Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Dior Intimate Bronze Ultra Gloss
Dior Intimate Bronze Ultra Gloss

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive:  Dior Ultra Gloss

Dior Intimate Bronze (522) Ultra Gloss ($26.50 for 0.21 fl. oz.) is a semi-sheer shade of bronzed nude with gold and copper micro-shimmer.   I’ve reviewed several other Ultra Glosses in the past, and Intimate Bronze has the same non-sticky, moisturizing formula.  It’s very comfortable to wear, even though it slips away within an hour or two and leaves behind a hint of shimmer as it wears away.  I like this particular shade because you can easily wear it alone, but you can also use it to add a bit of sunkissed bronze to your favorite lipstick.  It also works well for the summer and fall season!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If love sheer, non-sticky lipgloss, Dior Ultra Gloss is exactly that. And if you don’t mind reapplying every two hours or so, I think you’d really like these.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Chanel Cassis Eyeliner
Chanel Cassis Eyeliner

Just a Hint of Plum

Chanel Cassis Eyeliner ($28.00 for 0.01 oz.) is a smoked plum with subtle red undertones in Chanel’s long-wearing, waterproof liner formula. It really is a lovely color, and it applies evenly with good pigmentation. There’s also a built-in sharpener, and I love that you can twist the eyeliner up and down (sometimes it only goes up!).

I’m continually surprised at how little product is included in twist-up eyeliners–it’s typically 0.02 oz. or so–while pencil eyeliners run around 0.04 oz. I’ve only finished one eyeliner in my life (MAC Graphblack, which is also a twist-up eyeliner); and going off memory, I know that, despite daily usage, I didn’t run through it in a matter of days–probably around two or three months. I am curious as to why they’re only designed to fit that much, though. I don’t feel like I use any less/more between twist-up/pencil liners! Anyway, this is to point out that you’re only getting 0.01 oz., which is below average, so if you’re looking for a daily eyeliner, you might want to prepare yourself for frequent repurchasing.

The formula of this eyeliner is excellent, and if you’ve had trouble with eyeliner staying in place, you may want to test drive Chanel sometime (they also have several other lovely shades). It is, indeed, waterproof. It wears all day without smudging, budging, or fading. It doesn’t stick well on my waterline (just an hour or two), but it stays put on my lower lash line. I wore it across my crease (rather than my upper lash line to avoid irritation), and it didn’t crease there either.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: For a nice, long-wearing plummy shade, Chanel’s Cassis makes a nice choice–if you don’t mind the price tag.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Guerlain Ginger Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Ginger Rouge G Lipstick

The Summer Season: Guerlain Ginger Rouge G Lipstick

Guerlain Ginger (43) Rouge G Lipstick ($46.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a one of the nicest ways to wear orange without going full-on orange.   It’s a medium orange-brown color base with soft orange and copper shimmer.  Color is nearly opaque in just one swipe, and it feels lightweight and moisturizing.  There’s a soft shimmer-sheen and natural glossiness–enough where you could skip gloss entirely and let the lipstick shine on its own (and I’m a lip combo fanatic).  Rouge G is the first formula that comes to mind when I think of my favorite lipstick formulas, and Ginger really shows why.

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

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick
Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick

The Summer Season: Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick

Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick ($21.50 for 0.12 oz.) is a softened raspberry pink with soft shimmer and sheen.  It applies smoothly, evenly, and delivers full-color coverage without having to layer a ton on.  This is a great shade of pink, because it’s not super bright nor too cool, so it will work on a variety of skin tones.

Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Plump Perfect lipsticks are very moisturizing–these lipsticks actually seem to impart moisture rather than simply lock it in. I’ve also found that they wear pretty well, giving me about four hours of wear, and the majority will get through a cup of coffee.

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

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Tom Ford Bruised Plum Lip Color
Tom Ford Bruised Plum Lip Color

Tom Ford for Lipstick — Test #4

Tom Ford Bruised Plum Lip Color ($45.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a deep, reddened plum with subtle pink, fuchsia, and ruby micro-shimmer.  It goes on opaque, and it’s the most glistening/shimmering shade I’ve tried so far.  It does settle a bit into lip lines, but from a normal viewing distance, it’s really not noticeable.  This is a shade that stains very well and wears for four to five hours with a lingering stain for an additional two or so.  It’s vampy without being too blackened but not too much of a red shade either.  I can definitely see this being a perfect shade for fall.

Tom Ford’s Private Blend Lip Color collection are all vanilla scented and come in a white and gold square tube. It’s a very clean and elegant look, and the tube itself is weighty, so it feels more luxurious when you hold it in your hand. I like that the usage of the white paneling means no fingerprints, since that is a common problem when brands use more metallic/metal kind of packaging. The top and bottom are both “gold,” with the top having “Tom Ford” imprinted on it. It does click shut and stay closed well.

The formula itself is creamy and lightweight–it doesn’t feel slippery or nearly as creamy as YSL Rouge Voluptes, nor does it glide on as smoothly and effortlessly as Guerlain Rouge Gs. Tom Ford’s color range is full with twelve different shades ranging from nudes to deep plums. The textures of Tom Ford’s lipsticks are semi-matte–they’re not shimmery at all–and so they have a smidgen of sheen/glisten but overall, a much flatter finish.

Come August, I might have more possible dupes to share, since that will kick off the Sultry Season (all about vampy lip colors!), but for now, MAC’s Hang Up is the closest I’ve found–it’s a little lighter, not as shimmery.  These are all the Tom Ford shades I have to share with you for now, but I hope it’s given you a nice introduction to the range.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in the mood for a decadent luxury and prefer your lip color on the more matte side, Tom Ford’s range of twelve might interest you.

AVAILABILITY: Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Stila Road to Radiance Palette
Stila Road to Radiance Palette

$10 Palette: Is It a Steal?

Stila Road to Radiance Palette ($10.00) sounds like a good deal, but in all honesty, I (personally!) would rather put $10 towards one stellar full-size product than a medicore palette. Stila misses in this palette by delivering four inferior eyeshadows–not only in pigmentation but the entire formula is nothing like Stila’s individual (nor their Barbie palette) shadows.

They are sheer and don’t build up particularly well. Stila shadows are incredibly soft–so soft, they can kick up some powder–and almost creamy, despite being pressed powder. These are nothing like that. Because Stila is a much higher quality brand than this palette portrays, I think it’s a poor palette overall–even if the price tag is enticing.

The only product I liked in the palette was Hibiscus Convertible Color. It was creamy, blended out nicely, and wore well. In terms of value, the four eyeshadows come to 0.15 oz. while the Convertible Color is 0.09 oz. (full-size is 0.15 oz.). Since I only liked Hibiscus, I’d much rather buy a full-size Convertible Color in its own packaging, particularly since it’ll stay clean of any loose powder unlike in the palette. The only problem? Hibiscus is limited edition and not available in full-size.

  • Hibiscus is a creamy neutral pink blush. It’s very pretty — this is the only item out of the palette that I really like and think lives up to the quality I expect from Stila as a brand. It’s wearable and suitable for both cool and warm skin tones.
  • Southern Belle is a sheer medium pink with silvery-white sheen. This was such a pain to get to swatch appropriately.
  • Snow Bunny is shimmery silver shade with just a tinge of icy pink. This was one of the more pigmented shades, but I still felt it needed some layering.
  • City Chick is a browned burgundy with subtle shimmer. Another shade that applied sheerly and required layering.
  • Valley Girl is a sheer grayish-mauve with silver sparkle. Super, super sheer–I couldn’t really get it to build up.

The packaging is cute, and the palette certainly holds plenty of value from a quantity/price issue, particularly when compared to competing brands (which is how I judge value). It’s a shame the products don’t perform anywhere near Stila’s typical products.

If a brand is going to put out a product, it should represent their brand well. It should not be an inferior product, just so they can price it ridiculously low. Stila has already announced the release of four additional palettes in the series (one each month through November), so I greatly hope the others are better than this one.

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’d suggest trying it out in person, if possible, to see if it’s really worth even $10.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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