May 042014
 

Dior Pandore Addict Stick1 Dior’s Addict Fluid Stick ($35) is a new range of liquid lipstick that, at first, I tried very hard to ignore. I was under a mis-impression that the formula was nice but I was unsure whether any of the colors would work. I was so, so wrong. After an hour at a local counter, I think the only problem with this range is that nearly all of the colors work on a wide variety of skin tones. Who can get just one? Dior Pandore Addict Stick2 I’m starting my collection with Dior Fluid Stick in Pandore, a lovely pink-red. Although I know that I’ll be branching out very soon to get several more. Dior Pandore Addict Stick3 Pandore is a rich, bright, gorgeous red that can be worked into any season. Anyone that loves neutral makeup as much as I do will find that Pandore offers a perfect touch of brightening color that is always appropriate. Here is the doe foot applicator, which is quite easy to use: Dior Pandore Addict Stick4I’ll give the bottom line early (spoiler alert!)–Dior Addict Fluid Sticks are a gorgeous, gorgeous formula. I need at least two more–a pink and a nude. Maybe a deep color as well.  The quality is beautiful, and these look amazing on. Liz prefers to wear this more sheerly, and I prefer to load up the doe-foot for  a full force red. Here’s Liz’s lighter touch with Dior Pandore: Dior Pandore Addict Stick5 And a quick, rich swatch…. Dior Pandore Addict Stick6 Overall, we’re loving Dior Pandore. And I’m loving this new formula. Below, Liz is wearing Dior Fluid Stick in Pandore, Nars Lost Coast eyeshadow duo, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation in #20, and Nars Olympia Contour Blush.

Liz Nars Contour Powders1a


Dior Addict Fluid Sticks are available at Nordstrom.com, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Macy’s.

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Sep 252013
 

Dior Spring 2013 Nail composite

Although I love the convenience of a two-week UV gel cured manicure, I’ve been looking for ways to prolong nail polish wear that doesn’t involve the difficult acetone removal process that UV manicures appear to require. Toward that end, I’ve been playing with some of the “new generation” gel topcoats.  In early April 2013, I gave a preliminary report on Dior’s Gel Coat (reviewed here).

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish30

I got amazing longevity using Dior’s gel topcoat. My nails grew, protected by the tough topcoat. I got beautiful, glossy results that lasted for days longer than my usual topcoats. This gives a deep, glossy gel-like coat which dries hard but retains flexibility. In late June, I began to notice that I had used quite a bit of the Dior up, and that it was getting considerably thicker and goopier as the contents of the bottle went down.

Gel Topcoats 21

Around the end of June, I threw my Dior Gel Coat into a drawer and headed for Paris. While in the City of Light, I picked up Guerlain’s Le Topcoat Gel.  I found the Guerlain worked equally as well as Dior–given that the companies are owned by the same parent, they may be the same formula for all I know.  The key is, if you can’t find one, you can get the other and be assured of good results.  The benefit to the Guerlain is that it is $1 less, and has the ball bearings inside to keep the contents stirred.

Gel Topcoats 23

The Guerlain works beautifully, by the way. Although my bottle isn’t old yet, the hardening/goopiness doesn’t seem to be quite as bad with this one (however, I do shake those ball bearings up quite a bit).  To be honest, both of these formulas have given me unprecedented longevity for my nail polish–literally, days longer than normal and very little tipwear.  Still I would, occasionally, get chips with unusually heavy nail wear.

Gel Topcoats 15

Now for the secret sauce. Still not being satisfied with these superb results, I had heard that Revlon’s Colorstay Gel-Smooth Base Coat. The only place that I’ve found this so far is Target (accept no substitute). Using the Revlon Base Coat under my nail polish really eliminated the chipping, giving me near-perfect nails up to 3-5 days. Okay, so far so good with the Revlon Base Coat–but what about the Revlon Gel-Shine Top Coat (also pictured above)?  It is a thinner formula than Dior’s or Guerlian’s. It does does prolong my nail wear somewhat. However, the Revlon does not give me the lush gel-like glossy look of the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats. Also, the Revlon Top Coat does not give me quite the longevity and protection of the Dior/Guerlain (even when using two coats of the Revlon top coat).

Gel Topcoats 11

What of that bottle of Dior that was tossed into a drawer prior to Paris?  Regrettably, the contents became a gummy solid in the bottom of the bottle. I thought I’d try to revive it with Seche Restore– for more information about this miracle product, see Scrangie’s post here.

seche restore

I pulled out the old lab notebook like a high school science experiment.

Gel Topcoats 12

Sadly, the Dior was too far gone for this method to work. I basically ended up with a glacial-like substance with bits of liquid Seche Restore creating a little ice floe. My thesis proved incorrect, but that Dior was really far gone when I tried this. Perhaps I’ll try again with a bottle that has more life and get better results?

In summary, I found that using nail polish over Revlon Colorstay Gel Smooth Base Coat really adds wear time to my manicure. Then, adding either the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats gave me the closest thing to gorgeous, glossy and protected nails that I’ll obtain outside of a UV cured gel manicure. Using these products, I get 3-5 days of wear (which never happens), and a beautifully glossy, gel-like texture. For me, this wear time is highly unusual. I’ve heard of people getting longer wear but I’ve rarely gone this long. These all remove easily with a standard nail polish remover (no acetone needed). I love it. Of course, the downside is that one wants to use up the bottle that’s been opened (given my experience with the drying out of the Dior Gel). I’m concerned about storage for bottles once they’ve been opened.

Do you have any polish pointers?  Please share them… remember, sharing is caring!

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Sep 042013
 

Dior Fall Nail03

I’m a little late to the party with Dior Fall Nail Colors Galaxie and Destin ($24 each), but given that my favorite of the two (Galaxie) is still in stock I thought these were worth a quick look.

Dior Fall Nail06a

Dior Galaxie is a stunning complex cool burgundy with plenty of flash and saturated color. Really, this one’s stunning.

Dior Fall Nail07a

There are multicolor shimmers in the mix, which translate in bright sunlight (indoors, there is a nice dimensionality):

Dior Fall Nail203

I’m still loving the large brush on these. For me application is quite easy. This is two coats.

Dior Fall Nail02

I had high hopes for Dior Destin in the bottle. Doesn’t it look like a gorgeous mauve satin, almost like a ball gown fabric?

Dior Fall Nail210

I also liked the color on the nail, but the texture seemed to frost up a bit and look thick. Also, this might work better on a cooler skin color (mine is warm).  So, for me Dior Galaxie was a clear “must have” winner. Sadly, Destin was not destined to be my favorite Fall shade.

Dior Fall Nail03

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Aug 162013
 

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile01

Dior is doing some impressive things lately. This fall, they’ve released two limited edition palettes–Dior Bonne Etoile and Constellation 5-Color Eye Palettes ($60 each). We’re a bit behind the curve posting about these, but I’m hoping there are a few out there if you see anything that you like. Mostly, this post is a big rave for so many changes that Dior has been making to its line. We love an innovator! 

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile02

Both palettes are part of the Mystic Metallic collections, which is a high-metal, high glamour. Dior Bonne Etoile has a range of cool blue and green-teal, a gorgeous complicated green, a sparkling bronze-brown and a high-shine cool champagne.

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile03

There’s something so happy and adorable about those little stars. Swatches:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile20

Liz and I found that these are strong, high-shine colors. Any single one of these deeper shades was enough, all on it’s own, to make a pretty eye. This palette has so much drama and glitz that we haven’t yet worked up the courage to use them all at the same time. There’s plenty of color and pigment here, this is a beautifully done palette. Here’s Liz wearing the middle shade only:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile13a

Dior Constellation was part of Nordstrom’s Annivesary Sale. It has a range of sparkling, metallic plums and pinks.

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile05

Up close, you can see this shimmery, highly pigmented color:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile06

Swatches:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile21

Here is Dior Constellation on Liz, using only the middle three colors:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile10

We found these are nicely designed, well-formulated and beautifully made. When the weather cools, we expect to dip into these to get some beautiful, Fall-friendly eyes.

 

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May 162013
 

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 203Dior does bronzers so well. This summer’s release include two blush/bronzer duos–the Dior Nude Tan Paradise Blush & Bronzer Duos in Pink Glow #1 and Coral Glow #2 ($56 each) They’re both beautiful.

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 207

Both are packed in a velveteen slipcover together with a small kabuki brush (which has its own velveteen slipcover).

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 202

Dior Nude Tan Paradise Blush & Bronzer in Pink Glow #2 has a lighter bronzer color and a cool-toned pink blush. 

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 11a

As with other Dior bronzers, the powder is finely milled and has a flattering sheen that mimics a healthy skin texture (without sparkle or shimmer).

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 14

Dior Nude Tan Paradise Blush & Bronzer in Coral Glow #2 has a slightly deeper bronzer and warm coral blush that packs a beautiful pigmentation level.

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 205a

Like Pink Glow, Coral glow has the same beautiful Dior texture. 

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 206a

The split pans are relatively small, but it is possible to keep the application separate by using a small headed highlighter or blush brush.  To play with the blush and bronzer portions separately, I’ve been using this Hakuhodo H2109 blush brush, which has a small, dense head.

Hakuhodo H21091

Another good choice is a MAC 165 Cheek & Highlighter brush. Of course, any blush/powder brush can be used if you with to swirl the colors together, which gives a beautiful effect as well. Here are swatches of both bronzers, separately and mixed. As you can see, mixing Pink Glow with the bronzer really warms up the color nicely. In fact, the more that you mix Dior Pink Glow with the bronzer the coolness of the pink blush disappears almost entirely:

Dior Paradise Bronzer Swatches3

Here is Liz in Dior Pink Glow #1:

Dior Bronzer Paradise No 1a

And here she is in Dior Coral Glow #2:

Dior Bronzer Paradise No. 2b

As you might expect, we love these (Liz prefers Coral Glow, I love both). Another lovely summer bronzer set from Dior–well done, beautifully executed in its packaging and quality.

Available at: Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com, and other Dior points of sale.

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