Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara ($28.00) is the latest variation on the famous Dior DiorShow Mascara. It seems like it’s exclusively available at Sephora for the time being, and Sephora describes the new mascara as:

DiorShow Extase provides built-in treatment benefits and high-impact lashes in a single stroke! The spherical-shaped Black Pearl Pigments create a 3D volume effect and the exclusive Metamorphosis Powders expand in size by up to 50% after application. Also, SR38 Patented Ceramid brings additional care, reconstructing damaged lashes and promoting stronger and fuller lashes. The Extase mascara features a “Tiered Brush” that is inspired by the “tiered” couture dresses created by the House of Dior. The brush is designed for performance and contains an Exclusive Duo of Fibers: The Black Elastomer Fibers brush out and define the lashes for panoramic fringe and the Gold Nylon Fibers hold and deposit formula, generously coating each lash for outstanding volume.

Whenever I review a mascara, I look to see what exactly the mascara is claiming to do, because I find that like some anti-aging products, mascara is a product type that is often more marketing than results.   Extase is designed to volumize and thicken lashes while defining them.

Extase delivers length best – it’s exceptionally good at providing you with instantly longer lashes, even with just one light coat of the mascara. That’s really the part that I noticed first. It adds some volume, but I wouldn’t label this a volumizing mascara. My lashes really looked longer, but not so feathery (as my lashes tend to look with a more volumizing mascara). As far as thickening goes, it thickens well for a such a multi-tasking mascara. I think what stands out about this mascara is the lengthening aspect of it; everything else is decent, but it’s hard to separate the volume, thickness, etc. from the dramatic increase in length. The color of the mascara is definitely a deep black; I’d say Chanel Exceptionnel and MAC Plushlash are slightly richer, but they’re all in the same ballpark. I don’t have any issues with the pigmentation–it’s black enough for me.

It does a good job of defining lashes, but to a point, because the mascara will clump up on you if you’re not careful. The brush often has excess mascara on it, so removing excess certainly helps, and you can get a good two or three coats of mascara with very minimal clumping. I always recommend using a mascara comb regardless of the mascara you’re using, just because it helps separate and define lashes. I wouldn’t say this is perfectly clump-free, but I’d say it’s a relatively clump-free mascara. If you like to get multiple coats on, just follow my aforementioned tips for a better application.

I’ve been wearing Extase for over a week now, so you can see it used in a variety of looks here in addition to the comparison photos included in the review.  The original DiorShow gave me good length, some thickening and volumizing, and looked good overall, but it flaked and smudged on me within an hour, so it was a no-go. I am so pleased to report that Extase doesn’t flake, budge, or smudge at all, even with twelve hours of wear. It also holds a curl like nobody’s business!

The brush has a sort of “swirled” look to it, and even though they mentioned black and gold fibers, it all looked black to me, so it was difficult to assess that particular aspect of it. The brush didn’t seem too large, though it felt a little long. It takes an application or two to find the right method for application, but it didn’t require much thought or effort to get good results.

OVERALL, I did enjoy the way Dior DiorShow Extase made my lashes look. It’s particularly lovely for lengthening lashes, even the stubbier ones I have on the outer lash line, and does a decent job everywhere else to make it one of the better multi-tasking mascaras I’ve tried. I’d say it’s very comparable to Chanel Exceptionnel but clumps less (but doesn’t thicken as well).  Extase is also priced higher than Dior’s other mascaras at $28, so it’s not the most affordable mascara you’ll come across.  Just for reference, DiorShow is $24 and DiorShow Iconic is $27.

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

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

Recommendation: If you like DiorShow and want more length, you may enjoy Extase.

Availability: Sephora

See more photos and comparisons… Continue reading →

Sunday, December 27th, 2009


Laura Mercier Naked Rose Lip Velvet

Laura Mercier Naked Rose Lip Velvet ($22.00) is a brick-brown nude. Like Mocha Rouge, the color is difficult to describe, but it’s most certainly not what I’d think of when I read “Naked Rose.” (I would have expected a pink-y shade, maybe a beige-y pink!)

Lip Velvets are indeed long-wearing liquid lipsticks. They apply with a doe-foot wand applicator and go on extremely pigmented from the get-go. They are, however, more matte in finish (I’d consider it semi-matte, personally), so they do tend to feel dry on lips. What’s unique about the formula is that even though it feels dry, it’s not actually drying. The product just hugs and clings to lips, but it doesn’t actually dry them out as some matte products do.

As I mentioned in my review of Mocha Rouge, I don’t think the formula is that comparable to Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laques. Chanel is more moisturizing, don’t cling as much, and have a very glossy finish. The shade range is also completely different, so you can’t just pick one over the other so easily!

Again, I’d really love to see Laura Mercier expand the range to include more versatile and wearable shades in 2010.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a work-safe, long-wearing lip color, check out Laura Mercier’s Lip Velvets.

Availability: Blue Mercury

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Going Gray?  Chanel Particuliere Nail Lacquer

Last week, I reviewed the majority of Chanel’s Spring collection, which includes three new nail lacquers, but I only reviewed Inattendu and Tendresse and was missing Particuliere ($23.00), which is easily the more interesting shade of the three (Inattendu is a beige-y nude while Tendresse is a soft, milky medium pink).  Chanel describes it simply as grey, which I think is just a little inaccurate.

This is much more of a grayed taupe, because it has definite brown tones to it.  It’s certainly not a rainy gray kind of color, though.  The brown does warm-up the shade, though, and it’s something I could see myself wearing.   It’s dark enough not to be pastel or light or traditionally spring, but it’s not so dark that it makes you feel like fall.  This applied and looked better than the other two shades, though (count me surprised!) — it was very creamy, smooth, and went opaque in two coats.

I’d say that Chanel has made other colors more worthy of the $23 splurge, but I do like this one quite a bit.  (Even for high-end, Chanel’s nail lacquers are quite pricey, particularly compared to brands like Dior.) I imagine OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques is somewhat similar (I don’t own it, so I’m just going off of swatches I’ve seen).

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’re feeling like a splurge, Chanel nail lacquer certainly qualifies as one!

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks

Check out more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Sheer Shine Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Dolce & Gabbana Sheer Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Sheer Shine Lipstick ($30.00) is a glossy, orange-based red. It’s smooth, feels moisturizing, and is richly pigmented. Even though the Shine formula is designed to deliver semi-sheer color, this particular shade definitely gives lips plenty of color. I’d personally consider it an opaque shade that gives full color coverage. It’s like a redder, slightly more tamed version of Fire. Since it’s a Shine lipstick, it doesn’t have the same richness or creamy feeling as The Classic Cream formula, but on the other hand, it has a glossier finish and feels more hydrating once on lips.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Lancome Red Stiletto Lipstick
Lancome Red Stiletto Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Lancome Red Stiletto Lipstick

Lancome Red Stiletto Color Deseign Lipstick ($22.00) is a bold, ruby red with a very faint sheen with an otherwise played down, creamy finish. It’s bright and bold and yet not stop sign red, either. It feels creamy, hugs lips, and provides full color coverage in just one layer. It’s a solid blue-based red that lasts for a good five or six hours before subtly wearing away and leaving behind a red-tinged stain.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Rimmel Temptation Lipstick
Rimmel Temptation Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Rimmel Temptation Lipstick

Rimmel Temptation Lasting Finish Lipstick ($5.19) is a bold, ruby red with subtle red shimmer (very fine!). It’s creamy, opaque, and wears for a good four or five hours. Even when it does fade, it leaves behind a nice stain (as many reds often do), so you could always slick on some lipgloss for a softer red pout later on. As far as drugstore brands go, Rimmel’s lipstick impressed me with its staying power and rich color. It had a sweet scent that felt a little synthetic, and the packaging feels cheaper than what I like, but overall, it was pretty good for $5! (As I mentioned previously, Temptation is Rimmel’s blue-based red, while Alarm is their more orange-based red!)

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →