Monday, January 19th, 2009

Among Guerlain’s Spring Exotic Paradise Collection, they also re-released their single eyeshadows–ten of them. They boast that these are the largest eyeshadows you can find, weighing in at 3.6 grams and priced at $34 each. I’m sure that number means nothing to you, so let’s compare to MAC’s eyeshadow, which is 1.5 grams at $14.50 a pop.

MAC Eyeshadow = $9.67 per gram
Guerlain Eyeshadow = $9.44 per gram

WHAT? How can that be? How can Guerlain be less expensive than MAC? Is the world falling to pieces? So yes, despite quibbling over $34 eyeshadows, you do get more for less on a per-gram-basis. Of course, many of us have dozens of eyeshadows, so the usability factor comes into play. I know that there are only a few eyeshadows that I’ve used so often that I’ve “hit pan” on, so the last thing I need as a selling point is anything being the largest eyeshadow on the market. It doesn’t hurt, though! I would rather get more bang for my buck–I’m certainly not complaining over the size. But I would be satisfied with a smaller price tag and a smaller eyeshadow, too. Enough on price–you’re not looking at Guerlain because it’s cheap–onto the colors!

Eyeshadow Breakdown

Precieux is a frosty white shade–far too white for me to pull off personally.

Charnel is a peachy shade, a color that I don’t feel is given enough due by cosmetic companies. I think it will make a nice highlighter as well as all-over-the-lid wash shade.

Fauve is a dirty strawberry-copper color. I like it, because it’s not a color I’ve seen dozens of times in the past six months.

Cuir is a gorgeous, warm-toned bronzy brown. It has subtle shimmer and it feels smooth and buttery when swatched. I really liked this, but I decided to pass because the Exotic Paradise quad has the most gorgeous brown ever.

Coquin is a soft, low-shimmer, pastel pink. As you can see, it doesn’t give a lot of color on my bare skin. I think it’s a lovely color, and over a good base, I think it would stand out more.

Fleuri is an almost-warm lavender with gold shimmer. It looks really lovely when swatched, and it has one of the best textures of the ten colors. I was all over this one, because it’s unlike other colors I own. If you have MAC’s Lotusland, you have something similar, but without the gold shimmer effect.

Fume is a soft brown-gray. This color may be a little dull or boring to look at, especially sandwiched between Fleuri and Emeraude, but it’s actually a very versatile shade. It’s a good color to own if you don’t already have something similar.

Emeraude is a gorgeous, silky deep olive green with gold sheen and shimmer. It has a lot of green in it, despite being deeper and having olive tones. I love greens, did you expect me to live without this?

Nuit is a smoky gray-black shade. For me, it didn’t swatch as nicely as the others, because it didn’t go on that pigmented, despite looking quite dark in the container. I didn’t find anything unique or standout about this shade, so it’s not on my must-have list.

Indigo is a dark medium blue with subtle sheen and not too much frost in its finish. Unfortunately, MAC completely oversaturated 2008 with this blue shade, so I’m all dark medium blue’d out. Guerlain’s Indigo looks and swatches pretty–nothing wrong with it–but I didn’t need this color so I skipped.

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Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Guerlain’s Exotic Paradise Collection saw the release of four new shades of KissKiss Lipstick and four new shades of Kiss Kiss Maxi Shine Lipstick. All of the lipsticks retail for $30 a pop, which makes them pretty pricey for most of us. To be honest, I liked all of the new shades, but I wouldn’t say any of them are absolute must-haves.

I think the Maxi Shines are the perfect answer to anyone hunting for a subtly pigmented, sheer lipstick that goes on smoothly and gives a nice sheen. Grenadine Shine was particularly lovely for me, just because it is a subtle coral, making it an easy, everyday shade for me to wear. I was thinking Forever Beige would be a nice way to do a more neutral lip that wasn’t nude, but I wasn’t lovin’ how it turned out in my lips, so I’ll probably have to take that one back. On the other hand, Flushy Beige is a really lovely shade of rosy beige, which is incredibly natural-looking when applied but it amps up my natural lip color quite a bit. It makes my lips look slightly puckered, flushed, and subtly pink.

Right now, I’m leaning towards giong back and picking up Corial Passion and Baby Shine. I have some cool pink lipsticks, but they tend to be too cool to wear easily, so Baby Shine might give me a less intense cool pink to wear more often. Corail Passion is coral, and well, I love coral lipsticks–do I need to justify it anymore? ;)

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Friday, January 16th, 2009

Guerlain’s Exotic Paradise Collection featured three stunning shades of KissKiss Gloss ($28.00).  I was just so drawn to the glosses, because they looked stunning (and Guerlain packaging is tops)–most especially together. I have to admit that these colors do remind me more of summery months than they do spring, but whatever, I’ll take pretty colors any day of the year, seasonally appropriate or not!

Pomme du Desir is a springy golden-toned green gloss that goes on pretty sheer, but the green glitter flecks are noticeable.  I find the gloss kind of cools down my lip color when worn alone.  It is similar to MAC’s Springbean lipglass (or was it lustreglass?).

Orange Interdit is actually fairly stunning.  It just has so much multi-colored glitter in the sheer formula.  It reminds me of dazzleglass in that sense.  The photo of the gloss on my lips doesn’t do this gloss justice at all when it comes to just how dazzling the glitter looks.  It’s very fun and OTT in a way, because it is quite glittery.

Cerise Tentation was my least favorite of the three, because it’s a sheer wash of coral-red (which pretty much just adds a little more red tone to my natural lip color) and not quite as much sparkle as the other two.

KissKiss Gloss is scented with Guerlain’s strawberry-rose scent (I think it’s something like this…).  I don’t know, I just remember their Meteorites reminded me of Mr. Bubble (not in a bad way, but it was an interesting connection for me).  The glitter in the gloss does feel a bit gritty once all of the gloss fades (about three hours later for me), but MAC Dazzleglass does the same for me (but doesn’t last as long), so it’s probably not a deterrent for most of you.  I gotta say that pulling out a green gloss can be quite fun, especially when people’s eyes bug out and they go, “GREEN?!”

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Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Guerlain Exotic Paradise Collection is my favorite spring launch so far.  (I admit, NARS’ Heart of Desire Collection looks very promising!)  I’ve seen a fair amount of the spring collections released, and I really fell in love with Guerlain’s presentation, mix of colors, and especially the Exotic Paradise quad ($58.00). Guerlain has some of the best packaging of the higher end brands, because each product is housed in a metal compact/casing. It just feels more luxe than plastic, you know?

The Exotic Paradise Quad comes with four shades of shadow perfect for spring–pastels, but they’re not typical pastels. Trust me when I say the pastel green is *beyond* stunning! The pastel green shade is a vibrant springy green with gold sheen. The peachy shade is a smooth, silky peachy shade. The pastel pink is a rich, cool medium pink that goes on like butter. And the brown shade? Deliciously luxe and smooth with a warm, deep brown base and gold sheen. The brown is actually one of the most stunning shades of brown eyeshadow I’ve seen!

What really stood out to me about this uad is there was a good mix of pastel looks that could be made, but I could also go darker just by adding the brown shade with any of the other colors. The quality of the shadows from the texture to the pigmentation is oh-so-amazing. Each shadow, without exception, went on prettier than appeared, smoothly, and felt like silk. No dreaded chalkiness, no disappointment in color here. In these photos, you’ll notice there’s an overlay of a greenish-gold in the shape of flowers/leaves. This design does disappear after you use your shadows a few times, but it doesn’t matter. The shadows look incredible–even better–without this overlay.

I’d also like to take a quick minute to talk about Guerlain’s Ombre Eclat Duo Liner ($52.00) in L’heure de Nuit (which, if my terrible French works, means the hour of night or something to that effect). Pricey, but ridiculously luxe in packaging (gold-colored metal casing) and texture, so it’s definitely something I recommend to those who tend to buy high end brands like Guerlain. It’s a very practical product in which you’re given a very light shade and a coordinated dark shade, so you can use the product as a highlighter, liner, or just shadow. It’s interesting that it was out on display as part of the spring collection, just because it’s so much darker than the rest of the line.  It’s not on my must-have list to recommend to you all, but I thought I’d give you my take on it! :)

Where To Buy

You can find Guerlain’s spring launch (plus many other brands’ spring collections) over at Nordstrom.com. Don’t forget they’re doing their large GWP right now! :)

Stay tuned for more reviews & photos Guerlain’s spring launch! :) But for now, take a look at more photos of the quad, duo liner, and swatches…. but of course! Continue reading →

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009


Lip Plumpers:  Pink Pearl, Rose Flush, Peach Glow;
Palette: Buff, Tawny Apricot, Granite; Blushing Peach, Blushing Pink

Laura Mercier’s First Blush Collection recently debuted at retailers and Nordstrom.com.  I believe just this morning it launched on LauraMercier.com, as well!  It’s a fairly small launch, relative to many of the other major beauty brands this season, with just a palette, brush set, three lip plumpers, and two nail polishes.

The First Blush Palette ($55.00) contains three eyeshadows (Buff, Tawny Apricot, and Granite), two blushes (Blushing Peach and Blushing Pink), and three lip glazes (Flushed, Natural, and Naked).  My favorites of the palette are both blushes; they’re both soft, smooth powder blushes in complimentary tones.  The peach is soft and light, while the pink is pretty neutral and subtle.  The eyeshadows didn’t impress me overly so, as I’ve definitely seen these shades many times before.  Buff was a little chalky, which totally turned me off.  The lip glazes were pretty, but I imagine they are at least semi-sheer when actually applied to lips (my swatches ran thicker).  The shades of lip glazes are flattering on most skin tones, and they’re soft and springy for sure.

The First Blush Lip Plumpers ($30.00 each) are pretty, but with a price tag like that, I had to pass.  I don’t need a lip plumper, so I see no reason to pay that much for a Laura Mercier gloss (their Lip Glace is $22 a pop).  Pink Pearl is a sheer, pastel pink–not terribly unique–but it’s a face friendly color that works easily and can be used everyday.  Rose Flush is a brownish red that goes on sheer and glossy.  Similarly, Peach Glow is just as glossy, but the color is a brighter coral-orange shade.

I didn’t have much time to play with the brush set, though from what I could tell, it felt nice enough.  I have plenty of brush sets myself, so I don’t see myself buying more at this time, which is probably why I didn’t fight through the crowd at the Laura Mercier counter to see them better!  The nail lacquers were also being used, but they were both soft, subtle shades designed with spring in mind.

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Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Bobbi Brown’s Brights Collection really grabbed our attention with its star product: Bobbi Brown Brights Palette with 35 shades of bright, matte eyeshadows. The pricetag for this dreamboat is $70, which is not quite the deal many of you were looking forward to, because this palette is indeed quite small. It’s just a little shorter in height than UDPP, which makes it around six inches tall. The shadows themselves are approximately dime sized or perhaps even slightly smaller.

BARGAIN BUY OR OVERPRICED?

Let’s discuss whether this is truly a bargain buy or if it’s way overpriced and something you should skip if only for the pricetag. Bobbi Brown consistently releases palettes each season, and they all range around $50-60 a pop. Sometimes they’re all eyeshadows, but other times they are a mix of blushes, eyeshadows, and lip colors. Each Bobbi Brown eyeshadow goes for $20 each for 2.5 grams of shadowy goodness, and if I recall correctly, each shadow is around an inch in each direction.

Now, if you’re a beauty addict, you quite possibly have more shadows than you’ll ever use in your lifetime (cough, that’s me!). Coming from that side of the spectrum, getting 35 colors for $70 isn’t a bad deal–especially because I’m unlikely to use any of these all up. I’ll use as much from one of these as a single $20 eyeshadow in all likelihood. What if you’re not a beauty addict? If you’re just starting out, this is a great opportunity to fill your collection with 35 new shadows. Talk about doubling or tripling your collection in one fell swoop!

I bet a few of you are thinking, “But Coastal Scents has a palette with 88 colors for $20!” I actually can’t personally vouch for it, but I know enough respected beauty bloggers have reviewed it with raves, so I’ll assume it’s true for the purpose of this comparison. You’re totally right–Coastal Scents is a way better deal and bargain. It’s going to be pretty hard for any high end brand to compete with that price tag, even the much adored MAC shadows costs much more.

There is at least one good reason I can think of for going for Bobbi Brown’s instead: size. What? Small size is a good thing? When it comes to traveling it is! Instead of taking several palettes or pots of shadows, you can take 35 vivid colors in a compact palette. It’s truly a travel-friendly way to bring a ton of eye makeup with you without taking up a lot of space.

So in the end…

Yes, the palette is worth it relative to Bobbi Brown products (so we don’t get into a quarrel over pricing, bargains, etc.).  The price is in line with comparable Bobbi Brown palettes and products, and I feel this is one of the best measures of “value” aside from comparing against other brands.  You just gotta buy what you love, what works for you, and what you see as a better value for you.  Overall, Bobbi Brown did a fantastic job of making her mattes smooth, more buttery than chalky, and the majority of the shadows have great color pay off. I found the pinks had the least vivid pay off, but the greens, blues, and purples were much more pigmented. I swatch everything without a base, because I believe in seeing what you really get. A good base often elevates any mediocre shadow to at least average, but a good shadow shouldn’t need the best possible base or combination of bases to look good. I like to see color pay off and good pigmentation sans a base to make sure I like what I’m getting!

See more palette photos as well as swatches! Continue reading →