Wednesday, November 16th, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50

This part of the holiday gift guide shares my favorite just-for-the-holidays palettes and kits over $30 but $50 or less–not over-the-top indulgent gifts but we’re getting there. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 guide! :)

Eyes: Long-time readers know I’m a huge fan of Aqua Eyes, and the Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Eyes Collection ($36.00) contains five travel-sized (I’m guessing 0.02 to 0.03 oz.) and one full-size (0.04 oz.) eyeliner; for the price of two full-sized eyeliners, you’re getting six shades to try of a fantastic formula. Urban Decay also has two Eyeliner Sets ($32.00 each) that contain five travel-sized 24/7 Eyeliners; there is also a Shadow Pencil Stash ($34.00). At this price point, you can find some excellent palettes that came out just in time for the holidays, like Urban Decay Mariposa Eyeshadow Palette ($39.00) and Bare Escentuals Ready 8.0 Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00).

Cheeks/Face: Too Faced In Your Dreams Makeup Collection ($39.00) is an eye, cheek, and lip palette that’s great for someone new to makeup; I like it because everything is presented in an easy-to-digest manner, and the colors coordinate with each other, so there is no guessing. Benefit Project Flawless ($32.00) is a cutely packaged set that contains a highlighter (Girl Meets Pearl), mascara, lipgloss (Foxy Lady), and blush (Bella Bamba). If that’s not quite to your taste, you could check out Romancing the Mirror ($39.00), which contains That Gal, Sugarbomb, and BADgal Lash.

Lips: I’ve been really digging Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Gloss Trio ($38.00); they’re fairly sheer, but they had so much dazzle and shine without feeling gritty–I’ve been reaching for these (because I need to do lip swatches for them!) to layer on top of other lipsticks. Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Gloss to Go Set ($32.50) comes in a cute red faux leather zipper cylinder case with six holiday-appropriate glosses, and I like that it’s ready to give (there’s also a lipstick version).

Skin/Body: I love the way Estee Lauder set-up their skincare gift sets this year; they categorize them based on theme, like even skin tone or anti-wrinkle. Clinique has an excellent set for dry skin (Moisture Surge has saved my skin before!) called Total Moisture ($44.00). Consider giving a decadent, luxurious body cream in the form of this Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme Sampler Set ($50.00 for 4×3 oz.).

Fragrance: Elegantly packaged, convenient to use, and full-sized, Tocca Beauty Rollerball Trio ($48.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) contains three different scents (Florence, Cleopatra, and Colette), which can be gifted as a set or easily broken up. Juicy Couture ($35.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) also has a trio of fragrance sprays of their signature scents. Fresh Sugar Obsessions Rollerball Trio ($35.00 for 3×0.34 oz.) contains popular Fresh scents, and if you have a foodie friend, this might be a good one for them. What’s really great about rollerballs is they’re easy to give, and they can be re-gifted, too–if you give your friend a kit, and they dislike one scent, it’s so easy for them to pass along to a friend/family member.

Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Fall 2011: Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition duo from fall’s Modern Mercury collection (but it’s still available!). Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Eyeshadow formula is purported to be long-wearing, crease-resistant, and fade-proof (without a primer). In my experience, they manage to get to eight hours with minor fading but no creasing.

The lightest shade is a white-silver with a soft shimmer-sheen; it’s not too metallic, which is nice to see as many silvers tend to be full-on metallics. Bobbi Brown Iced Blue is cooler-toned. MAC Forgery is brighter. I wish the color payoff was better–it’s a bit sheer and doesn’t apply as smoothly as I’d like. The darker shade is a silvery gray with a shimmer-sheen finish. Inglot #339 is a bit darker but similar in tone. It has a slightly powdery texture, so it does not apply smoothly. It has decent pigmentation but could use more intensity to yield true-to-pan color.

The Glossover

palette

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
The colors coordinate well with each other for a softer smoky eye, but the quality is so-so. It's not too impressive for such a basic combo; you're better off investing in really excellent basic shades like these.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes
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Monday, October 17th, 2011

Estee Lauder Bronze Dunes Pure Color Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Bronze Dunes Pure Color Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Bronze Dunes Pure Color Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Bronze Dunes Pure Color Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00 for 0.27 oz.) is filled with warm browns and golds. The general look and feel of the palette reminded me of Lancome Bronze Amour, though there are some differences.

The first shade is a pale, golden yellow with a soft, frosted finish. It has decent color payoff, but it is a touch sheer. The hue reminded me of Bare Escentuals Aspire, which has a more metallic-like finish as well as Urban Decay Blunt. Directly below, there is a warm white with a hint of yellow and frosted finish. It was also just a bit on the sheerer side, though the color reminded me of MAC Femme-fi (but whiter) and Urban Decay Zephyr (less frosted).

In the middle of the palette resides a warm, dark chocolate brown with subtle bronze micro-shimmer and a satiny sheen. It has nice pigmentation and applies smoothly. It is a great color to own, but it is similar to many other shades, including MAC Carbonized, Bare Escentuals Bronzed Twig, Inglot #422, and NARS Galapagos. To the right, there is a warm, clay brown with orange-red tones. It has a satin-like finish, and the color payoff was good. It’s similar to MAC Lie Low, Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa, and MAC Take Root. Finally, there is a light-medium copper-orange with a golden shimmer-sheen. I wish the pigmentation was higher, though, because it’s rather sheer and really needs to be packed on to deliver true-to-pan color. It’s lighter and less brown compared to MAC Amber Lights.

This is the type of color combination that will work well on warmer skin tones, like those with yellow undertones. None of the shades are too frosty, though all but one have noticeable shimmer/sheen. They coordinate and complement each other well, which you don’t always find in a palette (especially with five shades!). The shades also vary from each other, which makes this a more versatile and usable palette. I wasn’t impressed with the quality, though; some of the shades could have used more pigment, but if you prefer a softer look, you may still find this worth grabbing.

The Glossover

palette

Bronze Dunes

B+
This is the type of color combination that will work well on warmer skin tones, like those with yellow undertones. None of the shades are too frosty, though all but one have noticeable shimmer/sheen.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo
Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Black Chrome Pure Color Eyeshadow Duo ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition offering from the Modern Mercury collection.  The combination is classic, though for many of us, superfluous; it’s a set of dark, smoky hues that would work well to smoke out any look.  I liked how there are two textures presented.

On the left, there is a dark black with a semi-matte finish–just a hint of sheen–that has soft but dry texture. The color payoff is good, without being too chalky, and it doesn’t skip and drag. It’s similar to several other blacks like MAC Carbon and Inglot #391.  It does, however, perform better during application than swatched directly on an arm; the fluffiness of brush bristles seems to enhance some of the drier eyeshadow formulas.

Next to the black eyeshadow, there is a dark gray with multi-colored shimmer–I detected teal, silver, and green mostly. The pigmentation could use some improvement; it’s decent to good, but it’s a little sheer. The texture is soft, so it does apply smoothly overall. It reminded me of Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle. Urban Decay Gunmetal appears similar, too!

The Pure Color Eyeshadow formula is actually designed to be long-wearing without creasing or fading.  When I wore this color combination alone on the eye (without primer!), it performed well overall, but I did see very slight fading at eight hours but no creasing.  It certainly didn’t disappear, though, and I’d say to the average onlooker, they wouldn’t say, “Wow, use a primer!”  I have normal-to-dry eyelids, so for those with oilier lids, you may still want to use a primer underneath these.

The Glossover

palette

Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Quality-wise, this duo is good--if the colors really grab you, or you love how they're housed together, it might be worth picking up. Both shades could be a little more pigmented to provide truer-to-pan color.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, October 8th, 2011


Estee Lauder Holiday Compact Collection 2011

To celebrate the holiday season, Estée Lauder invites you to experience the unique and collectible Good Fortune Metal Compact and Solid Perfume Compact Collection. Each year, Estée Lauder unveils a stunning, limited-edition collection full of extravagant pieces that enhance the holiday gift-giving season with refreshing charm and brings an incomparable joy to existing and future collectors alike.

This season’s collection is an ode to the desires of good fortunes: Love, Prosperity, Luck, Success, Happiness and Peace. Each powder compact is ornamented with semi-precious stones representing their fortune, while the solid perfumes are transformed through use of symbolism and color. From the sophisticated detailing on the Beautiful Luck Elephant solid perfume compact to the eye-catching purple agate on the Success Compact, the exceptional details continue to draw attention and have become synonymous with the luxury of the Estée Lauder compacts. In addition to our in-house creations, we joined forces yet again with celebrated American designer, Jay Strongwater, to create elegant and whimsical designs that everyone can enjoy. Each compact is then handcrafted by a specialized team of artisans schooled in the fine art of costume-jewelry making.

Solid perfume compacts feature Estée Lauder’s Beautiful, Youth-Dew, Sensuous, pleasures and White Linen fragrances. Powder compacts include the universally wearable Lucidity Translucent Pressed Powder. All holiday compacts are limited edition.

All Fortunes ($125.00)

Combining all good fortunes on one compact with complimentary semi-precious stones of Green Malachite, Lapis, Tiger Eye and Rose Quartz.

Love ($65.00)

The hearts signify love and passion with accents of Red Agate on the Love powder compact and the classic Beautiful fragrance in the sleek solid fragrance compact.

Beautiful Love Heart ($95.00)

Carry around your neck a heart that represents romantic love and passion. This striking pendant opens to reveal Beautiful fragrance in long-lasting solid perfume. A tender bouquet of lilies and roses, marigold and orange blossoms…all warmed with a rich, woody base and brightened with a touch of citrus.

Propserity ($75.00)

Catching the light like a prospector’s treasure, a golden compact reflects a future full of prosperity. The multi-faceted cover is intricately textured. The clasp gleams green, set in malachite. Filled and refillable with Lucidity Translucent Pressed Powder (small-size refill).

Youth Dew Gold Coin ($89.00)

A shiny golden coin perfumed compact including the Youth Dew fragrance and a touch of Green Malachite on the powder compact clasp reflect a future of abundant wealth.

Luck ($65.00) (Neiman Marcus Exclusive)

This golden compact featuring shades of citrine crystal represents a lifetime of luck and optimism.

Beautiful Luck Elephant by Jay Strongwater ($295.00) (Neiman Marcus Exclusive)

A limited-edition collectible, this lucky elephant with shimmering stones has its trunk up for a life of good fortune.

Success ($75.00) (Neiman Marcus Exclusive)

Protecting an imminent future of great success is represented by the Purple Agate powder compact.

Sensuous Success ($225.00) (Neiman Marcus Exclusive)

Protecting an imminent future of great success is represented by the lock and key solid perfume that holds a solid formula of the Sensuous fragrance.

Happiness ($65.00) (Saks Exclusive)

The happiness compact is daintily accessorized with a Rose Quartz clasp.

Happiness pleasures by Jay Strongwater ($275.00) (Saks Exclusive)

The Swarovski crystals in the blooming solid perfume by Jay Strongwater, with softly floral pleasures fragrance, exude joviality and bliss.

Peace ($65.00) (Saks Exclusive)

The enchanting blue lapis clasp epitomizes signs of peace and tranquility.

White Linen Peace Branch ($195.00) (Saks Exclusive)

Ssigns of peace and tranquility embodied by the Swarovski encrusted White Linen solid perfume peace branch.

availability: Now @ Nordstrom, Estee Lauder, Saks, Neiman Marcus

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Monday, September 12th, 2011

Estee Lauder @ The Row S/S 2012
Estee Lauder @ The Row S/S 2012

Estee Lauder @ The Row S/S 2012

Beauty Breakdown

  • Face: NEW limited edition Gelée Bronzer tested backstage (launching January 2012), Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, DayWear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme SPF 15, NEW foundation tested backstage (launching March 2012), Lucidity Loose Powder
  • Eye:  NEW dual-ended mascara in black/brown tested backstage (launching March 2012), used with an eyeliner brush for liner in between lashes, used with the mascara wand for lashes, Blondes: Top and bottom lashes- brown; liner- brown, Brunettes: Top lashes- black; bottom lashes and liner- brown, Sumptuous Extreme Bold Volume Mascara in Black and Brown
  • Lip: Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Beige

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