Browsing Tag

Spring 2014


L’Occitane La Collection de Grasse | Néroli & Orchidée

June 2, 2014

L’Occitane recently released Néroli & Orchidée as a new addition to their La Collection de Grasse line, inspired by the world perfume capital in the south of France. There is a lovely Néroli & Orchidée Collector’s Set ($85) which the 2.5 fl.oz Eau de Toilette, 6 fl.oz Shower Gel, and 6 fl.oz Body Milk. This fragrance line is a mix of both neroli and orchid, making it a lively juicy floral. I like that this set has a variety of items to sample. All are packaged in a lovely simply pink-beige tone making these lovely additions to your bathroom or guest room. The box is also quite lovely making this a great gift. Notes for these include orange, mandarin
neroli, lily of the valley, fig milk, peach
orchid, iris, musk – it is very feminine.

My favorite item of the three is the Shower Gel. It leaves the skin feeling very clean, I like to run a little bit into the bath – it bubbles nicely and I like that this feels nice on the skin.

The Body Milk has a soft and silky feel. The texture is thin but not too fluid, it’s very moisturizing and absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves the skin feeling refreshed and soft (no sticky remnants or dry-down). The Eau de Toilette has a very lightweight airy feel. With both of these the initial scent after first application is on the strong side of sweet. The best part in my opinion is the dry down. It turns less sharp and less sweet to a soft fruity floral. Lasting power on both of these layered is medium – but I usually prefer body products that are more subtle. I like that these are compact and small enough to fit on your night stand or dresser table without taking up a lot of space.

The Néroli & Orchidée Collector’s Set is available in stores and online at L’Occitane for $85 or individually as well. If you’re shopping online, don’t forget to check their Special Offers page for deals and gift with purchase offers. I’ve been eyeing the Vanille and Narcisse along with Mer and Mistral but have been avoiding the store because I always leave with more than what I have on my shopping list.

Have you tried anything from the La Collection de Grasse? What scent is your favorite?

This set was provided as a press sample by L’Occitane for review consideration, for more information see my Disclosures.


Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana

May 9, 2014

Dolce Eau de Parfum is the latest fragrance release by Dolce & Gabbana this spring (ranges from $29 for 0.25 fl oz up to $112 for 2.5 fl oz, at Sephora). It has a sophisticated delicate feminine mix of White Daffodil flowers, Neroli leaves and White Amaryllis. The combination gives Dolce a fresh and light airy feel with a very distinct sweet floral twist. The Dolce bottles have the an elegant design with a beautiful white floral cap with intricate details and finished with a tiny black bow. Depending on your size preference, there are four size options ranging from a 0.25 fl oz roller ball to a 2.5 fl oz bottle. (The roller ball size perfume is exclusive to Sephora.) Dolce & Gabbana kindly sent the largest size for me to try.

Neroli Leaves, Papaya Flower, White Amaryllis,
White Daffodil, White Water Lily, Cashmeran, Musky Notes, Sandalwood.

Delicate. Joyous. Avant-garde.

I’ve been testing Dolce extensively for the past week and put it to the
test with close loved ones. All of them love it on me. It’s a sweeter and more floral compared to what I typically gravitate towards, but it has a refreshing uplifting feel that I really like. It has a good mix of soft florals and crisp sweetness. The strength and throw is quite good, I liked that it only needed a single spritz
for application. The lasting power is quite good lasting all day without fading, but it’s still soft enough to wear for everyday. Those who love white florals will find this a pleasant addition to their spring fragrance collection right now as it has a nice day-time spring vibe.

I’m in love with the intricate design of the Dolce perfume. It’s truly exquisite.

Dolce Eau de Parfum is available now across all Dolce & Gabbana retail locations in stores and online. Sephora has the most size options for you to choose from and Beauty Insiders are offered triple points on all fragrance purchases from Sephora through May 11th. Bottom line: Dolce is an uplifting polished white floral perfect for to brighten one’s mood for spring.

For more on Dolce & Gabbana and to stay up to date with their latest be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter @DolceGabbana, Instagram @DolceGabbana and search for #DGDolce and #DGBeauty.

This post was sponsored by Dolce & Gabbana. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All photographs taken by The Beauty Look Book. For more information refer to my Disclosure Policy.


NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette

April 30, 2014

The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette ($79 for 0.03oz x 15 shades) is a glorious palette of 15 neutrals. It comes in a large mirrored compact and includes a wide range of colors, textures and finishes. I’m late to the party with the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette (it launched back in January). I thought long and hard for months about purchasing this one because I already owned many of the colors individually and also thought the Urban Decay Naked eye palettes might be duplicates. The Sephora VIB sale earlier this month pushed me over the edge. I put it to the test for several weeks. It was also the only powder eyeshadow palette I brought with me on my recent trip to Dallas. I’ve been really happy with this palette, the versatility is impressive. This one palette has all the colors you need for a multitude of looks: natural, smokey, bronzey, etc. It will take you from day to night.
The colors in the NARSissist Eye Palette include (from left to right, from top row to bottom)

All About Eve (1 side) – shimmery champagne
Madrague (both sides) – matte cream and matte tan
Fez – shimmery copper
Bali – matte soft brown
Coconut Grove – matte brown
Nepal – shimmery peachy pink
Ashes to Ashes – soft grey shimmer
Brousse – shimmery soft plum
Mekong – dark blackened brown with gold flecks
Bellisima – white base with gold sparkle flecks
Lhasa – shimmery light grey mauve
Bad Behavior – shimmery gunmetal
Dogon – darker blue-grey metallic
Pandora – matte sheer black

There have been mixed reviews about the palette, some have reported a different quality and texture of the palette shades compared with individuals colors. Overall I found the palette to be very good quality on par with the individual colors. There were a couple shades I found to be sheerer in texture and harder to work with (my personal experience). Colors I found to perform different in this palette included:
  • the matte colors of Madrague (the regular duo applies smoothly, this palette’s version was a bit chalky)
  • Ashes to Ashes (the singles I have are more pigmented and smoother in texture, but the palette applies ok, just different texture)
  • Dogon (individual is creamier in texture while the palette is drier)
The palette still worked well with no issues for application from what I tested. The colors I noticed differences for still applied well, it just took a little bit more work for me. Close ups and swatches below of the NARSsissist Eye Palette:

Many have asked how this compares to the Urban Decay Naked and Naked2 Palettes. There are similarities in the concept – all have a mix of shimmer and matte neutral-ish colors. I find that my Naked Palettes (1, 2 and 3) are the ones I reach for the most frequently out of any of the eye shadows that I own. The differences between NARS and Urban Decay are mainly in packaging and texture. Both brands have distinct shadow formulas, I can’t say one is better than the other, they are just different.

I’ve swatched them below for your reference. There wasn’t enough room for labeling the swatches but the colors are in the order of the palettes. (To have enough room on my arm, I skipped one of the Madrague shades from the NARS palette because it didn’t show up on my skin in the photograph.)

Overall love. As you can see above there are similarities between the NARSissist and Urban Decay Nakeds. Your preference will depend on a number of factors, such as packaging preference, if you own a lot of the individual colors already, texture preference (Urban Decay is softer and more buttery, NARS is more like traditional shadows in texture with more complex shimmers).

I believe the NARSissist Palette is limited-edition. It may take a bit of hunting to find it in stores, but you can still find it now online at Sephora, and Saks.

Did you buy the NARSissist Palette? What did you think?

Dior Front Row #769 Vernis Gel Shine Lacquer

April 15, 2014

Dior Front Row #769 ($25 for 10 ml/0.33 fl oz, made in France) is a hot fuchsia pink shimmer. It’s a vibrant color that flashes hints of neon pink, violet and blue pearls. I found it almost identical to Chanel Tentation (reviewed here). Dior’s flashes more blue and violet while Chanel’s is warmer and more red. The difference from an arm’s length view is virtually non-existent. The color is so vibrant and bright it was hard to capture the real color with a camera. The neon quality makes it hard to capture accurately. I’ll add comparisons below to help show the real color.

Swatches with two coats, applied by myself along with Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat and Dior’s Gel Top Coat. I found application to be flawless – these gel shine nail colors from Dior are super easy to apply.

Comparisons to Rescue Beauty Lounge Lotus Elise, Chanel Tentation, Tom Ford Indiscretion (review here) and Tom Ford Trophy Wife (discontinued, review here):

I’m really impressed with the formula of Front Row #769. Some of you may have fallen in love with the older Dior brush but these new ones are really easy to work with and apply on small fingers (my ring finger is a Size 4) but the brush is flexible and will fan out with pressure if you need a wider area covered with one-two swipes.

If you have Chanel Tentation I think you can skip Front Row. The difference is not really noticeable from arm’s length. The formula of the Dior has a more opaque pigmented finish while the Chanel is slightly more jelly-like. I had to look really close at my nail wheel to tell the difference which is really slight (Chanel is warmer, Dior flashes more violet).

Have you picked up any of the new Dior nail polishes? What’s your favorite so far?


Dior Tra-La-La #155 Vernis Gel Shine and Long Wear Nail Lacquer

April 14, 2014

Dior Vernis Gel Shine and Long Wear Nail Lacquer ($25 each) is a new formula of nail polish that is a regular nail lacquer with a gel-effect. It has a high-shine formula that is designed to “provide you with glass-like shine and extended wear.” I’ve been playing with a few of the shades and am in love with the formula. I have never had a traditional gel manicure so I can’t compare the effect of these new Dior lacquers to the real thing. However the Dior Vernis Gel Shines do have rich intense pigment with a very smooth application. The brushes are slightly different than the last variation – the brushes are thinner and a bit more fanned out/rounded at the end to match the curve of the nail beds better. This makes it easier to apply with two to three swipes. The polishes have a lush cushy look to them even before you apply any top coat.


First up is Tra-La-La #155 a soft clean pink (see all shades swatched here). I tested this with my go-to Deborah Lipmann Rehydrating Base Coat and Dior Gel Top Coat. I tend to keep my nails on the short end so they don’t hit the computer or laptop keyboard. Lasting power was quite good at 5 days without tip wear. Tra-La-La is a soft semi-sheer pink. It’s not too sheer that you have to layer on 4-5 coats. I had it applied professionally below with two coats. I swatched comparisons below with two coats as well and it covered the nail well with a slight see-through quality.

The brushes are more rounded this time:

Dior Gel Top Coat and Tra-La-La #155 Gel Shine:

Swatched with two coats:

Featured in the NARS Contouring post:

I really like how Tra-La-La actually shows up on my skin and that it’s not too pale. It’s a good baby pink that isn’t too sheer. Comparisons to some other pinks below shows it has enough pink pigment in the color to prevent it from looking white against my olive skin. It has a soft clean polished look.

On the nails: OPI Heart Throb (with 4 coats), Dior Tra-La-La, Laura Mercier Oh La La (discontinued, with three coats), OPI Pink of Hearts (2009 version), Chanel Frisson:

More pinks on nail wheels, same set with two views: Tom Ford Sugar Dune, OPI You Callin’ Me a Lyre, OPI Heart Throb, Dior Tra-La-La, Laura Mercier Oh La La (discontinued), Chanel Morning Rose (discontinued), OPI Pink of Hearts (discontinued), Chanel Frisson, NARS Trouville

I’m overall really impressed with these new colors and formulas from Dior. I’ve been a huge fan of Dior’s formula and didn’t think it could get better. Somehow it has. They’ve kept some of the classic colors but introduced some new ones. I wish I had the older Tutu to compare but I don’t. Based on what I’ve seen on other blogs Tra-La-La seems sheerer and easier to work with.

Dior Gel Shine nail lacquers should be available at all Dior Beauty Counters and Boutiques now. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bloomingdales and


Chanel Joues Contraste Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89

April 8, 2014

Chanel’s Perfection Lumière Velvet collection features two new Joues Contraste Powder Blushes ($45 each for 4g/0.14 oz, European/Asia baked version) in Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89. Both are in the baked formula and are more dramatic color than the usual traditional Chanel blush. They look quite intense in the compact but don’t go on as dark on the face. Vivacité #88 is a dark pink rose that has a matte finish. Canaille #89 is a warm shimmery orangey tan color. I think these are a nice addition for spring-to-summer. Although the colors are quite rich, the texture is easy to layer and apply without looking clown-like.

The Perfection Lumière Velvet Collection:

Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89

Vivacité #88 is a darker pink with a hint of fuchsia. The tetxure on this one a bit harder than the US versions. It applies sheer but is layerable for more color. I recommend applying with a light hand though – this is one of those colors that you can easily overdo with one swipe too many.

Canaille #89 is a stunning shimmery coppery brown peach. It’s shimmery but not frosty. It has a softer texture than the Vivacite. This one is also easy to layer for color but the pigment is on the richer side.

Here they are swatched with a heavy hand:

Swatch comparisons (all swatched with a heavy hand): Burberry Hydrangea Pink, Tom Ford Narcissist, Hourglass Radiant Magenta, Chanel Emotion, Tom Ford Savage, NARS Taj Mahal, NARS Lovejoy and MAC Sunbasque:

I wanted to hate these since they are not the US formula (which I prefer). I tested both at the counter and the artist applied them on my face when I tested the new foundation. I could not resist. Both are so different from any other blushes I own. I’ve been playing around with these for a week and the texture seems to be ok in terms of application and wear. I still prefer the soft finely milled texture of the US version blushes but these are winners for color and wear. At first glance, both Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89 look intimidating in the pans, especially to those who prefer natural colors or have fairer skin. I found them to still wear quite naturally with easy to control pigment.

Both blushes should be available at all counters by now. Also available currently online at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks and
Base Makeup Chanel

Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet | Smooth-Effect Makeup

April 7, 2014
Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet ($45 for 30 ml/1 fl oz) is the latest foundation formula from Chanel. It’s described as a lightweight, oil-free fluid foundation that provides a long-lasting matte-velvet finish. It has what Chanel calls “soft-focus pigments” which smooth and perfect the skin for a flawless look
that lasts all day. It comes in a sleek black bottle. I was matched to 30 Beige (I’m usually either a 20 Beige or 30 Beige for Chanel). According to the Chanel rep I spoke with at Nordstrom the new Perfection Lumière Velvet is going to replace the Mat Lumière.

The Perfection Lumière Velvet is indeed a lightweight foundation with medium coverage. It has enough pigment to even out the skin but not quite as full coverage as the regular Perfection Lumière. This new velvet formula is designed for those normal to oily skin.

At the counter the Chanel artist prepped my skin by cleaning first with the Creamy Cleansing Milk and then followed with the Hydra Beauty Creme. She tested 20 and 30 on my skin. We decided to go with 30 which was a perfect match. She applied the Perfection Lumière Velvet with the foundation brush and then finished with a light dusting of Les Beiges in No. 20 to set. I loved how the foundation blended on the skin with a smooth no-makeup feel. The Perfection Lumière Velvet adheres well to the skin but still lets it breathe. On my normal/combination this lasted all day long and the smooth velvety finish remained the same from the time it was applied well into the late evening. I like that it’s not a full-matte finish which prevents it from looking too flat.
Chanel had some amazing matte foundations back in the early 2000’s which they discontinued and replaced with Mat Lumiere (which I hated, I found it did not blend well and caked a bit on my skin). I’ve since tried to find a good matte-finish replacement, the closest is By Terry’s Hyaluronic Face Glow but it still doesn’t have the same velvety finish as the older Chanels. This new Perfection Lumière Velvet is a must- have foundation for those looking for a long-lasting natural makeup with a slight matte finish. I find it has been released at the perfect time of year as we start getting warmer weather. The color stays put on the skin without oxidizing. Below you can see how well it blends into the skin and evens out the texture:

I’ve been using this over a number of moisturizers, I like it right now over Le Jour de Chanel and set with the Les Beiges powder.

Here are some swatches for comparisons: By Terry Hyaluronic Face Glow No 2, By Terry Cover-Expert in 9 Honey Beige, Tom Ford Foundation Stick Bisque 04 (review here), Chanel Vitalumière Aqua in B20 and B30, Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet 30 Beige, Chanel Perfection Lumière 30 Beige, NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland.

In terms of formula comparisons to the new Perfection Lumière Velvet to other Chanel foundations:

  • Chanel Vitalumière Aqua is sheerer and more lightweight in color. The new Perfection Lumière Velvet goes on smoother onto the skin and also is more fluid in texture. I found it much easier to squeeze out of the tube.
  • Chanel Perfection Lumière is heavier in texture and has more full coverage, I find the Velvet version to work better with my skin, the Regular version was a bit too heavy for me.
Packaging comparisons:

I’ve been testing this for a week and I’ve been really pleased with the results. I’ve always been a huge fan of Chanel foundations (except for a couple formulas) and I highly recommend you check out the Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation. I’ve had no issues with breakouts or clogged pores with this formula. It blends well, lasts all day and doesn’t change color. The velvety finish is natural but still matte-looking.

The new Perfection Lumière Velvet foundations should be at all counters now. Check out Natural N Chic Makeup for swatches of all shades. I purchased mine at Nordstrom. It’s also available at Bloomingdales, Saks and