Jul 072010

Urban Decay recently began shipping the Naked Palette ($44), an amazingly soft and pigmented collection of twelve neutral colors.  Packaged with a mini-eyeshadow primer and a double-ended pencil liner, Primer Potion, this mix of two mattes and ten shimmers delivers an incredible value for the price.

These shades include:

  • Virgin:  A shimmery creamy warm white
  • Sin: A highly shimmery cream with a touch of peach
  • Naked: A matte light latte cream
  • Sidecar: A highly shimmery cream-gold, with glitter bits
  • Buck: A matte medium brown
  • Half-baked: A shimmery warm gold with a very smooth texture
  • Smog: A shimmery deep gold-brown
  • Darkhorse: A shimmery dark bronze-brown
  • Toasted: A metallic soft brown with a touch of grey and a faint hint of pink
  • Hustle: A shimmery deep brown with a faint touch of burgundy
  • Creep: An extremely pigmented shimmer black with glitter
  • Gunmetal: A metallic shimmery dark gray

Those who dislike shimmery eyeshadows should steer clear, almost all of these shades have a metallic glow. Some of these shades will deposit glitter on the lids, and yes it is noticeable as the day goes on.  Also, these shades have a more metallic shine than lines such as Guerlain, Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerwash and Chanel shimmer shadows.

However, if you don’t mind adding a splash of drama to your neutral eye repertoire, you will love this palette.  The eyeshadows are buttery soft; the pigmentation is excellent.  I cannot imagine how many combinations you could make will all of these shades.  Urban Decay knocked it out of the park with the quality of this palette.  This many high quality eyeshadows for this price makes this palette a must-have for most neutral eyeshadow lovers.

Because it includes a usable mirror, primer, liner and so much versatility, this would make a wonderful gift for someone headed off to college, or someone who wants to wear neutrals to school.

Here are the liners included: Whiskey (brown) and Zero (black):


All in a row:

One caution about Urban Decay’s Naked Palette–the packaging is cardboard covered in a velvety flocking.  This is not a travel-friendly sturdy palette (Armani has nothing to worry about here), and the velvety flocking is likely to retain powder from other makeup.  Nonetheless, if you have ever thought “I wish cosmetic companies would put more effort into the product, rather than the packaging,” your wish has been granted.  Urban Decay’s Naked palette delivers beautiful quality eyeshadows, liners, and primer for a very affordable price.

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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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Jul 052010

Chanel’s Les Contrastes collection includes Pink Explosion #64 Joues Contraste Blush ($42) (Fard a Joues Poudre Powder Blush).  I knew that I would love Pink Explosion before I ever saw it, when I called Bergdorf’s counter in New York City and they had sold out.

Let’s review here.  First, it’s Chanel.  Second, it’s called “Pink Explosion.”  Third, Bergdorf’s sold out in one week.  The evidence was piling up pretty fast.

Yes, I know that this blush is not the same as the U.S.-textured Joues Contrastes of the past.  Yes, I can see that there are tiny glitter bits in the pan.  And Chanel has released two incredible cool pinks already- Narcisse and Turbulent.  Bobbi Brown makes fabulous pinks.  And don’t get me started on Shu Uemura’s Glow-ons.  That’s tough competition.

Chanel Pink Explosion

Pink Explosion is medium deep cool pink.  Pink Explosion is between Narcisse (light, less pigmented) and Turbulent (deeper, more pigmented). And I have been hoping for a blush like Pink Explosion for a long, long time.

I happen to love cool pinks.  My skin tone is light (NC15/Cameo) and warm.  When I wear foundation, a cool pink stands out from my warmer skin tone.  It brings out the blue in my eyes.  When I wear bronzer, it gives some needed coolness to the warmth of the bronzer.  It keeps me from looking too warm.

Your coloring and preferences may vary from mine, but personally, I love Pink Explosion.  I find it gives me a very fresh, glowing look that is noticeable but not overwhelming.  I applied this with a MAC blush brush and was very pleased with the results.  I can see using this one up.

Swatch applied with a blush brush:

Heavy swatch:

If you are considering investing in Pink Explosion, you may already know that not all bloggers are in agreement about Pink Explosion.  For example, Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book, who I respect, gave Pink Explosion a less than satisfactory review.   For me, Narcisse was too light and Turbulent too pigmented (and therefore difficult to work with).  I find Pink Explosion a stunning pink that is very easy to use, looks very polished, but has a little fashionable kick that I really love.

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Jul 012010

Chanel Rose Temptation Joues Contraste blush #60 ($42) (Fard a Joues Poudre / Powder Blush) is a limited edition blush released with the Fall 2010 Les Contrastes de Chanel collection.

Unlike other pink blushes in Chanel’s Joues Contraste line, Rose Temptation is deep in tone, with a mix of rose, pink and mauve (which brings in a touch of blue).  If you are in the U.S., you will notice immediately a different texture from the other Joues Contraste blushes available in this country.  This is because Rose Temptation is formulated in the baked texture that is available through Chanel in the rest of the world.  As I explain in this post, the non-U.S. Joues Contraste blushes tend to be harder in texture, yet have a powdery fallout and touches of glitter bits.

Here is a close of the surface of Rose Temptation which shows the baked texture:

Personally, I find that the texture is finely milled and tends to require a stiffer brush.  Indeed, Chanel’s blush brushes sold overseas are quite a bit stiffer than those sold in the U.S., as if to compensate.  I have an Armani brush that works well (Armani brushes tend to be stiffer than most);  also, the brush that comes in the compact is not a bad choice either.  I have used a kabuki-type bronzer brush occasionally as well.  Another option is to use your traditional blush brush, but expect to add more layers than usual.  It has a different look than the U.S. Chanel formula;  although the difference is hard to describe, the U.S. Joues Contraste seem to have a “glow” that the non-U.S. ones do not have.

Here are heavy and light swatches of Rose Temptation (click to enlarge):

Consistent with the rest of Les Contrastes, Rose Temptation is a medium-to-deeper toned blush.  It will hold its own with a darker makeup palette, but it is not as overwhelming as Plum Attraction.  Also, Rose Temptation is easy to work with; both application and integrating the blush with other colors is easy.  Rose Temptation will carry throughout the year;  it is not a Fall/Winter only color by any means.

If you are looking for something comparable to Rose Temptation in the standard U.S. line, a good comparison is the U.S. version of Chanel’s Orchid Rose, a beautiful, slightly browner and less pink blush.  Orchid Rose looks fabulous with a surprisingly wide variety of skin tones.

Bottom line:  Rose Temptation is an easy to use, deep rose with a touch of mauve blush that works well with the rest of the collection.  I find it is very pretty, but not necessarily a must-have.  Although I do not have a duplicate in my collection, a somewhat similar blush with the standard, gorgeous U.S. texture that you should see for comparison is Orchid Rose from Chanel’s standard line.

Note: If you are interested in other Chanel Joues Contraste blushes, I have collection quite a number of them in this post.

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Jun 302010

Chanel Paradoxal Nail Color #509 ($23) (Le Vernis/ Nail Colour), released for Fall 2010, is a purple polish infused a heavy dose of gray and a slight touch of brown, shot through with shimmer.  It gives an impression of an off-grey that leans toward mauve.  It is an unusual color, I have not seen anything close to Paradoxa’s color.  The closest that I own is Essie’s Demure Vixen (swatched here by Scrangie), but Essie’s is far more pink, lighter and far less gray.

Paradoxal is best when worn opaquely, and requires two coats to get there. The brush is the typical Chanel, which I find works well (or perhaps I’m just used to it).  From a distance in normal light, it looks like a cream formula.  However, it behaves more like a jelly.  In strong light and looking closely, you can see the suspended shimmers, which gives a bit more depth to the polish than a cream formula would impart.

The shimmer in Paradoxal’s bottle implies that there is some sort of magic in the polish, just waiting to be released upon opening.  Analogies to Pandora’s box aside, I was intrigued to learn whether this mysterious swirling effect translates to the nail.

I found that the swirling effect appears in the bottle only–on the nail, the shimmer is quite evenly distributed (click the picture to see the shimmers more closely).  No swirls, as you see in the bottle. The color is striking:

I envision this polish looking lovely when wearing greys, ballet pinks, many blacks and mauve-based cooler tones in general.  This is most flattering on cooler skintones.  I’m going to put my bottle away until the weather cools, this seems to be clearly a fall-winter color.  It’s striking yet still could be worn in an chic office setting.  Like many darker-toned polishes, application should be as flawless as possible and the hands well-maintained –the color is so unusual, it does attract attention.

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