May 252010
 

UPDATE:  Reviews and swatches of the Misty Soft duo are here.  Reviews and swatches of Khaki Clair are here.

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As part of my travels, I investigated a Chanel display with the new eyeshadow duo’s (Called the “Ombres Contraste Duo/Ombres À Paupieres Duo).

I’m not certain whether  (or when) these will arrive on U.S. shores, but I thought it best to post this picture so that you can get a sense of this offering.

First, you should know that each duo has a darker matte shade and a shimmery lighter color.  They are very smooth and velvety.  These are standard colors for Chanel’s line, I expect that they will supplement them with limited edition colors as time goes on.  Chanel really needed a good standard set of duo’s–it appears that the current Irreelle products have been on phase-out for about two years and these are some much-needed replacements.

Second, you should consider whether or not you need these before investing. In France, they are running 34.50-36.00 euros, so I expect that these will range over $40 in the U.S. once released.  These are not clearly unusual colors–the quality is gorgeous but many readers may have similar products already.  Personally, I may snag one or two, but I’m waiting to get back to the states to decide if I really need another basic set.

Third, here they are! There are six (6) sets.  These are taken with a snapshot camera, so the shimmer in the lighter colors is a bit hard to see.  As these were taken in a store, I was not in control of the lighting:

Although one of these is called “Taupe Delicat,” the darker side really swatches as a medium matte brown.

This is not an exciting duo–it is made for subtle, natural looks like this one from Chanel’s recent cruise show.  I understand that this duo was used in this look:

Not huge drama–but subtle and natural.  And more “delicate” than “taupe.”

I hope these are helpful!  Here is rough translation of the description of the product:

The ultimate classic, essential, easy to carry and apply.

This duo combines two colors in shades new textures and complementary to offer multiple opportunities for make-up that is subtle or more  sophisticated.  Smooth and bright, highlighter or base applies to smooth and brighten the upper eyelid. Added as a touch of brightness in the inner corner of the eye, it opens and enlightens the eyes. Matte, powdery paint the most intense still applies to the outer corner of the eye to sculpt and provide depth to the eye.

Precious in the black lacquer box, it travels in the handbag of women similar to a lipstick or a pocket perfume, ready with a mirror for  impromptu touch-ups.

Use:

  • The foam applicator to shade and draw the color shades.
  • Brush to soften or melt the nuances between them.
  • Both are sensitive to both textures

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May 242010
 

The Galeries Lafayette, is one of the department stores on the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris France.  If you are visiting there, it is a few blocks from the Opera (the big Neo-Baroque Opera Garnier that is the foundation of the legend of the Phantom of the Opera).  Printemps, another large department store (or Grand Magasin, as they would say in French) is right next door.

I was going in at the end of a very long day, fortunately the store was open until 8:00 p.m., which didn’t give me enough time to fully explore but at least a moment.

The first floor is lined with small versions of the high end boutiques–Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Dior and others, as well as a niche for Longchamps.  These are mostly purses and accessories. The clothing boutiques for these and other high end brands are on the second floor.  The upper floors are similar in configuration to most U.S. department stores, except several of the brands are pretty hard to find outside of France.

The makeup area is in the center of the first floor and  crowded with people from all over the world, who walk among the maze of Armani, Guerlain, Chanel, Serge Lutens, Kenzo, Dior and even Bobbi Brown and Clinique. Unlike counters at the typical U.S. department store, each line has its own kiosk that allows them several displays each.  In the center is a featured product or brand, which changes frequently.  When I was there, it was a Nina Ricci perfume, Ricci Ricci.

The roof has an incredible glass ceiling, and the building is quite ornate and lovely.  Click for a larger view:

I wanted to focus on finding things that I cannot locate in the U.S., which was hard to do since there were so many distracting beautiful items (including the new Chanel duo eyeshadows, Lancome and so many more items).  I settled on these two items from Tom Pecheux’s Color Pure Color Night–the powder highlighter (43 euros) and the smoky grey-taupe trio (23 euros) –you can see details about this on The British Beauty Blogger. (Together with a neutral gloss, all three of these will be releasing in London and New York in limited quantities).  I literally gasped when I saw the sales associate use the eye palette on a customer-it was very polished yet dramatic.

After I already committed to buy the highlighter, the sales associate gave me a detailed demonstration of how to use it, so that I could see her apply it while watching in a mirror.  Highlighter on the upper cheek, browbone, chin and a touch of nude blush in the contour area of the cheek.  I was glowing (in a good way).  It could be just me, but I always get the feeling that the sales associates here would rather lose a sale entirely than to see their product applied wrong.  They always seem relieved when I choose the product that they recommend, rather than one that might be less right.

I only have a small travel camera, so no swatches:

These are both beautiful, and are literally the first Estee Lauder products that I have ever bought.  The Estee Lauer sales associated loaded up my bag with several generous samples. Welcome to Paris, where they understand makeup.

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May 212010
 

When is a bronzer, not a bronzer?  Answer–> When it is a Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder!  Both Maui and Antigua ($33 each) are two “bronzers” in Bobbi Brown’s bronzer line that are indisputably more like a highlighter/blush than anything that will give a tan effect.  Nonetheless, I find that I’ve fallen hard for one of them, and can’t wait to dig into the other.

The typical bronzer comes in shades from beige, gold, dusty browns and pink-tans that usually darken the skin.  Both Maui and Antigua are lighter colors that add a pop of natural blush that can be worn over a bronzer to keep you looking alive and pretty.  Sometimes wearing a bronzer can deaden the skin, adding a veil of tan-brown.  You can add a touch of blush for a pop of color, then a highlighter for added illumination.  Bobbi Brown’s Maui and Antigua combine the last two steps–pop of color and highlighter–into one.  And both colors are beautiful choices that seem to work well with bronzers.  Also, you get a good size pan of color for $33–this is about the diameter of a Cargo blush, which is certainly very reasonable for the quality and look.

As you can see, my Antigua pan has that “well-loved” look. If you looked very close you’d see the concentric circles that signify that I’m getting close to hitting the pan on this one.  I absolutely love this pink on my MAC NC15 skintone.  I’ll be replacing that soon.  The coral-pink Maui is new and unused in this picture:

Comparison swatches:

If you are considering Antigua keep in mind that Bobbi Brown is releasing an Antigua palette this summer at Bloomingdale’s.  You can see reviews and swatches of the palette at The Beauty Look Book at this link.

I’m going to pass on getting the Antigua palette, although it’s probably time for me to think about replacing my Antigua.  First, I do not enjoy palettes with lip products exposed to powder products.  Second, I’m not sure Antigua is pigmented enough to wear as a stand-alone blush unless heavily applied.  So I’m not sure that the Antigua palette will work as a go-to travel palette for me.

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May 202010
 

During the summer months –and yes, they are almost here– I love to wear an illuminator.  Here are few different ways to try them:

  • Mix a few drops with your foundation to add some glow
  • Place some on the upper cheek, bridge of nose and in a “C” shape around the eye area, touch a bit on the brow bone
  • Put some under foundation, if you don’t like too much shimmer, to add just a touch of light

I pooled a few from samples and a friend’s stash to give some comparisons.  As you can see from the swatches, almost every liquid illuminator has a color cast that make all of them quite distinct.  Here, I look at the following:

  1. Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #2 ($59) in a shimmering sandy gold
  2. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Opal ($41) in a light gold
  3. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Topaz ($41) in a deep gold tan
  4. Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #10 ($59) in a shimmering gold-beige
  5. Benefit High Beam ($ 24) in a sheer pearlized cool pink
  6. Soliel Tan de Chanel Illuminating Fluid ($ 48) in a shimmering multi-dimensional gold

Swatches:

Of the ones that I own, I get the most use from the Chanel and Becca’s Topaz.  They are really distinct in their look–the Chanel adds a glow, while Becca’s Topaz adds a little bronzing effect.  Both seem to last all day, and neither has broken me out.  On the other hand, my friend who has the same skin tone as I do (MAC NC15/Chanel Cameo Intensity 1.0), prefers Benefit’s High Beam.  The High Beam gives a more dramatic look, the shimmer is easier to see and she prefers that look.

Another set of swatches (slightly different light):

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May 202010
 

Make Up For Ever sells a double-ended lip and eye pencil that includes two light-toned beiges, called the Make Up For Ever Concealer Pencil (Crayon Anti-Cernes/ Eye and Lip Liner Concealer)($18).  I was delighted to find this–my old Benefit had been discontinued and although MAC’s Chromographic pencils seemed promising, I wanted to get something that was easily available to me.  I picked up Make Up For Ever’s at my local Sephora, and I see that it is carried online.

This pencil can be used to blank out pigmentation in lips or in the inner rim of the eye, making this dual-ended pencil appropriate for doing double-duty.  This is especially useful during allergy season or whenever my eyes are irritated, because it gives an eye-brightening effect to the inner rim.  Although sometimes white pencils can be use for the same purpose, I find beige ones much more natural-looking.

Here is quick look at each end of the Make Up For Ever offering:

Light end:

Deeper color end:

Sephora only sells this pencil in a shade marked “Light” and I am not sure whether Make Up For Ever makes this pencil in deeper colors.  What I did find was that the two colors can be mixed in case you need a shade inbetween the two.

The lasting power of this is excellent–my skin is normal to dry and the color lasts well on the waterline. They do not irritate my contact lenses either.  I’m happy to have found a product that seems quite versatile.

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