Illamasqua Matte Lip Liquid in Forbidden

This post was really meant to be about the Estee Lauder Pure Color lipsticks but it has been gazumped by a cheeky Illamasqua lip stain.

This product isn't especially new - it came out in the Spring/Summer collection - but the reason I am deeming blogworthy is that I just really liked how it looked! That's enough of a reason, right?

I think this is especially justifiable as when I first saw and swatched it I assumed that it would look horrendous on my mug. It's a colour that both excites me in it's intensity but also makes me realise that I am not Nicki-Minaj enough.

But sod it. It's Saturday and it's time to experiment.

Now a few things to say:

1) The colour is a lovely mid-tone cool pink. It's not impossible to wear as I had previously thought and although not a conventional lip colour, feels less clownish than say MAC Saint Germain.
2) It's a proper stain so you have to be committed to the colour. Once it's set it's there and will remain in place for a good 6 hours.
3) You only need a little bit - I slathered this on first time as the applicator brush does hold a lot of product and quickly realised that I had made a mistake. As it dries excess product "balls" up so don't be over-zealous with the amount - you only need a dab top and bottom and try to use a different lip brush to apply it.
4) It's a moisture-zapper and your lips will need a balm both before and after application. I am not joking with you here either - if I had to rate it according to how dry this is, we are talking desert.

When I read the above points back to myself it seems like an awful lot of hassle for a medium/bright lip but still, I am glad I temporarily crawled out of my Nude Lips habitat to try something a little different for the day.

Foundation: Illamasqua Skin Base - a reliable performer: lasts well, great coverage, good colour selection.
Blusher: Velvet Blusher in Flirtatious (absolutely ZERO complaints from me about this. Such a gorgeous pink that really makes your cheeks glow. I love the cream-to-powder finish as well).
Eyes: MAC Indianwood with Illamasqua Ore over the top and a little of theBalm's Mary Lou Manizer in the inner corner. Okay, ALOT of Manizer.
Lips: Illamasqua Matte Lip Liquid in Forbidden

You know what I realised today though...I really don't buy a lot of Illamasqua when I compare my spending habits with the other department store brands.

When they first hit the scene their art direction was so "alternative" to mainstream offerings that I just felt that they didn't relate and that they were not really targeting me as a customer. Let's be real here - I am the type of person who gets most inspired by a Becca campaign, a style that looks positively insipid in comparison.

While Illasmasqua haven't relented on the type of performance imagery they push for advertising, I have been more exposed to the product over the years, getting comfortable with "safe" choices like Katie blush and Hollow cream pigment and I guess there really is something for everyone. I should consider visiting the counter more when I am makeup shopping especially knowing that things like the Vintage Metallix eyeshadows in Embellish are out there waiting for me to buy :)

What's your experience been of Illamasqua?

PS. If you are in the UAE you can buy Illamasqua at Harvey Nichols (MoE), Bloomingdales (Dubai Mall) and Areej.


You know what I thought the other day: "I could sit this season out". The shops are full of jumpers, coats and other winter paraphernalia - basically everything that feels totally unnecessary in these climes.

So it makes complete sense that no sooner had I uttered those words, I promptly trotted into Zara and bought "essentials" like a grey leather jacket (to be worn sometime in December) and some nice thick stretchy trousers.

I think this proves one thing: I cannot resist Zara new season. That store could be packed full of puffa jackets and I would still find a way to justify a purchase.

Now the trousers and top - standard fayre - but after wearing both I have a couple of conclusions:

1) Skip the top - it's a stage 5 creaser. Sit down/creased. Move/creased. Lay immobile/creased.
2) The trousers are a must. They are navy and although a skinny fit, the fabric has a happy slimming side effect.

But the best bit has to be the shoes. I wore them yesterday and I wore them today. The heel is mid-sized so you get a lift while still remaining able to walk and the lace detail is a major pain the arse to deal with when you put them on but very much worth the struggle. I have seen these on quite a few bloggers recently so I am not the first but I wholeheartedly recommend them. The dusky green/grey faux suede is also destined to work with anything in the wardrobe.

Top: Zara - Link!
Trousers: Zara - Link!
Shoes: Zara  (can't find these on the UK Zara site but they might be in store!)
Bag: Sophie Hulme

I wore this to a lovely evening at La Serre with Estee Lauder. The dinner was all about truffle pasta and lipsticks - what a combination! I have four new beauties to share with you and I think I will do a swatch post next. I can tell you one thing though, that lipstick on the left? Yep, that nude? You need it.....

See you tomorrow!

Blog slacker

Many apologies. It’s been quite a while. I haven’t abandoned you – I have just been really busy at work and had to focus on that for a week or so.

But here I am, bringing you one of my same-same-but-different faces of the day that has defined how I have been wearing my makeup for the 10 days.

Foundation: Dior Star
Powder: Laura Mercier Mineral Foundation
Blush: MIlani Luminious (LE)
Eyes: Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage, theBalm Mary Lou Manizer, Maybelline gel liner and MUFE Smokey Lash
Lips: MAC Pure Zen

I haven’t even attempted a variation from this product list because everything used performs well and lasts through a long day. There are a few stand-out items though that I must talk to you about:

Dior Star foundation - this was a reckless purchase, reckless because the day I picked it up I was shopping my feelings and was not informed about the finish, wearability or….well anything really. Fortunately the makeup Gods were aligned and what could have been a waste of money has instead become one of my favourite foundations.

The easiest way to describe how this looks is “Make Up For Ever HD made glossy”. It won’t give you “perfect plastic face” in the same vein as Clarins Extra Comfort but it makes you look “well” – medium coverage with a delicate glow. I picked up shade 33 - okay post-holiday but I predict that I’ll need to downgrade to a less oompa shade next time.

NB: This does last well on me - 6-8 hours with no settling in fine lines - but I have normal/combination skin and always set with Laura Mercier Mineral Powder. 

Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage – I felt like a total idiot when I first bought this: sucked in by the brand to pay over the odds for neutrals. Now, however, I feel completely vindicated. Phew. There is something very different about the quality/blendability of this palette.  It is incredibly easy to work with and makes even the sloppiest of appliers (AKA me) feel like an artist. In all honesty I wouldn’t rave about any other Tom Ford palettes that I have but I feel like this is a neutral-wearer’s BFF.

theBalm Mary Lou Manizer  - what a great powder highlighter. Seriously. I feel a love for this as intense as when I first got Dior Ambre Diamond (RIP). It’s one of those icy champagne highlighters that’s milled so finely that all it gives you is a great glow. I wear this on the cheekbone and in the inner corner.

MAC Pure Zen lipstick – if you are on my wavelength lipstick wise then please do ensure that this is in your collection. If not, then do feel free to roll your eyes at the mention of yet ANOTHER, yes another, nude lip product. This is a peach/coral number – very neutral at face value but like with Tom Ford’s Spanish Pink it does something when worn. The undertone of it makes lips looks healthy and juicy.

It’s a cremesheen formula which polarizes my opinion. On the one hand – yay, it’s so moisturizing and glossy – but on the other, boo, because it will almost certainly degrade into a smooshed mess before I know it.  

So these are my current favourites but I feel a change coming on and a makeup bag update is imminent. In the last week NARS Dione and the Kat von D Tattoo Liner entered my world and I am already crushing hard. Expect a lengthy bit of prose extolling their virtues very soon :) 

What products are you absolutely loving at the moment?

Agency casual

Let’s call this outfit of the day, “agency casual”. I have been working in the digital design field for about 10 years and if I had to choose an office uniform to define how I have dressed over that time, this would be it.

The accessories get updated every now and then but the core of it – the client-facing blazer with a nice top and jeans – always remains the same.

You’d think I would be absolutely sick of this look by now but if ever there were a clothes comfort zone this would be it!

Blazer: Zara (old)
Top: Topshop – Link!
Jeans: Paige – Link!
Shoes: Zara (old)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban - Link!
Bag: Alexander Wang (similar colour – Link!)

While we are on the work theme, I often get asked whether I am a full time blogger – or whether I would like to be. Although the thought is sometimes very appealing the answer to both questions is a no. 

I think there is something nice about reserving blogging as a creative outlet and a hobby – an adjunct to something else that’s going on in life. It feels good/healthy to have that other dimension.

Much of my point of view probably stems from my age. I am not quite pension-collecting but the older I get the more I worry about sustaining my future. In this respect I always wonder about the full-timers. As cool as their lives seem I can’t imagine the anxiety levels associated with the reality that income is dependent on popularity. I should probably wise up in this regard though - I know that most of them are laughing all the way to the bank while I slave over a poxy PowerPoint presentation for pittance!

What do you think about blogging full-time?  
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