Clé de Peau Beauté Fall 2014 brings us eight new Eye Shadow Quads, I’ve never splurged on their eye shadows but the colors are stunning, loving the look of Stellar Gaze and Satin Moon
Tatcha has a new Travel Kit that comes with a cute clear pouch,Deep Hydration Lifting Mask, Dewy Skin Mist, Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask, Soothing Silk Hand Cream Travel Size, Original Aburatorigami, Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil line smells absolutely divine, I tried a small sample packet and am contemplating the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Travel Kit before splurging on full sizes
Estee Lauder has released a mini collection called Crystal Baby which I spotted at Nordstrom last week. I haven’t been able to find any information about this on the web so I’m not sure if it’s an exclusive to Nordstrom or will be released elsewhere. I picked up three items, but entire collection consists of:
I snapped a really quick photo with my iPhone at the counter:
The three items I purchased are the Nail Lacquer, Shimmer Lip Gloss and Illuminating Gelée Powder Blush. Swatches here and more details below:
The Crystal Baby Nail Lacquer is a soft shimmering nude pink that flashes a hint of blue, violet and pearl sparkles. On the nails it’s very neutral on my skin. With my current skintone it’s almost a nude because it matches my olive complexion. However I love how it gives a subtle polished look which I find office appropriate for conservative work places. I didn’t have time to test this long since I took it off after two days to try other products. In my experience Estee Lauder polishes are average for lasting power 3-4 days max.
Crystal Baby Lip Gloss is a warm frosted pink with lots of pearl. If you can tolerate the fig scent it’s a really pretty color. It has enough color to wear alone although I like to wear this on top of other lipsticks for added shine. It’s not sheer but not full coverage – I find it falls somewhere in between.
Crystal Baby Illuminating Gelée Powder Blush is a unique gel-powder. Similar in concept to prior limited-edition Gelées by Estee Lauder, this one has intense shimmer. On my skin it’s not frosty but I do need to apply with a light and gentle hand. It applies well with a loose fluffy brush all over the cheeks as a highlight or on the eyes. You can use the sponge it comes with but it makes the shimmer more intense. I found it did not emphasize pores with a light swipe, although if you swipe one swipe too many it will emphasize imperfections. It’s a lovely light opalescent pink. I recommend applying with a light hand.
I found this mini collection to be an unexpected surprise. I discovered it on route to the Chanel counter at my local Nordstrom. I’m glad the display caught my eye. All the items I picked out are lovely delicate feminine colors. Thumbs up on all items from me. According to the sales rep the entire collection is limited-edition. Available now at Nordstrom.
I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I’m still trying to get used to the fact that we are already into the month of June. For some mid-week beauty cravings, here are some highlights on items on my radar and a sneak peek of what’s coming out soon. Details from top left, clockwise.
MAC Pedro Lourenço will be released in stores and counters this Thursday. Items have been posted online early though and are selling out quickly. I was able to order the Nude Eyeshadow Quad ($44). I have my eye on Gold Mirror Lipglass and Mirror Lipglass ($16.50 each). I’ll be trying to track these down this Thursday.
NARS is coming out with 12 new shades and formula of eyeshadow called Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow ($29 each) which have a unique wet or dry application formula. The colors range from delicate peach pink to fierce black orchid. These will be available for sale beginning July 1 at NARS boutiques and on narscosmetics.com along with a new eyeshadow brush. In the meantime NARS has created two videos for a preview. (For full color listing, check out The Non-Blonde.)
Jo Malone has a new Cologne Intense in Tuberose Angelica ($145). Being a huge fan of the other Cologne Intense fragrances, I’m eager to try this one out. My Jo Malone rep said it has already arrived in store, perfect timing for Neiman Marcus’s Camp Gorgeous Event (June 5 through 15 or while supplies last, gift with purchases online and in stores).
Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Balm in Sugar Rose is one of the classic pinks ($22.50 each). A new shade in Sugar Tulip has just been released. Sephora.com has an exclusive early release preview for purchase for those who are VIB Members. I ordered this last week and it just arrived. I can’t wait to try it as it looks like a fresh pink.
What’s on your radar this week? Did you order the MAC items when they went live online? Any other new or recent discoveries?
The most frequently asked questions I’ve received have been focused around hand and nail care. I review lots of nail polishes and change colors frequently and taking care of my hands has always been a must. I’ll go through my hand and nail care routine and answer some questions that I receive on a regular basis.
I’ll share a bit of background on my nail/hand care routine and history. I played the violin when I was younger and kept playing through through college. This required me to keep my nails extremely short with only a sliver of the white tips showing. Out of habit and personal preference I’ve always kept my nails on the shorter end, although in recent years I’ve started growing them a bit longer. You can see the difference then in 2010 vs. now in 2014. For everyday hand activity I’ve had a diverse work history that has required a lot of typing from number crunching and market research. I tend to type with my hands at an angle (rather than having finger more at a 90 degree angle) so my nails don’t tend to hit the keys as much as someone who holds their hands at a more perpendicular angle to the keyboards. Some frequently asked questions:
Are your nails always professionally manicured? Or do you maintain them yourself? My manicures are a mix of both professionally applied nail polish and DIY. For the longest time I couldn’t properly do my own nail polish for a full manicure. Being able to paint one’s nails doesn’t always come naturally, it takes lots and lots of practice. I would say my manicures are 50/50 done myself versus at a professional salon.
How often do you get professional manicures? It varies depending on what I’m testing out, swatching, and also time constraints. I would say it ranges from every other week to once a month.
Your nail polish seems to have a long wear life without tip wear, I work at an office job that requires a lot of typing, how do you avoid tip wear? Tip wear will probably depend on how long your nails are, if they are on the long side there will be a lot of surface contact which can lend to more tip wear. I recommend keeping them on the shorter end to avoid breakage. Make sure you use a good base coat, brush the tips of the nails with a bit of color to cover the end of the nail, make sure your top coat covers not just the top of your nail but brush over the tip end as well.
What base and top coats do you use? I’ll go into what I use below, I usually use Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat and Chanel Top Coat but it varies depending on what brand of color I’m using.
My nail polish never lasts more than 3 days, it starts to peel and chip no matter what brand, help? Several things could contribute to short-lived manicures. For prep, your nail might not be entirely clean. Even with polish remover, if you’ve used oils or lotions, there could be remnants of product still lingering on the nail. Use a nail cleaner or polish remover that helps clean (more below). You could be loading on too much color too soon. While it may seem to be a time saver to load up more color for 1 coat, don’t do it. Apply your polish in thin coats even if it looks uneven the first coat. The second or third (for sheerer colors) will smooth out the surface. You also might not be covering your entire nail tip with top coat – doing so will make sure you covered the entire nail.
What advice would you give to those who are a novice to DIY manicures? I would recommend getting your nails professionally manicured the first 3-4 manicures you have so you can observe their application technique in person. You really only need salon manicures every once in a while for a clean up. It’s easy to maintain your nails yourself in between salon visits. You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself, as some can vouch, manicuring your own nails can sometimes take longer and be more frustrating.
Do you need to stick with the same brand of polish and base/top coats? Or can you mix and match? I don’t think you need to stick with the same brands, although using the same can often be best. Different brands have different formulas and don’t always work well together for me. For example I’m super picky with top coats – I don’t like any sign of shrinkage where the top coats dry and shrink over the nail polish leaving a visible line around the edges. (Seche and OPI do that with Chanel for me). I like to mix and match.
The items I use are going to broken down into the following categories: Removers, Treatments, Tools, Base Prep and Top Coats. Like most beauty routines, I believe nail care items should be built slowly over time with testing or by researching reviews online.
I used to use cheap nail polish removers from CVS and Target, but after I started changing my nail polish frequently, I found that they made my nails and fingers extremely sensitive and that my nails started to peel (the actual nail). Based on reviews and recommendations I’ve found several new removers that are gentle for sensitive fingers but still very effective in removing all traces of polish. Items shown above described left to right:
Zoya Remove + Big Flipper is a 3 in 1 product that removes color, preps the nail and conditions. I discovered this thanks to the recommendation of Café Makeup – we discussed nail care, I shared my finger woes, she said try the Zoya, it’s “so good.” She was right. Read the reviews on Zoya or Makeupalley and you’ll see others agree. There are different size options, I like the Big Flipper because it has an easy push down dispenser.
Sephora Formula X Delete Nail Polish Remover is another love (reviewed here). This is another item I bought based on online reviews. It has a similar push down dispenser lid. I like this one because it’s compact and the design is very sleek and simple. The easy to use pump action makes it super handy – you don’t have to flip over the bottle and risk ruining painted nails if you need to clean edges or mess-ups.
Dior Dissolvant Abricot is an ultra luxurious and pricey non-acetone remover, it has a rich abricot scent formulated with ingredients to nourish, hydrate and strengthen. I found it was extremely effective in removing Dior’s Gel Top Coat and dark polish underneath. I’m not a fan of the price and those sensitive to fragrance may find this too heavy. I went through one bottle pretty quickly and repurchased a second. It’s the only remover I’ve tried that has a slightly moisturizing/hydrating feel. If the bottle were about 3-4 times larger I think I could justify the price for more frequent use.
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover is the only cuticle softener that I’ve tried but I was lucky to find a really good one on my first try. It comes in a milky white liquid with a dropper. Apply to the cuticle area for a minute and then push back with a cuticle tool and it removes excess cuticle skin easily. This is a definite must for anyone who does their own manicures. It’s gentle but super effective.
I attribute good looking hands to good hand care. I’m almost always carrying one to two hand creams in my purse. I rely on L’Occitane because they come in travel sizes, a variety of scents and have fun packaging. Plus the formula is hard to beat. For extra care I’ve discovered layering oil into hand cream can help give an added boost of moisture. I prefer hand creams that absorb quickly into the skin and that aren’t greasy feeling so it doesn’t ruin paper, clothes or get everywhere you touch. My current loves, left to right:
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil is as good as it gets (there’s a mini version as well). A little goes a long way with the dropper, you only need a little bit. It’s not greasy but can get sticky, I recommend applying this with precision to the cuticles and rub in quickly. It has Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Mineral Oil and smells amazing. I use this about once a week and it keeps the cuticles looking really good.
Caudalie Divine Oil is a must for me (review here), unfortunately they’ve changed the packaging of the mini size and it doesn’t come with the spray pump dispenser. When I visited the Venice Boutique, they had hand massage treatments and they mixed the oil with their Hand and Nail Cream (review here) which is another staple of mine. I can’t rave enough about these.
L’Occitane Hand Creams have been a classic for me for years (check out the L’Occitane Hand Cream Bar), they can be on the pricey side for the side, but the formula is worth every penny, these come in a variety of scents and special formulas, my current favorites are the Shea Butter Honey (soothing and creamy) along with the new Vitória-Régia from the Viva Brazil collection (lush sweet floral). L’Occitane has monthly gift with purchase promotions in stores and online, it’s one of the few brand newsletters I subscribe to that I don’t mind receiving weekly (they have good deals). I’ve converted so many of my friends to L’Occitane as these hand creams make good small gifts or add-ons (just add a box of Godiva chocolate or small bouquet of flowers).
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Hand Cream was a huge step-up gift with purchase from Neiman Marcus at one of the Estee Lauder events they had a year ago in store. I was a bit intimidated by the size and packaging as it looks like an intensive treatment. It is indeed an intense hand cream but still very gentle and is the best at smoothing lines. You can see the effects immediately and over time it does improve the overall look and appearance of your hands.
My tools are very basic, items were either found at local drugstores or Ulta. There are a wide number of tools out on the market, I’m sure there are more experienced nail experts who know more about tools, my picks were picked out without much research or planning.
Revlon Nail Clipper is an older version that I have, they’ve gone through a few revamps and upgrades in packaging design but the overall shape and size remains the same
Tweezerman Nail File I’ve picked up various nail files over the years, I find Tweezerman to be sturdy but with a rough enough surface to be effective on harder nails but not too harsh, the ones from Sephora that I’ve bought come with a plastic storage sleeve which is convenient for storage (and makes sure it doesn’t scratch your other products)
Ulta Crystal Nail File if you’re one who hates the feeling of filing nails, you need to check out Crystal Nail Files, a multitude of brands have these such as OPI and Sephora. These have a unique fine-grade glass surface that is good for sensitive or thinner nails, it gently smooths edges and also has a tapered precision tip to clean beneath the nail.
Tweezerman Pushy Cuticle Pusher is a smaller tool for cuticles, I prefer smaller shapes, although some prefer ones with larger curved tips to match the natural shape of the nails. I find the Tweezerman one to be small enough for my small fingers, it’s sturdy and effective for me. For any kind of cuticle removal or care, I recommend you proceed with extra caution. Don’t push too hard and be extra gentle with the cuticles – this is where I recommend you observe a professional several times before attempting on your own.
Revlon Cuticle Nippers are another basic drugstore purchase, I’ve had two from Revlon, both have lasted over 5 years, just make sure you clean them regularly with warm water and soap (I use antibacterial dish soap) or alcohol. I wouldn’t recommend using cuticle clippers regularly, I use them to clip hang nails or only use if the cuticles have been softened and properly prepped.
For base coats, I look for something that helps protect bare nails. I look for items that won’t turn the nails yellow, items that aren’t drying and that also don’t make the nails peel. I’ll highlight the ones I use briefly, let me know if you need more information on any of these, I find they all work well with other brands such as Chanel, OPI, YSL, Dior, Tom Ford and NARS.
Sephora Formula X Nail Cleanser (reviewed here) is a relatively new discovery for me but I find that having a completely clean nail surface before using base coat or color really makes a difference in the wear of nail polish
Sephora Formula X Base Coat (reviewed here) is a sticky formula that helps polish adhere well, I like this best with the Formula X polishes but I’ve also tried (and love it) with Dior, Marc Jacobs and Chanel
CND Stickey Base Coat is a classic that I’ve repurchased multiple times, it’s an affordable option that works well with all brands I’ve tried
Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat is my most-frequently used base coat, I don’t usually have nails that peel except when I do a lot of swatching and comparisons on the fingers, this helps immensely
Sephora Formula X Shine Top Coat (review here) is an awesome top coat but is on the thicker side, it works best with Formula X brand nail colors, when I used The System and their Nail Color, I had a manicure last over 7 days without any tip wear or chipping
Rescue Beauty Lounge Top Coat is another item I’ve repurchased (I’m on my third bottle), it’s just as good as Chanel, some say it’s better, mine has a pinkish tinge because I didn’t let my pink nail polish dry long enough and had some color transfer
Dior Gel Coat is a top coat I’ve found works best with Dior Polishes (Chanel v Dior post here), it works well over other brands for a gel-shine finish and lush look, but can be prone to cracking on certain brands
This sums up my hand and nail care favorites. I hope this give you a comprehensive overview on my personal hand and nail care routine. To recap, I definitely think you can maintain your hands and nails on your own but regular salon visits help keep hands looking better. You don’t need an expensive salon to maintain your nails, there are a lot of good ones that are more affordable.
This post contains some items that were sent for review consideration. Most items were purchased by me. Press samples include Sephora The System, Tatcha Indigo, L’Occitane Vitória-Régia. For more information refer to my Disclosures.
It’s that time of the year where my skin and hair is in desperate need of that extra boost of moisture to fight dry patches. Finding lightweight moisturizing products can be a bit of a challenge for my sensitive skin. My nose is particularly sensitive so light-fragranced items are a must. My go-to fixes and staples this season right now:
Aerin Rose Hand and Body Cream $40 is a lovely light-scented hand treatment, it’s a bit pricey for me to justify using on the body, but it’s a nice moisturizing cream for the hands. It smells like candied roses which is really nice (coming from a person who doesn’t really like strong rose florals).
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Cream $55 is probably the priciest hand cream I own, I was lucky to get this as a gift with purchase one year. It smells like a spa treatment. It’s a bit heavier than most hand creams I use but it dries down to a soft silky finish. It helps diminish those dry lines in the hands upon application. Read the reviews on Nordstrom.com and you’ll see this is well worth the price.
L’Occitane Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body $20 is the perfect body lotion for me. I’ve gone through five bottles already and keep one at work and one at home. I’m a huge fan of L’occitane’s Shea Butter line. They have several different options of moisturizing intensity depending on your skin needs. I like this one because it melts into the skin and makes any itchy dryness disappear without being too greasy. I love the lightweight scent – it’s very soothing and comforting. It’s neutral enough to be unisex. My husband and male co-workers always borrow mine.
Caudalie Divine Oil $49 is relatively new to me. I’ve written about the mini size that I’ve tried which is perfect for the purse. I loved it so much I bought the full size in the trio set. I spray it on the legs and elbows. It smells fresh and light and feels nice on the skin. It’s also designed for the face and hair – I’ve only tried it on the ends of my hair to add a bit of shine (although I prefer other hair treatments).
Jo Malone Vitamin E Vitamin E’ Body Treatment Scrub $90 is the ultimate luxury body scrub. It’s a spa in a tub and smells like a luscious honey dessert. It’s strongly scented and extremely moisturizing – if you visit your local Jo Malone store or counter they should be able to make a small sample for you to try. It’s really REALLY amazing.
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil $20 is one of the first cuticle oils I’ve tried. In the past I’ve tried substituting baby oil but found it hasn’t really helped my dry cuticles. This one is made of pure white jojoba oil, vitamin E and coconut oil (it smells like coconuts). It works well on my cuticles and a little goes a long way. Be careful to keep application to the cuticles as it can feel a bit sticky on the finger tips. The texture is perfect to actually stay on the cuticles (versus some oils that are so liquid/fluid they roll off quickly).
Drybar The Chaser Shine Pomade $28 is the hair cream of all hair creams. It adds shine without being too heavy or greasy looking on the hair. I find it lasts all day long. I’ve used it a couple of ways. One is right after I shower on towel-dried damp hair. This is the only thing I’ve tried that lets my hair air dry perfectly without any frizz. It makes the perfect pre-heat treatment as well (whether it’s blow drying or straightening). I also find it makes a great finishing product to add a bit of texture and shine. Bonus is that my husband likes it on his hair as a pomade (even though it’s really a cream). The smell is incredible too.
What are you winter skin and hair savers? I’m all ears to hear what your favorites are!
It’s only March yet some summer beauty collections have started to arrive in stores. Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess collection has a mix of beautiful bright and bronzey shades. Being a huge fan of the gelée powders, quickly picked up the new limited-edition Heat Wave Illuminating Powder Gelée ($40 for 0.21 oz/6 g, also online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Estee Lauder). Heat Wave has a beautiful embossed pattern like sun rays. It’s a luminous pale gold champagne in the compact. It swatches true to the color in the pan. I expected to fall in love with it completely, especially after swatching on my hand in store – it was like wearing sunshine on my hand. However, on the face I found it a bit too sharp and frosty (I tested with the sponge applicator, soft fluffy brushes and skunk brushes). It does layer beautifully over a cream bronzer, but I think I’m at the right amount of tan to be too dark for this to look natural. I’m all for visible shimmers, however this one emphasized my pores and looked slightly too metallic on my skin. I do think it will suit fairer skins better. Money wasn’t wasted though, this has just the right amount of glitz and sparkle to wear on the eyes. The frost factor is similar to that of the paler Armani Eyes to Kill Shadows (Heat Wave is just sheerer and not quite as frosty). Your mileage will vary with this one depending on your skintone.
Comparisons to some other gold/champagne gelee highlighters. All the ones shown below were limited-edition, I’m not sure that they will be easy to find these days, but if you already own some – you may want to shop your stash before caving on Heat Wave. MAC’s Whisper of Gilt is almost identical to Estee Lauder’s Heat Wave. I prefer the MAC even though it’s still quite frosty. The Estee Lauder Heat Wave has some tiny gold micro sparkles (these are really tiny) that emphasize my pores. The MAC is more metallic all the way through.
Here’s a simple look that I’ve did last week. It includes a few favorites:
I’m overall pleased with Estée Lauder’s Heat Wave. Even though it doesn’t work out for my face (for everyday at least), it’s a lovely eye highlighter/shadow with excellent lasting power.
Did you pick up anything from Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess collection? Did you like Heat Wave or did you find it too similar to what you already own? Note it is a limited-edition product. I recommend you try soon before it sells out. You can find it in store now at most Estee Lauder counters. Right now it’s online as well at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Estee Lauder.
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It feels as though I blinked and an entire week flew by without me realizing it. It’s almost the same with spring and summer collections these days. I could have sworn I just looked at the Spring Topaz collection from Estée Lauder and I was completely surprised to see the Summer Bronze Goddess collection at Macy’s during my lunch break on Friday. (Summer in February?!) Continuing the trend with the Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée, Estée Lauder has released another gorgeous embossed face highlighter this season called Shimmering Sands ($42 for .15 oz/4.5 g) which is a metallic bronzey pink. Topaz Chameleon ($40 for .17 oz/5 g) was from their Spring Topaz collection and I was lucky to find one in store this late after the collection launched. (It took me a while to decide to buy this one if you’re interested, I suggest you act fast).
Both highlighters are highly metallic but easily layerable for a more subtle glow. Illuminating Powder Gelées have a very unique gel-powder-cream formula. It’s not quite a cream like NARS Multiples but not quite a powder. Still, I wouldn’t describe it as a cream to powder since the finish is slightly dewy (only very slightly). Shimmering Sands and Chameleon Topaz both come with a beautiful embossed texture. I found both extremely pigmented with multidimensional shimmers. The formula seems to adhere to the skin quite well but blends in without looking like it sits on top like some metallic highlighters do. Although these are called “highlighters” there is so much color I can’t imagine wearing these over any other product (aside from powder and foundation). The tiny applicators pick up quite a bit of pigment but I prefer to use a full sized powder brush for a sheerer application over the cheeks. I love that the shimmers are not oversprays. Here are a few more photos side by side at different angles.
In direct sunlight with flash, here you can see the metallic flashes:
TopazChameleon is a warm golden copper. At first swipe I was intimidated by how warm and pigmented the color was and walked away. It wasn’t until after seeing it on Karla Sugar, Temptalia and Makeup and Beauty Blog that I decided to revisit and try on the face. I thought it would look too orange/copper/yellow but it surprised me. It warms up the face to give a summery bronzed copper glow. I do recommend using with caution. One extra swipe could easily overdo it. Make sure your face is well prepped with a good base and foundation. Without it this can emphasize pores (at least in my experience, I like to use Koh Gen Do’s Royal Massage Milk and NARS Tinted Moisturizer these days). This one is very limited in stores but can still be found online at a few places.
Shimmering Sands looks like a soft champagne bronze in the compact but goes on quite a bit darker than I expected – like a bronzed pink. On my skin the pink/brownish tones pull more strongly and gives me an almost brown-burnt look if applied too heavily. Finding the right balance might take a bit of work but this one is still lovely. The shimmer effect is more subdued compared to Modern Mercury (from fall 2011) and Topaz Chameleon. I find this to be more of a true bronzer rather than a highlight. Does this one pull brown/reddish on your skin or is it just me? Perhaps tan skinned or darker skin girls will find this less of a bronze and more of a highlight.
Here are all three Illuminating Powder Gelées from Estée Lauder: Modern Mercury (Fall 2011), Chameleon Topaz (Spring 2012), Shimmering Sands (Summer 2012).
Swatches, heavily on the skin. I recommend you check out the other blogs I linked above to see the sheer vs. heavy swatches. There is no way I would ever wear these this heavy on the face but sheered out it was hard to get photos of the arm-swatches. I think Temptalia’s photos demonstrate how well these blend on the face. Also re-visit the reviews from Cafe Makeup on Modern Mercury to see the effect on Liz (see how it blends out on the cheeks versus swatched on the arm).
Modern Mercury is still my favorite. I wish it was a permanent product as I do think it is something I would like to repurchase when I hit pan (not that it will happen soon, but still). Topaz Chameleon is close second. I feel the latest Shimmering Sands is too dark for me right now, but when real summer arrives and I get my tan back I think this will work better for me. I’m all about dramatic bronzers but even this one is a bit too much for me.