Jun 302010

Chanel Paradoxal Nail Color #509 ($23) (Le Vernis/ Nail Colour), released for Fall 2010, is a purple polish infused a heavy dose of gray and a slight touch of brown, shot through with shimmer.  It gives an impression of an off-grey that leans toward mauve.  It is an unusual color, I have not seen anything close to Paradoxa’s color.  The closest that I own is Essie’s Demure Vixen (swatched here by Scrangie), but Essie’s is far more pink, lighter and far less gray.

Paradoxal is best when worn opaquely, and requires two coats to get there. The brush is the typical Chanel, which I find works well (or perhaps I’m just used to it).  From a distance in normal light, it looks like a cream formula.  However, it behaves more like a jelly.  In strong light and looking closely, you can see the suspended shimmers, which gives a bit more depth to the polish than a cream formula would impart.

The shimmer in Paradoxal’s bottle implies that there is some sort of magic in the polish, just waiting to be released upon opening.  Analogies to Pandora’s box aside, I was intrigued to learn whether this mysterious swirling effect translates to the nail.

I found that the swirling effect appears in the bottle only–on the nail, the shimmer is quite evenly distributed (click the picture to see the shimmers more closely).  No swirls, as you see in the bottle. The color is striking:

I envision this polish looking lovely when wearing greys, ballet pinks, many blacks and mauve-based cooler tones in general.  This is most flattering on cooler skintones.  I’m going to put my bottle away until the weather cools, this seems to be clearly a fall-winter color.  It’s striking yet still could be worn in an chic office setting.  Like many darker-toned polishes, application should be as flawless as possible and the hands well-maintained –the color is so unusual, it does attract attention.

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Jun 302010

Chanel Plum Attraction #63 Joues Contraste Powder Blush ($42) is a deep, dark red-plum blush that looks quite dramatic.  When I opened this compact, all I could think was “This is so 1980’s.  How can I make this modern?” Chanel has a way of challenging my makeup routine, and that is why I love the line.  The products are so beautiful and intriguing that I cannot help but try to figure them out.  Makeup is fashion;  fashion is supposed to push new visions.  I vowed to give Plum Attraction a try.

Still, I’m not going out with massive color on my cheeks.  I’m quite pale and have warm undertones, with hints of mauve in my lip coloring.  I think this mix allows me to wear both warm and cool colors.  Yet Plum Attraction is such a deep dark shade; care is needed on lighter skin tones.

First, I covered my face completely in foundation to get a flawless canvas.  I rejected the thought of applying this blush as I would any other Chanel Joues Contraste blush, which is primarily from the apple of the cheek to the hairline.  That would overwhelm. I tried applying the blush very gingerly to the center of the cheeks only, using a MAC 187 very lightly.  This was not successful for me–it had a “just in from the cold” look but the strong color drew attention to my cheeks.  Who wants to emphasize their cheeks?  No good.

Second, I looked at Chanel’s promotion picture for Fall 2010.  Notice how she has a very open front cheek–there is very little blush applied to the center of the face:

Notice also that the blush is applied with a very soft edge to avoid the “1980’s blush streak” that would date the look (and probably add a few years to her in the process).  Using this as a guide, I found this blush looked best on me when applied the blush very far back on the cheek, much closer to the hairline.  With my duo fiber brush, I was able to obtain a very soft application that could be built up slightly so I could carefully control the color.  No hard edges at all.  As you can see on the model, this gives a slight contouring effect and draws attention to the eye. This works best for me, at least based on these first few days of experiments.

A few words about this blush:

  • This strong color worked well on a flawless face.  If you have any red areas on the skin, you would do well to conceal them first.
  • The pigmentation level is very high and needs a light hand.  I’m using this with a MAC 187 duo-fibre /skunk brush to help me control application.
  • The powder is very, very soft.  Any brush stroke brings huge fallout in the compact.  I found that the powder adhered well to my brush, so fallout during application was not a problem.
  • There are shimmer bits in the pan.  The blush applies somewhere between a matte and a very slight glow. I didn’t notice any shimmer bits on my cheek after application, but it is likely to happen.  If this troubles you, you can try blowing on your brush before applying to knock them off, or brush them off if they make their way onto your cheek.

You can see that the blush can be applied very lightly on the right, yet still show color:

This swatch shows how heavily this blush applies with a standard blush brush.  If you look closely, you’ll see a few shimmer bits peeking through:

Bottom line:  A great blush for Fall, but not for everyone.  Plum Attraction can be a challenge, and can deliver dramatic results.  I do occasionally enjoy wearing strong colors and so find this blush works for me.  If you buy the blush, I propose that you do a practice run the first time to find a look that suits you.

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Jun 292010

Chanel Vert Khaki Soft Touch Eyeshadow ($28) (Ombre Essentielle/ Ombre a Paupieres Mono Douceur) is a beautiful, deep and complicated green.  As with Chanel’s Taupe Grisé eyeshadow single, the pigmentation is superb.  It is soft and shimmery, but not over the top.   It leaves a very flattering, deep green when applied to the lid.  It is a beautiful deep khaki green eye shadows.

There is a very fine multi-colored microshimmer infusing this product in addition to the shimmery, finely-milled powder of Vert Khaki.  These are quite tiny and difficult to see with the naked eye, but do add to its dimensionality and depth.

Compare the pan in the picture, below, with its reflection in the mirror.  Can you see how one eyeshadow pan is lighter/darker than the other?  You can see how the shadow reacts beautiful to slight changes in light.

When Chanel announced this eyeshadow, many Chanel aficionados wondered whether this duplicated Chanel’s existing eyeshadow single Khaki 53, which was released in 2006 and has been part of the permanent collection ever since.  After testing them both, Vert Khaki 88 is a darker, richer color than Khaki 53. They would probably look quite beautiful together for an shimmery khaki eye:

My thoughts: Yes, yes…. a thousand times yes.  I believe this will work with a variety of skin tones and eye colors.  It is a beautifully pigmented, deep rich color that is absolutely gorgeous.  It is typical Chanel to release an eyeshadow quad and two or three related singles.  The difficulty (or the delight) of these Chanel releases is whether to get the quad, or both singles.  With Fall 2010, the colors are related but different enough so the decision for me was easy–get them all.  Enigma includes shades that are special and unique, while Taupe Grise and Vert Khaki are both shades more suited to everyday use.

According to an email from Chanel.com, Vert Khaki is a limited edition product.

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Jun 282010

Chanel Soft Touch Eyeshadow in Taupe Grisé #87 ($28.50) (Ombre Esssentielle / Ombre a Paupieres Mono Douceur/ Soft Touch Eyeshadow/ Single) is a chameleon color that moves from soft brown-gray to mauve.  It is a must-have eyeshadow for those who want a beautiful deep toned taupe. As you read this review, please keep in mind that this is precisely the type of color that I could wear every day for a month.  I am NC15/Chanel Cameo, with blue-green eyes. This color works unusually well for me, so my glowing review may not apply to your coloring and personal preferences.

The texture is absolutely beautiful and quintensentially Chanel.  It is one of the best of the Chanel singles–and, in case you don’t already know, some of the Chanel singles are very, very good.  It is buttery smooth and quite easy to work with.  The color is an instant classic to me–innovative and timeless.  Just as Vamp was for nail polish, Taupe Grisé is both edgy and classic for eyeshadow.  It is a delightful surprise to find that of all of the beautiful taupes on the world, there was one that had yet been imagined. I don’t have (or know) of anything that is quite this color.

The color is a dark brown-gray in the pan.

Once applied, Taupe Grisé’s dimensionality defies description–the way that it changes in different light indicates that it has been infused with something that reveals a silver, a brown and sometimes a touch of mauve depending on the light.  Here is a comparison with Chanel Safari and the long-ago discontinued Chanel Vega in neutral light.  This is very close to the color that it shows when applied to the lid:

This is not, strictly speaking, a true duochrome.  However, it does have a complexity that shows different predominant colors depending on the circumstances.  Here is a comparison of warm and cool lighting effects on the shadow:

It has been shot through with multicolor micro-shimmers, which you will see only if you look very close.  This is not a frosty shadow with big pigment pieces, rather this is finely milled so that it does not create any lines or create an unflattering emphasis. This is a must have for someone like me, who loves neutrals with a kick.  Each of these photographs reflects a different side of this very complicated eyeshadow.  That is exactly what I enjoy about it. I’m quite that I will use this up.  Expensive, but the texture and gorgeous classic color are worth every penny.

According to an email that I received from Chanel.com, Taupe Grisé is a limited edition product.

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Jun 282010

Released earlier than ever this year, Chanel’s Fall 2010 collection includes the Enigma (#19) ($56) eyeshadow quad (Chanel Les 4 Ombres Ombres a Paupieres Quatour /Quadra Eyeshadow).  The word “Enigma” evokes a puzzle or mystery; similarly Enigma evokes a dark smokey sparkle that bespeaks dark magic. In recent seasons, Chanel has introduced quads that have been unusual for the seasons in which they were released–light colors in Fall, jewel tones in Spring.  Breaking this pattern, Enigma is firmly rooted in fall tones of gray, mauve, deep grayed-greens and charcoals.  With one sparkling highlighting pink, the other three tones are clearly built for making a smoky eye with subtle flashes of light and off-blacks that give dimensional color around the eye.  As Coco Chanel has been thought to have said, only black can draw attention to one’s eyes.  The Enigma quad clearly arises out of that tradition.  Even the “mid-tone” shades in this palette are on the darker end of the scale.

I found the texture of the palette wonderful, one of Chanel’s better quad-formatted palettes.

You should note a few different things:

  • The color, density and consistency of application worked better with a base than without for me;
  • The pink is a neutral light pink.  This is a pink that I believe many skintones can wear close to the eye (although I do not typically wear a pink eyeshadow).  There is a lightness to the color that it does not seem as problematic as other pink eyeshadows.
  • Using any of these darker colors as a liner is not only possible, but really beautiful;
  • There is a microshimmer to each of the shades.  On application, it was most pronounced with the two medium colors –the top left and the bottom right.  The deepest shade (bottom right) behaved more closely to a matte, although this was not a true matte because microshimmer was clearly visible.
  • The overall impression that this palette gives is neutral-to-cool.  It will look dramatic on warm skin tones.
  • With the exception of the pink highlighter shade, each of the colors is quite complex.  Like Chanel’s Joues Contraste blushes, putting these colors into words usually requires a combination–such as plum-burgundy-mauve-gray.  See what I mean?

Leave it to Chanel to do shimmer well.  Because the base of these eyeshadows does not have any frost, the eyeshadow when applied did not appear to emphasize any line or irregularity on the lid.  It is not a distracting sparkle or a jejune frost, rather it is a way to add depth to the lid so that the eye is nicely emphasized.

Another swatch:

The following swatch was taken with flash (cooler light):

Here is a picture taken in direct sun, so that you can see the microshimmer.  When applied to the eye, the sparkle is not as obvious:

My thoughts:  Three of the shades in the palette are very dark and smokey, and the combination is obviously intended to make a deep, dark beautiful lid.   Those who love doing a smokey eye will find this palette very intuitive.  If you are looking for a lighter look, consider using the deeper tones very close to the lash line, fanning the deeper color out as you approach the eye crease.

Sometimes those with smaller lids, coloring or particular eye shapes do not like doing a deep or dark crease, because it can make the eye look smaller.  In those cases, a lighter look can also be achieved by covering more of the lid area with the pink highlighter, Chanel Beige (matte) or Chanel Lotus (shimmer).  Other light-to middle toned colors from your collection would work as well, although I would go with a neutral to cooler shade to stay in step with the rest of these colors.  Here is a link to some pictures that include three lighter tone grays to get you thinking.  A cooler gold, a light khaki-green or soft lavender might also work.

Do you need this palette? If the idea of a deep, jewel-toned smoke appeals to you, then yes.  If you are looking for less shimmer, you should look at the singles released with this collection:  Taupe Griséand Vert Khaki (I’ll be reviewing both over the coming days–they are both gorgeous).  Both of these singles evoke similar color tones to Enigma, but do so with heavier pigmentation and less shimmer.  Even so, the colors of all of the Fall eyeshadows are all different from one another.  There are no duplicates among them.

According to an email that I received from Chanel.com, the Enigma quad is a limited edition product (and so are the eyeshadow singles Taupe Grisé and Vert Khaki).

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Jun 242010

Guerlain’s Terracotta Light Summer Bronzing Powder in Blondes Hâlées ($50) is a reformulation of its formerly-released Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder.  Although the products look similar at first glance, the formula, color and tone of the products are quite different.

As both versions are still being sold, and it is worth a pause so that we can tell the difference.

The packaging of both is nearly identical.  There are two differences to look for:  First, the older versions are called “Blondes” and “Brunettes.”  The new versions are called “Blondes Hâlées” and “Brunettes Hâlées.”   Second, the limited edition version for Summer 201 uses the phrase “Summer Bronzing Powder” on the packaging and compact.  The older version does not.  Also, the new Hâlées have a slight pebbled look to the ornate embedded logo on the compact.  The older version is simpler, without the dotted texture that surrounds the swirling, embedded “G’s.”

This review focuses on Blondes Hâlées, which I recently purchased and compared to my former Blondes.

The primary differences are:

  • The texture of Blondes Hâlées is much softer and easier to pick up on the brush.  The older Blondes seems quite hard by comparison.
  • Blondes Hâlées is a deeper, darker color.
  • Blondes Hâlées is a more intense, more dramatic bronzer.
  • Blondes Hâlées has redder undertones, which is more akin to a tiny pink-red that looks more like sun-exposed “tan with a touch of red”.
  • The older Blondes has a sheerer golden tone.

Hare side-by-side swatches:

I prefer the new formulation.  Blondes Hâlées has a beautiful natural tone with a pretty golden shimmer.  I had to beat the pigment out of the former Blondes to get sheer coverage. Blondes Hâlées gives a more natural look and is much easier to work with.

Here is a comparison — on the left, no bronzer.  On the right, Blondes Hâlées:

Although Guerlain Blondes Hâlées is a deeper color tone, I find the effect quite natural.  Her skin takes on a pink tone, without any trace of orange.

Below, Liz added a pop of pink blush (Bobbi Brown French Pink) on top of Blondes Hâlées:

So, between the Edward Bess Daydream that I reviewed last and the Guerlain, which do you prefer?



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Jun 222010

For summer, I’m taking a look at Edward Bess’ Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Daydream ($48 for 0.3 oz.)), a soft, natural bronzer. This bronzer has an understated elegance that I can easily and confidently wear.

It’s impossible to over-do it.  Unlike some bronzers I’ve tried (I’m looking at you, Giorgio Armani!), Daydream does not give the faintest hint of orange or cakey build-up when densely applied.  Yet, Daydream is not too subtle.  Unlike Guerlain Blondes, which can sometimes look a little beige even on my pale skin, Edward Bess’ Daydream is soft and easily picked up by the brush.  Daydream is an easy bronzer, even for those normally reluctant to add a little glow.

Daydream is sold in a large round compact with a mirrored lid.  The compact is very slim and easy to pack for travel.

This bronzer is very soft and natural—arm swatches simply do not do this product justice.  I asked my daughter Liz to pose for one picture without bronzer (on the left), then to add Daydream for a second picture (on the right):

Liz applied this product with a Sephora Bronzer Brush, added the color nearly everywhere, but more heavily on the chin, cheeks and forehead. As you can see, Liz’s picture on the left is her normal pale NC15/20 (Chanel Cameo in Tient Innocence Fluid) skin tone.  Adding Daydream for the picture on the right, Daydream’s almost-matte texture gives Liz a “your skin but better” glow.  The powder is very easy to work with, and seems to take away any oil-glow from being outdoors in summer.

  • Tutorial:   Bronzers can be used to sculpt and contour by focusing on the forehead, chin and cheeks.  Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge has done a lovely bronzer tutorial at her site.

Liz finished her makeup by adding a blush, here Nars Lovejoy, to finish her look:

Overall, I like Edward Bess’ Daydream bronzer for an everyday, subtle and sophisticated look.  It’s very appropriate for work or for a formal outdoor event where I want a bit of glow.  For example, if I were attending a wedding, business meeting or a formal lunch, this is the bronzer that I would reach for.  I can see myself purchasing Desert Sun, Edward Bess’ darker bronzer, for a more dramatic look and to add variety.

Stay tuned–this week, I am hoping to post a review for the newly reformulated Guerlain Blondes bronzer for a comparison.

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Jun 212010

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Phoenix #78 ($32) is a beautiful shade for summer.

It is truly a beautiful shade for both day and evening.  It manages to be a strong color without being overpowering.

The texture is absolutely gorgeous–it gives a bit of shimmer and glow without any obvious glitter at normal viewing distance.  It is opaque in one coat, it would have to be blotted off to get a stained look.

It’s both dramatic and wearable, and looks great with summer colors.

This skintone is MAC NC 15/20 (Chanel Cameo).  How do you think this would work with your skintone?

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Jun 182010

Update (7/11/10):  I’ve received the palette–review and photographs are here.

Former text:

Today on Urban Decay‘s Facebook page, these gorgeous palette and swatches appeared, due to release in Fall 2010.  The site says that these will be available online at Urban Decay’s site on Tuesday June 29, 2010.   I’ll update this as the company releases more information:

More– Vegan Palette:

What do we think? (I can’t wait to read your comments!)

I’ll add a link to this is the tab marked “Links to Fall 2010 Collections,” above.  By the way, I’m always updating this page so check back.  There are currently links to Chanel’s Enigma eyeshadow quad added (linking to the Beauty Moogle’s blog) and a few quick pictures of the MAC-Disney collaboration.

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Jun 182010

Yves Rocher developed a makeup line 50 years ago in his home village of La Gacilly in the Brittany region of France.  The line features products based on plant life.   The company designs and manufactures its own products, refuses to use genetically modified plants and has not done animal testing since 1989.  There are Yves Rocher boutiques scattered around Paris, including on the Champs Elysees.

Here, Yves Rocher sells through a U.S. website.

When I saw an Yves Rocher boutique on my recent trip to Paris, I reasoned that because it was a French company that it must stock an awesome taupe.  It’s true–it makes a few and during a recent 40% off sale I grabbed the most dramatic.

Yves Rocher’s Loose Pearls-Intense illuminating Effect in Nacres Taupe ($18/18 euros) is a highly metallic, cool toned taupe loose powder that contains a lot of shimmer, glitter and plenty of shine.  All of this is packaged in a “we love the Earth” organic-labelled bottle.  Although I had previously thought that natural makeup lacked impact, I’m realizing that some natural makeup companies recognize that some women aren’t willing to give up style to go green.

This is one of the most metallic taupes that I own.  Eye-safe, it behaves as if MAC made a Reflects Taupe and stirred in Coco pigment.  It is …. a little vial of drama.  Here is a swatch applied dry:

Here is a side-by-side with a dry and wet swatch:

This is a beautiful eyeshadow. It’s dimension is gasp-worthy.  Honestly, I don’t know how Yves Rocher has made an eye-safe, organic eyeshadow with this look.  That being said, it is likely that this is an evening-only eyeshadow for me. The shimmer-shine is so dramatic, I have a hard time wearing this during the day except for a day-formal look.   If you like metallic neutrals, you should look for an Yves Rocher online sale and pick one up.

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