My TOP 3: matte Bronzers

Boy, do I love this time of year:

When the weather starts to get real summery and people around me announce proudly their first sunbath of the season, that's the perfect time to abuse my bronzers!

I normally use matte bronzers to warm up my skin, for obvious reasons:
natural tan has no shimmer!

The following products are my favourite matte bronzers from the entire of my makeup collection. Goes without saying, I would recommend all three products to anyone- provided each of them is used for its own purposes.

That, actually, answers the inevitable question:
"do you really need three or more matte bronzers? They're the same thing!"
Well, as you will find out below, these products are nothing but the same!
Thus, each of them has a different use.

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel, Bronzing Makeup Base
This is my summer bronzer, the one I'm currently (ab)using! Its texture is phenomenal, although the surface tends to harden and it needs a little scraping from time to time. Because it's a cream formula, it looks so seamless and healthy on the skin than powder bronzers. This has a caramel (dare I say orange?) tint that, in my humble opinion, an olive complexion can easily pull off during summer. It may run a little too orange on pale winter skin, though. Full review here

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder, shade #02
First of all, one has to give credit to the Body Shop for carrying a complete bronzing makeup range with 4 (!) matte bronzing powder shades. This is the one I'm using during winter! It has a very light bronzey colour that looks so natural on pale skin, and because it's so light, it's hard to get overboard with it. It's also the one I'm carrying with me when I'm travelling, as it has a nice compact size and a convenient mirror. Full review here

Elf Studio Countouring Blush & Bronzing Powder
This duo, as the name suggests, is best to be used for contouring. I couldn't agree more: the bronzer side is way too dark to pass as a natural-looking bronzing powder! This is my go-to choice for when I want to make my cheekbones look more prominent and I always, always use it on nights out. Upon first glance, it looks as if it has some shimmer, but it practically swatches matte on the skin. Full review here

    Swatches, from left to right: Chanel, The Body Shop, Elf

Can you see now how different these products look on the skin?
That's why I need three matte bronzers in my life ;)

I cannot stress enough how indispensable a matte bronzer should be in a girl's makeup bag! I hope you can deduct from this post that you can find a good quality bronzer from luxury brands, as well as on the cheap.

Now, tell me: what's your favourite matte bronzer?
Have you tried the products featured in this post?

You can also have a look at my first TOP 3 post on the Elf $1 products. Click!

Evi   xx

That's how the Body Shop rolls, baby!!!

Last week, I attended the much talked about bloggers' event at the Body Shop,
to celebrate their latest revamp. All I can say is: YES, YES, YES!!!

I cannot express my enthusiasm enough for that the Body Shop stepped up its game to better communicate its ethical heritage: now that competition has intensified and other companies have clinged to the natural and ethical bandwagon, it's not fair for the Body Shop to stay in the backround- since it was Annita Roddick who invented the "business with ethos" in the first place!

Not to mention, of course, the amazing products that the Body Shop has to offer- which I'm sick of raving over and over again all by myself! If a little revamp can make more people to re-familiarise with them, the better ;)

    New shelving pattern

    The Body Shop's newest perfumes...

    My favourite skincare range!

So, what's new at the Body Shop?
Let's take it all one-by-one:

1. New campaign
"Look good, feel good, do good" is the new slogan of the company. The idea behind it is to describe the brand's stragegy with clarity, so that the message is not confusing. Lily Cole has also been set as the brand's advocate! Her beautiful face will star on the Body Shop's new Summer makeup collection.

2. New PULSE stores
2000 stores have already been revamped: brighter and more eye-catchy than before, they have a special station in the middle of the store so as to encourage customers to test the Body Shop products, in a "test before you purchase" manner. There's also a new "community wall" that allows locals to see the latest charity activities in the area. FYI, the only greek Pulse store is located at Kolonaki.

3. New products!
Along with the new Summer makeup collection with Lily Cole, the new Beautifying Oils range has already cought everyone's attention: in short? Beauty in a bottle! Also, the ever so popular Body Butters have been revamped- but that's something to talk about in another blog post ;)

    My natural habitat, for obvious reasons ;)

    The Body Shop Summer 2012 makeup collection with Lily Cole

    Take a look at these LE Shimmer Cubes! Don't they look pretty?

     Argyrousa in action: we were asked to write down our favourite body products...

    ...and we hanged our notes on the "community wall";
    the most popular product is going to be donated to NGO Praxis. 

    Me in the middle, in serious posing action with Artemi and Sofia!

Other than the Body Shop news, I couldn't end this post without mentioning my excitement for meeting all those fellow beauty bloggers with which we've talked a lot through blogs and Twitter, but hadn't got to meet in person before! My girls, I'm glad we finally met and I hope we'll see each other again soon ;)

To conclude, it's heart warming to see a brand you're so fond of going back to its roots, and communicating its ethical message to a wider audience. I truly hope there will be a new era for the Body Shop- if nothing else, their amazing products do deserve some more love!

There's gonna be some more posts with the products we were kindly given at the event- and of course, the ones I picked out myself; I mean really, could I ever step into the Body Shop and come out empty handed? Nooo...

Evi   xx


My Spring/Summer nails!

I'm not a nail polish connoisseur. I can't distinguish a good one from a less than mediocre, chipping is not an issue -yay for chipped nails!-, plus I'm not that particular when it comes to flattering colours for my skintone.

But there's one thing that strikes me as a "must get":
mini nail polishes in coordinating colours!

Last autumn, it was the H&M nail polishes;
now I've found a prettier little set- and wait, they're actually made in Greece!

    'Xcuse the rain drops and the gloomy atmosphere in this pic!
    I wanted a spring-ish green backround but the weather didn't cooperate with me :(

The company that makes these mini nail polishes is called Rona Ross. It's the sister brand of Lee Hatton, another small brand I've associated with cheap-looking, but decent nail polishes. These ones contain 4,5 ml of product and claim to be long-lasting, which I won't argue, they seem to last pretty good on the nails.

However, the one thing I loved the most is that you can find these stored in big plastic jars and you have to dig through to get to your chosen colour. Isn't that so cute and retro? Reminds me of when I was a teenager, looking for the most bargainous nail polishes available at Hondos Center!

I've only applied 2 coats in the following pics, no top coat. Some require a 3rd layer to get an opaque coverage, but I guess a nice top coat would fix that as well. Oh, these are not named or numbered! :(

Each mini nail polish costs around €1,80;
you can also find sets of 10 Rona Ross nail polishes at around €13 ;)

Now ain't it neat, experimenting with different nail colours on the cheap? Then, if I like a certain shade, I can always buy a bigger bottle knowing I'll wear it- a lot.

What do you think of cheap mini nail polishes?
Likey, or no likey?

Evi   xx


Getting my skin sorted at Kiehl's

Time for a cruel assessment of my knowledge on skincare:

Basically, I have none! From now on, I'm considering myself a skincare noob. It only took 10'' for me to realise my utter incopetence on skincare issues and that instead, I should leave it to the experts...

I'm referring to the skin consultation that Kiehl's offers at its clients. Granted, I was invited because of my "beauty blogger" identity and yes, it did make me feel extra special and spoilt, but please note that this is not a bloggers' exclusive thing: anyone can have a skin consultation at Kiehl's- free of charge, no shopping obligations.

So, what is this skin consultation?
It's a quick & easy, 10'' business that calculates your accurate skintype. The Kiehl's sales assistant takes two specific pieces of paper and places one in your forehead (the area where skin gets oily) and the other on the cheeks (which are usually drier than the T-zone). You hold these little cards on your face for 10'' so that they can collect data, so to speak, and then you compare the results with a little diagram that shows the amount of nutrients that are evident in all skintypes: Oily, Normal to Oily, Normal, Normal to Dry, and Dry.

Why is it important to take this test?
I'll speak from my experience: imagine a skin that's dehydrated, flaky and uneven in texture. How would you describe it? Dry? Normal to Dry, I hear you say? Yep, that's what I thought too... However, as the consultation test proved, my skin falls under the Normal category. *making a (mental) happy-dance 'cause Kiehl's tells me I have the best skin possible!!!* That means: no more heavy moisturisers that can clog up my pores, yes to mild exfoliators to heal the flaky areas on my cheeks.

Had I not taken this test, I would have carried on loading my skin with oily treatments and skipping exfoliators altogether- because you know, dry skin doesn't do well with exfoliators... Or, so I thought!

After my skintype profile, I was presented with the Kiehl's products that my skin currently needs to look its best; the highlights being the Overnight Biological Peel, which looks like a transparent mask that you're supposed to sleep on and then wake up with glowing skin, and the intriguing Midnight Recover Concentrate that is all ages/ skintypes appropriate that also works over-night to repair skin from within.

And of course, I got to test the uber popular among beauty blogs, the Kiehl's Avocado Eye Treatment- all I can say is, now I see why this eye cream is being raved about over and over again! Think of a luxuriously rich, but easily absorbed formula that helps to brighten the area under the eyes due to the green tint... This one, I have to make it mine!

Most of all, this experience made me realise the significance of knowing your skin and treating it with the proper skincare rut it needs. It's such a simple, almost cliche statement, but of the utmost importance!

I was also given a goodie bag at the end of my appointment with a few Kiehl's samples to try out- and I did a little shopping myself! So, expect to see more of the brand in my following posts ;)

If you do get a skin consultation at Kiehl's, which in fact I urge you to do, let me know about your experience as well!

Evi   xx


Avène Gentle Eye Makeup Remover: a possible HG

A review on an eye makeup remover is not as exciting as a makeup product, isn't it? But there's a good reason I'm making this post:

If you haven't found "the One" eye makeup remover that sums it all -gentle on the eyes, effective cleansing, removing all mascara traces-, then you might find your match on gel-based formulas such as this one by Avène.

"Ummm, gel-based??? I don't know any gel-based formulas!", I hear you might say.
Well, lemme tell you a bit more about my history with eye makeup removers:

Water-based removers don't cut it for me; they may be gentle on the eyes and lashes, but I find they don't remove mascara properly. I've also tried many of those oily bi-phase removers that claim to do a better job at removing eye makeup and I liked them... until I've found out (the hard way) that oily makeup removers cause milia around my eyes.
[So if you do suffer from milia, please check if it's your eye makeup remover that causes them!]

That's where gel-based eye makeup removers fall into the story! They are oil-free and gentle on the eyes, though their beauty lies elsewhere: the gel texture allows the product to sit on the lashes so as to emulsify/break down the mascara. The result? 100% clean lashes with a single swipe of a cotton pad!

Onto this eye makeup remover by Avène:

Since gel-based removers are so uncommon among beauty brands, this one is the easiest to get holf of and one of the most affordable options, priced at around €10. Now, here's a good proof that Avène takes sensitive eyes seriously: I have accidentally poked my eye with cotton balls infused with this stuff numerous times, and I didn't feel a thing! No itching, no stinging, nothing- nada! It also removes eyeshadows and mascara with ease, however, somehow it doesn't perform that great when it comes to eye pencils- no idea why!

To conclude: this Avène eye makeup remover is a keeper; that is, until I find another product that is equally as gentle on my eyes but does a better job at removing all traces of eye pencils.

If you're not yet satisfied with any eye makeup remover you've tried so far, I urge you to give gel-based products a try! Other than Avène, some other brands that make such removers are: Bliss, Decleor, Dermalogica, L'Occitane, Lierac, Makeup For Ever, Mario Badescu and Mavala.

So, have you settled into a HG eye makeup remover?
Do tell!

Evi   xx


Clinique 3-Step giveaway!

Time for another mini giveaway for my lovely readers ;)

This time, I'll be giving away one mini Clinique 3-Step System (type 3), along with a
Clinique Vit C Lip Smoothie that I bought from the Beauty Bazaar last week.

The obligatory "rules":

* You have to be a public follower of this blog through GFC (Google Friend Connect). This giveaway is targeted to my readers only; if you want to follow my blog, you can click on the "Join this site" blue button on the right column!
* Leave a comment on this post with your GFC name (the name you're following my blog) AND your email address, so I can contact you in case you win. Simple as that!

If you'd like to earn some extra entries, you could also do the following (optional) steps:

* Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post, and state your Twitter username in your comment. +1 entry
* Publish a link of this giveaway on your Facebook wall, and state your Facebook username in your comment. +1 entry

The giveaway is open internationally until the 3rd of June;
then I'll pick a random winner through randomizer.org, as always.

Good luck to everyone that enters this giveaway!!!

Evi   xx


Beauty Bazaar; a small haul and my thoughts

Yep- I've been there too...
Amidst all the craziness that was going on and the long waiting hours, me and my sister managed to make a decent little haul at the Beauty Bazaar that is currently being held at the Estee Lauder central offices at Halandri (click! for more info).

All in all, it was a pretty tiresome experience; you couldn't get in if you didn't have that "special ticket" that you could only get between 8:00-11:00 am. So naturally, me and my sister as "newbies" had to wait outside for more that 2 hours, until the guys at the front door pitied the ticket-less ladies and let us all in at the end...

     Estee Lauder nail polish- €6. Mac Circa Plum pigment- €7. Pupa lipgloss- €6

So, what did we find there? First of all, lots and lots of Carroten, Str8 and B.U. eau de toilettes and gift sets at ridiculously cheap prices. But we were hungry for the Mac and Estee Lauder counters, so we headed further on to the good stuff!

Now, I should probably have guessed beforehand that there would only be old-ish/ discontinued/ gift sets/ limited-edition products available at the bazaar, but silly old me thought I could get any Mac product my heart wished in a fraction of the retail price... Nope, not in this case. Besides that, all the good ones were gone by the time we went in, so we had to make do with whatever was still in stock.

     Clinique mini 3-Step system with a free lipgloss- €5

Notes on the products we got:
the Estee Lauder nail polish is THE most perfect colour for a french manicure. About the Mac Circa Plum pigment- boy we were lucky to find it, must have been a leftover from Daphne Guiness collection! The Pupa lipgloss was my sister's all-time favourite lipgloss, so happy she finally found a back-up! And of course, the mini Clinique 3-Step system was hard to pass by... I'll let you know how I get on with it ;)

Would I suggest you going at the Estee Lauder Beauty Bazaar? Well, if you can endure a little discomfort for some bargains - namely: long waiting hours outside the venue, having to encounter women in "shop-to-survive" mode and then waiting again at the cashier line for an hour- then yes, by all means go for it! As for me, I'm not entirely sure if I'll make it again next year...

Now, raise hands: who has been (or is planning to go) at the Beauty Bazzar?
The next post is going to be on a mini giveaway, so keep an eye for it ;)

Evi   xx


Shopping my stash...

If you're a long time reader of beauty blogs, you might remember Lollipop26 (or Laura from buy now, blog later) making a few videos entitled "Shopping my stash", aka running through your old and forgotten makeup products to see what you can find that looks wearable today!

So, these are my picks:

All items are long discontinued, though they fit with what I'd like to wear during this spring/summer season.

***Not gonna talk about companies discontinuing their products, but I'm really tempted to! Ok, just one word: ugh...***

First item: my Mac Suntint in Pink Tinge from "Surf Baby" collection. I purposedly abandoned it last November when the weather got trully wintery, so as to use it up again when the weather got hotter. I have to say, it's not the most moisturising lip balm you'll come across, but it feels nice on the lips and has an SPF 20. The packaging alone gets me into summer mood!

As for this old lipstick by Biotherm, it falls under the "scary bright bullet that melts into a glossy sheer wash of colour" theme that is all the rage at the moment. The thing with such sheer lipsticks is that, in cases they've got the colour right, they're so-so wearable compared to the terribly bright lipsticks by Mac such as Impassioned. I almost feel like, the only place you can wear Impassioned is at THE most über posh/hip bars in the city, where my lipstick can contribute to some quality people-watching... And let's face it, I seldom get invited in such places! :(((

These eyeshadows are from the discontinued mineral range by the Body Shop. I wasn't accustomed to loose eyeshadows at the time when I first got them, so naturally, these got chucked away in an "out of sight, out of mind" manner... However, after my more-than-positive experience with Elf's Celebrity mineral eyeshadow (see swatch here), I thought of giving these another go and whad'ya know, now I freakin' love them!

   Aaand here's the unnecessary swatches, since you can't buy these products anymore :P

Final thoughts of this "Shopping my stash" session?

Well, I did start feeling guilts of owning too much makeup for one person! But in a way it was also therapeutic, as I rediscovered some great products I can use during summer season, instead of creating new lemmings. I'm happy, wallet's more than happy: it's a win-win situation!

Do you go through your stash regularly or you don't bother with old makeup products?

Evi   xx


The Body Shop Baked Eye Colours!

Yaaay! Finally, I took my beloved baked eyeshadows from the Body Shop out in the sunlight, did the tedious swatches, and after 197 photo frames I settled down to the following pics.

But first, here's a couple of things to consider before looking at each shade separately:

* As with most baked makeup products, these eyeshadows are pressed on a clay pan and baked to lose their moisture, then they're shaped to a domed surface and glued to the plastic container- thus their dry texture, which means they hold shimmer with less fall-out than the regular pressed eyeshadows.

* These cost €15 each- a little steep for the Body Shop standards, but at least you're getting two shades in one compact. They hold 2 gr of product, which is fairly acceptable considering they're pigment-only, as the heavy moisture has been evaporated at the baking process.

* Since these ones have a different formulation than the regular eyeshadows, they can't perform the same. This is why they appear to have mediocre pigmentation! I say: if you use them wisely, the impact you get is far more interesting than what you'd achieve with normal pressed eyeshadows!

* So, what's the best way to apply them? I personally use my fingers to pat the product on my eyelids, a flat eyeshadow brush would work the same. They can be used wet for maximum pigmentation, though I've found I get the same results with a creamy/sticky base underneath. If you have time in your hands, layer the light shade over the dark one and do this process twice (a little trick I learned from the makeup artist of YSL back in December): trust me, you'll be amazed by the final outcome!

* Here's something inexplicable I've noticed: provided that I've applied a sticky base underneath and used the two shades of each compact layered, the result I get on my eyes photographs sooo much nicely than any combination I've tried with regular eyeshadows! Can't explain why it happens, but it's true!

* And a final warning: take really good care not to drop them on the floor: these babies brake in pieces so easily! :(

***All swatches are dry, taken under sunlight. The third swatch on the right is made by the two shades layered together***

Copper consists of an orangey copper shade with a flat warm brown. I imagine both shades to make blue eyes "pop"; brown eyed girls like me need a little fake tan or bronzer to pull off such warm shades! Compared to the rest baked duos of this range, this one has a lower amount of shimmer.

See the grey eyeshadow crumble on the right of the pan? This is why you have to take care not to drop these little buggers by accident... Moonstone is my most worn duo from the bunch, purely because of the light ivory shade: I loathe those light coloured eyeshadows that leave a white cast on my eyelids, so I'm glad this shade doesn't follow that pattern: it rather offers a soft glittery finish that lets your skin show through, if that makes sense! It also works brilliantly as a finishing touch to any eyeshadow look to give it some sparkle. They golden grey shade on the right is fairly glittery, as well.

This green-to-blue-to-grey combo from Jade baked duo is ever so flattering on brown eyes! The swatches may seem a bit poor, but fear not: it's because this is the first eyeshadow I got a year ago. I guess if I had scraped off the top layer before doing the swatches, you would have a better idea of what Jade looks like.

Quartz, oh Quartz... I could let the swatches do the talking, but from fear my camera hasn't picked up all their glory, I'm forced to repeat myself: if you're considering of buying only one of these baked eyeshadows from the Body Shop, get this one! The burgundy shade has that beautiful pink sparkle running through it, and when it's combined with the light pink on the left, it makes for the most gorgeous purple shade I've ever seen!!!

Now, Starlight has quite an ordinary combo going on: a sparkly silver with a sparkly black. And that's that. Not that original, if you ask me! Right after the Copper duo, Starlight is my least worn eyeshadow.

Sapphire is my one of my most loved eyeshadows! It makes brown eyes "pop" and it really shows up as true blue- even under the bars' dim lighting! The swatches don't do it justice, blame my crappy camera :(

Surprisingy, Amethyst is a tricky duo to pull off. The swatches may look nice, but on my eyes I get a flat, so cooled-toned colour that almost verges to blue! It also pales up my face like no other, no idea why. It probably needs a warm purple base underneath to soften it a bit.

As if you couldn't tell by now, I'm a fan of baked eyeshadows and I'm glad I've come up with some gorgeous shades in the Body Shop range! My only criticism is that I would prefer these to have a bigger section with the dark veiny shades than the lighter ones.

Now that I think of it, I should make a FOTD for you to see how amazing these eyeshadows look in photos!
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I paid these myself ;)

What are your thoughts on these eyeshadows from the Body Shop?
Are you a fan of baked makeup products?

Evi   xx


April '12 favourites.

Alright, I don't think I can make a new intro for this month's favourites post- so, straight to the products it is!

The Garnier Ultra Lift Cream+Serum* served me well as my go-to moisturiser during April. You might ask, do I need an anti-wrinkle/lifting face cream? Obviousy not, but I tested it out anyway and I'm happy to report that the Ultra Lift range has been improved a lot over the years (guess who used all the available magazine samples when she was 20!). This one needed a good massage to get fully absorbed, but when it did, my skin was softer and visibly smoother in texture. Now, would I recommend this product to a friend? Hmm, only if you're looking for an affordable moisturiser for mature skin. My views on skincare have started to change, so personally I think I would be willing to pay a little extra to get maximum results from a lifting cream- when I'll get at that age group! *brrr, shivers*

For my daily eye makeup, I rekindled my love affair with The Body Shop Shimmer Cubes #06- such an  oldie, but goodie! The bottom two shades are my favourites, although I've started to experiment with the rest copper-bronzey shades (worn with a silver base underneath to counteract with the shadows' orange hues). This is most likely going to be my quad of choice for this summer! As for my going-out makeup, I've been loving the Baked-Eye-Colour in #04-Quartz; I'm telling you, this duo is THE BOMB!!! Take it from a person who loathes pink eyeshadow: this combo is a must-have, burgundy combined with pink make for one of the prettiest eyeshadow looks I've ever seen. For real!
I've already swatched it for an upcoming post on all baked eyeshadows from TBS, watch out for that if you're interested ;)

Lastly, I finally found out the best way to use the Elf Studio Warm bronzer: wearing each colour separately, rather than swirling a brush onto every colour. Oh, can you see I scratched the surface? Yeah, no product would come out if I didn't... The Elf expiry dates must be pretty accurate, so use your Elf products while they're new!

Now tell me, what have you been loving during April?

*Product was provided by Garnier. I'm not affiliated with the brand and I wasn't compensated in any way- heck, I wasn't asked to publish a review on it! Sharing my honest opinions, as always; my loyalty is to my readers.

Evi   xx

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