Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Le Métier de Beauté Spring 2012: Aurora Kaleidoscope Lip Kit

I'm just going to preface this review by saying if you only get one lip item this season, make it the Le Métier de Beauté Aurora Kaleidoscope Lip Kit. It contains all that is good and fun about this spring (or any spring. After all, how often has spring collections strayed from pink?) and inspire such happiness in me. I dare say I like this even more than the eye kaleidoscope (which I've seen but unfortunately was not able to swatch. We'll just have to wait till mid-March for that).

Aurora contains four colors in the splendid Le Métier de Beauté lip crème formula. The names of each shade from top to bottom are:
  • Illuminate - a sheer, shimmering hot pink
  • Voltaic - a satin nude mauve (SO much love for this shade)
  • Dynamos - a glittery tangerine-coral
  • Eos - an opaque fuchsia (another knockout hue)

Clockwise (bottom to top): Eos, Dynamos, Voltaic, Illuminate

L-R: Eos, Dynamos, Voltaic, Illuminate

When applying, keep in mind that Le Métier de Beauté lip kaleidoscopes work the other way around compared to the eye kits. You layer the lip colors from bottom to top instead. The pictures below show how the colors change layer upon layer.

The lip kits always come in a range of finishes. The third and fourth shade are usually more pigmented compared to the upper two, presumably because the latter are meant for adding depth. 

The bottom three shades (Eos, Dynamos, and Voltaic) layered 

All four shades layered

My love for the lip crème formula is well documented on Messy Wands. Without a doubt, it is the most comfortable lip product that has ever sat on my lips. It contains a faint vanilla scent, is non-sticky, and four layers of gloss later my lips still feel light as air. I don't believe in perfection, but the lip cremes come pretty darn close.

Le Métier de Beauté Aurora Kaleidoscope Lip Kit is priced at the usual $95 and will be available mid-March. From what I hear, several counters have already started taking pre-orders for the entire Northern Lights collection. I have my eye kit and nail polishes all booked up, and I suggest you do the same. As ever, if you don't have a Le Métier de Beauté counter near you, you can always reach the super helpful Dustin Lujan at 212-872-8612. Tell him I sent you and he'll be extra nice, I promise!

This product was provided to me for consideration by the company.

Estée Lauder 'Bronze Goddess Capri Pure Color' Gelée Powder EyeShadow Palette in 01 Bronze Sands

You've probably heard the buzz Estée Lauder has been getting ever since they (made the best decision of their lives and) hired Creative Makeup Director Tom Pecheux. Mr. Pecheux (or Tom, shall I call him Tom?) shook the beauty world when he introduced the Illuminating Powder Gelée in Modern Mercury last year. Was it cream? Was it powder? Do we care since it's so good? Then a few months later he debuted eyeshadows featuring the same formula. It was as if a little volcano erupted in our part of the blogosphere, with bloggers hurling praises at Tommy and Lauder and all the goodness that resides within these gelée powders.

I regret not purchasing Modern Mercury when it was still around. I think it was the season I bought five highlighters and couldn't forgive myself if I went out to get another. As for the eyeshadows, none of the colors appealed to me. The offerings in this summer's Bronze Goddess collection, however, is right up my alley, and I clicked the order button as soon as Nordstrom put the items up on their website.

Estée Lauder's 'Bronze Goddess Capri Pure Color' Gelée Powder EyeShadow Palette in 01 Bronze Sands contain five highly metallic cream-to-powder shadows in white gold, gold, copper, light grey-blue, and chocolate brown. 

These pictures are true to color, I kid you not.

Truth be told, I didn't have a good impression of this palette when I first used it. There is an extremely off-putting scent emanating from the shadows, and my stomach turns a little when I catch the smell. Granted, you can only detect it when you're mere inches away from the palette. But still.

Anyway, I was thinking about a makeup look to go with this palette when I came across Burberry's A/W 2012 beauty look on my Facebook wall. So quintessential Burberry, so radiantly pretty. 

Cara Delavigne's eyebrows!

(Can I just go off-topic to say two things: 1. Every time I see Cara Delavigne I have a huge urge to go out and buy a trench coat; 2. I have so much feelings for Christopher Bailey. The man is a coat-making wonderman and I will do just about anything to own something from the Prorsum collection.)

I based my look on Cara because... I didn't see the Liu Wen photo until I finished snapping my pictures. I have such an odd eye shape that it doesn't really matter either way, I suppose.

The Burberry beauty look featured flawless skin (can't say the same about my own, sigh), a smoked out powder cat eye with illuminated inner corners, and just a hint of blush applied a little lower on the cheeks than "usual." I patted the white gold shade on my entire eyelid, followed by a little of the copper, then swept the brown shade all over and dragged it toward the outer corners of the eyes. I applied a thick line (of powder) on the bottom of the eye and finished up with the white gold shadow at the inner corners of the eye. 

There was a lot of blending involved with this look. The shadows are supposed to look as if they naturally melted into each other. To do this I used a flat eyeshadow brush (Shu Uemura Kolinsky/Sable 10) and applied everything in circular motions. I also used my finger to slightly smudge out the edges.

You might be wondering why the colors on my eyes look so tame compared to the swatch above. It was through doing this look that I found out you needed fingers to maintain the metallic sheen of the eyeshadows (a minus for me. I don't like using fingers for application). With brushes, the colors lose their vibrancy, though it worked in this particular instance.

Cheeks: Estée Lauder Shimmering Sands (to be reviewed soon)

While the scent is truly horrendous, I still declare this palette a win. After all, you get to have both metallic and "subdued" hues just by varying your application method. The shadows are pigmented and they blend well. But if I were to be entirely truthful, a part of me just really like how vibrant it looks in the pan. 

Estée Lauder 'Bronze Goddess Capri Pure Color' Gelée Powder EyeShadow Palette in 01 Bronze Sands retails for $45 and is already available at nordstrom.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guerlain Noir G Mascara

It's official, ladies. I found my HG mascara.

I usually try one and start thinking of the next one I have to get three months later. I got the Guerlain Noir G Mascara mid-January and knew I didn't have to look anymore. Now I'm wondering how long this will last me and when I'm supposed to get the refill. 

Instructions on how to open this contraption

The mascara packaging resembles the famed Rouge G, though slightly different in mechanics. You're supposed to tug the handle till you hear a click, which will reveal the mirror handy for on-the-go touchups. Proceed to unscrew and whip up those lashes.

This mascara is ridiculous. Believe me, I was a skeptic when I first got it. The packaging is grand but a touch gimmicky. The tube is of a substantial weight, which makes me reluctant to lug it around in my bag, so I'm not exactly sure when the mirror would come in handy. Then there was all these claims Guerlain was making on the formula (volumizing, lengthening, curling, perfectly defined lashes) and the brush (perfect, fast, even distribution, easy to handle and glides everywhere). I purchased this buying into the marketing and hype and was prepared to be utterly let down.

No mascara

With Guerlain Noir G Mascara

But I wasn't! I don't even need to curl my lashes before I put the mascara on, it'll lift them up by itself (though for more drama I still suggest a routine pinch prior to application). It lengthens marvelously, and for volume all you have to do is put on a couple more coats. The formula is not heavy and does not clump (note: the most I've done is three layers). The mascara is also scented with the typical Guerlain floral, but you'll only be able to snatch a whiff during application.

Guerlain Noir G Mascara retails for $49 and the refills cost $26. I do apologize for this. It's such a painful amount for something you'll need to replace every three months or so. But well, it's always better to spend on something you'll love and finish than five things you'll hate and chuck.

Update: A reader tweeted to ask if the Noir G Mascara refill came with a new brush and @GuerlainUS replied saying it does! Ah, little things that make me happy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunday Riley Prismasilk Eye Color in Lady Godiva

Thanks to The Beauty Look Book, I decided to give Sunday Riley a try. So far I'm halfway through a generous sample of the Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer (their bestselling product) and I have to say I'm almost sold. It keeps shine at bay and creates a really smooth canvas for foundation. If the performance keeps up, I just might have to purchase the full-sized product.

But today's post is about their much-raved-about eyeshadow. I have on hand Sunday Riley Lady Godiva, a lightly shimmery sandy sort of color. 

Sunday Riley wins no prizes packaging-wise. The eyeshadow singles are made of a black plastic base and clear plastic cover. While functional, I can't help but feel (especially if your vanity is filled with the likes of Guerlain and Burberry) that they could do so much better on the design. At $26 each we deserve a little more pizzazz with these things. Yes, I know in the end what matters is how well the eyeshadow performs, but I like my heart to skip a beat when I look at my beauty products, you know? 

On the other hand, no one would have qualms about "ruining the design" and wasting a perfectly good eyeshadow. Hmm.

Sunday Riley set up certain expectations when she named her eye shadow formula "Prismasilk," and in this aspect it doesn't disappoint. It is not as buttery soft in texture as Burberry eyeshadows but in application they fare the same. I can't help but think applying these shadows to the eye is more of a "smoothing on" than a brushing on. As for wear, without primer the eye shadow lasts about eight hours before creasing on an oily eyelid. With primer it lasts all day. 

I found Lady Godiva to be an ideal there/not there lid shade, like if you weren't paying close enough attention you would think I just had really pretty lids when in fact, I was actually wearing eyeshadow! It won't fool you girls, but I bet it'll work against my boyfriend. Lady Godiva is such a standalone color, and has been quite the lifesaver on days where I only have precious few minutes to color up my face. It's a great neutral to go with more daring shades on lips and cheeks. Actually, it's a great neutral, period.

Cheeks: Burberry Light Glow in Tangerine Blush No. 06; Lips: Chanel Rouge Coco Mademoiselle

Sunday Riley Prismasilk Eye Color in Lady Godiva retails for $26. The line is exclusively available to Barneys New York.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose Gold

Despite its various incarnations throughout the years and ubiquity in Beauty Must-Have lists, I never really thought much about Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in the past. I didn't know what it was for. It was too frosty (in my opinion) to be a highlighter but not pigmented enough to be a blush. In addition, my perception of the brand was colored by bad experiences at counters and gritting my teeth at unfriendly sales assistants, so I always walked away without purchasing anything.

My indifference has never really been challenged until the Rose Gold collection came around. Dustin was by my side as we rifled through the beauty counters at Bergdorf's, and we stopped at the Bobbi Brown counter. I confessed I didn't understand them as highlighters, and he explained, "well, those are luminizers. You're supposed to put them on top of your blush."

Somewhere in my head a gong (of understanding) was struck, and I left the counter holding my very first Shimmer Brick. 

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose Gold contains five shades of rose, pinks, and golds. Swirled together, the resulting hue is its namesake. While it looks frightening in the swatch, it becomes altogether magical when layered over another color on the cheeks. Case in point:

Bobbi Brown Rose Gold Shimmer Brick layered over CdP Cheek Color Duo in 02

What is the word for it? A glow? A luminescence? A sultry flush? (Ha!) However you want to call it, I think it looks fetching on the skin, and especially great for drawing attention to your cheeks.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose Gold retails for $39 and is available at Bobbi Brown counters nationwide and bobbibrown.com. Like all good things, it is unfortunately limited edition.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Clé de Peau Beauté Cheek Color Duo in 02

I have a love-hate relationship with Clé de Peau. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that I have to buy separate cases for each palette I want to buy, especially when the palette sans case costs more than say, a Chanel Joues Contraste. I've heard great things about their products, but are they worth that much trouble? Especially when I have to pay so much? 

For Clé de Peau Eye Color Quad in Kyanite, the answer was yes, but the company's cheek products were unexplored territory. After reading this glowing review on Time 4 Beauty, I decided I would give them a try, so with a wince, I plunked down a hefty sum for Cheek Color Duo in 02 and an accompanying blush case.

Clé de Peau blush palettes offer you both color and highlighter. The brush that comes with the palette is not only functional but super soft and actually something you would look forward to use. The Cheek Color Duo in 02 contains a soft coral with the finest of micro shimmers, and a white gold highlighting shade.

As for the blush itself, it is what I've come to expect from Clé de Peau - soft, finely milled, and super subtle. The produced effect is like color is peeking out from under your skin. You'll have to layer it repeatedly for it to be more noticeable, but if that was what you were going for you would be better off purchasing a blush from another brand for a fraction of the price. 

Clé de Peau Cheek Color Duo 02 retails for $48, while the case and accompanying brush costs $40. If you do not intend to travel with this, I would suggest only buying the refill so that the price is easier to swallow. The plastic casing that comes with the refill is sturdy enough for the vanity table, even with regular use. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chanel Rouge Allure Belgravia

Due to my new obsession with the BBC TV series Sherlock (are you watching it? If not, please do), I can't see the word "Belgravia" without thinking about Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Sherlock Holmes) and that wonderful episode where he meets Irene Adler. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the show for you and I can't make it relevant by connecting Chanel Rouge Allure Belgravia to Irene (her lipstick selections firmly stay in the red territory). Though, Sherlock is a UK series and the lipstick was part of a limited edition collection only available to Harrods London... 

Okay, okay. Moving on!

L-R: Rouge Allure Kensington, Belgravia

Like Paul and Joe Meow!, Belgravia baffled me when it came to swatch and on-lip similarity. I thought (again) that I labeled my swatches wrong but I checked and just had to concede that these lipsticks don't work the usual way. On my hand Belgravia leans red whereas on the lips it becomes decidedly Barbie pink. 

It shocks me to realize this is the first time a Rouge Allure appeared on the blog. It is one of my favorite lipstick formulas, as it is actually moisturizing (unlike Rouge Cocos) and lightweight and taste free, and on top of that lasts 4-5 hours. It has an unidentified light scent in the tube which does not translate onto the lips, which I'm beginning to think is characteristic of all Chanel lipsticks.

Chanel Rouge Allure Belgravia retails for $32 and is a limited edition chanel.com exclusive.

Now that I've completed my Serious Beauty Blogger Duties, let's have some fun! Anyone here watches Sherlock and is obsessed about it too? I'd love to hear your likes, dislikes, discussions... You can express how much you want your batch cumbered, if you so wish. (Oh, you know you want to.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Essie Navigate Her

This winter-going-into-spring has been such a green season for nails. I chanced upon a bottle of Essie Navigate Her some time ago thought "Dior Waterlily!" but that was just my memory playing tricks on me. They're not even two peas in a pod.

Dior Waterlily on index finger, the rest is Essie Navigate Her

Color descriptions baffle me, so I'm going to venture that Waterlily is a mint green while Navigate Her is muted lime. They both wear wonderfully. No chips at all on the third day even with vigorous package-opening (a job hazard) and though I took it off on that day itself, I am quite certain it would have lasted a full week with minimal wear, provided you use a good base and top coat (Rescue Beauty Lounge's in my case).

Essie Navigate Her officially retails for $8 (prices vary depending on where you look) and can be found at most pharmacies or select e-tailers. I found an Amazon listing for the entire Spring 2012 collection for about $33 with shipping.

For an even more budget-friendly lime green (no promises on similarity), visit Karla Sugar's recent post on Sally Hansen Green with Envy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lipstick Bandits: The First One

Your friendly neighborhood bandits (er, lipstick junkies) are back to bring you another edition of joint lemming creation. This time it's the first lipstick we ever purchased or The One That Started It All, "It" being the irrational need to collect every lip color (and then some) on earth. I have long forgotten what my first lipstick was - I didn't know at that time the little tube would represent such a big part of my life, but I do remember my first high end lipstick. It was when Chanel just introduced the Rouge Coco formula and everyone everywhere was saying how perfect Vanessa Paradis was in the promo pic and her lips! Her lips were the epitome of perfect, apparently. And maybe I wanted perfect lips too.

... There's a large amount of hyperbole there. It must be all the TV shows I've been watching that brought on all this drama. For all I know I just wanted to own a Chanel lipstick. Either way, I went home with Rouge Coco Mademoiselle after making friends with a Chanel SA at my local Macy's.

I chose the Rouge Coco formula because it was said to be the most moisturizing of all the Chanel lipsticks (which I later found was false. The Rouge Allures fare much better in that aspect) and Mademoiselle for the rosiness. I can't say this about all Rouge Cocos, but Mademoiselle is really comfortable to wear. It is taste free and has a light scent (unidentified) in the tube but doesn't linger on the lips. While it isn't drying, I don't find that it has any moisturizing properties because I'll need a dose of balm 5-6 hours in. But at some point I start to wonder if it's due to the lipstick or the fact that I don't drink as much liquids with lipstick on.

On Eyes: Sunday Riley Lady Godiva; On cheeks: Burberry Light Glow in Tangerine Blush No. 06

Ah, the ponderings of a beauty blogger.

Chanel Rouge Coco Mademoiselle retails for $32.50 and can be purchased from chanel.com.

I'm off to see what my fellow bandits have in store for me. Hold on to your purses, ladies, because resisting the urge to buy buy buy is going to be tough: