Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Evocative Collection
Dolce & Gabbana Orchid (115) Shine Lipstick

A Deep Fuchsia Lip for Fall

Dolce & Gabbana Orchid (115) Shine Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is an paque, deep fuchsia pink with a high glossy shine. It’s bright without being neon, but still a very rich, noticeable color when worn. It doesn’t seem to pull very blue, as many fuchsias do, but it still brightens teeth, giving the illusion of a whiter smile. The consistency is great: creamy without being heavy or overly slippery, while the color is intense in one or one and a half layers of product. I like the rose-scent of Dolce & Gabbana’s lipsticks, but if you’re more sensitive to scent, you might want to sniff before buying.

MAC’s Rebel Lipstick was the closest shade I could find to this particular color, but it pulls a lot redder and a couple of hues darker, while Orchid is distinctly pink (compare the full face photos–the difference is so dramatic!).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Rich color, moisturizing, and flattering on cool and warm skin tones — if you’re in the mood for a deep fuchsia, it’s a good choice!

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.) looks like a beautiful, elegant mix of feminine colors that seem neutral–not too cool, not too warm.  I’ve always liked Dolce & Gabbana’s eyeshadows in the past (like Dazzling, Gold, Laguna), and I really haven’t had trouble with application of them.

In addition to having trouble with this palette, I also found similar issues with Ocean eyeshadow duo (also from fall, to be reviewed separately).  I thought perhaps it was due to my usage of NARS’ Smudgeproof as a base, so I tried Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, and I experienced the exact same issues:  sheer, faded colors that looked lovely at first but seemed to fade away as quickly as I applied them; slight muddying of color when blended.  It’s like there was nothing to bind the shadow to my lid, despite the eyeshadow base.

The best solution I was able to come up with was to use a shimmery, white gold cream shadow base (Shiseido Lemon Sugar).  Cream bases can sometimes be more adhesive, which can help softer or more difficult shadows stay on better, and shimmery bases always seem to emphasize colors in my experience.   It’s better–decent to just below good–but it’s not fabulous.

Divine consists of a barely-there beige with a subtle cool tone; medium mauve-tinged beige; frosted cotton candy pink; and darkened blue-toned purple with a semi-matte finish.  After using the quad in three look attempts, the lightest shade was my favorite, because it worked really well as a highlighter on my skin tone.  Though the pink shade swatches the best, it is the worst performer of the bunch, because despite its brightness in the swatch, it looks faded and flat on the lid.  The other three shades are more on the matte/satin side, so they already have a softer look and don’t fall flat when used.

I’m also mildly amused that the Eyeshadow Duos contain 0.17 oz. of product for $36, while the quads hold 0.16 oz. and go for $59.  This quad was a total miss for me, and I really wanted to love it.  It’s stunning when you first open the compact, but it’s such a let-down in practice.  Nothing will get a product onto my skip list faster than requiring me to give it three tries just to yield decent results.  As they say, three strikes and you’re out!

I mentioned it previously, but the nude shades worked just fine; they’re soft, smooth, and apply the same.  I don’t think they’re going to work well on anyone that’s medium-dark to dark in skin tone–they’re just going to be way too light and look chalky rather than subtle.  These shades would work well on light to medium skin tones for a contoured nude eye.  So in a sense, half the palette is… palatable (ha, ha).  I already spoke on the pink shade, and the purplish shade is so-so; it applies smoothly, but it seems to go sheer and fade pretty quickly.

Edited 10/01: Despite calling the Saks’ Dolce & Gabbana counter and being told not to use these eyeshadows wet or else I would ruin them, I did use them wet–it did solve a lot of smoothness/evenness of the eyeshadows on the lid, though the colors were still a bit faded and flat.  I changed the product grade from 20 to 23 as a result, which raised the overall grade from a C- to a C+.  A new issue, as a result of using them wet, was a bit of difficulty in blending out the darker shade.

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  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’d rather get two lipsticks for the price of one eyeshadow quad. (I have reviewed many of Dolce & Gabbana’s lipsticks with happy results!)

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Test-driving Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall Collection:  Attempt #1

Don’t let that preview image fool you, this look did not make it past my front door.  I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, why bother showing us?” Because inevitably, I’ll be reviewing the products I used in this look, and it’s proof positive of my experience.  Loved the lips, but the eyeshadows just weren’t working.  They didn’t seem sheer, and they felt soft and smooth, but I couldn’t get them to stick for the life of me.  I packed on three or four layers in a futile attempt to get the colors to look true-to-the-pan.  A tackier base (like a creamy eyeshadow) helps, but you’ll need to get creative to get these to work.

I will also admit fully to giving up at a certain point and not even bothering to fully blend it out–everything just kept blending away into a faded, slightly muddied mess.  But you know what’s funny?  In reality, few people would really notice anything was amiss, especially since your eyes remain open for longer intervals than closed.

This my process when I review products, even product types I may have tried before, even from brands I enjoy.  I may not always share the process (I often wear a mash up of all sorts of products in disarray, so it’s not exactly pretty, LOL!), but I had originally aimed to create and share a look around the collection in addition to testing wear and application.  It didn’t work out as a look, but perhaps sharing the process will also help (and help you understand my review, which will follow shortly).

What I used…

  • Eyes: NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base (neutral eyeshadow base), Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad (soft nude, medium beige, medium pink, dark purple), Dolce & Gabbana #11 Eyeliner (silvery gray), Bare Escentuals Buxom Mascara
  • Face: MAC Pro Longwear Foundation (NC30), Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder (translucent)
  • Cheeks: Korres #15 Natural Blush (pink-nude)
  • Lips: Dolce & Gabbana Orchid Lipstick (fuchsia-purple), Dolce & Gabbana Vibrant Lipgloss (fuchsia)
  • Brushes: 249 (flat, firm brush), 239 (fluffy shadow brush), 226 (fluffy crease brush), 219 (pointed crease brush), 116 (dense blush brush)

For eyes, start by applying Smudgeproof as your eyeshadow base all over the eye area with the 249. Using the 239, apply the pink on the inner half of the lid and pull upwards along the inner crease. Lightly blend the medium beige eyeshadow on the outer half of the lid with the 239. Next, apply the dark purple eyeshadow into the crease with the 226, lightly blending onto the outer lid. Blend the nude eyeshadow with the crease shade and highlight the brow bone. Bring everything together by applying #11 eyeliner on the lower lash line. Finish by sweeping lashes with Buxom mascara.

For cheeks, apply #15 Natural blush on the apples of the cheeks and sweep upwards towards the temple with the 116.

For lips, apply Orchid lipstick first, and then layer Vibrant lipgloss for a complementing lip.

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection Nail Lacquer

All About Nudes in Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicilian Lace Collection

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection (220) Intense Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a nearly neutral caramel nude with a cream finish.  It’s new for fall and part of the brand’s Sicilian Lace Collection, which certainly is all about barely there and nude shades.  This is a very subtle color, and it’s not a trend or shade for everyone.   I found two coats was plenty to get an opaque look, as the formula was very pigmented and on the thicker side.

I found the applicator a bit bothersome, as the brush itself is larger and thicker than average; it allows quite a bit of the lacquer to absorb into the brush, so it’s easy to overdo it if you’re not especially careful.  If you have very narrow nail beds, you may also find the brush too wide to use with ease.  The lacquer wore just fine with Zoya’s Color Lock System with tip wear but no chips after a week.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: At $20 a pop, this might not be the shade to splurge on if you’re not quite sure how you feel about the nude on nude trend.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2010 Collection

Dolce & Gabbana Evocative Beauty for Fall 2010

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana present their visionary colour cosmetic collection with signature elan. An unconventional palette inspired by colour straight from the runway is re-interpreted with an intrepid eye, and acute aesthetic. The iconic design duo pay homage to a monumental past… celebrate a glorious present… and prepare for a prescient future.

Introducing the Evocative Beauty Collection for Fall 2010: a collection that renders the essence of Dolce & Gabbana with bold attitude, passion and precision. Contrast reigns supreme: the look is seriously seductive, inspired by the rogue spirit of today’s Sicily and saluting the sartorial spirit of its proud past. Dolce & Gabbana refine and redefine their signature sensibility: daring duality, dynamic contrast and sly sensuality. Created for the Dolce & Gabbana woman, a woman who challenges conventions, relishes fantasy, expects luxury… and radiates a profound femininity.

Lipstick ($30.00)

  • Cosmopolitan (237) (Cream) (New)
  • Amethyst (165) (Cream) (New)
  • Lust (167) (Cream) (New)
  • Orchid (115) (Shine) (New)

Lipgloss ($29.00)

  • Amethyst (155) (New)
  • Vibrant (143) (New)

Smooth Eye Colour Quad ($59.00)

  • Divine (147) (New)

Smooth Eye Colour Duo ($36.00)

  • Evocative (95) (New)
  • Ocean (180) (New)

Crayon Intense (Eyeliner) ($29.00)

  • Chocolate (10) (New)
  • Onyx (11) (New)

Luminous Cheek Colour ($44.00)

  • Tan

Intense Nail Lacquer ($20.00)

  • Cosmopolitan (108) (New)
  • Dahlia

Availability: mid-August 2010 at select Saks Fifth Avenue locations.

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Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss
Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss: Charm, Candy

Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss: Charm & Candy

Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss ($29.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a slightly tacky, mostly glossy, lipgloss. These have a shine that’s glossier than your average lipgloss, so lips look very lush and juicy. I’ve tried a few different shades of Dolce & Gabbana’s lipglosses, and they seem to be on the sheerer side, with nothing being completely opaque. I like that they’re moisturizing, and they fade really well when they wear away. I only get about two to three hours of wear, which is a little below average for me. These glosses are rose-scented but don’t seem to have any taste.

  • Charm is a sheer medium pink with fuchsia and ruby sparkle.
  • Candy is a semi-sheer milky medium pink with no shimmer just a glossy shine.

With just 0.13 oz. in a tube (compared to 0.20 oz. for other high-end brands like Chanel, Guerlain, and YSL), these are pricey.  Overall, they’re nice glosses, but it’s not quite the holy grail.  For the price tag, I’d probably opt for Chanel or Guerlain glosses instead–or perhaps Dior’s Ultra Gloss.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: These are definitely a splurge item.  If you’re able to check out the line in person and you find a shade that really works for you, I think it’s worth getting.  But if you’re just shopping around for a new gloss, there are a few others I’d consider before these.

AVAILABILITY: Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss

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