This is the last post for my series on the Dolce & Gabbana Italian Summertime picks. Perla Shine Lipstick is a shiny cool pale frost, Mandorla Classic Lipstick is a pale fleshy peach, Sole Blush is a vibrant orange-red.
The lipsticks are rich in coverage but extremely pale on my lips. Both require extra work (ie darker lipliner and clear gloss) to make them work. In my opinion they are lovely but not goof proof. Mandorla surprised me – note that it looks like a nude brown peach in the tube but on the lips and swatched it went on quite a bit paler. (Perla has not been lip swatched.) No detectable scent. Opaque in finish. Lasting power above average. Colors are just too pale for my pigmented lips.
Sole is the winner in the collection. I do not have a picture of it on my cheeks, but this applies to give a beautiful healthy flush. It’s on the warm side but not too warm. It doesn’t turn orangey on the skin. It’s simply stunning.
So how do these compare to what already exists? I don’t own many bright orange-red blushes. The only thing I could think of comparable in intensity is NARS Cactus Flower. Check it out on Makeup Magpie here.
Same with the lipsticks, no exact dupes, although I suspect the ones for summer are easily dupeable. Here they are compared to Dolce & Gabbana Shimmer and Chanel Cashmere:
The new eyeliner shades from Dolce & Gabbana summer are Agave #15 (a metallic ivy green) and Bronzo #14 (a silvery taupe). These retail at $29 each at saks and come with an angled smudger at one end with the actual liner on the other. The Dolce & Gabbana eyeliners I’ve tried come in three finishes: matte (like Black), matte base with shimmer flecks (like Coffee or Stromboli) and then a frost (like Shimmer). Agave and Bronzo for summer are the shimmer finish which have a softer but buildable application/finish. They are easily blendable for a smokey eye. The colors are beautiful but lasting power is average and fades by late afternoon. They don’t smudge though unless you rub your eye.
Comparisons to Bobbi Brown Ivy, Chanel Black Jade, Laura Mercier Antique Jade, Dolce & Gabbana Agave, Dolce & Gabbana Bronzo, Dolce & Gabbana Coffee, Urban Decay Underground, Chanel Rose Platine and Bobbi Brown Bronze
I like, but it’s not love. The textures are nice and soft but the color payoff is almost too soft and subtle for my preference. I personally don’t see how either go with the summer quad this year. I do feel that these are better suited to complement the Chanel Perlees Ombres and Regarde Perle from Spring though.
Dolce & Gabbana Smooth Eye Color Quad ($59) is new for summer 2011. It consists of a warm yellow-beige shimmer, a warm chocolate with reddish undertones, a berry shimmer, and a deep blackened purple shimmer. The consistency is soft and velvety like all Dolce & Gabbana quads with finely milled powder and sophisticated shimmer. I personally find the colors rich and smooth, but they do require a more careful application to maintain the pigment. If you apply these like MAC or Chanel, blending can make the colors disappear as they blend into one another. I recommend using separate brushes for the dark and light colors. Sponge applicators work too.
I couldn’t find any dupes, but I did a MAC attempt. The MAC colors are wonderful, but do not compare at all to the soft velvety texture of Dolce & Gabbana. If you see and touch a Dolce & Gabbana quad in person you will be able to notice immediately the powders are finely milled and very high quality.
Compared to MAC Ricepaper, Swiss Chocolate, Trax and Smut
For a cost per product comparison:
MAC 4 pro palette pans = 6.0 g for $44 (1.5 g at $11 each) + $6 for compact = $50
Dolce & Gabbana quad = 4.8 g for $59 (this includes the compact, mirror and sponge applicators)
I’ll let you decide on the value. For me, cost doesn’t just account for the amount of product, but also quality, packaging, where the product is made (Dolce & Gabbana quads are made in Italy). Do I prefer Dolce & Gabbana over MAC? Hard to say – I see them as apples and oranges. Both are great brands, but they represent different things for me. Their products are uniquely designed for different looks, effects and occasions – in my opinion.
Back to Vulcano – it was a tricky one for me to apply. Since the reddish shades (brown and plum berry) go on very red on me, I decided it was ok to wash them out with blending and layering. I tried applying this a couple ways and found that the method used in my recent Chanel Makeover at Nordstrom (here) was a good method to use for this quad:
Step 1: Apply a sheer base like LM’s Gold Metallic Creme
Step 2: Take a dense brush and pack on the berry shade (bottom left) in a messy smudge above the lash line
Step 3: Take the warm chocolate with a corner brush and blend from outer corners to about the middle of the eye, just above the lash line as well
Step 4: Use a fluffy brush to apply the lightest shade on top blending all over
Step 5: Apply the darkest plum shade with a sponge applicator to apply a defined line along upper lashes and bottom outer corners
Step 6: Take that berry shade and mix it with the brown, with any brush that has dark color on it already and retrace over the darkest shade blending just a bit upwards
For me, this isn’t an easy throw-it-on kind of quad to use. I think it would be better for deepset eyes or women who are used to wearing very warm colors (ie NARS Kuala Lumpur). Still it is beautiful and I don’t have any regrets buying it. It will just take more time and care to apply without overdoing the reds.
The promotional image with Scarlett Johansson is beautiful! For the accuracy of the promo photo, the nail color is more pink on me, but same purple undertone. The quad appears very accurate and the lip color appears to be the new Mandorla.
Dolce & Gabbana Passione Nail Lacquer 121 ($20) is new for summer 2011. It’s currently available at Saks. I would describe it as a rich and bright cool magenta. Passione is one of those colors that you can’t really tell if it’s purple or pink or mauve – or a mixture of all three. I think this is one of those colors everyone would describe differently. It applies smoothly with rich color in just 2 thin coats. I find lasting power pretty good for Dolce & Gabbana. No chips, smooth application, just your normal tip wear after a couple days.
Outdoors in direct sunlight:
I couldn’t find any dupes in my collection, although Makeup Magpie did find a dupe (see her post here). Comparisons from my own personal nail polish collection, L to R: to Chanel Pulsion, Chanel Splendeur, Dolce & Gabbana Passione, Dolce & Gabbana Rose, Chanel Fantastic
Overall thoughts: LOVE, although I think this will be better suited for toes for me. It does appear easily dupe-able. I just don’t have any dupes.
NARS has released quite a few items this summer including their Summer 2011 Collection, Portrait of Paradise mini collection, Makeup Your Mind – Express Yourself Book, a number of kits to go with their new book (on Nordstrom.com) and a new I Will Survive Kit (with a new exclusive Deep Throat Lipgloss).
In addition to the two duos, I also picked up New Order Highlighting Blush Powder ($27) and the Laguna Multiple ($39). My thoughts are mixed.
Swatched on bare skin (no base):
First up: New Order Highlighting Blush Powder. I had high hopes for this from the promo photos and descriptions. Negative reviews have been floating around various blogs with detailed descriptions, photos and swatches explaining why this blush is less than fabulous. I should have listened. There were no testers at the counter and when the sales associate opened the compact for me to see, it looked like magical fairy dust. The shimmer did not look chunky. I thought, maybe I can make this work for me, even if it’s just on the eyes. Turns out – I can’t. There is barely any color to the pink base and the shimmer/glitter while not chunky, is simply too much. It reminds me of the Night Series eyeshadows. The glitter just falls off the face & flies everywhere.
On the eyes, I applied it over a wet base (MAC’s Bare Study Paint Pot). It shows more promise on the eyes yet still mainly shows glitter. This blush had the potential to be huge if it was anything like Albatross in finish. For me, thumbs down. I don’t want to return it because it’s simply stunning in the compact. I keep thinking there will be a way to make this work. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a way.
Next: Laguna Multiple. I used Laguna Bronzer daily through my college years. I’ve loved the Laguna Illuminator. Of course I had to try the Multiple Version which I find very close to the powder. The shimmer is very noticeable although not as shimmery as South Beach or St. Barts. It blends out a bit more so you get a visible tan, but not frost.
Compared, L to R: St Barts Multiple, Laguna Multiple, Laguna Illuminator, Laguna Bronzer Powder (swatched heavy over moisturizer), South Beach Multiple
New Order and Laguna:
Have you tried either of these? Thoughts? Have you been able to make New Order work for you, if so, please share!
NARS Summer Duos in Dogon and Exotic Dance ($33 each) have been featured in so many awesome blogs I didn’t even need to test them in person to know that they would be must-haves for me. Many thanks to Makeup Magpie, Joeybunny, Karlasugar, British Beauty Blogger and Get Lippie to name a few for sneak peeks! (Links to their features have been included.)
Dogon has been an enigma to me since it looks different on each and every skintone. I believe it is universally flattering though and the beauty of this palette is that I find it unique in it’s complex shimmer undertone. In the compact you see a silvery greige that flashes a slight hint of green plus a dark smokey navy-teal-blue. On the hands and eyes, the silvery side is a complex greyish silver that flashes a hint of multicolors like green, gold, silver. It’s hard to describe. The darker shade applies true to what you see in the pan. They layer beautifully together for a smokey eye. Not really what I envision for something “summery” but stunning nevertheless. Two views with different angles so you can see what I mean with the complexity of these colors. The shimmer and pigment is rich and applies very smooth.
Exotic Dance is just as stunning with the contrasting sharp white frost (slightly chunky in texture) and the warm gold tan shimmer. It seems very basic and classic to me yet I could not find another gold neutral or white similar in my stash. I believe they are unique because of the mixture of colors. I haven’t played with this one much on the eyes but what you see in the pan is pretty much true to what you get on the back of your hand. It’s also a stunner.
Swatched in brighter light:
Just a few comparisons to help you put these new summer duos on the map for color spectrum. First, NARS Rajasthan and NARS Dogon.
I couldn’t find any bright whites with shimmer, so here is Exotic Dance next to NARS Étrusque and Chantecaille Pyrite:
One last view of NARS Dogon & NARS Exotic Dance:
Overall love. Definitely winners in my opinion. I know many will ask if I had to pick one, would it be Dior or NARS or Armani for summer. Please don’t ask me to choose. Both Dior and NARS are equally beautiful for me and it would be impossible for me to pick my favorite. They are all very different, designed to create different looks. If you like neutrals go with the Dior, they are more expensive but you’ll get more colors. If you like duos and something simpler and easier to use go with the NARS. But I will say the colors are not as neutral.
I found these at Nordstrom but they did not have the GWP as advertised online instore.