Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Chanel Noir et Or Collection
Chanel Nail Lacquer: Black Velvet + Illusion d’Or (thumb), Black Velvet (pointer),
Illusion d’Or (middle), Gold Lame + Illusion d’Or (ring)

Chanel Noir et Or Collection: Gold Lame, Black Velvet, & Illusion d’Or Le Vernis

Chanel Noir et Or Collection is a very limited edition, hard-to-get-your-hands-on collection that is only available in select Chanel Boutiques (it officially launched April 1st). It includes three shades of nail lacquer: Gold Lame (copper gold), Black Velvet (matte black), Illusion d’Or (clear with gold sparkle).

  • Gold Lame (440) is a metallic yellowed gold. Like the majority of metallic finish polishes, there are noticeable brushstrokes. It went opaque in about two coats, but I did three to see if I could minimize the brushstroke-effect. I loved the layering effect of Illusion d’Or on top of Gold Lame, because it camouflaged the brush strokes but you could still see the metallic finish of Gold Lame peeking through. This shade really does a number between different light sources–it goes from like a golden bronze to a gilded gold. Pretty but a pain in the butt to photograph!
  • Black Velvet (430) is not quite a matte black. It’s nearly matte, but it never dried completely matte for me. It had this weird, almost like a vinyl sheen to it. I wish I could describe the finish better, but I’m at a loss! Maybe like a rubbery look? They’re not really glossy or shiny, but they definitely catch the light a bit. The color itself is a very inky black with an almost velvety burgundy-brown cast.
  • Illusion d’Or (450) is a clear glossy base with large particles of gold, bronze, and amber glitter with larger iridescent pinky-purple glitter. This won’t go opaque in three or four layers, but it does look pretty as a sheerer shade. It is even prettier when layered over either Black Velvet or Gold Lame.

Overall? I love. But I love the effect of them together, not so much alone. I’m not sure how many of you will be swept away by the combination of two to shell out $46 for it. There is just something about Chanel’s way of doing lacquer. If it’s not already a known secret, I most definitely have a thing for Chanel lacquer.

Like I died a little inside when I saw how Illusion d’Or popped over Black Velvet. If I had seen that online, I would have been like, “TWO PLEASE!” Illusion d’Or also looks pretty-in-gold over Gold Lame. I think if there was one must-have shade here, it would be Illusion d’Or, if only because it makes the other two really POP!

I still can’t get over the finish and look of Black Velvet, and it really annoys me that I can’t put my finger on it enough to give you a good description of it! It’s matte and yet not. It’s not flat, but it’s not really shiny or glossy… and yet it still (obviously) catches the light.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If Chanel lacquers weren’t so pricey, it’d be so much easier to say, “YES, BUY THESE!” without guilt. If you dig interesting blacks, Black Velvet might be that. If I had to pick one of three to get, Illusion d’Or, because it does amazing things when layered.

Availability: Select Chanel Boutiques

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Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Blue Eyeliner

April Showers Bring Midnight Blue Eyeliner?

Dolce & Gabbana Blue Intense Eyeliner ($29.00) is a midnight navy blue with subtle sheen.  It has a rather rich look and an incredibly smooth finish.  The pencil itself is firm enough to get very distinct, precise lines without fear of breaking the tip.  The color applies smoothly and evenly without tugging the lash line or requiring lots of back-and-forth to get the pigmentation you want.

It is definitely a luxury eyeliner, though, and the price reflects that, so I know this won’t be something everyone will want to indulge in.  Nevertheless, it’s a quality eyeliner that applies beautifully without budging, smudging, or fading throughout the day.  It lasted impeccably through a forty-five minute yoga session (and for me, I’m so out of shape, that one session might as well be eight hours of sweating!), so it’s definitely an eye-worthy liner (oh, the cheese!).

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

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

Recommendation:  If you love ultra soft liners like Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliners, these will definitely be too hard in comparison.  If, on the other hand, you love the firmness of MAC’s Eye Kohls, this one will be just right.

Availability: Saks Fifth Avenue (available in May)

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Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Paul & Joe Beaute #4 Lip Lacquer

Paul & Joe Beaute Tenderness (#4) Lip Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.13 ml) is a beige-peach with surprisingly opaque coverage.  It has no shimmer but lots of glossiness–it has the pigmentation of a lipstick but the cushy feel of a gloss.  I love that despite it’s creaminess it doesn’t emphasize lip lines like some creamier shades do.  I’m also really impressed by the coverage.The packaging is cute from the box it comes in to the tube itself, and it’s easy to apply on the go, so it may become a shade I keep in my bag to have a go-to color (can you believe that I have absolutely no lipstick or lipgloss in my purse?).  I couldn’t really detect any scent, maybe the faintest sweet fruit aroma, but I really couldn’t tell.

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

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

Recommendation:  If you love the feel and look of a gloss but want the pigmentation of a lipstick, you might like Tenderness Lip Lacquer.

Availability: Beauty Habit

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Monday, April 12th, 2010

Milani Mandarina Lipstick

The Summer Season: Milani Mandarina Lipstick

Milani Mandarina Lipstick ($4.99 for 0.13 oz.) is a vibrant, tangerine-orange with a glossy sheen and completely opaque color. This is not an orange for the faint of heart! This is a bold, unabashedly orange lipstick. The best part of this lipstick is how truly pigmented it is–trust me, I was impressed upon swatching at just how opaque the color is on lips. It lasts about three hours on me, but it fades evenly enough that it’s not a big deal when it does. I wish the scent was a little less synthetic/waxy–even just vanilla would work for me. Otherwise, the intense color pay off and creamy look and feel of the formula is well worth the five dollar price tag.

Is this the right orange lipstick 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 →

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Urban Decay De-Slick in a Tube

Mattify Oily Skin with De-Slick… in a Tube

Urban Decay De-Slick In A Tube ($28.00 for 0.67 oz.) is a mattifying gel as a follow-up to De-Slick Mattifying Powder ($30.00 for 0.40 oz.). Both products are designed to help those with oilier skin combat oiliness by providing a matte finish.

What’s interesting is that when you compare the ingredients, there’s nothing (at least not to me–I’m no chemist) in common. One thing to note is for those who prefer their products paraben-free, De-Slick in a Tube is just that. While the Mattifying Powder is supposed to have a translucent finish, it does seem to show up a bit on those with deeper skin tones (think medium and deeper). This makes the new Tube formulation a better option, because it’s not a powder. In fact, it really feels and seems like a mattifying primer.

Ingredients in De-Slick Mattifying Powder: Talc, Calcium Carbonate, Tricaprylin, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid, Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylparaben, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate. May Contain: CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet).

Ingredients in De-Slick in a Tube: Aqua (Water), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Propylene Glycol, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Fragrance.

This feels like a gel-to-powder kind of product–it doesn’t have a traditional silicone-feel, and I didn’t notice the product pilling on my skin, either, which is something that may happen with silicone-based primers. After reading the ingredient list, it looks like De-Slick uses a clay-based ingredient (Magnesium Aluminum Silicate) to help absorb the oilies. It feels thick when you squeeze it out, but it applies smoothly, evenly, and feels incredibly lightweight. One problem I had with application, though, was the product dries down pretty quick, so I’d advise working in small areas, rather than the whole face at once.

Even though I like it best as a primer, you can use it over makeup for touch-ups throughout the day, if you need to. It’s kind of cool that you can do that without smearing your makeup all over the place. I do find it’s better on places without color product (e.g. cheeks), but it’s pretty workable as a touch-up product. Personally, I’d opt for a powder for touch-ups, just because this tube is pretty small and you shouldn’t need much touching up if you use this in the AM.

De-Slick in a Tube works well to provide a smoother, silkier surface for applying your makeup, and I definitely felt like I got better, longer wear out of my foundation as I went on past hour eight–though I am more normal-to-dry with just a little oiliness towards the very, very end of the day on my T-zone. De-Slick definitely made my T-zone less noticeably oily (though still somewhat) at the end of the day. I’d say that instead of being noticeably oily after eight hours, I didn’t notice any oiliness until after twelve hours.

It is pricier than I’d expect from Urban Decay–at least for the amount you get. For reference, Smashbox Photofinish Primer is $36/1 oz., Make Up For Ever HD Primer is $32/1.01 oz., and Korres is $28/1.01 oz. For $28, you’re only getting 0.67 oz. — not totally dismal, but it’s noticeably less than other high-end brands.  I find I use just as much product with De-Slick in a Tube as I would with other primers, so I really would have liked to see this better priced or the quantity bumped up to a full ounce.

Oh, and psst, Smashbox Anti-Shine is $27/1.01 oz. and the ingredients are very much the same (but it does have parabens).  I haven’t tried it myself, but now I’m curious about it, since you’ll get 0.33 oz. more for a $1 less.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you have particularly oily skin, De-Slick in a Tube makes a great mattifying gel-based primer that will help keep the oilies at bay for a few hours longer than without. Those with drier skin may want to avoid this primer, as the matte finish may accentuate dryness.

Availability: Urban Decay (Sephora in May)

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Monday, April 12th, 2010

Chanel Super Lipstick
Chanel Super Rouge Allure Lipstick

Go Pretty in Pink with Chanel

Just in time for summer, Chanel’s Les Pop-Up de Chanel Collection (which is now starting to pop-up–pardon the pun–in stores) introduces two new and limited edition shades of Rouge Allure LipstickSuper (rose) and Genial (coral). When I visited my local Chanel counter, Darling was also listed. Rouge Allure Lipsticks retail for $30 a pop. I picked up both Genial and Darling last week but I’ll show you those later this week–not to worry! :)

Super is a brightened pink subtly splashed with fuchsia with just a subtle blue-base to it–normally blue-based pinks can make me look a little corpse-ish, but this one has just enough to give it a cool edge (which also helps make my teeth look a bit whiter!). It has a naturally glossy sheen and semi-opaque color coverage. It looks pretty solid on my lips when pictured from a distance, but you’ll notice in the close-up that you can still see my lil’ lip beauty mark!

When I first swatched this on my arm, it seemed really vibrant and almost neon, but on lips it’s a lot more wearable. I think on more pigmented lips, this might read a stronger red-pink than as light as it is on my lips, and for those with very un-pigmented lips, I imagine you will find this looks a little brighter (more true-to-skin-swatch).

It’s a cute, perfect-for-summer shade with the fabulous Rouge Allure formula–smooth, moisturizing, and wears for a nice four to five hours. It’s almost a must-have, but it’s not quite there for me; perhaps if it was more opaque, I’d be totally loving it. But hey, it almost matches Riviera, so matching lips and nails… could be cute!

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

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

Recommendation:  If you’ve always wanted a bright pink in Chanel’s Rouge Allure formula, you should definitely check this shade out.  If you’re looking for a totally opaque bright pink, this isn’t quite there.

Availability: May 2010

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