May 032010

This has to be my favorite tweet of all time.  Women’s Wear Daily is live-twittering from the Met Gala held this evening…

I mean, it seems like the polite thing to do when you’re wearing an electric dress, right?  I’m not sure there’s protocol for this…

Please follow us on....

May 022010

L’Occitane’s Peony Collection includes Etoile des Neiges (Snow Star) Peony Illuminating Face Powder ($28 for .35 oz.) and Jolie Thérèse Eyeshadow Duo ($16, called the Jolie Thérèse Peony Face Color Powder Duo for .12 oz.).  As with the Peony Lip Balm, these are packaged in sealed paper bags which ensure that the product that you receive has not been tested and tried by others and has a nice side-effect of being very gift-able.  Each is very well-priced, neither approaches the high end price point that I’m used to paying for a finely-milled quality product.  However, these press powders are placed in paper containers without mirror, brush or the sturdy, packable qualities of high end lines.   Have you ever had a liquid inexplicably explode in your suitcase?  If you ever have, you learn two things–first, you tape the lids of your liquids and sometimes even then accidents happen.  Second, don’t pack any makeup packaged in paper.

The Etoile des Neige face powder is an absolutely gorgeous product.  It is smaller in diameter than a standard MAC compact, but contains the same amount of product by weight as a MAC beauty powder.  The diameter is roughly larger than a typical MAC blush.  The L’Occitane bag includes a little cultural touch of the story behind the product (click to enlarge):

The pretty lid design, the black-brown accents all make me want to move to the French countryside even more than I usually do.  There is a satin and velour puff in the bag (hygienically sealed in plastic), which can be stored in the compact once opened.

The powder is a shimmer light veil that adds a nice subtle sheen:

The effect was too subtle to photograph in a swatch. If it helps, I found this similar to Chanel’s Poudre Douce’s in effect.  You should note that this product has a slight Peony scent, which I found pleasant but those who are scent-sensitive might not enjoy.

My expectations for the eyeshadow duo were not high.  I chose Jolie Thérèse, which is an almost-white shimmery pink and a shimmery burgundy.  Note that this is called a “facecolor powder” on the packaging, so I suppose that the larger pink area can be used as a highlighter.  It’s not practical to use the burgundy for a blush, because the pan area is so small that getting a brush in there is going to be a challenge.

Another story:

Here are some swatches (dry, no base):

Here are some swatches using the product wet:

A review of L’Occitane’s Peony Lip Balm from this collection is here.

Note:  L’Occitane’s U.S. website has free shipping for purchases over $25 through tomorrow 5/3/10.

Please follow us on....

May 022010

L’Occitane is currently selling a limited edition makeup line based on a Peony theme, which I must admit looks absolutely fresh, spring-like and a nice addition to their luxurious bath, body and home line.  Sold in their some of their U.S. boutiques and online, the products come packaged in sealed paper bags that are embossed with Peony photographs.

I like that these products arrived sealed.  As you know, L’Occitane’s boutiques are self-service, where people play all day on their shelves and in the bins.  Of course, makeup is used directly on the skin and lips.  The bags are both attractive and promise that no one has played with the product before you receive them.  One point for cleanliness, one point for pretty.  Hint, hint–these arrive just in time for Mother’s Day (at least in the U.S.) and the bags look like a cute “little something” that you can bring to brunch or add to a gift basket.  The Peony line is not expensive–certainly less than most department store lines.

When the Peony Lip Balm ($12 for .5 oz.) arrived, I could barely wait to photograph it before I put it on.  Because L’Occitane’s moisturizers and other skin care products are so well-loved, I had high hopes for the lip-pampering quality that the line could bring to lip products.  The balm is in a soft-plastic tube with a slant-tip applicator and plastic cap.  It had a surprisingly strong peony scent, which faded within about thirty minutes (although the balm kept going longer), which leaves an impression that it has a very faint flower-perfume taste.  It doesn’t bother me, but if you are scent-sensitive you may wish to try this in person before committing.

Typical of L’Occitane which attempts to merge products and culture, the bags come with background story about the product:

Charming, right?

Now, on to the product review.  The Peony Lip Balm is a nearly-sheer, highly moisturizing product.  There is a light pink tone (barely visible) and soft micro-shimmers for appearance.  This has virtually no opacity–in fact, because it is so moisturizing, it actually left my lips looking darker because of the emollience.  It leaves a nice sheen and lasts well for a balm.  It feels heavier and more moisturizing that a typical gloss.

Overall, the product performed as one might expect from L’Occitane–heavy on the lovely moisturizing feel, barely pigmented and a nice natural scent.  I recommend this as a prettier alternative to Aquaphor.

Reviews of the L’Occitane Etoiles des Neiges face powder and the Jolie Therese eyeshadow duo are here.

Note:  L’Occitane’s U.S. website has free shipping for purchases over $25 through tomorrow 5/3/10.

Please follow us on....

May 022010

I try to wash my brushes every Sunday to keep them ready to use when the week begins.  Emphasis on “try”–some I do more frequently, especially if I have used the brush with a dark shadow or pigmented blush.  For some reason, I need to wash my foundation brush almost every time I use it.  Others go for weeks without attention.  And, let’s face it, sometimes the weekends can be too busy to think and sometimes I fall behind.

Bobbi Brown recommends letting brushes air dry hanging off the side of the counter to avoid contamination.  Not a bad idea-I usually place mine on a hand towel.  I’m giving Bobbi’s trick a try this week.

Please follow us on....