Saturday, December 10th, 2011


Chanel Spring 2012 Makeup: Harmonie de Printemps

From the break of dawn to the descent of twilight, skies reveal an enchanting array of hues with the arrival of Spring. Inspired by this brilliant seasonal change, Peter Philips, Creative Director of Chanel Makeup, infused glowing, sunlit colour into the Spring 2012 Makeup Collection, HARMONIE DE PRINTEMPS. Subtle gradations of rose, coral and peach sculpt the face, giving it a soft radiance, while rich garnets and vivid pinks dress the lips.

Blush Horizon de Chanel / Glowing Blush Harmony ($58.00) (Limited Edition)

In one elegant compact, five pink and peach tones mimic the luminous hues of sunset. This unique powder blush lends itself to multiple effects: blended together, the harmony is ideal for sculpting and accentuating the natural contours of the face. Using just the pink shades creates a fresh, youthful flush, while on their own, the peach tones produce a warm, sun-bronzed glow.

Poudre Universelle Compact / Natural Finish Pressed Powder ($45.00) (Limited Edition)

  • Jasmine Luminous beige

Les 4 Ombres / Quadra Eyeshadow ($57.00)

  • Eclosion Peach, gold, beige, plum

Stylo Yeux Waterproof / Long Lasting Eyeliner ($29.00)

  • Garnet Garnet

Ombre Essentielle / Soft Touch Eyeshadow ($28.50)

  • Rose de Mai Pink
  • Tigerlily Golden orange

Rouge Coco / Hydrating Creme Lip Colour ($32.00)

  • Superstition Golden beige
  • Paradis Pink coral
  • Charme Pink
  • Destinee Plum

Rouge Coco Shine / Hydrating Sheer Lipshine ($32.00)

  • Candeur Pastel pink
  • Flirt Soft coral

Levres Scintillantes / Glossimer ($28.50)

  • Petillant Golden beige
  • Bonbon Soft pink
  • Bagatelle Pink

Le Crayon Levres / Precision Lip Definer ($29.00)

  • Rose Corail Pink coral
  • Bois de Rose Rosewood

Rouge Double Intensite / Ultra Wear Lip Colour ($34.00)

  • Rose Topaz Rosewood (U.S. Exclusive)

Rouge Coco Baume / Hydrating Conditioning Lip Balm ($32.00)

This moisture-rich lip balm combines ultra-conditioning benefits with a sumptuous, high-gloss finish. ROUGE COCO BAUME Hydrating Conditioning Lip Balm boasts an advanced Hydratendre Complex, which hydrates and softens lips, for a healthier and fuller appearance. Its sheer, lustrous texture glides on smoothly, leaving lips beautifully aglow.

Le Vernis / Nail Colour ($25.00)

  • June Pastel apricot (Limited Edition)
  • May Intense pink
  • April Garnet

availability: January 2012

See more photos! Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Aleta, Fragrance Contributor

Aleta is the associate editor of a national history magazine (World War II), and an unapologetic fragrance nerd. Growing up on a farm west of Portland, Oregon, she spent many summer nights attempting to make perfume by soaking flowers in cups of water (if only her mother had let her use the vodka). Her most prized possessions include a bottle of French cologne brought home by an American GI after World War II (L’Ardent Nuit by Cotay), a signed copy of Perfume: The Guide, and a handwritten “enjoy your purchase” note from perfumer Mandy Aftel. Other obsessions include lipstick, Pellegrino, Adirondack chairs, and yoga. You can find her at worldwarII.com.


Scents for the Holidays

My first college holiday season was…brief. November and December went by in a blur of studying, social events (okay dorm parties), and finals. My dad and I had to stop at the grocery store after he picked me up for winter break, and I realized that the campus bubble had utterly shielded me from the season–the music, the decorations, the food. Lesson learned: when you leave the nest, you either get yourself in the holiday spirit or it will pass you by.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to fell merry and bright this time of year is to–you guessed it–surrounding myself with nostalgic, festive fragrances. Bonus: the fragrance notes we often associate with the winter holidays are ones that play nicely with big family meals and intimate social gatherings, times when everyone would rather smell the turkey, fresh-baked gingerbread, or their glass of Riesling rather than someone’s boldfaced eau. Here are some of my favorite fragrances for the season, most of which are available as dry skin-soothing lotions, pick-me-up cleansers, and candles:

Years of making orange pomanders has left me with a serious citrus fixation every December. My favorite is Fresh Hesperides ($32.00) it balances the effervescence of grapefruit peel with a dose of sugar. Aftelier Candide ($45.00) is also gorgeous, tempering its zesty orange notes with a kick of pepper. Pacifica Blood Orange ($22.00) is perfect for purists, plus the brand is widely available and an absolute steal .

Evergreens feature prominently in Western holiday traditions; Yankee Candles fill in for the Douglass firs I grew up with, particularly Christmas Tree. Holiday Bayberry smells like the fresh-from-the-attic decorations did when I was growing up. It’s a hard note to wear on the skin, but Pacifica’s Avalon Juniper ($22.00) is beautiful. The resinous juniper is perfectly balanced with juicy grapefruit, simultaneously warm and fresh. Those who grew up in warmer climates may resonate more closely with Chanel Sycomore ($110.00), it’s a gorgeous balance between sap and smoke–meant for men, I think, but gorgeous on anyone, anytime.

Vanilla and spice abound during winter, and there are too many fragrance iterations to count. Personally, I like something just a touch inedible, like Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleu ($71.00). It has recently been reformulated, but I never smelled its previous iteration, so I am unabashedly smitten with the bottle I purchased this November. If you grew up with anise and almond extract in your holiday cookies, this one’s for you–especially if you went through a rebellious stage involving countless sticks of Nag Champa ($71.00) incense. Many also love Guerlain’s Shalimar ($55.00) and its many vanilla-spice offspring, though it’s not one that grabs me. You also can’t go wrong with Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar ($5.00), a gorgeous vanilla bean tempered with Basmati rice water and cinnamon. Spice lovers: try Pacifica’s clove-laden Madagascar Spice ($22.00).

Sometimes the brightest holiday memories attach themselves to a non-holiday scent. For me, it’s Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb ($100.00). Each year my parents would skip the Macy’s line for Santa and take me to Nordstrom to see Father Christmas. And in my mind, nothing conjures Nordstrom like Flowerbomb.

What scents keep you warm during these darkest months of the year? And for those who grew up in a non-western culture, I’d love to hear about the scents that speak to you during November and December!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

One of the things I am most thankful for is that by becoming a beauty blogger and having the opportunity to try so may different products is that it’s opened up my eyes to how many fantastic brands and formulas there are. Not every brand does everything perfectly, and there are a lot of great formulas that are just varying degrees of great. Picking a favorite really comes down to a less quantifiable factor, I think. It might be the color range, packaging, scent, or the overall feel. These are all lip products I personally recommend from brands’ permanent ranges.

Lip Balms/Treatments

  • Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ($7.00) is nice for those who prefer a thinner balm with no shine. It’s very, very slick and thin on the lips, but it does a good job at moisturizing.
  • Jack Black Lip Therapy Lip Balm ($7.50) is my all-time favorite lip balm, and I have them all over the house–at my desk, purse, pocket, nightstand–and a stock pile of them in reserve. So, so hydrating and comfortable to wear. My favorite flavor is Lemon & Chamomile, with Original as a runner-up.
  • Philosophy Lip Shines ($10.00) are kind of a balm, kind of a lip balm; because they tend to run so sheer and have the thicker feel of a balm, I’m going to go with it as a lip balm! I like that they’re fragranced with Philosophy’s signature scents plus have some shimmer and shine.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50) is a decadent balm that works well but wears away quickly–I like the product, not so much the price tag and how quickly it finishes, though! They do have tinted versions, though, and they’re some of the better lip stains because they’re more hydrating, but they are prone to uneven fading.
  • Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24.00) is my favorite lip scrub, because it holds together well, exfoliates lips, and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Baume Au Couer Lip Balm ($30.00) is tinted and feels like butter on lips; it wears for a few hours before disappearing, but it’s moisturizing the entire time.
  • La Mer The Lip Balm ($45.00) is probably the priciest lip balm I’ve ever used, but it really does work well. It hydrates lips while still wearing well (you won’t have to reapply every hour).

Lipsticks

  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection ($6.99) is really rich in color, glides on easily, and wears for hours. The downside is the scent, so if you’re super sensitive to smells, you might look elsewhere, but these perform well overall.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipsticks ($8.29) is a good go-to for a more affordable lipstick brand, and of course, like other drugstore brands, you can catch it on sale for much less than $8 a pop. I find the creamier shades are the best!
  • MAC Lipsticks ($14.50) straddle that price point that doesn’t quite break the bank, feels a little more high-end than some drugstore brands, and is an all-around good formula. Their range is one of the most extensive that I know of, and with that, does come some inconsistency–not every single shade is as great as the last, but they do have several favorites. Some of these include Angel, Russian Red, Girl About Town, Crosswires, Sweetie, Cosmo, Plumful, and Media–just to scratch the surface.
  • Korres Mango Butter Lipsticks ($18.00) are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and come with a fairly glossy finish and semi-sheer color. Shades like Natural Pink and Natural Purple are really easy to wear.
  • Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors ($23.00) are long-wearing, opaque, and comfortable to wear. For cooler skin tones, try Bare Pink, Cosmic Raspberry, and Mod Pink. For warmer skin tones, try Cosmic Raspberry, Soft Coral, and Sweet Nectar.
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks ($30.00) are creamy, moisturizing, and long-wearing while delivering good color coverage in over forty different shades. Shades like #400, 402, 501, and 506 are really easy to wear on most skin tones.
  • Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipsticks ($30.00) are rich in color and long on wear. For cooler complexions, I think shades like Ballet, Edition, and Fresco would work. For warmer complexions, try Edition, Muse, and Whisper.
  • Dior Rouge Dior Lip Colors ($32.00) is long-wearing and moisturizing with a wide range of shades. For warmer complexions, I recommend shades like Pink Songe, Andalouse, and Red Muse. For cooler complexions, I recommend Pink Caprice, Devilish Pink, and Daisy Plum.
  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipsticks ($35.00) come really close to the Rouge G formula, but they are slightly less creamy, sometimes less opaque, and a smidgen less hydrating. They are really close but there is a noticeable difference on lips. I still really love the formula, though! For cooler complexions, I recommend Samsara, Cherry Blossom, and Champs Elysees. For warmer complexions, I recommend Violette de Mad, Rouge d’Enfer, and Coque d’Or.
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lipsticks ($47.00) is my all-time favorite lipstick formula, because it’s long-wearing, opaque, moisturizing, and the color range is really nuanced. For cooler complexions, I like Galia, Greta, Gabrielle, and Grenade. For warmer complexions, I like Galante, Gala, Gipsy, and Ginger.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00) feels like glossy silk on the lips; it’s super moisturizing and has a glossy shine. It wears well on me, too, despite how creamy it is. The shade range is really wearable and mostly universal, too.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick ($60.00) is a decadent formula that’s rich in color, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and has a formula that helps to plump and fill lip lines giving lips a smoother look. It’s totally over the top, but it’s an excellent formula, so you’re not just paying for brand name/packaging here.

Lipglosses

  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($6.99) is a budget-friendly shimmery gloss that’s mostly sheer but delivers a fair amount of sparkle and dazzle. Like other sheer formulas, the range should work across skin tones.
  • Korres Cherry Oil Lipglosses ($17.00) are hydrating and comfortable tow ear, and about half the range delivers richer color, while others are sheerer (and are described as such). My favorites are #52, #52, and #22.
  • Make Up For Ever Lab Shine Lipglosses ($18.00) is a really wide range of glosses with three different finishes. I really like how Make Up For Ever has expansive color options for most of their products, and the lipgloss range is no exception.
  • Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses ($20.00) are a total must if you or someone you know loves opaque lipglosses–these are really rich in pigment, comfortable wear, long-wearing, and have a beautiful glossy shine. I recommend virtually all of them, but a few of my favorites are Belladonna, Hermetic, and Move.
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses ($23.00) are a new favorite for me; they’re very reminiscent of Chanel Glossimers but more affordable. Sheerer color with lots of dazzling sparkle! Because they’re on the sheerer side, the shade range is fairly universal.
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipglosses ($28.00) are super slick, comfortable to wear, and moisturizing. Some shades are sheer, some are more pigmented. Shades like Siren are beautiful and opaque with a really interesting metallic finish. Fortune is a great shade for everyone because it’s sheer and peachy-pink.
  • Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armanis ($28.00) may not be as long-wearing as the brand claims, but a gloss that wears six hours without drying lips out while delivering good color coverage is rare. I really love this formula, despite the shortfall in wear (relative to their claim). I love shades like #401, 402, 404, and 505.
  • Chanel Glossimers ($28.50) are a classic gloss for someone who loves lots of shimmer and glossiness. These took me awhile to appreciate, but they really do shine and sparkle. These days, most shades are sheer, so they should flatter the full spectrum of skin tones. I really like shades such as Aurore, Coral Love, Futile, Meteore, Spark, and Sundress.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Lip Cremes ($36.00) are extremely creamy, non-sticky, and hydrating. It was one of my first high-end glosses (and probably high-end purchases in general)–who knew that $36 would become “normal” to me one day–and I absolutely love shades like Fraise Creme, Framboise Creme, and Papaye Creme.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Lipglosses ($48.00) wear longer than the average gloss, have a great shimmer and shine, and are moisturizing. May I recommend #2? It’s a total staple for me.

What are your favorite permanent lip products?

Monday, November 21st, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: The Best of Holiday Color

As promised, here is the next installment of our most comprehensive gift guide to-date! This post features my top picks from various holiday color collections that have launched this year.  There are a few more holiday shades I haven’t reviewed or swatched, so there might be a few more of my favorites to come.

Eyes

Cheeks/Face

  • NARS Miss Liberty ($27) gives cheeks a really glistening glow, very apropos for the holidays.
  • Guerlain Parure de Nuit ($67) is the one product I’d recommend above all others for the holidays, and I say that because it’s a product I keep reaching for (to the point that I had to forcibly remove it from my reach).

Lips

  • MAC What Joy! ($15.50) is a berry-red with subtle micro-shimmer and healthy shine with good color coverage.
  • Illamasqua Belladonna ($20) is a fierce magenta pink with opaque color and lots of shine.
  • Bobbi Brown Party Alice ($24) — super pretty pink-coral, perhaps not seasonally appropriate but divine anyway.
  • NARS Joyous Red ($24) is a muted orange-red that’s workable on cool and warm-toned skin.
  • Chanel Triomphal ($32) is a pinky-red with great vibrancy and glossy shine; and Chanel Empire is perfect for those who love a brighter pink with yellow undertones.
  • Dior’s holiday lip colors ($32 each) were my surprise hit for lips this season–they’re so pretty on and wear well.

Nails

  • China Glaze Let It Snow ($3-4 each) is a perfectly festive set of twelve polishes, and all of them are available individually, so you can pick your particular poison.
  • Zoya Gems & Jewels ($8 each) is short and sweet with beautiful shimmers and extra-fun glitters (because they’re horizontal!).
  • Dior Merveille is a festive orange-red with golden shimmer that will work well on warmer skin tones.
Friday, November 18th, 2011

Chanel La Ravissante (32) Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color
Chanel La Ravissante (32) Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color

Chanel La Ravissante (32) Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color

Chanel La Ravissante (32) Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color ($32.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a coral-orange with a soft shine. It’s not matte exactly–it’s more semi-matte–but the shine disappears within the first hour, and you get a much more matte look at that time. It looks a bit like a subtly frosted matte after the shine wears off. Bobbi Brown Sweet Nectar is a bit darker, Chanel Teheran is very similar but a touch pinker and frosted, and Milani Cora Bora Bora is fairly similar but also frosted.

The new Rouge Allure Velvet formula is supposed to yield rich color with a soft velvet matte finish that’s non-drying and glides on. La Ravissante is opaque, and the texture of these feels amazing when you first apply; it’s soft, comfortable, and glides across lips like skates on ice. It also wears for hours and hours–with this particular shade, the color was still quite intact after four hours and a lunch. It continued to linger on like a heavyweight champ for another four hours. The wear on these is between six and eight hours, and while they’re not transfer-proof (did not pass the kiss test at all), the majority of the color hangs around.

There are a lot of things to like about this lipstick, but there is one glaring characteristic that I really dislike–borderline loathe–this is so, so drying. I just feel like it’s sucking the very life out of my lips after an hour or two of wear. Testing this product was painful after six hours, because my lips felt dry, cracked, and beyond chapped. When I hit the eight hour mark when testing La Ravissante, I removed it ASAP and applied half a tube of balm on my lips (not really, but you get the picture!). I’ve been testing out various shades from the new range since my order arrived from Nordstrom about a week and a half ago, and all the shades I’ve tried have had the same drying characteristic.

They don’t claim that it’s hydrating, but they do claim it’s non-drying, and I was fussing with my lips after an hour. I went to lunch with a friend, and she noticed how uncomfortable I seemed to be with my lipstick and asked if I was testing something new (but of course!). Because it’s so drying, the lines on my lips become more and more noticeable with more product welling into them. It’s not just drying after you wear it for six or eight hours, but my lips felt dry and chapped after an hour. I’ve worn hundreds of lipsticks and glosses over the years, and very few products cling and dry out my lips like this. There are many matte formulas and shades I’ve worn over the years and few have been as drying as I found these.

I know a lot of readers seemed to express good experiences with these, too, which had me excited, but I would never reach for one of these lipsticks. I could only test one every couple of days because of the toll they took on my lips. If you don’t mind layering with lip balm, which often defeats the look of a matte finish, the long-wearing color may make it worth it.  Claims (such as being non-drying) are encompassed by the overall product rating, but this product excelled in pigmentation and longevity, which cushioned the impact of how drying it was (how drying it was also impacted the texture score).  I would not recommend this product, based on my experience, but the grade would lead one to believe a less harsh recommendation. If only they felt more like they do when they’re initially applied, because it’s soft, smooth, and comfortable.

The Glossover

P
product

La Ravissante

B-
I would NOT recommend these based on my personal experience. I know a lot of readers seemed to express good experiences with these, too, which had me excited, but I would never reach for one of these lipsticks. I could only test one every couple of days because of the toll they took on my lips. If you don't mind layering with lip balm, which often defeats the look of a matte finish, the long-wearing color may make it worth it.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque
Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque

An Ode to Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque

What would you do if one of your holy grail beauty products was discontinued? (And I’m sure that many of you have had it happen, so what did you actually do?)

About two weeks ago, I tweeted that Chanel Customer Service confirmed, via email, that all but Coromandel were going to be discontinued in 2011. I called their customer service line to get confirmation through that route, just in case, and they had the reverse information–Coromandel was being discontinued but nothing else–but they said they would escalate my question up to corporate. Last Wednesday, I had to tweet confirmation by Chanel corporate that all shades (except Coromandel) were being discontinued in 2011.

Long-time readers know that Chanel Dragon (75) Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is one of few holy grail products for me, and it really is; it’s the red I reach for on every special occasion. It’s my power red. There is no other lip color that garners as many compliments as this shade. So I did what any beauty addict would do: immediately bought back-ups upon back-ups. I haven’t finished my original tube of Dragon, though I suspect I am nearly the end, and had already repurchased a second tube for future use. I bought five more, though I plan to distribute a few of those to my favorite people this Christmas.  It’s still available (at least online) at Nordstrom and Saks.

Realistically, there are numerous other reds I love and enjoy, and while it may not be that on oh-my-goodness-this-is-perfect level, they’re close enough, and I’ll make it through. With luck, Chanel is replacing the RAL line-up with something bigger and better. With even better luck, I’ll discover a dupe or an even more fantastic red over time. Guerlain Garconne is the closest I’ve found so far.

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →