Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Guerlain Gilian Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Gilian Rouge G Lipstick

Something Everyone Can Wear

Guerlain Gillian (14) Rouge G Lipstick ($46.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a light pink muted with brown shimmered with champagne sparkle. It’s mostly opaque, despite its lightness in overall color, with a high gloss finish (seems glossier than the average Rouge G). It’s such a your-lips-but-better kind of pink. Gillian is the complete opposite of Gigi!

This is a universally flattering shade, because it’s a neutral pink that’s light without being pale or pastel. It has the same lightweight texture and creamy, smooth consistency as found in the Rouge G line. (I have not had a single Rouge G disappoint me in terms of feel, formula, or texture!) I know for some, this is a “So what?” kind of shade that doesn’t justify the price tag, but for others, it’s a shade they’ll wear often and merit the cost.

Edited @ 7AM:  Pictures fixed!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love shades that are ultra wearable and your-lips-but-better, I think you’ll love Gillian.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Alluvium

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is just like Ore: beyond gorgeous when you see it in person, but it just doesn’t photograph quite the same way. It’s a metallic medium-blue with a violet-blue tinge and flecks of multicolored shimmer.

I actually did a look with Ore on the lid and Alluvium in the crease, and it was such a lovely combo, but the photos make it look like garbage. I’ll have to see what I can do about the lighting situation and find a way to capture the brilliance of both of these shades in a photo. Hopefully it stays sunny for the rest of the week!

If these were a better value, I’d try making a nail polish with Alluvium–seems like it be a gorgeous shade for nails. (You can read my quantity/price ratio and packaging griping here.)

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment

You’ll Need to See This to Believe It

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is one of those products that shocks and awes the minute you swatch it.  Ore is a medium-dark metallic bronze with soft red undertones, multicolored shimmer, and a dazzling sheen.  It’s like a metallic bronze base with Christmas (green, pink, gold shimmer flecks) strewn through it.  The frustrating part about this particular shade is it really needs to be seen to be believed.  It’s so luxe and full of depth, but it looks better in person than it does in photos.

I loved it patted atop a shimmery primer and blended up with nothing else, but it also works well to layer with or use alongside your favorite coordinating eyeshadows.  I had several people stop me when I went out with this look on to ask what I had on my lids (which is not the norm).  Over a stickier base, Pure Pigments can easily be used dry, but I do prefer using them wet, as they hold together and apply smoothly and vibrantly.

There are, however, two things about Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments that I don’t particularly like:  quantity and packaging.  As far as similar products, Illamasqua weighs in with a rather tiny amount (Make Up For Ever wavers between 0.07 and 0.09 oz., while MAC tops in at 0.15 oz.).   You don’t need much, so you won’t be finishing a Pure Pigment any time soon, but it’s still worth noting.

The other thing is the packaging, which I find cumbersome and a pain to open.  If you’re not careful, it’s easy to loose hold of it and see your precious 0.04 oz. pigment soar across the air.  (There is actually a bunch of Ore embedded in my carpet, because it happened yet again to me while photographing.)  My best advice for opening these is to wedge your nail between the lid and base and run it around the perimeter a bit, then pull it open.  This seemed to alleviate a lot of the fumbling.  When it comes to a loose product, I think a screw-top lid might be a lot safer for us clumsy folk.

So why not an A product? Because the quantity is well below average of other comparable, high-end brands and the packaging could be less prone to slipping out of your hands and losing half the product to your carpet, sink, or bathroom floor.  This is one of my favorite shades for fall, and I will be purchasing a back-up because it is that stunning.

P.S. — Sephora has it listed as a new shade, but it shows as “out of stock,” though I believe it just isn’t in stock yet.  If you can’t wait, you can get it directly from Illamasqua.

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish

Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness: Viridian

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish (£13.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a darkened teal base with lighter teal micro-shimmer; the teal leans towards the blue side, making it a cooler-toned teal. Funny enough, when the flash fired, it pulled out more of the green in the teal, but overall, it still pulls bluer-teal.

The formula and application was just like Scarab: smooth, even, intensely pigmented–one coat would likely be enough, though I did two in the swatches.

Viridian is also new for fall, but it looks to be permanent from what I can tell.

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

RECOMMENDATION: A very lovely shade and particularly flattering on cooler, paler skin tones as it leans blue.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Sunday, September 26th, 2010

YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick
YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick

The Sultry Season: YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick

YSL Forbidden Burgundy (12) Rouge Volupte Lipstick ($34.00 for 0.12 oz.) is an opaque, reddened plum with a glossy shine.  All Rouge Voluptes have this lightly sweetened mango-y scent (I note it as just generally, but my nose might not be sophisticated enough…), but I don’t notice any taste.  It’s moisturizing and wears four to six hours on me.

When I first tried Rouge Voluptes, they were one of the first high-end lipsticks I had ever tried, and I thought they were the bee’s knees. Over time, I’ve discovered lipsticks that I prefer (formula-wise), but Forbidden Burgundy is still one of my favorite shades of Rouge Voluptes. The Rouge Volupte formula is incredibly creamy, and while some of the lighter shades are almost thick in their creaminess, their darker, almost glossy, shades like Forbidden Burgundy are not.

I do recommend a lip liner on deeper shades like this one if you’re prone to your lip color bleeding, because the creaminess of Rouge Voluptes make it more likely to bleed.

Is this the right berry for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

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Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish

Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness: Scarab

Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish (£13.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a fiery ruby red with copper and scarlet shimmer strewn through the color. It almost looks metallic but not quite. It’s a very cool shade with depth; I envision flames licking through the ruby red, because it just has on-fire look to it.   This shade was extremely rich in pigment–one coat was nearly enough, but I still wound up with two, just because it feels more complete (to me) that way.

Nonetheless, smooth, even application with no fuss.  The formula itself was of a medium-thick consistency–the norm for Illamasqua’s varnishes.  It has a slight shine in its natural finish, but I recommend a shiny top coat to really finish it.  I noticed very subtle brush strokes in close-ups, but everything looked pretty smooth at a normal viewing distance.  Illamasqua described this as a metallic, but it feels more like a shimmer with only a touch of metallic-ness.

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