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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My Newest Makeup Crush: Anna Sui Cosmetics

Promo Picture for Anna Sui's Fall 2011 Makeup Collection

Although I rarely write about fashion in this blog, the topic was bound to make an appearance sooner or later, as there is an undeniable link between fashion and beauty: the colours, textures, and attitudes of both truly work in tandem. As fashion goes, I love everything from Value Village to Holt Renfrew (and all that lies in between!), but my favourite high-end designer has always been Anna Sui.

The lovely, talented, and creative Anna Sui :)

Although my bank account is not padded enough to afford her designs, I have always admired (and drooled over) her vintage-inspired, feminine runway looks. A little bit fairy, a little bit rock n' roll, her clothing is a true expression of a modern woman with a colourful and bohemian aesthetic.

From Anna's Spring/Summer 2012 show

To go along with these looks, the makeup sported by Sui's runway models is likewise dreamy, bold, and ladylike. Here are a few looks from her Spring/Summer 2012 runway show:

Lush lips and rosy cheeks at the Anna Sui S/S 2012 runway show

Despite my long-time fascination with Sui, last week marked my first foray into her makeup line, Anna Sui Cosmetics. I had always appreciated the elaborate, feminine, gothic packaging her makeup offered, but it was a generous gift-with-purchase at Sears, along with the suggestions of a kind, helpful sales associate, that led me to test out the brand for the first time. I came home with several goodies, and used most of them to create the look below. It is a slightly more toned-down version of Anna Sui's Spring/Summer runway look: juicy berry lips, rosy cheeks, and dewy skin:

My final look, using several of my new Anna Sui products!

Here's a picture of the box the gift-with-purchase (GWP) came in, after which I'll picture and review each of the products I received:

My GWP came with this lovely box, with the featured goodies displayed on the side...

In order to get the GWP, I purchased two items: the Moisture Rich Foundation Primer and her Moisture Rich Fluid Foundation in B02. Both feature vintage-inspired and utterly feminine rose-shaped bottles, and the products themselves feature a rosewater scent, which is apparently a trademark of Anna's cosmetics. I have not yet tried the foundation primer (as I want to see how my skin reacts the foundation first), but it was described to me by the sales associate as being a balancing product- one that smooths dry areas and also controls oily bits. It has quite a liquidy texture, which I actually find to be a nice change from the typical silicone-laden primers on the market.

The texture of the foundation is relatively thin and watery, yet it is quite moisturizing on the skin. Shade B02 is very similar to my tried and true Revlon ColourStay Foundation in Buff. Although the finish of the foundation is slightly too moisturizing/dewy for my combination skin at the moment, I can see it being a godsend during the winter when my skin can get parched. It is also great mixed with my ColourStay foundation, adding a more glowy finish to the normally matte foundation.

(L) Anna Sui Moisture Rich Foundation Primer and (R) Moisture Rich Fluid Foundation. Love the rosy bottles!

Amazingly, the GWP I received included three full-sized products. The first was Anna Sui's Full Mascara in Black. The sleek, adorable packaging also features a ladylike rosette on the lid and- as you'll see in the pictures below- the formula provided my lashes with incredible length and volume!

Anna Sui Full Mascara in Black

The second item I received in the GWP was a full sized Eye Colour. It's encased in such a lovely compact! Check it out:

The Eye Shadow compact is gorgeous!

There were 4 different shades to choose from (it's always nice when you have some choice with your GWP options!), and the one I selected was #700, a shimmery champagne beige shade. I assumed that #700 would work well as a highlight shade or as a wash over the entire lid- and I was right! I'm wearing it in the pictures below... and here is a closeup of the eyeshadow itself:

Anna Sui Eye Colour #700

The final item I received in the GWP was a full-sized Lip Rouge V lipstick. Again, there were four shades to choose from, and I opted for #361, a sheer cherry fuchsia shade. Not only is the packaging gorgeous, but the colour complements my skin tone very well. It's the perfect "I just ate a cherry Popsicle" colour! Here are some pictures of it:

Anna Sui Lip Rouge V #361

Overall, I have been quite pleased with the performance of the Anna Sui products I've tried so far! Luckily, the formulas of the cosmetics are just as satisfying as the adorable packaging! I'm also happy with how the products I received worked so well together to create a colourful, but wearable makeup look. Here are a few more pictures from my Anna Sui Spring/Summer 2012-inspired look:

The final look!

As you can see, the Anna Sui Full mascara gives some impressive length to the lashes!

A closeup of Anna Sui Eye Colour #700 on my lids

Wearing Anna Sui Moisture Rich Fluid Foundation in B02, Eye Colour #700, Full Mascara in Black, and Lip Rouge V #361

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions about other Anna Sui products, or about other products I have used to create this look :)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Photo Tutorial: How to master a Modern '40s Starlet Look

The inspiration for this tutorial (which has been in the works for a while, for those who requested it!) is one of my all-time favourite makeup looks: that of the bold, confident, sultry 1940s starlet. As pictured below, the look is characterized by flawless matte skin, strong brows, and matte orange-red lips.

The beautiful Lauren Becall

The glamorous Veronica Lake
Unlike the pin-ups from the 50s who were adorned with dramatic winged liner, false lashes, and cherry-red lips, the 40s starlet look is slightly more subdued, yet just as striking and iconic. For this tutorial, I've attempted to create a modern 40s look, that is equally bold and surprisingly wearable. Throughout I've also added hints to help make the look either more traditional or more modern-day. I hope you find them helpful!

Here is a picture of my final, completed look, after which I've broken everything down into steps for you:

Step 1: Create a matte base

A hallmark of the 40s starlet look is flawless, matte skin. To re-create this, it is best to use a medium coverage liquid foundation, topped with concealer (where needed) and a matte finishing powder. I used Yves Saint Laurent Teint Resist foundation in #4 Sand (which I was lucky to get a sample of at Sephora), and MAC Blot Powder in Medium to create a matte look. In order for this not to look heavy or chalky (especially if you have dry skin), make sure to use a light hand when applying the powder!

Tip: To make this look more modern, opt for a more sheer, glowy foundation instead.

Step 2: Aim for a Dramatic Brow

As the above pictures demonstrate, bold arched brows are key to adding structure and drama to this look. To achieve this, first use a brow pencil that matches or is slightly darker than your brows to fill in any sparse areas and accentuate your brow's natural arch. Then layer on a brow powder to set the look. I used Clarins Brown Pencil in 03 Blonde topped with Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ash Blonde.

Tip: To make this look even more classic and dramatic, use the brow pencil to make your brows slightly thicker and more arched than normal.

Step 3: Subtly Contour the Cheeks

In order to add further structure to the look, you can use a bronzer or neutral toned blush (slightly darker than your skintone) under the cheekbones to sculpt the face. I used Hard Candy's Hula Hula Bronzer, applied with Quo's Contour Brush (pictured below). In order to know where to apply the contour shade, make a "fish face" and place the colour where your cheeks naturally hollow.

Here is how I looked after completing these three steps:

Tip: To make this look more classic, be a bit more heavy-handed with the contour shade. To make this look more modern, skip this step altogether!

After steps 1, 2, and 3

Contoured Cheeks

Quo's Contour Face Brush

Step 4: Apply a neutral cheek colour

As seen on the lovely starlets above, the cheek colour for this look is quite subdued, which allows for the brows and lips to do all the talking, so to speak ;) To achieve these matte, subtle cheeks, choose a powder blush that is just slightly darker than your natural skin tone, applying it to the apples of your cheeks, up toward the hairline, and slightly on top of the contour shade, to blend it. I used a mix of Laura Mercier Blush in Crushed Hazelnut and NARS Powder Blush in Sex Appeal.

Tip: To make this look more modern, chose a blush with a bit of shimmer to it, rather than sticking to a matte finish.

Here's what I looked like after applying blush:

After Step 4, a mix of Laura Mercier Crushed Hazelnut and NARS Sex Appeal

Step 5: Add a Neutral Eye Colour all over the Lid and Browbone

Because the eyes are not the central focus of this look, it is important to keep things neutral and subtle. To highlight the eyes slightly, I applied a satin-finish eyeshadow (not too matte or too shimmery) all over the lid, along the browbone and in the inner corner of my eye. For this, I used Bourjois Powder Shadow in Beige Rose.

Tip: To make this look more classic, opt for a truly matte shadow, such as Revlon Vintage Lace.

Here is what this looked like:

After Step 5, Bourjois Beige Rose

Step 6: Subtly Contour the Eyes

In order to provide some shape to the eyes, while still keeping things subtle, you can add a matte, mid-toned (not too light or dark) brown to the crease. I applied a light layer of MAC Eyeshadow in Patina.

Tip: To make this look more classic, skip in this step! To modernize this look, apply a slightly darker brown for a soft, smoky eye.

Here's why my eye looked like at this point:

With MAC Patina Eyeshadow in the crease

Step 7: Eyeliner

Because brows and lips are the focus of this look, it is important to keep the eyeliner relatively subtle. This will help differentiate the look from that of the 50s pinup, staying true to the 40s starlet spirit. You can apply a thin line of either brown or black liner, winging it out very slightly. I applied Revlon ColourStay Liquid Liner in Black. Here's how it looked:

Step 8: Mascara

Even though the shadow and liner are mostly neutral and subdued with this look, it's still ok to create some bold lashes! Any volumizing mascara in black or brown will do the trick- I used Boots No 7 Volumizing Waterproof Mascara in Black. Here's how it looked:

Step 9: Matte, Red Lips!

Bold scarlet lips are truly the hallmark of this look, and finding the perfect starlet red was a fun task! I was looking for a lipstick with a semi-matte finish and warm orange tones in the red. Ultimately, the winner was NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave. It's a gorgeous tomato red with a full-colour and slightly retro (how perfect!) finish. Here are a couple pictures of it:

NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave

For a more affordable option, try Joe Fresh Lipstick in Poppy!

Here's a closeup of NARS Heat Wave on my lips:

And in the context of the final look, with eyes open and closed:

Thanks for reading, everyone! I'll leave you with a few more pictures of the final look... Hope you had as much fun reading about it as I did creating it! :)