Aug 022015
 

Paris beauty crawl 2

My prior Beauty Crawl, which is modeled after a pub crawl, focused on the areas surrounding the two major department stores near L’Opera Garnier and down toward Le Louvre. Today, I’ll discuss another option that centers on Le Bon Marche located in Paris’ 7th Androssiment. I did an earlier version of this walk a few years ago. This is an update with many more photographs.

les deux magotsYou’ll notice that my map starts with two cafes in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area. Both are lovely and offer a wonderful start to your shopping day. Les Deux Magots was once a rendezvous points for writers and artists, including Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, and James Joyce.

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Mar 152011
 

Since I began using Le Metier de Beaute’s Peau Vierge foundation last fall (reviewed here), I became interested in the other Peau Vierge series of products, including the Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer ($95).  Here’s the pitch, according to Le Metier de Beaute (from Neiman Marcus’ website):

–Retinol is delivered through a patented and proprietary delivery technology called Syntoc Actif which encapsulates the Retinol and allows it to safely and effectively penetrate the skin.

—Traditional over-the-counter products have very poor penetration—less than 2% of active ingredients are actually absorbed. In comparison, with Syntoc Actif, 20 times more Retinoic Acid is absorbed into the deeper skin layers, making it the most effective cosmetic Retinoid treatment on the market.

— Paraben, Talc, Fragrance, and Dye-Free.

First up, let me get a few of my thoughts out there:

  • At $95, this is one of the most expensive concealers on the market.  Yes, I know, it’s because it is infused with active skin care ingredients and the performance is superior.  Still, get it during a Bergdorf or Neiman beauty card event if you can, it can knock almost $25 off the original price.
  • This can be used to cover either the under-eye area or spots.  After all, both benefit from Retinol so it makes perfect sense.
  • The tube is small — I believe that there is roughly half the amount of product as the Cle de Peau concealer (which sells for $70 but does not promise skin care improvement).
  • Le Metier de Beaute’s Correcteur Concealer has superior pigmentation to any concealer that I have ever tried.  You do not need much.  A very thin layer does the work.
  • I apply this on my finger first to warm the product, then apply onto the eye.  This seems to spread the product to look quite natural.
  • The cream is very finely milled–it looks like skin, not like concealer.
  • Color choices are limited to two, I use Fraise.
  • There is a slight moisturizing property to it that keeps it from creasing easily.  It includes skin care ingredients that promises to improve your undereye texture in five days.  In my experience, it works.  My undereye area does look better in five days–fine lines are softer, the area seems more moisturized.  You get what you pay for.
  • This raises the question–should you still use your traditional under eye moisturizer?  My quick answer is yes, if you need more moisture then use it under Le Metier’s concealer.   I’ve confirmed with Dustin Lujan/ Le Metier genius, that this is appropriate.

Overall, I’ll re-buy Le Metier’s Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer when it runs out (during a gift card event if at all possible).  If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ll spare no expense to get high quality products that deliver.  Looks, it’s my eyes. There are few areas of your body that are more examined, assessed and (hopefully) admired.  I’ll put down serious coin to preserve them as long as possible.

Speaking of concealers with benefits, I picked up a few samples of a new concealer/corrector from Lancome at a local Paris counter recently.  Unlike Le Metier’s Le Peau Vierge which uses a single tube for delivery of both concealer and skin care ingredients, Lancome’s Regengie Yeux (Mulitple Lift) is a two-part product.  One is the eye cream that is applied first.  The other is a very creamy, concentrated concealer for the undereye area.  Unlike Le Metier, I suspect based on the name and packaging that Lancome’s will not work well on spots–the use is really intended for under-eye only.

Peeled back, you can see the skin care moisturizer (bottom) and concealer (top) combination:

The back of the sample card:

I used Lancome’s for three days and enjoyed it.  In passing, I wondered whether there was a significant difference between buying two products–concealer and eye cream–rather than this two-part product.  Still, I found the combination looked very natural on my skin and had good coverage.  Between Le Metier Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer and Lancome’s Renergie Yeux, well of course I prefered Le Metier’s (except for the price, as I suspect Lancome’s will be lower).  I found the coverage of Let Metier’s superior, and I’ll take a product with retinol over one without any day of the week.

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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.

Swatches….

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Dec 042010
 

I’m always on a quest for the latest and greatest, and have been noticing a recent surge in new foundations.  I’m hoping that this means that we are moving forward into a new era of product formulations.  At any rate, I thought it might be useful/fun to collect some of my research here.  Do you know of any new foundations about to be released?  Have you tried anything new that you’d recommend/or not?

I don’t own any of these yet (except for Le Metier de Beaute’s), so please consider this post is a scrapbook of new foundation ideas and not recommendations because I’ve never tried most of these or compared them (although several look intriguing).

All pictures are clickable:

1.  Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua ($45)

 

A “new generation” texture from Chanel.  I cannot wait to try this one, which is rumored to be a replacement for Chanel’s current Tient Innocence Fluide.  Vitalumiere Aqua is said to be water based, although based on my reading so far the texture is creamy but applies very lightly and sheerly.  There are three tones:

  • Beige which is normal to warm
  • Rose Beige which is rose-based
  • Beige Ochre which is natural (and not released in the U.S.)

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua comes in a very limited color range, has SFP 15 and a “crystalline fragrance.”

2.    Guerlain Lingerie de Peau ($56)

 

Liz and I had the chance to try this out during our Guerlain makeover in San Francisco, discussed here.  Lingerie de Peau is a light-to-medium coverage foundation that looks remarkably like natural skin.  The technology relies on a series of silk-like fibers to fuse to the skin while creating a re-texturized surface.  It looks very soft and pretty, the effect is very natural.  It was extremely pleasant to use, and if you have very pale complexion the range goes up to quite a pale shade (I’m very pale–Chanel Cameo / MAC NC15 and I was matched to Lingerie de Peau 30).  A definite contender.

Lingerie de Peau has an SPF 20 and a scent which fades on application.

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Jun 162010
 
Lancome Euro Eyeshadows 1

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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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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Apr 152010
 

Lancome’s Summer 2010 Bronze Riviera Collection includes the incredible Tropiques Minerale Bamboo Bronzer ($45).  Some makeup products are so beautiful that I’m quite impressed just by opening the compact.

Tropiques Minerale was one of those products.

How beautifully done is this?  It has that golden shimmery goodness.   This is so gorgeously implemented that I’m going to happy to open this on summer mornings to come.

Unfortunately, I’m completely overwhelmed with non-blogging obligations until Monday, so I won’t be able to swatch this until next week.  First, this bronzer is quite large–a good 5″ or so across the pan–so that it can easily be used as a body bronzer.  Second, although I’m quite sure that the top is just an over-spray, the shimmer is done beautifully.  I’m not usually drawn to bamboo patterns, but this one is pretty enough to get me excited to try this–I’ve heard wonderful things about Lancome’s summer bronzers.

Compare the size of the Lancome to a MAC Mineralized Skinfinish, below:

Have a wonderful weekend, beauties!  Okay, just one more…can’t resist!

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Mar 262010
 
Picture 3

Here are some upcoming collections which caught my eye:

Estee Lauder “Blue Dahlia” from this source.  The palette of black, brown and deep blues looks both interesting and wearable–a little edgy for Estee Lauder which is nice to see.

These items from the otherwise enormous Lancome Summer 2010 Collection from Chic Profile.  I hope that bronzer tone in Temptingly Bronze is more than overspray:

These dual-ended eye pencils look really nice (Sassy in Sunrise and Sultry in Sunset):A few of the Yves Saint Laurent eye singles featured here, currently up for sale on Nordstrom’s online site (click to enlarge and read color names):

A newly reformulated Chanel Vitalumiere foundation:

A Guerlain tinted moisturizer which appears to add a bronzy glow, which I’m curious about but not entirely sure will work for me:

So, what do we think?  Also, is there something I’m missing–what do you think is going to be promising?

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Feb 062010
 

As a follow-through on my earlier post regarding Lancome’s Chris & Tell, here is a swatch comparison with Chanel’s Rouge Allure in Libertine ($30):

As you can see, Libertine is more shimmery; Chris & Tell is more creamy with more pink.  Nonetheless, if you are unable to locate Chris & Tell, Libertine is a nice option.

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