Sunday, March 25, 2012

Le Métier de Beauté Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope

Here's a quick one on the Le Métier de Beauté Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope. It was created by Michael Reinhardt of Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie to coincide with cherry blossom season in DC. 

The kaleidoscope consists of colors that make up a cherry blossom tree: a light shimmering peach, a gold green that mimics the leaves, an almost matte pink that is the exact shade of the flowers, and a matte brown for the twigs.

The green features a duochrome sheen and reflects gold at certain angles. I hope you'll be able to see it in the second swatch. The pink is an almost matte shade (I say almost because I detect a faint bit of sheen) so it was a little harder to pick up. The swatch above was made quite heavily.

first three layers on lid, lined with Precision Liquid Liner in Noir and topped with the fourth color

How it swatched and how it ended up looking on my eye was a complete surprise. I didn't expect it to be so light, and in retrospect I wish I put the brown on the lid as well instead of just the lash line. So far it looks like it's a My Lids But Better shade, which is not in itself a bad thing, but part of how a kaleidoscope justifies its price for me is its color transforming shenanigans, and without it I can't help but feel a little let down.

It's pretty, but if you were vacillating between the Cherry Blossom and Northern Lights Kaleidoscope, I would say go for the Auroras, if only because it shows up better.

Le Métier de Beauté Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope retails for $95 and is exclusively available to Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie in DC. For more information on how to order it (I hope it's still available!), visit this post on Best Things in Beauty.

Announcement: Dear readers, it's that time of the semester again. I have about one month to the end of my final year of college, and the assignments are starting to pile up at a frightening pace. I'll still try to post on Messy Wands, but I'm afraid it'll be less frequent than before. I do apologize for this, but I want to give my all for this "final push" in college. In the meantime, please enjoy the past tutorials and makeup looks you can access under the "labels" sidebar, and I hope to see you again when Messy Wands is back up and running at a steady pace.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Born This Way

There are times I purchase new things just to try (and blog about) and end up a little angry at myself for putting money on products I'll never use again, but such is the occupational hazards that come with beauty blogging, I suppose. With that, I give you NARS Larger Than Life Lipgloss in Born This Way.

With the successful launch of the Larger Than Life Eyeliners, NARS followed it with lip glosses bearing the same moniker. With that, the greatest expectation I had from the gloss was that they would be long-lasting. I forgot to take a picture of the brush (you can see it here on Karla Sugar), but it is shorter than what you get from most lip glosses, which means you get less product per "dip" into the tube. Nevertheless, the gloss is well pigmented, and does not feature any discernable scent. 

As expected from something inspired by Lady Gaga, it's a decidedly pale milky light pink that almost washes you (or at least, me) out. On its own it's not very flattering on me, but when layered it works to tone down and add a dash of coolness to brighter/warmer lip colors, as demonstrated below:

NARS Larger Than Life in Born This Way

Chanel Rouge Allure Belgravia

Chanel Belgravia topped with NARS Born This Way

Unfortunately, I couldn't wear it long enough to actually test the lasting power of the gloss. Upon application, I cringed at how thick and sticky the gloss felt. The shortness of the brush hindered a smooth and complete application on first go, and I had to dip it in a few times before I could even out the color on my lips. Smacking my lips together made matters worse, as my lips were stuck together for a moment after. I wiped it off a couple of hours in because I couldn't stand the feeling on my lips. Based on the assumption that the stickier a gloss is, the longer it would last, I'd say the Larger Than Life Lip Glosses will go the distance.

Chanel Belgravia, original review here

Chanel Belgravia topped with NARS Born This Way

Pity, since it does look great layered. I feel like I should disclaim that I am very much spoiled by the Le Métier de Beauté crème/gloss formula, and relish the feeling of not knowing I have product on my lips when I actually do. Due to that, I have an extremely harsh opinion toward lip products that are at all sticky/uncomfortable. If you were interested in these glosses, I still urge you to try them out yourself if you have a counter near you. After all, I might just have princess lips!

NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Born This Way retails for $26 and should be available at NARS Cosmetics counters (for some reason, it is not available at or, but could be found at I purchased mine at Barney's New York.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Estée Lauder Illuminating Gelée Powder in Shimmering Sands

It was really hard for me to write this review because I approached the product with a bias, which means my opinion would be harsher than the product probably deserves. After enduring the horrible smell from my Bronze Sands palette, I wasn't very keen on putting something similar even nearer to my nostrils. Thankfully Estée Lauder Illuminating Gelée Powder in Shimmering Sands came without the horrid chemical smell. (In retrospect, I'm quite sure the Bronze Sands palette I received was defective.)

See, this is the problem, and why I hesitated for so long to publish this. There is nothing evidently wrong with this palette, but I don't like it. The texture is unique to Estée Lauder's gelée powder formula, where the closest description seems to be that it is "cream to powder" (it isn't actually cream but I guess that's the best word to describe the wet-but-not-actually-wet feeling you get when you touch the powder). It's smooth and bright and wonderfully metallic when swatched, but like the eye shadows lose its gleam when applied with a brush. 

Shimmering Sands is a metallic copper at the back of my hand, but becomes an odd reddish brown when applied on my cheeks. I'm not entirely sure if it is meant to be a bronzer, blush, or a contour color, but it doesn't seem to suit my coloring. I think someone with a darker skin tone would enjoy Shimmering Sands better. On me it's neither here or there, which makes it difficult for me to use.

I find it funny how I struggled to write all this - I don't have to like every good product that's available in the market, right?

Estée Lauder Illuminating Gelée Powder in Shimmering Sands retails for $42 and is available at Estée Lauder counters nationwide, as well as I purchased mine from

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Le Métier de Beauté Spring 2012: Northern Lights (The Auroras) Kaleidoscope Eye Kit

Le Métier de Beauté's spring collection has finally hit counters! This is the last of my spring wants, and now that I have it I can move on to obsessing over summer (have you seen Dior? Guerlain? NARS? Ugh, so pretty). 

The Le Métier de Beauté Northern Lights (The Auroras) Kaleidoscope Eye Kit feels different compared to all the others I own. I won't say it's less pigmented (just take a look at the hand swatch below), but it does produce a more subtle effect on the eyes compared to previous kits. Since the Le Métier spring lip features a bolder shade of pink, I think Northern Lights is made to be worn hand in hand with the Aurora Lip Kit.

L-R: Ionic, Sky, Magnetic, Equinox, all four shades blended together

I'm sure most of you are tired of hearing me rave about the brand, so I won't add any spluttering exultations to this review. The textures, colors, formula, and lasting power of the shadows are on par with previous releases, so if these are colors you think you'll wear, I say go for it! 

For those interested (this was the look featured on St. Patrick's Day), here is the bevy of products I used to create the look in this post:

I mixed a pump of Peau Vierge with Chantecaille 'Just Skin' to add radiance to the skin. Using Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, I highlighted the area above my cheekbones, down the nose, and above my cupid's bow. Finally, I set with loose powder. 

I applied all four shades of Northern Lights on my eyes using the company's signature couches de couleurs method (explained here), and added more of Equinox on the crease for definition. I then lined my eyes with liquid liner, and layered a generous amount of mascara on my lashes. 

The cheeks are a little complicated, and I don't know why I did what I did (I'm sure there is a simpler way to create the same effect), but I like how it turned out. First, I contoured below the cheeks and along the jaw line with Burberry Earthy Blush, then  I applied Guerlain Cruel Gardenia on my cheeks and patted Burberry Cameo Blush over it. I topped that off with Guerlain Sunny Pink Terracotta Blush, and went over everything with Bobbi Brown Rose Gold Shimmer Brick. It's more products than I think was necessary (though they really didn't weigh a thing), but my cheeks were glowing all night long.

Le Métier de Beauté Northern Lights (The Auroras) Kaleidoscope Eye Kit retails for $95 and is available at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. As usual, if you don't have a counter near you, please do not hesitate to contact Dustin Lujan of Bergdorf's at 212-872-8612 and tell him I sent you. Everything from the spring collection is limited edition, so don't wait too long!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

... If only for an excuse to wear green (or green polish!) and drink obscene amounts of beer. 

Appalling to admit, but I don't have anything green in my wardrobe, and if not for a friend's birthday I wouldn't even step out of my room (it's 8pm, I live on the 18th floor, and can clearly hear the drunkards on the street). But the upside is I get to resurrect an old polish from my stash and get myself off my makeup rut by actually applying some on my face. 

Said polish is Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War

For those who aren't infected by the greens, have a happy Saturday and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In The Interim

Have you had one of those days (okay, week) where everything about your skin is wrong? I'm talking pimples, blackheads, random peeling... on top of all those and more, both, I repeat, both sides of my mouth has a cut and I don't even know how it happened. I can barely open my mouth to drink soup without it hurting. And my face should know better than to keep me from drinking soup.

I'm taking a temporary respite from photographing my face to save myself from the horror of having to filter pictures (I'm pretty sure everything will get canned) and you from having to see it. I have a few from last week ready, and with them reviews to catch up on. I promise the one on Shimmering Sands will be up soon! I forgot to pack it with me on my trip to London last week, and I didn't want to write about something without really testing it first.

Ah, London. I think I might have found where I belong in the world, and it saddens me that it is the place I just left. I miss it so irrationally - I almost teared up in an elevator yesterday from just wishing I was back there - but I can only wait to see if the winds of life will blow me that way again.

In lieu of a review (and to make myself feel better/worse depending on my optimism), I wanted to post some pictures from a photoshoot I participated in about two years ago. It was shot by Hope Kauffman and some of them appeared in Em Mag, an Emerson College student-run fashion/lifestyle publication.

I've been trying to recreate that winged liner in the last pic ever since the photoshoot and have not succeeded. I wish I knew who made us up that day. I need some tips! 

And sneaking in one last morsel of update: there will be a giveaway soon on Messy Wands! (I think this is now a thing. Every time I come back from a foreign country I'll hold a giveaway, deal?) I brought back some yummy UK exclusives and I can't wait till my my face heals so I can show it to you. In the interim, I hope you enjoy these pictures. I'm a little embarrassed that my father shows them off to his friends, but I'm really happy to have had the opportunity to play model.

Chanel Dragon Le Vernis

So many things have been said about Chanel Dragon Le Vernis that I don't think it's possible for me to add anything new to the dialogue. It's one of Chanel's most iconic nail lacquers (can you imagine the day they discontinue this?) and a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a nail polish collector. 

With so many disappointing recent collections, I only wish Chanel holds to the high standards that come with a bottle of Dragon to each of its nail polish releases.

Chanel Dragon Le Vernis currently retails for $26. Chanel nail polish prices rise like Chanel bags (I think it was $22 just a year ago?), so if you have this on your wish list consider getting it sooner rather than later!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sunday Riley Blush in 105 Intimate

For some reason I wasn't super excited about Sunday Riley Blush in 105 Intimate. There is nothing really wrong with it. It's pigmented, applies smoothly, and is a do-no-wrong coral pink with tiny shimmers. Put over the right foundation, it lasts all day. However, there's an overall "it's nice, but..." sentiment to it that I can't quite put to words.

I suppose at some point a beauty blogger has to be more discerning with her own purchases. If you are new to makeup this will be a fabulous shade for you, but for someone who already owns a slew of peach-pink blushes this will just be another one added to the stash, and if you are said person chances are you already have a HG coral pink. Perhaps I've been too spoiled by my Burberry powders, but I don't find the Sunday Riley texture to be particularly noteworthy. Again, it's smooth, but...

Cheeks: Sunday Riley Intimate; Highlight: Shu Uemura P930

All that said, you really can't beat the price. At $30, it's only $2 more than a NARS blush (I'd pick this over NARS) and way less than a Burberry (though I maintain that they are worth every dollar). Since my gripe is more about the generic color and less about the blush itself, perhaps I would have been much more satisfied had I picked another color from the line.

Sunday Riley Blush in 105 Intimate retails for $30 and is exclusively available at Barney's New York.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Ochre

Warning: bare face ahead!

I don't think I have bad skin, but I've had this pimple by my right brow for over a month now and it is the most frustrating thing ever. I've tried every single remedy that worked on me previously, but to no avail. It's like a magic pimple, but I don't want a magic pimple!

Anyway, I'm in the process of slowly introducing some of my makeup stalwarts to you so I can update my Skin/Hair Info page with proper links. One of the most important item in my stash is the Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Ochre.

L-R: No makeup, with Chantecaille 'Just Skin' Tinted Moisturizer (odd. In real life it looked much better)

L-R: No concealer, with Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Ochre

Would you look at that? The monstrosity is almost altogether concealed! Out of frustration (yes, yes I know I shouldn't have) I plucked at the offensive zit, so my skin was drying out when I was photographing this set, which is why you can still see a hint of scab. I also didn't do justice to the red spot near my chin. But I assure you with the photo below that the magic stick can indeed cover it:

Eyes: Sunday Riley Lady Godiva; Cheeks: Burberry Tangerine; Lips: Chanel Mademoiselle

Ah, normalcy!

The Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer is suitable for covering everything: spots, redness, discoloration, under eye circles, a mole even, if you really put your mind to it. It is super creamy but stays on till I remove my makeup at the end of the day. If you plan to get it, I suggest that you find a shade that matches your skin tone exactly. 

The only two unfortunate aspects of the concealer is 1) it comes in a limited range of four shades and 2) the price is way more than one would expect to pay for a skin-colored stick. But I firmly believe it's better to go all out for something that is truly worth it than to try multiple alternatives, only to ultimately spend more on less satisfactory results. You only need this one stick for every concealing job, and a little goes a long way. I haven't even thought of trying out another concealer since I bought mine over half a year ago, and though having to replace it is still a thought for the distant future, I'll repurchase it without any hesitation when the time comes.

In response to several reader comments, I typically use the Le Métier de Beauté Concealer Brush to apply the concealer - I swipe it with the brush and apply it on needed areas. I have also used my fingers in lieu of the brush when in a rush. Both are fine though I prefer the brush method. For heavier coverage, I apply directly from the stick. 

Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer retails for $70 and is available at