Monday, October 31, 2011

NARS Hanamichi Kabuki Palette In Action

This is going to be a quick one. I wanted to show you how the NARS Hanamichi Kabuki palette performed on the face in case you were on the fence about whether to plunge into the purchase. First, apologies for the robot faces. I'm falling into a kind of restlessness that's been hard to shake off and it must have showed up as the impassive façades you see below.

I utilized all four shades in the palette to create this look. The gold was used as an all-over wash and bottom lash liner, the black in the crease and top lash liner, the red as a blush, the white in the inner corners and as a highlight in the form of a vertical strip down the nose as well as above and below the eye brows. Most of the shading is done with the included mini brush to test its efficiency. 

Turns out the included brush is not the best out there, which is a slight disappointment though not unexpected. It doesn't ruin the palette for me since I hold that the efficacy of an included brush is a bonus, not a necessity. That said, while the brush felt like a rake across my lids, it does work. I found the best way to use it with minimal pain is to pat the color onto the eyes and then blend it out sparingly. The more delicate your wristwork, the better. 

Now, I know the big $65 question is if the palette is still worth the cost now that I've used it as an actual makeup item. Based on the colors alone, I have to say no. While they do work well together, it's not that hard to come across these shades individually. In fact, you probably already own similar if not exact iterations of all four shades in your makeup stash. 

But we all know one doesn't buy palettes like these for mere functionality. That's what permanent items are for! Apart from the plainness of the hues (and I suppose the scratchy brush), I have nothing else to complain about the palette. Therefore, if you're inclined toward the extraordinary and exclusive, I would still recommend this palette to you as a keepsake. 

From what I've read around the Web, the Hanamichi Kabuki palette should be available on on November 1, exact time unknown. Leigh pointed out in the comments section that Nordstrom currently lists it as in stock, but who knows how long that will last. Hesitance is not a virtue when it comes to picking this up. Get to it before it's too late!

NARS Holiday 2011: G-Spot Multiple and Campo de' Fiori Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner

While the spotlight has been utterly stolen, let's not forget that NARS released a less limited (and by that I just mean produced in more quantities, though still numbered) collection of Holiday goodies. I wasn't inspired by many of them - NARS cream shadows have a questionable reputation, Arabian nights looked like more glitter than I can handle, and Miss Liberty came too late (I already purchased four highlighters this season) - but I did pick up the G-Spot Multiple and Campo de' Fiori Larger Than Life Long-wear Eyeliner, and I thought I should show it to you before November 1 rolls around in case you wanted to make an order.

I already wrote a pretty comprehensive review of NARS Multiples, which you can read in full here. In short, I love these cream sticks as they do come in such pretty pretty colors, but I wish they would last longer on my skin. NARS touts the Multiples as multi-use products meant for eyes, cheeks, and lips, but I really only use them on my cheeks. They're far too drying when used on the lips, and I rarely place such colors on my eyes. 

I thought I could forgo G-Spot at first, but seeing Best Things In Beauty's swatches sent me straight to the Add to Cart button. The color is a rich rose infused with gold and is such an easy color to love. This is the type of color that will look great across all skin tones. In the picture below I applied only a sheer wash to my cheeks. Do keep in mind that Multiples can be layered so it can be built up to be as intense as you wish.

Silly me forgot to grab a picture of Campo de' Fiori! But it looks like any regular eyeliner so I'm not too peeved. Here's a link to the product page on the NARS website if you want a look. More importantly, the color! Featuring this antique brass gold dream I never knew I wanted until I saw it. 

The Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner has one of the smoothest and pigmented formulas I've ever came across in an eyeliner, and the same holds true for Campo de' Fiori. I've never tested the twelve hour "long-wear lasting" claim, mostly because I removed my makeup before the twelve hours ran out, but my experience with Madison Avenue (the matte gray shade) was at least eight hours strong, and I have oily lids like you wouldn't believe. The eyeliner features a twist-up mechanism and a built-in sharpener, but frankly I wish I could just sharpen it with a regular pencil sharpener. There's something about the good solid crunch when you sharpen pencils that gets to me. What can I say, I'm a traditionalist!

Below, pictures of Campo de' Flori on the top (tightlined with black liner) and bottom (paired with Armani ETK #1 palette) lash line respectively.

NARS G-Spot Multiple retails for $39, while Campo de' Fiori goes for $23. Both are available on and should also appear at most department store counters soon, if not already.

Lipstick Bandit

Some time ago I received a wholly random mention on Twitter - a very excited Rae asking for more lipstick bandits - and my first thought was what? are we robbing stores for lipstick now? ... I might be down.

Turns out no illegalities were involved, so far more enthusiasm ensued! I've been invited to join the (highly innocent) gathering of Lipstick Bandits, and as part of my induction all I have to do is put on a mask and tempt you with some red lips. Sounds like a regular day on Messy Wands!

  • Chantecaille Future Skin in Camomile
  • Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

  • Ellis Faas E203
  • Armani Eyes To Kill #1 palette - black shade
  • MAC Vellum


Due to an inordinate amount of ailments that plagued me during the painting (stye and flu, amongst others), I improvised and made a half-mask to avoid those areas of concern. 

My mask took much less makeup remover compared to what my fellow Bandits had to use, that's for sure. Nevertheless, I had fun. When are we doing this again!

Take a peek at the rest of the Bandits and fear! Guess how many new red lipsticks I now want:

Rae at theNotice
Arianne at The Glitter Geek
Larie at Eye Heart It
Danie at Call It Beauty
Rocaille at Rocaille Writes
Paris B at My Women Stuff
Danielle at Blooming Beauty

Ellis Faas E203 was a press sample sent to me for consideration from the company. RBR Raw Silence was a gift I won from Zuneta's Facebook giveaway. The rest of the products mentioned in this post were purchased by me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NARS Hanamichi Kabuki Palette

I'm almost sorry to show this palette when it seems to be sold out everywhere. But one can always hope the powers that be are benevolent and produce more of these. I mean, give people a chance! It was sold out before I even received my package (I purchased mine from Nordstrom).

The NARS Hanamichi Kabuki palette is part of their limited edition Holiday gift offering. It was a surprise for me - had I not stumbled upon a chance link on Twitter I wouldn't even have known it existed. But it was one of those things that didn't require thought.  I snapped it up as soon as I saw it. 

The palette came with a black box (not pictured) and was housed in a matching velvet pouch secured with waxed string (is that what we call those?). Inside, you'll find the palette accompanied by the cutest mini hand-spun, wisteria-wrapped Kabuki eyebrush.

The palette itself contains three impressions of flowers in gold, red and black in a sea of white. I'm not sure what adjective I should use to describe the texture. It's not flat enough to be completely matte, perhaps velvet? The shades are soft and powdery (in a good way). I cringed when I touched the sponge to the shadows and thought I felt it disintegrate - but it didn't, and in fact swatched quite beautifully on the back of my hand. I can't wait to take the mini brush for a spin and try this on my eyes.

I (tentatively) take back what I said earlier about the palette being sold out everywhere. I checked some other sources and found on Temptalia that NARS will be putting the Holiday Gift collection up on sale on their website on November 1. I'm still quite seriously considering the Barney's exclusive brush set, and am now just waiting for people to talk me into/out of it. 

If you're interested in the Hanamichi Kabuki palette ($65), I suggest cyber-stalking come November 1 and placing your order without hesitation once it's listed. It's shaping up to be another one of those too sought after limited edition items. That said, I, for one, am happy I've escaped the anguish.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dior Holiday 2011: Rouge Dior Or Étoilé

Rouge Dior Or Étoilé 217 was the one lipstick out of all the holiday collection offerings I was absolutely certain I needed even before I saw the actual product. If you recall, I mentioned that this lipstick was sold out at my local Saks counter before I got to it, and I went into full panic mode searching for it online to make sure I had mine before it's gone elsewhere. I've had a couple of terrible Dior regrets, the most recent being missing out on Vernis St. Tropez (on the day of its release I tried ordering it online but the website crashed; I tried getting it at boutiques but the promises of shipment fell flat. It was a thoroughly heartbreaking affair) and I was hell bent on making sure there wouldn't be any mistakes with Or Étoilé. 

Now it's safely in my hands, and no Dior regret indeed! As per Rouge Dior usual, it is housed in the chic rectangular midnight blue casing featuring the Dior cannage pattern. The lipstick itself is a shimmery gold that leans white and contains nearly imperceptible flecks of pink and blue microglitters.

It's not the most impressive when worn alone, but I never thought Dior meant for Or Étoilé to be anything other than a sheer layering color, an accentuation if you will. Case in point, when paired with Ara Red below, it adds another dimension to an already fabulous lip color. 

This combination is the most obvious choice considering Dior's holiday promo ad, but I have plenty of ideas for this little pot of gold (pun fully intended). I'm planning to layer it over nude and pink lipsticks to give them a little edge, or experiment with some of my Le Metier de Beaute lip cremes - imagine the possibilities! Don't you love it when a lone lipstick provides such infinite fun?

Dior Or Étoilé retails for $32 and should be available at most major department stores. I purchased mine from (which now provides free shipping and free returns on all orders).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dior Ara Red

I'm secretly plotting to start an iconic red lipstick empire. Following your responses to Chanel Dragon and Ellis Red, I was thinking, wouldn't it be great if I managed to obtain the Great Reds of every brand and featured it here? It'll be a work in progress - hopefully never ending with the amount of beauty companies out there - but we'll start with my most recent acquisition: Dior Ara Red.

L-R: Dior Ara Red, Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Silence

Dior Ara Red 999 is a creamy fiery orange-red that can't help but make you feel sexy when you put it on. It's my Karlie Kloss color, for days I want a twinkle of deviousness in my eyes and a dreamy swing to my gait. Well, at least I can dream that a lip color could rouse in me Kloss' impish grace.

It diminishes my beauty clout to admit that Ara Red is my very first Rouge Dior. I'm astounded and almost ashamed that it took me so long. Rouge Diors possess a stellar formula. Ara Red is not in want of pigmentation, lasts and lasts, and is a lipstick that actually moisturizes the lips. It feels amazing to wear and does not feather or bleed even in the absence of a lipliner. I'm berating myself for always diving into Dior's eye shadow quints and mascaras, never sparing some much deserved attention to Rouge Diors. It's a mistake certainly rectified from here on end. They deserve equal if not more of my time.

Dior Ara Red retails for $32 and should be available at most major department stores. I purchased mine from Sephora.

Illamasqua Underworld and Tantrum

I'm convinced I have the smartest readers! Illamasqua Underworld is indeed one half of the equation, with Tantrum Sheer Lipgloss making up the other half. 

Top-bottom: Underworld, Tantrum

L-R: Underworld, Tantrum

Illamasqua Underworld topped with Tantrum

Underworld is a pink-violet duochrome that goes on sheer and is almost impossible to build-up without drying out the lips. I wouldn't recommend wearing this alone unless all you want is a vague pink-violet sheen. Tantrum, on the other hand, is a pretty straightforward grape (even smells like grape!) gloss.

I didn't like Underworld till I layered Tantrum over it. What was patchy and uneven became the amazing shown above. 

I'm not sure if Underworld is a limited edition product. It's not currently listed on Sephora's website. Thankfully, for those interested, Tantrum is still available for $20.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MAC x Gareth Pugh And Some Thoughts

With its innumerable releases and collaborations, MAC has become a brand I often pass by at department stores without even a glance. It seems like collection after collection are mere repromotes and with that amount of output, what can quality do but become (mostly) subpar? One of its upcoming collaborations is with Miss Piggy, I'm guessing in conjunction with the premiere of The Muppets movie. With only a pink shadow, a black liner, and a set of false lashes to show for it, as British Beauty Blogger aptly puts, it's very much "a half-hearted collaboration."

It is frustrating to me as a consumer. MAC makes good quality makeup for its relatively low price, and it's one of the few companies that doles out an impressive range of shades that could potentially suit every customer. I, like most people, found my love of makeup through MAC, and used to visit my local store once a week and get excited for sneak peaks of "what's next." Now it seems like the constant updating I would need to do to keep up with this one brand, coupled with sold out collections way before launch date, is just not worth the time anymore.

Enter this genuinely awesome teaser of the upcoming MAC x Gareth Pugh collaboration. Of course my excitement is predicated upon the packaging alone - I hate the lipglass formula, but I might just throw in the towel and get the two lipglosses just for the structural beauty. Also "sheer light lavender gray with violet pearl" is totally up my alley. I might have to endure the colossal stickiness if it's as pretty as it sounds. The nail polishes paired with the images are stirring up enough intrigue for me to consider all three. And the pigment pots are perhaps the best part of the collection - they look like the better packaging option functionality-wise compared to the regular pigments.

I'm excited that I'm excited for a MAC collection, and I'm most probably going to stay up to order this come November 23. That said, I wish all MAC collections could be this way. With half the volume and double the quality, I bet they'll have less products left over from afterthought collections and no way to get rid of them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Purples

So, we've established that beauty blogging is hella fun - but sometimes it's really fun. Like when you find a shade of lavender and lilac lipstick and gloss that somehow manages to suit you perfectly.

I told my boyfriend I wish my lips were that shade originally, and he said, "but aren't they?"

That said, I put my hour of watching AMC's The Walking Dead to good use - finally utilizing the Halloween Sally Hansen nail strips I was harping about some time ago. There's definitely a learning curve to these things, but I managed to finish both hands using only one packet (the box comes with two) so a lucky friend of mine will be getting some green fingers tomorrow. 

Is it okay if I want to end this post here? I just really liked the lip color. And my hair. My hair was being so nice the whole time during the shoot. I guess we'll do this. Do you like the lavender/lilac lips? Wanna guess the shade?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fun With Makeup: Oscar de la Renta S/S '12

I was reading through the Beauty Blitz blog a few days ago and was struck by the image below of a model backstage at the Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2012 show. I've been wanting to do a post about the exaggerated crease look coming out of the 2012 Spring runways for the longest time now, so I decided it's time for us to have a slice of that fun on Messy Wands!

Photo from Read their Oscar de la Renta S/S '12 coverage here

Now, it's probably needless to point out that I'm not even an iota of Gucci Westman, but a girl's gotta have her own fun, aye? I do hope you enjoy my rendition of this runway look!

I started with the eyebrows. I elongated mine and drew it thicker than what I was used to. Next, I primed my lids and placed Chanel Beige Lamé all over the eyelid to even the color out, then I patted Le Métier de Beauté Rose Champagne on top for the glow. 

I took a pointed crease brush (Chanel #3 to be exact) and ran Chanel Safari eyeshadow along the brow bone above my usual crease, then layered Le Métier de Beauté Spicy over it. I used a (as yet unnamed -  will feature soon) Le Métier de Beauté brown shade for definition at the inner and outer edges. I used a flesh toned eyeliner (Chanel Le Crayon Khol in Clair) along the inner corner and lower lash line. Finally, I tightlined my eyes with Le Métier de Beauté Tamarack Dualistic Eye Pencil and gave my lashes a light coat of Benefit They're Real mascara.

For the lips, I lightly lined the top lip line with a pink liner (Le Métier de Beauté Rouge) and patted a matte peach lipstick onto the lip (Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte Lipstick in Darling Beige). I took a stiff eyeliner brush and dipped it into Lumière Sculpteé de Chanel, using it to define and highlight the lips.

I applied Chanel Joues Contraste Tempting Beige heavily on my cheeks to emulate the beautiful peach flush, and swept more of Lumière Sculpteé de Chanel above the cheekbones, under the brows, and on the tip of the nose.

Skin is courtesy of Chantecaille Future Skin in Camomile. 

I believe this runway look is wearable even on a daily basis, though I don't know about its practicality - I don't envision myself choosing to do this at 8a.m. when I can use the extra twenty minutes for sleep instead. My greatest takeaway from doing this look is an awareness about blush placement. Instead of starting from the apples of my cheeks, I placed it a little further in and shaded in a triangular shape instead of pulling it into the hairline as usual. The effect I got was startling - I call it the very image of health! 

What do you think about the look? Love it or hate it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Also, I'm aware I have not reviewed most of the products I used (oops). If you're interested in any in particular, let me know and I'll try my best to do it soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Essie Winter 2011 Collection: Cocktail Bling

Here are the six shades of creamy Essie hues for your fingers come snow time. 

L-R: Brooch the Subject, Bangle Jangle, Cocktail Bling, School of Hard Rocks, Bobbing for Baubles, Size Matters

Some nail wheel swatches. I would do it on my fingers, but I didn't want to ruin the manicure I got during the event. Size Matters is a dark red cream, Bobbing for Baubles is a rich deep navy, School of Hard Rocks is a muted forest green, Cocktail Bling is a creamy gray with blue undertones, Bangle Jangle a lilac, and Brooch the Subject a mannequin nude. A note: during the event, a couple other bloggers got Brooch the Subject manicures and it ended up looking different on both of them.

As far as I could tell from swatching on nail wheels (can I please just thank the genius who created these? They make life so much easier), all six of them feature the stellar Essie formula. Most of them were opaque on one application - but if you know me by now, you'll know I'm a loyal two-coater regardless. 

I chose Cocktail Bling because I thought it looked the most interesting out of the bunch. In the bottle and nail wheel swatch, Cocktail Bling comes across as a straightforward light gray but when placed on the nails it takes on a baby blue + gray tone. Some days I think it leans gray and others I'm convinced it leans blue. Either way, it's so pretty almost every girl who had more than five minutes of conversation with me this week complimented me on my nail color. I suspect Cocktail Bling might take after Brooch the Subject and look different on different fingers, but I won't know till more swatches hit the Web. 

Cocktail Bling lasted on my fingers for seven days with the most minimal of tip wears. On the eighth day, a small portion of polish chipped off my pinky, but the rest are still very much intact.

Essie Winter 2011 Collection will be available in stores and salons this month, no word on the exact date. Based on my experience with just about every Essie seasonal collection, I'd keep an eye out for the Essie stand in your local pharmacy/salon. Without fail, they disappear at an alarming rate.

The products in this post was given to Messy Wands by the company during the event.