Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Guerlain Greta Le Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Greta Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick

Guerlain Greta Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a rich, intense shade of blue-based red. Where Geisha has an orange tone to it, Greta is its counterpart–blue-based. Even though I’m warm-toned, I always find myself drawn to blue-based reds. I just find they’re more flattering on me (maybe I’m wrong, but if you’re going to wear red, you have to feel confident, so I’m sticking with my blue-based reds!).

Greta is a gorgeous shade of solid, completely opaque slightly cool-toned red. It’s quite the stunning shade, and it’s perfect for the upcoming holiday season. It’s creamy, silky, and moisturizing on lips. It wears well for hours, and it comes off only minimally through eating/drinking, particularly because it is so rich in pigment. There’s a slight glossy sheen to it with microshimmer that gives it that subtle sparkle. One of my favorite shades of Rouge G so far!

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

See swatches and lip swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection

Guerlain Bal de Nuit Eyeshadow Quad ($58.00) is the latest limited edition palette to be launched with the Imperiale Holiday Collection this October.

This is a stunning, incredibly elegant combination of classic shades that are perfect for year-round, but the shimmer and sparkle make it particularly fitting for the holiday season. This is not necessarily the most original eyeshadow quad of all time–it’s, at the very least, four shades of neutral-toned eyeshadows.

It includes four shades: a soft, sparkling gold-tinged white; a peachy-pink champagne with a frosty finish; a neutral-cool dark taupe brown with brighter bronze shimmer; and a warm-toned chocolate bronze with gold shimmer. All four shades have good color pigmentation, and as is standard with Guerlain eyeshadows, they feel silky smooth and apply like butter. They’re very blendable, and all four shadows work extremely well together. (Sometimes you’ll get a beautiful quad, but it’s not so easy to work with on its own.)

For me, this is just an easy, no-brainer eyeshadow quad that looks good, works well, and great for travel. I can just use the lightest two shades for a quick swipe of lid color, or I can use the two darker colors to add depth to the crease or go for more of a smoky eye. The quality is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Guerlain, so overall, I’m pleased.

It’s pricey, but as far as value goes? These eyeshadows are the same price, by the ounce, as MAC eyeshadows are. This eyeshadow quad contains roughly 6.7 oz. of eyeshadow, which is pretty good for a palette. With Guerlain, you do get the velvety soft case and the luxe, slighty hefty gold-esque packaging. It just all requires more of an initial investment than smaller-sized MAC eyeshadows.

Bottom line: This is a great, easy-to-use eyeshadow quad that has soft, silky colors that are natural and suitable to many. It’s practical and looks elegant while the shimmer is sophisticated.

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

Recommendation: If you’re in the market for a travel-worthy eyeshadow quad or a great set of neutrals, Guerlain’s latest just might work.

Availability: October 2009

See photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, October 5th, 2009


Animated

L’Oreal HIP Matte Eyeshadow Duos ($9.99) are a more budget-friendly way of obtaining brighter, more pigmented eyeshadows. Each contains two shades of matte eyeshadows with a total weight of 0.08 oz. L’Oreal currently has five different matte eyeshadow duos available: Animated, Dashing, Perky, Poppy, and Striking.

  • Animated contains a chalky grayish-white and a periwinkle blue.
  • Perky contains a medium bright grassy green and a grayish-black.

I don’t love the matte eyeshadow duos. They’re okay–about average–but they’re not stellar. Since they’re matte, I do expect some chalkiness when I swatch, which is always minimized when you’re actually applying them with a brush. Nonetheless, the whitish side of Animated definitely looked and felt chalky and almost garish. I did love the shade of periwinkle blue in Animated, though–not a shade you see often, period. Perky has a lovely shade of green that doesn’t feel chalky or powdery, but the darker grayish-black shade has a lot of drag and just doesn’t have a great texture. So in the end, each duo only has one good shade–the other half is just so-so.

For comparison, a MAC eyeshadow contains 0.05 oz. of product and retails for $14.50 each. You get 0.03 oz. more and pay $9.99 a pop. A lot of mass retailer brands, like L’Oreal HIP, do go on sale on a frequent basis, so when they’re on sale, I’d be more willing to purchase these. At full price, I feel like it’s more than I want to pay for L’Oreal. I do consider the HIP line to be one of the better pigmented eyeshadow lines available at mass. I just wish you could swatch before you bought!

Bottom line: I wouldn’t pay full price ($9.99) for either of these duos, and I’d only really recommend Animated for the periwinkle blue, just because I don’t see that color in a lot of other lines. I love that L’Oreal is bringing matte color to the forefront, and I think the price point is affordable for many, particularly if they’re on sale.

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you can catch L’Oreal’s H.I.P. line on sale, they’re worth trying. Paying full price on the other hand…

Availability: Drugstores/Mass Retailers

See photos and swatches…  Continue reading →

Monday, October 5th, 2009


Chanel Mandarin Rouge Allure Laque

Chanel Mandarin Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) is the last shade in our seven days of Chanel Rouge Allure Laque feature.

Mandarin is a deep, reddish coral. It’s very, very deep — it’s not exactly the summer coral that comes to mind when I’m thinking about coral lip color. It’s an orange-red base with lighter, coppery orange shimmer. It’s incredibly opaque and goes on full coverage in one layer. It has the same glossy sheen as the other shades, and it has the amazing staying power of intense shades like Dragon. It lasts through hours of talking, eating, and drinking, with only the glossy sheen fading, but the color staying true. Even though these are long-wearing, they don’t dry out lips, but actually keep them fairly hydrated. Mandarin is a deeper, more intense and redder version of Dynastie.

Since I don’t want to just re-write what I say about the formula (since it is the same–if there are any variations, you can be sure I’ll call them out), here’s a quick bullet-point summary.

Pros

  • Satiny, creamy lip color that hydrates
  • Opaque color in one layer–very pigmented
  • Lasts for hours and even through eating/drinking
  • Glossy sheen
  • Looks like a lipstick AND a gloss
  • Easy to travel with
  • Sleek packaging

Cons

  • Pricey at $32 each

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like a pop of bright pink on your lips, mandarin has you covered!

Availability: Nordstrom

See more swatchesContinue reading →

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Benefit Georgia Face Powder ($28.00 for 0.4 oz.) is a pale, warm-toned peachy pressed powder. Benefit describes it as, “Our “just peachy” face powder leaves your complexion warm and vibrant. Georgia is a dream…it’s peaches and cream!”

Georgia is best used as a sheer, all-over powder on light to medium skin-tones. I think darker skin tones will find this can go on ashy or so sheer they’re not sure they’ve put anything on. It’s really good for brightening and warming up lighter skin tones, so it’s actually a very product for barely-there makeup days. When I’m in a rush, this is something I can easily dust on to make my face look a little more alive and less likely I only slept four hours the night before.

I think only the lightest of skin tones will find this useful as a blusher, just because the color is both sheer and pale. In my swatch, there’s only a hint of product that shows up, so you can see that my NC25/30 skin tone starts to get close to the end of the spectrum for this product’s usefulness. I also think that some people go into purchasing this product expecting to use it as a blusher, and then find themselves disappointed by its sheerness. I do like it as an all-over face powder, but it does have shimmer in it, so if you don’t want shimmer all over your face, this isn’t the best choice in all-over powders for you.

Additionally, this can be used as a highlighter on cheeks alone, too. It’s a more versatile product than you’d think, but I think a lot of us just get trapped into expecting a blush and not getting it. Georgia also feels a bit powdery/chalky, which is yet another reason I think it’s not a workable product on darker skin tones. I find this best applies with a stippling brush (like MAC’s 187) all over the face for a light, warmed up look without too much shimmer or product.

By the ounce, Benefit Face Powders/Blush colors are actually cheaper than MAC! Benefit comes in at $70.00/oz. while MAC is $88.10/oz. Benefit Face Powders/Blushes are actually some of the most bang-for-your-buck in the high-end department. The packaging is cute and exactly what I’d expect out of Benefit. Georgia actually does have a light peach scent to it, though it’s not something I notice while wearing the product–only when I sniff the product itself.

Bottom line: It’s not replacing any products I’m already using, and I’d probably be more apt to use it if it provided more of a peachy blush color than an all-over color.  I prefer other highlighters and all-over powders with setting qualities, as well.  It’s a quality product, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s best used as an easy all-over powder.  I think if that’s what you’re looking for, you’d enjoy this product.  For others, this is nice, but it isn’t a must-have.

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a sheer, warm-toned all-over powder and you’re light to medium in skintone, this might work for you.

Availability: BenefitCosmetics.com

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Estee Lauder’s Pure White Linen Pink Coral ($72.00 for 3.4 oz.) is the newest addition to the White Linen perfume franchise. Pure White Linen emerged originally, and then a derivation thereof in Pure White Linen Light Breeze. In June, Pure White Linen Pink Coral joined the family.

Composition

  • Top Notes: Apple Blossom, Clear Aldehydes, Waterfruits, Pink Peppercorns, Chinese Berry Mist
  • Middle Notes: Jasmine, Pink Peony, Camellia Flower, Cherry Blossom, Sweet Pea, Honeysuckle
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Heliotrope, Sandalwood

I had never taken a sniff of the original White Linen scent, because I come from a family that’s terribly irritated (nose-wise) from fragrances. Growing up, perfume was completely off-limits, and there’s no real way to sneak wearing perfume when you have a bunch of sensitive noses around the house! (Trust me, I tried a few times… spraying outside, but they’d know when I came home with the scent still lingering.)

Perfume was always this unattainable product category that I was like, “I can’t wait until I move out of the house so I can wear perfume everyday!” Turns out, unfortunately for me, that a lot of perfumes tickle my nose in rather…unpleasant way, so I actually wear very light scents when I do wear them, and I’d say only a few times a week at that.

Estee Lauder describes this scent as a soft floral, “The tender fragrance to live in all year long. It sweeps over the senses, gentle as the ocean at dawn in waves of sea-kissed Apple Blossoms, Waterfruits, Sweet Peas and Camellias blushed with Honeysuckle and Sandalwood. You’ll love how you feel in Pure White Linen Pink Coral.”

The scent of Pure White Linen Pink Coral is that of a lightweight, softly sweetened floral. It feels young, not quite as sophisticated as the other scents in the franchise, and it just has that feel like they were going for a younger demographic. It opens with the crispness of green apples and lightness of berries. As it wears, the sweetness of honeysuckle and jasmine start to appear, and gives you a more obvious floral scent. Finally, the dry down is a very tried-and-true combination of vanilla and sandalwood.

I feel like this isn’t a unique scent, but it’s a very wearable scent. It’s light, tame, and all-occasion appropriate. It’s probably more suitable to a subtle summer scent than perhaps fall, but I know others, like me, prefer lighter scents year-round, too. I think if you are, generally, a fan of Estee Lauder scents, you may find this scent too much like a redux and merely milking the White Linen chain than an original creation by the perfume giant. I like it, but it doesn’t grab me enough at the open nor at the end, so it’s not something I’ll personally be wearing often.

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: For a soft, flirty sweetened floral, Estee Lauder may have your poison!

Availability: EsteeLauder.com