Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Lipstick

Have you tried Dolce & Gabbana’s Caramel?

Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a tanned nude with a subtle golden sheen. It’s semi-opaque–it can be a touch streaky–but it’s opaque in most places.  The streakiness is bothersome, if only because the majority of the range doesn’t suffer from that issue. Like other Dolce & Gabbana lip products, it is heavily rose scented.  I get an average of four hours of wear with Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Cream Lipsticks; they’re not overly moisturizing, but I don’t find them drying.  They just… are.

At first glance, it seems like a shade that would really work for warmer skin tones. After wearing it, though, I’m not so sure. I’m not sure who this would flatter–it made my skin tone look almost green! On me, it’s probably one of the least flattering lip colors I’ve tried in recent memory. I’m actually really curious to see if anyone else has picked this up and found it to work really well (if so, please tell me what your skin tone is!).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I haven’t had a lip color do such weird things to my skin tone before, so I would recommend trying it before buying it.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Lust Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Lust Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Evocative Beauty: Lust

Dolce & Gabbana Lust Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a dark, purpled berry with very fine, barely-there violet micro-shimmer. It has a glossier finish than many of Dolce & Gabbana’s other Classic Cream lipsticks, actually! It almost looks like a lip stain, because it has some sheerness.  I found that this particular shade was more prone to bleeding, and I don’t often find lipsticks to bleed–but the slicker feel of the formula combined with the dark color proved otherwise.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Cream Lipsticks wear an average of four hours on me, but this shade is pigmented and deep enough that I get around five and a half. It is heavily scented with rose, but I mostly smell it in the tube, not so much when worn.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: The color range is very classic–most shades, if not all, are universally flattering and come in hues that are quite wearable.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Evocative Beauty: Amethyst

Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a semi-opaque, dark, reddened burgundy with a glossy finish.  It’s kind of like a cream, but there’s so much shine, describing it as a cream seems inadequate.  It’s very smooth and glides on effortlessly, but this is the kind of texture that can bleed more often than not.  I recommend using either a matching lip liner or a clear lip liner around the outer edge of the lip to help keep the lip color in its place.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Cream Lipsticks wear an average of four hours on me, but this shade is pigmented and deep enough that I get around five and a half.  It is heavily scented with rose, but I mostly smell it in the tube, not so much when worn.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: It’s a nice vampy shade for autumn–it’s bold, dark, but the glossiness keeps it a little lighthearted, too.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Holiday 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Ethereal Beauty Collection for Holiday 2010

Ephemeral and delicate yet daring, the Ethereal Beauty Collection showcases captivatingly sensual Scarlett Johansson lying draped in shimmering black silky sheets. Scarlett, shown with David Ghandy, the ultimate Dolce & Gabbana man, looking down upon her, is a vision with smooth skin like polished alabaster. Scarlett radiates sheer desire and sensuality as she gazes at the viewer with longing and

Celebrated make up artist Pat McGrath collaborates with Dolce & Gabbana to create a mesmerizing look that captures the joyous serenity of the holiday season. A mixture of subtlety and finesse, a play of stellar nudes, neutrals, blushes and pinks culminates in a singular beauty that’s extraordinarily exquisite and discreetly dramatic.

The look lends an air of subversive sensuality and magnetic romance that is seamlessly sophisticated and deeply intimate. A rarefied almost unearthly glow radiates, informed by a play of creamy nudes, and neutrals in slight gradations with equally subtle pinks and translucent blushes to produce a face of transcendent beauty to honor the spirit of a season unlike any other.

The lips are luscious, silky smooth and moist in Rosebud, a new Shine lipstick… almost imperceptively defined in nude lipliner Cashmere and glazed with a whisper of shine in Shimmer, a new lip gloss. Eyes convey a deep mystery, a dark romance in Desert, a new eyeshadow quad of rich browns, emphasized further by black mascara. A hint of delicate Rosebud, the new blush, illuminates and enhances. Nails in Pink add a winsome feminine finish.

“We were into exploring the power of nuance, creating a mystique that, while ephemeral, speaks with authority. I love working with a select palette of neutrals and blushes; it’s such a fantastic challenge to try to create a potent mood and something really glam and sexy,” says Pat McGrath. “It’s quite simple really-an almost neutral lip with a bit of color around the eyes can be so gorgeous-but it’s also daring.”

The holiday collection was used at the Vogue Fashion Fund Show; Desert and Coffee on the eyes and Rosebud on cheeks.  Tan blush was used to sculpt and Dahlia lipstick blotted on lips.

Lipstick ($30.00)

  • Glitz (107) Classic Cream
  • Desert (109) Classic Cream
  • Rosebud (170) Shine
  • Shimmer (52) Shine

Lipgloss ($29.00)

  • Shimmer (55) Ultra Shine
  • Honey (137) Ultra Shine

Lipliner ($30.00)

  • Cashmere (8)
  • Cashmere (9)

Eyeshadow

  • Desert (123) Smooth Eye Colour Quad ($59.00)
  • Desire (105) Smooth Eye Colour Duo ($36.00)
  • Mystery (106) Smooth Eye Colour Duo ($36.00) (Existing)

Eyeliner ($29.00)

  • Shimmer (12)
  • Coffee (2) (Existing)

Blush ($44.00)

  • Rosebud (33)

Bronzer ($47.00)

  • Cashmere (15)

Nail Lacquer ($20.00)

  • Pink (100) (Existing)
  • Nude (210) (Existing)

Availability: Mid-October 2010 at Saks.com and select Saks locations

See more photos! Continue reading →

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Taking a Long, Windy Drive with Ocean Eyeshadow Duo

I really loved the coloring of Dolce & Gabbana’s Ocean Eyeshadow Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.)  LOVED! ON SIGHT!  It’s a mix of lilac-periwinkle and dusty, navy blue.  And so I was greatly disappointed when my first attempt to use it proved as difficult as the Divine Eyeshadow Quad.   Instead, Ocean did this weird thing where it clumped up in spots and went really sheer in others.  I also packed on the color FIVE times before throwing up my makeup brushes in frustration.

AHH, AHH. I FOUND THE KEY. BURIED. LIKE TREASURE!

Oh, yes, I finally found the key to success with these more finicky eyeshadows, but I’m pretty frustrated at how I did find it–which was completely by accident.  I had the compact open by my bathroom sink, and I accidentally splashed water on it.  Since I was about ready to throw in the towel, and there was already a wet spot, I figured let’s try it–let’s dare to use it wet.  TA-DA! VOILA! LIGHTBULB FLASHFLASH!

I don’t typically use powder products wet unless I know it’s designed with that in mind, because some powder products will have a “wet spot” left behind, which just hardens and looks gross.  Mind you, I had previously called the Dolce & Gabbana counter at Saks NY and the artist on the phone said that these could not be used wet.

So I started to hunt around on the ol’ interweb to see if I could find more insight on using these eyeshadows wet, since it worked a treat.  Buried on the Dolce & Gabbana website–but only under the eyeshadow duos–within the “application” tab is a quote from Pat McGrath:  “Achieve multiple looks from a single colour: applied dry, the shadows appear softer and more transparent, but with a wet brush, they become opaque and intense.” This information doesn’t appear on Saks’ website nor under the eyeshadow quad area of Dolce & Gabbana’s website at all.

I’m sad to report that using the eyeshadows wet for the Divine eyeshadow quad I reviewed a few weeks ago didn’t do much for improving the color, but it did make the color apply more evenly and look smoother–so I did go back and amend the review briefly and raised the grade up two notches.

But I think what really killed me was that even though I called to ask, the artist (at least the one working that day) explicitly told me to NOT use these wet or else I would ruin the eyeshadow.  If I had paid for this, I don’t think I would have ever risked it.

The one problem I did encounter by using the duo wet was that it made it more difficult to blend out–you have to work really quickly, because once it dries, it sets and stays as vibrant as it went on initially, but it’s a pain to diffuse after that.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind using your eyeshadows wet, then I think this could be a really good duo–they’re two shades I feel like I don’t see that often.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

Check out the look done dry… and wet!  Plus more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

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.