Jun 122015
 

scarab6 as Smart Object-1

Between a traditional adobe house in Luxor and his dahabieh (a classical Egyptian sailboat) on the Nile, Christian Louboutin has crystallized his love of Egypt, a country he has cherished and claimed as a second home. The mythology and culture of Ancient Egypt have influenced both the designer’s life and his work in many ways. These are currently available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman.  I expect stock on these to be limited.

Scarabee 2

Most recently, he found his muse in a key piece of Egyptian iconography, the scarab beetle. This creature, sacred to the Pharaohs, led him to create his lat est contribution to the world of beauty: the Scarabée Limited Edition Collection. Christian Louboutin had already invoked the scarab by way of a precious clasp on his Khepira bag collection for Spring 2014, but this time rather than the shape, it was the iridescence and wonder of the beetles that inspired three new shades of nail colour . “They can look beautiful and reflective under the bright sun but also look like a precious jewel by night,” says the designer.

Scarabee 1 Continue reading »

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Oct 062014
 

NARS Nail Polish Toree Elbrus Paros Blow UP
NARS reformulated nail polish includes three edgy shades:  Torre del Oro, Elbrus, Paros and Blow-Up ($20 each). As with the other polishes released since Summer 2014, these have the wider, easy to use brush and longer lasting formula. These colors are available at Nars online, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Sephora.

Nars terra del orro swatch1Torre del Oro (above) is a searing warm red.

Nars Elybrus swatch1Elbrus is a deep purple, here worn with a topcoat. Below is Elbrus in shaded, natural light (with topcoat):

Nars Elumbrus no flash3

 

I found myself wearing the rich, deep Paros more times than I could count. I love these classic reds:Nars Parosa2Below is a rich orange Blow-Up (worn with a topcoat). Gorgeous!

Nars Blow Up swatch1Of all of NAR’s recent nail polish reformulations, I love this set the best. The rich color, easy application, and vibrant colors add something to the neutrals that I typically wear. Love. (All shades applied in two coats, which gave me completely opaque cream coverage).

These colors are available at Nars online, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Sephora.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Oct 052014
 

Nars Shameless Red Obscura Zakynthos1
NARS reformulated nail polish includes three edgy shades:  Shameless Red, Zakynthos, and Obscura ($20). As with the other polishes released since Summer 2014, these have the wider, easy to use brush and longer lasting formula. These colors are available at Nars online, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Sephora.

Nars Shamelessred swatch3Shameless Red has a strong coral tone. Like the other colors in this range, the color is easily opaque in two coats. Above, I’ve used a topcoat to add some shine.

Nars nude nail polishThe cool nude Zakynthos is opaque in two coats, but a little safer with three. It’s a pretty near-nude that has enough blush to differentiate from my skin color. I love this shade.

Nars Obscura Swatch2Obscura is a pretty grey mauve cream. It’s a beautiful late summer through winter shade. Here, I’m wearing it with a top coat. This has a lovely liquid texture, and is fully opaque in two coats.

All colors have a formula is smooth, easily to apply, and highly controllable with the wide, flat brush that is included. The colors are complex, edgy and gorgeous. A well-done group of consistent, well-formulated metallics.

These colors are available at Nars online, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Sephora.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Sep 092014
 

NARS New Nail Colors14

NARS has released a series of reformulated polishes with higher shine, more flexibility, and a longer-lasting formula. There are 43 shades in all, and I have fourteen for a quick preview ($20 each). As with the NARS 3.1 Philip Lim collection (previewed here) (available on Nars.com and Sephora), the new permanent polish range has a wide, flat brush for easy application. These are available at Nordstrom, SephoraNars online, BarneysSaks Fifth AvenueNeiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales,

NARS New Nail Colors30I love the new brush-the shorter bristles and shape allow for quick, foolproof application.

Nars Nail Polish brush2Here’s the brush with dipped in Nars Blow-Up, a bright orange. Some of my favorite shades are these vibrant colors–Paros (red brown), Elbrus (plum), Torre del Oro (cherry red), and Blow-Up (Mandarin orange):

NARS New Nail Colors04Some quick swatches:

New Nars nail polish308Here are the three metallic shades– Pastorale (rose gold), Milos (rich gold), and Amarapura (silver chrome):

New Nars nail polish301Quick swatches:

New Nars nail polish314Here are three dusty, off-neutral shades– Shameless Red (pink flamingo), Zakynthos (beige), and Obscura (lavender charcoal):

NARS New Nail Colors35Quick swatches:

New Nars nail polish310Finally, here are four pastel shades– Ikiru (light blue), Ithaque (sheer, light pink), Thasos (mint green), and Kalymnos (lilac).

NARS New Nail Colors47Swatches:

New Nars nail polish313I”m working on editing some on-the-nail swatches for a more in-depth review. In the meantime, enjoy these lovely colors. These are available at Nordstrom, SephoraNars online, BarneysSaks Fifth AvenueNeiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales,

NARS New Nail Colors03

Nars Cosmetics sent these polishes to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Aug 022014
 

Rouge Louboutin05

Yesterday I received the most extraordinary Rouge Louboutin ($50), the flagship product from the newly launched Christian Louboutin Beauté.  Please note: I received mine from Loubtoutin’s press office, and so I am not sure if the retail version is packaged in the same way (I have one on the way from Saks.com, so I will post an update to let you know). This is available from Saks Fifth Avenue, SephoraNeiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

Rouge Louboutin01

When creative genius Christian Louboutin stated that he wished to make this bottle and objet d’art, I believe that he succeeded. The reference to his brilliant red-soled shoe line is manifest.

louboutin polish

I love this video (directed by the acclaimed and visionary director David Lynch) about the polish:


My version came in a slide-out box with a mirrored backing, featuring this breathtaking sculpture. The grey color of the surround is mostly reflecting the cloudy sky above.

Rouge Louboutin02

The bottle is a heavy glass, the spike top feels more of composite (it isn’t glass, which I suppose might be too heavy for practical use). In all the bottle is about eight inches high:

Christian Louboutin Beaute

Comparison with a Chanel nail polish bottle for scale:

Rouge Louboutin14

The glass sculpture Rouge Louboutin is quite substantial, compared to the more typical style of the Chanel bottle:

Rouge Louboutin16The nail polish bottle was important to Louboutin’s intent in designing a beautiful container for the polish. As he states, “The ultimate goal of the nail color was to evoke a shiny lacquer imprisoned in a piece of faceted crystal.” The glass is inspired by architecture, namely “classical balustrades found in European buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.”

louboutin bottles

I must say the bottle achieves an impressive presence. It really does draw the eye on my makeup table. The Rouge Louboutin bottle in particular, with its ombre effect, is extraordinary.

bottle

The ombre makes the red appear to be floating about the surface:

Rouge Louboutin20Another to show the facets:
Rouge Louboutin25aOne more:

Rouge Louboutin15a

Inside:

Rouge Louboutin18And a close up of the brush, which is very soft compared to some other lines:

Rouge Louboutin17I’m hoping to post some swatches tomorrow.  Please stay tuned!

Rouge Louboutin is available from Saks.com, Nordstrom.com, Sephora, and Neiman Marcus.

louboutin nail polish

Rouge Louboutin was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jul 252014
 

loubiville beauty From July 23 – August 18 Christian Louboutin Beauté and Saks Fifth Avenue are pleased to announce the launch of Rouge Louboutin ($50), a nail colour that takes beauty to new heights. Featuring the signature red of Louboutin’s trademarked soles, encapsulated in a prismatic crystal bottle with a pointed cap that evokes the designer’s iconic 8-inch heel, the Ballerina Ultima. This is for sale on Nordstrom, Saks, Sephora and Neiman Marcus.

Rouge Louboutin11

 

“I wanted to create a link between my shoes and my next adventure. The red sole is the DNA of my brand, if you extract the essence from it, you end up with the colour red.” Christian Louboutin This story is conceptualized in a fantastical vision that comes to life in Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows. There, customers discover Loubiville, an enchanting city of swirling streetscapes and soaring towers that transcend time and space. This fantasy metropolis, the fruit of Christian Louboutin’s fertile mind, has been brought to life by architect Tarek Shamma. “I had the vision of a city where all the silhouettes were integrated with the shapes of beauty objects.” Christian Louboutin Upon closer examination, Loubiville reveals its intricate white structures to be composed of various iterations of the Rouge Louboutin bottle itself. As dreamed by Louboutin, Loubiville will slowly transition from an all-white landscape into colour over time, as new beauty lines are revealed. saks louboutin   Hidden within its balustrades, arches and passageways are subtle hints of upcoming launches. Christian Louboutin’s creative journey from shoes to cosmetics is further illustrated by a whimsical display of white So Kate stiletto pumps on a spinning wheel with another pair of So Kate dancing atop a pyramid. However, the pièce de résistance of these extraordinary windows comes to life through analog design and digital effects, completing the Rouge Louboutin story: the animation of a surrealist machine, a multi-dimensional structure funneling the essence of the Ballerina Ultima shoe, giving birth to Louboutin’s Rouge colour through smoke, conveyor belts, and cogwheels. saks loubiville   Inside the store, customers will be able to step into a real-world adaption of Loubiville—not on the beauty floor, but on the shoe floor: the exclusive Beauty Corner, an 8×13 square foot extension of the Christian Louboutin Boutique. “It’s a small element of the city that has the feeling of a district in Loubiville.” Christian Louboutin The shop will feature tiered displays where the Rouge Louboutin bottles will cascade down the steps of the towers in a celebration of architecture, design, art and beauty. louboutin nail color Christian Louboutin’s first beauty product launch is a line of nail polish, which is appropriate as the product served as the initial inspiration for his trademark, beautiful  red soles.  The bottles are object d’art, The ombré effect on the color ‘Rouge Louboutin’ starts with intense black and graduates to the iconic red. The two flashes of colour instantly recall the image of the classic Louboutin high heeled shoe. This is the line’s signature red, a classic that looks beautiful on all skin tones. Rouge_FrontThe bottles for all colors are a beautiful faceted crystal, which holds the highly pigmented glossy lacquer within. bottle louboutin bottles Beauty will function through osmosis with the seasonal fashion collections. For a bright red summer sandal, Christian may recommend a nude nail and for a nude shoe, he may recommend an extreme pop colour in contrast. rouge louboutin + Ballerina Ultima HiRes   He believes in whimsical marriages between colours rather than literal coordination. Christian and his team worked with leather and fabric samples unique to the brand in search of the colour palette. Once selected, they were re-worked to complement different skin tones. His vision was to create a wide range of shades that partner with the colours of the shoe collection, so there will be endless colour combinations. Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 3.46.21 PM   Each colour was named after an iconic shoe or bag with some corresponding to their namesake’s colour, like Batignolles and Very Privé, which are both strong reds, or Lady Page, a darker plum shade. Other names came from associations that Christian imagined. The Pluminette, for example, is like a Bird of Paradise so the colour draws from this to become a playful and vibrant pink. During the design process, Christian has always chosen to draw freely, without thinking of technical constraints in order to keep true to his creative vision. louboutin polish When a drawing is finished, he works to adapt the shoe, spending time to design the lasts, heels, the fabrics and leathers. He follows or bends technical constraints in order to reach the final design. When approaching the nail colour bottle he applied similar design principles, thinking only of the proportions and the objects he wanted to create. Beauty parallels Christian’s work in shoes, in that there is always a balance between the artistic and technical sides to attain the look, the colours and the experience. In addition to Rouge Louboutin, there will be thirty colors to the line organized in three themes: The Pops, The Noirs and The Nudes.  These should become available on August 31st. The Pops are bright colors highlighted with a silver cap: Pop Group   The Noirs are made up of blacks, intense blues, dark browns and greens, Christian chose a gunmetal cap to best showcase these deep tones. Noir Group Named after a recent capsule collection of the same name, the rose gold cap emphasises the varying nude tones of the Nudes collection.From vanillas to chocolates to soft pinks and khakis Nude Group   Rouge Louboutin is currently up for sale on Saks.com, Nordstrom.com, Sephora, and Neiman Marcus. louboutin nail polish

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Jul 162014
 

Nars Philip Lim05The 3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS collection ($20 each/ nine colors) has just released, a series of nine modern shades with a lovely formula and inspired by colors that “exist in the shadows.” These are currently up for sale on NARS online, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. Indeed, although all of these colors are diverse, there is an undertone that runs through them all that makes them coordinate well together. Those into nail art take note—it will be easy to make stunning variations with these colors.

Nars Phillip Lim 41There seems to be something a little different with this series of NARS polishes–the brushes are wider, the formula more chip-resistant and easier to use. These are all changes for the better. The square bottles have lift-off square tops, revealing easy-to-hold knurled tops.

Nars Phillip Lim 43

Celebrating the longstanding collaboration between NARS and 3.1 Phillip Lim for runway events dating back to Fall 2007, this collection also includes a canvas Pochette ($80), which is perfectly sized to carry this well-edited collection. My Pochette came with this lovely slipcover:

Nars Philip Lim01Inside, the Pochette carries all nine colors plus leaves a little space for a top coat to come along for the ride.  The Pochette is a tough canvas with a zipper that means business, but is gentle to your nails. The Pochette is in stock at Nars and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Nars Philip Lim03

The bottles are protected by an insert which keeps them from clanking together. I can personally attest that mine made it through checked baggage in a cross-country flight and a six-hour road trip in my suitcase (and back again). Genius!  Certainly, the Pochette can be used for other brands of polish as well. In the past, I’ve never had a satisfactory way to travel with any amount of my beloved nail polish. So I love this bag beyond reason:

Nars Philip Lim04

 

Here are the shades in the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Nars Collection. I must apologize for the condition of my nails, given my cross-country move and travel these have seen better days. However, I am not going to wait for repair before showing you these lovelies. All of these are with a topcoat, except for the nail wheel at the bottom of the page which are color-only. First up,  NARS Shutter is a black sea green that looks deeper and more neutral/ gray than the lush grassy Zulu:

Nars Philip Lim08

On nails:

nars shutter1

NARS Gold Viper is a metallic gold that applies beautifully:

Nars Philip Lim16

Gold Viper on nails: Nars Gold Viper2Here is NARS Anarchy, a soft cool shell that NARS calls “angora.”

Nars Philip Lim11I love that Anarchy is not a flat white, rather this cream tone does seem to have a hint of grey that looks shadow-like. Colors this light are sometimes problematic in my nail polish experience. I found that by using care and light layering, NARS Anarchy applied very well. This is two coats without a base:

NARS Anarchy two1Nars Other Side is from the deep vamp family that I find irresistible. The line describes this shade as “bitter chocolate”–I call it yummy.

nars other side1 bottleI love Other Side on nails, it has a deeper/browner tone than many others in this category.

nars other side1

NARS Hell-Bent is a rich, aggressive warm red.

Nars Philip Lim14On nails:

NARS Philip Lim Red1

Nars Wrong Turn is a metallic with multicolored micro glitter that shows dramatically in sun:

Nars Philip Lim09Here is NARS Wrong Turn on nails, which applies to cover nails in a single coat (but I prefer two for a more rich look):

nars wrong turn1Here is NARS Dark Room, described as a blue denim (I’d prefer to think of this as a darker denim because the color is quite deep):

Nars Philip Lim06On nails, NARS Dark Room covers beautifully in two coats.  However, I needed two passes with a remover to get this vibrant color off:

nars dark room three1NARS Crossroads is a dusty purple:

nars crossroads

On nails;

Nars crossroads1

 

NARS Insidious is a rich gold-green, shot through with beautiful micro glitter.

Nars Philip Lim18This one applies like a dream, really it’s irresistable.

nars insiduous1Here is the nail wheel with all shades:

NARS Phillip Lim swatches1

In my view, this is a highly successful designer/beauty collaboration. These colors are gorgeous, the formula is better than ever, I love the new brush, and the Pochette is both extremely useful and well made. As ever with these types of collaborations, these are limited edition items that are up on Nordstrom, NARS online site, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue (which also has the Pochette), and Neiman Marcus.

These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jul 092014
 

Note: Shop the NORDSTROM Anniversary Sale for Beauty Exclusives. Plus, get free shipping & returns on every order. To see them prior to July 18th, you might sign into your account linked to a Nordstrom charge card.

Nars Nordstrom Anniversay 2014NARS is offering three Summer Gifting sets as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Event. If you are a Nordstrom cardholder, you’ll get access to these items (and the rest of Nordstrom’s Anniversary Event items) on July 10th. For everyone else, the event begins the following week.

summer2014_narsgifting004

NARS Uninhibited Set: $52: A trio of intrigue and seduction – Dolce Vita Lipstick, Lip Gloss and limited edition Nail Polish presented in a sleek black lacquered box. I must admit, Dolce Vita is a perfect color for so many people. This would make an excellent gift, because these shades are so universal.

summer2014_narsgifting003

NARS Climax Set, $52: A fantasy of shocking pink in the legendary Schiap – featuring a Lipstick, limited edition Lip Gloss and Nail Polish housed in a matching pink, lacquered box. Is there a woman who doesn’t need Schiap? This entire set looks so confident, summer-ready, and beautiful.

Nars Domination Palette

NARS Domination blush palette, $49 A rush of blush – delivering insatiable glamour for cheeks, this exclusive palette features three signature Blush shades (Orgasm, Laguna and Mistinguette) and Devotee Highlighting Blush. I was fortunate enough to receive this item from NARS for review, and as usual the quality is absolutely stellar. This is a perfect palette for a sculpted cheek, with a touch of bronze, highlighter, and two beautiful blush shades. In sun:

Nars Domination palette 2

In shade:

Nars Domination Palette 3Here are swatches of the beautifully formulated palette:

Nars Domination Palette 4I think if I had to choose, I’d give the Dolce Vita set to my good friend (who is a bit conservative), Domination as a gift for my niece, and keep the Schiap for myself. What would you do?

Shop the NORDSTROM Anniversary Sale for Beauty Exclusives. Plus, get free shipping & returns on every order. To see them prior to July 18th, you might sign into your account linked to a Nordstrom charge card.

This post contains a product sent by Nars for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

 

 

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Jan 062014
 


Spring 2014 is quickly approaching. One collection on my radar is NARS because (have you heard?) there’s a new multiple launching. The eyeshadows look fabulous as well. The details of the collection are as follows:

Rich, aquatic and anchored in glamour. The NARS Spring 2014 Collection kicks off the season with provocative appeal leaving winter in the wake. Eyes sizzle in gold lamé and iridescent smoky orchid, while cheeks glisten with a splash of shimmering rose peach. Gleaming cantaloupe for nails and a refreshingly glossy pout in guava and violet evoke a cool burning attitude with this fashion forward collection.

The items are listed with their images below.

China Seas Duo Eyeshadow ($34):  Iridescent turquoise with gold infusion and iridescent plum

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection China Seas Duo Eyeshadow - jpeg

Kauai Duo Eyeshadow ($34): Gold lamé and iridescent smokey orchid

NARS Spring 2014 Kauai Duo Eyeshadow - jpeg

Annees Folles Larger than Life Lip Gloss ($26): Sheer violet

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Annees Follies LTL Lip Gloss - JPEG

Bimini Larger than Life Lip Gloss ($26):  Sheer pink guava

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Bimini LTL Lip Gloss - JPEG

Timanfaya Satin Lip Pencil ($25):  Mandarin Red

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Timanfaya Satin Lip Pencil - jpeg

Khao Road Larger than Life Long Wear Eyeliner ($24):  Metallic aquamarine

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Khao San Road LTL LW Eyeliner - jpeg

Puerta Del Sol Larger than Life Long Wear Eyeliner ($24):  Parrot green with shimmer

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Puerta Del Sol LTL LW Eyeliner - jpeg

Wind Dancer Nail Polish ($19):  Cantaloupe

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Wind Dancer Nail Polish - jpeg

Na Pali Coast Multiple ($39):  Shimmering rose peach

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Na Pali Coast Multiple - jpeg

This is slated to release on Narscosmetics.com and NARS boutiques on January 15, 2014.

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Dec 042013
 

burberry nailBurberry Nail Polish ($21) is currently being rolled out as a new product category for the line. I’ve been impressed with many of Burberry’s formulas, and so I couldn’t wait to try it. Although some of my choices are still on backorder, I wanted to give you a few thoughts on some colors that have arrived– Nude Beige and Oxblood. Both are classic “Burberry” colors, and reminded me of the iconic plaid color that evokes the brand’s neutral aesthetic.

Burberrry nail01

At $21, the price is friendly and the commitment is low. The bottles hold roughly 0.27 fluid ounces of product, which is on the smaller end for a premium polish (Chanel are typically marked at 0.4 oz., and Dior and Guerlain at .33 ozs.). Honestly, I rarely evaluate products on their volume. As the Chanel, Dior and Guerlain come in at a higher price point than Burberry, I suppose that overall the price point seems all in line (as high end beauty goes). Purchasing from outside the U.S., Color Me Loud has more colors in the Burberry line as well as some comparisons.

Burberrry nail02

The bottles use a rich glass etched with the line’s logo, and the iconic plaid on the cap is etched in (just as it is with Burberry’s other fluid products).

Burberrry nail03

When the caps are removed, you can see that the bottle extends upward:

Burberrry nail07

The brushes are slightly wider than normal, which eases application (although not as wide as Guerlain’s or Dior’s). I found the Burberry brush highly workable and the formula was quite easy to apply.

Burberrry nail08

Burberry Nude Beige is a neutral beige with high opacity and high shine (without a topcoat).

Burberrry nail06

I approached this color with some trepidation–indeed, I ordered this color to see how Burberry could handle something so pale. In other brands, lighter whites, pastels, and beiges can go streaky or require numerous coats, which causes them to look too thick once applied. However, Burberry appears to have mastered the challenge quite successfully–this is opaque in two to three coats (depending on how heavily you apply this with the brush). It didn’t streak up or look goopy or thick. Pretty amazing. Burberry Nude Beige on my nails:

Burberrry nail17

Here are some comparisons with some other light neutrals, including Orly Country Club Khaki (a taupe), Rescue Beauty Lounge Plie (a light pink), Chanel Beige (which runs sheer), and Burberry Nude Beige (which is opaque):

Burberrry nails08

Burberry Oxblood is a beautiful rich cool red. I adore this color beyond all reason.

Burberrry nail05

Burberry Oxblood is shiny and opaque in two coats. It is gloriously pigmented. Yes, you need it.

Burberrry nail12

Burberry Oxblood is lighter and more red, compared to some other vampy darks in my collection. Here are comparisons with the very dark Guerlain Vega, the shimmery Chanel Malice, and the dark red/black Chanel Madness, Accessoire, and Rouge Noir.

Burberrry nails09

Overall, Burberry’s nail colors are impressive. The formula so far is excellent, the application is easy, and the overall look is gorgeous. These will fit well within the aesthetic of the rest of the line–excellence in formula, classic colors, and highly wearable and beautiful colors.

Available at Nordstrom, and other Burberry sources.

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