Greetings from under a pile of desert dust and lipsticks, fellow rogues!
Welcome back to Part 4 of the chronicle of this rogue’s desert adventures! This time it’s the big reveal, the grand enlootening (totally a word. Source: because I said so)! If you’re interested in the previous instalments in this series, I have for you:
Part 1, my travel/desert makeup extravaganza
Part 2, my travel/desert skincare tips
Part 3, my Duty Free makeup exclusives photobomb
OK, ok, I know, I’m being a loot tease. I’ve made you all wait far too long for this, the grand revelation of what a rogue does when she’s exposed to reasonably priced makeup and large Sephoras. However, before I get underway with this, I want to clarify a couple of things. Firstly, I’m not calling this a haul, because I’m embarrassed enough already at the fact that I have just bought more makeup in the space of one week than I have in a good chunk of my entire history of wearing makeup. I know I planned for it, and saved up for it, and drew the line well under my theoretical budget, but rogues of Middle Earth are not usually the ones indulging in such pleasurable frivolity. We leave that to the bards, and the paladin when you’ve gotten a couple of strong meads into him. Secondly, I was almost appallingly lucky while shopping – not only was the stuff half the price normally that it is in Middle Earth, but Dubai is/was in the throes of a massive sale *everywhere*, and I met a lovely fellow antipodean amongst the Sephora SAs who gave me her (generous!) staff discount (critical hit!). Seriously, people. I could not have rolled more natural 20s while using my ‘Take My Money’ encounter power, and I am profoundly grateful.
Lastly, almost all of my Dubai makeup shopping intel was provided by the lovely, beautiful and faultlessly generous Stacey from Expat Make Up Addict. Her blog. Go. Now. Enjoy. ❤ ❤
Right, with the chitchat out of the way, let’s get onto the main battle. What did I shake down the Sephora Skeletons, Mikyajy Minotaurs and Boots Bugbears for after the melee was over? (Note: Swatches are coming, but this is such a photo heavy post I wanted to just start with all the items themselves)
Right, so this is the lot. All the things. Everything I could shake out of the risen dead. I can’t tell if this is a lot by most (beauty blog reading) peoples’ standards, but by golly it looks like half a department store to me. >__< It looks like the floor of our lodgings after we let Sigryn the warrior loose with her savings in The Dwarven Extreme Weaponry Emporium, only with lipsticks and polishes instead of maces and halberds.
Where was I? Oh yes, let’s start with Laura:
Laura Mercier was one of the brands that I was most keen to get my rogueish little mitts on, and I was not disappointed. Honestly, I wanted to buy the whole counter. In duplicate. However, I limited (hah) myself to three ‘items’. The first was the box you can see in the first photo – it’s the Laura’s Secret Volume 6 – Pout Perfecting Lip Trio in Creme Pinks (huff, wheeze) set, which includes a full size lipstick in Antique Pink, a mini lip pencil in Plumberry and a mini Lip Glace in Blush. I decided to go for this option because it allows me to try out several of LM’s lip products at once, and I decided to go for this colour set because it seemed eminently wearable. In any case, the only other set they had was one of warm reds, which isn’t really my best shade. I do really like that the lipstick is full size, and I’m not much of a lip pencil wearer at the best of times, so a mini of that is good for me.
These are purdy. As previously mentioned on Twitter, I blame Sunny for the caviar stick. Wretched adventuress was right about how awesome these are, too. I knew I had to get my hands on African Violet somehow, and although I was tempted by many palettes and sets (African Violet is to LM what Orgasm is to NARS, it seems), in the end I decided to preserve my pennies (er, Emirati fils) and just go for the shadow single. The sales assistant at Galeries Lafayette (in Dubai Mall, wrap yer geography around that one) was incredibly sweet, and tossed in s generous sample of:
I am mildly primer-impaired (in that they all seem to work about the same on me), but I’m interested to try another one, and of course I am all about the samples (which were not much in evidence in Dubai, truth be told – not that I can exactly complain about the deals I did get!).
Moving swiftly onward, we have the results of an unpanned raid on Boots!
Can I just say, this was absolutely impossible to capture the colour of accurately. In real life, it’s a bit less grey/purple, and a bit more brown/taupe. Maddening. In any case, I can probably best describe it as a lavender taupe. The name confuses me a bit every time I see it, as I’m stuck on UD’s Mushroom. Still, this looked to good to miss amongst the (frankly) ruins of the drugstore makeup alcoves. Seriously, it looked like a horde of orc teenagers had just passed through. There was a Bourjois alcove, and I wanted to get me some of those new lipglosses so tantalizingly dangled before us by Melissa and Stacey, but the display had been trashed – the only thing left was one sad looking one in a brownish orange colour that I am certain would not have worked for me. Next time!
Come on, I had to. No true fangirl of Lisa Eldridge (*points to self*) can go past a display of these without picking up something! I got the little travel size, partly because the large one is really quite large (given the size of the kitbag I had brought with me) and I don’t yet technically know if it works for me. But I’m super excited to try it, that’s for sure! Interestingly, although they also have the ‘blue’ range from Bioderma (the sensitive one?), the ‘pink’ range is the only one they have the cleansing water for. Random. Funnily enough, this little Boots chest was the first one I opened in Dubai – the pharmacy was at the entrance of Deira City Centre Mall, the first shopping place I visited in the UAE. Awww.
Next! Back in Dubai Mall, we’re cruising past the Inglot store…
The INGLOT store in Dubai mall is large, clean and incredibly tantalising. You go in, and immediately feel a combination of ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘OMG I am such a wizard with makeup, you guys, look at all the colours I’m gonna use’. The very versatility, scope and exoticism of the selection makes you feel sophisticated and artistic just for walking in, even as you break into a kind of a fever sweat while deciding what to get. So here’s the thing. In this post, you will see many lipsticks. Many of those lipsticks are an inoffensive pink shade. This is because if I’m going to spend a bit of money trying different (and mostly comparatively high-end) brands, then the stuff needs to be something I can wear every day. The soul of a rogue, however, demands something a bit more daring sometimes. If this thing is bold and purple, bonus points are earned. If you’re gonna get purple lipstick anywhere, INGLOT can definitely hook you up. The result? I chose a two pan freedon palette and filled it with lipsticks #95 (a deep lavender) and #99 (a blurple, more purple than it’s showing here, but still with strong blue overtones). Purple glittery rogue heart = satisfied.
With the purple out of the way (and yes, I tried Illamasqua, but to my great distress, it had been completely looted already – no teal lipstick, no purple, no dark blue left :-(. The SAs were lovely, though) we move on to my forays into local makeup, with Mikyajy and Bassam Fattouh!
What you see before you, fellow adventurers, is possibly one of the most exciting parts of my entire loot collection. One thing I really wanted to do in Dubai was find some more local makeup. Sure, I was gonna raid the Sephora for all the brands that don’t exist/are unaffordable in Middle Earth, but I really wanted to see what the Emirati girl on a budget was packing! Mikyajy is a makeup store decorated in candy coloured stripes that stocks several different ‘lines’ of makeup. For example, there’s one called 24K which is the ‘luxury’ end of their stock (although still at an affordable price point in general terms), there are a couple of others that didn’t excite me, and then there was Ana Hilwa. The name means ‘I am pretty’ (essentially) in Arabic, and everything comes packaged in very solid, rather nice acrylic. Basic, but with crystal clarity and it actually has more heft than a Chanel lipstick! They were having a sale: 5 items for AED 49 (~USD 13, NZD 15, ffs…), so I snapped up four lipsticks and a gloss. They also had foundation (guaranteed not my shade, as is to be expected for a non-vampire country), eyeliners (heavily pillaged – Emirati ladies know their eyeliner, dammit), and blushes (meh, I’m a lipstick rogue!) that I could see. I grabbed the colours that I thought might suit me; the items are all named for Arabian cities, and I have: 01 Riyadh, A medium bright pink, 03 Dammam, a deep berry pink, 13 Al-Ahsa, a red pink, 14 Tarut, a warm pink, and 08 Bahah, a hot pink translucent lipgloss with a troll-load of really quite large gold/iridescent glitter *and* fine shimmer. Rockin’ the glitter like it’s 1999, baby!
Progressing up the higher end of local makeup, we make a foray into Bassam Fattouh…
I’d like to take this opportunity to give Bassam (who is a gentleman, a lebanese makeup artist to be specific) full credit for the packaging of his makeup line. It is to local cosmetics what theBalm or perhaps Benefit is to America – lovely artwork, although leaning toward dreamy ’30s arabesque rather than sassy ’40s-’60s. There is the usual assortment of lipsticks, eyeliners, blushes etc and you can find some rather nice looking eyeshadow quads. The only problem I had was that every counter I visited was *deserted*. The BF MUA (OMG? SRS.) always seemed to be ‘on break’ for some reason, even though every other counter in the store (Debenhams) was manned (or womaned), by someone. I managed to coerce a Dior MUA into helping me out (man was she ever reluctant – I don’t think they get the comission if it’s not their brand or something), and escaped with one lipstick – Rosa Antico. Now, there’s something rather nifty about these lipsticks…
…the top of the lipstick cap pops open to reveal a mirror and some lip balm! SO CUTE. I love things like this, seriously. Although I have yet to test the lip balm, and although the mirror is *miniscule*, I still love this concept. But you want to see the actual lipstick right? Here she is:
Even the lipstick tube has pretty, girly patterns on it. Sometimes, amidst the hoards of (admittedly sleek) plain black or gold packaging, you just want a candy pink lipstick tube with butterflies and flowers on it. Well, I do, anyway. Then I can go back to my INGLOT industrial chic ;-).
Speaking of Debenhams:
What you see in this rather shamefully blurry photo is one third of the first true cosmetic impulse purchase of my life. When I was getting my Bassam Fattouh lipstick, there was a large display of Nailstation polishes near the cash register. They were on epic sale (I think AED 25 each?), and although I knew (and, frankly, still know) absolutely nothing about the brand, I grabbed the first three my eyes were drawn to: First Dance, a Mentos purple with turquoise microshimmer, Coeur de Paris, a HOT pink (almost neon, but not quite), and Cocorico, an eggshell blue with very, very faint white pearl. Colours I wouldn’t actually normally buy, but that captured my guilty, impulse-buying little heart. I should mention here that I don’t regret anything except the terrible blurriness of the photos I took. You can see them in the first photo, and you will be able to see the other two colours in the polish photo below, but I will take new, better ones for the actual review post, I promise.
Righty ho, adventurers, we’re pressing ever onward, entering the dark realms of…Sephora… (actually the store is quite brightly lit in the Dubai mall, and open on two sides, but work with me here). First up is some more polish:
Before I get into the Formula X polish, let me just mention that you can see the other two Nailstation ones here – the pink Coeur de Paris and the blue Cocorico. Neither has photographed quite true to colour – I suspect Coeur de Paris is the kind of hot colour that will never photograph quite right, but hopefully next time I will capture the slightly more dreamy, eggshelly quality of Cocorico – it’s looking rather plain here!
Anyway, back to the Sephora stuff: first stand inside the door was the huge, new, brightly coloured Formula X one, and I was drawn to it like a magnet. After all the awesomeness I had seen on Temptalia, I knew at least one would be coming home with me. To my own surprise, the shade in question turned out to be Magma (I *defy* you to say that in your head without it coming out in Dr Evil’s intonation) – I passed over pretty turquoises and hot glittery pinks to settle on a textured, gold shot orange. What can I say? I’ve been lusting after an orange polish for a while, and Chanel Holiday is more expensive and less sparkly ;-).
I felt I really needed to invest in at least one brush while I was in the land of affordable cosmetics, but my natural stinginess in that area led me to opt for a multi-brush (even though I have no idea how good these brushes are, relatively speaking). What they are, however, is affordable, cute and varied. You get an angled liner brush, a snudge brush and a crease brush. I don’t have *super* high hopes for the crease brush (it’s soft but quite skinny compared to things like the MAC 217), but the angled liner and smudge brushes look rather spiffy. You can stack them up in any order you like, so you can hold the whole thing instead of the little individual segment. Full disclosure: I did spend an almost indecent amount of time fondling the beautiful, soft and dense kabuki and blush brushes at Sephora, but just couldn’t pull the trigger for some reason. Next time!
Next up is a Sephora brand eyeshadow single in #50, Cashmere Coat. It’s a matte, cool, taupey brown shade. I can hear you aready: ‘SYL! Where are the shimmering turquoises and vibrant purples?! You got off to such a promising start with African Violet, and now look at you…’. Fear not, friends, I have not abandoned my love for bright, shimmery eyeshadows. In fact, I’m not really interested in this as an eyeshadow at all. I want to try it as a contour! I’m super pale, I’m cool toned, and I don’t have access to Nyx Taupe or Illamasqua Hollow (yep, out of stock). I thought: why not? If it doesn’t work as a contour, my eyeshadow life can only be fortified by a matte taupe basic shade, right?
Staying within the Sephora brand, we have their Full Action Extreme Effect Mascara in (Black) Waterproof flavour. As I have mentioned previously, mascara and I have a ‘meh’ kind of relationship. I do genuinely appreciate its qualities, but I’ve never been precisely wowed by one so it’s not something I invest in, usually (I survive mainly on free samples). However, my mascara (sample) ran out while I was in Sharjah, so I seized on this as an affordable replacement that would be interesting to try. I shall let you know shortly how ‘extreme’ it turns out to be!
Now for the big guns…
I listed the shades in the caption, so all I really have left to say is HNNNGHRGH!
Yes, that is the noise I make when I have luxury lipsticks to try. It is not an elegant noise, so I try to internalise it, but the lovely Sephora SA could see the manic gleam in my eye. It’s honestly unreasonable how excited I get about nice lipsticks. I don’t even want to own every shade of a line, I juat want to bask in the tactile and aesthetic pleasure of a lovely lipstick. Schmancy packaging is also appreciated, so high fives to all four of these companies for buttons, filigree, leather and all manner of embellishment. I would like to state here that I blame Christine for the Givenchy and the Marc Jacobs particularly, and Sunny again for the Lancome. But fret not, ladies, it’s a big balloon of blame filled with love and appreciation for your beautiful, comprehensive and drool-worthy reviews 😉
Going off on tangents again!! Here are the bullets (the lancome is a gloss the same colour as you can see on the front of the packaging – a peachy pink with superfine gold sparkle):
Have We Met? is a peachy pink with fine gold microshimmer (are you noticing a trend here?), whereas YSL Rose in Tension is a deep, plummy pink. I actually went to the YSL counter with a coral or a nude pink in mind, but fell in love with this one after randomly swatching it. I confess, I also wanted to get the purple one (#1..?_, as I was impressed by how purple it actually is, but even in Dubai, even with Sephora staff discount, YSL lipsticks are still pretty darn expensive ;-)) Next time, I will have it – I have a purple lipstick collection to maintain, after all!
GORGEOUS CORALNESS. In all honesty, I’m in two minds about the whole ‘leather’ packaging thing. On the one hand, it’s nice that if you buy an expensive lipstick, you get a little more than black plastic, and the design is very chic. On the other hand, I’ve never felt that lipsticks really needed *leather* jackets, and the very thin layer here dings up something wicked if you’re not careful. But all random niggling aside, I don’t want anything to detract from the GORGEOUS CORALNESS, so… uh yeah. CORALNESS.
Now, on the subject of big players, I made one last purchase at the very end of my trip – in Dubai Al Maktoum airportlet Duty Free, as a matter of fact. I hadn’t intended to buy anything more (despite being under budget, as it were), but when I realised that with Dubai Duty Free prices, these three cost essentially the same as ONE does in Middle Earth, I knew it was finally time for my introduction to…
Yes, that is a set of three full size Guerlain Rouge Automatique lipsticks. I was idling by the tiny Guerlain shelf (it’s a small airport, not the main one), and this set caught my eye. Then the price did, and said eye widened in astonishemnt. Then the eye wandered over the word ‘Nahema’, and the deal was done. I’m forced to send yet another (heart filled, of course) blame balloon to Sunny for making the coral beauty of Nahema famous to me. But where are my manners? The actual lispticks, of course:
There’s not much more to say really. The gorgeousness in the photo pretty much says it all, and this is the end of my epic loot post! Stay tuned for swatches and reviews to come (any opinions on that, by the way? One giant full swatch ‘sneak peek’ post and then individual reviews, or just swatches in the individual review?). If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over in this corner, surrounded by lipsticks, ceaselessly opening and closing the absolutely spiffing Rouge Automatique packaging. Better that bubble wrap, these…also, I’m sure there’s a ‘Rogue Automatique’ joke to be made in the forthcoming review post. Remind me, won’t you?
Did you make it to the end? Congratulations! Yours is truly the fortitude of the seasoned adventurer! So – do you have any of these? What do you think about the loot I ended up with? What would you have splurged (or saved!) on?
Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!
I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided! All images and text on this blog are the property of The Painted Rogue unless otherwise stated. If you purloin anything, all your lipsticks will get sweaty and slimy. If you don’t wear lipsticks, then your undies will. Permanently.