Monday, April 12th, 2010

Chanel Super Lipstick
Chanel Super Rouge Allure Lipstick

Go Pretty in Pink with Chanel

Just in time for summer, Chanel’s Les Pop-Up de Chanel Collection (which is now starting to pop-up–pardon the pun–in stores) introduces two new and limited edition shades of Rouge Allure LipstickSuper (rose) and Genial (coral). When I visited my local Chanel counter, Darling was also listed. Rouge Allure Lipsticks retail for $30 a pop. I picked up both Genial and Darling last week but I’ll show you those later this week–not to worry! :)

Super is a brightened pink subtly splashed with fuchsia with just a subtle blue-base to it–normally blue-based pinks can make me look a little corpse-ish, but this one has just enough to give it a cool edge (which also helps make my teeth look a bit whiter!). It has a naturally glossy sheen and semi-opaque color coverage. It looks pretty solid on my lips when pictured from a distance, but you’ll notice in the close-up that you can still see my lil’ lip beauty mark!

When I first swatched this on my arm, it seemed really vibrant and almost neon, but on lips it’s a lot more wearable. I think on more pigmented lips, this might read a stronger red-pink than as light as it is on my lips, and for those with very un-pigmented lips, I imagine you will find this looks a little brighter (more true-to-skin-swatch).

It’s a cute, perfect-for-summer shade with the fabulous Rouge Allure formula–smooth, moisturizing, and wears for a nice four to five hours. It’s almost a must-have, but it’s not quite there for me; perhaps if it was more opaque, I’d be totally loving it. But hey, it almost matches Riviera, so matching lips and nails… could be cute!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’ve always wanted a bright pink in Chanel’s Rouge Allure formula, you should definitely check this shade out.  If you’re looking for a totally opaque bright pink, this isn’t quite there.

Availability: May 2010

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Monday, April 12th, 2010

MAC Violetta Lipstick

The Summer Season: MAC Violetta Lipstick

MAC Violetta Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a red-based violet purple with a glossy sheen. It has an amplified creme finish and a permanent PRO shade (which does, occasionally, make an appearance on maccosmetics.com as part of seasonal trend reports). It has a very reddish-purple base with more of a true violet iridescent/overlay, but it looks cohesive once applied. Personally, I don’t wear Violetta on its own, but I love pairing it with iridescent or milky pinks as well as fuchsias to brighten it.

Is this the right purple lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Essie Resort Collection
Essie Nail Lacquers: Playa del Platinum, Lapis of Luxury,
Turquoise & Caicos, Splash of Grenadine (Natural Light)

Essie Resort Collection: Review, Photos, Swatches

For summer, Essie created the Resort Collection, which features four cream-finish shades: Playa del Platinum (elegant and sheer sandy gray), Lapis of Luxury (dreamy ocean blue), Turquoise & Caicos (flirt and pretty tropical aqua), and Splash of Grenadine (playful magenta pink). The collection will launch in May, and each bottle retails for $8.

  • Playa del Platinum is a coffee-shaded gray. It reads more like a very light, grayish-taupe on me and not really flat out gray. This shade needed three coats for a solid, smooth look.
  • Lapis of Luxury is a bluer periwinkle. It’s not quite a true periwinkle cream, because it does run a little bluer, but that was the first descriptor that came to mind. I found I needed three coats to get a smooth finish with no streaks.
  • Turquoise & Caicos is a green-teal cream. If you thought it might be like China Glaze’s For Audrey or Chanel’s Nouvelle Vague, it’s most definitely not. Both of those shades are blue-based teal,while this is distinctly green-based. I found it a little streaky, so I wound up using three coats on this one.
  • Splash of Grenadine is a red-based pinky purple. It’s not quite a purple, but it’s also not really a pink. This is the only shade I felt you could get away with just two coats on (which is what is pictured), and this also applied better than the other three.

All four colors are absolutely lovely–very fun and summery without being bright or neon. They’re playful, and I think they’ll be particularly pretty on toes. My only problem with the collection came with the formula. While definitely workable and worth working with, it’s a little on the watery/runny side, which made it a little more difficult to apply than I’d like. Because of the runny consistency, the polish has a tendency to apply streaky, necessitating three coats in most instances.

It’s not impossible or even that difficult to get a smooth, even look, it’s just a definite issue from the formula. I found that laying down a thin, streaky-as-all-get-out coat, and then building up with a slightly thicker second and third coat, produced the best results. Oh! and don’t forget to let each coat dry a bit before layering the next on top, totally crucial step with these. I think for those who have more than fifty polishes to their name won’t find these all that troublesome to work with. The formula is okay but not great; you can get good results, but you have to be patient.

Are you loving any of these shades?

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  I love the colors of the shades included in this launch but the formula is just okay, so if there’s a color that you absolutely love, it’s definitely worth picking up, but if it doesn’t leave you breathless, skip it.

Availability: Essie

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Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Elizabeth Arden Perfect Flamingo Lipstick
Elizabeth Arden Perfect Flamingo Lipstick

The Summer Season: Elizabeth Arden Perfect Flamingo Lipstick

Elizabeth Arden Perfect Flamingo Lipstick ($21.50 for 0.12 oz.) is a brightened shade of blue-based pink. It’s a creamy, smooth shade with an almost semi-matte finish — it has just a bit of sheen but it’s very played down. It provides semi-opaque color coverage while de-emphasizing lip lines. One of my favorite things about this lipstick is how moisturizing it is — it really keeps lips feeling their poutiest throughout the day. The wear is fantastic as well, as I can get through a cup of coffee without leaving all my lipstick behind! It doesn’t make through the whole day, but it stays on well enough not to need a reapplication after drinking, otherwise it lasts a solid four hours on me.

P.S. — This is a new-for-summer shade, and it looks like it’s currently sold out… but hopefully it’ll be restocked soon!

Is this the right pink lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Philosophy Kiss Me Exfoliator

Gentle Lip Exfoliator:  Philosophy Kiss Me

Philosophy Kiss Me Exfoliating Lip Scrub ($15.00 for 0.5 oz.) is a very thin, sugar-based scrub with a strong peppermint scent (and the tingle that comes from it).

This works when it works, but it needs to be stored with the cap facing upwards, and you might have to squeeze the tube around. The oils separate quite a bit from the rest of the product, which means you’ll end up squeezing out mostly oil and very little sugar–rendering it way less effective as a scrub. The sugar crystals are incredibly fine, so if you have sensitive lips, this might be an option for a lip exfoliator as compared to more traditional sugar scrubs, which definitely have thicker, grittier crystals.

The peppermint oil in it is the most noticeable scent of the product, and it also makes lips tingle–but it’s not a painful tingle, just a sort of minty-fresh tingle. I find that it doesn’t taste so hot, and I think it might be due to the peppermint oil (I’ve never found any lip product that has peppermint oil in it to taste good!), so I usually rinse it off rather than simply blot with a tissue or paper towel (as recommended).

I think this product needs a better delivery system, because the existing packaging is too finicky and prone to providing less-than-stellar results. I can imagine people purchasing this, squeezing out a bunch of oil, and being utterly confused as to why this is called a lip exfoliator. Even though the packaging disappoints, the product is decent and the price tag makes it affordable.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation: If you’re willing to work with the squeeze tube a bit, you might get a nice, gentle exfoliator out of this product. It’s particularly nice for those who find traditional sugar scrubs too thick/gritty for their lips.

Availability: Sephora

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

YSL #17 Eyeshadow Duo

YSL #17 Ivory Beige/Deep Black Eyeshadow Duo ($41.00 for 0.09 oz.) features a yellow-toned beige with a matte finish and a deep black with a near matte finish (just a smidgen of shimmer).
I purchased this eons ago when YSL had their (first!) Friends & Family Sale, because I fell in love with it when they promoted it during a fall or holiday launch (I think in 2009). I was totally head-over-heels for the depth in the black, so I figured, maybe it was time to splurge on it finally. It’s a very dark, rich black, but it’s probably not the darkest black I’ve tried. Funny how memory blurs those things!

This is an excellent smoky eye duo, and surprisingly, the yellowed beige is pretty workable on my warmer toned skin without looking too chalky (as some light mattes can be). The eyeshadows are soft, smooth, and both are pigmented. The matte isn’t chalky, but it isn’t the softest matte eyeshadow I’ve tried. The black shade is really the star of the duo, though.

It’s packaged in classy, traditional YSL packaging with the faux gold metal look and logo emblazoned on the top of the compact. The logo is also embedded into the eyeshadows themselves as well. Even with the hefty price tag, you don’t get that much eyeshadow — it’s about the same as buying other high-end eyeshadows in singles. Usually, you do see a little bit of value savings when you buy duos, even in high-end brands like YSL, but not so much here. This was definitely a splurge item to satisfy a long-time want, so I’m happy with it.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Pretty but incredibly pricey, so I’d consider it an indulgence and luxury, rather than a must-have.

Availability: Sephora

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