Dec 212010

Chanel’s Spring 2011 collection includes Ombres Perlees de Chanel ($65 limited edition), a beautiful new confection that redefines texture and glow.  This palette appears to be the product of a collaboration between artists and scientists, who have achieved something completely unique.  I have never seen an eyeshadow palette react to light like Ombres Perlees, the shadows consistency acts just like a pearl.  The effect works precisely the same way when applied to the lid.  I would not miss picking up this palette.

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Dec 212010

Here’s a link to a fascinating study just released by L2 (opens in a PDF file) a think tank for digital innovation, that considers the impact of digital media and beauty brands.  It’s graphically very clear and about all about the brands we all love.

The study gives high scores to beauty brands that have a deft online presence (MAC, NARS, Bobbi Brown).  I’d be interested to see how to address indie brands that owe their origins to online buzz–Illamasqua, Fyrinnae or the like.  I’m also not seeing Make Up For Ever or Urban Decay covered, although to me they seem very visible online.

Here’s the big question–does online presence impact your buying decisions?  Would love to know your thoughts about this….

(I have no affiliation with this study, I received the link in an email and found it interesting).

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Dec 202010

Guerlain’s Ecrin 6 Couleurs palettes have been accumulating in my stash for a few months, and I thought it timely to take a look through them to compare, examine and play with them.  At $85 each, this permanent line of palettes landed last Fall with some controversy.  They are among the high end for prices on a single palette, their packaging is on the high side of luxurious and their colors are understated.  To me, these palettes are quinotensentially French–high quality, neutrals and with a beautiful finish that can be appreciated once applied.

Previously, I did an overview of the architecture of these palettes.  Since that post, I’ve come to appreciate how well-designed these palettes are.  The come with a magnetic closure that would never dream of breaking your nails and a highly usable dual-ended brush that I’ve used several times to a nice effect.  Also, the lid of the palette closes over the pigment completely so that, if disaster strikes and the powder breaks, the lid sits flush against the bottom pans so that the powder will stay its compartment.  The mirror is enormous, a real pleasure to use.

Also, there’s a balance to the palette which I didn’t appreciate until I compared it to another line’s–with Guerlain’s, the brush does not go flying out when the palette is tipped to use the mirror.  It’s a nice touch when one is already rushing to get ready on busy mornings.

Here’s a close-up of 29 Rue de Sevres (click to enlarge), which presents an unusual mix of colors that harmonize beautifully together:

  • First, a pearly light blue that can be used as a pop of color on the lid, or in the inner corner.  This is a chilly blue, that looks fabulous with the warmer soft tones in this palette.
  • Second, a shimmery soft beige highlighter, that looks like a cross between a pearl and a cafe au lait.
  • Third, a matte black.
  • Fourth, a complex grey-teal-burgundy with blue reflects, which gives a very steely effect.
  • Fifth, a pearly brown with red reflects.
  • Sixth, a shimmery oyster-toned beige-khaki.

Once I understood the tone-on-tone application technique, I found Rue de Sevres extraordinarily easy to use.  The pearly highlighter (shade #2) is beautiful on the browbone, and the matte black can be used as a liner or softly smoked in the crease.  Then, I chose an overall lid shade– #6 works well, with either #4 or #5 in the crease.

#6 is also nice under the eye.  Shade #1 is a nice color to dot on the center of the lid to add some dimension and light.  I would not wear #1 as an overall lid shade, but it is a fabulous accent.


One of the reasons that these palettes have been controversial is that many find the colors too similar to each other–in fact, I find that they really lend themselves to a tone-on-tone look.  They’re so easy to use.  These palettes are the very first ones that persuaded me to wear dark colors on my lid–the colors have a luminescence and they are designed to work together in a way that enhances (rather than overwhelms) my fair coloring.


I wish I could tell you that these shades are so common that there are duplicates everywhere.  Unfortunately, I cannot.  As one complication, these average to about $14 per shade so duplicates may run higher than the Guerlain originals.  Plus the quality of these shadows are particularly delicate and beautiful, I could never assure you that a similar color could give you the same wearable eyes.

Rue de Sevres is beautiful.  As a side note, if you are near a Guerlain counter ask for some pointers on their use;  although I consider myself quite experienced with eyeshadow, I learned a lot about how to get the most from the palettes with one-on-one advice.

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Getting to Know Our Beauty Round-Up Members: Gaia from The NonBlonde

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Dec 192010

Gaia of The NonBlonde became one of my favorite beauty blogs after I began researching high end, luxury brands and her blog consistently appeared.  Her reviews are very independent, insightful and informed.  Also, her descriptions of the wide range of perfumes she reviews are unparalleled–let’s just say she has a way with words….

Here’s a little more about her…

When did you start blogging and why? April 2006. I’ve been reading beauty and perfume blogs for about six months at that time, but kept feeling that none of them completely addressed my needs and tastes. I also realized I had quite a bit to say, and finally decided to give this blogging thing a shot, though I wasn’t even sure anyone other than my mom would ever read it.

Every blog seems to carry a special voice. What’s your special message for your blog? I write the blog I want to read. I’m interested in luxury products, perfume, the beauty & fashion business in general and I’m a bit too sarcastic for my own good. But the main thing is that I want to show that talking about beauty (and all that related to it) is not necessarily the domain of the “mean girls” from high school. Smart and nerdy girls love lipstick, too.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m 40, married and child-free. I have 10 cats (not a typo) love reading, antiquing, old movies and NYC. I’m also a vegetarian and a sci-fi geek.

What’s your daily beauty routine? I’m a skincare fanatic. Gentle cleansers that prepare the skin for more- serums, creams, hydrating mists. All the things that give makeup a boost from beneath. Then I start with color- usually there’s at least one new thing I’m testing at any given time. It’s never boring.

How many lipstick/glosses can be found in your handbag at any given time? Four or five. The problem is the number of handbags I have in rotation. It makes for interesting times when I’m trying to locate a specific gloss that is an absolute must to complete the look I’ve envisioned.

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received? “Never skim on skincare”– My mother.

How often do you actually go to stores or events to research new products or releases? Let’s just say that Bergdorf Goodman is “where everybody knows my name” (and skin tone and lipstick preferences)…

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Dec 182010

This year’s Holiday makeup has been all about shimmer, shine and metal.  Several collections were quite large, offering something for literally almost everyone.  Others were narrow and theme-focused.  After living with some of my choices for a few months, I thought it would be fun to review some of this season’s favorites.

First, Geurlain Perles D’Or Metorites, reviewed here.  A surprise hit for me, I’ve used them more than I could have imagined, and will continue to do so.  No coverage, just a beautiful, glowing finish when used as an overall powder.  True love.

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Dec 182010

Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Scrangie ($18) is a color that I’ve been meaning to wear for months.  After choosing a shimmery silver-gray top for dinner tonight, I decided that this cool toned polish would be a perfect compliment.

Scrangie of the blog by the same name helped design this tinted purple with an iridescent blue-green shimmer “like the wing of a beetle.”

This is a beautiful, unusual color–this is three coats, no base or topcoat.  Rescue Beauty Lounge makes beautiful polishes-while you are there, check out some of the reds.  Gorgeous!

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Dec 172010

Burberry Lip Glow Gloss in Rosewood ($27 / Burberry ‘Lip Glow’ Natural Lip Gloss #01) is my first exposure to Burberry Beauty’s lipgloss range.  Although I’ve tried many other items in their line–the foundation, some blushes, eyeshadows and some of their lipsticks–I was intrigued to try their beautiful neutral toned glosses.

The container is modern, classic and gorgeous.  The clear rectangle is substantial without feeling too heavy, the closure is secure and the doe foot applicator is foolproof.  This is a gloss that you can put in your handbag and apply it anytime, usually without needing a mirror.  I have a deep love for easy to wear, gorgeous glosses that shine.  There are no apparent shimmery bits in this gloss, so as it wears down the look is quite natural.

I chose #01 Rosewood because it fits so beautifully with the rest of Burberry’s line-it’s a neutral, beautiful, high gloss neutral that compliments so many other items.  The staying power is quite excellent for a gloss, and it feels moisturizing and not sticky.  It has a luxurious feeling.  There is a slight scent in the tube that fades immediately when I put it on my lips (how do they do that?)

Here’s a comparison with some other easy to wear glosses, Chanel’s Extrait de Gloss in Insouciance ($30) and NARS Dolce Vita ($24):


Overall, I love Burberry Rosewood lipgloss-highly recommended.

As an aside, there’s a fun Holiday video posted on Burberry’s site–has a very London vibe.  Enjoy!

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Dec 162010

Among all of the beautiful gold, bronze and metal released this season, Lancome’s L’Wren Scott collection stands out like a quiet star.  It’s easy to overlook this lovely collaboration with fashion designer L’Wren Scott, it has a small, boutique vibe and except for the Fashion Week-famous gray nail polish released for this collection, I haven’t seen it widely discussed.

Perhaps most women think of Lancome for mascara, lip products and perfume, but I’ve always wanted to add eyeshadows to the list of their standouts. I am particularly impressed with their eyeshadows released in Europe, designated by their square pan.  When I looked at this collection, I saw that Les Gris L’Wren ($42)(“The Grays of L’Wren), had a square shape similar to those in Lancome’s European collections.  So I took a leap.  Les Gris D’Wren is a smoky eye palette that features a shimmery white highlighter, two shimmery grays and a matte black.  If you are light skinned, try dabbing your brush into the pan before diving in too deep.  The grays (even the lighter shade) goes on with some serious drama. Les Gris L’Wren absolutely delivers a very dark, sexy smoky look if you use your brushes as you normally would.


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Six Scents Series 3- Artistic Collaborations

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Dec 152010

I recently became curious about the perfume series Six Scents, which annually releases a collection created by pairs of clothing designers and perfumers united around a common theme.  The current collection, called Series Three, centers on the nature of childhood memories and the influence of adolescence on identity.  A portion of the perfume sales goes to War Child International.

This sounded ambitious and therefore interesting, I became very curious about how these diverse influences could be expressed in a perfume.  I love collaborative projects–they can bring out the best of both, and fascinating mixes inbetween.  Some of these scents–and the designers who worked on them–include a focus on both male and female, although sometimes with scents the lines can become quite blurred.  I ordered samples of the series (from Luckyscent) to try them out.  I’ll run through them below, although I’m as not as facile at describing scents as The NonBlonde (few are!), I thought the lines was interesting enough to present despite my limitations.  I’ve also chosen some pictures to showcase some of the clothing designer’s work.  I believe that each perfume sells for $80, and there is a list of retailers on the Six Scents site.

No. 1:  Beau Bow by Alexis Mabille and Roger Flores-Roux Incredible.  At first, I thought of the original Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.  A very sophisticated floral, like walking into a dream garden.  There’s a hint of citrus among the woods and florals–a rich orange without any hint of shrillness.  There’s a grassy quality that reminds me of a Parisian park–manicured, centered, yet still exciting.  According to Rodrigo Flores-Roux, who formulated the scent, the scent is “elegantly modern, but strangely, still romantic, a bit hazy” and that the two collaborators “imagined the fresh and elegant Eau Fraiche structure so popular in France in the ’70’s, and gave it a jolt and a twist.”

Alexis Mabille Dress

Top notes:  Luminous hesperides: Sicilian cedrat, juicy mandarin, Calabrese bergamot and tart bigarade orange from Andalusia.  Playful herbal and green accents:  Provencal lavender, grand vert basil, garden mint, violet leaf absolute, Persian galbanum, lentisque resin.  Heart notes:  Egyptian jasmine, sambac from India, Magnolia grandiflora, rose attar from Bulgaria, wild Alpine cylamen and white honeysuckle.  Bottom notes:  vetyverte from Reunion, mossy nuances, iris absolute from Florence and the sheer woodiness of Kephalis.

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