Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Guerlain Rouge G de Brilliant
Blondie, Betsy, Bianca

Guerlain Rouge G de Brilliant Lipstick: Betsy, Bianca, Blondie

Rouge G de Brilliant ($46.00 each) launched earlier this spring with ten shades (all permanent). Like the original Rouge G line-up, there is a theme–all of the names begin with a B. Brilliants different from the traditional Rouge G formula, because they are sheerer with more shimmer and a glossier finish. These are touted as a more natural lipstick. It feels lighter than Rouge Gs, but it looks considerably lighter on lips as well. These have a kind of “wet” look to them, so you may not need a gloss to give you that glossy sheen.

While the formula itself feels amazing on lips, without the wear (I only get about three to four hours as compared to four to six on regular Rouge Gs) and the rich pigmentation of the traditional Rouge Gs, I still prefer the original Rouge Gs over these, if I’m shelling out $46 a shade. But keep in mind that these were designed to be sheerer and glossier, so Guerlain hit the mark there. But for me, since I like my lipsticks pigmented, they’re not my favorite when I know the pigmented Rouge Gs exist!  These are, however, not ultra sheer–they do pack some color and change-up my natural lip color.

  • Betsy is a softened berry plum with subtle gold shimmer. Applied, it has this wet, shimmering look–very pretty and a color I’d slick on in a rush during the fall.
  • Bianca is a semi-sheer pink-coral with barely-there shimmer. This is one of the more pigmented shades of Brilliant that I’ve tried–this is more semi-opaque than semi-sheer–and it imparts a healthy color to my natural lip color.
  • Blondie is a subtle nude beige with champagne shimmer. On my lips, it actually does a fair job of giving my lips enough color, but it’s still sheer enough where your natural lip color can greatly affect how the color shows up on your lips. I see this turning much pinker and less nude on those with more naturally red lips.

Packaging wise, these have the same fancy-pants packaging as Guerlain’s Rouge Gs, which is luxe, heavy metal. It’s a very solid piece of makeup, but I’ve always felt that a lot of the price tag of Rouge Gs goes towards that indulgent packaging (which is nice, but I’d happily pay less for regular packaging!).

Much of the value gets eaten up by this packaging, because this is a formula that I’d pay $30-35 for (which is typical for high-end lipsticks), while at $45-46, it’s more about finding those perfect shades you’ll wear over and over again.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like softer, sheerer lipstick color that goes on and feels almost like a thin yet creamy gloss, Rouge G de Brilliant hits the nail on the head. Colors are easy to wear, the formula feels fantastic on lips, and it is all housed in space-age packaging.

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue

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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Bliss Softening Socks

Happy Feet with Bliss Softening Socks

Bliss Softening Socks ($48.00) are a real treat for dry, cracked, and tired feet. These are an indulgence, not a necessity, but those with brutally dry or cracked heels will find these a nice way to get a little at-home spa treatment.

The socks can be worn as they’re bought, or you can lotion up your feet with any shea butter-based product (I used Bliss’ Lemon & Sage Body Butter) and then slip on the socks. The socks are lined with a “self-activating gel lining,” which is supposed to release olive oil, jojoba seed oil, grape seed oil, and vitamin E for hydration. On my foot, the gel lining goes up to my ankle, while the sock itself extends up a few more inches (but I have big feet–size 10). The gel kind of clings to your feet, and to be honest, the feeling is weird (not bad, but it is an odd feeling!) at first, but once your feet have warmed up the gel inside, they’re pretty comfortable.

I usually will slip these on when I know I’m going to be at my desk for awhile, because I feel like you probably shouldn’t walk a mile in these, though nothing indicates you couldn’t (but it feels funny, ha!). I will wear them for about thirty minutes or so, and my feet come out feeling soft and smooth. For reference, though, I don’t have the most beat up feet. I have baby feet in the sense that I pad around the house in socks on the regular, so walking on pavement makes my poor feet cry.

You can use these without lotioning up and still get a nice softness after twenty to thirty minutes of use, which is nice for those days where a thick body butter just won’t do. Those who just want an indulgence and general softening will find that enough, but for those with cracked heels, I definitely recommend using a body butter or Bliss’ Sock Salve to really treat your feet.

For those who can’t afford these socks, I recommend using a body butter (if you want to stick with bliss, I like Bliss’ Lemon & Sage Body Butter) to slather on your soles and then slip into a pair of thick socks and leave on for an hour (or overnight) for softened feet.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  With the price tag of these socks, they are definitely a luxury to own. They’re good for those who want to make the softness of a pedicure last and last or for those with extremely dry heels and toes. If you have fairly happy feet, you may want to try moisturizing with Bliss Sock Salve ($28.00) and slip on a pair of thick socks as a less expensive alternative.

Availability: BlueMercury

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Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Guerlain Terracotta Collection for Summer 2010

Guerlain Terracotta Collection for Summer 2010

Terracotta 4 Seasons ($74.00)

From the ultimate authority in bronzing comes Terracotta 4 Seasons: a variation in four steps to sculpt your tan all year long. The perfect gradation of caramelized tones, Terracotta 4 Seasons features four wonderfully matte shades to blend together and match every skin tone and season for an authentic tan and an incredibly natural result. Its secret to unprecedented luminosity lies in the formula, enriched with pure gold, that plays within the four tones for a tan that maintains radiance, no matter what the season. Includes SPF 10.

  • Blondes (01)
  • Brunettes (02)

Terracotta Gloss ($30.00) (Permanent)

  • Sable (01)
  • Sierra (02)
  • Grenade (03)
  • Ambre (04)
  • Santal (05)
  • Ebene (06)

Terracotta Light ($50.00) (Limited Edition)

The legendary iridescent bronzing powder is reinvented for spring/summer 2010 with intensely concentrated particles of mother-of-pearl to enhance already golden complexions. Warmed by copper accents for olive skin or glints of pink for fairer skin, this bronzing powder has never been this alluring. Nestled in a round, sunny case, these new harmonies feature five iridescent shades to adorn the complexion with an intense sunny glow: the first two intensify it, the next two warm it up, while the last one adds a final touch of light!

  • Blondes Halees (01)
  • Brunette Halees (02)

Terracotta Fard Metal Eye Shadow & Liner ($35.00) (Limited Edition)

This elegant retractable metallic pen with its brown and gold design encloses a fine and silky potion. Slightly creamy with perfect glide, the eye shadow/liner formula glows with light. Its ethereal texture goes on in a caress and immediately smoothes the eyelid. The incredibly fine mother-of-pearl particles decorate the eyes with metallic sparkles. Ardent orange gold or shining taupe create beguiling eyes and can be applied as an eyeshadow or liner to illuminate and trace the eyes with enchanting light.

  • Gold Rush (01)
  • Smoky Metal (02)

Terracotta Khol ($35.00) (Limited Edition)

Guerlain’s legendary kohl is the promised land for enchanting and enigmatic eyes. For summer, the eyes slip into a halo of mystery, deep, enchanting brown with a perfect matte finish, for unmatched intensity.

  • Mirage (06)

Terracotta Touch ($40.00)

Even tanned complexions have areas of shadow — a highlighter is a must to perfect any complexion! The irresistible Terracotta Touch is the first highlighter in Guerlain’s cult favorite Terracotta collection. The ideal companion to enhance “Terracotta-tanned” or already sun-kissed skin, it plays on shadow and light to create a natural and even glowing complexion. In just a few strokes of the brush, the face dazzles with natural beauty and radiance, as though the sun has gently caressed the skin.

  • Blondes (01)
  • Brunettes (02)

Terracotta Teint d’Ailleurs ($46.00)

It is a new basic for beautiful skin, the first tinted moisturizer in the collection, it captures the summer’s sun-kissed radiance and holds true on the sun from morning until night. The unprecedented texture, part tinted gel and part cream melts away like silk, gliding over the skin to blend away imperfections, smooth and even out the complexion.

  • Blondes (01)
  • Brunettes (02)

Availability: March 2010 at select Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Bloomingdales, and Bergdorf Goodman locations.

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Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Make Up For Ever HD Blush

Make Up For Ever HD Blush:  Truth or Dare, Walk of Shame, Quickie

Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush ($25.00 for 0.33 oz.) is an incredibly lightweight, cream blush. The HD Blush really surprised me, because I wasn’t quite sure whether this was going to be as amazing as the buzz over it already was. (Buzz makes me skeptical, I can’t help it!)

Much anticipated, it is now available through Sephora. The blushes are reasonably priced, and I imagine one jar will last you quite awhile as you hardly need any for enough color on your cheeks. These are pigmented if you want them to be, so go easy on the amount you use if you want subtle color. They also dry down quickly, so work fast to blend the color out so it looks natural and luminous. I used my 188 brush to apply it to my cheeks, and I found it worked just right to apply and blend out the color. (I used #6 Quickie very lightly in this look!)

When I wore these to test (I worn #6 Quickie on one cheek, #4 Walk of Shame on the other!), they lasted a solid eight hours without fading or budging. I think these are going to be perfect for summer, particularly for those in more sticky and humid climates.  What is particularly nice is there is a huge shade range of fourteen different shades.

  • #3 Truth or Dare is a vibrant fuchsia pink. Even when used lightly, it still packs plenty of color. It has a satin-y finish–slight sheen but not shimmer.
  • #4 Walk of Shame is a pretty bubblegum pink that can be applied very sheerly or built up for a more intense pink. On me, I find this color a little too light/pale — it’s not a go-to shade for my medium, warm-toned skin, but it can work.
  • #6 Quickie is a coral-orange with a satiny feel. It can be sheered out nicely if you want just a light coral flush or used more generously (and still, by “more generously” I mean, use just the tiniest bit more) for a deeper flush.

I can’t speak to the packaging, as the samples I received were in sample jars, but the packaging looks similar to other pump-jar packaging (but I imagine it might be smaller/shorter). The only thing I would be a little wary about is whether the pump pushes out too much, because you really need a tiny bit. Not even a pea-size amount!

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation:  If you are a cream blush fiend, I think you’ll like the newest ones from Make Up For Ever!

Availability: Sephora

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Monday, March 15th, 2010

YSL Golden Gloss

YSL Spring 2010 Collection:  New Golden Glosses

For Spring, YSL released two new shades of Golden Gloss ($29.00 for 0.20 oz.)! #20 Golden Macademia is is a peachy-beige with a champagne-pink sparkle. #19 Golden Petal is a medium pink with a yellow undertone and gold shimmer. Both shades are on the sheerer side, but they both give/change my lips color.

  • Golden Macademia mutes the natural pink in my lips and makes it look like a softened pink-nude. This is is the kind of gloss that works well layered over your favorite nude lipstick or worn alone for a more minimal look. It’s nice paired with a smoky eye or even with neutrals for a more every day kind of look.
  • Golden Petal is a soft, milky pink that goes on semi-opaque. It was surprisingly pigmented, as I rarely find a milky pink that still has the soft, milkiness without severe settling into lip lines. The golden shimmer really makes this a nice, warmer pink gloss–an excellent color for those with warmer skin tones in particular.

I was quite impressed by the pigmentation of both of these new Golden Glosses, as they’re often more on the sheer side. I’ve always liked the sparkle-factor of Golden Glosses, and these still have that beautiful, shimmering sparkle that Golden Glosses are known for, but with a little more amped up color pay off. YSL Golden Glosses are non-sticky, moisturizing with a soft, mango-y scent that last about average (two to three hours on me).

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for some new spring gloss shades, you might like YSL’s latest.

Availability: Nordstrom, Sephora

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Monday, March 15th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Aquamarine Palette

Bobbi Brown Color Strips Collection:  Aquamarine Palette

Bobbi Brown Aquamarine Palette ($60.00) includes five eyeshadow shades (Lightening , Aquamarine, Storm, Ivory, and Grey Sky) and three pot rouge shades (Sand Pink, Pale Pink, Powder Pink). This is the third palette from Bobbi Brown’s Color Strips Collection, which also featured Bonfire and Orchid.

  • Ivory is a cool-toned white beige with a matte finish.
  • Lightning (Sparkle) is a shimmering softened gray with silver shimmer.
  • Aquamarine (Metallic) is a muted sky blue with a frosty sheen and shimmer.
  • Grey Sky is a medium gray with almost a brownish-taupe cast with a matte finish
  • Storm is a deepened blue-black with a matte finish.

The Aquamarine Palette is more on the cool-toned side, so it’s definitely more suitable for those with cooler undertones. However, it’s not unwearable for those with warmer skin tones, but you’ll want to mix and match with some slightly warmer hues just to bring everything together. What I really like about this palette, though, is that the shades work really well together, like in the Bonfire Palette.

For a review of the Pot Rouges, head on over to my Orchid Palette review, which includes the same shades of Pot Rouges. The packaging remains the same as the other two palette variations–sleek Bobbi Brown case that opens up with plastic “windows” that keep out dirt and dust from the products (which is really something you don’t see often and much appreciated).

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

Recommendation: If you love a cool-toned smoky gray eye, you might dig Aquamarine.

Availability: Nordstrom

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