Saturday, February 12, 2011

Titanium dioxide in eyeshadows

This is just something that caught my attention when I studied the back side of my Metal Mania palette. The ingredients contain some scary-sounding things such as: titanium dioxide, iron oxides, tin oxide...Now, I am no scientist, so I googled the first one and the trusty Wikipedia says:

"Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium(IV) oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891. It has a wide range of applications, from paint to sunscreen to food colouring. When used as a food colouring, it has E number E171." (

I found the same ingredients in other eyeshadows as well (Maybelline, L'Oreal...), so I guess it is pretty normal and that I should not worry about everything under the Sun :-}

Groupon mania

These days, you can not google anything without being hit right and left with GROUPON adverts. The idea is to sell you a discount ticket to anything you might like to see/do/taste as long as enough people join in. I found this explanation video:
This website is also fully functional in Brussels. It sounds cool and once I beat my initial skepsticism, I will try it. I subscribed to their newsletter and I got a super interesting offer:

Deal van de dag: Mini make-up workshop voor 2 met heerlijke hapjes en cava/wijn bij Make-up Idee voor 69 euro in plaats van 139

The temptation would be strong, but the deal is on offer in Kortrijk. Maybe some other time!

One-day colour contact lenses review

I am not going to lie -  it was pure vanity that inspired me to buy coloured contact lenses. My eyes are a mix of grey, blue and green and I was always curious what the colour contacts could do for me. I gave it a shot one day and I ordered on (previously, the two merged together) CIBAVISION FRESHLOOK one-day contact lenses in blue and green, thinking how riveting the look of my eyes will become.

Little did I know! I popped them on and immediately felt huge discomfort. The trouble was, I saw everything blurry and as a result, my head felt dizzy. What happened was that the coloured section partially covered the pupil, effectively depriving me of a clear vision....

As for the colour effect...yes, the original eye colour somewhat transformed, making whichever hue (in my case green or blue) more prominent. I do not believe, though, that the intensity of the colour would be enough to make my grey eyes brown, had I decided to try the brown tinted ones...In fact, the change in colour was so subtle, that none of my friends noticed it. 'Nuff said!

Gel eyeliners review

I am crazy about gel eyeliners so imagine my excitement when I discovered they were finally available at Di and Kruidvat (Maybelline Lasting Drama). This afforable product (cca 12.99 EUR) does not fade out during the day and the colour payoff is amazing. The gel in the container has not dried up for months. The fact that is it packed together with a flat bristle dome-shaped brush makes is a perfect starter combo.
I bought a plum version in New York, I do not think it is on offer in Europe yet. :-(
L'Oreal HIP (high intensity pigments) - I bought it in blue and I am happy to report that the pigmentation is indeed rich and the colour does not botch all day long (available at

ESSENCE gel eyeliner in grey (Denim Wanted line)- locally available (Kruidvat), very cheap (4 EUR). The colour is long-lasting, it has nice metallic sheen to it. Unfortunately, mine dried up within days after I opened it and it is difficult to transfer it to my eyelids.

Final tip: to remove eyeliner from the brush, it is best to use two phase (normally for waterproof makeup) makeup remover soaked in a cotton pad.

HEMA makeup base review

While I am a huge fan of HEMA eyeshadow base, I can't say the same about their MAKE-UP base. It cost 4,99 EUR for 30 ml. It is supposed to mattify and smoothen your skin, extending the longevity of your makeup. The consistency is light and creamy. The first problem I had with it was its white colour, it did not quite blend into the skin and left white powdery streaks. Secondly, when I applied make-up, it started to rub off together with the primer. So, L'Oreal magic perfecting base remains my favourite.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Be my Valentine make-up looks

Two of my favourite Valentine's look tutorials. Have fun and enjoy!

Contact lenses - a tip for an online shop

I happen to be blind as a bat: - 4 myopic to be exact. After fifteen years of wearing monthly contacts (and buying litres of disinfecting solution) I finally took a leap of faith towards daily contact lenses and I have not regretted it.

Dailies - disposable contact lenses - are not only very convenient for travelling but they are also more hygienic (no danger of protein deposits) and are generally a "healthier" option.  I work in an office and my eyes are sensitive to air-conditioning, what sometimes used to result in conjuctivitis.

For years I was put off by their price, but now I am happy to report that a pair of contacts costs 1 EUR/day. I order at:, 90 contact lenses cost 45,50 EUR with delivery (Cibavision).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

HEMA makeup brushes - mixed feelings

When I ventured out to build up my collection buying any brush left and right, I also purchased these HEMA brushes. They are inexpensive so I guess you get what you pay for but once I tried SIGMA brushes, I will never go back to these.

The bristles feel a bit harsh on the skin, they never reshaped  fully into its original form after washing and became frizzy. Their shape makes the powder/blush/bronzer application imprecise. The short handle brush broke within a couple of hours after I bought it, I glued it back on and now only use it as a back up brush in my office makeup kit.

White pencils as a base - review

White pencils are a must for any makeup enthusiast. They are popular as an eyeshadow base (making the true colour of pigments really pop). Moreover, if you apply them on the waterline, your eyes will appear larger. White eyepencils are also frequently placed in the inner corner of the eye and under the brow bone, again to make your eyes look bigger and brighter.

  1. I bought NYX jumbo eyepencil in cottage cheese via an Internet shop (Boozyshop). It has a metallic sheen and it is creamy. I was very disappointed about how much it creased, even with a base on.
  2. Almay double-end pencil - the texture is similar as with NYX and I am equally unimpressed with how much it smudges when used under an eyeshadow.
  3. 2B Cosmetic jumbo eyepencil - less creamy but again a weak performer as a base. All three are perfect for the tear duct and on the brow bone.
  4. Berange Paris - bought in Cora, a very cheap pencil, I bought it originally just for my waterline. I tried it as a base as well, and it is simply stunning, the colour payoff is strong with no sheen and it did not budge at all. I recommend buying this one, as the price/quality ratio is unbeatable.
 Here are swatches (same order as above):
I chose the reddest colour in Metal Mania palette and tried it first without a base (very bottom) and then over individual swatches.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Having watched a ton of YouTube makeup tutorials, I was craving one particular eye pencil - NYX Jumbo Eyepencil in MILK. It is a perfect base for eyeshadows (it gives them something to grab to) as it brings out the true pigments. Just watch this:

Understandably, I tried to order it online, but they are always out of stock for this particular colour (at least every time I checked on Boozyshop). As it turns out (I love google!), there is another Dutch based shop that has NYX and plenty of other interesting brandS on offer: Quickly go and check it out, it is perfect! And do not be put off by Dutch, I am sure Elke speaks English perfectly! :-)

Open up your eyes

In my opinion, there are three easy ways to look rested, sophisticated and "put together":
  • Blush - for that fresh outdoorsy face
  • Undereye concealer - an alpha and omega in beating the tired appearance
  • Eyeliner - defines the eyes, deepens, intensifies your look, optically thickens and elongates the lashes

Eyeliners are available in many shapes and forms but they have different effects.
  • Pencil eyeliners are easy to work with and chances are you are most familiar with this type. However they smudge quickly.
  • Felt tip pen eyeliners are relatively easy to work with, because they offer a steady tip
  • Liquid eyeliners - I find it really difficult to place them as close as possible to my lashline, my hand is shaking like crazy when I do that, so the result is...shaky. Moreover, they tend to "crack" during the day.
  • Cake eyeliners - usually dark coloured powders pressed into a small pot, they are smudge-proof and the colour intensity is strong
  • Gel eyeliners - are equally long lasting and colour intense as cake eyeliners, there are my favourites

Favourite brushes list

You do not have to search long and hard if you want to start building up your brush collection - that is once you know where to get what. I bought my starter brushes at a pharmacy (yes, a pharmacy at Merode, on the same side as EXKI, T.LeClerc brand) HEMA and Réserve Naturelle. (RV)
Here are my favs:

T.LeClerc is a luxurious brand: both price and quality of these are high (cca 20 EUR/brush)
1)eyeliner brush
2) eyeliner and eyebrow brush
3) crease brush
4) concealer brush
I love all of these, but with time I found cheaper alternatives. Quality is superior in these, though.

Furthermore, any of these brushes will be invaluable in your collection:
ESSENCE (Kruidvat)
5) gel eyeliner brush, came in the package with the eyeliner itself. Actually a very good brush. (4 EUR)

MAYBELLINE (Di, Kruidvat)
6) gel eyeliner brush, again come together with the eyeliner, price at Di 12,99 EUR. Also a very good brush.

HEMA (price ratio between 2 - 10 EUR)
7) small angle brush - I only use it to define my brows with an eyeshadow
8) eye shading brush, good quality
9) fluffy blending brush, works best if you have a lot of eyelid space
10) flat shading brush, your best buy for eyemakeup in HEMA
11) foundation brush - super soft bristles make the job of applying foundation really easy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beauty little helpers

Every little helps: here are some basic tools for cleansing, plucking, grooming....(clockwise)

Cotton pads: for taking off the makeup, nail varnish, spot cleaning for brushes

Q-tips: there is no makeup mistake that these little guys can not fix

15 ml plastic container: to depot your creams, for travel...(Di drugstore)

A clean mascara spoolie: use to comb your eyelashes before you put mascara on and after to get rid or clumps, to brush your eyebrows into place 

Blending sponges: ideal for pressing fond de teint into the skin (esp. around the nose and the chin) and removing visible foundation streaks (Di drugstore)

A pair of tweezers: for plucking your eyebrows and removing ingrown hair (Ici Paris sells Tweezerman)

Eyebrow stencils: (bought at Kruidvat) perfect for defining your brows before plucking

Eyelash curlers: curling your lashes before you apply mascara will help your eyes look bigger and more "awake". (the nearest Shu Uemura shop in Antwerpen)

Baby wipes/De-makeup wipes (not pictured): for spot cleaning your brushes and general cleaning of your tools

Monday, February 7, 2011

Biggest beauty blunders

Makeup is as old as humankind and has been loved by women (and men) for thousands of years. Just remember Cleopatra and her massive eyeliner...Yet there are still lessons to be learned in how to wear it without looking like the notoriously made-up Queen of the Nile. This funny video perfectly demonstrates 10 biggest makeup mistakes: (but let the one who has never sinned cast the first stone):

However, it is not only makeup that can make you look errrr less perfect:
  • hairy legs - ladies, please shave your legs, especially in the summer! Long hairs are NEVER a pretty sight...
  • hairy armpits - just three words: SHAVE IT OFF
  • facial hair - modern technology should do the trick
  • no pedicure - yet another summer specialty. Cute sandals and long protruding nails, cracked and calloused get it.
  • chipped nail varnish - not a good trend, carrying around a nail polish in the handbag for a quick touch up could be a solution to this one
  • greasy messy hair - there is no point in trying hard with makeup and clothes, when your hair is killing your look...
  • generally neglected appearance BUT perfect gel manicure

Online shopping tips

I just wanted to give a shout out to a couple of well tried and tested Internet shops:
Happy browsing! :-)
A US-based Internet shop selling cosmetics for face and body, tools and sets, offering over 20 different brands. - quote: All Cosmetics Wholesale specializes in discount, high end cosmetics at below retail, wholesale and below wholesale pricing. I especially recommend it for low priced L'Oreal (HIP - high intensity pigment series) and Maybelline products (a lot cheaper than in Europe).$&langBox=BE -  the world's leading provider of discounted designer skin care, make-up, cosmetics, perfume, fragrances, cologne and hair care. - perfumes, shipping free anywhere in the world.

For nails: - another US based company, shipping for around 18 $.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Metal Mania palette review

It is only me, or this Metal Mania palette is the same as Coastal Scents 88 Metal Mania? Mine is marketed as a Boozyshop product. Not that it matters, as the palette is simply beautiful! I was a bit (pleasantly) surprised about its compact size (23 cm x 16,5 cm x 1 cm). It arrived exquisitely protected by a number of boxes and plastic bubble wrap. It costs 18,95 EUR.
The colours are really well pigmented with a shimmery finish. They transfer well on the eyelid without much fallout. The palette is a super gift for anyone who is crazy about eye makeup. The colour combinations are endless enabling you to go for a subtle natural look or an evening smokey eye. I am enclosing links to sites with swatches, as this has been done really well already by other people.