Many things that I’ve been using throughout 2011, such as my Covergirl Lashblast mascara, Chanel Joues Contraste blushes, Chanel Rouge Allure lipsticks, and so on, have not changed; so, rather than re-hash staples in my routine, I thought write a post on the top 11 discoveries I made in 2011.
Instead of writing exclusively about products, I thought I’d also regale you with makeup techniques, skincare approaches, lifestyle changes, and so on, that have made the biggest difference to how I look and feel in 2011.
1. Gel liner, Models Prefer brushes, heated lash curler, Princess Lee false lashes: I used to use liquid liner every day, but somehow fell out of the habit when I found Lancome’s Le Stylo Waterproof in Cafe, which is the only pencil eyeliner which doesn’t end up halfway down my face by mid-morning.
However, when Suzanne kindly gifted me two Models Prefer brushes, I reached for my neglected pot of MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack and never looked back. I love the way winged liner gives a gorgeous almond shape to the eyes. Tightlining on my eyes is also must as my lashes are quite ‘high’, but it’s made so much simpler with the Models Prefer smudge brush which is much more comfortable to stamp onto my eye than a traditional push brush. With practice, winged liner is very quick to do and lasts all day with Blacktrack, which is great news if you have oily lids like me.
I have also rediscovered my heated lash curler thanks to Jen’s post. If you have one of these, get it out and use it. Once you get the technique sorted, you will discover that it curls your lashes like nothing else, and holds that curl all day.
Princess Lee false lashes are still the most natural looking strip lashes I’ve found. Easy to apply and so very flattering to the eye. As I have an allergy to latex I’ve stopped using Duo Lash Adhesive and have been using the Revlon variant instead with no problems. I love how big these false lashes make my eyes look, without crossing into drag queen territory.
2. Lighter eyeshadow: Now that I actually have eyelids to display thanks to these exercises, I’ve been enjoying lighter eyeshadows and a return to creasework. MAC’s All That Glitters is such a beautiful shade, and works so well all over the eye or with MAC Bronze eyeshadow in the crease. Fantastic with the aforementioned winged liner.
It is not just for the colour that I love these two shadows (although the colours are lovely), but the formula is about as close to perfection as you can get in eyeshadow. We all know how hit and miss MAC shadows can be, but with these two I think MAC has got it right.
3. Bronzer: This year I’ve actually discovered how to use bronzer. I apply it with a MAC 134 paddle brush to my cheeks and temples, as a sort of poor-man’s contouring, and I’ve been loving the result. Not only does it add warmth to my face, but it gives me instant cheekbones.
My current favourites are Korres Monoi Bronzer in 01 and Le Metier de Beaute’s bronzer in their Flawless Face kit. Both are excellent for fair skins.
4. Ellis Faas base: As my skin has improved considerably in 2011 I like to skip base where I can, but when I do reach for something it is always Ellis Faas Skin Veil and concealer.
I only use a tiny amount of Ellis Faas Skin Veil and it evens out my skintone and gives me a healthy glow. It also lasts all day, never streaks, and is so comfortable on my skin. It works well over sunscreen too.
Ellis Faas concealer is just as stellar. The pen is easy to use, and I just twist and apply a tiny amount of concealer under my eyes, around my nose, and on any discolouration I might have. As with all concealers, I leave it for about five seconds on my skin to warm (so I don’t just wipe away the product) and then blend out with my fingers. This concealer blends with my skin seamlessly and never pools in creases or catches on dry skin. Love.
5. DIY skincare: It probably comes as no surprise that I’m in love with DIY skincare. The difference it has made to my skin in just six months is phenomenal. I urge you to try it.
6. Food: Finally learning how to eat well and take control over my binge eating has been a revelation for me. I no longer feel like food controls me, and I feel energetic and healthy. Here is an outline of the way I now eat.
7. Hair: I’m very lucky to have found a wonderful hair salon in Toni & Guy Cottesloe. They get the colour and cut of my hair right every time, and I’m very grateful for their expertise and generosity.
Without doubt, this DIY hair tonic has made a huge difference to the quality of my hair too. Not only does it give me much more volume, but I have sprouted new little hair follicles, and my existing hair has grown more quickly. I actually spray it all over my hair when I get out of the shower, as well as applying it directly to the roots, and I still can’t believe how soft it makes my hair.
8. Red Lipstick: This never really went away, but red lipstick has become even more of a joy of late. Many red lipsticks can be applied as a stain so that you don’t have to fear it migrating to your teeth or hair during dinner, and something like Dolce & Gabanna’s Sheer Shine #130 is the perfect glossy orange-red to throw on as you’re heading out the door in summer, and wears off so evenly. I love this lipstick paired with little to no base, winged liner, All That Glitters on the lid, and bronzer on cheeks and temples. Very modern. For a swatch of Dolce & Gabanna #130, my other reds, and other lipsticks, see this post.
So happy that I got my hands on the discontinued Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Dragon too.
9. Edward Bess cream products: I won these from the delightful LipstickLuvvies (a great blog – go and read it!), and I’ve been using them constantly ever since. The blush in Love Affair and highlighter in All Over Seduction blend with the skin so beautifully and look imperceptable on the skin. They also last much longer on the skin that most cream products. Needless to say, they are always with me. I really must do a post on them.
10. Head and Shoulders as deodorant: Last summer I could not find a deodorant that kept me stink-free, until I discovered that there is an ingredient in Head and Shoulders that actually prevents the growth of stink-causing bacteria. Now I wash my armpits with Head and Shoulders in the shower, dry off as normal, and go about my day. I have never used such an effective deodorant, and am so happy that I don’t end up smelly by midday any more.
11. Vintage clothing and Diane Von Furstenburg: Oh how I love vintage clothing. I love the cut, the fabric, and the feminine look of vintage clothes. My collection features dresses from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, and I love them all. My favouite seller is still Nena from JolieVintageShop on Etsy, but she’s away at Law School at present. However, she will be back mid-year on her break, and I’m looking forward to her shop re-opening!
I also adore Diane Von Furstenburg dresses. If you ever see one in a shop, I urge you to try it on. Damn that woman knows how to cut a dress.