Meet Kelly at Gouldylox Reviews….

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Jan 232011
 

Meet the delightful Kelly at Gouldylox Reviews….another passionate makeup lover with a beautiful perspective (and a little peach blush thrown in for good measure!).

When did you start blogging and why? I started blogging in 2009 as a way to share my favorite things with my friends. I was always being asked to go to cosmetic counters and stores like Sephora with my friends, so I thought it would be fun to start writing about makeup, hair and skincare.

Every blog seems to have a special voice – what’s the message on your blog? I love to write about color, but I also love to research ingredients to find out what works and what doesn’t. Instead of sounding like a professor, I try to relate to other beauty lovers like their friend. I assume they understand my quirks and goofiness and don’t hold it against me. Every now and then my sarcasm, silliness or oddball comments anger some people. If you’re one of them, I’m sorry. My blog probably isn’t for you.

I always try to approach makeup like someone who is a serious fan, not someone who is all about fashion and the role that makeup plays in that world. I love drug store finds as well as higher end goods. Don’t get me wrong, I love to embrace (or mock) trends, but I don’t live or die by the latest words of WWD. I’m more of a real woman, who struggles with things like growing my hair, finding a mascara that actually lengthens my lashes and the perfect peach blush. It’s all an adventure I enjoy writing about and sharing.

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Jan 212011
 

Dior is currently selling a mini-release of three nail polishes, Gris City Vernis ($21 each), in cool shades of gray and blue to celebrate some of its most famous boutiques.  The three colors are named for the streets on which those boutiques are located.  These are sold exclusively on Dior’s website and a few boutiques, with the exception of Gris Montaigne which is sold as part of the Dior Spring 2011 collection.

Gris Montaigne (#707) is named for Dior’s main Parisian store, located at 30 Avenue Montaigne, a jewel of a street that has the Champs Elysee at one end, and a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower over the Seine on the other.  It is a short street lined with luxury boutiques, including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Paul and Joe, Dolce, and several more.  Yes, it’s fashion heaven. In Paris.

When I saw Gris Montaigne, I was reminded by the Dior boutique which has, in my mind, a very light, dove-gray appearance:

Inside this large, impeccably presented store have rooms with high ceilings and very soft, light gray elegant tones:

This boutique carries a full line of makeup, shoes, bags, jewelry and couture clothing. It’s beautiful. One afternoon, I watched a ballerina (no, really, I’m serious) get a makeover as I waited for help to pick out some sunglasses for Liz.  The artist did a beautiful job–the effect was subtle, and he set off the her features without weighing her down with too much.  The end effect was lovely. Sigh….ah, to be in Paris…..

For more about the polishes, read on….

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Jan 202011
 

Chanel’s Spring 2011 collection includes Poudre Universelle Compact Natural Finish Pressed Powder in a limited edition shade called Rose Merveille (now $45).  From my own point of view, I was a little surprised to find this powder included, because the pearl theme of the collection seemed to lend itself well to the softly shimmery Chanel Poudre Douce line ($50), which gives a pretty, subtle glow.  However, I suppose that the glowy eyeshadows, lipsticks and glosses that are part of Chanel’s Spring line may require a matte skin to balance the textures in combination.

Unlike Chanel’s standard Poudre Universelle Compact powders, Rose Merveille has a textured patterned surface and is embedded with silver micro-sparkles.  It comes in the familiar luxurious Chanel compact with the full size mirror and with a small, thin embossed sponge.

Rose Merveille is a very, very slightly deeper and peachier tone than my warm, fair skin (Chanel Intensity 1.0/MAC NC15).  When applied, the adds the faintest touch of rose-peach color, but does not give enough coverage to substitute for a foundation.  Essentially, this mattes down my skin (or foundation, when applied), leaving the faintest hint of silver microsparkles throughout.

The matte texture of the powder does not lend itself to use as a highlighter, in my opinion.  The microsparkle effect is quite subtle, and therefore does not impart the luminous effect of traditional highlighters.  Rather, Rose Merveille is a true finishing powder although it adds a slight spark of light.  I can see this working over a sunscreen or light foundation for a formal Spring event, although this is not a must-have powder in my opinion.  My personal preference would be to choose the Poudre Douche in Peche Tendre, which a beautiful, luminous powder that is part of Chanel’s permanent line.

Generally, Rose Merveille will work best for those with fair to medium skintones, who seek a matte effect with a touch of light.  My sense is that this powder will turn a bit ashy on darker skintones, and add a peachy blush-tone to very, very fair skin.  If you fall into either of those skin tones, I highly recommend counter-testing before purchasing.

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Jan 192011
 

Le Metier de Beaute’s Precision Liquid Eyeliner ($42) in Noir has been my go-to liner since I got one a few weeks ago.  My typical routine is a gel eyeliner (nearly all Bobbi Brown).  I’m still in search of the perfect pencil liner in black, although Giorgio Armani’s in certainly in the running.

I’ve used liquid liners in the past, including using up two of the Ecriture de Chanel ($34).  The liquid liners that I’ve used in the past give a bolder, crisper and more dramatic look than gels or pencils.

This isn’t necessarily true with Le Metier de Beaute’s Precision.  This liquid liner truly gives control–it can be used to give a more subtle or dramatic look–and is rekindling my love for liquid liners.  I find liquid liners very easy, you don’t need a separate brush, they go on very quickly and they’re quite easy to slip into a bag for travel.  Plus, I love the pen aspect to them–like other makeup addicts, I love great writing supplies and am sometimes lost looking at sites like JetPens. (By the way, if you are in the market for a good writing pencil, these in 6B are seriously good!).  Sometimes I wanted a softer look, something that I can achieve with Le Metier’s Precision.

Some women find liquid liners difficult to apply.  The best advice I can pass along is to practice on the back of your hand, using very short strokes to build up your line.  Trying to do an entire eye in a single stroke is reserved for master makeup geniuses, for me using little feather-lines to build up a solid line is the best way to go.

Le Metier’s Precision is based on the concept of fine writing instruments–the ink flows out at your touch.  Unlike Chanel and Shu’s liquid liners, there is no pump or twisting action to get the ink flowing.  Out of the box, the pen brush is black and ready to go.

I noticed that Le Metier’s Precision is physically smaller than other liners;  it’s quite slim and petite.  Here is a picture of Le Metier’s next to Shu Uemura’s (both list the same amount of product at .002 oz)(below).  The Shu uses a pump on the bottom of the product, which you push to get the product moving to the brush.  In contrast, Le Metier’s feeds the brush without requiring any pump–there simply is no pump on Le Metier’s Precision.  The ink flows as you apply it:

Another–as you can see, the brush on the Shu liner is still white because I haven’t started using it yet.  Le Metier’s Precision was black out of the box:

Generally, I found that Le Metier’s Precision gave me far more control than other ink liners.  The liner goes on in a very fine line, and typically I stop right there.  My fair skintone and smallish features do not hold up well with a Marilyn-Monroe-thick-black eyeliner.  It becomes overwhelming.  Le Metier’s Precision allows me to do a simple fine line that looks natural, gives my lashes a nice black base, and doesn’t look over-the-top.  Le Metier’s is a good normal black, but it’s not extreme, dark or overwhelmingly dark (if you’ve ever tried L’Oreal’s Hip Cream Eyeliner in Black, you know what I mean.  Some blacks are too dark for my coloring, and I have a hard time applying gel liners very sheerly).

Having said that, if I want more black, Le Metier’s Precision can be layered and built up very easily:

  • If you want a darker black, go over the same line more than once until you get the deep color that you want;
  • If you want a wider line, make another fine line next to the original, and keep going until you get the effect you want;
  • If you want both, do both!

If you want to really saturate the tip with ink, press it against your finger with some pressure for a second or two.  Ink will flow fairly quickly to it.  Le Metier’s Precision gave me excellent control to get exactly the effect that I want, which I find more difficult to do with gel liners and pencils.  It’s very intuitive to use, very clean and beautifully made.  Yes, you can go bold with it–but you don’t have to.

As a complete aside, there are a few reviews and other rumors floating around that the tip of Le Metier’s Precision Eyeliner is made by Mont Blanc.  The other day on twitter, Le Metier dispelled this rumor and said that this is not the case-rather, instead stating that the eyeliner is inspired by fine writing instruments and “100% LMdB.”

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Jan 182011
 

Some of my regular readers may recall some issues that I had receiving my Spring 2011 collection that I had ordered online at Chanel.com.  In connection with that transaction, I wrote two lengthy, detailed letters to Chanel’s corporate offices.

I’m very pleased to report that the issues seemed be resolved.  Chanel’s customer service director placed several lengthy, sincere, thoughtful and detailed calls to my home (and even t0 my cell while I was traveling).  She apologized more than a dozen times, although I cannot say that I kept count.  She assured me that the issues had been looked at in great detail.  I shared my update that the “label cut-off” problem was an issue that they would want to address.

As part of the follow through, Chanel was kind enough to send me a Les Exclusifs of my choice.  This great, big beautiful bottle of Gardenia arrived the other day, gorgeously wrapped and with a letter that included a written apology.

Overall, Chanel handled the issue as a first-class organization.  Which is a huge relief, to be honest.  Finally, I’m back in love with Chanel again.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan 172011
 

DivaDebbi has one of the most wide-ranging beauty blogs of those I read.  She delves into such a wide range of interests that I’m sure if we ever had lunch together we’d never stop talking.  She’s personal shopper, an anti-aging expert, a fearless survivor of a breast cancer diagnosis and an all-around wonderful person.  Here’s a little more about her–enjoy!

When did you start blogging and why? I have always loved to write, but never had much of an outlet for it (though I have penned quite a few Dear John letters for friends over the years). I saw a front page article in the Sunday’s New York Times almost 3 years ago, about people who were easily starting blogs to express their political views. It was my beauty light bulb moment. I am a girl’s-girl and I have always shared advice with my friends. I created my beauty and fashion blog DivaDebbi that afternoon.

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Jan 172011
 

Over the past month or so, I’ve been hearing more and more about Scotch Naturals, a line of water-based nail polish that is completely free of almost any chemicals.  The only ingredients listed are “water, acrylic polymer emulsion, and non toxic colorants.”  Read on:

Making the change to non-toxic nail polish is one you won’t regret. Scotch Naturals is a safe and eco-friendly alternative to conventional solvent-based polish. Our revolutionary water-based formula nourishes and conditions nails, delivering long lasting, salon-quality color. Our polish contains none of the chemicals found in typical nail polish: toluene, dibutyl phthelate, formaldehyde, acetone, and heavy metals.

I have always preferred to take a non-chemical route if possible, there is chemical scent to most nail polishes that I find a bit unpleasant.  The company apparently started by making non-toxic polishes for children–called “Hopscotch“– a product that I find sensible in a world where little children want to play with polish but a parent might be reluctant.

Hopscotch Kids has the cute little no-spill bottles and edgy colors including a black called “Miss Mary Mack” and a vibrant “Red Rover, Red Rover.”  Adorable, right?  There’s even a nice, non-toxic remover.

For grownups, Hopscotch Kids got rid of the “hop,” called it “Scotch” and amped up the packaging and color palette.  I went for a try-out Cocktail Trio of colors, which included a 2 oz. remover and nail buffer for $47.99.  I chose Hot Toddy (a brownish taupe), Tartan Swizzle (a vibrant pink), and Flying Scotsman (a deep navy).  Single polishes sell for $14.99/15.00, which are also available from The Beauty Habit and Spirit Beauty Lounge.

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Jan 142011
 

Blink and you’ll miss them….the latest MAC Collections seem to come and go with extraordinary speed lately.  This is a very short post, to be honest, by the time I could do a thorough review of these products, they will be sold out.  For now, I’m going to post a few pictures just to preserve these very (fleeting) collections.

First, MAC + Mickey Contractor, celebrating the talents of this famous Bollywood makeup designer, seemed to disappear almost the moment were posted.  Fortunately, the eyeshadow quad (Athma $36) and the Fluidline eyeliner (Siahi $15) are back in stock for now.

The brick red Sur and sheer light Gana blushes ($18.50 each), sold out right away.  They look quite similar to the Chanel Soho highlighter and blush palette so I wouldn’t feel too badly if you missed them.  Generally, I liked the look of the Mickey Contractor Collection. I love a good collaboration.  Plus, it has a very “neutrals with a kick” vibe that I really enjoy.

Second, MAC released Mega Metal Eyeshadows in Peacocky, a dizzying collection of mostly bright, saturated colors. These have extra big pans, sell for $19.50 each, and to my mind seem as soft as a Dior eyeshadow quint.  Thanks to Karla Sugar’s comprehensive swatches, I was able to eliminate all but the three that I chose– The soft, light cream with a touch of peach Peek-at-You, the cream with a slight green cast Dalliance, and the deep taupe Unflappable.

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Jan 132011
 

Guerlain has just introduced Meteorites Illuminating and Mattifying Pressed Powder Compact ($56) in three tones– #01 in Teint Rose (light pink), #2 in Teint Beige (medium beige) and #3 in Teint Dore (deep beige).  After a telephone discussion with the Guerlain Boutique in Las Vegas, I opted for #2 in Teint Beige for my coloring.  (I am Chanel Intensity 1.0/Cameo – Ivoire/ MAC NC15).

When I heard about the Meteorites Compact at a $56 price point, I was immediately curious.  After all, the Meteorites Voyage Compact Exceptional Pressed Powder sells for $170–that is a dramatic price difference.

First off, the new Guerlain compact is a bit smaller in circumference, and a bit bulkier, than the more expensive Meteorites Voyage.  The outside of the Meteorites Illuminating and Mattifying Pressed Powder Compact is a darker, gunmetal with a touch of rose color, unlike the silver-toned Voyage.  The Illuminating and Mattifying is made from a lighter composite material;  the Voyage is metal and has a much heavier feel.  My highly unscientific kitchen scale experiment gave me a weight of 1.5 oz for the Illuminating and Mattifying Compact, and a weight of 6 oz for the Voyage Compact.  The Illuminating and Mattifying Compact is quite light–it weighed 1/2 oz less than Guerlain’s Blondes Halees Bronzer. Absolutely, Guerlain’s new compact is designed to be grab-and-go.

Here, you can see the difference between the slimmer Voyage and the slightly bulkier Illuminating and Mattifying Compact:

Many makeup lovers would love to own the Voyage, but the $170 price point can be daunting (I was able to pick mine up at the Parisian Duty Free for a bit less).  The idea of a refillable, metal compact may not appeal to everyone, and so the Illuminating and Mattifying Powder Compact at the comparatively lower $56 may draw more of a crowd.  Keep in mind, however, that it does not appear that refills are sold for the lower priced version.

Inside, you can see that the composition of the powders is quite different–the Voyage uses the pressed, multi-color brightening and refining pattern.  In contrast, the Illuminating and Mattifying Compact has a more traditional beige appearance of a finishing powder.  Nonetheless, Guerlain describes the Illuminating and Mattifying Powder has having “a constellation of minuscule multicolored radiant pearly particles with yellow, orange, green, red, violet or white reflections to recreate ideal radiance.”  (from Nordstrom.com)  Thus, it appears that the new compact powder has the multicolored reflectivity at the micro level.

How are these different?  My take is that the Voyage has a brightening quality, which is intended to change and normalize the skintone slightly.   It looks lighter, as a soft almost invisible, slight veil.  The Illuminating and Mattifying gives a very refined beige finish with a slight glow, the effect is very natural.  The Illuminating and Mattifying does not provide enough coverage to serve as a foundation;  rather, the powder adds slight color and evens the skin.

Neither comes with a brush.  The Illuminating and Mattifying Compact comes with a whisper-thin puff, crossed with an embossed ribbon.  I recommend applying this with a standard powder brush.

Between the Voyage and the new Guerlain Compact, I prefer the Illuminating and Mattifying as a “my skin but better effect.”  I did notice both a mattifying effect, and a slight illuminating glow as I turned my face from side to side in the mirror.  Most of all, I noticed that my skin looked wonderful.  I should note that I do not have very oily skin;  I get a little dewy during the day but not shiny.  If I were running out the door and had room for only one, I’d go with the Illuminating and Mattifying.  The formula is wonderful, it makes my skin look very refined and elegant, and a slightly more awake and alive. It’s definitely my current favorite pressed powder at the moment.

Guerlain’s Illuminating and Mattifying Powder does have a candy-violet scent, which fades soon after application.

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Jan 122011
 

Guerlain’s Sur Mes Levres collection for Spring 2011 includes Kiss Kiss Gloss in Rosy Plum ($30.50 #867), which for me was the standout lip color of the collection.  Although Guerlain released a series of four lovely colors in the Rouge G formula in black Series Noir packaging, I did not find that any of the colors were “must haves” for me.  They are pretty, especially the Rose Desire 71 (reviewed at this link by The Beauty Look Book), but I found that I probably had enough similar colors already that I passed these lovelies by.

Instead, I went with this very unusual and dramatic gloss Rosy Plum.

Kiss Kiss in Rosy Plum looks quite dark and dramatic in the tube, and it is strewn with metallic fuchsia sparkles.  Let’s say that for someone with a pale complexion, this blue based berry red has “attention grabber” written all over it.

This Kiss Kiss Gloss has a small brush applicator inside, which so far behaves itself well without splaying:

I found that Kiss Kiss Rosy Plum has a very different character, depending on how you apply it.  When first applied, this gloss is true to its deep, plum-blueberry color that shows in the tube.  After a few minutes, as the gloss settles in, the fuchsia-pink tones become most predominant.  On the left, you can see a smudged, lighter fuchsia swatch compared with a full intensity dollop.  I’ve also included Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait in Fatale and Emoi, which look quite a bit more red (almost warm!) by comparison.  This comparison shows very cool (and how much blue) Rosy Plum really has.

Kiss Kiss Rosy Plum applied very similarly on Liz and I (although I have more color in my lips).  Rosy Plum is a highly pigmented, high shine gloss.

Guerlain Kiss Kiss Rosy Plum has a slight candy scent, and about a medium level of stickiness for a gloss–comparable to a Chanel Glossimer, but not as sticky as a Bobbi Brown gloss.  You can see tiny little microshimmers in the formula when applied, which add a bit of light and depth to the gloss.  Overall, this cool pink shade is gorgeous for Spring, will certainly look lovely with everything from jeans to dresses, and delivers a gorgeous, deeply beautiful color.

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