Eyes: Windows to your soul

To all my female readers, I have a confession to make….I’ve been keeping a secret from you….for quite some time.  In fact, I’ve been keeping a few.  But for today, I’m spilling the beans about just one of them.  I know, I know, I’m a tease.  I’ve been meaning to tell you about this for awhile, but well, life got in the way.  I know some of you probably know about what I’m about to tell you, so apologies to the already initiated.  To the others who aren’t on this band wagon – then welcome!  You know when you’re flicking through a magazine, or are watching the television and see an actress or model claiming they’re not wearing a scrap of makeup?  Well, nine times out of ten, they are.  And the secret and the one I’ve been keeping from you? They’ve tightlined their eyes.  To the uninitiated you’re probably wondering, “what the heck is tightlining when it’s at home?”  Tightlining, or invisible eyeliner, for those who aren’t familiar, is where you apply eyeliner directly to your lash line – more specifically the underside of your top lash line.  This technique works for everybody; young, old, round eyes, almond eyes, pale skin, dark skin.  If you’ve got a pair of peepers, I promise you this make-up technique will make your eyes look brighter, bigger and more awake – who wouldn’t want that?  Once you’ve mastered the technique (it is a bit fiddly in the beginning, but it’s worth persevering) in a couple of minutes or less, you’ll have beautifully defined eyes and lashes that look longer and fuller.

I first tried tightlining about 10 years ago and was immediately hooked.  It is a natural, enhancing effect that is very hard to reason against.  My product of choice, being a Laura Mercier addict, for achieving this look, is of course Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eyeliner. Tightlining can be achieved with various eyeliner products:  gels, liquids and pencils (although for me, pencils might be a bit too harsh for this area of the eye and not as long-lasting).  The Laura Mercier one is my favourite owing to its staying powder.  It comes in the form of a pressed powder, but is applied wet.  I use a flat eyeliner brush to apply this miracle product.  I dip the brush into clean water and then swirl it around the cake liner, creating a creamy type consistency.

The technique of applying eyeliner to your inner lash line, is actually quite simple.  Although saying that, for some inexplicable reason it took me FOREVER to master it.  Now thankfully I’m a dab hand at it, and can tightline my eyes in about 30 seconds (I timed myself for this post).

Here’s how to tightline:

  1. With one hand, gently lift your top eyelid so you can see where the lashes meet the eyelid.
  2. With your other hand, wiggle the brush (pen or pencil) back and forth between the lashes and the eyelid, really working the product into your lash line.  What you’re trying to do here is fill the spaces between your individual lashes.

Easy peasy, right?

Before & After tightline

As well as the LM one, there’s many others on the market at various price points.  Below is a list of a few others that I’ve come across.  I can’t confirm or deny how good they are though, as I haven’t tried them – sorry!  If you happen to use one of the below, or end up buying one, please pop a comment below letting me know what you think of it.

For the novice or if you’re struggling to get the hang of things, then give Clarins’s 3-Dot Liner Pen a whirl.  The three little prongs can be pushed into the roots of the lashes, so you don’t even need the ability to draw a continuous line – just a series of tiny dots.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. Probably goes without saying, but make sure your hands and brush are clean before starting.
  2. There is another method for tightlining that involves placing a mirror lying flat in front of you and looking down at it with your eyeballs while keeping your head up. In the beginning, this approach really helped me, however, I can now just pull my eyelids up and do it straight-on in front of the mirror.
  3. If you use a pencil try to use one that is waterproof to avoid smearing.

I consider tightlining to be somewhat of a miracle technique, as for a tiny amount of effort you end up with a tremendous difference in your look, one that can either be more on the au naturel side of things, or can be added to, to create a more dramatic look.

I’m curious, have you tried tightlining your eyes, or are you a novice?

With much love
The Domestic Princess

Know Your BBs & CCs

If you have even the slightest interest in beauty, or have picked-up a glossy mag within the last few months you’ll more than likely have come across this newish beauty phenomenon:  BB creams, and now CC creams too, and I hear that DD creams are not far around the corner too.

So, if you haven’t got a clue what a BB cream is, yet alone a CC, then I’m here to enlighten you.

BB Creams

BB stands for Beauty or Blemish Balm and have been a beauty staple in Asia for many years. BB creams promise to reduce redness, even out skin tone, camouflage pores and wrinkles, moisturise and offer anti-aging benefits.  Many BBs on the market also contain an SPF.  BB creams tend to be lighter than foundation, but heavier than most tinted moisturisers.  BBs promise to be a primer, a tinted moisturised and a sunscreen; basically an all-in-one product.  BBs are quite concentrated, so a small pea-like amount goes a long way.

Which BB to choose?

I’ve tried a few over the last year or so and I’ve been really pleased with these three:

Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35

Dior Diorskin BB Creme

Dr Brandt BB Cream with signature Flexitone

CC Creams

CC stands for Colour Correcting and have been designed to address skin issues such as redness and/or sallowness.  CC creams are generally lighter in texture than a BB cream and provide a lighter coverage.  CC creams are more corrective than their BB cousins.  A CC cream will address more existing issues like age spots, acne scarring etc.

I haven’t tried any CC creams yet, but I have my eye on testing these two – I’ll let you know my verdict in a few months.

Nip & Fab CC Cream SPF 30

Supergoop SPF 35 Daily Correct CC Cream

Are you a fan of BB and CC creams?  If so, which one do you use?

With much love
The Domestic Princess

Lady Luxe vs Lady Less – Part 2

This is part 2 in my Lady Luxe vs. Lady Less series, and today I’m turning my attention to eye primers and mascaras.  These two products, together with a dab of concealer (more on this in a future post), and a slick of lip gloss can easily take you from drab to fab and ready to face the world.  As my friend, Cath says, it doesn’t even take two minutes to pop a coat of mascara on, so there really shouldn’t be any excuse to make a bit of an effort on the make-up front.

As in the first part of this series, to qualify as a budget buy, it needs to cost £10 /$15 and under.  So, without further ado, here are my luxe and less picks for eye primers and mascaras.

Primer for the eyelids is a pretty essential piece of kit to have in your make-up bag.  If you want your eyeshadow to go on smoothly, not crease and to stay put and last all day, then if you don’t already own an eye primer, I’d strongly suggest you consider purchasing one.

From left to right

High Definition Eyeshadow Base by NYX, is a great cheaper alternative.  If this is your first foray into eye primers, and you’re not sure you want to spend the money on the Laura Mercier or Urban Decay ones that I review below, or are on an economy drive, then I would definitely consider giving this one a whirl.  It comes in a tube with a built-in applicator, but only comes in one colour, so doesn’t have the dual capability like the Laura Mercier and Urban Decay one.  Overall, this is a good basic primer.  In my opinion it doesn’t perform as well as the Laura Mercier and Urban Decay offerings, but it’s around a tenth of the price and will help your eye make-up stay put all day, so does what it says on the tin!

Revlon’s PhotoReady Eye Primer is a bit of steal, because aswell as being a great primer for your eyelids; making sure your eyeshadow goes the distance, it can also be slicked on under your eyes to disguise dark circles and to brighten up and freshen tired eyes!  Two in one?  I love it!  It has a lovely, creamy texture, which blends really well and felt quite hydrating, which is great for any dry skin sufferers out there.

After reading part 1 of Lade Luxe vs Lady Less, it’ll come as no surprise to anybody that my favourite eye primer is the Eye Basics from Laura Mercier.  I’ve strayed a few times to try other brands, but have always come back to this one.  It comes in 8 different shades, so can match-up to most skin shades.  I have it in buff and linen.  I use buff on it’s own with a couple of coats of mascara, as it’s got enough colour and shimmer in it to double up as a cream eyeshadow.  I use linen as a primer before applying my eyeshadow.  This product gives lids a flawless and bright look.  I can honestly say my eyeshadow stays put all day, even in the steamy, balmy climate I live in.  I can whole-heartedly recommend this for your make-up bag.

Make-up artists the world over can be found using this eye primer from Urban Decay.  It comes in a handy tube, which makes application very easy and is available in four different shades.  I’ve used the original shade, in much the same way I use the linen colour from Laura Mercier, and my other favourite from Urban Decay is sin, which gives a nice shimmer finish and can be worn on its own with a few coats of mascara.  Whilst the Laura Mercier primer is my favourite, Urban Decay comes a very close second, as my eye make-up stays put all day.  I just slightly prefer the colours and consistency of the Laura Mercier eye basics.  I’d suggest visiting each respective beauty counter and testing them both out to see which one you prefer before making a purchase.  You won’t go wrong with either one!

I love mascara; I think it’s probably my favourite item in my make-up bag.  I’m constantly trying out new ones.  It’s not unusual for me to have two or three on the go at the same time!  A couple of coats of mascara can make such a difference.  It really opens up your eyes and make them look bigger – and who wouldn’t want that?

From left to right

The Soap & Glory brand was created by the genius behind the Bliss spas and products.  So when I discovered that Soap & Glory had moved into cosmetics and not just body products, I really was quite excited.  The Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara creates great volume, without any clumping or flaking.  It comes with a nice big brush that makes application quick and easy, and ensuring even coverage.  It does give lashes a bit of length, but it’s more a volumising mascara, than a lengthening one.  A good budget mascara that will give you thicker, jet-black lashes.

Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express mascara both lengthens and volumises your lashes.  Like the Soap & Glory mascara, it has a big brush, so makes applying it very easy.  I didn’t find any clumping or flaking when I used this mascara.  In fact it lasted all day, without me needing to re-apply it.  Build-up layers for a more dramatic look, or just apply one or two coats for a subtler look.  Many reviews said they felt they looked like they had false lashes on when wearing this mascara – I didn’t find that, but it still created lovely, defined lashes for me.

My friends readings this post will probably be surprised to read that Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils is not included in my luxe choices.  A couple of months ago, it absolutely would have been my top pick mascara, however, I think YSL have changed the formula, as after a few hours of wearing it, I look like I’ve done ten rounds with Mike Tyson (and no it’s not after crying!)  So, after being a loyal devotee to YSL for I don’t know how many years, I needed to find a new mascara.  And I’m pleased to say I was successful.  My search led me to Diorshow New Look and Bobbi Brown’s Extreme Party mascara.

I’d been reading about Diorshow New Look mascara for a while before taking the plunge and I’m so glad that I did.  It’s quite a “wet” mascara, as opposed to the more creamy texture I was used to with the YSL Effet Faux Cils one, but the “wetness” helps create long, luscious lashes.  I was concerned that it wouldn’t thicken my lashes (I have quite long lashes, so lengthening isn’t really a top priority for me when using mascara), however, it plumped them up really nicely and helped create fantastic wow lashes.  I apply just one coat for daytime make-up and for a more dramatic eye, give my lashes two to three coats.  A great mascara all round!

As I said, it’s not unusual for me to have a few mascaras on the go and now is no exception!  The other mascara I’m currently using is Bobbi Brown’s Extreme Party.  The product spiel on this mascara says that it gives the effect of wearing false lashes, without actually having to apply them, with a claim like that I just had to have it!  I LOVE wearing falsies, but don’t always allow myself enough time to apply them, so this sounded like a good alternative.  It’s definitely a mascara that needs to be built-up.  One coat is perfect for opening your eyes up and for day wear.  But to create that false lash effect two to three coats are needed.  Unlike some mascaras, there was no clumping.  Instead my lashes were long, separated and even without curling, seemed to curl.  It’s safe to say I love this mascara.  I’ve also read that this is a great mascara for those who might suffer with sensitive eyes.

Do you use primer on your eyes?  And which is your current favourite mascara?  I hope you’re enjoying this Luxe vs Less series – please let me know in the comments section if you have any products you’d like me to cover in future posts.

With much love
The Domestic Princess

Lady Luxe vs Lady Less

I love beauty and make-up.  You could call me a beauty product geek.  I love nothing better than reading up about the latest beauty products to hit the market.  Although, to look at me some days you wouldn’t think so!  I’m not sure when I first became interested in make-up, probably during my teenage years.  But the real catalyst that galvanised my make-up buying addiction was the opening of the new House of Fraser store on King William Street in London.  My office at the time was a hop and skip from the main entrance, so on the night of the opening, I went along with two of my friends, to explore what delights they had inside.  Whilst walking around with a glass of champagne we discovered the fabulous make-up range by Laura Mercier.  Whilst perusing the goodies on the counter, one of Laura’s Global Make-up Artists, Abby Ireland (who counts Kylie & Danni Minogue amongst others her clients!) asked if we wanted a mini make over – well she didn’t need to ask us twice!  We were all completely wowed by the Laura Mercier products and ended up spending a small fortune!  This was nearly 10 years ago and my love for Laura Mercier make-up is still as strong as ever.  However, her range is not cheap, it most definitely falls into the “Luxe” category!  A friend in Bangalore recently asked if I could do a post on luxe vs budget make-up, so Georgina, this is especially for you!  To qualify as a budget buy, the item needs to cost around the £10 mark or less.  Look out for more luxe vs budget posts in the future.

From left:  No. 17 Photo Flawless Primer.  Whilst at £4.99 this might seem an absolute bargain, but with only 15ml in the tube, it actually works out more expensive than the Laura Mercier primer.  However, if you don’t wear foundation or tinted moisturiser regularly, this is probably an ideal purchase.  It creates a great even palette for applying your foundation or tinted moisturiser, and helps minimise the appearance of pores.  It goes on really easily and smoothly.

Avon MagiX Face Perfector.  This is a fabulous primer for oilier skins, as it keeps the oil at bay. It gives a brilliant matte base and completely fills in pores, giving a very smooth palette to work with.  Skin feels extremely soft after it’s been applied and makes your skin look so lovely, you actually don’t need to wear anything else!  Oh and it contains SPF20 sunscreen – so no pesky sun damage!

Trish McEvoy Even Skin Face Primer.  A brilliant primer for instantly correcting any redness or blemishes.  Unlike many primers out there, this doesn’t dry your skin out and if you’re prone to breakouts, don’t fear, this product won’t cause an eruption!  It’s oil-free, so works really well with all skin types.  It completely fills in pores and creates a great protective layer over the skin.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer.  If you haven’t tried this, then where have you been? When doing my research on primers for this piece, the Laura Mercier one constantly came out as the best primer on the market. It was one of the products I bought way back when on that trip to House of Fraser, and whilst I’ve tried a few others over the years, this is without doubt, my favourite and probably the only one I’ll buy from now on.  It’s lightweight, easy to apply and keeps my make-up in place all day or night, which is quite amazing in a hot climate!  I think it even helps make some of my fine lines disappear….In addition to the original foundation primer, there are now four other varieties:  mineral, oil-free, hydrating and radiance.  I can’t wait to try the radiance version.  It is such a renowned primer that it has made the InStyle Best Beauty Buys Hall of Fame – a true accolade!

From left:  L’Oreal True Match Foundation.  This is ideal for ladies who are looking for an even and natural coverage.  With a choice of 20 colours, you’re bound to find the perfect shade to match your complexion.  The texture is very light and creates a sheer finish.  Mix with your regular moisturiser for a dewy finish.  If it’s good enough for Beyonce, it’s good enough for us! Oh and an Instyle Best Beauty Buys 2012 Winner – what’s not to like?

Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation.  This foundation is made with silicones to give a lighter and less greasy feel than some other foundations on the market.  It provides great coverage that lasts all day and doesn’t require any powder, as it leaves a matte finish on your skin.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation.  Make-up artists around the world love this foundation. Available in 18 different shades, it gives (as the name might suggest) a gorgeous luminous finish.  It’s super easy to apply and stays put all day.  It even manages to cover the redness from any blemishes you might have, without the need for concealer!  Using this foundation will make your skin look perfect!  A staple in my make-up bag.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.  This is another Instyle Best Beauty Buy 2012 Winner and creates a perfect finish without you feeling that you’ve got a thick heavy layer of foundation on.  It’s a water-based foundation, so make sure that you give it a good shake before applying.  It can be used as either a sheer/light coverage, or by building it up, you can create a much heavier coverage.  Unlike lots of other foundations on the market, it can be applied with your fingers, which will create a lighter satin finish.

So, lovely readers, which are your favourite less and luxe make-up buys?  Do you have any of the products listed above?  And are there any products that you feel should be a luxe buy?

Pop your comments in the box below.

With much love

The Domestic Princess


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