Monday, November 21st, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: The Best of Holiday Color

As promised, here is the next installment of our most comprehensive gift guide to-date! This post features my top picks from various holiday color collections that have launched this year.  There are a few more holiday shades I haven’t reviewed or swatched, so there might be a few more of my favorites to come.

Eyes

Cheeks/Face

  • NARS Miss Liberty ($27) gives cheeks a really glistening glow, very apropos for the holidays.
  • Guerlain Parure de Nuit ($67) is the one product I’d recommend above all others for the holidays, and I say that because it’s a product I keep reaching for (to the point that I had to forcibly remove it from my reach).

Lips

  • MAC What Joy! ($15.50) is a berry-red with subtle micro-shimmer and healthy shine with good color coverage.
  • Illamasqua Belladonna ($20) is a fierce magenta pink with opaque color and lots of shine.
  • Bobbi Brown Party Alice ($24) — super pretty pink-coral, perhaps not seasonally appropriate but divine anyway.
  • NARS Joyous Red ($24) is a muted orange-red that’s workable on cool and warm-toned skin.
  • Chanel Triomphal ($32) is a pinky-red with great vibrancy and glossy shine; and Chanel Empire is perfect for those who love a brighter pink with yellow undertones.
  • Dior’s holiday lip colors ($32 each) were my surprise hit for lips this season–they’re so pretty on and wear well.

Nails

  • China Glaze Let It Snow ($3-4 each) is a perfectly festive set of twelve polishes, and all of them are available individually, so you can pick your particular poison.
  • Zoya Gems & Jewels ($8 each) is short and sweet with beautiful shimmers and extra-fun glitters (because they’re horizontal!).
  • Dior Merveille is a festive orange-red with golden shimmer that will work well on warmer skin tones.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2011


Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation

Lingerie De Peau Invisible Skin Fusion SPF 20 ($57.00 for 1 fl. oz.) is a lightweight, natural-finish foundation with light to light-medium coverage. It’s one of the most lightweight and natural-looking foundations that still gives adequate coverage for minor skin imperfections. If you have just a couple of small areas where you need medium coverage, it is workable to build up medium coverage on a spot-by-spot basis.

It took me awhile to appreciate this foundation, because I prefer light-medium to medium coverage as my skin tends to need more coverage than less. I’ve been bringing Lingerie de Peau with me on the last few business trips, because it photographs well and looks good in photos–not all foundations can pull off both those things. It has SPF 20 (3.16% of titanium dioxide, 3% of octinoxate), but it doesn’t give a white cast or reflect back poorly. The finish is just barely dewy; it’s pretty much the exact definition of natural–there is a softness to the skin without being flat and matte. It also wears brilliantly and lasts a solid nine hours on me, but it makes it to twelve hours with minimal movement.

The consistency is thin, not so thin it’s watery, but thin enough that it blends out easily and feels weightless once applied. I often apply with fingers, but I also like using brushes like MAC’s 109, 130, 187, and 193. I haven’t found it to apply poorly with any method (fingers, sponge, brush), so it depends on your preference.

I wish the formula had a better range of shade (and this tends to apply to Guerlain’s foundations in general), because as I am in Parure Gold, I’m between #02 and #03. I end up using #02 and setting with Les Violettes Mineral Powder in #03, which is sheer enough to give me just enough color so the finished look is about my match for winter/spring, but during the summer, I was able to get away with #03 set with #03. If you’re particularly pale/light, I don’t know if any shades in the range will accomodate you; at best, either Rose Clair or Rose Natural. Similarly, if you have a darker, deeper complexion, I don’t know if either Beige Fonce or Dore Fonce will be a good match.

The Glossover

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Lingerie De Peau Invisible Skin Fusion SPF 20

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Monday, October 31st, 2011

Guerlain Liu (122) Rouge Automatique
Guerlain Liu (122) Rouge Automatique

Guerlain Liu (122) Rouge Automatique

Guerlain Liu (122) Rouge Automatique ($35.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a deep red with a subtle translucency that gives it a really great shine and smoothness in color. It yields almost opaque color coverage. Guerlain Garconne is redder with less pink and more opaque. Chanel Byzantin is similar in color but different in finish. MAC Prolong is more opaque and less glossy. Guerlain Gwen is similar but deeper with less pink.

When pressed, I will pick Rouge G over Rouge Automatique, the Rouge Automatique line-up is very comparable and the color range is brilliant and often as nuanced as the luxurious Rouge G range. Both formulas are incredibly comfortable to wear with glide-on color that slides on like butter, and the creamier finishes in the Rouge Automatique line have a pseudo-glossiness with really clear color that’s semi-opaque to opaque. The deeper shades, like this one, wear six to eight hours, but even the lighter shades last four to five hours on me. Like most Guerlain products, it is violet-scented, though it is not overwhelming. I love the consistency of the formula and how well it wears while delivering hydration for hours.

For more packaging photos, please see this post.

The Glossover

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Liu

A+
Rouge Automatique is a top-notch formula, because the creaminess of the texture enables it to glide on, making for an easy application, but it's lightweight and never slippery, so it stays on and wears for hours.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Friday, October 21st, 2011


Guerlain Noir G de Guerlain Mascara

As reported by WWD, Guerlain will debut its newest mascara–Noir G de Guerlain–in January 2012. If you’re familiar with the Rouge G de Guerlain Lipsticks, the packaging will seem familiar. The “tubes” are made of Zamac with black lacquer. WWD mentions that both products’ packaging has mirrors and is refillable (could it be? Rouge Gs will be refillable in 2012?).

The Noir G formula is designed to lengthen and curl lashes, provide lash regeneration with artemia salina, and stimulate the production of keratin. It is also scented with peach, rose, jasmine, and white musk. Noir G will retail for $49.00 ($26.00 for refills), and it will launch initially at Saks Fifth Avenue on December 26th and roll out to other locations in January.

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum
Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

With the recent launch of Shalimar Parfum Initial, I felt it only proper to try out Shalimar Eau de Parfum ($123.00 for 3 oz.) first. It’s an iconic scent, not just for the brand, but in the world of fragrance. For a truly excellent read on the history of the scent, check out Perfume Shrine’s. It comes in a wide range of concentrations and product types; from the most concentrated (Extract, $131 to $322) to accessorizing products like perfumed body powder ($64).

The notes of Shalimar are bergamot, lemon, jasmine, rose, May rose, iris, incense, opopanax, tonka bean, and vanilla. It opens with an intense burst of the bergamot where the crisp citrus gives it a very cool feel, but it warms up quickly with a heady smokiness that’s marked by spice and leather. As it progresses, the final scent on me is a sweetened, spicy vanilla with the warmth and coziness of amber and sandalwood. It’s not the sweetened vanilla of a dessert, but richer, deeper, less sugary and cloyingly sweet. It is rather powdery on me, more notably in the earlier hours of the scent and decreases over time until it’s all but vanished by the third hour.

It’s not a shy scent, and it’s one that instantly says, “Pay attention, you don’t want to miss a note.”  There is a great deal of complexity from beginning to end.  Perfume is so very personal and often has to do with just what sensory memories are evoked when it is spritzed. I cannot relay any stories of mothers or grandmothers who wore and loved this scent; I actually have no memories for or against–no one I have known has worn it (and it is a scent you would remember!). I don’t like it on me until about two hours in; then it’s that right level of headiness that I like but with more of the tonka bean and vanilla pulling through with less emphasis on bergamot (which I don’t usually like).  The scent lasts on me for eight hours or so.

The inspiration: “The setting: Northern India, four centuries ago. His name was Shah Jahan. Hers was Mumtaz Mahal. Dazzled by her beauty, he idolized her; so madly in love was he that he wanted to make her life a perpetual garden of delights. And so sprang from the earth the Gardens of Shalimar. The story of their boundless love fired the imagination of Jacques Guerlain who, in 1925, created the world’s first oriental fragrance. A subtle mix of flowers and sensual amber-woody accents, Shalimar has become the eternal essence of love and radiant femininity. Wildly Guerlain, marvelously classic, it continues to fascinate young women just as it conquered every generation that came before.”

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Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit 4-Colour Palette
Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit 4-Colour Palette

Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit 4-Colour Palette

Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit 4-Colour Palette ($59.00 for 0.25 oz.) includes shades of silver, teal, navy blue, and black. Three of the shades have shimmery finishes, while one shade has a matte finish and can be used also as an eyeliner. It’s a limited edition palette from Guerlain’s holiday collection.

The first shade (on the left) is a silvered pewter with a hint of gray. It has a shimmery finish and a sheerness to it that makes it seem partially like a layering shade. The only possible dupe I could think of was MAC Vex, which can look similar… or very, very different, given its duochrome finish. In the middle towards the top, there’s a bluish-teal with a frosted finish.

It has good color payoff, but the shade is rather muted by nature (even in the pan, it is not an in-your-face kind of teal!). Urban Decay’s Aquarius seemed similar but is less blue.

Underneath the teal shade is a navy blue with a blackened-blue base and a hint of purple. The color payoff is nice with a really soft, smooth application. It is reminiscent of Wet ‘n’ Wild Earth Looks Small From Down Here and Make Up For Ever #81.

The final shade is a dark black with brown tone (as compared to a blue tone) in a matte finish. I honestly was expecting this shade to swatch challky and unevenly, particularly because the texture wasn’t very buttery–it was very soft and silky, but not dense and buttery. It’s rich in color and very easy to blend. It is similar to Make Up For Ever #4.

I like it, but I’m not head-over-heels in love with it. The color combination works, and it’s a lovely cool-toned, almost midnight kind of mix. It’s smoky eyes with a touch of color but not a punch. The textures here are soft and silky-smooth and wear well all on their own. The look I posted yesterday was created and worn without an eyeshadow primer or base, and I had no issues over the twelve hours I wore it.

The Glossover

palette

Les Ombres de Nuit

A-
I like it, but I'm not head-over-heels in love with it. The color combination works, and it's a lovely cool-toned, almost midnight kind of mix. It's smoky eyes with a touch of color but not a punch

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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