Browsing Tag

Spring 2012


Estée Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée: Topaz Chameleon and Shimmering Sands

February 27, 2012

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:

Topaz Chameleon 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.

Chanel Tentation 541 Le Vernis

February 19, 2012

Chanel Tentation 541 Le Vernis is a striking deep fuschia-red shimmer. It’s the pinker sister to last holiday’s Rouge Carat 587 (reviewed here). I thought I would have something similar but I don’t. It has enough dark red shimmer to prevent it from looking too neon or cheap. I think it’s appropriate for year round. The texture is smooth and pigment rich with just 2 thin coats. If Chanel had made Attraction in the same finish I would have loved it as well. In the sunlight it glows. I love that the shimmer is visible on the nail, not just in the bottle.

In looking through my collection I found that I don’t have very many dark pink shimmers. This one is a nice addition to fill in the gap. Comparisons below to a few other Chanel shades like Rouge Carat, Pulsion and Rose Exhuberant.

Swatches of a few more, including Laura Mercier’s Luscious and Flamingo:

Overall: love.


Chanel Distraction 549 Le Vernis

February 18, 2012

This season seems to be the season of beautiful corals and Chanel Distraction 549 is no exception. Distraction is a stunning coral infused with a subtle hint of fuschia shimmer that makes it glow in direct sunlight. On the nails it’s a vibrant coral with a slight hint of pink to prevent it from looking like a straight orange. The finish is slightly jelly-like with a semi-transparent texture but it has rich and smooth coverage with 2 coats. Depending on the angle you hold the bottle or the nails, sometimes it looks more orange, others more coral.

Swatched, here you can see it glow:

It’s very similar to other oranges and corals but I love it. I know many of you wonder how it compares to Laura Mercier’s Cabana – almost identical. LM’s is a bit softer, while Chanel’s is a tad bit more vibrant. Here are a few comparisons swatched.

How do I feel about Chanel Distraction even though it’s practically identical to other corals?

I *heart* it.


Chanel Frisson 543 Le Vernis

February 18, 2012
Chanel Frisson 543 Le Vernis is soft super-sheer baby pink infused with gold flecks and tiny multi-colored micro sparkles. From the promotional photos this one looked the most stunning out of the four newest shades, primarily because I found the gold shimmers to be breathtakingly gorgeous. I ordered mine online sight unseen but once the reviews started to surface, my heart sank when I saw how sheer it was. These sources were extremely helpful:, The Purse Forum and Best Things in Beauty’s blog. While all have posted great accurate photos, I was let down when I saw that it didn’t appear to be all that special. Frisson is indeed gorgeous in the bottle and although I know it was designed to be a sheer jelly-like color, I am disappointed. It requires 3 thick coats to show up on my fingers which I feel is too much for this particular shade (it ends up looking goopy). Those who love to layer might like this one. For me, I prefer 2 coats max (of the actual nail color) so I feel this as a topper won’t be good for me. Here are a few more photos.

Here it is swatched, your standard soft pale pink shimmer:

In direct sunlight you can see the gold shimmer:

It’s very similar to previously released soft pink shimmers from Chanel. I understand that repeats are bound to happen. After all there are only so many colors that one can create that are new, fresh and unique. Frisson is definitely among the most complex out of all the paler pinks that I own from Chanel. Not quite as epic as Pink Satin (which I adore for the silver glitter and opalescent sheen), but pretty close.

The good news is that if you missed out on Pink Satin, Mica Rose or Flamingo, the newest Frisson will fill the gap in your collection if you want something similar. Also, good news, if you own any of those shades, you can safely skip Frisson and save for something else. To me I could barely tell the difference.
  • Pink Satin has more of an opalescent sheen and has silver glitter.
  • Frisson is the most complex with bigger more visible gold shimmers.
  • Mica Rose flashes green/blue in the shimmers slightly.
  • Flamingo has the most smooth shimmer (rather than sparkle) with more white/silver veining.

I should be in love with this shade. It’s soft, natural, pink, shimmery, complex and Chanel. Right now I feel lukewarm. Perhaps it is all the other knock-out killer brights that have my attention right now? It is a stunning shade in the bottle and lovely on the fingers. I know this is something that will grow on me. Part of it is that I was expecting something as epic and unique as prior seasons like Steel, Black Pearl, Quartz, Graphite etc. As of late I feel that Chanel has been repeating themes that are a bit too similar (how many bright pink creams and reds can one possibly want?). This might just be me. When will I learn to wait before jumping to order?
Did you check out the new shades yet? What did you come home with? Or has something else caught your eye for this spring season?

Chanel Attraction 545 Le Vernis

February 17, 2012

Chanel Attraction 545 Le Vernis ($26 for 13 ml/0.4 fl oz) is a limited-edition cool-toned pearly white frost that has been released as part of the Roses Ultimes de Chanel collection. We saw the first sneak peek of this color on the Spring 2012 Runway Show last October on Café Makeup and La Chanelphile. Pearly whites can be challenging to wear and this one is no exception. The pigment is rich and color striking against my skintone, however the metallic formula is extremely streaky and difficult to wear. Even with very slow and careful application, streaks cannot be avoided. I am not a fan but am undecided whether to keep and try to make it work or regift/return. For the price I would prefer a non-high-maintenance nail color. Nevertheless here are swatches, comparisons and close ups.

Pearly whites aren’t new to Chanel’s Le Vernis releases. I wish they would bring back their classic Le Perle (currently I’m hoarding this using very sparingly so it has not been swatched/photographed). Here are some prior releases, I believe all of these were Limited Edition and no longer available (maybe Intermezzo or Pearl Drop can be found at some counters).

Blanc Petale, Attraction, Intermezzo and Pearl Drop

I’ve added one more shot with a different angle so you can see the hint of shimmers/undertone of each shade, while they are all pearly whites, there is a subtle difference with the pigments.

I ordered my Chanel Le Vernis shades from this collection online at but all counters should have it in store now. Did you buy or try Attraction? What were your thoughts?

Chanel Attraction, Frisson, Distraction & Tentation Le Vernis

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day! A quick peek at the latest from Chanel: four new Le Vernis shades in Attraction, Frisson, Distraction & Tentation.

I didn’t have enough time to take photographs of them swatched on the fingers before the sun went down yesterday. I did play a bit though, more swatches to come later. Initial thoughts:

  • Attraction is a nightmare with streaking. Looks horrid.
  • Frisson is sheer and requires 3+ coats to show up, but it’s a nice sheer shimmer.
  • Distraction is a gorgeous coral with a fuschia sheen in the bottle, on the nails it’s more coral.
  • Tentation is a fuschia/pink version of Rouge Carat.

These close ups were taken with my iPhone, sorry about the craptastic quality. I’ll get better shots later.

The one thing I wanted to post first was the comparisons for those wondering how similar/different the new shades are from prior releases. I hope this helps!


NARS 413 Blkr and Lhasa Single Eyeshadows

February 12, 2012

This spring NARS has released two gorgeous dove-grey shimmer shadows with a tinge of lavender in 413 Blkr and Lhasa ($24 each for 0,07 oz/2.2 g). Both shades are similar with just slight differences between them, but equally gorgeous. 413 Blkr is the latest addition to the NARS 413 Blkr Collection which is exclusive to the NARS boutique on Bleeker Street in New York and Lhasa is available at all NARS locations as part of the Spring 2012 Collection.
I think most of you are familiar with NARS shadows so I won’t go into a detailed review on the texture/pigment/finish. Both are typical of NARS single shadows: soft, blendable, layerable and gorgeous on the eyes. The pigment of these is medium but easily layerable. For the colors, both shades look almost identical in the compact unless you move them at different angles in direct sunlight. The differences are subtle but more noticeable when swatched. 413 Blkr is a soft lavendar-blue grey shimmer that is lighter. Lhasa is a lavender-grey shimmer that’s slightly darker and more purple.

Both side by side in direct light:

413 Blkr close up:

Lhasa close up:

I use Lhasa last week and found that it worked best when layered over warmer colors. I particularly liked the effect when layered over Burberry’s Pale Barley or Midnight Brown. I found that both Burberry shades helped warm up Lhasa on the eyes.
413 Blkr while cooler is easier for me to pull of alone on the eyes. Perhaps it’s because it’s a smidge lighter in tone. I love it layered with Ashes to Ashes, which until now I considered a cool taupe. When Ashes to Ashes is placed next to either of these shades, it now looks like a warm bronzey color. Some might wonder if 413 Blkr is a reincarnation of Notorious that was discontinued a few years ago. At first I thought yes, but after swatching I do see a slight variation. Here are some other NARS greys and purples along with one comparison from Chanel:
Ashes to Ashes, 413 Blkr, Lhasa, Notorious (d/c), Barbuda

One swatch added of Gris Exquis (previously featured here, odd that when swatched side by side, the Chanel looks almost khaki/greenish)

So there you have it. I hope this helps girls who aren’t in NY! I ordered 413 Blkr sight unseen because the promo photos looked stunning even though it looked strikingly similar to Lhasa. I think it’s a must-have. If I could only pick 1 out of the 2 it would be impossible. I do prefer these over Chanel’s Gris Exquis. I think the shimmer and texture of the NARS shades are easier to work with. They blend beautifully on the lids.
Have you bought any of the NARS 413 Blkr collection? Or have you bought/seen 413 Blkr shadow in person? What about Lhasa? Yays/nays?

P.S. You can see the rest of the NARS 413 Blkr Collection online at NARS (click the photo above to go to NARS website). See reviews of the gloss on Gaia at The Non-Blonde and the pure matte lipstick on Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog.

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