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Fall 2011

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Giorgio Armani Jacquard Eye Palette #2

August 23, 2011

Giorgio Armani’s Jacquard Collection this fall is among the most beautiful and unique for the intricate embossed woven texture of the palettes. I ordered Eye Palette #2 ($59) after seeing it featured on Front Row Beauty. The palette has a unique trio of shimmery greys combined with a deep matte warm brown with a tinge of auburn. This fall the compacts are magnetized instead of having the snap-click closure. The top comes with painted with the Armani logo in a high gloss black finish.

At first glance when I received this, I was a bit concerned the frost might look too washed out on my skin. The silvery greys are indeed frosty. At the top you have a frosty pale grey-white, in the middle you have two variations of silver: one is more of a pale grey shimmer, the other is a pale mauve grey shimmer. The colors do have a contrast with my medium-tan skintone, but there is a lovely shimmer quality that gives the colors depth even though they are fairly pale.

In direct sunlight you can see the sparkle:
Swatches in different lighting:
Comparisons to a few other shades:

This morning I applied this quad over MAC Groundwork Paint Pot. I’ll report later on the lasting power. I find this palette a bit hard to wear. 3 of the 4 shades are so similar they all end up looking the same on the eye. It took quite a bit of blending and I had to mix the dark auburn shade with a matte black (both applied damp) to get a non-reddish smokey line. After blending and layering though I’ve achieved a subtle smokey eye and I love it. I’ll have to experiment more with this palette for application ideas.
In addition to #2, there is a green palette Eye Palette #1 (greens) and a Face Palette (pinks, beiges and dark pink). The items are all beautiful but Eye Palette #2 was the only one that intrigued me. I don’t typically wear greens on larger portions of the eyes and I found the face palette too frosty. For the lips, cheeks and new mascara, I haven’t caved on anything yet. There are some lovely lipsticks but I’ve overindulged on Chanel and Guerlain lately. Front Row Beauty reviewed all three palettes. Best Things in Beauty also has all three palettes reviewed plus some other items as well.
Have you seen the Armani Jacquard collection yet? Thoughts? Any loves?
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Chanel Taupe 84 Stylo Yeux Waterproof

August 14, 2011

Chanel’s newest Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner is Taupe #84 ($29). It has been released in the US as part of the Sophisticated Eye Collection, a collection of new eyeshadows, eyeliners and tools (see entire collection lineup on Karla Sugar and featured on Chanel.com). I’m a huge fan of the Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliners. They’re waterproof, easy to apply, soft yet not too soft (as in gentle on the eyes) and I love that they come with a twist-up design. Taupe #84 is a complex color. It’s nothing like you would expect from the name. I anticipated a grey-brown to arrive. Instead, I found that Taupe #84 is an intriguing beautiful complex fusion of plum brown silver. I applied this alone on the eyes and it gives subtle but pretty definition to the eyes. The silver shimmer makes it slightly lighter than I anticipated. It will look lovely with light-to-medium shades. However, over darker colors, I think this will not show up. I do envision that it will make a great layering base for colors like Fauve and Taupe Gris to intensify the color or help extend the wear of powder shadows.

It’s quite unique as shown by a few comparisons to other liners: L to R, Chanel Rose Platine, Chanel Brun-Cuivré, Chanel Taupe, Urban Decay Underground, Chanel Violet Smoke, Chanel Berry, MAC Earthline

At first glance I thought it might seem similar to Dior’s Aztec Chocolate Nail Polish. It’s in the same color family but has quite a bit more silver making it look more purply than brown. Here it is also compared to Chanel Fauve and Taupe Gris Eyeshadows.

$29 is rather steep for an eyeliner, but the quality and uniqueness of this color makes it easy for me to justify. I like the color but the lightness/silver reflective quality of this makes it seem more of something I will use like a cream shadow rather than a definer. It will be lovely with lighter subtle colors or as a base for Fauve. For the lasting power, I put it on this morning (alone without any other shadows or base) around 8 am and it lasted until around 5 pm.

Also see Natural N Chic Makeup’s blog for her thoughts, swatches and comparisons.

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Guerlain Les Fumés 06 Écrin 4 Couleurs

August 7, 2011

Guerlain Les Fumés 06 is a neutral palette suited for light-to-medium toned skin women like to contour the eyes with variations of flesh-toned natural colors. This one appears to be the least shimmery out of the three I bought. It has more of a satiny-finish on all shades with the exception of the silver on the far right. The colors clockwise from left are a satiny grey with plum (very soft shimmer), dusty rose pink matte, silvery cool toned grey with a tinge of mauve, dark dusty bark-like brown.

At first glance, I was initially worried these might look muddy on the skin. The nude-mauves and nude-browns while gorgeous had me concerned that these might look ashy on the eyes. Upon application this morning, I was pleased to find out the colors are not muddy at all – but you do need to use a moist base to help pick up the colors. The darkest brown shade at the bottom is slightly ashy though, I recommend trying to apply directly over a gel eyeliner or with a slightly damp brush (emphasis on slightly so you don’t ruin the powder). This is a fairly neutral palette on my skintone. I’m not sure how this will translate on tan/darker skintones. It might be too nude to show up.

Although neutrals often seem very unoriginal, I couldn’t find anything quite similar. After swatching this on my arm, I thought the dusty-pink and silver looked remarkably similar to NARS Grand Palais (Fall 2011). I highly recommend you see Amy’s review at Café Makeup (she has a few links to some looks of this on the eyes). I do not own this duo as I passed on the fall collection from NARS entirely. I did swatch it at counter and based on my recollection, the rose was too warm for my taste. Guerlain’s Les Fumés works better on me. The dusty pink is slightly darker than my skin so for me, I wouldn’t apply it with a heavy hand.

Today, I applied this quad as follows:
Step 1: Apply Laura Mercier’s Gold Metallic Creme shadow as a base
Step 2: Apply the dusty pink on lids, heavier near lash line, lighter closer to brow
Step 3: Apply the silver frost on top of pink and blend like crazy
Step 4: Apply the taupe-mauve (left shade) on outer corners inwards to mid-point of eye
Step 5: Take the pink shade one more time and apply from inner eye (close to nose) and blend outwards
Step 6: Take the darkest brown shade with a slightly damp brush and trace along lashline for definition

I’ll need more practice, but so far, I love it. They layer together wonderfully. Here are comparisons to the closest shadows I could find – no dupes, but I hope these help you! I suspect there are closer dupes that I’ve missed, this palette looks extremely familiar, perhaps it’s close to one of the 6 Couleurs from last year?


Bottom Line: I’ve ignored Guerlain for some time for a number of reasons such as high price points, bulky packaging, lack of interest in the color options, inconsistent eyeshadow pigmentation, heavily fragranced products. The products have always been of high quality but I’ve normally been more drawn to brands like Dior and Chanel. However reviews on other blogs have helped tremendously. In addition, since falling in love with their Lingerie de Peau foundation, innovative blushes and bronzer and now with the release of these quads, Guerlain has caught my eye. These quads are truly amazing – there is a wide selection of colors and finishes. The mattes are divine and shimmery colors finely milled and well designed that everyone is bound to find one to suit their preferences.
I don’t need any more eyeshadows, but I can’t wait for these to arrive at counters near me so I can play with the other colors.
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Guerlain Les Gris 05 Écrin 4 Couleurs

August 7, 2011

Guerlain Les Gris 05 seems to be ideal for a dramatic smokey eye with a cool-toned finish. The palette seems to have a good mix of matte with shimmer. The texture is smooth and pigment is nice. Initially I was torn between Les Gris 05 (see it on Best Things in Beauty) and Les Noirs 09 (see it on Makeup and Beauty Blog). I decided to opt for the blue-grey palette because it seemed more unique to me. The descriptions of the colors from left clockwise: a sheer neutral-cool matte grey, a soft silvery shimmer with a very slight mauve tinge, a brilliant silver metallic, an intense dark navy-teal with finely milled shimmer.

I pulled a few classic smokey eye palettes from Dior and Edward Bess. To date, Edward Bess Soft Smoke is my holy grail smokey eye palette (most others are too ashy or harsh for my skin). For all three, I would say the Dior is the most silvery-blue, Edward Bess is the classic, Guerlain’s Les Gris is a blue-grey version of the classic smokey eye.

Update: Thanks to the keen eye of my readers, some pointed out that Les Gris appears similar to NARS Dogon. (Great eyes!) I pulled this out to compare and noticed I actually do have quite a few blues from NARS. NARS Dogon’s blue is similar in the compact but darker. (Note these were taken early morning without direct sunlight so Les Gris may look different.)

Here are just the blues:

Here is everything from each duo: NARS Brumes, NARS Thunderball, NARS Dogon, NARS Tzarine (I apologize for the crappy swatches) compared to Guerlain Les Gris

The verdict on similarities:

Guerlain’s top silver-mauve looks like the silver in NARS Okinawa
Guerlain’s bottom teal-navy is NARS Okinawa’s blue+Thunderball mixed
Guerlain’s left matte grey is similar to NARS Brumes’ grey, but Guerlain is more cool toned
Guerlain’s brilliant silver grey is unique in my eye

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Guerlain Les Bois de Rose 04 Écrin 4 Couleurs

August 6, 2011
Guerlain 04 Les Bois de Rose is an iridescent quad with a soft pearly white, medium cool rose frost, taupe-grey-mauve shimmer, and a plum brown. The texture is soft and easily blendable. I’ve had good experiences with the prior releases from Guerlain, but found their older quads a bit dryer in texture making them hard to blend and requiring heavy application. The new Écrin 4 Couleurs appear to be much softer and smoother in texture, yet have excellent pigmentation.

The shimmer in this quad is on the medium-to-high side, some might find this too frosty. It’s almost as sparkly as some of the Bobbi Brown Metallic Shadows but not quite as metallic-like. I applied this today over UDPP on the eyes using the sponges on one eye and my regular brushes on the other. The sponges work just fine but I prefer the brushes for a better application.

1. Apply white shade on lids (about 1/2 way from lash up to middle of eye)
2. Apply the right taupey shade on outer corners inward to middle
3. Apply rose frost from inner corner (part closest to nose) and blend towards outer corner mixing with the taupe
4. Apply the darkest shade to line and smudge along upper lashes

I’m sure there are similar colors out there, but I couldn’t find a quad from Chanel or Dior that was exactly the same. I did pull out my Armani Eye Mania 05 and Dior Pink Idol quint to compare for you. Those weary of pinks because of getting that pink-eye look need not worry with the Guerlain. I avoid pinks like the plague but the Guerlain Les Bois de Rose works beautifully.

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Guerlain Écrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadows Fall 2011 – A Preview

August 6, 2011

This fall Guerlain has released a stunning collection for fall. The standouts for me are the Écrin 4 Couleurs: nine eyeshadow quads in a diverse range of shades from neutral to colorful to dramatic ($59 each). Each palette is encased in a heavy-weight luxurious compact. I love that each palette comes with a unique mixture of finishes (matte, satin, iridescent). I’m one that prefers a finely milled shimmer in shadows to add depth to the eyes, but find the matte colors in each are equally beautiful as they do not fall flat like some mattes tend to do so.

The colors designed by Guerlain are all exquisite. It was hard to pick just one and I was eager to order even before seeing or trying these in person. You can see all nine colors 01 Les Violets, 02 Les Bleus, 03 Les Verts, 04 Les Bois de Rose, 05 Les Gris, 06 Les Fumés, 07 Les Cuirs, 08 Les Perlés, 09 Les Noirs previewed with details on Café Makeup and swatched on Yuki’s Lazy Channel. Thanks to their lovely previews I narrowed down my initial picks to 04, 05 and 06. I have been further tempted to purchase one more, but am going to wait for the next beauty event.

I have yet to play with these as they just arrived yesterday from Bergdorfs, however, my initial thoughts are that these appear to be highly pigmented, versatile, classic, polished and well designed. Even the neutral palettes seem fresh and unique compared to what we’ve seen in past years – something I think can be difficult to do given all the innovative products various brands have released in recent years. I definitely think the packaging and design is an improvement from the past quads. I only have 3 quads from Guerlain (here and here) and as you can see from the comparison below, I don’t find myself using them frequently.

Each palette comes in a black slip case (which I usually toss) and a tiny booklet of instructions/how-to’s. I haven’t tried these ideas yet but thought I’d include it for your reference. The diagrams, while detailed and inspirational, rarely work for me as my eyeshape rarely is the same as what is on the pictures.

Last fall Guerlain released a stunning collection of luxurious eyeshadow palettes with 6 shades per compact at jaw dropping price of $85 each. Amazing reviews, detailed features and lovely how-to’s complete with swatches tempted me from Karla Sugar, Temptalia, The Non-Blonde, Café Makeup and Yuki’s Lazy Channel (to name a few). I must admit I was very tempted. Yet when I saw these in person, as lovely as each palette was, I could not bring myself to spend a full $80+ on a single item. Irrational, I know. Buying multiple eyeshadows individually can easily exceed a total price of $80, still $85 on a single item was too much for me to swallow given the neutrality of each palette (they seemed very basic when I swatched them in person). The fall offerings this year seem better suited for me in terms of price and color selection. There is more to choose from, a more diverse range of textures in each palette and the price is lower making it easier for me to justify.

Detailed reviews and swatches to come soon on each palette. Have you seen the new quads for fall in person yet? Initial thoughts? Did you love last fall’s collections? Is there something I missed that I need to go check out again?

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Laura Mercier Bare Pink, Bare Peach, Bare Naked & Bare Baby Lip Glacé

August 5, 2011

Laura Mercier has released another collection this fall called the New Smoky Eye Collection​. While the highlight is on dramatic eyes, I was personally more drawn to the new nude shades of Lip Glacés. (The smoky eye palette and caviar sticks were indeed lovely but seemed dupeable within my existing stash so I passed.) There are 6 shades of Bare Glosses in this collection ($22 each):
  • Bare Pink is a cream pastel pink
  • Bare Peach is a light peach with subtle shimmer
  • Bare Naked is a nude beige with a slight sparkle
  • Bare Baby is a pale pink with a soft sparkle and a slight hint of peach
  • Bare Beige is a repromote, a neutral caramel nude-brown
  • Bare Blush is a pink-taupe cream
Being the neutral-obsessed that I am, I ended up with 4, Bare Pink, Bare Peach, Bare Naked and Bare Baby. These have the signature Laura Mercier vanilla scent and have sheer coverage. I’ve had good experienced with Laura Mercier’s Lip Glaces in the past. Her colors have a diverse range of finishes from cream to fine shimmer to tiny microglitters. In general, the darker shades have a better pigment payoff. The lighter colors are more sheer. The Bare colors are rather pale. I can’t speak for all, but I do think girls with pigmented lips might not be able to pull these alone as these may end up looking chalky or ashy.

I tried Bare Peach and Bare Baby and while these are pale, they are sheer enough to work with my skin/lip tone. I have not tried the others on the lips yet but have swatched these below. Based on my swatches, I don’t think you need both Pink and Baby (the SA actually put Pink in my bag on accident instead of Bare Beige, but I’ve decided to keep the Pink).

Here is Bare Baby on my lips alone. It’s a borderline wash-out color for me. If you can pull off colors like YSL Rouge Volupte 1 or 2, MAC Angel, MAC Hue etc easily, then you will love this one. For me, it’s going to be more of a higher-maintenance nude. I suspect it will look better when layered over a pencil like Laura Mercier Chestnut or when blended with brighter lip shades.

Comparisons to other Laura Mercier and Le Metier de Beaute neutral shades are shown below. The * indicated the color was either limited edition and has been discontinued. From the photos below you can see the new Bare gloss shades are different from a number of existing Laura Mercier shades. Since most of the shades are sheer and blend out when applied on the lips, I tried to swatch these unevenly so you can see a variation of a heavy versus blended out swatch.

Have you seen or tried these yet? Can you pull of these gorgeous neutrals on your lips? Or are you like me and find many paler shades too pale on the lips?
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