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  • Clarins15% off with code FIFTEEN, ends 8/23.
  • Lancome20% off with code FRIENDS, ends 8/27.
  • Neiman MarcusGet up to a $300 gift card with your select purchase of $500+ (beauty/fragrance included) with code NMAUG, ends 8/23.

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Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection
Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection ($175 for 10×0.21 oz.) is a limited edition set housed in a snake print metal tin. It contains these ten Aqua Creams: #1 Anthracite (silvery charcoal shimmer), #2 Steel (silver gray shimmer), #4 Snow (white pearl shimmer), #11 Gold (yellow gold shimmer), #12 Golden Copper (soft copper shimmer), #13 Warm Beige (champagne shimmer), #14 Satin Brown (warm brown shimmer), #15 Taupe (taupe brown shimmer), #16 Pink Beige (pinky beige shimmer), and #17 Plum (burgundy plum shimmer). It also includes #5N Brush. All of these products are available individually; each Aqua Cream retails for $22 and the #5N Brush is also $22. The set may retail for $175, which is a chunk of change to lay down, but the products inside would cost you $242 if you purchased them separately. The shades include in the collection are safe for eyes and cheeks (but not lips).

  • #1 Anthracite is a dark, charcoal gray with a silverish sheen. It has more of a brown base, which is more apparent when you use it as a wash. It’s similar to Bobbi Brown Gunmetal, Estee Lauder Black Chrome (less frosted), and Urban Decay Gunmetal (slightly cooler toned).
  • #2 Steel is a gray-tinted taupe brown with hints of warmth. It’s similar to Giorgio Armani #4.
  • #4 Snow is a bright frosted white. It’s not really cool-toned, but it isn’t overly warm (no yellow in it). It’s whiter and brighter than MAC Forgery. It is similar to Inglot #453.
  • #11 Gold is a medium-dark molten gold with a metallic finish. When it’s sheered out, it looks more like your usual yellow gold, but if you build it up, the darkness in the base gives it that molten look. I couldn’t think of similar shades for this particular hue of gold.
  • #12 Golden Copper is a rich copper with a heavy metallic sheen. Being a copper. it has a reddish orange tone to it, so it tends to suit warmer complexions more than cooler ones. It is similar to several shades: theBalm Meep Meep, Urban Decay Baked, MAC Amber Lights, and Giorgio Armani Gold Blitz.
  • #13 Warm Beige is a subtly warmed-over medium-dark beige. It’s frosted enough that it will add a fair amount of shimmer to any eyeshadows you apply over it, so it’s not my favorite neutral base color. It is really pretty as a wash of color, though. MAC Sweet Satisfaction is a bit browner.
  • #14 Satin Brown is a deep burnished brown with hints of copper. theBalm Tres Moi is similar in color but not as deep. Le Metier de Beaute Bordeaux is redder. MAC Antiqued is browner.
  • #15 Taupe dark chocolaty bronze with a lighter bronze sheen. It’s a bit similar to Bare Escentuals A-Ha and Urban Decay Lost.
  • #16 Pink Beige is a light-medium rosy pink with a hint of beige to neutralize it. It has a metallic-frost finish. It’s darker than shades like Urban Decay Sin. It’s pinker than Giorgio Armani #8.
  • #17 Plum is a reddened plum with red-brown undertones. It has a fairly metallic finish when it’s used more heavily. It reminded me of MAC Star Violet and Inglot #452.

I wish they had included a few of their brighter Aqua Creams in the kit; it’s a very neutral set overall, and it seems to align with their Wild & Chic theme, but I can’t help but feel like they chould have included at least one real pop of color (like #22 Emerald Green). Otherwise, these swatched and felt like the Aqua Creams I’ve reviewed individually.  None of my Aqua Creams have dried out since I’ve had them (and I’ve had 5-10 of them since they originally launched).  They come in plastic containers, which is nice for the lightweight and portability that provides.

Aqua Creams are creamy to the touch and apply easily with a flat, firm-bristled brush (like the included #5N, though mine was a bit frayed). They dry down quickly and stay put all day (12 hours) on the eyes. On cheeks, they work well and wear for eight hours, but you may find that some of the frostier finishes tend to accentuate pores if you use too much. None of these are listed as lip safe, and my experience in the past has been that these will wear for four to six hours, some staining the lips, but they get to be drying after a couple of hours.

P.S. — Sephora has 20% off with code VIBDREAM for VIBs, expires 11/14.

Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection


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Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Android Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “charcoal with multi-colored shimmer.” It’s a cool color, because it changes depending on the angle and lighting situation. Mostly, it’s a dark, blue-toned charcoal gray base with a bluish-teal flash and multi-colored sparkle. The only shade similar to the general look and feel (and what you see in the swatch) but did not have the multi-colored shimmer of Android was Urban Decay Hijack, which is lighter and less intense.

Pure Pigments are a multi-purpose product that can be used on eyes, cheeks, face, or body (or even hair/nails). Illamasqua says that they can be applied dry or wet (“for bolder color payoff”), but I wouldn’t recommend using them dry. Android applies better dry than some shades, though, but it is very, very sheer and lacks the multi-dimensional shimmer effect. It appears almost brownish-gray with a subtle sheen. I had good luck with this particular shade staying put simply used wet and applied onto the lid, though it started to crease after five hours. I would typically use this with MAC’s Mixing Medium (or an adhesive base of your choice), which would help it bind and adhere and still have the intense look of the damp swatch.

Illamasqua Pure Pigment Android

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick
Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick

Bobbi brown Party Shimmer Brick ($40.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a limited edition highlighter for the holidays that uses a combination of gold and “silver.” Though the right side of the compact is certainly not the gold we typically think of, it’s not exactly silver–more like a cool-toned gold.

The left side is a true yellow gold with a shimmer-sheen. I couldn’t think of other highlighters that were similar in color, though there are likely half a dozen eyeshadows! It has good intensity for a highlighter; you can build-it up if you really wanted something more opaque, but it’s soft and blendable. Though the finish isn’t overly metallic, it does emphasize pores (or skin unevenness) a bit. The right side is a more like a cool-toned white with a neutral yellow shimmer-sheen, so it comes off as this cool-toned white gold. It has a more metallic finish than the yellowy side, which is a finish that tends to emphasize pores (and this does do so moderately).

Overall, it’s as frosted as most Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks are.  It’s not unlike previous iterations, so for those who are fans of Shimmer Bricks (and I know there are a number of you!), it’s par for the course.  They can be used together or separately, which is nice–especially because the powder is halved, rather than split into four or five strips of colors, so you can actually just use one shade at a time.  The wear of this is good; it wore for seven hours well, and then at the eight hour mark, it was visibly diminished but still lingering.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Party

An Introduction to L’Artisan Parfumeur

By Chelsea Nusbaum, Fragrance Contributor

Chelsea grew up in Los Osos, California, which is a small coastal town. She completed her undergraduate degree in Literature/Writing at University of California, San Diego. She recently completed her master’s degree in Rhetoric and Professional and Technical Writing. Chelsea currently works as a proposal editor for a local defense company. She loves to freelance and edit, but between her full-time job and awesome pets, what little time she has left she devotes to fragrance!

An Introduction to L’Artisan Parfumeur

French perfume house L’Artisan has turned out everything from cult classics like Dzing! to critical darling Timbuktu. I’ve sampled most of their fragrances, I own two bottles, and my to-buy list contains another three. Bertrand Duchaufour is the current nose. Two members of his travel-inspired series: Dzongkha and Traversee du Bosphore, wowed me. A turkish delight note is Traversée du Bosphore’s big selling point, but it’s the curious tulip note that piqued my interest and sent me down the rabbit hole of perfumes interpreting what is essentially an odorless flower. Dzongkha marries two of my favorite notes, leather and iris. It is a contemplative fragrance that smells like nothing else. And I’ve never loved an opening the way I love Dzing!’s burst of vanilla and cardboard. And when the horse barn smells of hay, leather, and sawdust chime in, I love it even more. Like Traversee de Bosphore and Dzongkha. All three are on my to-buy list.

L’Artisan has something for everyone (or, if you’re a perfumista, everything for someone). There’s the conventionally pretty candied violets of Verte Violette and the flamboyantly pretty Drôle de Rose. Drôle de Rose was my first L’Artisan purchase and my second niche fragrance acquisition, marking the time I became seriously interested in perfume. I love this pink juice with its giddy burst of violets, roses, and powder, but it can get tedious as the day wears on. What was a fun choice in the bright hustle of the morning can set my teeth on edge by 3:00.

I get the most mileage out of The pour un Été, a fragrance I didn’t have much patience for the first time I sniffed it. It was too sheer–I felt I couldn’t get a proper whiff and that it was too literally tea, anyway. I’m glad I revisited it; it’s as close as I’ll ever get to a signature scent. The pour un Été is a soft, sweet dream of summer with bitter green tea dregs to keep it interesting. The jasmine is soft and round, without the indolic, smothering sweetness that usually puts me off of jasmine fragrances. The pour un Été lifts my spirits at the office and carries me through the weekend. It is it comforting in the winter and refreshing in the summer.

My only quarrel is with Havana Vanille. With its smooth duet of vanilla and tobacco, Havana Vanille would full-bottle-worthy if it didn’t turn to banana and root beer on me. Also a member of Duchaufour’s travel series, he composed this fragrance in 2009 as an homage to Cuba. Timbuktu I can appreciate but wouldn’t wear. Smokey isn’t my thing, even when it’s as well-executed as it is in Timbuktu.

L’Artisan values creativity. They can release something as niche as Poivre Piquant, a wan floral that overdosed on pepper, or as amiable as La Chasse aux Papillons, a creamy white floral with droves of fans. Fragrances like Mûre et Musc (an unlikely partnership of berries and musk) set trends, and fragrances like Premier Figuier (a tree branch laden with ripe figs) perfected them. Because most of the line’s fragrances are offered only as eau de toilettes, there’s a transparency that pervades even the cream-drenched spices of Safran Troublant and the huge, earthy patchouli note that opens Patchouli Patch. It’s a signature that, to my mind, marks a perfume as a L’Artisan.

L’Artisan enjoys wide distribution for a niche brand, probably due to its mainstream tendencies. Its price point is higher than what you can expect from any given fragrance Sephora offers, but not unreasonably so. A 50 ml bottle typically retails for $95, a 100 ml for $145. Decants are of course available at The Perfumed Court and The Posh Peasant. I have personally purchased from Beautyhabit and Luckyscent and can recommend them highly. Aedes, Beautycafe, Blue Mercury, and Four Seasons are other reputable carriers of the L’Artisan line. Barney’s and Neiman Marcus are two department stores that carry the line, and some Nordstrom stores do, too.

Will you try this line? Have you tried it? Share your experiences in the comments!

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