Guerlain Exotic Paradise Collection is my favorite spring launch so far. (I admit, NARS’ Heart of Desire Collection looks very promising!) I’ve seen a fair amount of the spring collections released, and I really fell in love with Guerlain’s presentation, mix of colors, and especially the Exotic Paradise quad ($58.00). Guerlain has some of the best packaging of the higher end brands, because each product is housed in a metal compact/casing. It just feels more luxe than plastic, you know?
The Exotic Paradise Quad comes with four shades of shadow perfect for spring–pastels, but they’re not typical pastels. Trust me when I say the pastel green is *beyond* stunning! The pastel green shade is a vibrant springy green with gold sheen. The peachy shade is a smooth, silky peachy shade. The pastel pink is a rich, cool medium pink that goes on like butter. And the brown shade? Deliciously luxe and smooth with a warm, deep brown base and gold sheen. The brown is actually one of the most stunning shades of brown eyeshadow I’ve seen!
What really stood out to me about this uad is there was a good mix of pastel looks that could be made, but I could also go darker just by adding the brown shade with any of the other colors. The quality of the shadows from the texture to the pigmentation is oh-so-amazing. Each shadow, without exception, went on prettier than appeared, smoothly, and felt like silk. No dreaded chalkiness, no disappointment in color here. In these photos, you’ll notice there’s an overlay of a greenish-gold in the shape of flowers/leaves. This design does disappear after you use your shadows a few times, but it doesn’t matter. The shadows look incredible–even better–without this overlay.
I’d also like to take a quick minute to talk about Guerlain’s Ombre Eclat Duo Liner ($52.00) in L’heure de Nuit (which, if my terrible French works, means the hour of night or something to that effect). Pricey, but ridiculously luxe in packaging (gold-colored metal casing) and texture, so it’s definitely something I recommend to those who tend to buy high end brands like Guerlain. It’s a very practical product in which you’re given a very light shade and a coordinated dark shade, so you can use the product as a highlighter, liner, or just shadow. It’s interesting that it was out on display as part of the spring collection, just because it’s so much darker than the rest of the line. It’s not on my must-have list to recommend to you all, but I thought I’d give you my take on it!
Where To Buy
You can find Guerlain’s spring launch (plus many other brands’ spring collections) over at Nordstrom.com. Don’t forget they’re doing their large GWP right now!
Stay tuned for more reviews & photos Guerlain’s spring launch! But for now, take a look at more photos of the quad, duo liner, and swatches…. but of course! Continue reading →
Lip Plumpers: Pink Pearl, Rose Flush, Peach Glow;
Palette: Buff, Tawny Apricot, Granite; Blushing Peach, Blushing Pink
Laura Mercier’s First Blush Collection recently debuted at retailers and Nordstrom.com. I believe just this morning it launched on LauraMercier.com, as well! It’s a fairly small launch, relative to many of the other major beauty brands this season, with just a palette, brush set, three lip plumpers, and two nail polishes.
The First Blush Palette ($55.00) contains three eyeshadows (Buff, Tawny Apricot, and Granite), two blushes (Blushing Peach and Blushing Pink), and three lip glazes (Flushed, Natural, and Naked). My favorites of the palette are both blushes; they’re both soft, smooth powder blushes in complimentary tones. The peach is soft and light, while the pink is pretty neutral and subtle. The eyeshadows didn’t impress me overly so, as I’ve definitely seen these shades many times before. Buff was a little chalky, which totally turned me off. The lip glazes were pretty, but I imagine they are at least semi-sheer when actually applied to lips (my swatches ran thicker). The shades of lip glazes are flattering on most skin tones, and they’re soft and springy for sure.
The First Blush Lip Plumpers ($30.00 each) are pretty, but with a price tag like that, I had to pass. I don’t need a lip plumper, so I see no reason to pay that much for a Laura Mercier gloss (their Lip Glace is $22 a pop). Pink Pearl is a sheer, pastel pink–not terribly unique–but it’s a face friendly color that works easily and can be used everyday. Rose Flush is a brownish red that goes on sheer and glossy. Similarly, Peach Glow is just as glossy, but the color is a brighter coral-orange shade.
I didn’t have much time to play with the brush set, though from what I could tell, it felt nice enough. I have plenty of brush sets myself, so I don’t see myself buying more at this time, which is probably why I didn’t fight through the crowd at the Laura Mercier counter to see them better! The nail lacquers were also being used, but they were both soft, subtle shades designed with spring in mind.
See more swatches… Continue reading →
Bobbi Brown’s Brights Collection really grabbed our attention with its star product: Bobbi Brown Brights Palette with 35 shades of bright, matte eyeshadows. The pricetag for this dreamboat is $70, which is not quite the deal many of you were looking forward to, because this palette is indeed quite small. It’s just a little shorter in height than UDPP, which makes it around six inches tall. The shadows themselves are approximately dime sized or perhaps even slightly smaller.
BARGAIN BUY OR OVERPRICED?
Let’s discuss whether this is truly a bargain buy or if it’s way overpriced and something you should skip if only for the pricetag. Bobbi Brown consistently releases palettes each season, and they all range around $50-60 a pop. Sometimes they’re all eyeshadows, but other times they are a mix of blushes, eyeshadows, and lip colors. Each Bobbi Brown eyeshadow goes for $20 each for 2.5 grams of shadowy goodness, and if I recall correctly, each shadow is around an inch in each direction.
Now, if you’re a beauty addict, you quite possibly have more shadows than you’ll ever use in your lifetime (cough, that’s me!). Coming from that side of the spectrum, getting 35 colors for $70 isn’t a bad deal–especially because I’m unlikely to use any of these all up. I’ll use as much from one of these as a single $20 eyeshadow in all likelihood. What if you’re not a beauty addict? If you’re just starting out, this is a great opportunity to fill your collection with 35 new shadows. Talk about doubling or tripling your collection in one fell swoop!
I bet a few of you are thinking, “But Coastal Scents has a palette with 88 colors for $20!” I actually can’t personally vouch for it, but I know enough respected beauty bloggers have reviewed it with raves, so I’ll assume it’s true for the purpose of this comparison. You’re totally right–Coastal Scents is a way better deal and bargain. It’s going to be pretty hard for any high end brand to compete with that price tag, even the much adored MAC shadows costs much more.
There is at least one good reason I can think of for going for Bobbi Brown’s instead: size. What? Small size is a good thing? When it comes to traveling it is! Instead of taking several palettes or pots of shadows, you can take 35 vivid colors in a compact palette. It’s truly a travel-friendly way to bring a ton of eye makeup with you without taking up a lot of space.
So in the end…
Yes, the palette is worth it relative to Bobbi Brown products (so we don’t get into a quarrel over pricing, bargains, etc.). The price is in line with comparable Bobbi Brown palettes and products, and I feel this is one of the best measures of “value” aside from comparing against other brands. You just gotta buy what you love, what works for you, and what you see as a better value for you. Overall, Bobbi Brown did a fantastic job of making her mattes smooth, more buttery than chalky, and the majority of the shadows have great color pay off. I found the pinks had the least vivid pay off, but the greens, blues, and purples were much more pigmented. I swatch everything without a base, because I believe in seeing what you really get. A good base often elevates any mediocre shadow to at least average, but a good shadow shouldn’t need the best possible base or combination of bases to look good. I like to see color pay off and good pigmentation sans a base to make sure I like what I’m getting!
See more palette photos as well as swatches! Continue reading →
Mystic Eyes Quad
Chanel’s Bohemian Fantasy Collection for Spring 2009 is a stunning combination of light and dark shades, sheer glossimers, and potent lipsticks.
Mystic Eyes Quad ($56.00) contains four neutral shades of eyeshadow: a light grayish-silver; a soft milky pink; near neutral shimmer brown; and a dark, charcoal-brown. Even though the shades themselves are not original or unique, they are classic shades perfect for neutral eyes, work-safe/school-safe/court-safe (ha!) looks. The shimmer in them is low, with some having a velvety finish with just a subtle sparkle to them. I will say I do prefer Chanel’s Beiges de Chanel quad much more (from winter), but these have more shimmer than winter’s quad, which may make it more agreeable for others. I decided to wait before buying this quad, because I wanted to see if Dior’s quints for spring caught my eye first (they didn’t–not enough to purchase, at least). I may go back for this, but I’m going to hold out and see how long my lemming lasts before committing!
Liberty Eyeshadow ($28.50) is a pretty shade of whitish-apricot with a lot of frostiness to it. It would make a nice all over wash or highlighter, and being the Soft Touch Eyeshadow, it does feel like silk. Magic Night Eyeshadow ($28.50) is kind of what I wanted 100 Strokes to be–it’s a rich, smooth burgundy-black with subtle shimmer. Fandango Powder Blush ($42.00) is a pretty shade of peachy-brown with a sheen of gold shimmer. It’s well pigmented, and I’m not entirely sure if it’ll be too dark for complexion or if it’ll end up muddying me more than giving me a nice blush color! But it sure LOOKS pretty!
Beige Guitar Glossimer ($27.00) is a very sheer but shimmery shade of gloss; it has a lot of pinky-peach shimmer, but it definitely appeared multi-colored to me. Wild Rose Glossimer ($27.00) swatched like a gorgeous, subtly shimmered rose-pink. I thought it was just gorgeous, and I bought it right away. I was more disappointed when I tried it on at home (I really oughta try things on in-store!), because it fit the definition of “my lips but better.” Of course, that’s not inherently a bad thing, but I was expecting a little more.
Bohemian Fantasy released a lot of lipsticks, most of them in the Hydrabase formula ($28.50 each) with a few in Aqualumiere ($28.50) and two Ultra Wear Lip Color ($34.00). Here is a quick run-through of the colors:
Rose Rebelle is a soft, reddish rose shade that’s not too intense nor too sheer.
Euphoria is a pinkish-coral with red tones to it. Not quite as intense as Gipsy Scarlet.
Fiesta is a softer version of Fuego–a coral-red with some sheerness to it.
Fuego is an intense coral-red with orange tones.
Beige Desire is a high sheen brownish-beige shade.
Gipsy Scarlet is an intense pinky-red with a good amount of sheen.
Malta is a beige/nude shade with a rosiness to it, so it could work out really well for those afraid of going too nude.
Positano is a sheer nude shade with a slight gold sheen to it.
Opal Rose is a bright, warm-toned pink–perfect for a spring pout–that goes on creamy then dries down.
Alexandrite is a phenomenal shade of deep red; it’s one of those shades of red that just grabs your attention. It reminded me of Perpetuate by MAC, which I dearly love.
I will review the two Nail Colours (Django and Vendetta) in a separate post, to be written soon I also hope to get some Chanel lip swatches done in the next few days.
See more swatches… Continue reading →
Row 1: Color Fever Plumper in City Mauve, Downtown Pink, Fuchsia Flaunt,
Rose Punk; Color Fever Lipstick in Forget Me Not
Row 2: Color Fever Lipstick in Mademoiselle, Pink Attitude;
Color Fever Gloss Piha Black
Lancome’s Pink Irreverence Spring Collection is currently available on Lancome Online, as well as your major retailers for Lancome, like Nordsrom’s. I must admit I did not immediately want anything from this launch; the original promo photo I saw didn’t get me excited. Having seen this collection, I’ve totally changed my mind!
If there is one gloss you get this spring, make it La Laque Fever in Electric Pink. It is an amazing hot fuchsia-pink that’s utterly dazzling. These photos do not do the color justice–I totally urge you to make a stop by your local Lancome counter and test it for yourself. The other shades of La Laque are lovely; the high shimmer/glitter factor is really fun, but the texture doesn’t feel gritty.
I am really eying Color Fever Lipstick in Pink Attitude, because it looks exactly like Cle de Peau Gloss #2 in lipstick form. You know, one of my favorite colors ever–so you know I have to have it in lipstick form, too. Pure Black La Laque is an extremely intense, pitch-black black liner. Like seriously black. It also looks wet even when it’s dry, so it adds a lot of depth to any look when used. Layer it with Pure Sparkle La Laque for added glimmer!
Everything else was lovely and pretty no doubt, but the products mentioned above are ones I felt stood out and really grabbed my attention. I think the Color Fever Plumpers in Downtown Pink (glossy reddish pink) and Fuchsia Flaunt (coralish shimmer) are stunning, but they are drowned out by the Laque Fevers. City Mauve is creamy without shimmer in a mauvey nude shade, while Rose Punk looks like clear gloss an shimmer to me.
The other lipsticks available in the launch are creamy and smooth, and of course, Rock Icon Fuchsia really stands out being such a bright shade of fuchsia. Both Forget Me Not (rosy nude) and Mademoiselle (browny-nude) make good everyday colors, when you don’t want to wear Piha Black Color Fever Gloss (sheer, shimmery black).
Irreverent Madame is the quad with the pink shadows in it. I wasn’t overly impressed by the four shades, but it isn’t a bad quad. I’m just not in need of any of the colors, and none of them really wowed me in actual color. You know me, I’m over the chalky black trend, so that killed one. The deeper pink is nice, but since I have similar shades, I can easily pass. Mademoiselle Sass is a warmer quad with a peachy-pink shade that’s lovely, as well as a warm gold shimmered brown.
Lancome also featured two shades of Color Design Pro in Hard to Get and High Expectations, which can be used on eyes or face, apparently. I only swatched these, so I don’t know how they actually work in practice. The colors seemed fine to me, though High Expectations seemed a bit dark to use on the face–but it actually sheers out quite a bit and would look great on deeper complexions.
See more swatches! Continue reading →
MUSE Artist Eye Palette Row 1
If there’s one spring collection that’s been a sleeper, it’s Smashbox’s Muse Collection. It was one of the first collections to be available online (at Nordstrom’s), but I didn’t seem to hear about it much. I haven’t even seen a real review on it yet! So imagine my surprise when I happen upon it at Nordstrom’s last week, and the lovely Smashbox artist tells me they’re sold out!
The MUSE Artist Eye Palette ($48.00) contains ten eyeshadows along with an eyeshadow brush, and every eyeshadow has a great finish, texture, and color pay off. The first row is almost a lighter, pastel version of the second row of colors. It’s a great idea, because then you know you can do a lot of easy 2-3 color looks with this palette. The texture is buttery and smooth–no chalkiness, no skipping. The colors are rich and very much how they appear in the palette, which I can appreciate, since I hate feeling duped! Stila’s Precious Pearl Palette still has my heart, but Smashbox did a great job and offers bargain buy of ten shadows for $48 (Stila’s contains six and costs $40).
The MUSE Lip Paints ($21.00) are semi-sheer glosses with a colored base and then gold shimmer. Artiste is a reddish coral shade, and it is the darkest of the three. Virtuoso is a peachy, creamy shade, while Luminary is a warm baby pink. They’re all pretty, but none of them stood out and made me feel like I had to get one. The MUSE Rush Blush ($24.00) is a nice peach-toned pink shade that’ll go great on warm toned skin, and I think would still work well on cooler toned skin. It’s matte in its finish, and the pigmentation reminded me a bit of NARS blushes. Smooth and rich without being powdery. I must say, for the price of the Lip Paints or Blush, I’d rather just put my money towards the Eye Palette.
Finally, the MUSE Cream Eyeliner Artist Pencil Set ($36.00) contains three richly pigmented liners in Antique Gold, Imperial, Lapis, and Slate. At my counter, I only saw three out, which I believe are Antique Gold, Lapis, and Slate. These liners are really smooth with no skipping, an the colors are vibrant and true to color. The set of four for $36 means you get each for $9, which is pretty good when it comes to more high-end eye liners. I was tempted to get these, but since they were sold out, I had no choice but not!
See more swatches! Continue reading →