With spring in the air finally, it’s time to open the makeup file on items that I’ve been consistently reaching for. But here’s a twist, I’m actually disappointed by one of the items, so why did I keep reaching for it? Possibly because I was hoping for a makeup miracle, something I do believe in actually. And while the miracle never happened, I figured it’s still worth sharing as a way to compare notes and help you to decide if it’s for you, or not. Let’s kick off then and start with a base, specifically Sensai Flawless Satin Foundation SPF20 in FS205 Mocha Beige.
I adore Japanese makeup, skin care and makeup brushes. To me, their formulas are usually light years ahead of the Western market and so much more fascinating. The downside though is that finding a Japanese foundation to match my skin tone is fairly impossible. But, luck was on my side when I came across this new Sensai foundation. Before purchasing it I cannot tell you how much time I spent looking at swatches, seeking out videos, even reading Japanese blogs, with the help of translation of course, to see swatches and understand how this foundation works. Compelled enough to buy it, I was so relieved when it arrived and I could actually use it. Sensai is known for their powerful, innovative formulas that include Koishimaru silk. Using silk in makeup and skin care is something that I see quite a bit in Japanese formulas. Here’s Sensai’s description of how Koishimaru Silk works in their formula:
*SENSAI’s promise of silky skin is made possible by Koishimaru Silk, an exceptional fibre once reserved for the imperial family. By stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid, it bathes skin cells in an endless ocean of moisture – a life-giving environment in which skin is nourished, moisturised and made beautiful.
*Courtesy Sensai Cosmetics Website
When I posted a photograph of the foundation on Instagram, I described it as an easy standout for this year. This is because it is very easy to apply, there’s no dragging or too-rapid dry down, it’s not overly thick or runny and when applied with a brush or beautyblender, it goes into the skin without a fight. In addition to that, it leaves subtle, believable illumination on the skin, especially if your skin is more mature or dry. Sensai’s foundation delivers solid, seven-plus hours worth of true wear time without oxidation or breaking apart. It layers well over sunscreen and moisturiser and is a superb base for your blush, bronzer and all the other things you pile on.
Next in the file is nail lacquer, featuring my absolute favourite red nail polish over all others. Chanel’s Le Vernis in Pirate also comes as a lipstick and happens to be my favourite red lippy ever. If I’m not mistaken this is my third bottle of Pirate since I started using it in 2016, yes I remember the year. In the past, the biggest complaint about Chanel’s nail lacquers was that they didn’t last long. But after re-formulating them a couple of years ago and including ceramides and bioceramics into the mix, the lacquers, especially Pirate, lasts a full week. The wear time is also helped by using Chanel’s basecoat and their natural-light activated gel top-coat which I am mad for and you can read about here.
Pirate (pee-raht) is a deep cherry red with blue undertones and boasts a five-free formula (no formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, camphor, formaldehyde resin and toluene). The shade is quite universal and so no matter your skin tone, if you’re into red nail polish, chances are you’d really enjoy this. Even better, when matched with the lipstick in the same shade, the effect is classic and extremely polished. Chanel’s Pirate is also the perfect shade for everyday or for a special occasion. Another key aspect of an overall good nail lacquer is to me, the length and width of the brush. Chanel’s brush length is just right and the width of the brush makes application easy and accurate. With two coats, the colour blooms beautifully and dry time is also fairly quick. Even without top coat, the colour is still glossy and sleek.
Another product I’ve been using frequently is also from Chanel, and as you can see in the photograph it’s a cream eyeshadow. Where to begin with this..I had a big event to attend and I wanted to do an eye that was vivid but in a polished way. I went to the counter rather than purchasing it online, I swatched it and left feeling excited. In the lead up to the event, I naturally wanted to try it out to get a better sense of how it worked and looked. The first strike against this cream eyeshadow is the texture. Let me preface this by saying that my confidence in purchasing this product was influenced by the other cream eyeshadow I have from Chanel, specifically Noir Petrole which I wrote about here.
Chanel Ombre Premiere Cream Eyeshadow in Urban is navy with undertones of purple. With a hint of a foil finish, the cream eyeshadow is not overly shimmery. In looking at the photograph below, you can see bits of ‘dust’ on either side of the swatch which happens each time I pick up the cream with a brush. The application is smoother when I use my fingers and this method also diminishes the ‘dust’ that comes about from using the brush. Oddly enough, Urban is not bad as an eyeliner but it pains me to admit that overall, this shade has been a letdown.
Bringing up the rear is a new eyebrow product, La Petite Robe Noire Brow Duo from Guerlain. When I first saw this product it made me quite excited because it’s so good to see Guerlain finally waking up to the eyebrow category. The packaging for this is spot on and quite user-friendly. It’s a dual ended product with the eyebrow pigment on one end in the form of a brow mascara and at the other end is the cream highlight that is essentially a tapered crayon. Looking at the highlighter end, I was concerned that the shade would not blend into the skin completely and that it would leave an 80s/90’s inspired highlight, not necessarily the aesthetic I was in search of. How surprised I was when the colour blended so beautifully into the skin, plus it really adds the finishing touch to the whole look.
The eyebrow mascara is easy to blend into the hairs and can be brushed through with a separate dry spoolie. It also lasts the day without fading, cracking or changing colour and going grey or turning into an odd green. The wand is well designed and small enough to comfortably brush through the eyebrow hairs as well. If you travel frequently, this can become a key product for your kit because it’s so easy to toss into your cosmetic case. The dry down of the pigment is quick and when brushed through, it distributes to make the eyebrows look defined and natural without looking scarily overdone.
In closing February’s makeup file, I was quite pleased with three of the four products mentioned. I’ll keep the cream eyeshadow and use it as a base on which to layer other shadows and as a liner when the mood strikes me.
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