Sep 102010

Dior’s new lipstick formula Rouge Dior Haute Couleur includes Daisy Plum #976 ($30), a dark vamp color packed with color, dimension and shine.  This is color is capable of commanding attention on the red carpet, taking charge of a boardroom or grabbing attention where ever it is worn. Like Pink Cocotte, reviewed here, Dior’s Daisy Plum is packaged in a sleek case with Dior’s iconic quilting:

Here is a close up of this very dramatic color:

Although this look a bit bronze in the tube, it applies as a deep cool red.  This is a standout color, a combination of red and blue in a very deep, jewel like tone.  Here it is on Liz without any lipliner or base, who is also wearing Chanel Cameo Intensity 1.0, roughly comparable to MAC NC15:

Liz is not wearing anything except for Dior Daisy Plum here–no gloss topping, no base, no liner, just the lipstick applied directly from the tube.  Here is the final effect:

Amazing texture with this formula.  And, by the way, who says pale warm girls can’t wear cool deep color?

Given that my Pink Cocotte broke when I attempted arm-swatching, I am going to refrain from offering comparison swatches of this shade.  My heart couldn’t stand another broken lipstick today.

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Sep 092010

Exciting news– Dior is launching a new lipstick formula —Haute Couleur–which has a very soft, moisturizing feel.  Each shade is inspired by a Dior fashion creation.  Many of the colors are absolutely beautiful, and some have an almost duo-chrome texture dimension.

The good:  Highly moisturizing, gorgeous color and shine.  This will give a versatile wash of fresh color that looks lovely, and doesn’t overwhelm.

The bad:  Unfortunately, when I went to swatch this lipstick, the lipstick bullet broke free of the casing.  This has literally never happened to me before in all my years of using lipsticks.  It may be that the moisturizing formula makes this very soft, or perhaps I got a defective one.  At any rate, if you do indulge in the Haute Coleur line, handle with care.  It’s really heartbreaking to spend $30 on a lipstick and have it destroyed on my first day of use.

The overview:  The packaging is new and features the iconic Dior quilt pattern.

Focusing on a single shade to review, I chose Rouge Dior Pink Cocotte 551 ($30) is the shade featured in the promotional image for the line (although the promo image is topped with an additional gloss).  When I went shopping in New York City with Joeybunny last week, we immediately identified this is as the most universally flattering shade for a wide variety of skin tones.  When I asked the Dior counter at Saks Fifth Avenue which shade was the sellout shade, the sales associate immediately said Pink Cocotte.  If you are looking to try just one shade of this line, this is the one that I recommend.

The fashion inspiration for this shade is a dress of the same name:

The lipstick is a lovely combination of coral and pink, with a lovely dimensional shimmer.

How fresh is this color?  This color has a highly moisturizing look and feel.  I can imagine that this would look lovely on both warm and cool tones, and also fair to dark skin tones.

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Jul 092010

My choice from MAC’s recent In the Groove collection was the Mineralized Skin Finish in By Candlelight ($28).

I though this was the prettiest piece in this rather enormous release.  Sadly, it’s limited edition but hopefully you will be able to find this for a few more days. As this story at The Beauty Look Book explains, Stereo Rose sold out quickly.  Many makeup lovers were very upset, there were apparently backorders, cancelled orders and general frustration.  The product was out of stock less than two hours after it went online at Mac’s online site.  Lucky for me, I found Stereo Rose too orange and shimmery for my pale skintone back when I bought it in 2005.  I no longer even know where it went; I may have given it to Liz but even she isn’t sure where it could be.  In any event, if you are in our skintone range, I personally do not believe that you missed out if you were not able to get Stereo Rose.

On to happier things!  By Candlelight is beautiful.  It was released about six months ago with the Warm and Cozy collection, but I missed it then. This time, I tried it in my local MAC store and loved the effect.  By Candlelight is a luminous, pink-peach baked powder that gives my NC15 skin a glow.

Swatches of the rosy-peachy-pearliness, which I find to be really lovely…

I did a comparison with Les Tissages Lamés de Chanel, Physician’s Shimmer Strips in Malibu (the full palette, and then just the peachier shade) and Estee Lauder’s recent Pure Color Luminous Powder (designed by Tom Pecheux):

  • By Candlelight is the pinkest of all.
  • Estee Lauder Pure Color Luminous Powder is the least obvious–it seems to become part of the skin leaving only light-reflection behind.
  • The Chanel adds a gold color to the skin, but doesn’t seem to emphasize the tiny lines in my skin
  • Physician’s Formula had the most color (center), and seems to emphasize lines I didn’t even realize I had.

Same swatches, different angle:

MAC’s By Candlelight is sometimes compared to Dior’s Amber Diamond. As you can see, By Candlelight has more pink tones:

I’m pleased with By Candlelight, although it will be very difficult me to give up Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Luminous Powder as my #1 favorite.  Nonetheless, I’ll get plenty of use out of MAC’s By Candlelight.

As an aside, I passed on the rest of the In the Groove Collection.  I found the other mineralized skin finishes seemed too shimmery/metallic for my personal preferences.  The eyeshadows and lip products seemed very nice, but I’m more interested in exploring other lines products currently.

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Jul 052010

A few interesting things from around the Internet about upcoming collections.  Before we go into Chanel, note that Chic Profile says that Nars will be putting their Fall 2010 collection online on July 15th.  Worth checking out if you love violet tones.

First, Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss introduces a new high-gloss lip product which, from what I have read online, will be more sheer but more high-shine than the current Rouge Allures Laques.

New applicator, which has a pointed doe-foot tip:

There are several promotional pictures of the packaging, here are just a few:

These are reported to sell for around 29 euros, so I am guessing that these will be around $32-35 if released in the U.S.  The colors are as follows:

  • 51 Insouciance
  • 52 Genie
  • 55 Confidence
  • 56 Imaginaire
  • 57 Insolence
  • 58 Emoi
  • 60 Exces
  • 61 Fatale

There are missing numbers in the line-up here (53? 54?), so I suspect that some colors will be limited edition for certain stores or markets.

The promotional material indicates that there will be a release of new Rouge Allure lipsticks and nail polish with this line (and re-promotes of existing Rouge Allure Laque shades):

The Le Vernis nail polish shades are: Rose Confidentiel, Rose Insolent and Rouge Fatal

The Rouge Allure lipstick shades are:

  • Confidentielle
  • Insolente
  • Fatale
  • Excessive
  • Emotive

I am not certain of the release date for these–the international sites expect them in September, but it is not clear when/if these will be released in the U.S.

Second, here are some promotional pictures of Yves Saint Laurent’s Fall collection:

On the right, new packaging for the Touche Eclat:

I’m really loving this picture of the eyeshadow duo in Midnight Blue/Solar Gold:

More product names:

Blush Variation in 19 Venetian Rose

Ombres Duo’s in l29 purple amethyst/tawny brown and 31 midnight blue/solar gold.

Eyeshadow singles in 13 aquamarine and 14 satin silver.

Golden Gloss in  30 Golden Satin and 31 Golden Toffee.

Third, am I the only one excited for Estee Lauder’s Blue Dahlia palette designed by Tom Pecheux?

Fourth, just for fun a few pictures from Dior’s Autumn/ Winter fashion show–they look like flowers, don’t they?  The have some type of colored cellophane around their faces and heads:

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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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May 312010

Le Printemps on the Boulevard Haussmann

Sometimes how we use our time is not in our control.  If you are on Paris on business, with family or a tour, or (let’s face it) would much rather see all of the wonders and sights of Paris rather than shop, you may only have an hour to do any European makeup shopping.  If I were in that position, I would head to Le Printemps on the Boulevard Haussmann for that hour.

Why?  Here are there reasons:

  • It has the all major makeup brands;
  • Of the stores that I know, it is usually the least crowded;
  • The staff is patient and excellent;
  • The stock levels are quite good (especially if you want those popular items like Lancome’s Erika F.); and
  • The second floor (or, as the French would say, the first floor because the ground floor is the “zero” floor), has an entire range of European skin care, from inexpensive pharmacy lines to some premium lines.

The store is located on the Boulevard Haussmann, in a historic building that dates from the 1920’s (although the store was originally founded in the mid-1800’s, the original one burned down and had to be rebuilt).  Printemps is right next door to the Galeries Lafayette (worst case, if Le Printemps is out of stock on something, you can quickly pop over to Galeries Lafayette for the items).

Le Printemps is comprised of two buildings–the first, “Mode” is full of fashion and accessories.  It’s an enormous treat, full of luxury boutiques and floors of other gorgeous things.  These include a first floor Laduree stand for incredible macarons, and a second floor Laduree restaurant and bakery for a more complete selection.   The second one, “Beaute” includes beauty, skincare, gourmet foods and housewares. They have a glorious selection of Mariage Frères teas, and a really interesting kitchen department.  On a prior trip, I had to wrestle with myself to keep from buying a De Buyer “Make Your Own Macarons” kit (I had already bought the one for crepes, and it was life-changing).

I headed in:

The first floor has all major beauty brands, of course the European versions of them.  There is also a manicure bar stocked with a rainbow of Essie choices on this floor.  Here, I found an incredibly helpful Chanel sales associate who showed me the new Chanel duo’s in more detail.  To help me narrow my choices from the six available, he asked which Chanel eyeshadows I already had.  After I told him, he laughed at me and said, “Well, you are probably going to end up with all of these so the real question is where to start.”   True that.

We settled on Khaki-Clair, which has a deep gorgeous matte green and a soft shimmery white highlighter, and Misty-Soft, a matte medium brown with a shimmery shadow that is a deeper, nutty version of the shimmery side of Nars All About Eve.  I’ll post more about these when I’m back home with my regular camera.

Upstairs, I loaded up on Avene skincare, including Diacneal and Cleanance K, which both work wonders at keeping my skin clear.  There are other less expensive brands here too, including La Roche Possay.  I dutifully ignored the Keihl’s room, given that the brand is widely available back home.  I also investigated Institute Estederm skincare, having heard about the line on Lisa Eldridge’s website.  I picked up a few tubes of the ones rated for “No Sun,” which is said to act as a complete block.

On my way out, I swung by the Dior counter, which had most of the items that are familiar to me in the U.S.  Seeing nothing new, I headed out to see some of the non-makeup delights of Paris.

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Apr 262010

From Rouge Deluxe, a previous of a beautiful Christian Dior palette.  According to the View on Fashion, this eyeshadow palette looks like it will be one of a series and extremely limited edition.  Also, extremely expensive (90 pounds, which converts to over $100 U.S.).  But, so beautiful…

This palette evokes the classic Christian Dior design (here, of the 1950’s):

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Apr 092010

Dior’s Summer 2010 collection includes a beautiful palette, Crush Glow ($58) (Palette Fards à Paupières Lumières Vibrantes #659), that has all the signs of being one of my summer favorites.  This is a warm-toned palette with beautiful light colors, together with one gorgeous deep-toned option.

I love neutrals and golds, so I’m head over heels for Crush Glow.  There is a very light, almost highlighter gold, a shimmer-chrome pink, a mauve-taupe that is so light and airy it’s quite different from others that I own, a center shimmer-peach and a warm, dimensional deeper brown.  How summery is this palette?  I want to book airline tickets, throw this in my bag and go live on a beach right this minute, that’s how summery this is!  Where are my car keys?!?

Okay, on to the swatches! Click if you’d like to enlarge:

Different light to show how the iridescent shades reflect light:

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Apr 092010

Dior’s Ready-to-Glow ($58)(Palette Fards à Paupières Lumières Vibrantes #649) is a shimmery, light-toned and lovely addition to the Summer 2010 collection.  As soon as this became available, I ordered this together with Crush Glow which is also part of the Dior summer line-up.

A new palette in a well-established line like Dior’s must be challenging to design.  It has to be different enough from prior palettes to add something that isn’t already in the line. On the other hand, I suppose you want the palette to appeal to those who are new to the line and want something classic.  When I first opened Ready-to-Glow, I thought it was pretty but I was concerned.  I wasn’t sure whether the grey-taupe-brown trio would work for a summer palette.  Although pinks look nice on some coloring, others find it a difficult color for the eye.  The lower right color looked a little….orange…or even worse, a brassy-orange … in a statement-making way that might not mesh with the others in the palette.

It looked a little dark to me for a summer palette.  Fortunately, my doubts were relieved when I began to swatch the colors out.  The colors apply much lighter in tone than they appear in the quint’s pan.  The orange applies as a shimmery light peach.  The brown is a medium-toned dimensional color that won’t overwhelm smaller lids.  Both the grey and the taupe are shimmery light tones that can be applied either sheerly, or with more pigmentation for a nice summer look.

I have a few points to make about Ready-to-Glow:

  • Ready to Glow applies differently than the way in which the colors in the pan.  I’ve heard a little buzz that Dior has been playing with its eyeshadow formulations over the past year (they released a lot of new reformulated singles last fall).  If I were walking by a counter, I’d pass this one by.  However, Ready-to-Glow applies in a much more cohesive and pretty way than the quint might first appear.  It is worth looking at.
  • The colors gives the impression of cooler tones (for example, the pink highlighter color).
  • No sparkle bits.
  • The shimmer is a true “iridescent” –that is, there is a blend of complimentary colors that supports the predominating color in each pan.  For example, the taupe has subtle yellow-gold flashes that add a light depth.
  • The colors are easy to apply sheerly.  You have to build them up if you want more opacity, which is (in my view) completely appropriate for a summer palette.  Between Dior’s two summer choices, Ready-to-Glow applies more sheerly compared to Crush Glow (that is, you have to build up the colors in Ready-to-Glow, whereas Crush Glow applies much more opaquely with a single brush dip).
  • The combination of colors is promising–I can imagine several combinations that I want to try already although I’ve only had the palette a few hours.

Click if you’d like a larger view:

I may do a second review of this in the next few weeks, but for now Ready-to-Glow seems like a nice summer staple.  Those who are impatient with sheer colors will not enjoy this one–but let me be clear, all of the colors seem like they can be built up to opaque-ness if you add a few more brushstrokes.  Also, I should note that I tend to use only 2-3 colors at a time–I can’t really assess how this palette might please you if you want to do all five at once.

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Feb 022010

Dior has recently released a new 5 Color Eyeshadow, called Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette in Extase Pinks (#804) (Palette Fards a Paupiers Haute Couleur Extase Pinks #804) ($58).  I bought this online on  This looks like the type of palette that would not work on me.  Dior defies expectations, however.  I’ve found that this is a delightful spring addition to my stash.

Gorgeous!  The palette consists of:

  • A nearly-white shimmering blue-based pink (center of the palette and the center swatch in the lineup below).  A very workable highlighter color with good pigmentation for such a light shade.
  • A pretty medium shimmering cool pink (top left, first swatch below).  Lovely.
  • A medium shimmery purple (bottom right, second swatch, below) that is sprinkled with a pink undertone.  This one makes me yearn for spring.
  • A steely shimmery silver (bottom right) that rivals the silver in the Dior Spring 2010 Pearl Glow palette.
  • A deeper multi-dimensional steel-silver (top right) that is beautiful to wear on its own.

Click to enlarge:

All of these eyeshadows has beautiful pigmentation and a lovely soft texture.  None of these is overwhelming.  They look expensive.

If I had to choose between this and the other recently-released Dior Pearl Glow, I’d go with with Pearl Glow based on the uniqueness factor alone.  The texture of the Pearl Glow shadows in that palette seem so different from others on the market.  Pearl Glow’s are more “chromed-up” if you enjoy that sort of thing.  On the other hand, Dior’s Extase Pinks is a more traditional offering of cool spring tones.

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