Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

One of the things I am most thankful for is that by becoming a beauty blogger and having the opportunity to try so may different products is that it’s opened up my eyes to how many fantastic brands and formulas there are. Not every brand does everything perfectly, and there are a lot of great formulas that are just varying degrees of great. Picking a favorite really comes down to a less quantifiable factor, I think. It might be the color range, packaging, scent, or the overall feel. These are all lip products I personally recommend from brands’ permanent ranges.

Lip Balms/Treatments

  • Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ($7.00) is nice for those who prefer a thinner balm with no shine. It’s very, very slick and thin on the lips, but it does a good job at moisturizing.
  • Jack Black Lip Therapy Lip Balm ($7.50) is my all-time favorite lip balm, and I have them all over the house–at my desk, purse, pocket, nightstand–and a stock pile of them in reserve. So, so hydrating and comfortable to wear. My favorite flavor is Lemon & Chamomile, with Original as a runner-up.
  • Philosophy Lip Shines ($10.00) are kind of a balm, kind of a lip balm; because they tend to run so sheer and have the thicker feel of a balm, I’m going to go with it as a lip balm! I like that they’re fragranced with Philosophy’s signature scents plus have some shimmer and shine.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50) is a decadent balm that works well but wears away quickly–I like the product, not so much the price tag and how quickly it finishes, though! They do have tinted versions, though, and they’re some of the better lip stains because they’re more hydrating, but they are prone to uneven fading.
  • Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24.00) is my favorite lip scrub, because it holds together well, exfoliates lips, and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Baume Au Couer Lip Balm ($30.00) is tinted and feels like butter on lips; it wears for a few hours before disappearing, but it’s moisturizing the entire time.
  • La Mer The Lip Balm ($45.00) is probably the priciest lip balm I’ve ever used, but it really does work well. It hydrates lips while still wearing well (you won’t have to reapply every hour).

Lipsticks

  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection ($6.99) is really rich in color, glides on easily, and wears for hours. The downside is the scent, so if you’re super sensitive to smells, you might look elsewhere, but these perform well overall.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipsticks ($8.29) is a good go-to for a more affordable lipstick brand, and of course, like other drugstore brands, you can catch it on sale for much less than $8 a pop. I find the creamier shades are the best!
  • MAC Lipsticks ($14.50) straddle that price point that doesn’t quite break the bank, feels a little more high-end than some drugstore brands, and is an all-around good formula. Their range is one of the most extensive that I know of, and with that, does come some inconsistency–not every single shade is as great as the last, but they do have several favorites. Some of these include Angel, Russian Red, Girl About Town, Crosswires, Sweetie, Cosmo, Plumful, and Media–just to scratch the surface.
  • Korres Mango Butter Lipsticks ($18.00) are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and come with a fairly glossy finish and semi-sheer color. Shades like Natural Pink and Natural Purple are really easy to wear.
  • Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors ($23.00) are long-wearing, opaque, and comfortable to wear. For cooler skin tones, try Bare Pink, Cosmic Raspberry, and Mod Pink. For warmer skin tones, try Cosmic Raspberry, Soft Coral, and Sweet Nectar.
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks ($30.00) are creamy, moisturizing, and long-wearing while delivering good color coverage in over forty different shades. Shades like #400, 402, 501, and 506 are really easy to wear on most skin tones.
  • Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipsticks ($30.00) are rich in color and long on wear. For cooler complexions, I think shades like Ballet, Edition, and Fresco would work. For warmer complexions, try Edition, Muse, and Whisper.
  • Dior Rouge Dior Lip Colors ($32.00) is long-wearing and moisturizing with a wide range of shades. For warmer complexions, I recommend shades like Pink Songe, Andalouse, and Red Muse. For cooler complexions, I recommend Pink Caprice, Devilish Pink, and Daisy Plum.
  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipsticks ($35.00) come really close to the Rouge G formula, but they are slightly less creamy, sometimes less opaque, and a smidgen less hydrating. They are really close but there is a noticeable difference on lips. I still really love the formula, though! For cooler complexions, I recommend Samsara, Cherry Blossom, and Champs Elysees. For warmer complexions, I recommend Violette de Mad, Rouge d’Enfer, and Coque d’Or.
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lipsticks ($47.00) is my all-time favorite lipstick formula, because it’s long-wearing, opaque, moisturizing, and the color range is really nuanced. For cooler complexions, I like Galia, Greta, Gabrielle, and Grenade. For warmer complexions, I like Galante, Gala, Gipsy, and Ginger.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00) feels like glossy silk on the lips; it’s super moisturizing and has a glossy shine. It wears well on me, too, despite how creamy it is. The shade range is really wearable and mostly universal, too.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick ($60.00) is a decadent formula that’s rich in color, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and has a formula that helps to plump and fill lip lines giving lips a smoother look. It’s totally over the top, but it’s an excellent formula, so you’re not just paying for brand name/packaging here.

Lipglosses

  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($6.99) is a budget-friendly shimmery gloss that’s mostly sheer but delivers a fair amount of sparkle and dazzle. Like other sheer formulas, the range should work across skin tones.
  • Korres Cherry Oil Lipglosses ($17.00) are hydrating and comfortable tow ear, and about half the range delivers richer color, while others are sheerer (and are described as such). My favorites are #52, #52, and #22.
  • Make Up For Ever Lab Shine Lipglosses ($18.00) is a really wide range of glosses with three different finishes. I really like how Make Up For Ever has expansive color options for most of their products, and the lipgloss range is no exception.
  • Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses ($20.00) are a total must if you or someone you know loves opaque lipglosses–these are really rich in pigment, comfortable wear, long-wearing, and have a beautiful glossy shine. I recommend virtually all of them, but a few of my favorites are Belladonna, Hermetic, and Move.
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses ($23.00) are a new favorite for me; they’re very reminiscent of Chanel Glossimers but more affordable. Sheerer color with lots of dazzling sparkle! Because they’re on the sheerer side, the shade range is fairly universal.
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipglosses ($28.00) are super slick, comfortable to wear, and moisturizing. Some shades are sheer, some are more pigmented. Shades like Siren are beautiful and opaque with a really interesting metallic finish. Fortune is a great shade for everyone because it’s sheer and peachy-pink.
  • Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armanis ($28.00) may not be as long-wearing as the brand claims, but a gloss that wears six hours without drying lips out while delivering good color coverage is rare. I really love this formula, despite the shortfall in wear (relative to their claim). I love shades like #401, 402, 404, and 505.
  • Chanel Glossimers ($28.50) are a classic gloss for someone who loves lots of shimmer and glossiness. These took me awhile to appreciate, but they really do shine and sparkle. These days, most shades are sheer, so they should flatter the full spectrum of skin tones. I really like shades such as Aurore, Coral Love, Futile, Meteore, Spark, and Sundress.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Lip Cremes ($36.00) are extremely creamy, non-sticky, and hydrating. It was one of my first high-end glosses (and probably high-end purchases in general)–who knew that $36 would become “normal” to me one day–and I absolutely love shades like Fraise Creme, Framboise Creme, and Papaye Creme.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Lipglosses ($48.00) wear longer than the average gloss, have a great shimmer and shine, and are moisturizing. May I recommend #2? It’s a total staple for me.

What are your favorite permanent lip products?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

The One that Got Away: Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

With Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow (€36.50 for 0.14 oz.) in my hot hands, my collection of Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows is now complete. Major thanks to Amira for offering to ship me one from Sephora France. FRANCE. If you haven’t bought anything in Euros lately, let me say I just shelled out $64 for a product that costs $32 here in the states. Talk about you snooze, you lose! This shade came out last holiday season, which was before I discovered the awesomeness in a pot that is Eyes to Kill Intense. I took one look at photos online, and I knew I had to have it. It’s ANTIQUE GOLD. It’s so me!

It looks more like gold in the pot, sprinkled over black, but the black gives it this beautiful antique gold hue, and when it’s used dry, it almost has a slight green tint. It’s super, super sparkly. I spent all day yesterday continually admiring it over and over again, because it really dazzles. Kind of like Chanel Glossimer or MAC Dazzleglass… but on eyes. The best part about this is there’s no residual fall out during the day like more glittery products often are, because this doesn’t feel like a glitter (it’s very soft and smooth) but has that look. It’s pretty opaque when applied dry, but when it’s applied damp, it takes on a much more metallic characteristic with a deeper color.

Out of all these gold eyeshadows, the closest one is actually Giorgio Armani #6, which is darker and much warmer (they’re not dupes). Urban Decay Maui Wowie is much lighter. Bare Escentuals Spectacular is warmer, more olive green.  I think it actually would compare well with MAC Rye, which I have three or four of, because it was so my shade when it came out (it was limited edition, of course).

I’ve reviewed this formula several times (sixteen, to be exact!), and I’m continually impressed by its claims. I’ve worn it up to twenty-four hours with no fading, fall out, or creasing–and that is without a base. Yes, really, twenty-four hours. I had to do it eventually, you know, test their really ridiculous twenty-four hour claim even though I was so, so loathe to wear makeup to bed. I felt like I was going against all that was good in beauty.

What lengths (or prices) have you gone to for that one product you just had to have? Share your stories in the comments! :)

The Glossover

LE
product

#14

A+
If you can get your hands on it, #14 was definitely worth the money, but hopefully this helps some of you who still have access to this particular shade! And if I'm really lucky, Giorgio Armani will repromote it someday. The quality of the Eyes to Kill Intense line is phenomenal, and c'mon, twenty-four hour wear? That is bananas!.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Monday, November 21st, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Eyes

I’m going to do my best to crank out the last few gift guides in the next day, because I know a lot of sales are coming up for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and I don’t want you to miss out! These are all products I personally recommend that are part of the permanent range. Products are listed in order of ascending price!

Eyeliners

  • Milani Liquif’Eye Eyeliners ($5.49) is a standout formula with a wallet-friendly price tag–if they had a bigger range, they’d be even better. I love their Black and Aqua shades.
  • MAC Fluidlines ($15) is a long-time favorite, because it’s creamy enough for smooth, crisp application but sets and wears well. My favorite is Blacktrack.
  • Tarina Tarantino Dream Hyperliners ($15) are a newly-discovered favorite with a fantastic color range, rich color, and long-wear. My favorite shades have been Sparkling Ammunition and Puppeteer.
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liners ($18) also has an amazing range of shades as well as finishes, and this is an eyeliner that stays on well throughout the day. I regularly reach for shades like #4L, 5L, 12L, and 20L.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencils ($18) are a total go-to for me! They have a full color range available, and they’re soft and glide on easily. Some of my favorites are Bourbon Covet, Graffiti, Mildew, Rockstar, Stash, and Underground.
  • Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Eyeliners ($20) are super soft and pigmented, but they do run out of quick–but their color range is so rich, it’s hard to say no. I love Moray, Peacock, and Stingray.
  • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliners ($21) is a rich, long-wearing gel eyeliner that’s smooth and creamy but still wears all day. Check out shades like Black Mauve Shimmer Ink and Cobalt Ink!
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners ($23) is my absolute favorite for liquid liner, because the color range is wide and the formula itself stays on all day. I recommend shades like #3, 4, 9, 10, and 14. If you like lots and lots of sparkle, consider Stila Sparkle Liquid Eyeliners ($22) which have a very similar formula but their shades have more shimmer.

Eyeshadows

  • Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow ($1.99 to $4.99) are a real steal with a lot of variations and options available, and a lot of the shades are of excellent quality.
  • Inglot Eyeshadows ($5) won’t break the bank but will deliver intense color payoff–they’re most well-known for their mattes and Double Sparkles.
  • Sugarpill Chromalusts ($12) are finely milled with lots of dimension. My favorites are Stella, Absinthe, and Goldilux! I’d also recommend checking out their eyeshadows if you’re shopping for someone who loves bright colors (they’re also $12 and top notch).
  • theBalm Eyeshadows ($16) are richly pigmented, silky smooth, and wear really well. Their individual singles are great, but they also have several palettes that work well, too. My favorite singles are All About Alex, Jealous Jordana, and Risque Renee.
  • Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19) are some of my favorite cream eyeshadows for quick all-over washes or as an eyeshadow base; the range is generally more neutral/subdued so it would be great for busy folks who don’t have a lot of time to spend on their makeup every morning. I love shades like Birthday Suit and Skinny Jeans.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils ($20) is a chubby pencil that can be used as an eyeliner or more like a cream eyeshadow (or even an eyeshadow base). They wear really well and deliver pretty good color. I like shades Clinic, Lit, and Midnight Cowboy.
  • Bare Escentuals Ready Eyeshadows ($20 for duo, $30 for quad) caught me off guard, because I really didn’t think they’d be out of this world, but they’re really, really good. Some of my favorite duos are The Scenic Route and The Escape, and some of my favorite quads are The Elements and The Truth.
  • MAC Pigments ($20) are still one of my favorite products for really revving up a look. Some of the permanent shades I love are Pink Opal, Melon, and Teal.
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams ($22) come in neutrals as well as bright pops of color, and they’re a cream product that really locks down once it sets. I love the Aqua Creams best for eyes. I totally dig shades like #2, #5, #13, #15.
  • Illamasqua Pure Pigment ($24) may be pricey and they don’t come with a whole lot of product, for most consumers, it’ll take years to get through. The reason I like these is I feel like the range has a lot of complex, unique shades.
  • Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eyeshadow ($30) is a pricey but absolutely luxurious eyeshadow formula that’s built for layering. I love shades like Chameleon and Jade.
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense ($32) are so intense and have this interesting formula that wears well all day long and comes in some fun shades. I love #1, 2, 3, and 6 a lot!
  • Tarina Tarantino Jewel Eyeshadow Palettes ($32) are good bang for your buck with top notch quality–love Dreamy the most.
  • Hourglass Visionaire Eyeshadow ($38) is my favorite eyeshadow formula, and I really wish they’d come out with more shades, but my favorites are Gypsy, Prism, and Lagoon.
  • Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette ($48) is still one of my favorite palettes that Urban Decay has launched, and it is something I reach for when I travel.

Mascaras

  • Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Mascara ($6.59) is my go-to for soft, natural-looking lashes with lots of volume.
  • MAC Plushlash Mascara ($15) is a great all-over mascara; it thickens, lengthens, and volumizes.
  • Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash Mascara ($19) is fantastic for lengthening.
  • Hourglass Film Noir Mascara ($28) is inky black while lengthening and thickening well.

What are your must-have eye products that are permanent?

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Giorgio Armani Beauty (Loreal USA)

Giorgio Armani Friends & Family – 20% off + free 2nd-day Shipping

20% off and free 2nd day shipping on $75+ orders with code GAHOLIDAY1, expires 11/24 at GiorgioArmaniBeauty-usa.com.

My recommendations:

Friday, November 18th, 2011


Giorgio Armani Holiday 2011 Collection: Madre Perla

An inspiring era… The elegance of the 30s is setting the tone for the season. Pure lines, sophisticated colours, luxurious details… Art Deco in all its glory with one of its iconic materials: Madre Perla. Madre Perla inlaid in a precious case, heralding a must-have product. Madre Perla, too, in Linda Cantello’s colour inspiration, with subtle reflections and iridescent effects.

“Like a 1930s’ boudoir… A touch of lacquer and patinated metals add a sophisticated feel to satiny, pearlescent tones. Delicate shades reminiscent of the silk lingerie of the time.” — Linda Cantello

Madreperla Palette ($59.00) (Limited Edition)

Irresistible… Inspired by Art Deco style, Giorgio Armani’s famous black case is decorated in real Madre Perla. Precision work done entirely by hand in the purest tradition of luxury craftsmanship. Utter refinement: a silver logo adorns this exclusive limited edition case, which just 3,000 women in the world will have the privilege of owning. Decidedly unique… Inside are found three luminous, satiny powders in sand, champagne and aqua. Silky shadows that skilfully combine a featherlight texture with radiant colour. Blended over the eye area, the three shades sculpt and illuminate the eyes. Lightly dabbed onto the facial contours, the sand and champagne tones catch the light to increase the radiance of the complexion. The Face & Eye Palette is also available in Giorgio Armani’s iconic black lacquer case.

  • Harmony 1 (Face and Eyes)
  • Harmony 2 (Eye)

Eyes to Kill Intense Silk Eyeshadow ($32.00) (Limited Edition)

Giorgio Armani’s most spectacular shadow is revealed in a limited edition of three metallic shades subtly patinated: a gold, as an echo to antique gilt, a toned down silver plutonium, and an intermediate shade blending gold and silver. Thanks to Colorfil color matrix, these creamy, powder-free shadows adhere to the eyelid like a second skin, without ever fading or flaking. At the heart of their formula is a very high concentration of pigments captured in a supple polymer complex resistant to humidity and heat. The result: a vibrant film of colour, as if cast in metal, which stays true for 24 hours.

  • #17 Silver
  • #18 Gold
  • #19 Blended gold and silver

Gloss d’Armani ($32.00) (Limited Edition)

A play of light and shade for the eyes… while the lips are adorned in vibrant lacquered shades. A real weave of colour, Gloss d’Armani offers comfortable, long-lasting hold, expressed in four limited edition shades: barely iridescent rosewood enhances the natural colour of the lips, while a velvety “amaranth” red and sienna intensely emphasise their shape. And an unexpected choice: a bold amethyst, which is vivid yet so translucent on application that it matches any skin tone.

  • Pink Iridescent rosewood
  • Red Velvety amaranth red
  • Brown Sienna
  • Purple Amethyst

availability: Now @ Nordstrom (you may have to poke around, but I saw them all available!)

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Monday, October 24th, 2011

Giorgio Armani Green Jacquard Eye Palette
Giorgio Armani Green Jacquard Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Fall 2011: Green Jacquard Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Green Jacquard Eye Palette ($59.00 for 0.24 oz.) is designed with the primary shades to be the two larger colors in the center, while the top shade is a highlighter and the bottom shade is for emphasis. The eyeshadow formula is supposed to deliver vibrant color with a smooth texture. According to the brand, it can be used wet or dry.

The highlighter shade is a soft, lightened khaki beige with cool undertones and a frosted finish. I wasn’t able to think of a similar shade, just because there is a dirty quality to the color that isn’t present in most beiges. It’s a bit sheer, but as a highlighter, it works well because the frosted finish looks pearly rather than over-the-top. The emphasis shade is a medium-dark grape purple with subtle red undertones. It is sheer and almost chalky with a satin finish. It’s a less pigmented version of Urban Decay Rockstar (which is also redder in tone) and theBalm Kissy Kissy.

In the middle, the lighter green is a medium-dark minted green with a silver micro-shimmer, but this shade is sheer and not as smooth as the other three shades. It’s cooler toned compared to NARS Delphes. Beside it, the darker green is a medium-dark forest green wih a brownish gray peeking through. It’s on the sheerer side with a satiny finish. It’s a less frosted variation of MAC Greensmoke but greener than Make Up For Ever #84.

For a subtle, cool-toned, green-hued look, this is might work. If you want more amped up color, you’ll want to look elsewhere. The textures are soft and smooth, but they’re on the sheerer side and end up looking washed out or chalky.  Oddly enough, the shades wear well when applied as far as not creasing or fading goes (though they start out looking faded as compared against the pan color).

The Glossover

palette

Green Jacquard

C
For a subtle, cool-toned, green-hued look, this is might work. If you want more amped up color, you'll want to look elsewhere. The textures are soft and smooth, but they're on the sheerer side and end up looking washed out or chalky.

Product

6.5/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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