Browsing Tag

Saks Fifth Avenue


Dior Vernis Releases for Spring-Summer

March 23, 2013

Dior has released several new shades for spring-summer this month. I am currently testing some new nail products so won’t have time to do a comprehensive detailed review since I’m reserving my fingers for testing. I did want to share a few swatches to help. There are several shades exclusive to certain locations in the US and therefore rather limited, you might want to order sooner than later so you don’t miss out. All retail for $24 each.

Sparkling Shine Collection, available at all Dior counters and online locations consists of:

  • Princess 553 is a sparkling light baby pink
  • Spring Ball 343 is a high shimmer baby peach
  • Délice 433 is a gorgeous medium peach-orange shimmer
  • Diablotine 643 (reviewed here) is a bright coral red shimmer

Two shades from the Asia Exclusive DiorSnow collection have been launched in the US at Saks Stores, and the Dior Palazzo Boutique in Las Vegas (ask for Massiel at (702) 734-1102 she’s amazing).

  • Nymphea 307 is a pale baby blue with a slight hint of aqua (see it on AudreyEleven and comparisons on Kais Obsessions)
  • Crystal 205 is a transparent frosted snow-white sparkle (see it on AudreyEleven)

Sephora has launched a series of Color Vision collections focused around color themes. They have released an exclusive lilac shade which is a repromote of a Japan exclusive.

I’ve acquired all except the lilac shade (not sure about pale lavendars, seems a bit too pastel, will have to test in person). For now, here are the live bottle photos and swatches on a nail wheel. I hope this helps!

Shades swatched in outdoor lighting:

Did you pick up any of the spring shades from Dior? If you tried (or bought) the lilac one, what did you think?


Tom Ford Fall 2012 Nail Lacquers: Minx and Dominatrix

August 30, 2012

This fall, Tom Ford has released two new shimmery metallic for nails: Minx, a complex metallic warm wine-brown, and Dominatrix, a medium-deep but bright metallic purple ($30 each, both limited-edition). My experiences with Tom Ford’s nail lacquers have been mixed. I have a few of the creams and some of the metallic from last spring (see review/swatches here) and felt the formula was just ok. Still, I decided to give the new shades from fall a try since the promotional photos looked stunning. I’m glad I did. The new polishes for fall are exquisite with excellent smooth coverage. The colors are edgy and dramatic but still wearable for every day. They are perfect for fall and unique compared to other releases we’ve seen this season.
Both shades are highly metallic and shimmery, but in a refined way. The texture is rather sheer and transparent with one coat, but the color goes on with full coverage when you add the second. I like that the colors are visibly shimmery but don’t show brush strokes or streak (like Chanel Attraction). I was particularly impressed by the high-shine finish that both of these polishes have (without a top coat).

Minx is a deep burgundy-wine-brown metallic. It’s quite unique in my collection. It has more brown and less wine compared to other vampy shades.

Dominatrix is an intense medium bright purple. Out of the purples I have it is most similar to Dolce and Gabbana’s Midnight, but the Tom Ford is deeper and more intense while the DG is a bit lighter and flashes blue shimmers. More photos and swatches below. Swatches are done with two coats.

Minx swatched with two coats, a gorgeous metallic wine/brown:

Dominatrix swatched with two coats, it’s a medium-purple with some brightness:

In terms of duplicates, I couldn’t find any in my collection. I don’t have Tom Ford’s Burnished Rouge to compare, but from seeing swatches elsewhere, I suspect that Minx is less red.
Comparisons swatched below, same set, two views: Tom Ford Minx, Tom Ford Dominatrix, Dior Silver Purple, Chanel Vendetta, Dior Shadow, OPI Dutch’Ya Just Love OPI?, Dolce and Gabbana Amethyst, Dolce and Gabbana Midnight, Dolce and Gabbana Royal, Dior Icone, OPI Holiday Glow, Dior Aztec Chocolate, Dior Apparat, Dolce and Gabbana Dahlia, Chanel Strong, Chanel Rouge Noir, Chanel Cosmic Violine, Tom Ford Burnt Topaz (most of these have been reviewed/swatched in the past, sorry I didn’t have time to link each color, but try the google search function on the sidebar)

I personally am really pleased with both shades. I do think they are must-haves for the season, even with the high price tag (which I wasn’t too keen about). I purchased both from Saks NY. The collection should be arriving in stores soon at select counters. As far as I know, both are limited-edition.

Have you checked out Tom Ford fall? Thoughts? (The fall blush review to follow soon.)

Given my new loves for these, I must go re-try my older shades. Perhaps it was the application method that I need to work on.

Neutral Comparisons of a few Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks

August 29, 2012
I have yet to see or test the entire line of Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks in person, but I’ve found quite a few favorites. Here are the neutrals I have lined up side by side. There’s no substitute for testing in person but I hope this helps. For those looking for a good Dolce and Gabbana artist to work with, I highly recommend Nikki from Saks Houston. She’s been such a valuable resource to me. She matched me over the phone (perfectly) to their powder foundation and cream foundation. She e-mails swatches when she can of new products. She’s amazing at describing colors and textures and gives great ideas on how to coordinate different products. Not to mention her store has great gift with purchases. The minimum purchase amounts tend to be on the high side, but the gifts are very good (often includes at least one full-sized item).
Back to the lipstick comparisons, here are my neutrals swatched left to right: Natural, Sensation, Darling, Feminine, Desireable and Rose.

Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks are $34 each and can be found at select Saks stores and online at


Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipstick for Summer

August 29, 2012

This summer, Dolce & Gabbana has released eight new shades of their best selling item: Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks ($34 each, available at select Saks counters and These are a gloss-lipstick hybrid and come in a wide range of shades and finishes including reds, plums, pinks, beiges, nudes, bronzes, shimmers, creams, golds etc. (See prior reviews and swatches here and here.) I’ve been a huge fan of the formula and couldn’t wait to see the new releases. I purchased Natural and Feminine from Saks Houston and PR provided Exotic and Tropical for review. Here are four of the new shades, left to right: Natural, Feminine, Exotic and Tropical:

Close ups of the shades with some matching nail polish suggestions:
Dolce & Gabbana Natural goes well with Chanel Rose Paradise
Dolce & Gabbana Feminine matches YSL #140 Pink Gold

Dolce & Gabbana Exotic matches Passionne
Dolce & Gabbana Tropical matches Fire

Natural is a soft shimmery light peachy-pink. It’s similar to Darling, but Natural is darker and a tad more peach. It has a glossy finish with a subtle shimmer (not frost).

Feminine is a frosted neutral pink-tan. It’s very similar to Desireable. Feminine is just a tad more brown.

Exotic is a bright purple-orchid-pink. The color is extremely intense. I tried to blot it to tone it down a little, but it still looks very bright.

Tropical is a hot neon orange-red. This is also intensely pigmented and not an easy shade to pull off for me.

Overall, I’ve been extremely impressed with the colors I’ve tried in the Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipstick formula. All the shades I purchased sight unseen are neutrals. The two I received for review were on the opposite end of the color spectrum for intensity/brightness. While the texture, quality and finish of Exotic and Tropical are superb, the colors just aren’t me.
Bottom line, I see a trip to the Saks counter in the near future to check out the entire line. Have you tried Dolce & Gabbana’s Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks? 
Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks are available at select Saks counters in the US for $34 each. I’ve seen/ordered from Houston (my favorite), NYC, Beverly Hills and San Francisco. See the new shades swatched on The Non-Blonde, Makeup and Beauty Blog and NY Mag – The Cut.

NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette

July 29, 2012

This fall NARS has released two new variations of their 6-color eyeshadow palettes. Product Girl gave us a sneak peek from an event she attended in July. I, of course fell in love with the neutral option, American Dream 9976 ($55 for .31 oz/9g, made in Canada) which contains Bellisima, Alhambra, Silk Road, Galapagos, Bali and Tzarine.

When I ordered mine from Saks online I couldn’t find a listing of the colors. Knowing that most NARS palettes contain existing shades, I knew there was a chance that I would already own half the colors. Turns out, I already own all of them, but I still find most NARS palettes extremely convenient for ideas and also for travel (my other NARS eyeshadow palettes here and here, still wishing I had purchased last year’s Nordstrom Anniversary NARS palette though).
Four of the shades come from some duos and two are available in single format. The shades with descriptions:
  • Bellisima is a pale ivory matte base loaded with tiny gold glitters
  • Alhambra is a warm champagne peachy metallic
  • Silk Road is a soft pinkish shell with pink and gold glitter chunks
  • Galapagos is a dark chocolate brown with tiny gold glitter flecks
  • Bali is a matte cool brown
  • Tzarine is a beautiful complex grey-blue shimmer with gold and silver flecks
More photos and swatches:

Under artificial light:

NARS American Dream has proved to be extremely versatile. I used it all last week and found that the shades fit nicely into any look, for both day and night, and worked well with a variety of shades from my wardrobe (last week I wore shades of black, aubergine, grey, pale mint and navy). I did have a bit of trouble with Silk Road’s glitter particles. I already own this duo and most of the time I feel the glitter is conservative enough to wear on the eyes for everyday, however there can be fallout issues. With the warm weather this week, the glitter fell onto my face and would not budge.
When using this palette, I’ve found the colors work well over Edward Bess’s Illuminating Eye Bases. I do like using a liner under the darker shades for added intensity in color, but I find it’s not always necessary. I’ve used 3-4 shades at one time (at most) from the palette.
Two looks I did last week, which I hope will give you an idea on how to coordinate the shades with lip and cheek colors.
Look 1 with peachy cheeks and light pink lips: Armani Blush #2 and NARS Deep Throat Blushes layered, NARS Rosebud Lipliner with Chanel Imaginaire Gloss on top, four eyeshadow shades in Alhambra and Silk Road mixed all over the lid, Bali and Tzarine blended along lash lines smoked upwards.
Look 2 with pinky-bronze cheeks and a sheer glossy bronze gloss: Shadows in Bellisima and Alhambra mixed together, Bali and Galapagos layered (slightly damp) as a liner, NARS Lovejoy blush with a swipe of Desire on top for a healthy glow, NARS Hopi Velvet Gloss Pencil with a bit of Dior Addict gloss on top.
I believe this palette may be available in some stores now, however my Nordstrom associates told me they were not allowed to sell until August 1st. I purchased mine online from, I think it’s also available at Barneys online too, it should be available at most NARS counters starting this Wedesday August 1st. I’m fairly certain the palette is limited-edition, but I’m not 100% sure.
Have you seen or tried NARS American Dream? Do you already own most of the shades? I personally love it.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense – Aqua Collection Summer 2012

July 7, 2012

This summer Giorgio Armani has released a few mini collections focusing on lips and eyes. The new Gloss d’Armani shades from the Skin Lacquers Collection was featured last month here. The latest release is their Eyes to Kill Aqua collection featuring six new Eyes to Kill Intense shades, waterproof mascara and eyeliners. I ordered all six of the Eyes to Kill Intense shades from Saks sight unseen ($32 each for 4g/0.14 oz, all listed as limited edition, made in France). The colors looked amazing online and I am happy to report these indeed are stunners. The newest shades are #24, #25, #26, #27, #28 and #29. Some sources have actual names for these. For Armani, I always reference the numbers since the names are rarely printed on the box or packaging for shadows or lipsticks or glosses. Here is the lineup from Saks online and then one of my photos below. I have to give the thumbs up to Armani and Saks for improving their online swatches for these.

I’ve reviewed the Eyes to Kill Intense formula before, but to recap for those new to these shadows, Armani’s Eyes to Kill Intense are a potted hybrid cream/powder eyeshadow. The texture is spongy and almost-cream like but not quite. They are indeed intense in pigment and sparkle. Most contain a complex blend of colors almost like a kaleidoscope making them multidimensional. I like to think of them as a pumped up version of MAC’s MSFs but for the eyes and in a cream formula. Armani boasts that these are long-wearing shadows with 24 hour lasting power. I have never worn any type of makeup for 24 hours straight, but I do find the lasting power to be stronger than the typical shadow. If I don’t touch my eyes at all during the course of a regular day, I find that they last without fading.

The formulas are easy to blend and layer under and over shadows. I do find layering a powder over these will sometimes make the Armani cream shadow fade a bit. If you want to layer over these but still want to maintain the sparkle intensity, I recommend you pat. These aren’t emollient enough for me to be a base though.

Compared to Chanel’s Illusion d’Ombres, Armani’s Eye to Kill Intense last longer and have a less bouncy feel in texture. Although some are more sparkly, I find Armani’s easier to wear and pull off for everyday or for evening. Now onto the colors:

#24 is a blackened gold sparkle. It’s beautiful for a smokey liner or smokey eye. What I love about these is that they the pigment is easy to control by layering.

#25 is another black-gold sparkle but with more of a lighter khaki base. On me it pulls slightly olive because of the gold tones.

#26 is a beautiful warm gold. Some of you may wonder how close this is to #5, #6 and #15. It’s close but slightly less khaki and more golden/warm. I’ll show a few comparisons below.

#27 is a complex silver-taupe-red sparkle. I expected a silvery-taupe but mixed together it pulls more purple on my skin due to the red metallic streaks.

#28 is a gorgeous gold with burgandy/purple blend. It’s what I wanted NARS Kuala Lumpur to look like on me (which was way too warm/red). This has just the right amount of copper and burgandy blend to work for me.

#29 is a pale frosted pink-white pearl. I would say if you have either #8 or #9, this might be too similar to justify owning for you. I do find it’s brighter and whiter (even with the pink veins) so it’s a bit more contrasted on my skin (especially with a tan). This one and #28 arrived a bit cracked/separated from the container. If you search other reviews you will see the packaging comes with a black insert which you can use to press down the product. I used those to try and press down the shadows and fix the cracks a bit.

Now swatching these will definitely vary depending on what kind of brush or how much pressure you use. I’ve swatched these a few different ways and under different lighting to show the complexity. Messy Wands has swatched these on her skin (which I believe is lighter than mine), definitely check out her blog to see how they look on her.

Swatch set #1 on the arm:

Swatch set #2 at an angle so you can see the sparkles shine in the sun:

Swatch set #3, bigger swatches blended:

These were all swatched without a base and with a variety of cream shadow brushes (from MAC, Bobbi Brown and Becca). Note that while these look uber-frosty and metallic, they are wearable on the eyes without being too frosty. At least on me. I only had time to swatch a few comparisons to other Armani shades, sorry my schedule can’t accommodate more comparisons right now. I do find these relatively unique compared to the existing Armani lineup. Two views below.

Overall a huge thumbs up. I do think #24 and #25 are very similar and you definitely don’t need both. I prefer #24 because it’s darker and more intense. Have you checked out the new Armani Eyes to Kill Intense shades yet? Thoughts? Did you pick anything up?

Laura Mercier Organza Nail Lacquer – Fall 2012 Cinema Noir

June 13, 2012

The first signs of fall beauty have arrived. The Non-Blonde gave us a first look at Laura Mercier’s first installment for fall 2012 with beautiful swatches of the Mystere Eye Shadow Duo. This past weekend, I spotted the display at Saks and picked up the palest item in the collection: Organza Nail Lacquer ($18), a neutral light sheer beige with a tinge of light pink loaded with tiny gold and silver sparkles. It’s sheer and different from anything I own. It’s reminiscent of OPI’s classic Hollywood Blonde, but a golden version with a slightly more pigmented nude base. I applied this with two coats although I three might be better. Still, two coats resulted in an glowy and sparkly look.

Close up at an angle so you can see the beige base and gold sparkles suspended, if you turn this in the sun you see multi-colored shimmers in some champagne and silvery sparkles:

In terms of comparisons, Laura Mercier’s Organza might remind you of other shades such as Essies Chips No Potatoes (which looked horribly yellow on me) or other Chanel Beige-Golds such as Beige Rose or Beige d’Or. It does indeed have a similar feel, but the base has a slight pinkish mix to help this from looking yellow on olive skintones (like mine). Here are a few comparisons:

I found mine at Saks and this should be arriving at counters now. I’m not sure whether it’s limited edition or not, these days I tend to assume most items are these days. Bottom line, gorgeous, subtle and glowy. I’ve worn this for three days now with no chips or tip wear yet. Laura Mercier’s Organza is perfectly polished without being too distracting or glitzy.
The other two shades released were a warm mink-pink cream and a warm light cocoa. I thought they were too close to my skintone to be flattering for me, but curiosity will definitely lead me to another trip soon to test those on the fingers.