Word of Mouth: The French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas

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Before I became a Kbeauty fan, I was (and am still,I admit) a Francophile! LOL. I think this stereotype that the French know something when it comes to beauty and skincare is nothing new. I guess the book French Women don’t get Fat made this notion even more prevalent and entrenched in our minds. I actually read that book by Mireille Guiliano and enjoyed it. And for awhile I was consciously applying the lifestyle principles advocated in the book. Like savouring one’s meal and taking pleasure in walking everyday as part of an active life style. So yeah, like many other ladies I am also drawn to French secrets and approach to beauty and skin care. They just seem to have that effortless flair of looking good without overdoing it. And I think it’s from them that I have come to  learn to emphasise skincare first before makeup, which the Koreans advocate as well. But of course, Koreans are also very into their makeup, albeit they prefer a toned down version from their western counterparts. But generally, I do find some similarities across Korean approach to beauty and French approach to Beauty. Primarily, in their emphasis on skin care and importance placed on self care.

However, there are two areas where I feel Korean and French Beauty attitude and disposition differs and the book by Mathilde Thomas (founder of French Brand Caudalie) also helps to reinforce my conclusion based on its unpacking of French ways of looking and feeling beautiful.

1.Pleasure Principle- Mathilde Thomas emphasises that the French are unapologetic pleasure seekers and this applies to their approach to beauty as well. They do not believe in the mantra of No pain No gain and choose to believe life and the pursuit of beauty and well being should be linked to things that bring pleasure. Self care and taking care of one’s appearance is hence linked to one’s ability to feel good. The slathering of creams/lotions and the facials and massages that the French indulge in are hence all about enjoyment for the mind and body.

I am sure the Koreans also find pleasure in their beauty rituals but they also do not hesitate to put up with extreme discomfort and even pain at times to look beautiful. Just think about the less then relaxing experiences in the very practical Korean Spas. They are not like their western counterparts at all! Scrubbing in Korean Spas are merciless and intense in the hope of sloughing off dead skin to reveal baby smooth skin! It can get painful! And of course, lets not also forget about the Koreans propensity to resort to plastic surgery to reach their ideal aesthetics. I am sure the French also do their fair share of plastic surgery but pretty much their approach to beauty and their beauty rituals are not as hard core as the Koreans. This is pretty much the reason why French Women Don’t Get Fat also recommends portion control and walking as alternatives to diets and gym as the latter are just not fun to the pleasure seeking French:)

2. Embracing diversity/quirks- This is a another area where the French and Koreans deviate I feel. The French approach to beauty is to embrace what nature has blessed you with, including your imperfections. I mean just look at some of the French Beauty Icons. They usually have a quirk that has come to distinguish them and even celebrated by others. far set eyes or perhaps a gap in the front pair of teeth or even freckles. To the French, all these can be considered beautiful. I guess this is why the French are also not too into makeup as they do not believe in masking imperfections. The iconic Red Lip are more of a statement of personality and assertion and even an accessory to further enhance the appeal of a women’s allure. Just look at Carine Roitfeld, the ex editor in chief for Vogue Paris. She is hailed as a very fashionable woman but she obviously does not care to hide her wrinkles or even mask signs of age around her face! But yet, something about her is just very attractive without trying too hard. Very french.

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The Koreans on the other hand, in my opinion can have very exacting standards of beauty, to the point that any deviations can actually be considered unattractive! I suppose it is this mentality that makes Korea the no 1 country for plastic surgery in the world. There, even young women put themselves under the knife to get features to conform to a certain beauty ideal rather than the more prevalent culture in western countries where older women resort to surgery to reverse the effects of ageing. Another more moderate example would be the inclination towards white/fair skin as this is considered the beauty ideal in Korea. So, if you are tan it would be pretty difficult to get a base shade. As the picture of the Korean Actress below illustrate, Koreans like to have fair translucent skin, big eyes (preferably with double eyelid and with the aegyo sal- the little fat deposit under the eye which apparently gives the eyes a ‘smiling look’, yup they are into such things;)) , a small face and full rose bud lips.

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Interestingly, the French and Koreans alike are huge advocates of the Sun Screen! And frankly some of the best sunscreen offerings in the market actually come from French and Korean brands! Yet,the difference is in the reason for the emphasis on sunscreen- for the French it is to protect against photo-aging and skin damage and for the Koreans, it is the same with the added emphasis on staying white and fair;)

Anyway, if you’d like to read more on the French approach to beauty, which I prefer as I find it a little more liberating, I do recommend the The French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas. Be warned however that this book may also tempt you to pick up an item or two from the Caudalie line as no surprise that she adds some indirect marketing of her products in her book. But she pretty much also shares her own approach to beauty and lifestyle which she promises to be a faithful representation of French women in general:)

Apologies for my rambling:) As much as I am an avid beauty consumer, at times I also like to take a back seat to observe the trends and culture with a critical eye. It’s important to be aware of the ‘invisible hand’ behind marketing and hype surrounding beauty trends and culture. And if we still choose to indulge in it, at least we are making an informed choice!:)

Thanks for dropping in.

Cheers

Faith

 

 

Current Loves: From Expensive to Budget Blushes- Etude House Dreaming Swan Eye & Cheek

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So my recent Korean Beauty phase has led me to some pretty purchases online. I picked up some items from the Etude House Dreaming Swan Collection. I am rather late to this collection as it was released last year in May! But thankfully, the outlets are still selling these colours even as I am typing this post. Apparently, this collection was released for Spring last year and it was a collaboration with a famous Australian Illustrator Kerrie Hess which explains the swoon worthy designs of the boxes and also the packaging itself. They are so pretty that I continue to keep them in their box packages despite having opened and used them already.

I am relieved that I got my hands on some of the blushes that this collection entails as they are like some of the prettiest colours housed in gorgeous packaging that I have come across. And so very friendly on the wallet as well. Each of the Eye & Cheek colour was 1/4 of the price of a Nars blush! Imagine that! I don’t know how Etude House does it when I would think that collaborating with world renowned artists don’t come cheap. I guess in the end its the mass selling that brings the mull in for them? Hmmm…the economics is worth pondering.

They call it Eye & Cheek as I reckon the colours can double up as an eye shadow and blush but I have only used them on my cheeks thus far.

The colours I picked for the Eyes & Cheek were Shade 3 Arabesque Rosy, Shade 4 Releve Purple & Shade 5 En Haut Pink. My favourites are Shades 3 & 5! But Shade 4 Releve Purple hold a special place in my heart as it has the original cute tutu puff that the initial launch of the Eye & Cheek had. Apparently, the subsequent batches were replaced with a normal puff with the dreaming swan logo. But the tutu puff is just sooooo cute don’t you think? The colour however is nothing special. I was intrigued by the lilac tone and wanted to try it out but its a little too light, chalky and even ‘whitish’ on my skin tone. I can still make do with it as a highlighter I guess.

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Shade 3 Arabesque Rosy (L), Shade 5 En Haut Pink (R)

The other two however are beautiful on my skin. Both have fine shimmer which helps to brighten the cheeks. Arabesques Rosy is a deep coral with golden shimmer and En Haute Pink is a Peachy Pink colour with golden Shimmer. Kind of reminds me of a more pigmented Nars orgasm blush. But yeah, the colours do show up on my skin tone which is a great yay! I am liking how Korean makeup products these days are going bold with their colours as I recall that at one time their products used to be very light in colouring. But these days, I feel that Korean Makeup is the go to for unique and fun colours. Well done to the Korean Beauty Industry! Now, if they only start introducing darker shades to their foundations, they will be off the charts in the beauty world!!:) Oh well, a girl should have high hopes:)

Thanks for dropping in!

Cheers

Faith

Cult Beauty: Nars Blushes- A glimpse through my stash:)

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The above is a sight for my tired eyes after a long hectic week at work:P I have always been telling myself to start cleaning and organising my makeup stash and decided to start  today with my Nars blush collection. As I was wiping the outer cases, I figured that my as well write a blog post on this beloved blushes of mine:)

Like many others from Singapore, Nars was a covet worthy brand which I used to admire from pictures, blog posts and youtube videos of other beauty bloggers/vloggers as it was only in 2012 that this awesome brand came to our shores! YAY! And today we have like two Nars beauty counters and even one at the duty free in Changi Airport. And as you can see, since 2012, I have been an avid consumer of their products and the picture above captures only the blushes!LOL. Anyway, I don’t have regrets as truly the reputation that Nars has when it comes to being the absolute authority in blushes is unrivalled. Their colour options are just so gorgeous on the skin. At times they may look meh on the pan but when applied its just phenomenal to the overall makeup look. I feel that when it comes to Nars, what distinguishes them is modernity. They are pretty cutting edge in their trends. As such, colours are never too feminine, too cute, too grunge, too anything but just contemporary and chic. So yeah they are the timeless icons in the world of beauty. Wow, big accolades there that I have ascribed to Nars;)

So anyway, lets just look through my stash shall we;)

First up is the cult favourite Orgasm and Super Orgasm. Never mind the awkwardness in asking the salesgirl, ‘Can I have an orgasm please? Oh add in a super orgasm as well?!’..lol… but well I don’t think i need to describe these cult favourites any more than what has been said about them in social media already. Yeah, hailed as a universal shade that is flattering to all skin tones, I jumped on the bandwagon to get me some to keep in my stash. To be honest, I actually got Super Orgasm first as I felt that Orgasm was just too subtle on my skin tone. I had a phase when I liked my blushes bold and visible (Till once, this teenage boy commented on why I had glitters on my face…cus yeah…thats the diff between Orgasm and Super Orgasm…the chunky, in your face glitter). But later as I entered a more subtle makeup look phase, I got Orgasm and started to appreciate its hint of peachy pink sheen on my cheeks. So yeah, these two were my first two purchases and definitely hold a special place in my stash:)

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Orgasm (L), Super Orgasm (R)

But if shimmer and sparkles are not your thing, then Orgasm without the shimmer would be the matte Amour, featured below. This is a gorgeous everyday colour. Very natural on my tanned skin and just plain modern and chic. To the right is Taos, another colour that is supposed to be a highly raved colour for tanner skin tones. Described as ‘desert rose with shimmer’, its a shimmery brick red to me and on my skin tone, it looks berry and even bronzy due to the shimmer. I don’t reach for this as often as I find it does not brighten up my complexion.

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Amour (L), Taos (R)

The ones below, I purchased at a steal during a Shiseido Warehouse Sale. When I saw Exhibit A, I made a grab for it as I knew that it was a very Iconic colour for the brand. Looks crazy in the pan, but with a light hand, it’s very nice on the cheeks and tanned girls need not worry about looking clownish as our skin tone will carry this colour well:) The other colour is actually a cream blush and my only cream blush from Nars. Its called Gold Member and I admit that I probably just bought this on an impulse as it was on sale. Lol. Besides for once or twice, I have not reached for this at all! Well, it is quite nice as a highlighter as its just pure yellow gold and should flatter tanned skin tones. I most likely need to keep this on rotation to get more use of it:)

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Gold Member (L), Exhibit A (R)

Next up, are some of my favourite orange colours. Liberte and Taj Mahal. Liberte is definitely more for everyday wear. Described as ‘burnished apricot’, its orange brown to me with very fine and sparse gold shimmer. Taj Mahal on the other hand is burnt orange and pigmented like crazy. Taj Mahal is very nice for tanned skins was it warms up the skin and enhances the golden undertones. So, it gives a very J Lo/Beyonce look;) A trick for this colour is to apply it from the temple down and just a little below the cheekbones to give a polished high cheekbone and contoured look as this colour is not really the kind to be swirled around the apples of the cheek. Its not for the girly look, if you know what I mean. I hope you do;P

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Liberte (L), Taj Mahal (R)

Now to some purple/pink/mauve colours which are totally up my alley as I know they look good on my skin tone. A very girly and fun colour is Mata Hari. Brightens up tanned skin tone. Sin on the other hand is more understated and gives a polished look when worn alone but I prefer to pair it with Mata Hari as a highlighter due to its shimmers which gives a nice sheen to the cheekbones.

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Mata Hari (L), Sin (R)

Winding down to more recent purchases. Outlaw was a colour I was eyeing as I was bait disappointed with Taos which I talked about earlier and was still on the look out for a berry toned colour that can brighten up my complexion. Then I was introduced to outlaw at the counter by the sales girl. It looked mauve rose with golden shimmer and immediately I knew that it would work for me as somehow my skin tone takes to mauve colours very well. And I was not disappointed. This is very feminine and the fine gold shimmer adds a little uniqueness to this shade. Tribulation was sold as a blush but really for me its a great highlighter as it gives a champagne colored shimmer on my skin.

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Outlaw (L), Tribulation (R)

Down to my most recent purchase from Nars, Starscape from the Christopher Kane Collection. I grabbed this at the airport when leaving from Bangkok and I was so excited as this was sold out locally! Looks awfully neon in the pan, but really very beautiful on the cheeks. This line was all about neon neutrals and true to that, the colours show up very subtle on the skin and not loud or garish. Very satisfied with this limited edition purchase:) Such a gorgeous colour to look at as well;)

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Starscape

And that wraps up my Nars collection! Wow, what a long post. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as i enjoyed writing it and revisiting each one of these ‘treasures’ of mine.

Thanks for dropping in!

Cheers

Faith:)

Beauty Wishlist: Tom Ford SS 2016 Eyeshadow Quads

Beauty related Social Media is littered with images of the Tom  Ford Spring/Summer 2016 Makeup releases. I have been coveting two of the Eyeshadow Quads: Honeymoon and Disco Dust. The colours are just gorgeous and so flattering with one another. But the price point is just jaw-dropping. I only have one Tomford Eyeshdow Quad (Cognac Sable), an impulse buy surely! I do have at least 4-5 of their lippies which also costs a bomb at S$70 each! But as gorgeous as the colours are and as luxurious as the packaging is, I am a little hesitant to fork out $112 for these quads. And you know what, I actually prefer Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow quads and apparently she was the creative consultant when Tom Ford released his line of beauty products. When Charlotte Tilbury released hers, the eyeshadow quads looked vaguely similar with textures that rival that of Tom Ford. Just compare Tom Ford Cognac Sable and CT’s Dolce Vita. I daresay that I prefer the later. I think I just got Cognac Sable, as its such a neutral colour and I hoped that would make me wear it often to get my money worth! Alas, I must admit that I reach for it only once in awhile! But these new colours are really something. Very girly and yet elegant. Sigh.

 

Oh well, for now I shall just admire these lovelies.

Cheers

Faith

Current Loves: Dewy Skin to Eyes? Missha M Dewy Glossy Eyes.

The Korean trend for dewy skin is one that we are all too familiar with. Rumoured to have started by the makeup artists Park Tae Yun and Son Dae Sik (They have their own line of skincare and cosmetics now as well!) on the Korean ‘it’ girl, Jun Ji Hyun. I thoroughly enjoyed her popular drama series ‘My love from the Stars’ and I confess that half the reason for my obsession with that drama was due to my admiration of the actress’s skin and makeup (in particular her lip stick shades!). Of course, the photo below probably went through much editing but she is still very easy on the eyes!:)

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But I remained skeptical as to how much of this dewy skin thing is a Korean inspired trend as a glimpse at most fashion runways does reveal a inclination towards skin like finishes with emphasis on hydrated and moist skin. But I suppose we still need to give the Koreans the credit for making it a national and now even international obsession. Thanks to them, the everyday girl can recreate the dewy look with any cushion foundations from any of the Korean Brands. (Though they really need to work on their shade range!)

Ok all that talk about dewy skin is because of a not so recent purchase of mine that actually helps to create dewy eyelids. Another very pretty look but not easy to pull off. Have you seen those editorial pics where the model has a wet eye colour look?

Most of the time the make-up artist had applied vaseline over the lids or some other gloss like gel to create the look. As such, its not the most practical look to sport. But trust the innovative Korean Beauty industry to create a product that actually mimics that pretty wet look with sparkles thrown in as well. Thats what these Missha M Dewy Glossy Eyes help to achieve.

At first glance, you’d think these are your usual cream eyeshadows. But the texture is more fondant like. And the pigmentation is ever so slight causing the sparkles to shine through. Very bling bling! And when spread across the lid, it actually gives a very translucent finish making the eye lids look moist, and thus creating the dewy eyes! The photos below don’t do it justice but on the lids they really do give a moist dewy finish.

I really loves these two colours I picked. Grape Candy and Orange Pekoe. The earlier is a very light lilac with fine silver sparkles and the latter is a very subtle orange with fine silver sparkles. I think it’s the very fine sparkles that gives this product the wet look on the eyelid  as it reflects light. Very pretty and feminine. And its such a breeze to apply! Just a few swipes with fingers. (Brush may not work well and the product may stick to the bristles and clump up.)

This has been such a love of mine this year that I have just made an order for another colour, Berry Smoothie. I have great hopes for it:)

Thanks for dropping in!

Cheers

Faith

 

Current Loves: Skincare must- Hyaluronic Acid

Hydraluron was a big hit when it came out and almost all credible beauty bloggers raved about it. A really good review can be found in the blog of Caroline Hirons, a UK based beauty blogger who used to be an aesthetician, I think. Anyways, I do respect her views and she is also hilarious! Her review can be found here: Review Hydraluron. She basically categorises it in her Hall of Fame.

With such rave reviews, its no surprise that I snagged a few when i visited London last year. They don’t carry this where I live, Singapore. But it was definitely a setback for my purse at 23.99 pounds! Converted to Singapore dollars, thats a whopping S$51 or US$36. Thats pretty pricey for a 30ml tube. (And I bought 4 or 5!!) And its not as if the application only requires a small drop. I do find the need to apply a liberal dollop on my face to see the effects. But in terms of effect,no doubt the product is fantastic. It really does plump up the skin and leaves it soft. A must for skin beyond 30s thats been affected by fatigue and ageing.

Due to its steep price, I only apply it on days when I feel that my skin can do with that little bit of TLC. I am now in my second tube. Seeing the benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for the skin, I  started to look out for more purse friendly alternative to the Hydraluron. And I think I have found it in the Hada Lobo Gokuhyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Essence. This was only S$ 30 plus dollars at Watsons and when there is sale, its cheaper. Or better still, buy on Q10 and its even cheaper. The effect was rather similar to Hydraluron.

The essence plumped and hydrated my skin. Its a little more stickier than the Hydraluron which dries to a silky finish. A glance at the ingredient list however reveals that much of the moisturizing benefits may be coming from the Glycerin which is right at the top of the list while the Hyaluronic acid ingrediant appears somewhere in the lower middle part of the list. There is also another moisturising ingredient Squalane somewhere in the middle. So I guess that explains the price point. But well,  it delivers and once I am through with my Hydraluron, this will be my go to moisturising essence.

Hope this was informative.

Thanks for dropping in!

Cheers

Faith

Current Loves: Why Pay more? Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill vs Aritaum Shine Fix Eyes

Hello!

Haha…a very long hiatus! My serious job drained me of my time and well I kind of also became lazy. But I am back and decided to revive this project again. Let’s just see how it goes. Also, I have been a recent convert to Korean Beauty and have dabbled pretty seriously into it. I hope to give more updates and info in upcoming posts.

Korean Beauty has been a hit and miss experience for me previously. Living in Singapore, this has been one of the prime markets for Korean brands and thus shops like The Face Shop, Etude House have been here awhile and joined by brands like VDL, Tony Moly etc later on. Besides free standing shops, there are plenty of online options for purchases of Korean beauty and skin care with attractive shipping rates (sometimes even free)!

I must say I have been rather fascinated with this Kbeauty takeover. And not to mention  their successful exporting of KPOP and other aspects of the Korean culture like food and fashion style. Seems like Korea is taking the place of Japan these days. So yes, i shall be on trend and see what the fuss is all about as well. And I must say that I am pretty impressed with some of my finds:)

One such find is the focus of this post. I love sparkles on my eyes! As I wear a geeky looking specs for work, I find a wash of shimmery sparkling eyeshadow with black/brown eyeliner helps my eyes pop behind my spectacles and gives a fun element to wearing specs. I have amassed a number of sparkly Korean eyeshadows and today I want to talk about the Shine Fix Eyes from Aritaum.

Alas, there is no Aritaum store in Singapore and thus i purchased mine from Q10 at a pretty reasonable price of $12 each. And I was rather intrigued by the fun colours. I purchased No 23 in Coraltox , an orange with pink/silver sparkle combination pressed pigment. Super girly and pretty!

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The other one was No 25 in Vampire Kiss reddish brown with gold pressed pigment. A little bit more matured and sophisticated.

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When I received these shadows, I expected decent colours but not really fantastic quality for the price I paid. But boy was I surprised! The texture was soft and buttery. The pigments were generous in quantity and tightly packed to allow for very good colour par off. As such, finger application is the best and i find that the fall off is minimal to nil. I wore both colours for work on separate days and with an eyeshadow primer (Nars Eyeshadow Base) the colour stayed put the whole day.

I also realised that this product was pretty similar to another product that i have from a higher end brand. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill. I purchased this from a duty free shop and thus was cheaper but was still easily three to four times the price of the Aritaum one. I compared the texture and colour payoff. And check it out! Its pretty similar in my opinion. Of course , the packaging for the GA one was sturdier and fancier as it was glass but if thats where my extra money is going, then I think i’d rather get the Aritaum one!;P

I hope this post was informative and I’m glad to be able to share my love for this recent purchase of mine. I also got some other products from Aritaum and will review it again one day:)

Thanks for dropping in!

Cheers

Faith

Word of Mouth: Beauty and Cosmetics 1550-1950

Hi there

Its been a lovely Saturday and one that is rare for me as i have chosen to stay in today to recuperate from the crazy past week as well as replenish my energy for the crazy week ahead! So after a an hour and a half of watching a Backstreet Boy  documentary with my sister ( which was surprisingly good! So glad that my teenage boy band crush are still around and are evidently getting better at their craft. Just heard from my sis that their upcoming concert was sold out at the Star!) I wound up picking up a book on the history of beauty and cosmetics from 1550-1950. A very quick read as it is quite compact in length but not the most easy read as i felt the start and end of certain portions were rather abrupt. At some points i was even wondering if the book had a couple of pages missing. Strange really. But eventually it made sense as I felt that she was approaching the whole world of beauty and cosmetics as one would talk about a fine piece of art and hence her expressions and sentiments sometimes defied a clear line of thought and structure which we usually demand of prose. In fact there were many times where references were made to art as clearly the world of women’s beauty had much connections to the world of art and artists with the later helping to both represent and define femininity and beauty of the different eras. So there were some worthy moments of enlightenment in this book despite its lack of coherence in some parts and i thought i’ll share with you some.

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Queen Elizabeth the Icon

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The scenes of Cate Blanchett from Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and Elizabeth: The Golden Age struck me as i found out that Queen Elizabeth I, very much relied on her beauty to put forth an image of herself that could inspire awe and loyalty. In an era where it was believed that outward beauty was a sign of inward goodness, Elizabeth used her white skin and red hair to full advantage in setting herself apart from her mother Anne Boleyn considered evil due to her associations with witchcraft and her half sister ‘bloody Mary’ whose time on the throne was remembered for her dour expression. Elizabeth hence knew how beauty had the power to captivate and hence relied on richly jewelled gowns and decorative accessories to create a larger than life image of herself. She hence did not withhold from the use of cosmetics despite the religion of that day frowning upon the use of such artifice. Reading about this, i kept thinking about women today and their reliance on makeup to create a better version of themselves that they feel confident to present to the world. I was watching an interview by Sali Hughes with Charlotte Tilbury the other day and Sali mentioned how makeup and high heels in her case was the ‘Game face’ for her when she needs to attend an important board meeting. It just makes one feel that much more empowered and ready to conquer the world. Obviously, confidence is a much more complex issue that cannot be relegated to the application of cosmetics alone but i think it is one of the many symbolic gestures we do for ourselves in preparing us to face the challenges ahead. I personally, despite how tired i am, still enjoy taking the time every morning to prep and ‘paint’ my face. I cannot deny the good feeling it gives me and just signals to me that the day has begun as my game face is on!;)

Suffering for Beauty

Unfortunately, the concept of suffering a slight discomfort for looking good was taken to extreme measures in the time of Queen Elizabeth I as the product used to achieve her legendary complexion was Ceruse, a mixture of lead powder with vinegar which was basically poisonous and detrimental for women’s health. The book highlighted the death of two sisters in the 18th century due to their love of wearing ceruse and rouge which also contained questionable ingredients. The book highlighted another woman who had to continue wearing her rouge as her consistent wearing of it had left a dead yellow colour to her complexion unlike that of her natural skin and thus the use of more rouge around her cheek was necessary to hide the deformity. Yikes!

Gosh i think safety standards in cosmetics are an issue now as it was then and beauty lovers do need to be mindful about what we slather on our faces. Thankfully, most products these days are subjected to strict FDA guidelines that require them to be safe for application. And as far as i know, i pretty much trust European products as the guidelines in Europe are a lot more stringent than the states. The ones i have some skepticism about is Korean Beauty Products. There are different schools of thought actually. The constant demand for perfection by the Koreans (Most East Asians i feel) has fuelled much RnD in the Korean Beauty Industry and Korea generally has lesser restrictions to get products onto the shelves faster. This means that technology could be more advanced in Korea but it also can imply that the QC for much of these products is lacking in rigour. I was into Korean beauty for awhile but rumours of Etude House lipsticks staining lips due to their high lead content kind of scared me. Nonetheless, i am still a fan of Korean Beauty Brands like Laniege and Sulwhasoo which i still deem as pretty decent brands. Just that a little discernment is needed to find products that suit my skin tone and complexion.

Lipstick. The Freedom Wand.

Interestingly, by the late 19th century and early 20th century, the critics of cosmetics coincided with the very ones who were against the emancipation of women. Those considered as feminists then used cosmetics as a show of rebellion and the right of a women to assert her identity. Huh! So you see, loving beauty and makeup does not make you weak and a slave to society’s standards of conformity. I think its all about the use of makeup. It can be oppressive as well as liberating. Obviously, during the era mentioned above, it was a tool for liberation since society placed demands on women to embrace austerity and simplicity which is not bad in and of itself but it is bad when forced upon women as the ideal standard.

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The First Mascara applied with a Tooth Brush!

Did you know? The first inventor of Mascara was a chemist in Philadelphia named T.L.Williams who created the Mascara for his sister whom he believed was lacking luscious lushes which in his opinion led to the loss of her fiancé (Dump that superficial idiot i say!) But well, his concern led to the creation of a solid cake mascara in a tin that was to be applied by a brush which resembles the tooth brush! And he patented and named the product after his sister, Maybel Lament. Maybelline the brand was thus created! Wow, i did not know that!;)

Of course, the one who then revolutionised the Mascara into the product we are familiar today with a brush wand and a liquid formula was Helena Rubinstein. I mean lets face it, coating the lashes with a tooth brush must have been pretty tricky.

So those are pretty much some of the outstanding bits of information that stuck to me and i thought i’ll share it with you guys. The big idea was of course that beauty or the search for being beautiful has been a obsession for women time immemorial. However, the attitudes towards this pursuit of beauty has evolved from disdain, to shame, to acceptance and even obligation in the later days. I was especially struck by how the use of cosmetics was once deemed as an assertion of identity but today it has been used to push forth idealised images of beauty that only makes women less confident of who they are. But you know, history sometimes repeats itself and fads and sentiments of the past have a way of coming back stronger in the future and i think with the direction of some brands these days, the idea of using cosmetics to create and celebrate the identities of women of all backgrounds is making a strong comeback. I am thinking of brands like Bobbie Brown, Nars and many more I am sure that cater to women of all colours and ages and are proponents that Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours. So i’ll end this post with a quote from the creator of one of my favourite makeup brand:

‘Find your own way, Have an open spirit, And believe in your own Beauty’ – Francois Nars

Thanks for dropping in.

Cheers

Faith

References

1) Beauty and Cosmetics 1550-1950, Sarah Jane Downing

2) Sali Huges Interview with Charlotte Tilburry:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0M2sohvEZM

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW_Z1V9jUJM

Current Loves: Dupes? Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder vs Bourjois Healthy Balance Unifying Powder

Hi Hi Been some time since my last entry. Work has kept me busy. Nevertheless, I was thinking about this post earlier and finally found some time to jot my thoughts down today. This year I have been using pressed powders regularly. I somehow found it more flattering for my skin tone compared to my translucent powders which claim to be colourless but on my tanned skin it always seems to leave a white cast unless i blend it out well and use it with a light hand. But in my trip to Aussie last december I managed to get my hands on the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Sheer glow powder in No. 30. Singapore only carries 10 and 20. So i had to get the darker shades overseas. IMG_0271 IMG_0270 The packaging is really a thing of beauty. Moving away from their classic black, Chanel has embraced the Beige while still keeping it chic which the black Chanel logo. This is the kind of compact you wanna flash out in public to do your touch up. I mean to be honest, with some makeup products I will wait till i am in private or in the restroom before i touch up cus you know the packaging is..well…just looks cheap aesthetically plastic. But of course formula is still king. So with the powder itself, Chanel touts the Les Beige Healthy Sheer Glow powder to give a light and sheer coverage that imparts a subtle glow whilst giving sun protection thanks to the SPF 15. It is finely milled, light weight and packed with some skin loving antioxidants like cotton flower, white rose plant cells and shea butter. Shea butter is surprisingly one of the ingredients higher up in the list which explains the hydrating texture of the powder. The product is also distinctly scented with rose. Ok so now my thoughts: I have been enjoying this since my aussie trip. As i mentioned, the chic packaging makes this a pleasure to do touch up on the go and the brush that this contact comes with is actually quite decent. A curved brush with natural hair. Not some rubbish synthetic brush. In terms of coverage, it is really sheer which is fine with me as i avoid the powdery caked up look. With this, the tendency to over apply is very minimal as the product is so finely milled and sheer. This is also the exact reason why some critics diss the product as they claim that for the price you pay, the pigmentation is crap. But for me, i am ok with it as i just need a little powder to freshen up.  The sun protection is negligible as SPF 15 isn’t going to do much in our weather so i still encourage the use of a proper SPF. So yeah, altogether quite nice and was enjoying it UNTIL i also came across the Bourjois Healthy Balance powder in Bronze at the Robinsons in Centrepoint. IMG_0267 IMG_0268 Anyway a little history, Chanel perfume and beauty products have been owned and produced by the Wertheimer Family since 1924, and they are the same owners of Bourjois, the largest cosmetic company in France. Apparently, in terms of drugstore brands, Bourjois is also the top 3 with Loreal Paris and Maybelline. With Chanel and Bourjois being under the same Cosmetic house, some of the products tends to resemble one another like the blushes and the foundations. The Healthy Mix foundation is always compared to Chanel Vitalumiere. When i saw this powder, i decided to try it and boy was i not disappointed. In fact i find the glow that this powder gives a lot more obvious. And in other regards, like the texture and the finely milled formulae, both the products are very similar except that the Bourjois powder does not have any SPF and coverage is also medium to high. Unsurprisingly, the powder also has a very faint smell of roses. Sometimes i do wonder if the formula is very similar and the difference lies in its packaging since Chanel needs to have that luxury stamp which is usually achieved by luxe packaging. After all, both the brands are owned by the same company. But for the sack of appeasing my conscience with the price i paid for Chanel vs the Bourjois powder, i shall simply convince myself that the earlier just has that little extra magic;P So i have been quite happy with both of these powders and i usually start my day with Bourjois Healthy Balance as a setting powder after foundation and use my Chanel one exclusively for touch up. This routine has served me well so far in 2015. Maybe i’ll compare other Chanel and Bourgeois products again in the future. I am already thinking about the blushes;) I hope you found my rambling above useful. Thanks for dropping in! Faith:)

* Update: Chanel had sold Bourjois to a US cosmetic group Coty. Rumour is that Bourjois was not doing well for the luxury image that Chanel wants to cash in on! 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2783797/Coty-buy-Chanels-Bourjois-cosmetics-brand-shares.html

12% Tangs Rebate Beauty Haul

When i got news of the 12% rebate that Tangs was offering on the 8th and 9th January, i made a trip down on Thursday to get some of the stuff that i have been eyeing awhile. Just a quick share in this post. I will do a review later on. Will see how it goes:)

Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire Orchidee Vanille: A vanilla perfume thats sophisticated and elegant. Not too girly sweet. ($250)

Nars Blush in Mata Hari: A pop of Pinkish Purple. Very nice on tanned skin as it gives a healthy flush. ($50)

Tom Ford Casablanca: Beautiful Nude for pigmented lips ($72)

And with a 12% i managed to earn a significant 50 odd dollars back! Hmmmm…now contemplating my next purchase;P

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Thanks for dropping in.

Cheers

Faith