Jun 172010

Make Up For Ever has rolled out a line of twenty-two new cream lip, cheek and eye colors, called the Aqua Cream line ($22 each).  Every time I visit my local Sephora, I’m more intrigued by these products.  They are budge-proof, easy to work with, and have a glorious texture.  They do not feel dry or silicon-y, rather they feel as though they will go exactly where you want them, then stay there all day long.  Here’s their blurb:

Aqua Cream combines the highest-quality pigments with mother of pearl particles to give immediate rich color payoff with a luminous finish in just one application. It’s long-lasting formulation will not crease or smudge under the most extreme conditions and its creamy and elastic texture allows for easy blending.

I’m going to throw this out there–If anyone is seriously upset at MAC’s constant limited edition pushes, look very hard at Make Up For Ever as an excellent alternative to MAC.  Make Up For Ever does permanent releases of beautiful, creative colors that are easily available from many Sephora outlets and online.  Rather than sporadic, limited-time releases, Make Up For Ever has large, versatile, permanent release of some beautiful products that really perform.  They’re poised to release more thirty-five (35!) lip glosses and fifty (50!) new lipsticks in the Fall.  Permanently (well, as permanent as anything is in the makeup world).  They’ve gotten my attention, some of my wallet, and piece of my makeup-loving heart.

Several of the blush/lip colors look very promising.  However, some of the eye colors are so vibrant that I’m not sure that I can pull them off.  One eye color that I knew I would love immediately is Taupe #15.  Behold its creamy taupe goodness:

The application is easy with a finger or brush (I moisturize my lid first, no primer).   These blend well with my other cream eyeshadows.  Also, I have used this for an eyeshadow base with my other taupe powder eyeshadows.  They last all day.  Depending on the light, they have a touch of reflectivity (which must be the pearl that’s been added to the formula).

Here is a swatch in direct sun with flash.  The three swatches are light, medium and heavy application:

Here is a swatch in softer, more diffuse, natural light.  You can see that it loses some of the more golden, metallic quality in shade.  This is more how the shadow looks on my eye in most normal lighting conditions:

Final verdict:  Two dancing thumbs up. I’m looking forward to trying a few more of these soon!

P.S. One of the line-number 19 Violet-will not be sold in the U.S., so expect to see only 21 of these at the U.S. Sephora.

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Jun 162010

Many makeup fans are familiar with the legendary Lancome Erika F., a very popular European eyeshadow that is a beautiful metallic mix of blackened green, silver and bronze that makes a beautiful eye.  It borders on a neutral, but with an interesting kick that seems to enhance one’s natural eye color.  Perhaps most frustrating for the U.S., the eyeshadow has never been available for sale here.  Part of Lancome’s Ombre Absolue Mono line, Erika F. is sold in a single mirrored compact, in a square shape with a rose imprint.

I’ve read that this series is not sold in the U.S. because there is an ingredient which is not approved for sale in the U.S.  It is my opinion that this ingredient is “magic.”

On my recent trip, I was struck by the Lancome’s display of other Ombre Absolue Mono eyeshadows.  I will say that Erika F. is the most stunning, and apparently most popular, of the Ombre Absolue Mono series–Erika F. was sold out  everywhere I went.  I had picked up the eyeshadow on a prior trip, but I did find two others to bring home with me this time around.  One of these is F30 Moonlight, a soft neutral gold that looked perfect for a highlighter or inner corner highlighter.  The other is F60 Cuban Brown, a greyed-down brown that borders on taupe (but lacks any purple or mauve tones).  The texture of all of these is superb–soft, shimmery, and easy to work with.

In browsing the web, I found Lancome has an overview of these eyeshadows in English on the Lancome UK site (the color swatches are not appearing in Safari, sadly).  I also found several of these for sale on Strawberrynet.com.

The colors that I chose have a very soft and neutral look.  However many of the Ombre Absolue Mono series are extremely vibrant.  For example, there was a beautiful teal and a highly metallic silver.

Here is another view to show their reflectivity and texture:

I wish I knew more about the line–when I purchased these, I was moving quickly and so did not have time to ask about them.  For example, what do the letter designations “A,” “B,” through “G” mean?  I suspect they are different finishes.

So what do you think?  Do any international readers have any insight into the letter designations?  Do you enjoy these as much as I do?

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Jun 152010

When Chanel first released the Rouge Allure Laque, I was a an enormous skeptic.  The price seemed too high, the container too small and the colors “seen-them-all-before.”   They were first released in Europe, and I began to notice that many European makeup aficionados were not only buying them, but buying several.

I investigated.

Since then, I’ve become an enthusiastic owner of several.  I find myself using these continuously. I don’t buy as many lip products as some other bloggers seem to.  Rather, I buy fewer but use them up.  I wanted to share one of my favorite summer colors, Ming #76, ($32).  It’s perfect for my makeup bag all summer long.

The packaging is perfect.  The black Chanel tube is always classic and appropriate.  It seems impervious to wear and tear –it still looks brand new although I’ve been using this since November.  Inside is a doe-foot applicator and more product than I expected.  There a quiet, satisfying “click” when the product is closed.  I’ve had no spilling or leaking.

I’ve found that Ming is a very forgiving summer color.  I drink a lot of water, and don’t want to fuss with pencils or layering.  I can swipe it on easily, usually without looking.

It looks like I’ve done more than I have. It gives a pretty pink polished lip.  It gives a nice color  without being too opaque.

Yes, $32 is a lot of a lip product.  In my mind, I justify the price by reasoning that I can wear this easily alone and am very, very likely to use this up as a stand-by every-day color.  So, in my mind it is worth every penny.

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Jun 142010

Guerlain’s Terracotta line arrives completely renewed this year, with reformulated lipglosses.  You may already be familiar with the former glosses, in creamy golden and earthen tones with a high glitter factor.  These had names like “Caramel Sun,” “Beige Sun” and “Pink Sun.”  They are beautiful glosses, in their little clear cases and the golden-topped wands that look similar to the tops of the Terracotta Eye Kohls.  KarlaSugar has swatched the former line here.

This year, Guerlain has reformulated the Terracotta glosses, giving them a new look.  The former glosses have been pulled out of the stores, replaced with these smoother, silkier, and less glittery replacements.  The new glosses are less sticky, feel lighter on the lip, and include moisturizers and antioxidants to condition lips exposed to the sun.

Also, Guerlain has added SPF 15 protection.  The sparkle factor has been almost eliminated–there is a tiny microshimmer that is barely visible unless you look extremely close to the product.  The almost metallic look of the former glosses has been replaced with a more natural, more sophisticated look.

Here is a look at the former packaging (left), compared to the new (right):

The gloss tubes no longer have the familiar gold tops.  Rather, they have a new look, using a darker metal.  When closing the new gloss, there is an audible “click” that assures you that the gloss has been definitively closed.  I love this feature.

The most dramatic change is the texture of the gloss.  Here is a comparison with two older glosses (left) and the new gloss (on the right, #4, Ambre).  You can immediately see that glitter in the older ones is comparatively quite large and obvious.  Ambre’s glitter is barely detectable; instead, you have more traditional, yet beautiful, deep warm rose that looks lovely when wearing bronzer and summer tones.

Here is an on-the-lip swatch of Guerlain’s #4 Ambre.  The lips look very natural, without the metal/glitter of the former gloss:

Here is #4 Ambre:

My verdict– The new version is a welcome change.  The earlier ones seemed appropriate when they were released.  Just as fashion changes, so do makeup looks.  The new gloss feels very silky and smooth on the lips, unlike the former ones which could feel a tad gritty.  These feel very moisturizing.  I like having the SPF protection and, let’s face it, the colors in this new release are gorgeous.

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Jun 112010

From Vogue Paris, these pictures from Yves Saint Laurent’s Rock and Baroque Fall Makeup Collection:

I have not loved the pink-and-white French manicure for some time, but these photographs have gotten me re-thinking the look.

This orange and pink/violet seems so quintessentially Yves Saint Laurent.  An incredible pop of color that seems to have nothing–and yet everything–to do with Fall.  How great does this look with the black clutch? Both classic and edgy.

You can see more about Yves Saint Laurent’s Fall Rock and Baroque collection here at Rouge Deluxe.

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Jun 112010

Tom Pecheux for Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Night collection includes the Naughty Black eyeshadow (Pure Color Ombre Effect EyeShadow, L’ombre a paupieres) ($20), is an ombre of three very closely-matched deep blackened brown shades designed for drama.

The Pure Color Night collection is Tom Pecheux’s entre into Estée Lauder.  This eyeshadow trio, originally intended to be sold exclusively in Paris but now expanding to London and New York, reflect Parisian beauty.  Certainly applying this all over the eye area with intensity would be perfect for an evening smokey eye.  However, by using a lighter application, combined with a few heavier shadings, you will also have a wonderful daytime eye.

Packaged in a translucent blue-black case with a mirror and sponge brush, the trio includes:

  • On the left, a metallic deep brown shade with shimmer;
  • A middle shade that is slightly lighter with a slight shimmer; and
  • A deep matte brown-black shade (on the right side of the compact).

Small criticism:  I’m not crazy about the packaging.  The outside is a pretty color, but the gold trim looks a little dated to me.  It would have been fun to use a different interior color or texture to distinguish Pure Color Night from Estée Lauder’s regular line. Dear Estée Lauder–the lid displays your name, we get it.  Maybe be more playful with the design of the Tom Pecheux compacts to let his voice shine through?  Also, sponge applicator?  Give us more powder, or less packaging and I’m fine without that little applicator.  It usually falls out when I’m juggling things at my mirror anyway.

The pigmentation and application of this trio is absolutely beautiful.  The pigment is so finely milled, again I am very surprised at how this seems to become part of the skin.  Where does the powder go–it seems to leave pure color behind.  I am a great admirer of products that seem to get the science right–that is, does the designer seem to understand chemistry, and how color interacts with light and the skin?  This is one of the reasons that drew me to the Shu Uemura line, and this trio is in the same tradition.

There is no highlight shade with this trio–this is formated as a single eyeshadow and not a palette.  Plus, it’s called “Naughty Black.”  If you wish, you can apply these eyeshadows with just a whisper of color as you approach the brow.  Or add a white or ivory from your collection if you wish to  add a brow bone color.

When applying the product, the pigment seems to go naturally where one would want to place it.  So far, I’ve used the trio successfully with five different brushes–each one seems to give a different effect.  Below, I’ve swatched using a very heavy application–multiple layers for maximum pigmentation:

Here, I played with a sharp-edged eyeliner brush and a single layer of application.  Each of the three shades are portrayed.  On the right is a very light smudge swiped with a Chanel tapered blending brush:

Here, I had a Jackson Pollack moment, playing with a standard Chanel #2 eyeshadow brush using both heavy and light application.  This is six swatches total:  each of the three Naughty Black shades, with one heavy and one light application.  I think that you can see that you could do an beautiful ombre eye with this trio:

I have to say that this little trio impressed me.  The quality is extremely high–the pigmentation is absolutely beautiful. Using a variety of techniques, one could accomplish a lovely eyeshadow look.  The very limited edition Pure Color Night line is well worth exploring.  Considering the high quality of this compact, I love that this was only $20 (!)-its adds quite a bit of versatility to my eyeshadow collection.  I definitely want to see more (and more!) of the Tom Pecheux- Estée Lauder collaboration.

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Jun 102010

Tom Pecheux, Genius (photo from Estee Lauder)

Tom Pecheux is a makeup artist who is a new Creative Director at Estée Lauder, and is charged with introducing new visual and technological elements to Estée Lauder’s line.  Says Pecheux,

My role is to work with various departments including Creative, Product Development and Marketing to help create new cosmetics. Technology is always moving forward, and women are always looking for the best and the latest in their products. Now we refer to beauty as a fashion accessory, and fashion is moving very fast. If a cosmetics company doesn’t move fast, it can get lost in the shuffle. It is essential that a company specializing in beauty is up to speed with the current trends in fashion, and that is precisely why my collaboration with Estée Lauder is such an ideal fit. I’m working with Estée Lauder to help create the very latest in beauty products that are fun, playful, sexy and beautiful.

I must admit that, as large as my makeup collection is, I owned no Estée Lauder products.  Pecheux changed my opinion of the line completely.  While in Paris, I was able to see his Pure Color Night collection, which includes three limited edition products.  Although the line was originally intended only for release in Paris, this source discloses that Estée Lauder has since decided to release the products on a very limited basis in London and New York.

For the Pure Color Night line, Pecheux attempted to recreate Parisian beauty for evening:  “I am known for making women look beautiful, sensual and sexy. When given the challenge to create a collection exclusively for Paris, I thought it would be perfect to create a nighttime look, because this is when every French woman wants to look her most beautiful. I wanted to translate the seductiveness and femininity of French women into makeup,” says Pecheux.

I purchased two products–the Luminous Highlighter (roughly $40 U.S.) and the Naughty Black eyeshadows (roughly $20 U.S.).  I skipped the third piece of Pure Color Night, a neutral toned lipgloss. It is difficult to describe the quality of these products because they are unlike anything that I have encountered before.  The words “finely milled,” “soft” and “pigmented” are words that have a meaning to me from Chanel, Shu Uemura and other high quality lines.  These Tom Pecheux pieces are on an entirely new level.  I literally gasped when I saw the these powders interact with skin.

The Luminous Powder comes in a luxurious blue-black translucent case, embossed with the Estée Lauder logo:

Inside is a large pan of a golden-peachy toned highlighter, mirror and a large sponge applicator (why a sponge? I’m not sure):

Although this looks rather unremarkable in the pan, the texture, transparency and luminosity of this powder is unbelievable.  It is the most finely milled of the finely-milled powders.  It adds an effect that adds a sheer wash of light only, without the color or texture of other highlighting powders.  The texture is so soft that a soft brush seems to tear up the surface of the pan–like a delicate petal of a flower.  It gives a nearly-transparent wash on my cheek, I wore it with a soft peach blush (but it would look amazing with a nude blush or contour powder).  It gave my cheek a beautiful, natural-but-better sheen.

Sheer, luminous powders are notoriously difficult to photograph.  Their magic lies in the fact that they look entirely natural, and impart a lit-from-within glow.  I gave it my best attempt, applied heavily next to two other popular highlighting powders, Nars Albatross and Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick in Nude. You can see that Tom Pecheux heavily applied seems transparent, adding glow while melting into the skin.  There’s no obvious sparkle that appears with most highlighting powders–rather, the soft gold sheen is so beautiful.  It does not have any metallic look that sometimes occurs with liquid highlighters.

I will say this as simply as I can–I am going to take very seriously anything that Tom Pecheux does from now on. If this product is any guide, he is the next makeup formulation genius to watch.

Tomorrow, I’ll review his Pure Color Night eyeshadow in Naughty Black.

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Jun 092010

Chanel is set to release an Eyeshadow Duo (Ombre a Paupieres Duo Eyeshadow Duo) in Misty Soft 40. This duo includes a matte soft brown that has a slight red/maroon undertone, and a shimmery lighter nutty shade that evokes these same color tones.  The duo is quite pigmented and the texture is quite soft.

Once these products reach U.S. shores, I expect that the will run above $40 per duo.  As with many Chanel products, it will take some work to use them up, the entire line is full of nice basic shades that can be worn everyday.  This soft brown combination is no exception.  Because a picture is worth 1,000 words, here we go:

Another picture in the pan:

Here are the swatches. If you look closely, you can see the burgundy undertones especially on my warm-toned skin:

When worn, the overall impression that this duo gives is neutral with some drama because the colors go toward the deeper and darker shades.  The lighter tone in this duo is not very light at all, it is a mid-tone color.  The deeper matte is quite dark.  For day, I use more of the lighter, shimmer shade.  The shimmer does not approach “over the top.”  For this daytime look, the darker shade is used more at the lash line and outer corner.

If I use more of the darker tone on the lid, the impression is much more dramatic–more smokey and nice for an evening look.

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Jun 082010

Chanel is in the process of releasing new Eyeshadow Duo’s (Ombre a Paupieres Duo/ Eyeshadow Duo), and recently while in Europe I was able to pick up two of these.  As detailed here which has pictures of all of them, these duo’s have a darker matte shade and a lighter, shimmery one.  I paid roughly $40 each for these.

As with all Chanel makeup products, these are sold in the shiny black lux case, with a mirror, small brush and small sponge brush. If you are a long-time Chanel fan, you will recognize the pillow shape from the long-ago discontinued line of singles.  These are the same shape and proportion, but each pan is smaller than the former line.  The texture is similar to the older single line–very soft, very very finely milled and very build-able.

Here are some pictures of Khaki Clair (60), which includes a greyed-down khaki green together with a pan of cool white that has a multi-color shimmer dimension.

Although I was contemplating doing some comparisons, it occurred to me that I don’t own a khaki matte.  In fact, I don’t know of anyone who makes a high-end matte khaki–do you?


I’m a pale (NC15/ Chanel Cameo) person with blue eyes with a touch of green-gold, and brown-blonde hair.  Many thanks to the patient Parisien who rightly chose that this was the best one to bring out my natural coloring.

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A Word About Duty Free Makeup Shopping

 Chanel, Dior, Guerlain, Lancome  Comments Off on A Word About Duty Free Makeup Shopping
Jun 072010

Every trip to Paris must end sometime, and most U.S. residents leave the city via one of the airports.  I’ve flown in and out of Charles de Gaulle airport several times, and even stayed overnight in the Sheraton hotel located inside the terminal.  One thing I will say about this airport–my experiences have varied vastly based on the airline and the terminal.  This last time, I flew Air France out of Terminal 2E.  What an incredibly organized, pleasant experience in comparison to others that I had in the past.

So, back to makeup.  As many international travelers know, after emerging from security there are a vast number of choices and stores for alcohol, tobacco, souvenirs, perfumes and makeup that await you just before you go to the gate.  At Charles de Gaulle, the lines that are carried include Chanel, Guerlain, Lancome, Serge Lutens, Clinique, Dior and a variety of others.

Here are some pointers:

  • If you want genuine products at a discount, here’s your chance.  Bring your math skills (or at least a calculator) if you are hoping to save some money.
  • Here are some examples of the savings:
    • Chanel products were several dollars less than U.S. prices, even with the conversion of dollar-to-Euro.  For example, a Chanel Glossimer was 19 euro’s, which converts to $25. In the U.S., Glossimers sell for $27.00 plus tax.
    • L’Eau Serge Lutens fragrance was priced at 90 euros (which converts to $116.10 U.S.).  It sells for 100 Euros ($129) in Paris at Galeries Lafayette.  It is priced at $150 on Barney’s U.S. website.
    • Guerlain’s Meteorites Voyage compact sells for $170.00 in the U.S.  At the duty free store, it was priced at 100 euros ($129).  It sells for 125 euros ($161.00) in stores in Paris.

  • At the duty free store, you do not need to get involved with the paperwork and delay involved in getting a VAT tax refund, described here.  There is no minimum purchase.  You just pay the lower price, take your sealed bag and go.
  • The duty free stores have wonderful little gift sets and palettes.  For example, Guerlain had some adorable little blush, eyeshadow and eyeliner kits that fit together with sliding parts that were both clever and beautiful.  Guerlain also had a three-pack of mini-meteorites (the older style) packaged with a brush in a gift box.  There are multi-packs of mascaras, lipsticks and glosses that were money savers, as well as nice gifts.
  • You must have your boarding pass with you to purchase products.  I do not know how you ever would get through security without one, but if you are asking a family member to hold yours for you, get it back before you purchase.
  • There is no option to shop around–each terminal has one or two stores maximum.  If the store is out of stock on an item that you want, you are out of luck. I got the last Guerlain Voyage Meteorite compact, for example.
  • You will not typically find special, limited edition products at these stores.  Looking for Estee Lauder’s Tom Pencheux’s very exclusive sets?  Cutting edge products like Tom Ford’s lipsticks?  Not going to happen.  Also, the Serge Lutens display had about ten fragrances, which is fewer than compared to the twenty or so that the department stores carry.
  • Most of the core products for each line seemed to be on display. Testers for the Chanel Joues Contraste blushes (Euro version), eyeshadow quads, glossimers and lipsticks (Rouge Allure and Rouge Coco)  were all ready to go.   Whether or not they boxed products, ready to sell and in stock is a good possibility but not an absolute certainty.
  • Service is multilingual.  Obviously, these stores are built for convenience and not for make-overs or detailed beauty advice, so plan accordingly.

The amount that you save depends on the exchange rate;  a rate that changes daily.  I locked in my rate for my purchase, because the store offered to allow me to purchase in U.S. dollars.  I also saved a bit on currency exchange fees that way.

Keep in mind that several terminals have other types of boutiques.  For example, Le Printemps had a micro-store, as did Hermes. By the way, the Hermes scarves were of a limited selection, but priced at 240 euros for the standard size (compare this with the 280 euros in the Parisian boutique).

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