils

Illamasqua Volume Mascara

SUQQU Mascara Volume Long

RMK Separate Curl Mascara


(image from

In a typical department store in the UK, most of the beauty (especially makeup) brands are from either the US or Continental Europe. This is why, when the British makeup line, Illamasqua, launched its counter in London’s Selfridges (which has probably the largest beauty department in the UK), it is hard not to get excited.

(image from www.illamasqua)

Illamasqua positions itself as a professional makeup brand that encourages expression and experimentation. As the brand’s slogan is “make-up for your alter ego”, many of the makeup looks on the brand’s website are dramatic, edgy and editorial. Price-wise, it is a medium-to-high end line, with lipsticks priced at £14 and eyeshadow singles priced at £15. Today, I am sharing my thoughts on some of Illamasqua’s products.

Powder Eye Shadows in Feel and Lick

(Powder Eye Shadow in Feel)
(Powder Eye Shadow in Lick)

Currently, most of Illamasqua’s 107 Powder Eye Shadows that the brand was launched with are matte, and Feel and Lick are among the matte shades. Feel is a light-to-medium taupe while Lick is a bright warm reddish pink. Both are moderately-to-well pigmented, and the texture is relatively smooth, partly down to the talc-based formula.

Feel is a good shade for adding soft depth to the eyes for those with a light or light-to-medium complexion. It goes on a little cooler, and I think it would suit cooled-toned complexions a lot more. (It may be on the ashy side for warm-toned complexions.)

You have to be quite bold to wear Lick on a daily basis, but I find that, used light-handedly, it works well as a blusher. (I also like the fact that it happens to be matte, which is my preferred finish for a blusher.) It blends easily as a blusher and should suit most complexions, particularly warm-toned ones.

Volume Mascara in Harness

Volume Mascara is currently Illamasqua’s sole mascara product. It is available in three shades, Harness (black), Nocturnal (brown) and Lewd (blue), and it is a non-waterproof mascara.

Harness is a nice black that doesn’t look greyish or ashy. The formula appears to be quite lightweight, as it doesn’t feel heavy on the eyes or weight down the lashes. It creates more volume than length, though the volume might not be as dramatic as some might hope for. A light-handed application with gentle layering is essential to stay clump-free. Once set, it has a satisfactory staying power.

Overall, Illamasqua seems to be a solid brand with a lot of potential, and it has created buzz among makeup lovers in the UK. It would be interesting to see how well it will do in the next few years and whether it will acquire a more international presence.

(Check here for the list of retail points in the UK and Ireland. Illamasqua’s on-line store delivers within the UK as well as internationally.)

Related posts:

Beauty City Guide – London

Barry M Dazzle Dusts for Spring 2009

Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara


(Eyeliner Pen in Dark Emerald)

Earlier this month, I reviewed the colorful Deluxe Eyeshadow Kit from Barry M Cosmetics. Today I will be talking about three other (nicely turquoise and purple) items from Barry M: Eyeliner Pen, Super Soft Eye Crayon, and Lengthening Coloured Mascara.

The Eyeliner Pen boasts a “waterproof, smudge-proof, and super long-wear” formula, and it is not an exaggeration. Once it sets, it is indeed smudge-proof and doesn’t budge. (This is not a smudge-able eyeliner for creating a smoky look.)

The retractable pen glides on very smoothly and the color is richly intense. The shade in Dark Emerald is more of a deep turquoise than emerald and beautifully so, with a softly metallic finish.

Available in eight shades, Eyeliner Pen includes some vibrant colors such as pink, silver, and gold. I would love to see a deep purple in this range.

(Super Soft Eye Crayon in No. 5 Purple)

The Super Soft Eye Crayon (5 shades) in Purple is a warm medium purple with a subtly pearly finish. It is quite a nice soft shade for daytime makeup.

I expected this to have some blendability, but it doesn’t have a lot of it. It does go on relatively smoothly but it doesn’t have a lot of movement when blended with fingers. Overall I see this as a moderately-pigmented chunky eyeliner or an eyeshadow that is applied close to the lashline.

(Lengthening Coloured Mascara in Electric Purple)

The Lengthening Coloured Mascara is available in 5 bright shades and adds color to the lashes. Electric Purple is a medium-to-dark warm purple that is pigmented and opaque enough to cover the original dark color of my lashes.

It gently lengthens the lashes (without clumping) and doesn’t add a lot of volume. While it does not dramatically lengthen or volumize the lashes, it can be a fun item to have if you want some funky color on your lashes. It can be used alone or on top of your usual lengthening/volumizing mascara or mascara base. For a pop of color, try using it on the ends of the lashes or on the lashes towards the outer corners of the eyes.

The Lengthening Coloured Masara range is waterproof, even though neither the packaging nor Barry M’s website indicates so.

Related posts:

Cult Product in the Making: MAMEW Mascara Kit

Clinique (Truly) Naturally Glossy Mascara

Kasalan Patharan Eye Color Palette in S007


Since SUQQU was launched in September 2003, some products have, one after another, become the brand’s most talked-about items. Among them, one that some of you have told me about is the Eyelash Curler. Currently, it is included in SUQQU’s Eyelash Kit, which I am reviewing today.

The SUQQU Eyelash Kit includes:
– Eyelash Curler
– Mascara Volume Long in EX-01 Green
– Screw Brush
– Eye Makeup Remover (travel-sized, 50ml)

The items come in a roll-up folder, which is presented a bucket pouch. The curler doesn’t come with refills but they are available separately at the SUQQU counter.

First, the Eyelash Curler. The problem I have with eyelash curlers of this design is that they simply do not get to the two ends of my lashes, and it seems that SUQQU’s version has the same issue. The curler does give a flattering curve to the lashes and the rubber pad seems very sturdy and durable, but I have to position the curler in so many angles to get to the two ends of the lashes that it takes a lot of time to achieve a finished look. Also, my middle lashes end up being curled for too many times and the curl looks slightly less natural.

According to what I have heard in the past few years, this curler does work well for most people, but unfortunately it doesn’t perform well enough for me. I have to say I still much prefer the precision lash curler that I previously talked about. It is much more efficient to use and I can achieve a natural fan-like curve in a very short amount of time.

SUQQU has three kinds of mascaras: Volume, Long, and Volume Long. (All three are water-resistant.) The one in this kit is a Volume Long version in a limited-edition green shade. On my dark lashes, the green pigment doesn’t show up very much, but I do like the soft look and it doesn’t clash with eyeshadows of other shades. For me, this mascara, which contains fibers, does a better job at building up length than adding volume. (The Separate Curl Mascara in RMK’s Christmas Palette 2008 delivers more volume.)

The Screw Brush and Eye Makeup Remover are very good additions to the kit. The brush is surprisingly soft and separates lashes nicely. (It is also a very good eyebrow brush if you find the bristles of most eyebrow brushes to be too hard and scratchy.) The Eye Makeup Remover has a bi-phase formulation, which I always like. It takes off the Volume Long Mascara very easily, and it doesn’t feel greasy or irritate my eyes.

Overall, this is a good kit to try if you are interested in both the Eyelash Curler and the mascara. (The Kit is priced at £40, which is the prices of the two items combined.) This kit is a limited edition and is currently still available at the SUQQU counter in Selfridges on London’s Oxford Street.

Related Posts:

SUQQU Holiday 2008 Collection

SUQQU Spring 2009 Collection

Review: SUQQU Fall 2008 Collection Part 1 & Part 2


For the last few holiday seasons, RMK has brought out luxury makeup palettes that include items for eyes, cheeks, and lips. Today I am reviewing the 2008 version of the RMK Christmas Palette.

The holiday palette for this year is presented in a rectangular gold pouch with a chic metallic finish. The palette itself is black.

The palette includes four eyeshadows, a travel-sized mascara, a travel-sized lip gloss, face colors, and pressed powder. The pressed powder, powder puff and blusher brush are in the pull-out drawer on the bottom layer.


The three light shades (gold, pink, and green) are very sheer and mainly add (quite sparkly) shimmer to the eyes. The brown is less shimmery and a lot more pigmented. It can be a subtle eyelining shade or part of your smoky-eye look.

Face Colors

At first, I thought the coral-orange blusher would be too warm for my liking, but it goes on as a nice warm coral-pink that looks surprisingly natural. Both the blusher and the highlighter have shimmer. (The shimmer in the highlighter is more pronounced.)

Pressed Powder

It goes on luminously matte and has good pore coverage. However, compared with products like Kiss Mat Chiffon Powder and Lavshuca Face Powder in Lucent, it lacks shine control and will not suit those with oily skin.

Separate Curl Mascara in 01 Black (travel-sized)

This waterproof mascara is part of RMK’s regular mascara lineup. The brush is slightly curled. For me, it creates more volume and definition rather than length. On my lashes, it doesn’t clump or smudge.

Gloss Lips in EX-11 (limited-edition shade, travel-sized)

This is a semi-sheer gloss with a hint of beige and should suit most complexions. It has very pretty multi-colored shimmer. As far as I remember, RMK’s lip glosses come with a brush applicator. This one has a sponge applicator.

Overall, this set creates a warm and glowy makeup look for the holiday season. How you use the pigmented brown eyeshadow will determine how dramatic the overall look is. If you have been thinking about trying items from RMK, this set (including the brand’s popular items like the mascara and Gloss Lips) is worth considering.

If you would like to see swatches and FOTDs of this palette, please head over here and here. Enjoy!

Related Posts:

Review: RMK Fall 2008 Collection

Can’t Live Without – RMK Cleansing Oil

Beauty City Guide – London