Apr 302010

The weather is slowly turning from spring to summer on the West Coast.  To get us all in the mood for summer, here’s a look at two drugstore bronzer items that I’ve been playing with for the past few weeks.

First, Physician’s Formula has a line of Bronze Booster Powder Bronzers ($10 to 15) that I found difficult to resist based on the packaging.  The tortoise shell coloring and gold lettering seemed to evoke the Guerlain Terracotta line.  The box promises a “glow activator” and I really like Physician’s Formula’s baked bronzers so I thought that I would give the Light-Medium one a try.  For reference, my skin tone is NC15/ Chanel Cameo (Intensity .5 or 1.0 depending on the foundation).

You really cannot get a more convenient, all-in-one for this price.  This has a multi-layered package with a built-in mirror and a pretty decent brush is pretty usable.   That makes this a real value.  Plus, if you do travel in rough conditions, this would be a great bronzer to throw into a bag.   Sand or squirt of sunscreen, plus some juice spilled all over?  No worries, the price point makes the bronzer relatively replaceable.

After some experimentation, I found the following:

  • Near-matte finish (if you are looking for a sheen or shimmer finish, try Physician’s Formula Baked Bronzers)
  • Adds some coverage–you will not need as much foundation in areas where you apply this bronzer
  • Seemed to last well throughout the day
  • I did not notice any skincare benefits from using the product. However,  this did not cause any breakouts or adverse skin reaction either.

Tip:  Buy the right shade for your coloring. When I tried to build up more coverage to get a darker look, I got a decidedly orange color begin to show.

Bottom line: Not my favorite bronzer and I will probably donate this to a friend.  This will work well if you are looking for an almost-matte bronzer that you will use lightly applied.  I find it worrisome that this turned a bit orange on my skin, and it didn’t seem as flattering as some of the other bronzers that I use.

The other product that I tried was Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips in Malibu Strip/Pink Sand Bronzer ($11).  Of all of the choices on the pegboard, this one had the rosiest tones and so I thought this had the least chance of turning orange on my warm skintone.

This product resembles the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in many respects.  However, the packaging is clear and minimal.  On the upside, this clear acrylic seems significantly stronger than the average Shu Uemura package.  This is a BYOB (“bring your own brush”) product, but so is Bobbi’s.

This is really pretty…

I found Physician’s Formula’s Shimmer Strips excellent for the price.  I had a very difficult time telling much of a difference between the texture of the Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strip from the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick when applied–with one important exception.  To my eye, the Physician’s Formula seemed warmer–more gold and in some light slightly more orange–than the Bobbi Brown Nude Shimmer Brick that I used as a my primary point of comparison.

Physician’s Formula’s packaging advertises the Shimmer Strips as capable of being used on the eye.  I’m reading this as saying that the product is eye-safe.  Do you want to wear this as an eyeshadow?  Because this is designed as a highlighter, you will find that using the product on the eye will give you a very shimmery look.  Also, I found that the lightest shade didn’t seem to have very rich pigmentation for a highlighter shade.  Here are some swatches of the individual bars.  I loaded up the lightest shade for the swatch with several layers:

Bottom line: Despite the warm cast, I liked the product and will keep this in my stash.  I found the performance impressive for the price point.  The package seems like it will travel well, it’s slimmer than Bobbi’s Shimmer Bricks.  I like that I can use it as an eyeshadow in an emergency.  The texture and look was very nice for the price.

Here are swatches of the Bronze Booster and Shimmer Strip side-by-side:

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Apr 292010

I’m going to try a new feature—to post some ideas for how some of the makeup can be worn together.  For a first start, I’m going to try this bronzy-neutral look that I’ve been loving lately.  For this, I’m using Guerlain’s Brun Mordore Eyeshadow Quad ($59, on Sephora.com) together with Guerlain’s Terracotta Pearly Bronzer in Orient Sun, which was a limited edition product that acts as both a bronzer and a blush.

I’ve been combining these with a deep matte brown eyeliner, here Bobbi Brown’s Espresso Ink Gel Eyeliner ($21).  In addition, I’ve been using Chanel’s Aqualumiere lipstick in Bondi ($28.50), topped with Chanel’s Aqualumiere Gloss in Bondi Beach ($27).

Here’s are some closer swatches:

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Apr 292010

Chanel’s Summer 2010 collection includes Mistral ($23) (Le Vernis Nail Colour Mistral), a medium pink with silver micro-sparkles.  This is one of those “proper pinks” or work-friendly pinks like Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Plie, that can be worn under the most stressful conditions without worry that one is wearing anything too loud.

I must admit that Mistral gave me a very difficult time during application, although I have been having a somewhat stressful week in my non-blogging life.  I attempted this three times and got some minor streaks and tiny bubbles.  Also, the formula seemed to apply sheerly at the tip, so that there is a color falloff.   Unlike Riviera, which applied like a dream, it took me three attempts to get Mistral to get the picture, below, which I still consider far from perfect.

With two coats, I have some visible nail line showing.  When I attempted three coats, the formula looked very ‘thick’ on the nails so I declined to photograph that version.

Because I absolutely love Nouvelle Vague and Riviera which also came out with this collection, I cannot be very upset about my frustration with Mistral.  I’ll keep trying and perhaps you will have better luck with yours than I do with mine.

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Apr 292010

Thank you to Scrangie, who pointed out on Twitter yesterday that nail polish maker OPI Products Inc. appears to have filed suit against Transdesign, an online seller of nail polish, for copyright infringement.  As many beauty aficionados know, Transdesign is a nice source of supply for OPI’s large nail polishes, because it has prompt shipping, a wide selection and low prices.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that OPI’s complaint against Transdesign is available online, so it is hard to tell what the heart of this dispute really is about.

Well, I did a little research.  So the U.S. Copyright act says that the following categories of things can be protected by copyright law that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression:

  • literary works;
  • musical works, including any accompanying words;
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  • pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • sound recordings; and
  • architectural works.

But none of those categories of things seem to be “nail polish,” “makeup” or “beauty related” items.  Rather, these are expressive works, such as an artist, writer or even an architect or software programmer might create.  Can one copyright a color?  Or a paint (which is basically what nail polish is)?  I know that we own the copyright to our photographs of nail polish.  One might even be able to claim copyright protection to a particularly original application of nail art (similar to a painting by an artist).  But to the nail polish itself?

As a next step, I looked on the U.S. Copyright Office website for registrations filed by OPI Products, Inc. and found about 19 entries:

Some of the registrations concern visual displays, photographs and textual material relating to their products.  So here’s an example from the OPI Hong Kong collection:

Okay, fair enough but I’m still not sure what’s going on here.  Does anyone else know anything?

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Chanel Summer 2010: Le Vernis Riviera

 Chanel, Nail Polish  Comments Off on Chanel Summer 2010: Le Vernis Riviera
Apr 282010

Chanel Summer 2010 has a delightful pink nail polish, Riviera ($23)(Le Vernis Nail Colour Riviera #537) which has the capability of putting me in a summer frame of mind.  Although there are many pinks on the market, I particularly enjoy Chanel’s vibrant creme nail color formula and so I knew that I had to have this one.

Two coats gives me a vibrant look that somehow looks appropriate without moving into the neon category.  Somehow, Chanel still makes the color looks special.  I have several medium-to-dark pinks, it’s a color that I love, and I’m  hard pressed to find a duplicate with precisely the same look.
Riviera will (as you can see in Chanel’s promotion picture) look fabulous with this summer’s Rouge Allure in Super–they have the same color tone.

Here is my on-the-nail swatch, taken with a flash as I had already lost the sun for the day:

I find this formula very easy to work with–it seems to spread without any problems.  The above was done over Creative Nail Design’s Stickey base coat and with a topcoat by Poshe.

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Apr 282010

Chanel’s Orient Extrême Collection includes the Jet-Gold Eyeliner-Eyeshadow Duo ($45) (reviewed here) (limited edition), which holds a highly pigmented cake eyeliner and gold shimmery eyeshadow.  As promised, I’m posting some swatches which I was able to take as the sun was setting this evening.

The black cake eyeliner is a matte, true black.  If you already own Chanel’s La Ligne de Chanel Professional Eyeliner Duo in Noir Lame, I believe it’s safe to say that this black is the same as the matte black in the Jet Gold Duo.  So, you don’t need both honestly.  In fact, I slightly prefer the prior, permanent Noir Lame, because the black sparkle that comes in that duo makes a wonderful smudge-able shade to add over the matte liner.

The gold is Jet Gold is a very light and sparkling gold.  Here, you can see it applied without any base on my pale skin–the effect is very subtle.

As an experiment, I loaded up my arm with Guerlain’s Terracotta Tinted Moisturizer in Blondes-you can see that using this tinted moisturizer (which is darker than my natural skin tone) as a base makes the gold show up much more vibrantly and more yellow/warm:

Overall, Chanel’s Jet Gold is a unique and beautiful product.  When it first arrived, it seemed too pretty to use.  However, because this eyeliner is one of the best on the market, I’ve reached the conclusion that, “Hey, I paid $45 for it, I’m going to use this baby all the way till I hit pan.”

The one awkward thing about the product is that I am likely to use up the gold eyeshadow before the eyeliner.  This is because you only need the tiniest bit to line the eye. On the other hand, the gold powder has a more typical eyeshadow consistency and is fairly light in tone.  You need more gold  to cover the lid, or even the browbone, than you will to line.

Of course, the product is beautiful, and it is Chanel, so I would have bought it no matter what (I’m a Chanel addict, what can I say?).  If I weren’t a Chanel addict, I would go with the Noir Lame eyesliner duo and look elsewhere for a pretty gold eyeshadow.

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Chanel Orient Extrême- Jet Gold Eyeliner-Eyeshadow Duo First Look

 Chanel, Eyeliner, Eyeshadow  Comments Off on Chanel Orient Extrême- Jet Gold Eyeliner-Eyeshadow Duo First Look
Apr 272010

Chanel’s Orient Extrême micro-collection includes a very promising eyeliner-eyeshadow duo Jet Black ($45) (Ligne et Ombre de Chanel Eyeliner and Eyeshadow Duo Jet Black).  The black side of the duo–classically, the eyeliner, is a deep black matte that must be applied wet.  The gold side has, if one looks very closely and under the right light, tiny sparkles that in a similar theme to Chanel’s Illusion D’Or nail polish.  What a beautiful touch, truly this is a gorgeous, integrated collection.

Here are a few photo’s that I had a moment to take last evening, so that if you are considering order this very limited edition collection from Chanel.com or a Chanel Boutique before it sells out you will have a chance to see this close up.  I own all of the other eyeliner duo’s by Chanel, and those have all be excellent quality.  Applying them wet with a flat-topped brush, I’ve found them eminently controllable, allowing me to use either a thin or thick lined application as I prefer.

Here is a picture that shows some of the sparkle effect in the gold pan:

I am hoping to have time later this week (or over the weekend) to swatch this beauty:

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Apr 272010

Chanel’s Illusion D’Or ($25) (Le Vernis Nail Colour Illusion D’Or #450) is part of Chanel’s very limited Orient Extrême release, a tiny collection of jewels introduced at Chanel’s Paris-Shanghai Ready-to-Wear 2010 show.  When I first saw Illusion D’Or, I honestly did not expect much.  Sometimes glittery polishes seem jejune and completely unwearable to me.  Of course, I’m attracted to sparkly things as much as the next beauty lover.  As much as I wish I could vow to wear glitter daily, I find that it takes more courage than I possess to venture out into the adult world with blinding sparkle on my nails.

I found that Illusion D’Or was a high-fashion version of the sparkle world.  And when Chanel does sparkle, I really have to pay attention. True to its name, Illusion D’Or (meaning “Gold Illusion”), is full of a gold, heart-stopping sparkling glitter interspersed with violet-blue-green pieces in a clear base.  The combination of the warm gold and cool blue is stunning.

For day, the polish can be worn over the nail without any color.  The sheerness and subtlety of the sparkle keeps the polish from overtaking the hand or creating a distraction.  To me, this looks like a Celestial Glossimer but for the nails.  It’s beach-worthy, and only a notch up on the sparkle scale from Chanel’s prior sheer sparkles such as Le Vernis in Cry Baby.  I’d wear this to work, actually.  This is two coats:

For an evening out, Illusion D’or gives my nails the appearance golden stars when worn over a black polish.  This color fully adopts the “nail polish as accessory” perspective.  Here are some pictures over Chanel Black Velvet as a base (click to enlarge):

Illusion D’Or is typical of glitter polishes in that it is very stubborn to remove.  I found that using Zoya’s Remove+ with a little more persistence than usual worked well.  It probably looks pretty spectacular over a gold, too–something I’ll have to try very soon.

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Apr 262010

From Rouge Deluxe, a previous of a beautiful Christian Dior palette.  According to the View on Fashion, this eyeshadow palette looks like it will be one of a series and extremely limited edition.  Also, extremely expensive (90 pounds, which converts to over $100 U.S.).  But, so beautiful…

This palette evokes the classic Christian Dior design (here, of the 1950’s):

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