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
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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.

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Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Chanel Triomphal Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss
Chanel Triomphal Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss

Chanel Triomphal Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss

Chanel Triomphal Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss ($32.00 for oz.) is described as a “shimmering red,” and it’s a new–but limited edition–shade for the holidays. It’s a bright, blue-based pink-tinted red with pink and ruby red sparkly flakes. It applies evenly and yields mostly opaque color–there’s a slight translucency to it. MAC Driven by Love is redder, less pink. MAC Wicked Ways is brighter but closer in color.

The Extrait de Gloss formula is supposed to deliver rich color and intense shine with a gel texture that’s comfortable (and not sticky) and looks “luminous [and] full … for hours.” The English description of the name actually calls it out as a “Long Wear Lip Gloss.” I find the formula isn’t sticky at first, but it develops a slight tackiness over the first half hour that continues for the remainder of the time worn. It’s not overly tacky, just barely so. These wear three to four hours on me, which is about average, but nothing long-wear for me–Chanel’s Glossimers last three to four hours, so I would imagine these would have worn longer than that. Triomphal wore four hours well but looked faded by the fifth hour. The texture is smooth, gel-like, and it is comfortable to wear and not drying over time.

The Glossover

LE
product

Triomphal

B+
It's a great holiday red with an underlying pink tint that makes it look less like a really bold, in-your-face red. It's also cooler-toned, so it will compliment cooler skin tones; but the pinkness will enable it to work well on warmer skin tones, too.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, November 1st, 2011


Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour

Elevating matte to a new elegance, this next-generation, non-drying matte lipstick glides on lips with intensely rich colour and a sumptuously soft, velvet matte finish.

Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour ($32.00)

  • La Fascinante (38)
  • La Raffinee (34)
  • La Sensuelle (40)
  • La Ravissante (32)
  • La Caline (36)
  • L’Exuberante (37)
  • La Somptueuse (39)
  • L’Exquise (41)

availability: Now @ Chanel.com

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Chanel Rouge Carat Le Vernis
Chanel Rouge Carat Le Vernis

Chanel Holiday 2011: Rouge Carat Le Vernis

Chanel Rouge Carat Le Vernis ($25.00 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is an intense, luxuriously ruby-shimmered red with blue undertones. The formula is lovely; the consistency is thin without being watery, so the polish flows evenly across the nail surface but still packs a lot of pigment in each coat. I only needed two coats for opaque color with Rouge Carat. I’ve had good luck with Chanel’s formula myself, as I don’t find it chips or bubbles and generally wears a week with minor tip wear.  Though the shade is surely gorgeous, red is such a common polish shade that most brands have half a dozen or more variations on it. You might consider these alternatives: Zoya Lisa, Zoya Carrie Ann, Milani Melt Down, or Duri Bombshell.

The Glossover

LE
product

Rouge Carat

A
The formula was a breeze to work with, and it was opaque in two coats (almost in one!), which made this a nice, fuss-free polish. The hue itself feels like it's been done before, though, so the Chanel price tag might not be justified here.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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