Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Laura Mercier Spring 2010 Collection

This spring, we’ll see a beautiful Radiant Creme Colour cream blush, three new eye colour duos, three Satin Lip Colours, and a Shine Lip Colour.

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Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Shine Lipstick ($30.00) is a beautiful, shimmery raspberry red lip color. It’s a semi-sheer lipstick formula, but I actually found it to be quite opaque. I mean, if this is semi-sheer, I wish all semi-sheer lipsticks were gave me this kind of coverage! :) It has lovely pinky-raspberry shimmer that’s subtle but still sparkles in the light. The feeling, texture, and payoff of this lipstick reminds me a bit of Guerlain’s Rouge G formula (and it’s $15 less!)–smooth, moisturizing, and even.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Essie Sweet Time of the Year Collection

Essie Sweet Time of the Year Collection for Winter 2009

For winter, Essie put out a trio of shades: Mint Candy Apple, Rock Candy, and Lollipop. A sweet lil’ treat–something I’d consider putting in someone’s stocking this year. Two of the three are distinct creme finishes, while one is more of a sheer, though still creamy looking. The only shade I really liked was Mint Candy Apple; it’s unique enough to merit a purchase, and it’s fun and wearable as well. The other two just seem like shades I’ve seen before, so they’re must-haves.

All swatches shown are two-coats with a China Glaze base coat and Zoya top coat.

  • Mint Candy Apple is a creamy aqua. I know there’s supposed to be green in it, but it’s quite faint. It really just reads aqua to me–maybe a smidgen of green at best. I applied one thin (streaky!) coat as my first coat, and then I layered on a medium-thick second coat and away we went. I just didn’t really have any trouble with the application like I had heard from others. This is much paler, lighter, and more aqua than For Audrey (which is much bluer), nor is it remotely close to MAC’s Peppermint Patti (which is much greener). Against China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint, it’s also not a dupe — it’s significantly bluer, actually — though they have the same lightness/paleness, just one runs more aqua and the other more of a minty green.
  • Rock Candy is a sheer, lightly creamy pink. It’s not opaque, and it has a milky pink look to it. This is definitely what comes to mind when I think of Essie–it’s nice, and it’s certainly flattering (even my Dad would like it, probably–because he wouldn’t even notice it!, just not terribly unique to me.
  • Lollipop is a bright red creme. It’s incredibly bright and bold! It’s more of an orange-based red than a blue-based red, which is nice to see, as many holiday reds run cooler (or bluer, if you’d like). It also has this nice kind of punchy sheen/glow to it that’s interesting.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  Three sweet treats from Essie for winter — if any of these shades grab you, they’re all worthy of a peek–it’s just a matter of your color tastes!

Availability: 8ty8beauty.com, Head2ToeBeauty.com, Transdesign.com

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Monday, December 14th, 2009

Get Glowy Cheeks for the Holidays with Benefit

Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb ($28.00 for 0.42 oz.) is the newest powder addition to Benefit’s line-up. It joins cult favorites like CORALista and Hoola, and Benefit describes it as a “sugar rush flush” for the face.

The powder comes with four triangles of color, which Benefit describes as “rose, shimmering pink, soft plum, and peach.” The powder is designed to be used all at once, rather than one triangle at a time. I’d completely agree with that notion, particularly because the space is just not big enough to really grab one shade over another that well.

When swirled together, the outcome is a beautiful peachy-pink shade with a very, very subtle golden sheen. This is half blush, half highlighter, because it’s not ultra pigmented and on my skin tone (which you could describe as “medium”), while it shows up, it looks very soft. It’s certainly not invisible (which would make it more like a highlighter), but it’s not vibrant. This is good and bad, depending on your usage — but it’s a good thing to me.

It actually reminded me of a peachier version of CORALista, but they are different, since CORALista is much more pigmented and pinker. On my skin, it gives me just enough color and really gives me that “glow.” That super sought after glowy cheek look? That’s what this is in a cute lil’ box.

Both the texture and the results reminded me quite a bit of my beloved Dior Skin Shimmers (particularly Pop Diamond). The shade itself is a reminiscent of NARS’ Orgasm, but it’s less orange (on me) and the shimmer more refined. But here’s something fun: Benefit is way, way cheaper than both. Benefit’s Powders are HUGE–a whopping 0.42 oz.–compared to the average blush that weighs in at a mere 0.20 oz. NARS’ blushes are $156/oz., MAC’s are $88/oz., and Dior’s are $150/oz., but Benefit is $67/oz.

It’s packaged exactly like other Benefit powders, which is in a cute little cardboard box. If you don’t dig Benefit’s packaging, this is probably not going to do it for you either. It’s typical Benefit–and I say that as a good thing–and even though I do prefer sturdier packaging, this will hold up quite well, even if you do keep in your purse. Of course, if you toss it in your bag, the outside will get dinged up a bit, but in the end, it should still survive with the product intact, which is the more important part.

Bottom Line: This is a beautiful get-glowy-cheeks product if you’re light to medium-dark. If you have a deeper or darker skin tone, I think this will end up being more of a highlighter–if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s worth considering, but I don’t think the color will show much very well. I fell in love with this product at first swatch (and I had a hunch it’d be mine kind of color just from looking at it, too) – it’s everything I love: soft, subtle shimmer (think Dior Skin Shimmers, mmm!) that gives me glowy, naturally flushed cheeks. This is something I could wear everyday, with or without other makeup. Benefit, I’m totally impressed by this!

P.S. I also want to give props to Benefit’s website for showing incredibly color accurate photos of Sugarbomb, too. You don’t always see such accuracy in official product imagery, so it’s really a nice touch.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love glowy cheeks, check out Benefit’s Sugarbomb!

Availability: Benefit Cosmetics, Sephora

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Sunday, December 13th, 2009

LORAC Leading Lady Lipstick
LORAC Leading Lady Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: LORAC Leading Lady Lipstick

LORAC Leading Lady Lipstick ($22.00) is a creamy, nearly neutral red (runs slightly orange-red) with a very bright sheen (more sheen than glossiness). It applies easily and well, and you can get an opaque look in just two or three layers.

The lipstick formula contains “SMS Complex,” which is an anti-aging ingredient that “neutralizes and prevents the signs of aging by helping to stimulate collagen production and promote cell turnover.” Can’t tell you if any of that is true, but since the price tag is $22 and not $30 just because there is “anti-aging” ingredients in it, it’s like an added bonus if it does work.

But I can tell you this was a moisturizing lipstick that wore very well throughout the day! I found I got a good five or six hours of wear in this, and after it wore off through a meal, there was a slightly reddish stain that was left behind.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

MAC Russian Red Lipglass
MAC Russian Red Lipglass

The Scarlet Season: MAC Russian Red Lipglass

MAC Russian Red Lipglass ($14.00 for 0.17 oz.) is a nearly opaque bright cherry red lipgloss. It’s a beautiful shimmer-less shade of red that goes on easily. MAC’s Lipglass is one of the tackier lipglosses on the market, which is something that I don’t mind–particularly because it tends to last much longer on my lips than the average lipglass. I find Lipglass lasts me around four hours or so, which is good time for a gloss. Russian Red Lipglass is really a classic MAC gloss — if you are at all a red fan, this is definitely one you should consider owning.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →