Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Top 10 of 2011: Blushes & Highlighters

It’s so hard for me to pick favorites, but these are ten products that really caught my eye this year for adding color and/or glow to cheeks. Since these are products for 2011, I did exclude any spring 2012 products that may have been reviewed this year, as they’re technically for next – so these feature products new for 2011 and permanent products I discovered this year! :)

  1. Guerlain Parure de Nuit
  2. Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous
  3. Guerlain Blush G Serie Noire
  4. Benefit Watt’s Up
  5. Tarte Exposed
  6. Guerlain Terra Inca
  7. Tarina Tarantino Feather
  8. NYX Menage a Trois
  9. NARS Oasis
  10. Chanel Beiges Ombres Tissees

What was your favorite blush/highlighter that you discovered this year?

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Guerlain Jicky (104) Rouge Automatique Lipstick
Guerlain Jicky (104) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Jicky (104) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Jicky (104) Rouge Automatique Lipstick ($35.00 for 0.12 oz.) is soft coral-brown with a very faint beige micro-shimmer. The color coverage is semi-opaque; it gave my natural lip colors a fair amount of color but did not cover my lip freckle entirely. It’s a bit darker, less beige and more coral, than Guerlain Voilette de Madame, but I don’t think you need to have both–they’re different enough, but having both makes sense only if you tend to wear these types of colors regularly and can spot those nuances. MAC Viva Glam VI is a little darker, redder. Guerlain Galante is more opaque and rosier. MAC For Keeps is similar but pinker and more opaque. MAC Mellowarm is a bit darker and frostier. Chanel Plumetis is lighter. Chanel Liberte is fairly close. Korres #45 Coral is more orange.

Rouge Automatique is very comparable to the Rouge G formula, and the differences are minute, though they are there. This is an excellent formula regardless of that comparison, though, because it’s creamy enough to glide on but not so creamy that the color slips around, comfortable to wear, and keeps lips feeling hydrated, too. For more packaging photos, please see this post.  This shade only wore four and a half hours when I tested out the wear, which is shorter than expected for this particular range (and not as long as the brand claims).

The Glossover

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product

Jicky

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

7.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Guerlain Ne M'oubliez Pas (102) Rouge Automatique Lipstick
Guerlain Ne M’oubliez Pas (102) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Ne M’oubliez Pas (102) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Ne M’oubliez Pas (102) Rouge Automatique Lipstick ($35.00 for 0.12 oz.) is soft brown-beige with a natural shine and almost opaque color coverage (you can barely see my lip freckle). MAC Lush Amber is similar but sheerer and shimmery. MAC Martha is a bit pinker. Clarins Rosewood is very similar but creamier and more opaque. Guerlain Galia is also creamier and more opaque, also a little lighter.  The texture of Ne M’oubliez Pas is really creamy, and it feels so comfortable to wear because of how lightweight it is.  The shade glides on easily and deposits even color without having to go back and forth ten times.  As a softer, more natural shade, it could be an everyday favorite.

Rouge Automatique is very comparable to the Rouge G formula, and the differences are minute, though they are there. This is an excellent formula regardless of that comparison, though, because it’s creamy enough to glide on but not so creamy that the color slips around, comfortable to wear, and keeps lips feeling hydrated, too. For more packaging photos, please see this post. This is one of the lighter shades I’ve tried, and it only wears for about four to five hours before it needs a reapplication.  The Rouge Automatique is one of the more consistent ranges I’ve come across–it’s a really solid line with most lipsticks being top notch in quality.

The Glossover

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coming-soon

Ne M'oubliez Pas

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

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Guerlain Voilette de Madame (101) Rouge Automatique Lipstick
Guerlain Voilette de Madame (101) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Voilette de Madame (101) Rouge Automatique Lipstick

Guerlain Voilette de Madame (101) Rouge Automatique Lipstick ($35.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a rosy pink with a neutral vibe. It delivers mostly opaque color coverage (my lip freckle is just barely peeking out). This is a soft, everyday kind of shade–it will instantly wake up your face, because it’s natural with enough pinkness to add a little extra color to your pout (unless you have more naturally pigmented lips, in which case, this may not do much for you!). It has a natural shine, and the texture is very creamy and soft. Chanel Jersey Rose is several shades lighter. Shiseido PK 327 is pinker and lighter, as is Cle de Peau #124. The color reminded me more of Guerlain Gentiane without the shimmer.

Rouge Automatique is very comparable to the Rouge G formula, and the differences are minute, though they are there. This is an excellent formula regardless of that comparison, though, because it’s creamy enough to glide on but not so creamy that the color slips around, comfortable to wear, and keeps lips feeling hydrated, too. For more packaging photos, please see this post. My lips are always happy when a Rouge Automatique is on the swatching docket! The wear on these ranges from four to eight hours, with darker shades leaning more towards six to eight; a shade like Voilette de Madame wears for four to five hours.

The Glossover

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product

Voilette de Madame

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

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Aleta, Fragrance Contributor

Aleta is the associate editor of a national history magazine (World War II), and an unapologetic fragrance nerd. Growing up on a farm west of Portland, Oregon, she spent many summer nights attempting to make perfume by soaking flowers in cups of water (if only her mother had let her use the vodka). Her most prized possessions include a bottle of French cologne brought home by an American GI after World War II (L’Ardent Nuit by Cotay), a signed copy of Perfume: The Guide, and a handwritten “enjoy your purchase” note from perfumer Mandy Aftel. Other obsessions include lipstick, Pellegrino, Adirondack chairs, and yoga. You can find her at worldwarII.com.


Scents for the Holidays

My first college holiday season was…brief. November and December went by in a blur of studying, social events (okay dorm parties), and finals. My dad and I had to stop at the grocery store after he picked me up for winter break, and I realized that the campus bubble had utterly shielded me from the season–the music, the decorations, the food. Lesson learned: when you leave the nest, you either get yourself in the holiday spirit or it will pass you by.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to fell merry and bright this time of year is to–you guessed it–surrounding myself with nostalgic, festive fragrances. Bonus: the fragrance notes we often associate with the winter holidays are ones that play nicely with big family meals and intimate social gatherings, times when everyone would rather smell the turkey, fresh-baked gingerbread, or their glass of Riesling rather than someone’s boldfaced eau. Here are some of my favorite fragrances for the season, most of which are available as dry skin-soothing lotions, pick-me-up cleansers, and candles:

Years of making orange pomanders has left me with a serious citrus fixation every December. My favorite is Fresh Hesperides ($32.00) it balances the effervescence of grapefruit peel with a dose of sugar. Aftelier Candide ($45.00) is also gorgeous, tempering its zesty orange notes with a kick of pepper. Pacifica Blood Orange ($22.00) is perfect for purists, plus the brand is widely available and an absolute steal .

Evergreens feature prominently in Western holiday traditions; Yankee Candles fill in for the Douglass firs I grew up with, particularly Christmas Tree. Holiday Bayberry smells like the fresh-from-the-attic decorations did when I was growing up. It’s a hard note to wear on the skin, but Pacifica’s Avalon Juniper ($22.00) is beautiful. The resinous juniper is perfectly balanced with juicy grapefruit, simultaneously warm and fresh. Those who grew up in warmer climates may resonate more closely with Chanel Sycomore ($110.00), it’s a gorgeous balance between sap and smoke–meant for men, I think, but gorgeous on anyone, anytime.

Vanilla and spice abound during winter, and there are too many fragrance iterations to count. Personally, I like something just a touch inedible, like Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleu ($71.00). It has recently been reformulated, but I never smelled its previous iteration, so I am unabashedly smitten with the bottle I purchased this November. If you grew up with anise and almond extract in your holiday cookies, this one’s for you–especially if you went through a rebellious stage involving countless sticks of Nag Champa ($71.00) incense. Many also love Guerlain’s Shalimar ($55.00) and its many vanilla-spice offspring, though it’s not one that grabs me. You also can’t go wrong with Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar ($5.00), a gorgeous vanilla bean tempered with Basmati rice water and cinnamon. Spice lovers: try Pacifica’s clove-laden Madagascar Spice ($22.00).

Sometimes the brightest holiday memories attach themselves to a non-holiday scent. For me, it’s Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb ($100.00). Each year my parents would skip the Macy’s line for Santa and take me to Nordstrom to see Father Christmas. And in my mind, nothing conjures Nordstrom like Flowerbomb.

What scents keep you warm during these darkest months of the year? And for those who grew up in a non-western culture, I’d love to hear about the scents that speak to you during November and December!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.25 oz.) is an upcoming new and permanent quad that features an “iridescent blue, matte navy, velvety turquoise, and glacier metallic blue.” This is one of the better eyeshadow quads I’ve tested from Guerlain since they reformulated and relaunched their eyeshadow range, so it was a welcome surprise. The pigmentation is good across the board, and it applies easily. I did find that without a primer, there was some fading after eight hours, but over a primer, it was fine.

The left most shade is a semi-matte, dark teal-blue with a grayish overcast and sparse teal shimmer. The base color is more matte, but there is definitely some sparkle to the shade. It has good color payoff, though the texture feels a little dry. Illamasqua Android seemed similar, though it is much more metallic and frosted. It has a similar base color to MAC Blue Spruce but doesn’t have the copper sparkle.

In the center, the top shade is a aqua teal with an iridescent gold shimmer-sheen. It does flash more golden depending on the angle. The color payoff of this shade was really nice, and the texture was silky soft and applied smoothly. Milani Caribbean Sea is similar but has less golden shimmer. Make Up For Ever #83 is much more intense. theBalm Open to Offers Olwen is darker. Inglot #415 is more vibrant.

Below that shade is a medium-dark bold blue with a soft, metallic shimmer-sheen. The pigmentation is excellent, and the texture feels soft to the touch and smooths out easily. I find Guerlain’s more frosted shades to have the best color payoff and feel compared to some of their mattes, satins, etc. MAC Pure Creation is a touch lighter. MAC Deep Truth is a bit darker. MAC Freshwater is comparable. Inglot #426 is also similar.

The right most shade is a bright, metallic silver. Of all the shades in the palette, it had the weakest color payoff–there was some underlying sheerness but it felt smooth to the touch. IT is similar to MAC Misty and Bobbi Brown Iced Blue.

The palette initially bears resemblance to Les Ombres de Nuit, but this is a brighter, warmer palette. None of the shades actually overlap in terms of color, but here, we have a vibrant aqua teal instead of a muted grayish teal; vibrant medium-dark blue instead of a navy blue; the other two shades are not similar.

The Glossover

palette

Les Aquas

A-
The color combination works together, though if you're not a fan of blues, you may find this palette too bold! You don't see too many bright colored palettes by high-end/designer brands, so I definitely appreciate Guerlain going out of the box with this color scheme.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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