MAC Ellie Goulding Halcyon Palette: Review and Swatches


My Halcyon Days palette from the MAC and Ellie Goulding Collection has landed! I’m a big fan of Ellie and there’s a few posts here on her music, but it was a pleasure to support Ellie’s makeup collection too. And one that I am liking a lot!

I chose the Halcyon Days palette ($44 from MAC but about $60 through purchase order) mainly because I love MAC cream color bases (CCB). I have a few in red and pinks which I use as blush and lip color – they are very pigmented, true to pan in term of colors, long lasting, and just an overall pleasure to use. I also wanted to try MAC’s blot powder, included in this palette.

Let’s go over the CCBs first.  MAC was relatively accurate describing the colors as they translate on my skin. Color #1 Wish I Stayed is a light cream pearl and #2 Tint is a peachy brown, and both are good for eyes and lips in my case. Note that I don’t use highlighters – I have my own internal glowing mechanism i.e. my oily skin – otherwise #1 and #2 would also be good as highlighters. Color #3 Root is a taupe brown with shimmer, good for the eyes. Color #4 Everytime You Go, is a peachy pink, suitable for eyes and cheeks, but washes out on my lips if on its own. I double it up with #2 for a more wearable look.

All the CCBs are nicely emollient, sparkling in color, and blends easily. Using fingers are best for these, I find. The one downside of these is that they are not as long-lasting as my other CCBs. Without primer, on eyes, these fade noticeably after a couple of hours, and after 4 hours, only about 50% remains on my eyes. As blush, #4 lasted a bit longer but again, not as stellar as my other, full-size CCBS. I have not used them with primer yet.

The blot powder is describe as ‘medium dark’, and it’s really not that dark. I think even darker gals (NC 45) can use this – it is very, very sheer. A really good match for my NC25 face. This is definitely great for blotting, and for dusting over the CCBs to tone down the shimmer without sacrificing color. However, it’s not very good in controlling oil.

Overall, no regrets in this purchase. I really enjoy using the CCBs and the blot powder together, and if I may say so myself, it gives a very ‘Ellie’ look. My eye area has gotten drier as I age, and using these CCBs as eye color is a real pleasure. This palette would also be great for travel and I can’t wait to take it places.

Bottom line: no regrets even at the inflated price I obtained it for, and recommended for those who want to try MAC’s CCBs, and those with dryer skin.

MAC Halcyon Days palette
MAC Halcyon Days palette

MAC Halcyon Days Ellie Goulding (4)

[Local] La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette: Review and Swatches

While tooling around in the traditional market for the Purbasari lipstick, this little gem of a travel palette by local brand La Tulipe caught my eyes: Asian Beauty Travel Palette (normally Rp165,000 ~ US$12 but was on 15% discount). It was one of two La Tulipe travel palettes that I was shown, but I bought this one since I prefer its  color combination and cover illustration.

Inside the La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette

The first row in the palette has four eyeshadows which are unnamed: #1 shimmery orange-y copper; #2 shimmery light pink; #3 a satiny matte dark brown (more on this below); and #4 golden cream. The second row is occupied by a face powder (suitable for someone NC 25-30, and described as a two-way cake though I haven’t tried it wet yet), a shimmery and slightly bronze-y peach blush , and two lip colors (a shimmery almost translucent orange, and a matte peachy pink).

Now, the dark brown is relatively matte, but with a very slight sheen. That’s why I mentioned it as a satin-y matte. In a jam, this will also work as brow color, if you use sparingly and just to fill in the gaps. It is not too red, so that’s a plus, but if you try to shape with it – where some color show on skin rather than amongst brow hair – the shine will show through more.

The palette is made of cardboard,  10.5 cm width x 14.5 cm length x 1.5cm deep (comparable to a conventional postcard). It comes with a plastic separator and a good-sized mirror. Two mini brushes are included, which were useless and I’ve thrown away.

The pros: cheap; the colors relatively pigmented and neutral for Asian skin coloring; shimmery but still office-appropriate; the powders soft, buttery and blend easily; the lip colors not drying; the individual pans not too small; and the packaging classy.

The cons: the eyeshadows will need a primer to be longer-lasting; all the powder products heavily fragranced; and some people may find the color combination old-fashioned.

Edit: I’ve had a chance to use the face powder wet, and results are not good. There is some coverage, but the buffing takes time, oil control is poor, and the finish is very coarse. This is best as a setting powder in a thin layer.

Bottom line: I think this is probably the best travel palette I’ve ever seen from a local brand. It’s a classy palette that you won’t be embarrassed whipping out in front of co-workers or in the airport lounge. Recommended!

Backside of the La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette (click to enlarge)
Backside of the La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette (click to enlarge)
Swatches of all contents, La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette
Wearing #1 (left) and #2 lip colors, the face powder and blush (over MAC BB Cream), La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette
Face powder and eyeshadows, La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette
Face powder and eyeshadows, La Tulipe Asian Beauty Travel Palette

Review and Swatches: Givenchy Les Mini Prismes Travel Exclusive Palette

Givenchy Les Mini Prismes travel exlusive 5

I have always had a weakness for makeup palettes, especially if the products are cohesive, good quality and not boring. Givenchy Les Mini Prismes certainly belong in this category. The format resembles a mini wardrobe, with drawers each housing a quad eyeshadow of a dark plum, light purple, pink and gold shimmer (officially Purple Show 71); a face powder (Beige Mousselline 84); and a quad of blush (Vintage Pink 22). The last drawer contains a couple of brushes – untested as of now. I am even thinking that for travels, I will probably leave this drawer and its content behind.

First, let’s talk about packaging. It is bulky for the amount of product. However, everything seems to be snug and secure, so it shouldn’t be a problem to take on travels. Secondly, the colors. They are all usable and fit me (about MAC NC 25). They’re not overly exciting colors, but very usable for work and play. The dark plu eyeshadow is even dark enough for a respectable smokey look. The face powder is nice: buttery and sets everything good. The blush is probably my favorite. Each pan is too small to use on its own, so I just swirl my brush over the whole surface, and the result on me is a neutral peachy color.

Overall verdict, useful and good quality. However, it is bulky for what it is, but for a 1 or 2 day business trip, it’s sufficient, just bring along brushes, a primer, mascara and lip product and you’re set. But for a trip of 3 or more days, you may find yourself bored silly with the colors if this is all you have.

Givenchy Les Mini Prismes travel exlusive 7

Givenchy Les Mini Prismes travel exlusive 3

Givenchy Les Mini Prismes travel exlusiveGivenchy Les Mini Prismes travel exlusive 4 - CopyGivenchy Les Mini Prismes travel exlusive 10Givenchy Les Mini Prismes travel exlusive 9 - Copy


Review and Swatches: Stila Color Me Pretty Lip and Cheek Palette


stila color me prett lip and cheek palette3
Kitten – Peony – Gerbera – Rose – Petunia

Stila’s convertible lip and cheek creams have acquired something of a legendary status, but my sole experience with them was from one color in a Stila palette from long, long ago (and which have sadly expired). But I really liked that one, it was such a great peachy coral on me, and I’ve seen online pictures of other beautiful colors on people’s FOTDs. They’re a bit pricey though, so when a whole palette of 5 colors went on sale, snapped it up I did.

The Paint Me Pretty palette contains 5 colors: Kitten, Peony, Gerbera, Rose and Petunia. I have no idea what to do with Kitten — it’ll probably be mainly used for the eyes, or layered over other lip colors. It’s not something I will use on my cheeks — too shimmery for my oil slick of a face. The other colors, however, are absolutely lovely on lips and cheeks. As a blush, the finish is relatively matte for me, blending is not difficult (though not as slippy as the Illamasqua’s cream blushes, which are my favorite cream bush in terms of texture), and the lasting power is great. Overall, they are better quality than those overpriced Chanel cream blushes, which all seemed to disappear on me. As a lip product, they’re true to color and not drying, though I’d still rather use my lipsticks and lip products from bullets. But these are great for coordinating looks. Overall, highly recommended, especially at the price of about $25 for which I got them.

The slight con is the packaging. Definitely not travel friendly, and I’m considering de-potting them. The tin case will be useful to store knicks and knacks.

stila color me prett lip and cheek palette2 stila color me pretty lip and cheek palette

Review and Swatches: Urban Decay Naked3 is a Plum Purple Palette!

Urban Decay Naked3 palette2

Confession: I was one of those people pooh-poohing the Urban Decay Naked Palettes gold rush. I mean, brown, dark brown, light brown, greyish brown and brownish grey??

However, one day I was lounging around Sephora in Kuala Lumpur, and lo and behold, there they were, the three Naked sisters, and automatically my eyes caught on Naked3. Everybody and their grandma have raved about the rose gold of this palette, but no one told me it was a plum palette?! Plum and purple!! The brown-eyed girl’s best friends!

Urban Decay Naked3 palette4
Urban Decay Naked3 Palette: the 6 lighter colors
Urban Decay Naked3 palette3
Urban Decay Naked3 Palette: the 6 darker colors

I immediately picked up one for myself (and several for others). Here are some swatches and eye looks. This is a very flattering palette for brown-eyed ladies: it is neutral but NOT boring brown or grey; it has a  good selection of shimmer and matte shade; the texture is great; longevity is very good even without primer; and there’s a few shades that you can use on its own, so very good for those rush morning days. That the brush is excellent, is a bonus.

Urban Decay Naked3 swatches2
On the top row are the first 6 lighter colors, bottom row the last 6 darker colors
Urban Decay Naked3 swatches
Random combinations of one lighter and one darker colors. Purples, yes?

For those still hesitating because you don’t need another brown palette, you are quite right, you don’t. This is a plum neutral, however. It is not warm, not red (not even pink), and not TOO shimmery (just enough shimmer which you can tone down with the mattes included in the palette). Overall an elegant neutral for day and night.

Urban Decay Naked3 Palette


United at Last: Nars Hanamichi Palette

Nars Hanamichi Palette
Nars Hanamichi Palette

When the NARS Hanamichi palette came out for holiday 2011, I really wanted it, but was not willing to shell out $65 (!). I drooled over the swatches online, which mostly weren’t very good – a good thing as it kept me from splurging and clicking. Except for this one of course: absolutely phenomenal swatches that almost, almost brought me to the brink.

Flash forward a few years, and one day I saw that Asos had the palette at a much reduced price. That prompted a quickening of pulse and a quick search throughout Ebay — perhaps, just perhaps, this was not such a popular palette and now available at reduced prices. A few weeks later, and about $30 poorer, and voila! It is here, mine all mine, as beautiful as I thought it would be. To boot, all the colors work for me except for the white (too frosty). Love the red most as it makes for a most excellent blush.

NARS Hanamichi Palette
NARS Hanamichi Palette

I could see surviving  only on this palette on business trips.

So, if you wanted this a few years ago but weren’t willing to shell out the moolah, this is your chance. Go for it!

NARS Hanamichi Palette

NARS Hanamichi Palette
NARS Hanamichi Palette


You can see the gold is already well-loved...
You can see the gold is already well-loved…
nars hanamichi palette fotd5
Hanamichi palette gold and black on lids and waterlines; white under the brows; red on cheeks.

An International Giveaway (and Moarrr from the Sariayu 25 Best Choices Eyeshadow Palette)

Sariayu 25 Palette smokey grey and rose gold

EDIT 6 JANUARY: The giveaway is closed, and the winner is Makeup Train! Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll email you to ask for details of where to send the palette. Thanks!

One of my favorite looks is the grey smokey eye. There is no grey in the Sariayu 25 Best Choices Eyeshadow Palette (25 Years Anniversary Palette), but alas, there is a black and a beautiful icy blue (marked with the orange arrows above). Voilà!smokey grey3

smokey grey

“Ok, you’ve convinced me. This is a versatile palette. But surely it can’t handle the current trend too, the rose gold explosion?!”  Aah but it can, it can! There’s a few golds and a few reds in the palette, so why not? Through a precise and calculated technique, i.e. randomly dipping a brush in one color then another, I found that you can arrive at various shades of rose gold. The first experiments yield more of a sunset orange. But after several tries, I found that the peach and red (marked with blue arrows) yield a sufficiently rosey gold; mix it with the other golds (also marked with blue arrows) to make it more vibrant.

rose gold2


And it’s giveaway time! I would like to send one of this Sariayu 25 Best Choices Eyeshadow Palette (25 Years Anniversary Palette) to an international reader (someone not living in Indonesia; shipping cost via the postal service is included). All you gotta do is comment on this post, about anything, and I will use a random number generator to choose one winner on Monday, 6 January 2014 at 9pm my time (GMT+7).  Be sure to include your email in the comment.

I hope everyone will have a cozy time with their loved ones as we count down to the new year. See you next year!m