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  • Clarins15% off with code FIFTEEN, ends 8/23.
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Essie Fall 2013 Collection — For the Twill of It

Summer’s over and its truly time to get back to business, the business of fashion. Every autumn, New York City becomes a flutter with Fashion Week – full of fun, phenomenal inspiration. Everything from the oil slicks on the Manhattan streets after a thunderstorm, to the schoolgirls and boys filling the streets in their pleated navy skirts and blue-black blazers – serve as a muse for the essie 2013 fall collection.

  • For the Twill of It Compelling rich maple with reflective olive shimmer
  • Twin Sweater Set Vibrant red crimson
  • Vested Interest Tweedy, woolen gray teal
  • After School Boy Blazer Academy blue
  • Cashmere Bathrobe True flannel gray
  • The Lace is On Glistening, jewel-toned pearlescent fuchsia

Availability: $8.00 each, now @ Nordstrom; September 2013 wherever Essie is sold

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YSL Gris Underground (38) & Beige Gallerie (39) La Laque Coutures

YSL Gris Underground (38) La Laque Couture
YSL Gris Underground (38) La Laque Couture

YSL Gris Underground (38) La Laque Couture ($25.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “cloud of grey.” It’s gray, blue, lavender; a muted, grayed cornflower blue to me. Very cloudy, very fall. It was opaque in two coats, and the consistency was just slightly on the thicker side, so the drying time seemed longer than average.  It applied fairly easily, particularly because it has a wider brush that enables better coverage in a single stroke so it minimizes unevenness. The formula isn’t forgiving if the prior coat is only partially dry, so make sure to allow enough time between coats for drying.  Essie Rock the Boat is lighter, slightly less gray. NARS Galathee is much grayer. See comparison swatches.

Beige Gallerie (39) La Laque Couture ($25.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “concrete beige.” It’s a light-medium beige with neutral gray undertones and a cream finish. It was mostly opaque in two coats, and the consistency was slightly on the thin side. Like Gris Underground, give the first coat plenty of time to dry to avoid dragging/pulling. MAC Quiet Time is warmer. MAC Endless Night is similar. Chanel Frenzy is a smidgen grayer and sheerer. See comparison swatches.

YSL La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer Gris Underground (38)
YSL La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer Beige Gallerie (39)

New! Giorgio Armani Beauty Launches Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick

With Rouge Ecstasy, the Giorgio Armani laboratories push the boundaries of the exceptional even further with the first “CC” lipstick, an incomparable skincare lipstick that combines high-impact color with the ultimate comfort of a moisturizing balm.

Rouge Ecstasy is a unique, multi-purpose lipstick. It offers the comfort and softness of a balm combined with exceptional color intensity. This velvety soft, everyday lipstick coats the lips in saturated, ultra-luminous shades with impeccable hold.

The lips are repaired and beautifully enhanced day after day, hydrated and adorned in fresh vibrant colors with a perfectly defined outline.

Ultimately it is the quintessence of a lipstick, balm and lip pencil all in one.

Beiges & Browns

  • 100 Androgino
  • 102 Essenza
  • 203 Code
  • 204 Caffé
  • 200 Mineral
  • 201 Cashmere
  • 103 Incognito
  • 202 Milano
  • 104 Skin
  • 105 Ambiguous
  • 306 Amber
  • 508 Daybreak

Reds & Purples

  • 400 Four Hundred
  • 401 Hot
  • 402 Teatro
  • 403 Downtown
  • 600 Mania
  • 601 Attitude
  • 602 Night Viper
  • 510 Dolci

Corals & Pinks

  • 300 Pop
  • 301 Gio
  • 502 Scarlatto
  • 503 Diva
  • 302 Tokyo
  • 303 Dragée
  • 504 Flesh
  • 505 Orchid
  • 304 Heat
  • 305 Brick
  • 506 Blush
  • 507 Lotus
  • 500 Eccentrico
  • 307 Tangerine
  • 509 Boudoir
  • 501 Peony

Availability: $34.00 each; now at Giorgio Armani Beauty (officially September 2013 at all other Giorgio Armani Beauty counters/retailers)

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How to Contour & Highlight with Cream Foundation

Before Contouring / After Contouring with NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

Contouring with cream foundation is an easy way to achieve seamless, blended contours and highlights because you’re using products designed to work together in order to create a canvas that transitions from shadow to skin to highlight beautifully. Highlighting and contouring bring back definition and shape to the face, especially after you’ve created a beautiful, flawless blank canvas with your foundation. Because foundations are one color, and depending on the coverage, they can leave the face looking flat and shapeless.

More of us are familiar with highlighters–shimmering powders and creams patted along the high planes of the face to reflect light–but contouring can be a more difficult and daunting task. The best part about makeup, though, is freedom of choice; you can go as defined as you’d like, so you don’t have to go for a dramatic contour and highlight but something subtle that just defines and helps lift the face. I’ve tried to show a more dramatic contour (but you could go further and make it even more dramatic) so that you can clearly see the differences before and after.

Don’t be afraid if you’re new to contouring!  Uzo, NARS International Lead Stylist, recommends beginners to use cream foundations for contouring “because they are easier to blend” as “powders in an unskilled hand can make contouring look harsh and un-blended while liquids don’t give enough definition. It is not about having a stripe of darker, un-diffused color along the sides of the face but subtly blended dimension that defines the cheekbones (and jaw line).”

With the full range of NARS Radiant Cream CompactAdvertisement at my disposal, I matched my skin tone match to Santa Fe, which is described as a “medium with peachy undertone,” and it is categorized as “Medium 2.” This is the product I used to create the blank canvas (as my regular foundation) to even out my skin color and cover any blemishes and imperfections.

Find your shade match using our NARS + Temptalia Foundation Matrix–just enter your current foundation and out pops your new shade match!

To highlight, I chose Siberia. Generally, your highlight shade should be two to four shades lighter than your actual skin color. To contour, I used Cadiz along with Benares. I opted for two, because I wanted a subtler contour on areas like my nose and eyes, but I wanted a deeper, more dramatic contour for slimming and defining my cheekbones and jawline. Generally, you will want to select a shade that is two to four shades darker than your natural complexion and opt for a shade that has similar undertones to your skin tone or one that is more neutral.

Now, get the step-by-step! 

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder
Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight The Celestial Powder ($44.00 for 0.17 oz.) is a pale, golden beige with a frosted sheen. Becca Moonstone is slightly yellower, while theBalm Lou-manizer is a touch darker. Illamasqua Aurora is similar but a cream product. See comparison swatches.

The selling point of this product is its texture: silky-smooth, buttery, and incredibly finely-milled. It’s a product that delivers a true sheen of a finish–it’s not sparkling, shimmery, or glittery in any way. It can be applied as a subtle, barely-there glow or as something more metallic, almost wet-looking, with a denser brush. For a really lovely result, I liked using a fan brush across the tops of cheek bones. It wore well, lasting eight hours and only looking slightly faded after nine and a half hours but no patchiness, and didn’t emphasize pores or any imperfections on the skin. Because the texture is so soft, it’s a cinch to blend and buff the product into the skin for a nice glow. It’s a lot like Chantecaille Rose Petals, which I adored, but warmer and more beige/yellow than pink.

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder Candlelight

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream Review & Photos

Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Cream
Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream ($62.00 for 1.7 oz.) is one of the newest releases from Kiehl’s, and I really don’t leap to test skincare, let alone anything that makes as many claims as this one. What intrigued me the most was that it promised visible results in two weeks–not four, not six, not eight, a mere two–and the skeptic in me immediately thought, “Well, then maybe you’d actually see visible results in four or six weeks at least…” The exact claim is that “Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream is clinically demonstrated to simultaneously lift, firm, visibly redefine skin contour and re-texturize skin within 2 weeks and double efficacy within 4 weeks.” According to Kiehl’s, their chemists selected Jasmonic Acid (supposed to be “highly effective … for its ability to support epidermal renewal … smoothing and retexturizing the skin’s surface”), Beech Tree Extract (said to “improve skin firmness and visibly improve plumpness and density”), and Fragmented Hyaluronic Acid (listed to “reinforce skin’s natural short and long term moisturization … improve skin elasticity while reducing skin roughness”).

Kiehl’s is basing its claims on a clinical test of 50 women (described as multi-ethnic and those experiencing multiple signs of aging). It’s rare to receive so much specific information from a brand, so I would have loved to see the full ingredient list posted on their website as well. I’ve been using it for just over two and a half weeks now.  I’ll update this post after I’ve finished the jar (probably around four or five weeks of use).

It feels like a lightweight cream, though the texture is thicker but not heavy. There’s a very faint herbal scent, though it is touted as fragrance-free (I expect it is just from the ingredients themselves), and I didn’t notice it once applied and mostly only caught the scent if I sniffed the jar. It absorbs for the most part within five minutes, but it takes a full fifteen minutes to really sink into the skin. The cream never feels sticky on the skin, and it doesn’t look greasy. The one thing I can say with absolutely certainty is that it is nicely hydrating, and it remedied some lingering dry patches I was contending with.   I’ve worn it underneath makeup, and I haven’t had any issues doing so–as long as you give it proper time to absorb.

I’ve been looking for visible signs of, well, anything, since I hit the one-week mark, and after a week and a half, the one thing I kept noticing was my under-eye area seemed less shadowed, slightly less puffy. I don’t have major, major bags and shadowing, but my lack of sleep has become more noticeable over the past year. It hasn’t reversed it, and it is only minor improvement, but it’s something I’ve kept remarking on each time I’ve taken a moment to note what visible results I’ve seen. I haven’t seen the fine lines around my eyes really smooth out or become improved in any visible way. The general clarity and evenness of my skin’s tone has seemed to be slightly better.  I don’t expect to be able to weigh in on firmness/lift, as my current signs of aging are the fine lines around my eyes.  I’m quite impressed with how hydrated my skin is, and it does feel… plumper? in a way as my skin can when it’s really getting the hydration it needs.  It’s not quite a miracle cream after using it for two weeks, though I like it and it is majorly hydrating, so we’ll see how it stacks up after more prolonged use.

Kiehl’s says to use this twice a day (morning and night), but without SPF, it’s just not a feasible daytime solution–putting a sunscreen on and this will feel and be too much for most. To clarify:  When I know for sure I’m not leaving the house, I’ll skip the SPF and just use this in the morning, but on days where I need SPF, then it can take a couple of hours before the skin feels ready for makeup (this, of course, will vary depending on what product you use in combination–I’m using Origins’ A Perfect World, and I did try one day with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial and experienced similar results as when I used my Origins). I’d love to see a complementary product with SPF for this product or else a version with SPF.

Update: The final verdict is that this is a great cream for hydration. I think it helps to give skin a healthier, smoother, and clearer look overall, but I didn’t notice any fading, softening, or diminishing of the fine lines around my eyes or forehead.

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