Hall of fame: My favourite products of 2016

This post is a little overdue, but I had to take some time to consider what I actually wanted to put on this list! Here are my favourite products of the year.

Favourite fragrance: Frederic Malle ‘Monsieur’ EDP

I love perfume, especially scents that are more or less marketed toward men. Frederic Malle Monsieur is my favourite of this year – it’s leathery, a little smoky, warm and absolutely beautiful.

Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Lacquer in Red Corset

I am a lipstick fanatic of note, so I have to talk about lipsticks. Tom Ford’s lipsticks are a solid favourite, as is the Patent Finish Lip Lacquer that launched early in the year.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder in Light

I’m not a powder girl, but I recently reviewed the new Laura Mercier Candle Glow powder and fell head over heels. It’s a powder for powder haters.

Paula’s Choice RESIST BHA 9

This has been a year of skincare troubles for me, and I managed to get some serious closed comedones over the summer. The only thing that has helped keep them at bay is Paulas Choice BHA9.

KIKO Colour Kajal in “104 Red”

A visit to London led me to visit my first KIKO store, and I fell in love with the coloured eye pencils. My favourite is this red!

Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde

The feathery brow look is a favourite, and the glossier boy brow is the perfect product. The thick texture makes it much easier to control than other brow gels I’ve tried!

ColourPop Ultra Shock Shadow in “Taco”

Blue eyeshadow is a favourite look, and I love the intense colour payoff and creamy texture of this eyeshadow that builds up easy as anything.

Honourable Mentions

The DECIEM Hylamide Boosters impressed me with their price point and effectivity.
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid is everyone’s favourite for a reason.
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer kept my base looking luminous and smooth.
My Beauty Diary Black Pearl sheet masks were my go-to self care mask.
NYX Vivid Bright Liners were a colourful addition to my everyday makeup look.
& Other Stories Sugar Scrub were a faithful body care product when I needed a pick-me-up.

What were your favourite products this year?

1 week ago

HIGHLIGHTS: #1 2017

Since the concept of “weekend” posts has become rather disconnected from actual weekends, I’m renaming this series HIGHLIGHTS because it’s more descriptive. Same format, different name. Happy new year! I have high hopes for the coming year in beauty.

 

I love these modern art-inspired beauty looks by Violette!

In light of mental illness hero and all-round badass Carrie Fisher’s passing, here’s a piece on Princess Leia’s iconic hairstyle

We’ve lost many celebrities who pushed the envelope in terms of who is allowed to be seen and how you can present yourself. 2017 started brutally with the death of John Berger, art critic, writer and generally wonderful mind. There’s no denying the link between art and beauty. You can watch his groundbreaking “Ways of Seeing” series on youtube.

As a fan of science fiction and beauty, this artificial skin product looks like something right up my alley.

I talked about multichromatic highlighters in a recent post, and it looks like NYX is launching several for spring 2017.

Speaking of badass, Kicki Norman of Daisy Beauty wrote this clear-cut and informative post on oils in skincare. It’s in Swedish, but well worth the google translate treatment.

I discussed trends in a recent series of posts – here is ELLE’s take on 2017.

Have you considered a beauty look for your funeral?

Pantone’s colour of the year is Greenery – a beautiful spring green that would look gorgeous on eyes and nails.

Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses her interest in beauty in light of her no.7 partnership

Inspo: Rainbows

2 weeks ago

Trend wishlist for 2017

After all the negativity in my last post, I feel a little guilty. So what better way to fix it than by being a little more positive! I’ve listed my favourite and least favourite trends, now it’s time to list the trends I’d love to see blossom and bear fruit in the coming year.

Weird 00s vibes

If there’s anything to remember about the millenium era, it’s that it was highly questionable, aesthetically. The future was now, so brands really pushed the envelope and released glitter gels to wear all over your body, blue lip gloss and super-frosty eye products. Mostly, it was ugly. But it was also pretty cool. I’m ready for more ugly-cool – bring on the butterfly clips, silver eyeshadow and lip balm rings with glitter.

Unisex

Fashion is always playing with gender expression, so why shouldn’t beauty? It’s time for men to put down the beard oil and pick up the exfoliants and rouge compacts. It’s time to stop raising eyebrows at men who take an interest in “girl stuff” or don’t conform to the constraining nonsense that is masculinity. If men were more like women, I’d like them a lot better.

Monochrome

While ombre lips, sculpted faces and complex cut crease eye looks all look amazing and are very technically impressive, there’s something charming about wearing solid colours. You can go for a sharp contrast or soft wash of colour that ties in with your whole look – sharp cobalt liner with matching lashes, or a gentle monochrome look with eyes, lips and cheeks all the same delicate shade. Pick a colour and run with it.

Appliqué

Many of us have seen interesting alternative materials in beauty – from Lisa Eldridge’s gel patches to the decoupage-esque dried flowers laid against faces and decolletés. Grab some sequins, stickers, confetti, foil, plastic, beads, crystals… and use lash glue to attach them to your pretty little face.

Criticism

Perhaps most importantly, what I would like to see more of than anything else is criticism. Not only of product quality but of the marketing techniques used, the designs, the reasoning behind product development, the way beauty makes us think and feel about ourselves and others, the ethical issues of the industry… it’s a long list. Beauty is a culture, and no culture can survive without internal criticism. Beauty is affected by capitalism, classism, racism, homo- and transphobia, and most of all – sexism. Let’s not forget that. And let’s remember to disclose sponsored content correctly.

What beauty trends would you like to see in the future?

2 weeks ago

Trends of 2016 – My LEAST favourite beauty trends of the year

I jokingly remarked a few posts back that I’m good at passing judgement. And what better time to do just that, than the end of the year, when we look back and ask ourselves what the hell we were doing in 2016. My least favourite trends, and trends I want to see stay… or begin. Take this, as you should take everything, with a grain of salt.

I want to press the kill switch on:Matte liquid lipstick

This trend has seemed to be eternal. I bought into it. I got those ultra-matte liquid lipsticks in the same shades of nude everyone else wore. I used them maybe five times in total, and moved on. Why? They’re drying as hell, they don’t fade gracefully and the colour range is generally sob-worthy with those taupe, mauve and rose shades we’re all so sick of. End it now.

Social media celeb collabs

How many unimaginative neutral face-and-eye palettes with a big name slapped on the box does the market need? Zero.

Strobing

I love highlighter, I really do. But I don’t love the absolute over-saturation of the market of highlighter products. It seems every brand has the same four shades with the same names (if I see another highlighter named anything ending in -stone or -light i will die!) and every tutorial I see advises heinous over-application – let’s end it.

Nudes

Unsurprisingly, I’m also very much over nudes. Firstly, the term “nude” generally means “tired range of shades that only suit white people”. Furthermore, it’s a dreadful bore. Let’s bring on the colour.

don’t be this lady. image via kale university (which is indeed a real thing)

“Natural” beauty

When I say natural, I’m referring to products and brands that claim their products are superior because of their “natural” ingredients. It’s all cowardly fearmongering and obviously a cash grab hopping on the organic trend bandwagon. Never mind the fact that natural ingredients are often more volatile, allergy-inducing and downright toxic than their synthetic counterparts. And don’t get me started on the coconut oil cult. I’ll take chemicals any day, thank you.

 

2 weeks ago

Trends of 2016 – My favourite beauty trends of the year

The year is finally coming to an end – it’s been a big year in beauty with many strange trends emerging (or, well, things that are called trends even though it’s only one or two people doing it) so I thought I’d round up the trends I loved, the trends I hated, and the trends I’d like to see realized in 2017. Here’s my first list: Trends that should stay. Forever.

Multi-use

We’ve seen a growing interest in multi-use products, with many creative alternative uses for beauty products. One of my favourites is using lipstick for lips, cheeks and eyes! How safe is it to use lipstick on your eyelids? Probably not super safe. But it looks adorable. I’m wearing this look as I’m typing this. Let’s continue experimenting in the coming year.

Soft base

Sheer, light base products with a skin-like finish are increasingly popular, much to my delight. I love the look of minimal skin – you can conceal and even out your complexion where needed, but a full-coverage matte foundation feels terribly heavy and dated. Bring on the tinted moisturizer!

 

Multicolour highlight

I more or less hate strobing, but let me tell you about what kind of highlight I do like: soft, feathered, and suprisingly multi-coloured. More brands are launching highlighters (often creams, which is the best kind) with coloured shifts. Instead of the classic silvers, golds and bronzes, these shift in reds, pinks, greens and blues – resulting in a surprising flash of colour that only shows in certain light. It’s subtle and powerful all at once, and can be dressed down or up.

Low-maintenance eyebrows

When I say “instagram eyebrows”, everyone knows what I mean – anastasia brow pomade, nars radiant creamy concealer two shades too light and a super-sculpted result. However, brands and artists are starting to pare down the brow look – more bushy, only slightly groomed and the pomade is traded for a brush-in wax. The result is an effortless but expressive brow.

REDS

We owe a lot to chanel this year – they didn’t invent this trend, but they sure cemented it with their all-red collection featuring reds from lips to eyes and cheeks. Red eyeshadow is some of the most expressive and impactful, and it’s a bold colour choice that more and more consumers are ready to make. It’s my favourite colour, and it looks good on everyone.

What are your favourite trends in beauty?

4 weeks ago

Review: Lumene LÄHDE Hydration Recovery Oxygenating Gel Mask

Isn’t that quite a name!

Finnish brand Lumene has recently gone through a redesign of its packaging, branding and concept. Previously, they’ve been a little stale and unimaginative with a really aged brand identity. That has changed drastically. The new logo and packaging are beautiful and feel very up to date, and many of the new products look promising. This mask was my first purchase from the new lineup. (Note that the name of this mask seems to have changed!)

Lähde means “spring” (as in a spring of water) so already you have an idea of this skincare line – refreshing hydration. The mask is sold in a pretty box with foil detailing, inside which a huge plastic jar sits. The size and format of the packaging is similar to the Peter Thomas Roth masks, as is the idea of a gel formula. I’ve tried most of the PTR masks, so I thought it would be a good point of reference since they’ve been around for a while. The Lumene mask is much thicker, more like a jelly than a gel. I use a little plastic spatula to dispense product as jars can be really unhygienic if you keep digging your fingers into it. You can shake the jar around a little and the contents jiggle hilariously. I spent a good few minutes jiggling. Sue me. #SKINCARETAINMENT.

Either way, the thick texture isn’t a problem for me personally, it feels nice and cool on the skin and is easy to spread evenly (it doesn’t break apart like real jelly might) and you don’t need a lot. A teaspoon’s worth, maybe two. The box says to apply generously and leave on for 5-10 minutes OR a thin layer overnight. I went with the thin layer overnight method. You’d think it’d be the other way around, thick layer overnight and thin for a short time. I say go thin no matter the occasion. I don’t think slathering on a thick layer of any mask is gonna give you any more benefit, only waste product!

After use, I found my skin was definitely hydrated – the formula is a tried-and-true glycerin-urea-hyaluronic combo with a bunch of solvents,emulsifiers,preservatives, a few plant extracts and fragrance. A lot of fragrance. And this is where my issue lies. I love perfume… but not on my face, thank you. Yes, fragrance in skincare is more or less unavoidable but some are more offensive than others. This particular mask is one of the most intensely scented skincare products I’ve tried. It’s on the same level of intense as Sensai Cellular Performance Day Cream, which many of us are familiar with. It smells nice, but the amount of fragrance is enough to irritate my more or less un-irritate-able skin. This is the first time I’ve actually felt the perfume in something – it literally makes my face itch.

So, unfortunately, I don’t think I could buy this again. It hydrates nicely and has a very appealing price tag, but the smell is just too strong to use on the face in my opinion. Despite this product being a bit of a dud, I’m still really impressed with Lumene’s initiative to freshen up their brand and will be shopping with them again soon. They’ve really been making good changes, like introducing darker base shades.

THE RUNDOWN
Price: $17/16EUR
Size: 150ml/5.1oz
Pros: Hydrating, fun texture, very affordable.
Cons: Extremely overperfumed. Generic formula.
Repurchase? Not until they take the fragrance out of it or reduce it drastically.

 

 

1 month ago

Daisy Beauty Awards 2017 – Lip category!

A while back, I got an e-mail from my favourite of favourite beauty publications, Daisy Beauty. Cue squealing. OMG. I was invited to be a judge for the 2017 Daisy Beauty awards, where a team of bloggers select the best products of the past year.

I was given my most wanted category of lip products, and have been testing out the products over the past couple of weeks. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s pass judgement. It’s been so fun and a real honour to be invited to give my two cents on the best products of the year for a publication I respect so immensely! Daisy is a magazine centred on beauty, but they also take the time to cover important and difficult issues like critiquing dangerous diet fads and spreading information about alcohol abuse. In addition, they also organize events for bloggers, readers and beauty fanatics like you and me. Needless to say we’re getting a little spoiled here in Sweden!

Either way, let me introduce the finalists in the lip product category:

Armani Lip Magnet
Type: Liquid Lipstick
Brand claim: An extremely fine texture, unparalleled sensation of weightlessness, intense color concentration, ultra-chic matte finish and flawless, long-lasting wear: LIP MAGNET is all this and more.
LIP MAGNET is the first liquid lipcolor to offer unprecedented color concentration in the finest of textures, while perfectly fusing with the lips.
LIP MAGNET delivers incomparable results: intensity of color, extreme finesse and a makeup finish with a matte, second-skin effect.
Two major accomplishments:
This long-lasting (up to 8 hours) matte lipcolor is never greasy or sticky; it does not migrate or dry your lips. Lips stay hydrated and perfectly defined for hours on end, with a very pleasant bare-lips sensation.

MAC Liptensity
Type: Classic bullet lipstick
Brand claim:
A brilliant formula that pushes the boundaries of colour. Each Lipstick holds intense amounts of pigment, resulting in extreme colour intensity, clarity and vibrancy. This luxurious gelled base melts on contact, providing fully saturated colour with a satin finish in one stroke.

  • Gel formula glides on smoothly
  • Long-wearing, eight hours
  • Comfortable formula

 

Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid
Type: Liquid Lipstick
Brand claim: Color Sensational® Vivid Matte Liquid™. Rich, intense lip color that glides on smooth to a matte finish. Drench your lips in vivid color. Pure pigments collide with a creamy liquid base for a soft, cushiony feel. The result? A high-impact lip that stands out! Available in a collection of intense shades.

Verso Lip Serum
Type: Lip Treatment
Brand claim: Anti-aging, softening and plumping lip serum with Retinol 8, a stabilized Vitamin A complex eight times more effective than standard retinol. It helps to increase the skin´s own production of collagen and to reduce the appearance of minor dark spots as well as fine lines around the lips. Contains hyaluronic acid and peptides for hydration and plumping.

Urban Decay VICE
Type: Classic bullet lipstick
Brand claim: Prepare to get hooked. Vice Lipstick comes in a massive lineup of 100 addictive shades and six indulgent finishes—our biggest lineup yet!

Our shade range has it all: Bold brights. Dark, sexy shades. Super-versatile neutrals. With so much variety it’ll make your head spin, there’s something for everyone—from new shades to cult favorites you thought you’d never see again. Several shades were inspired by some of our other lip products (and even our Eyeshadows and Eye Pencils!).

Have you tried any of these? What’s your best product of the year?

 

1 month ago

Weekend, #8

The past month in beauty has been pretty eventful! It’s been a minute since my last roundup, but I’m surprised at how much has happened in that time. Here’s issue eight of Weekend.

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In possibly the biggest news of the month, Too Faced has been acquired by Estee Lauder. I’m not surprised at all, it was only a matter of time before one of the Big Two picked up the brand. It’ll be interesting to see how Too Faced will develop in the Lauder family.

L’Oreal’s new SmartBond treatment is already a source of controversy as Olaplex files a lawsuit accusing them of copying both formula and marketing.

Kylie Jenner is under fire once again for infringing on intellectual property. Doesn’t this happen a lot..?!

This beauty brand has one of the chicest shop interiors I’ve seen.

Should we even be writing about beauty when the world is falling apart around us?

smashbox-bold-cover-shot-eye-palette

Smashbox is launching a lineup of palettes that include one with rainbow colours. Finally someone does something that isn’t all nudes.

I’ve mentioned being a textile student in passing, and if you’re in Stockholm it’d be so nice if you popped by our Christmas market on December 10th and 11th. I’m working the 12.45-15.05 shift on the Saturday! I’ve got some products with a beauty theme ♥

Speaking of Stockholm, we just got our first MAC Pro store! Hallelujah! Seeing those bright primary colours on the PRO shelf just makes me so happy.

Inspo: Glitter

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Holiday season means glitter. I’m not the holly-jolliest person on the planet but I love me some glitter. Sue me!

 

2 months ago

The publicity and privacy of applying your lipstick

This René Gruau advert for Payot lip pencil from 1951 highlights the glamour of applying lipstick.

As a chronic over-sleeper, I do my makeup on the bus. More or less every day, I squint into a tiny pocket mirror and apply my eyeliner and brow pencil and so on under the watchful eyes of my co-commuters. Aside from the fact that it’s kind of tricky and it’s taken me a long time to even be able to apply makeup on a bus ride full of bumps and turns, aside from the fact that this time of year it’s so dark in the morning I can’t even see what I’m doing – I kind of enjoy that little morning ritual. I don’t usually do a full face – that’s too fussy for public transport – so messier steps like foundation and contouring (as if!) are left out. But I always do brows, eyes and lips.

Sometimes I notice people watching. I, myself, like to spy on other girls applying makeup in public, because it’s a fascinating ritual. The transformation, however small, is intriguing – hence the popularity of youtube makeup tutorials. And more than anything, it is glamorous. You have your mirror, a chic tube of lipstick – these are your props. You handle your products expertly, flourishing, revealing, and letting out satisfying clicking noises as products open and shut. I’ve written about this before – it’s like a little show. No wonder we care so much about packaging design.

It’s exhibitionism, and a strange intimacy – after all, you’re not supposed to let anyone know your beauty secrets. You do your makeup at home, in your bedroom or bathroom, alone. You’re not supposed to show it off. But women, thankfully, don’t always do as they’re told.

1920s-flapper-makeup5
Detail of a Para Ti advert from the 1920s showing an elegant “modern girl” or “flapper” applying mascara.

When makeup became a status symbol after world war 1, adverts for makeup flooded every city and making up in public was a deliberate show of style. Compacts were expensive and beautiful, made to be seen. The act of applying a luxury face powder from an exquisite compact showed everyone how cosmopolitan and chic you were, and peeking into a little mirror gave you an opportunity to do some spying of your own – Susan Keller covers this fascinating topic in this paper. And in the documentary “The Powder and the Glory” author Kathy Peiss (whose book I recommended in this post) explains the way women in the 1920s applied makeup as part of a dance routine!

So you see, putting on your face in public is only fun and chic. It highlights the artifice and the self-constructing nature of beauty and identity, so if you’re in a hurry and have to wing your liner on a bumpy bus ride, I say go for it.

2 months ago

Review: Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder

candleglowWhile visiting a favourite perfumery, only to try some expensive fragrances with a fellow scenthead, there was a Laura Mercier display at the cash register that caught my attention. A row of powders promising a luminous finish, with impressive swatching results. I didn’t buy one, but after seeing it on another blogger’s instagram feed I was convinced.

candleglow_3

I’m not a powder girl, having had a brief and unfortunate love affair with ultra-matte skin when I was in high school. Something happened to my skin – having been covered in a sheen of grease for years, I’ve suddenly started experiencing dryness. Therefore, I’m evangelical about a dewy finish – so even though powder sets your base it can also be uncompromising on dry areas. This powder doesn’t even look like a powder. It gives your skin a gorgeous illuminated finish, much more vibrant and alive-looking than I usually expect of a powder product. It scatters and diffuses light beautifully. I wear the lightest shade, though it is available in six shades to suit most complexions.

candleglow_6

The brand advises to use these with a powder brush as a setting or finishing powder, or with a denser brush for more intense application. I have only used this as a setting powder swept loosely all over the face using a synthetic powder brush, over tinted moisturizer. The powder is rather firmly pressed so it takes a bit of force to get enough on your brush. It’s not a “creamy” product by any means. In terms of formula, it’s nothing groundbreaking – mica, cornstarch, silicone, binding agents – all fairly standard stuff.

candleglow_4

I can’t end this review without mentioning Hourglass. Obviously, this product bears an uncanny resemblance to their Ambient Lighting Powders. But you know what? I prefer these by far. I don’t own any Hourglass powders. I have swatched them though, and was surprised to see how shimmery, even chunky they were. The only shade I liked was “Dim Light”, and since that finish only came in a light beige… I decided I’d much rather spend my money on a brand that caters to a wide range of skin tones.

THE RUNDOWN
Price: $38/40EUR
Size: 9g
Pros: Wide shade range, beautiful luminous finish. Forgivingly sheer.
Cons: The powder is rather “stiff” so it takes a little elbow grease to get it on your brush.
Repurchase? Yes!

2 months ago