Dec 222009
 

Illamasqua Chased ($23 at Sephora) is a lilac pink blush with an enormous pan and nuclear pigmentation.  The blush pan stretches a luxurious 2 x 2 inches across, with plenty of surface for the largest blush brushes.  The pigmentation took me by suprise–you can see in the swatch, below, marked “full intensity”  how it looks applied with a brush with densely-packed bristles.  Up until now, my most pigmented blush was Chanel Joues Contraste in Turbulent, but this award has easily been displaced by Chased.

The first time you apply Chased, you may wish to reach for your Duo Fiber (sometimes called “skunk”) brush for better control.

As you can see, Chased in nearly matte in tone.  You can see the difference in texture by comparing the swatches of Chased to the much more shimmery Chanel Joues Contraste blush in Narcisse to its right.  Of course, if you prefer you can add shimmer by layering a highlighter over Chased.

Illamasqua’s signature packaging looked at little “corner-y” at first.  However, after I purchased Chased, I found that the plastic case is well-machined and does not appear to have any potentially gouging sharpness. In fact, it seemed to fit well into my organization system and the shape makes the blush easy to locate among the others.

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Dec 212009
 

It may be difficult to imagine, during this week of snow and cloud cover, the warm spring days that lie ahead–when we’ll be wearing both bronzer and sunscreen and may want to add some glow to the face.  As always, the beauty industry runs a season ahead and I can imagine that Chanel had these days in mind when it designed the Emprient de Chanel (Chanel Imprint) Poudre Eclat Illuminating Powder (Radiant Glow Highlighting Powder) ($65).

As the name implies, the surface has an imprint of the iconic Chanel logo in gold, surrounded by a multicolored circles which are packed with shimmer.  Aside from a light surface overspray, which quickly wears away, the bulk of the product applies as a warm, peachy-gold shimmer.  Despite the name, the product does deposit some visible color to the cheek.  For all but the palest skin tones, this amount of color will not be sufficient to substitute as a blush.

There is a small brush included, about half of the size of Chanel’s typical powder brushes that come with bronzers or the like.  It is sufficient for travel, and was probably included to assist with precise placement.  You may prefer to use a larger brush, depending on the area you wish to cover.

Below, I’ve swatched this next to Chanel’s Les Tissages Lames de Chanel highlighter released for this holiday (two slightly different swatches).  Here are some differences that were apparent to me:

  • The Empriente de Chanel’s large double CC’s give the impression that the palette is primarily gold, however the background textured area is a warm golden peach with a barest hint of pink
  • The Empriente de Chanel is not as gold as Les Tissages
  • Les Tissages has more — and slightly larger– glitter bits, where the Empriente de Chanel has a multidimensional smooth sheen

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Chanel Spring 2010: Ombre D’Eau Fluid Iridescent Eyeshadow in Torrent

 Chanel  Comments Off on Chanel Spring 2010: Ombre D’Eau Fluid Iridescent Eyeshadow in Torrent
Dec 202009
 

I’ve been a fan of Chanel’s Ombre D’Eau Fluid Iridescent Eyeshadows for years, but it took me several days after purchasing my first before I really understood them.  Let me save  you some time.  Have you ever seen an actress who looks like she’s not wearing any makeup, and yet her eyelids seem to have an ephemeral glow?  That’s the effect that an Ombre D’Eau can have when applied very sheerly.  There are various luminous tones, including sandy shimmery beiges, soft orange and a multi-dimension taupe.

Torrent, Chanel’s Ombre D’Eau released for Spring 2010, is unusually pigmented compared to the others in the line (there’s a deep cranberry that is comparable).  As you can see from the swatch, it’s a remarkably deep and shimmery golden khaki green.  Hopefully my picture can capture some of its qualities.

The packaging is genius.  It’s a small vial (these pack well, but count as liquids for travel).  The cap snaps cleanly into place, and doesn’t shake loose over time.  There is a doe foot applicator inside.

  • First:  Shake the product well, because the pigment tends to settle at the bottom of the vial overnight.  There are tiny balls inside that help stir up the product.
  • Second, do one swipe of the doe foot applicator over the entire lid.  Do not use a primer first. You don’t need one, and a primer can make the application patchy.
  • Third, even out the application (if you need to) with your finger.
  • Fourth, add another layer (or more) if you want more color than the first layer gave you.

Once the product dries, you can add other eyeshadow colors –including powder eyeshadows that you already have in your stash.  I usually wear them solo.  They are sort of perfect on their own, they don’t need a lot of fussing to look glowy and amazing.

Can you tell I love this?  Click on the second picture, the swatch below to see the iridescence of this beautiful shadow.  Also, keep in mind that because of the water base, this can be very very easily sheered.

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Holiday Makeup, Part Three

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Holiday Makeup, Part Three
Dec 202009
 

This is the last of a series of posts about holiday options. December can be one of the most demanding months, and I usually have less time to get ready than I’d like.  One quick way to add some shine is to use a creme eyeshadow, such as Laura Mercier’s Metallic Creme Eye Colors ($22).   I’ve been using this product for years, and it never fails to deliver.  Dab a little on your finger, then apply on your lid.  Touch up your liner and you’re done.  If you wear these sheerly, using a “dab” motion and less product, they work well for daytime.  They last for hours and hours, and don’t overwhelm.  Their range includes neutrals and understated colors such as Mercury and Gold, below.

Washes Cremes

If you don’t want to invest in shimmery looks, mineral makeup companies are a great option.  Bare Escentuals is the most accessible, available at Sephora, QVC, department stores and through its own boutiques.

For even less, you can buy from online retailers.  Typically, they  sell small sample-sized products for less than $5. These “samples” last for 15 through 30 uses–I’ve never used one up entirely.  One outstanding choice is Fyrinnae, which delivers an incredible range of high-quality products for about $3-4 per sample.  Thankfully, their website categorizes selection by finish and by color.

Here are a few mineral eyeshadow options, including three from Bare Escentuals (Queen Tiffany, True Gold and Queen Linda) and one from another good etailer, Aromaleigh (Aurelie):

P.S.:  I’m going to pick up some of Chanel Spring 2010 today (my local counter will get everything this week, I’m told).  Hopefully, I’ll have some pictures up here later today or tomorrow of the products that are already in!

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Holiday Makeup for the Rest of Us, Part Two

 Bobbi Brown, Eyeshadow  Comments Off on Holiday Makeup for the Rest of Us, Part Two
Dec 192009
 

This is the second post in a series about holiday looks for anyone who (like me) admires the glamorous looks of Lady Gaga and others, but wishes to modulate them for her own individual lifestyle.

A new decade is about to start.  I was so heartened to see this article describing H&M’s Paris fashion show at the Grand Palais.  It looks fun. The holidays are a great time to play.

What better way to play than to go out?  An easy way to add some shimmer and shine to your look is a wash of shimmer across the lid.   Using a liquid eyeliner adds more glamour.  Add two or three coats of a high-volume mascara.

My favorite eyeshadow of this entire year is Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Eyeshadow in Pewter ($22).  This is fool proof.  It’s neither a bright silver nor a harsh gold.  Rather, it’s a soft, warm glowy color that brightens the eye area without taking over your entire face.  In other words, you can still see the person, without being struck by the eyeshadow.  I am not alone in my love for this eyeshadow;  if you aren’t convinced read this review, or this one.  The texture wonderful.   Want to wear it to the office?  Pair it with a dark suit or dress–it really works, especially if you do a light sweep with your brush.  It’s limited edition, so if you want to try this one you should move fast.  Another nice choice for the holidays is Shu Uemura’s ME Silver 950, although I find this shade less daytime-friendly because it is both brighter and a little more difficult to apply sheerly.

Just for fun, I’m including some Becca Jewel Dusts ($24), which are subtle, grown-up shimmery pigments.  The colors are less vibrant, and so more wearable, than more striking color pigments on the market. Becca’s Jewel Dusts come in small, easily storable containers with square lids that don’t work themselves loose in your makeup drawer.  Also, Becca adds a sifter top to minimize spilling.  Because these are loose powders, try wetting your brush to intensify them.  In the swatch, they’re applied dry.  Applying them with a wet brush would give a perfectly even surface.  (If you’re still intimidated, here’s a quick primer from the Makeup and Beauty Blog that describes most of what you need to know about pigment eyeshadows).

I hope that you are enjoying this holiday season!  I have one more post on this topic before we move on.  Thanks for reading!

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Dec 162009
 

Picture 7Last summer, I visited the Avenue Montaigne in Paris.  If you’ve been there, you’ll know that some of the finest designers have a boutique there such as Louis Vuitton, Paul & Joe, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana.  It is not the only boutique-lined street in Paris, but it is certainly a lovely one.  The Champs Elysees is at one end and an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower over the Seine is at the other.

Picture 5

I went into the Caron boutique, which sits on a corner across from Dior. Reader, I had done my homework. I had scoured the almost-breathless blog postings that described their incomparably fine finishing powders, glamorous sparkling evening powders, perfumes and powder puffs made of swan’s down and  satin ribbon.  I searched Make Up Alley for both fragrance and makeup.  The fact is, the brand is very difficult to find in the United States.  Given that I had never touched their product, and my French can charitably be described as “very rough,” I wanted to stumble through without too much embarrassment.

My research disclosed that everything about their products was excellent.  I immediately rejected attempting to purchase perfumes, as traveling home by plane made packing liquids challenging.  But the powders….the powders!!!! From my research, it appeared that they were made by faeries from the wing dust of angels, mixed via a stir of Tinkerbell’s wand.  I prepared my shopping list, my budget and set out to tackle the boutique.

If you get to Paris, treat yourself to a stop in the Avenue Montaigne Caron boutique.  It’s lined with very large, gilded Baccarat crystal perfume dispensers, from which one is supposed to fill the bottle of their choosing.  The amount of marble, gold and crystal inside, together with the multi-colored swan’s down puffs scattered everywhere , was as close to the inside of a jewel box as I’m ever likely to get.  Luckily, the boutique was empty except for a rather formal woman there to assist.  To my relief, she spoke English.

And here is the thing about the woman in the Caron boutique on the Avenue Montagne in Paris.   She did not want me to buy anything that I wouldn’t use properly.  She cautioned me not to use the sparkle powders during the day (“For the night only.“).  I asked whether I should get more than one color daytime powder?  No, she replied, you get one color that looks good on you.  I wondered whether I should get a swan’s down puff.  Looking at me with a squint, she asked, Didn’t I own a brush?  The loose powder can be applied with a small puff (included, made of cotton), and that I should then knock off excess off the skin with my brush.  She suggested that I buy a compact with a pressed version, but I thought it best to try the loose powder first before investing further.

I left spending about only 1/2 of my budgeted amount, with a loose powder and one refill. So, how is the powder?  It’s a really finely milled, high end powder. Converted to U.S., a loose powder runs about $60, which comes in a polished metal container with a tight-fitting lid (but not too tight-fitting) that keeps the powder very dry even on messy countertops.  There’s a plastic screw-top inside to avoid disasters.  The refill runs roughly $30.  The quality is on par with La Mer, Chanel, Laura Mercier.  I typically use it over foundation, although sometimes I use it completely alone when I’m not worried about coverage.  The powder doesn’t last any longer (or shorter) during the day than other high end brands, and it does look quite natural.  It mattes the skin down, but still leaves a barely perceptible glow that looks very polished.

I’m not 100% convinced it’s made with fairy dust.  Ultimately, and with the Caron staff’s help, I made good practical choices that I’ll use until they’re all gone.   Rather than using a puff, I’ve been applying it  with Lancome’s Mineral Powder Foundation Brush, which is well-priced and works beautifully.
Caron Powder Final copy

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Chanel Ombre Essentialle Soft Touch Eyeshadows: Gold, Bronze and Khaki

 Chanel, Eyeshadow  Comments Off on Chanel Ombre Essentialle Soft Touch Eyeshadows: Gold, Bronze and Khaki
Dec 142009
 

Here are three more Chanel Ombre Essentialle Soft Touch Eyeshadows from my collection.  All pictures are click-able if you’d like a closer view. You can see others here.

First, Gold is a warm yellow toned shimmery shade.

Gold edit

Second, the lovely shimmery Bronze.  It makes and amazing crease color, or for a soft dash of color near the lashline:

Bronze 2

Third, the amazing Khaki.  This reminds me of the very pigmented green Shu Metallic Olive or Scarab from MAC’s Thunder Eyes quad that was part of the Catherine Deneuve release. Heaven!

Khaki 2

Finally, swatches of all three together:

Khaki Gold Bronze Swatch copy

As with other Chanel single eyeshadows, these are very soft and pigmented.

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Les Tissages Lames de Chanel: Can It Make You Happy?

 Chanel, Highlighter  Comments Off on Les Tissages Lames de Chanel: Can It Make You Happy?
Dec 122009
 

Chanel Suit

I demand more from beauty products than to sit on a counter looking pretty.  I want them to actually work well. And confronted with this product, I had to ask myself–could I use it?  Could I wear it to Starbucks without looking like “The Crazy Sparkling Chanel Lady”?  In other words, could it make me happy?

I rarely go anywhere draped in pearls and shimmer.  I never play with mini-birdcages.  But I did want to use the product several times a week to make the purchase price worth it. Chanel Birdcage copy

So after purchasing Les Tissages online, I went to my local Chanel counter.  As luck would have it, a Chanel representative was visiting that day, and gave me a lot of ideas. After a demonstration, I was convinced that I could actually use the item to pan.  First, she showed me that I could use this as an eyeshadow wash for an everyday look.  It leaves a sheer gold sheen that’s really pretty.

Second, she showed me that it could be used under foundation to give a subtle dewy look.  Here are the steps:

1. Apply foundation

2. Apply Les Tissages on the upper cheek, over the brows (yes, over), on the chin and even on the bridge of the nose.  If this is too shimmery for you, apply another layer of foundation over the highlighted areas.  These areas are circled on the facechart, below.  Stand back and gasp.  Yes, that’s actually your dewy skin.

Third, it can be used as a beautiful, sheeny highlighter all by itself.  This will give you the strongest look, but can work for daytime looks.  I’ve done a swatch in the shape of an “x” below, on my arm so you can see the full color and highlight effect.

As I left, I felt that although $60 is high.  However, I will use a substantial amount of the product.  And, it is a beautiful and useable product once you know how.  I especially like the “under foundation” trick.

For comparison, I would say that this has about the same amount of shimmer (tiny tiny glimmer bits) as a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, but more overall light-reflecting sheen.  The silvery sparkle that you see on the surface does come off with the first use.  This will mean that the shimmer bits will only be obvious for the first few uses, but the sheen goes through and through.

Les Tissages with Overspray

Tissage Swatch

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Chanel Ombre Essentialle Soft Touch Single Eyeshadows: Lavande, Amethyst and Magic Night

 Eyeshadow  Comments Off on Chanel Ombre Essentialle Soft Touch Single Eyeshadows: Lavande, Amethyst and Magic Night
Dec 112009
 

This is the first of a series from Chanel Ombre Essentialle Soft Touch Single Eyeshadows.  I own quite a number of eyeshadows from this range.  Overall, I’ve found that texture of all of these is very soft.  There is a range of about three categories of textures:  matte, shimmer and duochrome.

Overall, this features two from the permanent line, Lavande (shimmer) and Amethyst (duochrome), and one limited edition shade, Magic Night (duochrome, but subtly so). Lavande is a soft lavendar, appropriate to use as a mid-tone lid shade. (All pictures are click-able for a closer view)

The second is the duochrome Amethyst, one of my favorite.  This is absolutely stunning, with a lot of dimension.

Finally, here is a limited edition Magic Night, which is a brown infused with some purple.  It looks quite brown in the pan, but you can from the swatch below there is a deep purple cast once applied.

Here’s an effort to swatch all three, so that you can see how they look applied to the skin.  I applied these a bit unevenly, so that you can see how they look sheerly applied and some areas with more dense application:

Purple Swatches copy

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