Mercurial Sightings

A few allergic reactions to my eyes in the past really woke me up to the flipside of using eye makeup. I recommend choosing brands that are transparent and honest about disclosing product ingredients. They should always be ready to address your concerns and answer your questions.

Specifically, I'd like to talk about an ingredient called thimerosal or thiomersal. This is a compound that's 50% mercury. While it is banned as a cosmetics ingredient in the E.U., Korea, and Japan, the FDA still allows it to be used in most makeup products made in the U.S.

Yes, that includes mascaras. Check out the ingredients in yours! Studies have shown that a percentage of users are allergic to it, or might eventually develop an allergic reaction from continuous exposure to this ingredient.

Last note of caution: throw out your mascara after 3 months. Don't risk your eyes. It's not worth it.

Photo: Lin Pernille


First Base

OR ?

Shu Uemura UV Under Base
SPF 17 PA++
Comfort: *****
Oilyness: *
Ease of application: ****
Effectiveness: ****
Texture: foam
Application: brush, sponge


Shiseido White Lucent Moisturizer
SPA 16 PA++
Comfort: *****
Oilyness: **
Ease of application: ****
Effectiveness: ****
Texture: cream
Application: fingers
These two colourless SPF makeup bases are very similar, the main difference being one is foam, one is cream. Both last all day, and the oilyness is really a minimum. Highly recommended!


Beauty Crimes

Photo: Marija Rajkovic

Visiting Nic Nic's blog, I got her automatic tag. My beauty crimes are probably not very dramatic, but here goes:

  • I throw away products before the expiration date: while most people tend to hang on to things for a long time, I just throw away mine when I feel I've gotten the most out of them. Wasteful!

  • I bite my lips: especially when they're chapped. It's a nervous habit more than anything. The problem is showing up with beat-up looking lips isn't the best way to present myself...

  • I rub my eyes with dirty hands: looks like I still haven't learnt from the multiple allergic reactions I've had with my sensitive eyes...

  • I leave used tissues around the house: you know what I mean by "used", eew.

I guess that's really it. Hopefully, I won't need a detective to solve the mystery behind my wrong-doings...


Almost Bare

I'm very happy with the La Roche-Posay eyeshadow in Topaze, and did a bit of a winged look on my eyes back on Easter Sunday. Nothing on the lips.

I used only the La Prairie concealer and loose powder here. As you can see, the result is a no-makeup look without the skin looking too dull.

Since joining ABB, I realized how small my makeup collection actually is. I probably make a couple of purchases per month. I'm extremely picky so I look around a lot before making up my mind.

I will be doing comparison reviews soon so do stay tuned!


Edible Haircare

Well, not exactly. I love Klorane's hair products because they're all made from plant extracts. Having long hair, it's important to take good care of it.
I use Klorane's oak milk shampoo. You can get it on sasa.com.
It doesn't foam a lot, which is a good thing, because foaming comes from harsh ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate. This shampoo rinses off easily and you're left with soft, clean hair that doesn't tangle.
Once a week, I use Klorane's mango butter hair mask. I smooth a big spoonful of this delicious cream into my hair, avoiding the scalp. Leave it in for 10 minutes (or 20 minutes in a warm towel for deep conditioning), rinse it off, and vibrant, silky hair is guaranteed for the rest of the week.


Life on the Prairie

I've been using Shu Uemura's cream concealer for a year now. It's a good product: buildable, blendable, stays put all day and the colour brightens the eye area. But with its one-year life span almost up, I'm eager to look for other options.
I'm looking for a concealer for summer that I can just apply over an SPF base, followed by loose powder. No foundation.
After some research, I thought I'd give La Prairie a try. I stopped by their counter and the consultant recommended this concealer.
It's exceptionally light, silky and luminous. With texture like a liquid foundation, it blends easily with low-medium coverage. This concealer doubles as a brightening eye treatment!


Prime Time

Urban Decay Primer Potion is not your only choice when it comes to priming the eye area for makeup application. The start to pretty eye makeup is actually something a lot more basic:
  • Sufficient sleep

  • Hydration

With that said, for those of us who spend time in front of the computer, or for those who have hectic schedules (who doesn't?), a little extra help is always appreciated. So, here are my suggestions:
Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum: a mega-boost of vitamins absorbed within seconds of application. This is an excellent primer in the mornings, and also a great eye serum during air travel.
Shu Uemura Depsea Moisturizing Essence: thicker and slowly absorbed, this is an ideal eye cream for night time. Massage this around the eye area, and wake up with a fresher look.


Anytime Look

I don't like dramatic looks so this is something simple that looks good on anyone.

It's basically silvery grey applied on the outer corner, over a very matte chocolate brown eyeshadow. The upper lids are lined with matte black.

Then, a golden yellow on the waterline and on the inner corner of the eyes. I used a sheer orange blush, and a candy pink lipstick over a creamy beige one as the base.


All-natural Skincare

Let me suggest a couple of non-messy, all natural skincare regimens that you can do at home.

Cream-and-sugar scrub
  • fine sugar
  • plain cream (the kind for coffee/tea), milk or plain yogurt, preferably organic

Damp your face, put a teaspoonful of sugar in your palm, mix it with a tablespoonful of either cream, milk or yogurt. Lather gently on your entire face, carefully avoiding the eye area. Rinse off with cool water and pat dry. Voilà! Silky skin for a whole week to come.

Cucumber Mask
This mask gives the skin a boost of enzymes and vitamins, keeps fair skin fair, and improves homogeneity of the skin tone.

Organic cucumber

Chop the cucumber into paper-thin slices, as pictured. This way each slice will fit the contour of your face, much like a mask. Avoid the delicate eye area. Enjoy the soothing aroma of the cucumber, and wait five to 10 minutes. Rinse off with cool water and pat dry. Instantly brighter skin!

Photos by Steve Woods


Warm Tones

Today was cold and wet in Milan so I did a warmer look to fight this weather on a Monday morning. I layered MAC coppertone powder blush twice and used 5N lipstick, a plummy sheer brown, over the 2N lipstick from the N collection.

My bone structure is very subtle so highlighting and shading are important especially when it comes to getting my photo taken.


Lights On

I'm obsessed with complexion. For those who are looking to brighten their own, here are a few approaches:
  • Do a facial scrub once a week
  • Consider brightening skincare products

  • Use specific makeup products


Yves Saint Laurent's Teint Parfait mauve foundation base is very beautiful. After you set your makeup with powder, the base remains luminous all day.

Another wonderful base is Shu Uemura. The purple base control contains Depsea water so it's good for your skin.


Besides base, you can also use loose powder to adjust your complexion. Again, we're using purple to brighen things up. My look in "Simple Me" is topped off with T.Leclerc's lilium.

The trick is to press a good amount of powder onto your face and neck with a puff, and then even out the powder gently with a big, round brush. Apply a bit more onto your t-zone during summer.


A Worthy Search

With MAC being more expensive in Italy, I was eager to branch out to good old European brands.

I discovered Clarins during a desperate search for the perfect nude lip colour. Its lipstick line, Brillant à Lèvres, offers a beautiful #25 that's a high coverage brownish beige. It goes on very creamy, and has a slight frost.

Clarins' Gloss Appeal in 03 is pinker than what I usually wear, but it glides on beautifully and is not sticky. It gives your lips a very glassy look without being heavy at all.