Nov 172013
 

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta01

Holiday 2013 brings the Guerlain Crazy Paris Terracotta Healthy Glow Powder ($69) is a bronze and pink confection that delivers a healthy glow.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta05

The Guerlain Crazy Terracotta packaging looks like the traditional Guerlain tortoise shell, but titled just right in the light and the address of Guerlain’s Paris flagship store is revealed–68, Champs Elysee, Paris. Inside the palette has the traditional Guerlain color mosaic in a pattern of pinks, bronzes, and beiges.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta02

Although the pink portions are few in number and area, they do predominate to give an overall pink-bronze glow when used lightly allover the face.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta06

 When concentrated on cheeks, Guerlain Crazy Terracotta works beautifully as a blush. This is how Liz used Guerlain Crazy Terracotta here–all over her face and more focused on her cheeks as a blush.

Liz Guerlain Crazy Terracotta

As with so many Guerlain products, using Guerlain Crazy Terracotta as an allover face powder added a touch of bonne mine healthy color and makes Liz’s skin look even more flawless than usual. Honestly, the texture of this finely-milled, enhancing powder looked amazing on her skin. For highlighting, she’s also wearing Giorgio Armani Eccentrico Face Palette ($88) on her cheek and over her brows (review is upcoming).

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta15

I compared the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta with the Guerlain Terracotta Sun Blondes 04, the Guerlain 4 Seasons 00 Nude (reviewed here), the Guerlain 4 Seasons Naturel 02 (reviewed here), and Chanel’s Rose Bronze. Most of these record as quite bronze–only the Guerlain 4 Seasons Nude has a similar fresh pink tone. Overall, the Guerlain is the most natural for a soft rosy bronze flush, and it delivers slightly more pigment than the Guerlain 4 Seasons Nude 00.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta12

Overall, we found Guerlain Crazy Terracotta a lovely powder for a winter appropriate healthy glow. We expect that this will sell out quickly, so if you are interested it is best to act quickly. Many of the Guerlain limited edition powders are made in very small quantities, and so as with previous years you’ll want to commit before it sells out.

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Oct 102013
 

Guerlain vega31a

I’ve been falling in love with Guerlain Vega Nail Polish ($23). Actually, I’ve been loving any and all Guerlain nail products that I’ve gotten my hands on, including the Guerlain Gel Topcoat and Guerlain Rouge D’enfer. I can see that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Guerlain vega41a

Guerlain Vega is a rich, dark vamp color. So-dark-it’s-almost-black, and not quite black. With a high gloss Guerlain Gel Coat, it looks very expensive and a little edgy (in other words, perfection). As soon as it starts wearing off, I replace it with the identical manicure. It’s a beautiful Fall color that applies perfectly in two coats. I love the big chisel brush, it gives me a steady application with about two swipes.

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On fingers, with the Guerlain Top Coat.

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Here are comparisons with Chanel Rouge Noir (redder, lighter), Chanel Madness (browner, lighter), Chanel Accessoire (lighter, redder), and Zoya Paris (closest in color, slightly lighter).

Guerlain Vega61a

I’ve been enjoying Guerlain Vega as my go-to Fall shade.  Highly recommended.

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Oct 042013
 

There are a few nail things to talk about as this week comes to a close….

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First, to update my Gel Topcoat post, I was able to fully revive the last dregs of my Guerlain Top Coat with the Seche Restore (described here in the original post).  The Guerlain formula was getting a little thick as I reached the bottom third of the bottle, but a healthy dose of the Seche Restore makes it like new again.  Now that my top coat is good to the last drop, my only reservation is that I wish that the brush was a little longer, because I’ll be using this one all the way to the end.

Sephora Formula X1

Second, Sephora’s full Formula X line is up online. Although not all of these polishes are new, they are fun. I was able to play with Brain Power (the camel) and Chaotic, an impressionistic topcoat that mixes all kinds of shapes to look like a splatter painting. At around $10-12, these are a creative way to do nail art even if you aren’t a wizard with a brush.

Sephora Formula X21

Here’s Chaotic over Nars Galatheé (also available at Nordstrom.com).

Nars Fall Nails3

Third, Marc Jacobs has finished his last show as lead designer for Louis Vuitton Ready to Wear with a lovely deep blue Marc Jacobs Beauty Midnight in Paris. This is due out as a limited edition shade next Fall.

marc jacobs nail

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Sep 252013
 

Dior Spring 2013 Nail composite

Although I love the convenience of a two-week UV gel cured manicure, I’ve been looking for ways to prolong nail polish wear that doesn’t involve the difficult acetone removal process that UV manicures appear to require. Toward that end, I’ve been playing with some of the “new generation” gel topcoats.  In early April 2013, I gave a preliminary report on Dior’s Gel Coat (reviewed here).

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish30

I got amazing longevity using Dior’s gel topcoat. My nails grew, protected by the tough topcoat. I got beautiful, glossy results that lasted for days longer than my usual topcoats. This gives a deep, glossy gel-like coat which dries hard but retains flexibility. In late June, I began to notice that I had used quite a bit of the Dior up, and that it was getting considerably thicker and goopier as the contents of the bottle went down.

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Around the end of June, I threw my Dior Gel Coat into a drawer and headed for Paris. While in the City of Light, I picked up Guerlain’s Le Topcoat Gel.  I found the Guerlain worked equally as well as Dior–given that the companies are owned by the same parent, they may be the same formula for all I know.  The key is, if you can’t find one, you can get the other and be assured of good results.  The benefit to the Guerlain is that it is $1 less, and has the ball bearings inside to keep the contents stirred.

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The Guerlain works beautifully, by the way. Although my bottle isn’t old yet, the hardening/goopiness doesn’t seem to be quite as bad with this one (however, I do shake those ball bearings up quite a bit).  To be honest, both of these formulas have given me unprecedented longevity for my nail polish–literally, days longer than normal and very little tipwear.  Still I would, occasionally, get chips with unusually heavy nail wear.

Gel Topcoats 15

Now for the secret sauce. Still not being satisfied with these superb results, I had heard that Revlon’s Colorstay Gel-Smooth Base Coat. The only place that I’ve found this so far is Target (accept no substitute). Using the Revlon Base Coat under my nail polish really eliminated the chipping, giving me near-perfect nails up to 3-5 days. Okay, so far so good with the Revlon Base Coat–but what about the Revlon Gel-Shine Top Coat (also pictured above)?  It is a thinner formula than Dior’s or Guerlian’s. It does does prolong my nail wear somewhat. However, the Revlon does not give me the lush gel-like glossy look of the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats. Also, the Revlon Top Coat does not give me quite the longevity and protection of the Dior/Guerlain (even when using two coats of the Revlon top coat).

Gel Topcoats 11

What of that bottle of Dior that was tossed into a drawer prior to Paris?  Regrettably, the contents became a gummy solid in the bottom of the bottle. I thought I’d try to revive it with Seche Restore– for more information about this miracle product, see Scrangie’s post here.

seche restore

I pulled out the old lab notebook like a high school science experiment.

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Sadly, the Dior was too far gone for this method to work. I basically ended up with a glacial-like substance with bits of liquid Seche Restore creating a little ice floe. My thesis proved incorrect, but that Dior was really far gone when I tried this. Perhaps I’ll try again with a bottle that has more life and get better results?

In summary, I found that using nail polish over Revlon Colorstay Gel Smooth Base Coat really adds wear time to my manicure. Then, adding either the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats gave me the closest thing to gorgeous, glossy and protected nails that I’ll obtain outside of a UV cured gel manicure. Using these products, I get 3-5 days of wear (which never happens), and a beautifully glossy, gel-like texture. For me, this wear time is highly unusual. I’ve heard of people getting longer wear but I’ve rarely gone this long. These all remove easily with a standard nail polish remover (no acetone needed). I love it. Of course, the downside is that one wants to use up the bottle that’s been opened (given my experience with the drying out of the Dior Gel). I’m concerned about storage for bottles once they’ve been opened.

Do you have any polish pointers?  Please share them… remember, sharing is caring!

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May 242013
 

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster01

Two weeks ago, I picked up Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster ($51/ 1.3 oz.) in Light, the palest color of the two available. This new product is described by the line as follows:

Guerlain’s new BB Cream is a multi-action skin perfector which offers skin protection with SPF 30, hydration and color correction while evening skin tone with a fresh, lightweight texture. The bio-fusion micro-mesh combination of linen and silk fibers creates a second-skin effect to boost the natural beauty of the skin as hyaluronic acid intensely hydrates for a younger-looking complexion. The benefits are proven with staggering results: over 97% of subjects experienced fresh and beautiful skin all day long.

This release of this product is timely for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. With a respectable SPF 30 sun protection, and all-day wear in warm weather, this could easily become a go-to summer face product.

Guerlain BB cream

The product comes packaged in a easy-to-pack plastic tube topped with a pump to keep things sanitary and leakage-proof.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster06

The pump top and cap:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster10

This comes out of the tube a bit on the thick side, with a texture similar to a traditional BB creme, and dries to a near-matte finish. This applies with a medium-to-heavy coverage if you apply this with fingers as a traditional foundation. The makeup artist who sold me the product highly recommend that I dab this on with a sponge, then buff the product into the skin with the sponge as well.  This was his polite way of telling me (I think) that the thicker texture needs delicate treatment to prevent the product from becoming mask-like.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster08

I’ve applied this several ways over the past two weeks, and realized how right he was. The product does look much better applied lightly and buffed in.  If I am too careless, the product can “sit” on the skin exposing pores for the first hour or so until it settles in and mixes with my natural oils.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster07

Because of its thicker texture, this mixes well with other products. I’ve “cut” the foundation with MAC Golden Elixir Strobe Liquid Lotion ($31) (limited edition). I absolutely loved the effect. It gave the Guerlain BB creme a bit of warmth and glow, and made the texture more foundation-like.  Because MAC’s Golden Elixir is a light fluid, you can use quite of bit of it and retain the light color of the Guerlain BB creme. Another product that could be used for the same purpose is Guerlain’s Meteorites Light Reflecting Diffusing Primer for summer ($71/limited edition). Back of the tube (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster09

Pros:

  • One of the best qualities of this product is the all-day wear.  With or without a primer, Guerlain’s BB cream does not budge. I’ve worn this on very long, warm days without any fading, shift, or disappearing acts.  Truly one of the better “long wearing” foundations.
  • The SPF 30 rating– again, I’m a big fan of sun protection where ever I can find it. I do wear a sunscreen under this foundation, still it’s nice to have a long-wearing foundation that includes it as well.
  • The finish, coverage, and look.  It’s worthy of the price tag. I like the finish better than Guerlain Lingerie de Peau liquid foundation–only the names are similar. This is a completely different formula (not even close). It does look luminous, beautiful, and polished, when buffed into the skin.
  • If you need coverage, get this foundation.  It’s got it.  I’d apply this normally, and then buff it in afterwards with a brush of sponge. If you want less coverage but still want the other features of this product, Guerlain’s BB creme does apply beautifully if dabbed on lightly and buffed.

Cons:

  • Some will find the texture a bit thick (see, the “cutting with primer” trick, above). 
  • Those looking for very light barely-there coverage should keep looking (Urban Decay’s BB Creme, for one).
  • You should buff this in, particularly if applying heavily.

Ingredients for the sunscreen properties:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster03

The rest of the ingredients (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster05

More advice:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster04

Here are comparisons of the Guerlain Lingerie BB Beauty Booster compared with a few other color tones in my stash, including the Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector in #20, Dior Diorsnow BB Creme in Shade 010, Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in BR 32, MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #118.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster11

When I swatched Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster in the second available shade (No. 3 Medium), I thought that it was not very dark–I believe it is roughly equivalent to a MAC NC30 but not much deeper. One more, same foundations:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster12

Overall, Guerlain’s BB Beauty Booster is a winner for me. I liked it far more than Dior’s standard BB Creme offerings and I find it’s a good substitute for the now-unavaible Diorsnow BB Cream. After sampling several other BB creams on this market, this Guerlain is coming out on top. This is a good, no-budge, good SPF product that looks elegant and won’t move during the hot summer months.

Available at Nordstrom, and other Guerlain counters.

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