Several new readers have e-mailed telling me they have just started to explore higher end cosmetics asking for advice on where to start building their makeup wardrobe and what I recommend for them to buy. Many are open to trying new brands and products but often prefer recommendations from one single brand to simplify their makeup routine. I personally like to mix it up with different brands each day depending on mood but for those who want to stick with one single brand, Dior is one of a few lines I’ve tried that I would feel comfortable using exclusively for everything from foundation, skincare, makeup and tools. I’ve partnered with Nordstrom to share some of my Dior Beauty favorites with you today.
I’ve been using Dior beauty since my college days (early 2000’s). Over the years they’ve revamped almost all formulas for every product. I always panic anytime I hear “reformulate” thinking why change something when it’s already really good? Dior has revamped their products for better though. Their nail polish keeps getting better, the Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer is the latest and it has a lush glossy look with rich pigment that applies flawlessly. Their Addict Lip Gloss is a classic favorite for a super glossy natural tint. It comes in a diverse range of colors from pales, brights and darker shades.
A few of my favorites which I highly recommend for anyone whether you’re getting into Dior or higher end lines include:
Dior’s Purifying Foam Cleanser is one of my top cleanser picks out of all that I’ve tried. I’ve repurchased this countless times. There are several different formulas of Dior cleanser, the Purifying Foam is for Normal/Combination skin. It is really effective at cleansing the skin but is still gentle. My husband loves it as well. It foams up nicely and leaves the skin feeling really clean without making it tight or leaving a film.
Diorskin Airflash Skin Foundation is one of the longest wearing foundations I’ve tried. There is a learning curve for application though. The Airflash comes in an aerosol spray. Hold it about 5-6 inches away from your face and close the eyes before you spray. You have to make sure your face is completely relaxed or else it will apply unevenly and miss spots. I spray in a Z motion twice from top to bottom. I don’t always get a flawless application with the spray but it is easily fixable with a brush or sponge. I set with a sheer loose powder and it stays put all day. If you find yourself getting oily or shiny from this, you’ve probably applied too much. It is long-wearing and has fuller coverage, so to take it off, I recommend you use either a Cleansing Water or Cleansing Oil combined with your regular facial cleanser.
Dior has a good range of gloss options. The Addict Glosses are sheer, shimmery and add the perfect tint to the lips. My favorites are Nuit Boreale (a pale iridescent pink with some blue and green shimmer), Bed of Roses (a soft pink rose) and Diablotine a sheer but bright coral. If you’re one that likes more pigment, the new Dior Addict Fluid Stick is incredible. They have super rich pigment and they glide onto the lips really nicely. Blend it and the color melds with your lip flawlessly. It’s a hybrid lipstick and gloss so it has that lush gloss look but pigment of a lipstick and stays put relatively long.
For nails, Dior has always been a favorite. The formula has been revamped several times over the year and it just keeps getting better. There are a lot of limited-edition shades released each season. They often don’t do repeats of the trendy shades although sometimes they will release something similar at a later date. I’ve been a collector for years and have amassed a sizable collection. If you’re just starting to get into higher end nail polishes, Dior is a great option. I am one who really believes there is a difference in formula. The ones by Dior glide on seamlessly. The pigment and coverage is phenomenal these days. The brush is chiseled at the tip for easy two-swipe application. The colors are rich and range from classic to neutral to trendy. I love the Gel Top Coat over other Dior Polishes. I can get up to 7 days of wear without any tip wear or chipping. If you’re looking to start with color, my top three can’t-go-wrong picks are Incognito for an everyday classic neutral, Wonderland for a brightening pink and Nuit 1947 for a classic vamp with a jelly finish.
Painting on Nuit 1947 with the Gel Top Coat
The Diorshow Brow Styler is something I discovered mid-July. One of my favorite Dior artists recommended this for me. I was skeptical since the Brow Styler only comes in one shade in the US in Universal Brown 001. It’s a light taupe brown that actually works for my lighter brows and dark black brown hair. Often times an exact match to my hair makes my brows look too intense and sharp. I like to opt for a color that is lighter but doesn’t contain any red or isn’t too ashy. The Universal Brown appears to be really universal from what I’ve seen.
For lashes, my go-to lash primer is the Diorshow Maximizer Lash Pluming Serum. It’s a white base you apply to your lashes as a primer. It helps add volume to the lashes and makes them look thicker without clumping. The trick to this one is to not let it dry completely before adding mascara. You can still add it, but applying your mascara while this is still a bit wet helps the product glide on better. The mascara will adhere to the primer and if it’s completely dry, I find it tugs a little. You don’t need to rush application, but I wouldn’t wait a long time.
For mascaras, I’ve tried almost every Dior mascara made. They have the best mini samples each time a new one is released. I’ve developed a couple really good relationships with Dior reps at my Nordstroms so they always call me when they have samples. My favorite is the regular Diorshow for the plush bristles and rich color (and it doesn’t flake or smudge). Nordstrom sent me one of the new ones for review which is the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. It has a curved comb which helps get all the lashes in a few strokes, no need to angle it in weird ways. It’s supposed to help curl lashes. For my super straight lashes I always need a lash curler, but I find this one does keep the curl well. After testing it, I found it doesn’t flake or smudge. I did need to wipe off the brush with the first application (I use a piece of paper to wipe off excess) but I usually need to do that with most mascaras.
For eyeshadow, Dior has so many options. Their 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette also keeps getting a makeover in formula, color options and packaging. They’ve retained the same navy rectangular compact but the newer ones keep getting sleeker in design. Nordstrom sent Bar 056 (one of the five new fall options) for review. I normally cannot wear greys on the eyes as they turn out to be too cool-toned. Bar offers a lovely classic subtle palette of greys I can actually wear without looking washed out. If you’re looking for an everyday neutral, Rosy Tan 754 is hands down one of my favorites. I jus opened my backup a few months ago after going through one entire palette.
For those new to Dior or new to higher end lines, I hope you found this helpful as an introduction to Dior Beauty. There is a lot to explore within each product family for eyes, lips, cheeks, nails, tools, lashes etc. Even though I like to mix up brands in my daily beauty routine, I find Dior is one of the few that can really be a one-stop shop. I’ve fallen in love with their lipsticks, blushes and bronzers (although many are limited-edition ones). If you click on the Dior tag at the bottom you’ll see more Dior reviews I’ve featured over the years. If you’re a Dior fan, I’d love to hear what your favorites are. I’m always up for discovering new things.
Shop my favorites from Nordstrom:
Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. The Dior Bar Quint and Iconic Overcurl Mascara were provided for review. All other items purchased by me. For more information, please refer to my Disclosures page.
This is Part 2 of my Essentials Series. Today I’m sharing my favorite eye basics tools and products such as bases, mascaras and brow products. Details listed below for each product, followed by some swatches and extra photos below.
An overview on what I’ve looked for in each category:
Bases – I have normal to dry lids so I tend to look for products that are a tiny bit moist and dry down slowly so I can layer shadows without having to rush. At the same time I want something that will also dry to a finish that is longer-lasting and something that will stay put throughout the entire day. For color I know many like to match the skin color exactly to even out the lids. I prefer something with a bit of shimmer or a few shades darker otherwise the lids end up looking very flat and washed out.
Pencils/liners – I have found many basic browns or blacks are not dark enough or don’t have the right texture. Many look great for a few hours then slide off or fade. Finding the perfect combination of color, texture and lasting power has been a challenge. Sometimes layering a powder shadow over a liner can help extend the wear-life of eye makeup. I usually prefer bronze or navy colors instead of your basic brown or black.
Mascaras – I have very straight lashes so without a mascara to lengthen, hold curl or volumize, I end up with raccoon eyes or look like I don’t have lashes at all. Some long-wear mascaras end up feeling crunchy (if that makes sense) as they stiffen, I prefer something that has a bit more of a glossy looking finish but one that will stay put. Color is also key, I look for mascaras that look like they are a true black. Some dry down to a lighter color than what you see when it’s moist.
Brows – I am still searching for my perfect brow pencil. I found one with NARS in Panama but they discontinued it and came out with a new formula and colors.
My tried and true list of products I’ve found over the years. While this is quite an extensive list, note that these were accumulated over time. There is always debate over shelf life of products, I usually keep items until they dry out, start to smell funny or just don’t perform the same. Some liners/bases have lasted over 2 years – I think as long as you use clean brushes and occasionally wipe down the surface with a paper towel or cotton pad you should be ok. The only eye items I throw out regularly are mascaras at the 3 month mark.
Chanel Eyelash Curler ($34, limited-edition) is a classic black eyelash curler. It was released a few years ago at all counters but you can only find it now at select places like Chanel.com. Detailed review with photos here. It works for my eyelid shape so it doesn’t pinch around the edges and curls perfectly. Since it’s black and I have black lashes, it can be hard to see what I’m curling unless I have good light, but the results are good.
Le Metier de Beaute Eyelash Curler ($18) is a favorite at a relatively inexpensive price for a high-end curler. The pad has a bit more cushion to it but is gentle. This curls my lashes well and fits the eye shape perfectly.
MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork ($20) is a classic cream tan brown color. I like it as a base for 1/2 way up the lid or as a soft contouring shade. It’s darker than my natural skin tone but blends well and stays put. It helps add definition in a subtle way.
RMS Cream Eyeshadow Solar ($28) might sound odd as an eye basic but the gold shimmer makes for a perfect swipe-and-go kind of color. It’s all I need on lazy days and also works well as a base. The shimmery gold color helps brighten powder shadows and also intensifies colors when applied over the cream.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner in Bronze Shimmer was a classic for years and then Bobbi Brown discontinued it. You may still be able to find this at various outlets (I have and stocked up). The closest color from Bobbi Brown is Chocolate Shimmer Ink (which is still darker and redder). Urban Decay has close matches as well but the lasting power doesn’t match.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Nude Beach ($25) is another discontinued favorite. It was limited a few summers ago and is my holy-grail nude eyebase with shimmer. I wish it were permanent but the good news is Shore is a close match (just doesn’t have the shimmer).
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Shore ($25) is a good matte nude. It’s an amazing base that covers the lids and helps shadows adhere better. Depending on your skintone you may need something darker – Bobbi Brown has a wide range of neutrals to choose from. Shore is the one that matches my skin the best.
Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($32) is the blackest black I’ve found that stays put. It’s darker than Ebene (Chanel’s classic black). I like that it’s a twist-up kind of pencil. The end pops off so you can sharpen the tip.
NARS Larger than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner ($24 each) in Via Appia (bronze) and Rue Saint-Honore (navy) are amazing eye pencils. These are twist up pencils as well with a removeable cap at the end to sharpen the tips. These are rich in color and easy to blend (if you blend quickly after application). Once they set, they don’t budge.
Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne ($36) is the classic taupe pencil that you can use as a shadow base. If you’ve had a makeover from any of the artists from Le Metier de Beaute, they will almost always use this – it’s universally flattering and works wonders to add a bit of color to the eyes.
NARS Volumizing Mascara ($25) is one of my favorite volumizing mascaras. It really does what it claims to do. It volumizes and thickens the lashes. I love that it doesn’t budge or smudge. It’s a rich black color which I love.
Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara – Stretch ($32) is another favorite, if I were pressed to pick one favorite, this would be it. It’s my does-everything mascara. Lengthens, thickens, defines, stays put, darkens and volumizes the lashes like no other mascara. There are several other variations of Eyes to Kill Mascaras. I’ve tried them all and they are all very good. This one grabs my thin lashes better and defines the best out of all of them. Artists I work with from Armani all have their different favorites.
By Terry Eyebrow Mascara in Dark Brown ($38) is something new I’ve discovered. (I’ll have a more detailed review later.) I have the worst brows ever. Everytime I have a makeover or work with an artist, they always ask me “what do you do to fix your brows?” My answer is usually nothing because there’s usually very little I can do to “fix” them. Most pencils are too warm or too dark in color. The By Terry Brow Mascara in Dark Brown is the best brow product I’ve discovered. It helps define the brows and keeps them groomed. It dries to a natural feel (not a crunchy finish like many do). With this one I suddenly have defines brows that don’t look so bad anymore.
Bobbi Brown Tweezers ($30) grip the brows and tiny stubborn hairs. I’ve tried Tweezerman and Anastasia before – both of which are good, but nothing compared to Bobbi Brown. There is something about the design of the tips that helps grip hairs better. I like the classic silver design. It comes with a rubber tip to cap it so you can store it in your purse or makeupbag.
Shu Uemura Slant Tweezers were my favorite of all tweezers. I’m very sad they discontinued this in the US. I keep checking Shu Uemura’s website to see if it pops up again. No luck so far. Bobbi Brown is my close second for now.
Leftover mascara wands are what I use to groom and brush brows or lashes. After my mascara is used up, I wash the brushes with warm water and soap and then they make their way into my brush containers to be recycled and reused.
Eye Basics / Color Swatches
Eye Basics / Tools
I hope this comprehensive post gives you a list of ideas on what to try. We all have unique eye shapes, skin tones and skin types, so what works for you will depend on a number of factors. I hope the descriptions and details above will either help narrow down what to look for. If you can schedule a sit-down session with your counters, I recommend it. Artists have a wealth of knowledge – sometimes scheduling in advance can help them make sure they have extra staff on hand.
This is a follow up on my Shu Uemura haul from last week to compare Seal Brown with my other brow products. I have dark brown/black hair with red highlights – but you can only see the reddish/brown if I am wearing a black shirt or if I’m in the sun, so just consider my hair black.
Brow products are usually too harsh, ashy or reddish for my hair color. I’ve been matched with all these shades from various makeovers and I am surprised that they all work, however Seal Brown works the best. It looks really light in the pot/swatch, but works really well for a soft natural dark brow.
Here it is compared to Laura Mercier Soft, Chanel Blonde & Chanel Soft Brown with different views/backgrounds and then swatches.
* Note that Bobbi Brown Mahogany Ink is a gel liner, not a brow product, it’s simply swatched so you can gauge how soft the other brow product colors are.
Tools for the face – Foundation, Powder & Cleansing/Touch Up:
* Sponges – My fool-proof technique for applying foundation is to use an egg-shaped sponge, which allows for even application and control of the amount of coverage. The edges also allow for clean-up of smudges or fall out of powder eyeshadows. Sponges are also great for applying powder foundations, but most compacts come with their own. Refills are available from a number of lines.
* Puffs – Larger puffs are nice for applying translucent powders to set foundation. (I clean mine in the washing machine.) Sometimes you can find the smaller versions in gift-with-purchase deals.
* Facial Cotton/Q-tips – Shiseido Facial Cotton (found at Macys, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Sephora and other Shiseido counters) is a standby for me for removing makeup or fixing mistakes. Q-tips are also essential for removing smudges and getting those fine detail areas.
* Eyelash Curlers – There are many different curlers out there, the type that will work for you will depend on your eye shape. I find that Shu Uemura and Trish McEvoy work the best for me.
* Tweezers – My favorites are Anastasia & Shu Uemura. Tweezerman is good too, but I find it dulls after a while. The mini purple tweezers are from Nordstrom for their Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusives.