First Impressions: Chanel Ombre Contraste Notorious


So Chanel has released a ‘sculpting veil for eyes and cheeks’ or, as I like to call it, a contour powder. As far as I know it’s limited edition and also on limited release in the UK (Selfridges London and Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square, Harrods, John Lewis Oxford Street, House of Fraser Glasgow and Fenwicks Newcastle according to this source). This powder was used on models at Chanel’s Fall 2012 show at Paris Fashion Week:

Chanel Fall

This is a great post that sums up all the info available pre-release.

I haven’t had a chance to use this yet as I bought it this afternoon, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be quite a learning curve for me so it might take a while before I can show you face photos. For now, here are swatches and product photos.



Paper Swatch


Arm Swatch (this one is the most colour accurate as it was taken outside pre-rain)

The swatch in the middle is very heavy, and gives an idea of the colour and the tone of the powder. On either side I’ve applied it more lightly to give a better idea of what it would actually look like on.


Overall I’m excited to test this out, I’m imagining lots of er…not so great attempts as I’ve never really got into the whole contouring thing, but I think it’ll be fun to use and if not I’ll just use it as an eyeshadow.

Top 10 of 2011

Oops, I completely missed the ‘11 of 11’ idea; I am not on the ball! I mean…uh, I totally knew about it I’m just eschewing convention…

Anyway these are my favourite things from 2011. It was difficult to narrow everything down, but these are products that have transformed my beauty routine completely, and products that I would buy over and over. Every time I use these (especially the make-up products), I fall in love with them all over again. It’s clichéd but true, and that’s why these are my favourites.

If I’ve reviewed a product, the product’s name will link to the review.

My 5 favourite make-up products of the year

Suqqu, Shu Uemura x 3, Beaute

Shu Uemura Stage Perfomer – I’m pretty sure that this is the closest we’ll ever get to airbrush in a bottle (or tube, in this case).

I’m going to write a full review of this soon, but basically it’s a product that moisturises a bit, smoothes out pores, makes skin glow, and has a very faint tint that evens out skin tone and covers a few imperfections. I hesitate to call it a primer because: it has a tint, it’s technically meant to go under your sunscreen (ie. not the final step before foundation – but most people I know use it after sunscreen), and most of the time it negates the need for foundation. Anyway, this product has completely revolutionised my make-up, I hardly ever wear foundation over it – only when I really want to look flawless. It makes me look healthy because of the glow, and it gets rid of most of my red areas.

Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Cover Stick – I’ve said just about everything in my review/love letter. It is still my go-to foundation, and I love it to pieces.

M Soft Mauve 225Shu Uemura Glow On – M Soft Mauve 225 – On first look, this blush looks scary. I mean, that is one mauve blush. On the skin, it looks amazing. Not editorial, edgy amazing, but natural amazing. The blush wears like an angelic pink, and the purple tone in it brightens up my entire face. Never has a blush given me such a glow.

Beaute Liqui-gel Stain – Fever – I have tried a lot of stains this year, I still find that this one is better than any other. It never leaves my bag, even if I’m wearing another blush or lipstick that day, I’ll have this on hand for touch-ups because it’s so easy to use. Its handiness is just a perk of the product, even when I’m at home and I have free reign over my whole make-up collection, I reach for this one the most.

Suqqu Ginbudou 06

Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow – 06 Ginbudou – I have such a soft spot for this palette. Like I said in my review for Keshizumi, I know that Keshizumi suits me better, but I love the opulence of Ginbudou. Also, it was with this palette that I realised purples suit me – and that my eyes were more green than blue!

My top 5 skin care products of the year


Coconut Oil – My love for this is still going strong; Coconut oil is doing wonders for my hair, I use it before every wash and on the ends afterwards. Recently I’ve been using tiny amounts to calm frizz. It’s still my sole body moisturiser, I like to use it a day or two after shaving to restore my skin. My only issue is that in this cold winter I have to microwave it for 30 seconds, otherwise it’s rock solid!

Paula’s Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid – I’ve been using this since around March and it has really helped my skin. My blemishes weren’t horrible beforehand, but they were pretty bad. My skin has cleared up a lot since I started using this every night, and my sebaceous filaments appear smaller. Now I’ve switched to every other night and I use it to spot treat as well.

Mandom Barrier Repair Concentrate – this serum saved my skin when I was in Japan, and I’ve been recommending it to people with dehydrated skin ever since. I know a lot of people who use it and love it, and it’s especially useful in these winter months to combat all the dry air from central heating etc. I mix it with my usual antioxidant serum every other night to ward off winter skin. If my skin’s a little dry or angry, I’ll just put this on the area and it rights itself. This is really amazing stuff.

Silk Naturals Super Serum (the tiny bottle) – I’ve only just finished my second sample bottle of this – they lasted me 2 months! This serum is so effective – it has lightened my freckles and it’s got rid of almost all the tiny bumps that were around my chin. It also brightens my skin. I have to dilute this serum (with hada labo gokujyun hyaluronic acid lotion) when I apply it every morning because it’s very strong, but even using just 2 or 3 drops gets results.

Rosehip Oil – I can’t be without rosehip oil; it’s the last thing I apply at night before I go to bed and I wake up with such soft skin. I feel like this oil is so nourishing for my skin, especially because as well as sealing in moisture, rosehip oil also contains a little bit of vitamin c and retinol.

Addiction Brand Spotlight and Swatches

I saw a few requests for swatches of of the Japanese make-up brand Addiction and, as I have a few in the depths of my computer, I thought I’d share them here.

About Addiction

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand, Addiction is a Japanese department store brand that is, in comparison with many other Japanese department store brands, quite reasonably priced. In Japan it’s not as ubiquitous as other department store brands, with only 11 counters nationwide. Outside of Japan there are websites where you can order it but the mark-up is very high. The packaging is more Shu Uemura minimalist than Coffret d’Or elaborate, and the brand sells a few empty palettes in which to put their eyeshadow and blush inserts (which can be poked out from their original packaging with a pin through a hole in the back).


Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that a lot of the obsession with Japanese cosmetics is just based on hype – and perhaps I’ll get further into that in another post – but Addiction actually offers many high quality, impressive products.

Their eyeshadows are beautifully complex and have a buttery texture, with – like Shu Uemura – their ME range being the best (in my opinion). Their blushes are good; I tend to be more interested in the eyeshadows because I find the blushes have quite a generic shade range, and I already have many good blushes in those colours. Were Addiction to expand the blush shade range, I’d definitely be interested. The newly-released cheek sticks are also very good multi-purpose products, but again I felt uninspired by the shade selection. I also use their powder foundation and I really like it, I just hope I don’t run out before I get back to Japan. This also means, as some of you may have deduced, that Addiction’s foundations do go quite light, lighter than MAC N15, I’d put it at N10ish.


Here’s a mishmash of swatches, they’re not comprehensive, and some of them were quickly done in the store, so they’re not great (read: pretty terrible). BUT it may give you guys an idea of the shades, and how many of them swatch very differently from how they appear in the pan!

*The letters in parentheses represent the finish.

For eyeshadows:

  • ME – Metallic
  • M – Matte
  • P – Pearl
  • S – Sparkle

For lipsticks:

  • C – Colour
  • S – Sheer
  • P – Pearl

Crow (ME), Arabian Ruby (ME), Missa (M), Flashback (ME)

With Flash

Keshi (P), Fudge (ME), Faithful lipstick (C), Revenge Blush blended, unblended

(Sorry for the goosebumps!)

With Flash

Lipsticks (this is where they get wonky)

Desert Rose (S), Crush on you (P), Faithful (C), Monroe Walk (C), Last Scene (C), Femme Fatale (C), Garland (C)

And this is where it really hits rock bottom, but I thought I’d include them to give you guys a vague idea.

Ice wall (ME), Sandbar (P), Baghdad Cafe (P)

Concrete Jungle (P), Thriller (P), North Star (ME), Yesterday (P)

You may also want to check out Pink Sith’s review of Nostalgia eyeshadow.

And lastly here’s a pic with Faithful on the lips and Revenge on the cheeks:


If you have any questions, or need help understanding the site, let me know in the comments section!


Beauté Liqui-gel Stain in Fever

Another one of my favourite things!

P1000826Few brands have succeeded in creating products that work well on both cheeks and lips. Many have tried; but most of them fail. If it works on lips it’s too short-lived/greasy on cheeks, and if it works on cheeks then it’s drying and unflattering on lips.

Not so with the Beauté Liqui-gel stain.

I used this only as a lip stain in the first 2 months of owning this, and then one day tried it on my cheeks. To this day I cannot decide where it works best: it’s amazing in both roles.

On Cheeks

  • My longest-lasting blush to date – When Beauté calls something a ‘stain’ they really mean it. The colour lasts forever, it’s astounding. I’m sure you’re all pretty tired of my stories of Kyoto summer but you might remember that it was er…somewhat warm and humid. The stain was unfazed by this and lasted all day up until face-wash time.
  • It’s versatile – English Rose flush to Brothel Madam, the stain can be intensified and sheered out depending on your mood (and haven’t we all had a Brothel Madam mood…?). BUT, a word of advice for first-time users: use a tiny amount and then build up, once the stain is on…it’s on.

On Lips

  • Non-drying – Now I don’t really have issues with dry lips – unlike the rest of my skin, my lips are pretty normal. However I do know a few ladies with major dryness issues, andP1000828 they’ve agreed that the Beauté Liqui-gel stain doesn’t dry their lips out like most other stains.
  • Long-lasting and Versatile – see above
  • Doesn’t transfer – perhaps this comes under ‘long-lasting’, but one of the reasons I love this stain is because it’s so easy. It leaves pigment on your lips but it not on glasses, people, or teeth. I adore lipsticks, but sometimes using a product that doesn’t require re-application or touch-ups is a blessing.

What Would I Change?


I’m not a huge fan of the applicator. I prefer the packaging of the Hourglass Lip Stains (see right) because they’re more convenient to use.

The product smells like roses (I think), and I’d prefer it not to smell of anything. It’s not a horrible smell, nor is it artificial, and it does go away very quickly after application. However, if I had my way it would be scent-free.


Sheered out on the left, concentrated on the right. Karla has swatches of each shade here.P1000865

Very sheer on cheeks (I’ll try to take a better blush photo in the soon!), and sheer to moderate on the lips.

Beaute Liqui-Gel

The Bottom Line:

Standing head and shoulders above its multi-use counterparts, the Beauté Liqui-gel Stain is the best lip tint I’ve tried as well as one of my favourite blushes.

I would repurchase it over and over (and as you can tell from my photos, I’ll need a new one soon!).

Birthday Round-Up!

This is like a Friday Round-Up except it’s on my Birthday (okay well actually the day after)! Smart huh?


Ok so as I’m alone in Japan for my Birthday, I took it upon myself to buy a few presents, as you do. I am ridiculously good at buying presents for myself, I loved all of them!

So first off I bought a few pretty things from the drugstore.


Lavshuca Moist Melting Rouge in 3 colours: RD-4, RD-3, and PK-5. So far I love these (and I will review them!). They are great MLBB colours with a formula that’s really easy to wear. They feel like a really pigmented balm. Their lasting power is better than I had expected as well.

Kate Gel Eyeliner in BK-2. I talked in my November Round-up about Kate Eyeliners but at that point I didn’t love them. This one has converted me though. Lasting power is incredible but the thing I love most about this eyeliner is its colour. It is brown but it has very little redness in it, unlike MAC Dipdown (I’ll post comparison swatches). Because of this it doesn’t bring out as much redness in and around my eyes, so I love it!

Integrate Gracy Cheek Colour in Rose 300. I was on the look out for a matte blush and stumbled across this one. This shade is exactly the colour of my natural blush so I use it for a really natural look. It blends out really easily but this compromises staying power. I have still been wearing it every day since I got it though.

I also caved and bought the new Majolica Majorca perfume. It took me a while to decide because I didn’t LOVE the scent, I just thought it was pleasant. In the end I bought it because the scent lasts so long, it’s easy to apply and on the day I tested it, I got nothing but compliments.

The night before my Birthday my Fyrinnae order arrived! I think their impeccable timing proves, as we all suspected, that Fyrinnae are indeed magic. Not only that, the order was in a parcel that was thin enough to fit into the dorm mailbox which meant I didn’t have to arrange redelivery or anything! Yay!


Obviously there are swatches to come but I just had to take a photo when I got them all. Fyrinnae enthusiasts will probably notice I chose very safe colours: neutrals and a few golds thrown in. La Noche, however, is bright blue: I couldn’t just order neutrals from a company with such special bright shades.

I am really excited to try Damn Paladins as it looks like a lovely grey-taupe. And of course Ashes will be one of the first I try because it is such a nice grey shade. Can you tell I like grey?

Recently I have been buying bath salts to try. In Japan there is a huge range of bath salts so my choice pretty much depended on which packaging was prettiest and which ones didn’t smell like ginger (I hate that smell). Luckily, Yu Ming just posted about Japanese Bath Salts on Beauty Box so I now have some idea of what to buy. In fact today I went out to get the Kikiyu bath salts so I’m excited to use them tonight!

A guide to getting Mad Men’s Joan Holloway look? Yes please!

Spiders are scary and Allie’s post tells me my fear makes sense.

And to finish, here is my birthday cake! It may look like ice cream to you, but I was pretending it was cake! Yummy.Ice cream