Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Chanel Les Khakis de Chanel Collection
Nail Lacquers: Khaki Brun, Khaki Rose, Khaki Vert

Fashion’s Night Out with Chanel

In honor of Fashion’s Night Out, Chanel has put together Les Khakis de Chanel, a collection featuring a trio of nail lacquers. These will be available on September 10th at chanel.com, Chanel boutiques, and select department store counters.  Each shade retails for $25.00.

Edited @ 2:42pm:  Added comparison photos of Khaki Vert against Sew Psyched, because I don’t think they’re dupes, but I’ve had a lot of questions asking if they are!  Pics or shut up, right?  I like Sew Psyched, too, but they are different enough on me that I wouldn’t call ‘em dupes.

  • Khaki Brun is a deep olive green-tinged brown. It’s a rather murky brown with just this touch of green to it; it’s distinctly brown but in natural light, the olive tones are pulled out more. Just two coats.
  • Khaki Rose is a rose-tinged medium-dark brown. It has such a subtle rosiness to it that it’s almost not there, but yet you can’t say it’s not, because there’s something about how the rose warms up the brown. Two coats.
  • Khaki Vert is a grayish-cast medium green. Not really murky, but it’s not bright or happy either; a rather neutral green, I’d say. It’s not quite camo green, because it doesn’t have strong yellow or live undertones. Two coats.  I don’t think this is really similar to Essie’s Sew Psyched–this is much greener, while Sew Psyched pulls almost blue/teal in comparison.

The formula on these was a bit thicker than usual, but it didn’t make for difficult application–quite the opposite!  Application was nearly flawless with each coat being incredibly pigmented.  One coat would have almost been enough on each one, but two coats created that smooth, opaque look.  I always hate how these end up being B+ products, which is really due to the price, not the quality of the product (which is excellent).

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

RECOMMENDATION: All three had fantastic pigmentation and applied flawlessly, so if a color catches your eye and you don’t mind the price tag of Chanel, I definitely recommend trying it out.

AVAILABILITY: September 10th @ chanel.com

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Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Velvet Creamy Lip Color
Creamy Lip Color: Black Mahogany, Black Cherry

Black Velvet with that Slow Southern Style…

Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection is a surprising mix of colors from the brand–it’s very classic in a dark, sultry kind of way. It’s not what I’d expect from Bobbi Brown, yet it’s exactly in line with the brand’s image. There are two new shades of the Creamy Lip Color ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.): Black Cherry (deep red wine) and Black Mahogany (black brown).

  • Black Cherry is a darkened red-plum with a glossy finish. It has a very juicy look and feel to it; it’s not quite opaque, but it definitely packs a punch. This is my favorite lip color out of the four new lip colors I tried from the Black Velvet collection.
  • Black Mahogany is a blackened brown with a glossy finish. It’s semi-opaque, and it has a tendency to look like part-gloss, part-lip stain, because it looks like a bold, opaque color, but it’s not quite there.

The Creamy Lip Color formula is moisturizing without sliding off in an hour–I usually get three to four hours of wear, but these darker shades seem to pull closer to four to five hours, and I did find Black Cherry left a residual stain behind.  This formula makes lips look a little fuller from the glossiness and “wet” finish.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have lips on the drier side, this is a nice formula that allows you to wear lipstick without emphasizing dryness.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Guerlain Gwen Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Gwen Rouge G Lipstick

Fall Lipstick: Guerlain’s Gwen

Guerlain Gwen (69) Rouge G Lipstick ($46.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a deepened ruby red with a glossy sheen and nearly imperceptible micro-shimmer.  It’s opaque, and like many Rouge Gs, wears incredibly well–my lips still looked scarlet after drinking a full Starbucks, and the color continued on like a champ for about six hours before gradually fading.  It’s moisturizing without being heavy or slippery; it’s creamy but not slick.  It applies like a dream–even color, smooth texture–and feels lightweight.

I think you’ve probably seen me profess my love for Rouge G Lipsticks often enough on the blog.  It has and continues to be one of my favorite lipstick formulas, even if it comes at a price.  All Rouge Gs are scented with a rather perfume-y mix, but I’ve never noticed it linger and only detect it when I smell the tube itself.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If your wallet doesn’t scream and run far, far away from you, Guerlain Rouge Gs have always been worth the indulgence for me.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Sunday, August 29th, 2010


Chanel Eyeliner: Marine, Jade

Swatched:  Chanel Marine & Jade

Chanel Long Lasting Eyeliner ($28.00 for 0.01 oz.) are budgeproof, smudgeproof, and waterproof automatic twist-up eyeliners. I reviewed this product initially with Cassis Eyeliner, which was a plummy shade. I have nothing new to say — these still wear amazingly without migrating or fading during the day. These are just two more shades swatched and tested for your viewing pleasure.

  • Marine (30) is a navy blue with silver shimmer with a darker blackened navy blue base. It’s surprisingly opaque in just one stroke.
  • Jade (50) is a lightened greenish teal with silver sheen. This one doesn’t have the heavier shimmer that Marine has–much more of a sheen. This is gorgeous with brown eyes.

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

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

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Friday, August 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Precision Ink

A Tale of Twin Liners

Illamasqua Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner (£16.50 for 0.06 oz.) is a new eyeliner launching with Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness collection for fall. It’s a long-wearing and waterproof liner that should dry quickly.

It may look familiar. In fact, it may look very familiar. Illamasqua’s Precision Ink and MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliners are exactly the same. Every part of the packaging is the same, from the bottom to the inside to the formula itself. MAC has sticker labels on the bottom, while Illamasqua has the label on the side of the eyeliner–which reveals a bit of an inset, and after peeling back the MAC label, the MAC liner has it, too.

Illamasqua has two shades (at least for now): Abyss, which is a rich black, and Alchemy, which is a metallic gold. (The MAC counterparts would be On the Hunt and Pure Show, for reference.) The shades are exactly the same as far as I can tell. There is no discernible difference, and I swatched both gold shades on my hand and kept them there for about 36 hours–I wanted to see them in all different lighting.  If there is any difference between them, I could not detect a single one.

This is a very easy review, because I’ve done it before: they are as long-wearing as they claim to be. They won’t smudge, budge, flake, or migrate whatsoever once they’re dry, though I find that drying time is around twenty to thirty seconds (not super fast, not agonizingly long). It is water-resistant, and it flakes off when you put makeup remover on it.

Whenever two brands, particularly such well-known brands as these, come out with exactly the same product, not just similar colors (which you could simply say are coincidence or going with the trends), I wonder what went on. I don’t know much about manufacturing and the behind-the-scenes aspect of beauty product creation, so I don’t have any insider knowledge to provide for you. My first experience with it was with all of the lip stain markers that released in the earlier half of this year–it seemed like every brand was putting out some kind of lip stain marker. Then MAC and Orly’s polish similarities, and now this… It just makes you wonder.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Just depends on which brand you prefer, I’d say… It’s a very nice long-wearing liquid eyeliner that’s easier to use than your typical liquid eyeliner.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010
Nail Lacquers: Concubine, Imperial Flower, Earthly Harmony, Ming Blue, Jade Dragon, Rain of Flowers

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010 Review, Photos, Swatches

Wait, you thought it was JUST Fabulous Felines today? You must be new to MAC ;) Indeed, MAC had a short and sweet launch of six nail lacquers (which might account for why there were none in Fabulous Felines!), all of which are Asian-inspired. nail expert Jin Soon was inspired by the “Forbidden City,” and she created shades inspired by the sculptures, architecture, fabrics, and decorative papers of Imperial China. Each shade has “pearl essences for subtle dimension.”

All of these need a top coat (but how many of us go sans top coat anyway?!), because they dry to a rather flat finish–a little shiny but not at all glossy; I used MAC’s Overlacquer top coat on all of these. The formula was on the thinner side overall, but the majority of shades were very rich in pigmentation. Having only purchased these this morning, I haven’t exactly been able to wear these long term, but I did notice that Jade Dragon and Rain of Flowers are shades that may stain (for sure Jade Dragon).

You can check out official information and promotional imagery as well.

Nail Lacquer ($13.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Concubine is a darkened red with ruby and scarlet shimmer flecks. I used two coats in the swatching, but there’s still a bit of nail line showing, so a third coat would probably be best. It’s pretty, but if you already have a lot of shimmered reds, you could easily skip this shade.
  • Imperial Flower is a brightened medium orange with flecks of gold and orange shimmer. This is one of my favorites out of the launch, because it practically glows on nails. It is similar to China Glaze’s Orange Pacific, though Orange Pacific has more obvious shimmer. Just two coats — it was nearly opaque in one coat.
  • Earthly Harmony is this concrete greige taupe shade. It is a difficult shade to describe! It has faint flecks of yellowed gold shimmer. I needed two coats here, and this is the kind of shade that made me think of Chanel’s Particuliere–but it’s not a dupe–just in that same vein of ugly shades that are rather pretty. I found the formula of this one to be on the watery side, and it made it a little harder to apply.
  • Ming Blue is a brightened medium-dark ocean blue with softer blue shimmer. I used just two coats in swatches, and there’s my nail line faintly visible, but a third coat would definitely eliminate that. I didn’t see any immediate staining, but I could see this staining after a few days of wear.
  • Jade Dragon is a deep forest green with flecks of green-teal shimmer. It’s quite pigmented and applied the nicest out of the bunch (but I only found Earthly Harmony troublesome)–two coats was perfect. This one, however, stained my nails just during the time I swatched it.
  • Rain of Flowers is a deep, darkened black-purple base with flecks of violet shimmer. Two coats and I had opaque results, and I suspect this one might stain a little bit as well. I originally thought it might be similar to Illamasqua’s Baptiste or NARS Purple Rain, but it’s a lot more violet and less fuchsia.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I like ‘em, and some shades do seem different than the norm.  It’s a nice collection overall, and I haven’t had any issues with MAC polishes myself!

AVAILABILITY: MAC

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