Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Dior Timeless Gold Nail Lacquer
Dior Timeless Gold Nail Lacquer

Dior Holiday: Timeless Gold

Dior Timeless Gold Nail Lacquer ($21.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) is a light, tarnished gold with a glittery-shimmery finish.  It reminded me of China Glaze’s Midnight Kiss, but it’s nowhere near as gold.  It does, however, have a similar finish–it’s almost a foil but not quite, and brush strokes are nearly invisible despite the slight metallic sheen.  The drying time is faster than average, but it does dry to more of a semi-matte finish so you may want to use a shiny top coat for more oomph (swatches are shown without a top coat).

It took two coats to get opaque coverage, and it was actually incredibly easy to apply and to achieve no pesky brush strokes because of Dior’s brush.  This is the first Dior polish I’ve owned that has a wide, tapered brush.  I haven’t seen a brush like this before, and I thought it would be too wide to be practical, but it worked really well for me.  I do think if you have smaller nail beds, though, it may be more difficult (I know I have longer fingers than proportional to my body–thanks piano!).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I love the color, but it’s definitely a personal preference.  The formula is very easy to work with and surprisingly opaque–I thought it would end up being rather sheer, but two coats worked beautifully.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, October 11th, 2010


Lipstick Comparisons: $26 to $34 (Part 1)

Though often lumped into high-end, this is a tier made up of designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL. Most higher-end/designer lipsticks are scented, usually with floral or fruit. Rose seems to be the most prevalent scent found in brands across the board; sometimes it’s subtle (Chanel), while other times it’s heavy (Dolce & Gabbana). I find designer range lipsticks to be non-drying to moisturizing with more opaque formulas overall.  Packaging is often nicer, but it’s not always the case and is, inevitably, very personal.

Burberry Lip Cover ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), universally wearable shade range
  • NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., no out of the box shades, heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: Hard to find in stores
  • MY REC: One characteristic that I think is noteworthy is Burberry Lip Covers are exceptionally well designed with a lot of attention paid to the details, from the gunmetal packaging to the magnetic closure to the etched check pattern on the lipstick itself. The shade range seems very flattering across skin tones with a good variety of pinks, nudes, and reds.

Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Semi-opaque to opaque, moisturizing, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), nice shade range
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., slightly rose-scented
  • CONS: Mostly cream/satin finishes
  • MY REC: I love how pigmented Rouge Allures are, and I find them comfortable wear; they wear for several hours and never leave my lips feeling dry. Sometimes I wish they’d make more (or some) Rouge Allures with shimmery finishes, too; it is a range dominated by satin/creamy finishes.

Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Lightweight, smooth, semi-opaque, many shades available but mostly wearable shades, wears 4 hours on average
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., slight rose-vanilla scent, no out of the box shades
  • CONS: Mostly shimmery/frosty finishes
  • MY REC: This is probably the least moisturizing lipstick by Chanel, though it’s not at all drying, but it won’t heal up dry or cracked lips by any means. Rouge Coco excels in being a very wearable shade range with a lightweight formula that doesn’t quite feel like your average lipstick.

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00 for )

  • PROS: Glossy, creamy, opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), easy to apply
  • NEUTRAL: 0.20 oz., slightly rose-scented
  • CONS: Short shade range, limited finishes
  • MY REC: I almost didn’t include these, as they’re more of a liquid lipstick than the traditional bullet lipsticks that dominate this series. It’s one of my favorite lip formulas of all time, though, because it’s very comfortable to wear.

Dior Dior Addict Lipstick ($26.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, semi-sheer to semi-opaque, wears for an average of 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: Short shade range with mostly pinks/reds
  • MY REC: The lipstick doesn’t feel drying but not overly moisturizing, and it only wears for an average length of time on me (4 hours), so for a higher-end lipstick, I’m not totally sold on it.

Dior Serum de Lipstick ($32.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, glossy, moisturizing, semi-opaque, several shades available (mostly wearable)
  • NEUTRAL: 0.07 oz., scented but it’s quite faint (indeterminable)
  • CONS: Very little for the money, wears off within 1 to 2 hours
  • MY REC: These are comparable to Cle de Peau’s Extra Silky Lipsticks (which retail for $52); they’re not quite as good (particularly when it comes to wear), but they’re still very similar. It’s a moisturizing formula, but given that you get very little in each (just 0.07 oz., a little over half your average lipstick) and it needs frequent reapplication, it’ll add up quickly.

Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours)
  • NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: Mostly cream/satin finishes
  • MY REC: Not as moisturizing as the Shine formula but more pigmented in return. It also wears a little longer on average. The Classic Cream formula has the same heavy rose-scent, though.

Dolce & Gabbana Shine Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, glossy, semi-opaque to opaque shade range with wearable and some “fun” colors, moisturizing, wears 4 hours on average
  • NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: May be difficult to find in-stores
  • MY REC: Other than it being harder to check out in person (and worse yet, Saks doesn’t have a great cosmetic return policy last I checked), I’ve had a lot of success with their Shine Lipsticks. They’re moisturizing and have lots of color pay off. I think the biggest complaint I’ve seen from others who have tried this lipstick is the scent (very strong).

The Lipstick Comparisons series is designed to provide a quick reference summary sheet for some of the many available lipstick formulas. It seems like most brands have at least a couple of formulas, if not half a dozen, and it can be difficult to find the formulas that will work best for your budget, coloring, style, or taste.

This is not necessarily a best of list, and it’s not exhaustive–it is based on actual lipsticks that I’ve tried; they are all, however, decent to excellent lipsticks. (And perhaps, some day, it will be an exhaustive list.) I have summarized my experience based on pros and cons, but also some “neutral” factors that may be pros or cons, depending on your preferences. I will update this series as I try new lipstick formulas.

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Dior Holiday 2010 Collection

Dior Minaudiere Collection for Holiday 2010

“Black is the most elegant and surprising color,” Christian Dior said. Mixed with gold, it brings life to the most outrageous creations. From yellow gold to bronze gold and silver black, the new Christmas trend displays a range of dramatic shades to create a universe where gold becomes light, and black becomes sparkle. Prestige and radiance are the key words of the holiday makeup collection, a grandiose look featuring transcendent eyes, a luminous complexion and shimmering lips.

Dior Minaudiere ($80.00) (Limited Edition)

Paying tribute to the evening purse of the moment, the Dior Minaudiere features couture details like a vintage kiss clasp, a gold plaque engraved with the Dior logo and a black patent leather finish embossed in the iconic Dior houndstooth pattern. Available in two color harmonies: Grey or Pink tones. (Grey Golds is Saks Exclusive, Pink Golds available at all other retailers.)

The Collection (Limited Edition)

  • Five Golds (001) 5-Colour Eyeshadow ($58.00)
  • Endless Shine (529) 5-Colour Iridescent (except at Sephora) ($58.00)
  • Gold Edition Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen ($36.00)
  • Pink Stiletto (234) Ultra Gloss (except at Sephora) ($26.50)
  • Black Lame (992) Ultra Gloss (Sephora exclusive) ($26.50)
  • Czarina Gold (916) Vernis (except at Sephora) ($21.00)
  • Timeless Gold (226) Vernis ($21.00)

Red Cannage Travel Eye Palette ($44.00) (Limited Edition)

This deluxe holiday palette features four versatile eyeshadow shades: gunmetal silver, smoky brown, shimmering taupe and light pink. Availability: Department stores, Nordstrom & Bloomingdale’s

Red Cannage Travel Lip Palette ($44.00) (Limited Edition)

This chic red patent palette makes the perfect holiday beauty accessory. Featuring burgundy and berry lipstick shades and a light pink gloss, lips go easily (and stylishly) from day to night. Availability: Department stores, Nordstrom & Bloomingdale’s

Black Cannage Eye Palette ($44.00) (Limited Edition)

Create smoky, show-stopping eyes with this must-have palette. Featuring shades of midnight blue, gunmetal silver, shimmering taupe and white highlighter in Dior’s silky iridescent eyeshadow formula. Sephora Exclusive

Dior Deluxe Travel Palette ($75.00) (Limited Edition)

Travel in style with this sleek red patent cannage palette, featuring a mini Diorshow Extase Mascara, a mini pink Ultra-Gloss, a medium pressed powder, a blush and six eyeshadows. An inside mirror makes application and touchups easy. Availability: Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Sephora

Dior Mini Brush Set ($60.00) (Limited Edition)

This elegant, couture-designed travel case contains four miniature, must-have brushes for cheeks, eyes, lips and foundation.

Availability: October 2010; spotted most things up at Nordstrom!

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Dior Intimate Bronze Ultra Gloss
Dior Intimate Bronze Ultra Gloss

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive:  Dior Ultra Gloss

Dior Intimate Bronze (522) Ultra Gloss ($26.50 for 0.21 fl. oz.) is a semi-sheer shade of bronzed nude with gold and copper micro-shimmer.   I’ve reviewed several other Ultra Glosses in the past, and Intimate Bronze has the same non-sticky, moisturizing formula.  It’s very comfortable to wear, even though it slips away within an hour or two and leaves behind a hint of shimmer as it wears away.  I like this particular shade because you can easily wear it alone, but you can also use it to add a bit of sunkissed bronze to your favorite lipstick.  It also works well for the summer and fall season!

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If love sheer, non-sticky lipgloss, Dior Ultra Gloss is exactly that. And if you don’t mind reapplying every two hours or so, I think you’d really like these.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Dior Tailored Mauve Ultra Gloss

Lips Fit for the Sugarplum Fairy

Dior Tailored Mauve (692) Ultra Gloss ($26.50 for 0.21 oz.) is a semi-sheer plum-tinged pink with white and pink microshimmer. It gives my lips a nice pink tinge, but it also looks a little plummy but not mauve or deep plum at all–very wearable and still in season for fall. It also has enough color to be worn alone or layered over one of fall’s vampier lipsticks.

I like the Ultra Gloss for its moisturizing, non-sticky formula and the lovely way the shimmer reflects, but I do wish it were more long-wearing than just under two hours. The formula is designed to be sheer, so don’t go in expecting rich, opaque color–some of the darker shades are, inevitably, more pigmented than the lighter shades, but I’ve found that the majority shades are semi-sheer but not indistinguishable from each other–which is nice.

I’ve done numerous reviews on Dior’s Ultra Gloss, should you want to explore other shades!

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If love sheer, non-sticky lipgloss, Dior Ultra Gloss is exactly that. And if you don’t mind reapplying every two hours or so, I think you’d really like these.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Dior Ready-to-Wear Palette

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives: Dior Ready-to-Wear Palette

Dior Ready-to-Wear Palette ($54.00) is just one of Nordstrom’s many Beauty Exclusives for their Anniversary Sale (which officially kicks off on the 16th–so close yet so far!). It looks like it’s sold out online, but you may be able to check your local Nordstrom to see if they still have any available for pre-order/sale. This palette contains a blush, bronzer, four eyeshadows, and two lip glosses along with three miniature brushes.

I could really get down with the palette’s theme if they just didn’t put those lip glosses in there–you’re going to experience some cross-contamination of the powder products into your lip glosses. It’s a little annoying and a bit gross. I’m also not entirely sure just how value-packed this palette is, but it seems to be–at the very least–what I’d expect to pay for a Dior palette such as this one. (Mine doesn’t have a label nor a box, so I don’t have specifics on sizes for each interior product.)

The blush is a dirty pink-red that’s rather on the sheer side, and the bronzer is a soft, sheer medium bronze-tan with subtle sheen. The eyeshadows include a frosted warm white, peachy-pink (think NARS Orgasm), shimmering spun gold, and cool-toned subtle bronze. These aren’t Dior’s best eyeshadows–they’re a little on the sheer side and the texture isn’t nearly as creamy as their quints typically are. The two lipglosses are a dirty caramel with multicolored shimmer and a sheer beige champagne.

You can definitely build some looks with this palette, though everything is a smidgen on the warm side (I guess that compensates for their rather cool-toned plummy palette for fall, eh?).  I think everything pairs well together, and it’s a nice color palette that’ll work for the summer, too.   However, I feel the quality isn’t as good as Dior products usually are–just feels a little below.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: For warmer skin tones, this may make a great travel palette–if you don’t mind shades on the sheerer side. Overall, though, it doesn’t meet the expectations I have based on my past experience with Dior.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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