Browsing Tag

Saks Fifth Avenue


Gloss d’Armani – New Pink Shades for Summer 2012

June 11, 2012

This summer Giorgio Armani has a few mini-releases in addition to their main Écailles Summer Collection. The first to be released in the US is six new shades of Gloss d’Armani ($28 each for 6.5 ml/0.22 fl oz) and six new Rouge d’Armani Sheers ($30 each). I spotted the collection this past weekend at Saks Beverly Hills and picked up one of each of the lipglosses.

The six shades are all labeled to be in the Pink family, although some of them are more beige/peach/rose. The collection includes Pink 513, 514, 515, 516, 517 and 518. I asked the artist if these were indeed new shades or if any were re-promotes. I noticed one looked like the original Lipshimmer #1 and another like the Lipshimmer #16. She pointed out that while these were new in the Gloss d’Armani range, they were indeed older Lipshimmers reformulated in the new Gloss d’Armani formula and packaging. (Much like what Armani did when they reformulated all their eyeshadows into the Maestro formula back in 2009, see those features here and here.)

At Saks, I was told that this particular collection of glosses was a less thick version of the first wave of Gloss d’Armanis (see the original review here from 2010). Those who have any of the shades released know they apply sheer and lightweight but thicken slightly after they set which makes them last slightly longer than the original Lipshimmers by Armani. Some promotional features have called this particular release the “Porcelain Doll” collection since these shades are meant to mimic a high shine of porcelain doll lips. After playing around with a few of the shades, I personally can’t see the difference. They appear to have the same feel/texture as all prior Gloss d’Armani shades: natural color, semi-sheer finish, gorgeous glowy shimmer (not frost), and high shine. The scent is slightly fragranced (very very slight) to have a clean fresh scent. I never really noticed a scent in the first wave that have been released, but upon further inspection found they have a slight chemical/plastic scent if you smell them closely. The newer ones are an improvement in my opinion.

The new shades are gorgeous, but if you have a number of glosses from Armani, you may want to check your stash first. Many of the existing Gloss d’Armani shades are similar, not quite dupes, but close. I’ll try to add a few thoughts on each of the new shades and how they compare to existing colors. I’ll also list what I believe to be the original Lipshimmer numbers.

Photographed above, L to R in consecutive order (for reference I swatched all my older lipshimmers back in 2010 here, most of these I’ve used up and no longer have so I didn’t compare them side-by-side):
  • Pink 513 is a beige shimmer. The shimmer is higher in this one with a frostier shine but not overly so. This is a lighter more champagne version of Beige 102. This replaced Lipshimmer #16.
  • Pink 514 is a soft opal pink that flashes pearly-pink. It’s a glowy soft sheer pink that’s more opal/pale than Beige 103 (which also has more peach). This replaced Lipshimmer #25.
  • Pink 515 is a pale pink that flashes blue, green and white sparkles. This replaced Midnight Lipshimmer #1.
  • Pink 516 is a soft light peach with tiny silver sparkles. This is a peachier version of Pink 501. It replaced Lipshimmer #1.
  • Pink 517 is a soft neutral-cool rose with cool shimmer. It’s a lighter version of Pink 503. It replaced Lipshimmer #9.
  • Pink 518 is a non-shimmer neutral rose brown pink. It’s warmer and slightly deeper than Pink 507. This replaced Lipshimmer #21.

Swatches, two views. I think the top shows the undertones best, while the bottom shows the hint of iridescence for each shade with the high flash.

Overall I do think the Gloss d’Armani formula is a huge improvement over the original Lipshimmer formula in terms of lasting power. The thickening factor of these glosses does help prevent them from slipping off the lips easily, but still like any typical gloss, lasting powder is limited. I usually wear Armani glosses with some kind of liner or over a lipstick since they are rather sheer. These are a nice swipe-and-go kind of gloss but I think most will prefer more color or pigment. They are great for layering.
Those who had a favorite Lipshimmer shade will be happy to learn that Armani is bringing some of them back in the new formula. I think Lipshimmer #1 and 16 were classics. I’m glad to be able to replenish those. I highly recommend checking these out at your local Armani counter. The colors are easy to wear and great for everyday or for creating a polished look.
Have you checked out the new Gloss d’Armani or Rouge d’Armani Sheer colors? Thoughts?

Dolce & Gabbana Grey Pearl and Amethyst Nail Lacquer Comparisons

November 26, 2011

Here are comparisons to a few other shades. No dupes to be found from what I own, but here is what is in the same color family L to R: Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge, Rescue Beauty Lounge Decorous, OPI You Don’t Know Jacques, Chanel Particuliere, Dolce & Gabbana Grey Pearl, Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst, Dior Purple Mix, Chanel Rodeo Drive, Chanel Paradoxal, Rescue Beauty Lounge Insouciant.

In direct sun with flash:

At a different angle:


Dolce & Gabbana Precious Stones for Holiday 2011 – The Beauty Look Book Picks

November 26, 2011
The holiday collection this year by Dolce & Gabbana is called Precious Stones. You can see the entire collection lineup on Dolce & Gabbana’s Digital Magazine website Swide. The color theme of this collection is primarily mauve and purple – not typical of most holiday collections, but still beautiful. Being one who is scared of pure purples for both eyes and lips, I ordered a few things I felt were safe based on over-the-phone descriptions from Saks. My picks, descriptions and thoughts:
  • Grey Pearl 230 Nail Lacquer ($20 for 11 ml/0.37 fl oz) is a cream blue-mauve grey (more blue-based than Chanel Particuliere). The formula seems a bit thick in texture but sheer in finish (if that makes any sense). I found it more difficult to apply evenly because it was hard to get the right amount of product on the brush to get good smooth coverage. The color is reminiscent of Chanel’s Particuliere but with less brown. Although the name has the word “pearl” in it, there is no visible shimmer. I love the color but the formula isn’t my favorite – a surprise for me since I’ve had luck with other Dolce & Gabbana colors.
  • Amethyst 168 Nail Lacquer ($20 for 11 ml/0.37 fl oz) is a bright blue amethyst cream. It’s the brightest purple I own and a stunner. I’m not sure I would feel comfortable wearing this to the office on the fingers. I had applied this for a pedicure and was amazed at the lasting power – probably 2 weeks without any chips or tip wear. The formula is easier to work with compared to Grey Pearl. It does need 2 thin coats for full coverage. The first coat will look a bit streaky but it evens out with the second coat.
  • Mauve Diamond 38 Blush ($44 for 5g/0.17 oz) is a medium dusty mauve with hint of plum. I thought it looked similar to Delight, but when put side by side, I found Mauve Diamond to be several shades darker. It does not go on muddy and it’s a lovely color. Tanned skin ladies will love this shade.
  • Pink Sapphire 139 Lipgloss ($29 for 4 ml/0.13 fl oz) is a sparkling blue pink. Initially I wanted to pass on all the lips, but Nikki from Saks Houston assured me it was wearable and more pinky. I still find it very blue-based but the sheer glossy sparkles make this wearable. It is scented with a slight rose scent but it’s not too heavy and the smell fades within a few minutes. I find it to be a bluer, glossier more sparkly version of Le Metier Purple Haze, but the shimmer/texture makes the Dolce & Gabbana more easy to pull off.
Some more photos and swatches below:

Although I was slightly disappointed with the options for eyes this season (too purple for me based on preview photos so I passed), I am overall happy with the items I picked. Dolce & Gabbana makes beautiful blushes and Mauve Diamond is no exception. The purply Pink Sapphire gloss turned out to be more wearable than I thought from looking at the tube. The nail polishes are good colors, not really must-haves, but I will get quite a bit of use out of these even throughout the spring season next year. Note that Delight was not part of the holiday collection but I swatched it for comparisons. Nail polish comparisons to come tomorrow. Bottom line – although not really inline with the holiday color theme (either red, gold, classic silvers, or wintery theme), I think the blush is a winner and I am overall pleased with the items I ordered.

Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks Lip Swatched: Darling, Sensation, Iridescent, Desireable & Rose

October 30, 2011

Here are the Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks lip swatched. More details, descriptions and thoughts per shade:
  • Darling – gorgeous pale peachy pink that isn’t too pale and makes the lips glow
  • Sensation – my least favorite because the shimmer is too chunky-looking and base color too sheer, still feels smooth on the lips, but you can feel a slight texture from the shimmer when applying
  • Iridescent – surprisingly warm and pigmented, thought this would be more pinkish, but goes on a coral-pink on the lips, on the hand it’s more of a pinkish color (your mileage may vary with this one on the coral or pink scale)
  • Desireable – sheer, glossy, nude-tan-rose, on the sheer side, but lovely
  • Rose – went on my lips a bit purply because of the cool-tone pink, shimmer does show through, very pigmented

I’m wearing the Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation in 120 Natural Beige with Cle de Peau’s Beige Concealer and 100 Warm Powder to finish. On the nails is a tiny sneak peek of the Dolce & Gabbana Grey Pearl Nail Polish from the holiday collection.

I really love these new lipsticks. My favorite shade? Darling 🙂


Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks

October 30, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana has released a new lipstick formula called Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks ($34 each). These are a unique duo formula lipstick with a rich cream color on the outer rim with a and gloss in the middle. The texture is smooth, rich, creamy and luxurious and these lipsticks make the lip glow from within. There are currently 20 different shades encased in a long slender tube all with the signature rose Dolce & Gabbana lipstick scent. The shades have varying degrees of shimmer on the outside and different textures of gloss in the middle. Formula-wise I would say these are a hybrid of Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shines (Chanel being more emollient and sheer) and Dior Addicts (having a harder texture with more pigment). I ordered mine all sight unseen based on over the phone descriptions. I’m quite pleased with the finish and pigment. I find these to be a great swipe-and-go type of lipstick with better pigment than Chanel. No liner or gloss needed, although I suspect a natural liner will help make the gloss last longer. Here is what arrived:

  • Darling – a sheer flesh tone peachy-pink with a glowing pale pink center
  • Sensation – a highly iridescent frosted peachy pink with a healthy pink gloss interior (fuller in color and more shimmer than Darling)
  • Iridescent – oddly named, but a warm coral-rose pink exterior, sheer transparent glittery gloss inside
  • Desireable – a sheer glazed shimmer rose-brown (similar to Naked Lipstick)
  • Rose – a cool golden rose pink with a clear gloss center that has mauvey pieces of glitter

* Darling & Sensation look identical in the swatch, I prefer Darling because it glows more, but on the lip it’s paler. Sensation is significantly more sparkly/frosted although it doesn’t show in the swatch photo above.

All in all, I love all of these (except Sensation which I find to be a bit too glittery/frosted). Glitter-phobes need not worry though. Even with the glitter in the gloss, the texture is very smooth and non-gritty. The texture feels moisturizing and soft, but not too soft that it feels greasy. The formula adheres to the lip quite well for a glossy lipstick (some sheer-glossy-finish lipsticks have that feeling like they will fall off the lip, not with the Dolce & Gabbana).  Are these better than Dior’s or Chanel’s new lipsticks from earlier this year? I’m inclined to say similar in concept but different enough to justify buying one or two. The promo photos from Dolce & Gabbana were just phenomenal, unfortunately not having in person access makes it difficult to assess the color options. Ladies without a Saks or Dolce & Gabbana counter near you, I feel your pain. For those who asked for Foundation shade recommendations the other day, I apologize, I don’t feel knowledgeable enough to comfortably match or recommend something like foundation colors. If you are olive, go with 120 like me, if you’re more neutral, go with 100. Ultimately, I recommend you call your local Dolce & Gabbana counter for a better match recommendation.

I am attempting lip swatches right now and will get them up as soon as possible.

For those new to Dolce & Gabbana, the cosmetic line is available in the US for sale at and select Saks Locations. I purchase mine from Saks Houston.
Base Makeup

Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation

October 29, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana has released a new cream foundation called the Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation ($66 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz, made in Italy). I was hesitant to try this since I was convinced that there could be nothing better than their Powder Foundation (my holy grail). Plus I’ve never had good luck with cream foundations in the past (creams in a tub tend to be too rich or to cakey for my taste). Nikki from Saks Houston kindly sent me a few sample pots telling me she knew I would fall in love with it … and I did.

Dolce & Gabbana boasts that the Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation gives the perfect airbrushed finish that gives the skin a radiant glow that gives flawless full coverage with a lightweight texture. I couldn’t agree more. Here are my thoughts …

Texture: This is described as a lightweight foundation and it does feel light on the skin, but not entirely lightweight. Compared to most creamy full coverage foundations it is indeed very lightweight. When you dip your brush or fingers into the product it feels semi-heavy but blends out nicely and very smoothly on the skin.

Finish: I find the finish to be more on the full coverage side but there is a slight transparency to it so your skin shows through. It’s difficult to explain, but I find it gives full natural coverage without looking fake. I also found that I did not need to set with any powder (although most of the time I do). The finish is natural, slightly satiny-matte, but not a full matte.

Application: I received the new Dolce & Gabbana Foundation Brush as a gift with purchase from one of Saks Houston’s gwp events (not sure which event it was, perhaps beauty week or EGC?, they do have awesome GWPs in store, I recommend you get on the call list). I find the brush to be great at applying the cream foundation with minimal streaking. It’s very soft with a tapered head. I find it a bit skinner in width than most other foundation brushes but thicker in depth. I’ve also been applying with a sponge but prefer the brush since it soaks up less product. I’m not a fan of using the fingers to apply. I find it gets messy. I highly recommend you visit Swide to see Pat McGrath’s application video.

Color selection: I played with 4 different shades for a week before deciding on 120 Natural Beige (very olive) although 100 Natural Glow was almost an exact match but just the slightest bit too light. For colors I found that what you see in the tub is a bit darker than what applies on the skin. When I looked at all the samples I was sent I thought they would all be too dark for me. Also let the foundation sit for a minute after application. It doesn’t oxidize/darken but rather letting it sit allows the product to adjust to the warmth of your skin which makes the color change or set slightly. I definitely recommend you see if your local Saks carries the brand and try at least 3 shades on your jawbone to see which one matches best. RaeViewer has a beautiful tutorial on this foundation.

Here is Natural Beige 120

Here are the samples I received and swatches plus a scan and photo of the card swatches (sorry they are off b/c of the glare on the card):

How does it compare to other foundations I’ve tried? It’s really quite different. I rank foundations by three main categories:
  1. first based on formula (liquid, tinted moisturizer, cream, compact, powder)
  2. then by coverage (sheer, medium, full)
  3. then by finish (dewy, satiny, matte)
The Dolce & Gabbana is a cream, full, satin finish foundation – probably the only that I’ve tried that fit these 3 criteria. Other cream foundations I’ve tried felt too greasy or darkened significantly on the skin. The Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation is creamy and full coverage but natural feeling and non-greasy. It lasts all day with or without a setting powder. Is this a must-have? I would say it depends on your skintype, but for me (normal, slightly oily T-zone and sensitive) I would say yes for now, in the summer months this may become too heavy but it’s perfect for fall/winter right now and I adore this. Do note that when it comes to foundations I like variety in textures and finishes and alternate frequently each week.
Overall: I really love this foundation. Finding a good color match might be a bit trickier than most since the what you see in the glass bottle is a bit deceiving compared to what goes on and blends out. I find the packaging slightly bulky and not the most user friendly. I definitely would not take it traveling with me anywhere. Still it is functional. Bottom line is that I highly recommend.
Base Makeup

Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation

September 14, 2011
Dolce & Gabbana’s Powder Foundation has reached holy grail status for me ($59 for 15 g / 0.53 oz). When the line first launched in NYC mid-2009, I immediately e-mailed a few NY friends for their thoughts. It was only available at a select few counters (none near me) so I relied on several for their keen eye and exquisite taste. Two things that were constantly raved about included the Dolce & Gabbana mascara and powder foundation. Not having local access to the brand, I was hesitant to try this sight unseen. With the exception of the Dolce & Gabbana I have never purchased a foundation without testing it in person first. Many thanks to Nikki at Saks Houston who was kind enough to match me over the phone. I told her a few foundation shades I used, “Chanel Teint Innocence Liquid in Shell and I’m in between Armani’s Lasting Silk 5.5 and 6.5” and the kind soul that she is, she swiped the Chanel on her hand to find my perfect match to Tan #140. Since discovering this my skin has lightened a bit. When I Tan became too dark, I told her “I’m now 1.5 shades lighter, not quite a full two shades down, but almost.” She matched me perfectly again to Warm #100 (I’m not sure why there’s such a huge jump, but I suspect other shades in between either have more peach or pink or yellow).

The powder foundation comes in a gold double tiered mirrored compact. The bottom compartment will hold a square sponge for application but I prefer to apply with a brush. The texture is smooth and silky with full but natural coverage. It makes the skin look velvety smooth but not in an overdone way. The finish is truly flawless for me.
Dolce & Gabbana Warm Powder Foundation:

There’s no detectable scent. Applying with a sponge works well for touch-ups but I prefer to use a brush. Even though it’s a powder foundation and doesn’t require liquid foundation underneath, I like to use it as a setting powder. I tend to use sheerer lighter weight liquid foundations (which are more forgiving when the color isn’t a 100% exact match) and always layer with some kind of powder on top (loose, pressed or powder foundation). It lasts well into the afternoon without changing color as your skin gets oily. Touch ups are easy to do with a swipe of the sponge. With this powder, I rarely ever need concealer if I have redness.

Chanel’s Double Perfection Powder Foundation ($50 for 13 g / .45 oz) has been a long time favorite of mine. Both have similar soft smooth textures with very similar coverage. I feel that the Dolce & Gabbana is slightly more versatile in the sense you can control coverage better, but both are similar in finish and quality. I can’t pick my favorite out of the two because I adore them both.
Swatching these on the arm seems futile since it will end up blending into my skin. I’ve featured it here compared to the Chanel shades I alternate between for Tender Bisque and Medium Beige. I hope this helps a bit. The Tender Bisque is close to Warm, the Chanel has slightly more peach while the Dolce & Gabbana has more yellow. Two views since it might be hard to tell how they compare from the lighting.

Overall I love this. I’ve used up two compacts already and this is my third. It’s pricey and while I had luck being matched over the phone, I don’t recommend trying the same. There’s no substitute for trying foundation on in person and I believe it’s one of the things you need an exact match for your undertone. Makeupalley does have some reviews which might help you guess what shade you are if you can’t get to a counter in person.

Have you tried Dolce & Gabbana’s powder foundation? What’s your current holy grail or are you still searching?