This Week on teh Interwebs

Makeup and skincare I’m loving (or not) lately


I don’t think I’ve written about makeup since I changed domains. And today was a Makeup Twitterfest which put me in the mood. So here we go children. My routine has probably changed slightly in the 18 months or so since my last post. And since temperatures are changing, what a better time to have a chat on how I roll with makeup and skincare in Swiss winters.

Makeup and skincare I’m loving

1. My old standby, Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse , has been reformulated twice since I last hollered at y’all about it. Now they have removed all synthetics (except for the fragrance, me thinks) and silicone. I dare say it is even better with the new formulation, and I still use it the same ways:
– a few drops mixed in with my moisturizer
– a bit on my hair so I don’t look like a Troll Doll
– as an emergency moisturizer or night cream when I am travelling
In short, Nuxe oil remains, even after reformulation, as one of those products to have handy. Love it. If only they could find something more travel friendly than a glass bottle.

2. Normally I am not a Lush girl. I like it but sans plus. However, at the recommendation of Organica and Stephanie , I started using The Olive Branch as my main shower gel, and my winter skin thanks me greatly. I wash then back this up with a little Nuxe oil and my skin is about as good as it gets.

3. I went back to one of my old standbys, Benefit Lemon Aid. I remember why I dumped it- because the old formula was hard and made my eyelids crepey. Keeping in mind that I got my Great-Aunt Marge’s skin, this is baaaad. But since I don’t like to wear eyeshadow (for someone who loves makeup I wear very little daily) and all other forays into eyeshadow-bases-as-eye-makeup (UDPP, LM Eye Basics…) have failed, I tried the new formulation. It is now in a round pot and much, much softer and I am staving off the Aunt Marge look for a few more years (except for the jowls but that is another story. She also wore wigs, also another story). I can’t see this working on anyone darker than me though.

4. Oh my gawwwww. Chanel is hopping on the cross-branding bandwagon and renaming everything a variation of whatever their last product was that worked. One is the new Extrait de Gloss in the Rouge Allure line. I have Fatale and Imaginaire (swatches from Karla Sugar here). Both very wearable, long lasting for glosses and MUY IMPORTANTE look good with minimal makeup, which is my number one criterion.

5. I would like to mention, for those of you who think I buy makeup and never finish it, that I have hit pan on the backup I had of the best blush ever made, the long-discontinued Chantecaille Whisper. That means I finished two of them in three years. Soft, easy to blend, and the perfect color, I despair at ever finding its’ replacement as My Favorite Blush. Chanel JC Caprice (also discontinued) is close, but chalkier and much harder to blend. Cargo Louisiana is also close, but darker and too shimmery. A quick google search led me to this website, which said a few months ago Chantecaille was bringing Whisper back. I can only hope. If they do, I’m buying ten.

Makeup and skincare I’m NOT loving

Two of the offenders on this list come from Laura Mercier, who normally can do no wrong in my book. She could sell toilet seat covers as blotting sheets and I would still buy them and think they are great.

1. Laura, Laura, Laura. I never liked your mascaras but decided to give Full Blown Volume Lash Building mascara a chance and picked up a tube last time I was in Geneva. FAIL. The only pro is that it is a really soft black which actually works on me (I’m so pale and ginger I usually use brown mascara). The many downsides include clumps, unintentional raccoon eyes and a janky, sticky wand.

2. Another epic fail is the Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer. I’ve been using the regular since it came out (many, many moon ago when some people were still in diapers). The Geneva (and yesterday, the Zurich store) were out of my shade in the regular, and the Geneva saleslady, desperate to make a sale, assured me after I told her that i can put vaseline on my face and not break out, that it was just oil-free, not drying. I never listened to people trying to shill me the oil-free in eleven years, I don’t know why I listened this time (desperation?), but I bought it and immediately regretted it. Smells very bad (like moldy bread) and makes my dry skin drier than the Sahara. Could it just be the tube itself that is bad? I don’t know, but what I do know is that since Switzerland can’t keep the regular TM in Porcelain in stock, I have had three shipped in the US to my uncle to bring them over.

3. Chanel’s Rouge Coco lipstick. I have one (Camelia, swatch again from Karla Sugar). I liked it at first, and may have even blogged or tweeted so. But once the novelty wore off, it has stayed out of my bag. Too drying, too frosty, a very 80s lipstick both in pigmentation and formulation. I also like to wear lipstick even if I don’t have any other makeup on, and these lippies are ones that need a full face behind them. Not the revolution Chanel promised, they need to stick to their Rouge Allures, especially the RA laques and extraits de gloss, as mentioned above.

4. Another old standby bites the dust. Is it my age, my wrinkles? T.Leclerc’s Banane loose powder is not doing it for me. It’s darker and chalkier than I remember from ten years ago, when I used it religiously before finding my LM powder of choice. I picked up a pot in Paris this summer out of nostalgia’s sake, and used it while I was trying to ration my LM. They also started sealing the pot with a sticker, so now I have this janky sticky powder-covered seal. The pot is full so I can’t really wash the jank off. Am moving it to an empty LM container but the love just isn’t there any more. 😦

5. Guerlain blush in general. They keep formulating and reformulating and rolling out new lines, and like a sucker I try every iteration but each time they are chalky, OTT shimmery and just generally not as high-end as the rest of their line. I don’t get it- they know how to make quality powder products (see Meteorites, see Terracotta) but it is almost like their blush lines are afterthoughts. Oh and I would provide a link, but their website is Flash and the suxi.


Author: Nicole Cunningham

American Expat and convert to Islam living and working between Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.

14 thoughts on “Makeup and skincare I’m loving (or not) lately

  1. This will help me a lot :p thank you 🙂

    N.B : for other readers this was a private joke related to the Twitterfest mentionned above, no trolling intentions, have fun with this post girls 🙂

  2. I love benefit in general. I use bluff dust (although for some reason I’ve never tried lemon aid) every day for my Bill Clinton red face.I LOVE Lush, but sadly my fav store near my dad’s house closed, maybe I’ll have to order some of the body wash, my skin is sooooo dry in the winter (we run a wood stove all winter).

    My big problem right now (skincare related anyway) is that I am washing my hands about 1000xs a day at the daycare and they are already cracking. I don’t even know what they will be like in the freezing temps at this point. I’m seriously considering getting a paraffin treatment warmer…I’ve had some luck with those beeswax and olive oil creams with calendula and comfrey, but it’s still a problem.

    • I can so hook you up on the hand front.
      1. Paraffin may be good idea but don’t get any of that scented paraben because your hands are already irritated.
      2. During the day: the OPI cuticle oil with a brush. Keep a bottle with a push pump of Cetaphil gentle cleanser (not the regular one, the one with the “questionable” texture) and mix it with your soap when you wash your hands.
      3. At night, olive oil, let it sit for five minutes, then hand cream of your choice and sleep in cotton gloves. I can pop some in your package (the gloves).

  3. I can’t contribute to this post in any way since you taught me exactly what and how to use all my make-up.

    But I will have to take a minute to thank you for all the last minute responses you’ve responded to with regards to make-up. I SERIOUSLY can’t believe that my skin looked FLAWLESS with a few products here and there (Mostly MAC). LIKE WOW.

    Nicole, you know your stuff. I think besides the blogging thing and the full-time job gig you should become a make-up consultant or one of those you-tube niqabis who give make-up advice?


    • Thank you awwww! My problem is that I don’t do eye makeup. Most of the youtube makeup muslimahs do the whole “is it a geisha lebanese drag queen or just wedding make up” tutorials and I just don’t have those kinds of mad color skeelz (because drag queeny or not, they’re talented). I am actually quite minimalist for a makeup whore. I think people should just “enhance.” I feel weird even when I am wearing color. You do eye makeup better than me because you have the eyes to show it off, I have beady troll eyes so I need to stick to tightlining and mascara.

  4. Good to hear they remade Lemon Aid, the old one was definitely too dry.

    I’m gonna try the olive oil thing.

  5. How do you feel about the other nuxe products? I’m looking at their anti-aging products.

    • I have super dry skin so I tried the aroma-vaillance and the other anti-aging line (the green and white tubes) and they just weren’t moisturizing enough for me. Most of my “wrinkles” are actually dry skin so that was a no. but the products didn’t make me break out and weren’t greasy or anything. If your skin isn’t the sahara desert like mine, it could work.

      • The weather here is so dry that I don’t think it will be enough for me. I think I am just going to try to moisturize with almond oil for a while and see what happens. I’ve been using this organic scrub that is also a mask and cetaphil moisturizer. It’s okay so far but not wonderful. I’m also finishing up a tube of oil of olay regenerist eye cream.

        I will let you know what I end up using.

  6. in recent months there’s been a bit of talk about the burgeoning halal make-up industry (some of which is sourced from australia). since the halal make up’s selling points are the absence of animal fats and alcohol and given the purveyors of such products seem to enjoy a steady trade, i am left wondering as to whether the mainstream make-ups might contain these prohibited ingredients.

    these days i never wear make-up (out of choice)but on the rare occasions that i have bought some in the past i have noticed the presence of stearic acid (in the likes of foundation) which i believe is animal derived.

    do you think the halal make-up industry might put a dent in the profits of chanel in the gulf? or are the ladies over there unwilling to change allegiances?

    • Salams Africana,

      Stearic acid can also be found in shea butter and cocoa butter, and can also be synthesised IIRC. Urea is another ingredient which could not be halal but it depends on the source. Most people- and this goes for vegan consumers too- usually call the company in question when they see these items on an ingredient list. I think using mainstream ingredients is fine, but you have to be a savvy consumer. Also, a lot of organic brands use essential oils as preservatives, and those are usually made with alcohol. You really can’t win. But the best thing to do is read makeup labels like you read food.

      I can’t speak for the gulf region per se, but I think makeup users want to use stuff that is reasonably effective: good color pigmentation, staying power, texture…up until recently smaller brands (with smaller R&D, admittedly) couldn’t compete on these fronts. You also have to keep in mind that the type of muslimah likely to wear makeup (myself included so I am not dogging anyone) is either going to be less concerned with whether stuff is halal or not, or still read the fine print anyway because we have been doing that for years.

      I am interested to see how this plays out and wonder if the halal lines will also embrace organic/fair trade practices (some already do). I also wonder how that is going to play out without big budget R&D and how this will affect costs. Companies without a significant R&D budget usually wind up outsourcing both research and production (La Femme supplies for a number of lines IIRC) or have to resort to the use of formulas where are either old patents or not patented, which means their “performance” (at least on the surface) isn’t going to be up to the speed of those from the big companies.

  7. salaams nicole,

    i’m sorry for not replying sooner. thanks for the information regarding the way the cometic industry operates.

    your explanation helps me understand why a vegan foundation i bought once from a health food shop (that’s what we call them in the uk, anyway) was, in spite of it being as pricey as a middle range cosmetics (like bourjois), actually similar in consistency to the cheap cosmetics that, at least when i was at school, used to be bought by teenage girls from local pharmacies…and gave hideous results.

    it’s been quite a while since i looked at any cosmetic displays and so wasn’t aware that fairtrade makeup is now available.

    speaking of ethically sourced ingredients, i thought you might be interested in this article about the gold contained in avon products.
    WARNING: there is a graphic image of a woman whose face has been mutilated in the link.

    “In January 2009, Dominique Soguel published the following article on Women’s eNews which clearly explains the link between mining and rape. Nine months later, the situation is much worse in the Congo.

    Meanwhile, Avon Cosmetics, the company for women by women, still refuse to tell me where they source the gold from that they use in their cosmetics. Avon Cosmetics aren’t the only company who use gold in their cosmetics as this search shows, but for a company that prides itself on it’s Philanthropy towards women it seems more than strange that they have not been able to confirm that they don’t use gold from regions where mining equals mass rape, despite me asking for nine months. ”

    like you, i’m also interested in observing the development of the halal makeup industry.

    wa salam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s