Sep 122011

Dior has just released 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette – Mitzah ($60/ #753), a more accessible version of of the highly limited edition, individually numbered Mitzah Panther Palette ($90)(reviewed here).  Unlike the panther palette, Dior’s Mitzah 5-color quint comes in the standard blue compact with the traditional Dior layout.

The palette evokes the Mitzah theme with a panther print on the surface of the eyeshadow palette:

The colors are:

  • a light shimmer cream highlighter
  • the center butterscotch-mustard
  • a soft shimmer camel tan
  • a medium taupe-gray
  • a rich brown
Here is a swatch comparison with Dior Mitzah Panther 3-color on the left, compared to the Dior Mitzah 5-color on the right:
Here is a quick eye that Liz did with the Mitzah 5-color.  She used the center tone as a base, then built up the darker colors in the outside corner and crease.
One more:
Overall, the Dior Mitzah palette is a sophisticated combination of colors.  The shimmer factor is subtle, and the tones blend beautifully together.  Mitzah does not have the iridescence of some Dior palettes, rather it is a toned-down set of neutrals that is nearly always appropriate.  Highly recommended.

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Aug 282011

Bobbi Brown Rich Color Eye Shadow in Sand Dune ($24 /#1) from her Marrakesh Chic collection is a sheer shimmery warm oyster-toned highlighter.

Sand Dune is one of the few shimmery shades in Bobbi Brown’s limited edition Rich Color Eye Shadow series (there is a light pink and a deep violet that are also shimmery). Sand Dune seems a welcome edition to this otherwise deep, largely suede-textured line, for that all-important inner-color highlight or browbone touch to add dimension.


Here are some swatch comparisons with some other light-toned shimmery shades in my collection:  MAC Femme Fi (limited edition, but subject to frequent re-release), Nars Abyssinia, and Chanel Lotus.  Just for fun, I added some opaque shimmers so that you could compare the sheerness factor–here, Bobbi Brown Chrome Eyeshadow in Pewter and Guerlain Sable Blonde (limited edition, no longer available).

Another, same shades:

One last, same shades:

Like the other colors in Bobbi Brown’s Rich Color series, Sand Dune is a great basic, believable highlighter shade.  Once you tell the waxy pigment that you are serious about picking up the pigment (use a stiff-bristled brush), it gives plenty of pigment.  As appropriate for a highlighter, there is a sheerness and lightness to the texture that prevents the force-field, metallic foil that can look dated (or perhaps, just a bit Jersey-licious).

I really like Bobbi Brown’s Rich Color series, and Sand Dune is a good addition to any collection.  As with the other shadows, I’ll express a bit of confusion about the limited-edition status of the shadows–all are good basics that seem like staples that can be used for years.

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Aug 282011

Bobbi Brown Rich Color Eye Shadow in Rich Slate ($24 /#5) from her Marrakesh Chic collection is a deep near-matte neutral very deep gray.

Bobbi Brown’s Rich Slate is a good, pigmented richly-toned gray.  Here are comparisons with Chanel Gris Exquis (reviewed here), the gray shimmery near-black from NARS Rajasthan duo (reviewed here) (what a gorgeous duo!), and a deep gray from Bobbi Brown–Steel from the round-pot era:

Had I realized that Bobbi Brown’s Rich Slate was tonally so close to Chanel Gris Exquis, I would have chosen between them rather than ordering both (Bobbi Brown’s is less expensive).  As with Bobbi Brown’s Coffee Bean and Rich Kashmir, Rich Slate has a waxy texture that requires a stiff-bristled brush but then delivers a good, consistent and strong pigment.

I understand that the Rich Color Eyeshadows are limited edition, although they are great basic colors for every day use and likely might function well in her permanent line.

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Aug 282011

Bobbi Brown Rich Color Eye Shadow in Rich Kashmir ($24 /#3) from her Marrakesh Chic collection is a deep matte neutral brown with a touch of grey.  Unlike Bobbi’s Rich Color Eye Shadow in Coffee Bean from this same series which leans red, Rich Kashmir is a brown that plays at the edges of grey and taupe.

Comparison swatches with Bobbi Brown Rich Color in Coffee Bean shows the Rich Kashmir is a softer, grayer tone than the deep, richer red-tone brown.  You can see that Rich Kashmir is not as gray as a taupe–both MAC Moth Brown and Chanel Taupe Grise are more gray.  Rich Kashmir is not as deep as MAC Magnetic Fields (limited edition, no longer available), or as purple as the deeper side of the NARS Habernera duo.

 Another in sunlight with flash:

I had to wonder why Bobbi Brown is releasing matte neutrals in a limited edition Fall collection.  Based on my experience with Rich Kashmir and Coffee Bean, both seem like great staples that are part of a permanent line.  I expect that the answer lies in the 758-page September 2011 Vogue, which seemed to feature page after page of matte eyeshadow looks.  Unlike Peter Phillips’ shimmery eye looks for Chanel for Fall 2011, Bobbi Brown’s trend for this season is all about rich basics that look deep and suede-like on the eye.

Like Coffee Bean, Rich Kashmir has a harder texture that works beautifully with a stiff-bristled brush.  As I detailed in the Coffee Bean review, this Rich Color Eye Shadow has a texture that packs plenty of pigment so long as you break through the long-wear texture by showing the pan that you mean business.  It applies beautifully (patting gets you more color, sweeping will get you less).  Rich Kashmir seems to blend with with other shades.  Highly recommended.

 On September 2, 2011, after this original review was posted, I received a Rich Kashmir eyeshadow from Bobbi Brown sent without charge for consideration and review.  I have not changed the original review since the time that it was first posted.

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Aug 172011

Chanel has recently released two new Ombre Essentielle Soft Touch Eyeshadows, always an occasion for rejoicing.

Chanel Ombre Essentielle in Twilight ($28.50 #89), part of the Sophisticated Eye Collection, is a cool candy pink:

Twilight has some sparkle and pigment. Here it is compared to Chanel Fauve (reviewed here), also released in the U.S. with the Sophisticated Eye Collection, the pink side of Chanel Irrellee Duo in Orient Express (now discontinued), Chanel Pink Lamé (a long-ago limited edition tweed effect eyeshadow, no longer available), Chanel Lotus and Chanel Sillage (reviewed here).


As you can see, Twilight bears the closest resemblance to Chanel Pink Lamé.  Note that Twilight has more sparkle compared to Pink Lamé.  No other color is similar to Pink Lamé.  Also, you can see that Twilight would coordinate well with Chanel Fauve.  Another set of the same swatch colors:

Because Twilight runs blue, it does not have the unfortunate tendency of some pink eyeshadows to give a “rabbit eye” effect.  Like Pink Lamé, I can wear the color comfortably, preferably with Fauve or Chanel Taupe Grise (reviewed here).

I would expect that Twilight would coordinate beautifully with Chanel Ombre Essentielle Soft Touch Eyeshadow in Gris Exquise ($28.50 / no number provided).  Then again, Chanel Gris Exquis is a color that will coordinate with virtually everything.

Gris Exquis is a medium matte gray, that can be softly applied to create dimension in the crease, or softly smoke out a liner.

This is the color that Chanel suggests be used with Chanel Ombres Tissees in Beige (reviewed here).

Here are some comparisons with the second layer of Le Metier de Beaute’s Splendid Frost (reviewed here), Bobbi Brown Steel (discontinued), the darkest shade of the Edward Bess Soft Smoke eyeshadow palette (reviewed here), MAC Silver Ring, Guerlain Instant d’une Emotion (reviewed here).

Comparison swatches:

Another swatch set, same colors:

I’m a huge fan of gray eyeshadows (as you can probably tell from this post).  Because they tend to be slightly cool, they add a little kick of drama to my warm skintone but still manage to be quiet neutrals.  They work as a wash, or as a way to add depth to the crease.  Overall, I did not find an exact match to Chanel Gris Exquis in my colleciton, although the second layer of Le Metier’s Splendid Frost was the closest.

The texture of Chanel Gris Exquis is excellent–it is very soft and pigmented.  Unlike so many mattes that can go on chalky, Gris Exquis goes on buttery smooth.  It’s an excellent quality shadow that is very versatile.

Note that Chanel has also re-released Chanel Magic Night (reviewed here), and Chanel Fauve to the U.S. market (reviewed here).

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Aug 082011

One of the most dramatic offerings from Fall 2011 is Estee Lauder’s Modern Mercury Collection, particularly the Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee in Modern Mercury ($40).  The texture is a very soft powder with pigment that seems to absolutely leap onto your applicator.  The shimmer is a strong pearl tone that has an unbelievable dimension and shine.

At first I assumed that this multidimensional wave of shimmer was an overspray. I think I’m wrong. We’ve dug down pretty far and that’s the color still.  It’s shockingly pretty if you love pearly shimmer.

Although the word “Gelee” is used in the product name, the powder block is firm and has not “gel bouncy give” of the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre gel eyeshadows released this Fall.  Rather, the powder pan bears a closer resemblance to Chanel’s Ombres Perlees eyeshadows released for Spring 2011.

Estee Lauder’s Modern Mercury Illuminating Powder Gelee is more than a highlighter.  Rather, it deposits a layer of soft peach color.  In fact, Estee Lauder’s Modern Mercury adds enough opaque color to the cheeks with the lightest of brushstrokes to act as a subtle blush on pale skin tones.  Today, I wore it as a soft blush/highlighter alone on my NC15/20 Chanel Cameo skintone.  Why did I think this was a highlighter?

Here are comparisons with Estee Lauder’s Modern Mercury Illuminating Powder Gelee with a few highlighters in my collection.  First, Modern Mercury is much more opaque than the very sheer fairy-dust Estee Lauder Pure Color Night that was a very limited release last year.   I played with swatches from the two lightest shades from Chanel’s Ombres Perlees palette (the white and the peach/pink as marked, below).  Of all of my powders, I found that Modern Mercury bore the closest resemblance to the Chanel Ombres Perlees.  In addition, I’ve swatched Nars Albatross, which is not as shimmery or pearly as Modern Mercury.  Finally, I’ve added Chanel’s Pearl Glow from the recent Le Blanc release.  I found that Chanel’s Pearl Glow as more transparent, more gold pearly and had a harder pan texture compared to Modern Mercury.

Because comparisons for highlighters are hard to capture, I did several different swatches under different lighting conditions. Here, in sun:

Indoors with flash:


It takes almost no effort to build up the peach color that you see in these swatches.  Indeed, that color is what you get with the lightest touch of this very soft, high shimmer pigment.

On the left, Liz is wearing Burberry Tangerine alone on her cheeks and no eyeshadow (complete breakdown is here).  On the right, she added Estee Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee in Modern Mercury to her upper cheeks and her eyelids.  You can see how much more color is on her cheeks and her upper lids:

You can see the added color:

Yes, Liz also changed her lip color (more on that in another post).

Overall, I have to love Estee Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee, properly applied.  It’s a very pretty, light-reflective highlighter/blush on my fair skin tone.  It gives a very beautiful glow.  In addition, Modern Mercury does a lovely job of building up without being frosty. As with anything this pearly, too many layers will give a metallic effect so proceed with a single layer at a time.

The texture is a bit miraculous. Modern Mercury’s texture is extremely finely milled.  Extremely.  The pigment virtually leaps onto your brush or finger effortlessly.  As I mentioned above, the experience is a bit like the texture of the Chanel Ombres Perlees.

As with any highlighter, those with larger pores will wish to proceed with some caution.  Unlike some other highlighters, Modern Mercury is not sheer but rather gives a warm peachy glow. Adjust your blush accordingly.

Bottom line:  Pumped up gorgeous.

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Aug 042011

On a recent trip to a local CVS drugstore, I noticed a display of Revlon Carbonite ($4.98) with the tagline “Wear the ‘It Color’ of the Season.”  Fortunately, I’d already learned from Nouveau Cheap that Carbonite was Revlon’s effort to duplicate Chanel Graphite.  Could my beauty friends get the same look of a $25 polish for under $5? I had to investigate.

I swatched as one color Chanel Graphite, the next Revlon Carbonite and so on.  On the edges, I put Chanel Strong (a metallic gray) and Chanel Black Pearl on the other side.  Indoors under flash, you can see that the colors are both close.  Chanel Graphite has a touch more green to my eye (click to enlarge):


Outdoors in sun with flash, you can see the Chanel sparkle more clearly (click to enlarge):

One more outdoors with flash (click to enlarge):

By reader request, here are some on-finger swatches.  These are swatched differently.  Revlon Carbonite are the left two fingers.  Chanel Graphite are on the right two.  This one is indoors with flash:

 Outdoors in the late evening sun:

To my eyes, the outdoor pictures show the famous Chanel sparkle and that chameleon color-shift of Chanel Graphite.  I’ve always maintained that no one does sparkle like Chanel–no one.   It’s enchanted with fairy dust.  Having said all that, the price difference can be a significant consideration.  In other words, whether something is close enough to justify the price difference is something every beauty lover must decide for herself.  What do you think?  (please vote in the poll, below)

[poll id=”15″] 

By the way, here’s The Polish Police’s comparison with Chanel Graphite and OPI’s Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous.

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Aug 012011

Nars Grand Palais Eyeshadow Duo ($33) is a part of the Fall 2011 collection.  The combination is named for the Parisian landmark built just after the Eiffel Tower, reflecting a similar vision in its open latticework structure.  A landmark in its own right, the interior has vast open spaces and has been a frequent backdrop to many couture fashion shows (including Chanel), as well as prominent location for numerous artistic events.

Nars describes this palette as “silver taupe/dusty rose.”  After comparing different colors, that’s a very accurate description.  The silver taupe is an unusual mix of shimmery pewter, silver and taupe.  The dusty rose is a soft deep rose mixed with soft gray tones with a faint hint of mauve.  Both are nicely pigmented and very smooth. The matte is impressive–the fallout was very minimal and the color went on very strong (although not uncontrollably so).

 The shimmer on the silver-taupe was very nice.  Although not as luminous as a metallic, it’s not promoted as such.  Those who enjoy a good, smooth wash of shimmer will be pleased.

 For the left silver taupe of Grand Palais, here are comparisons with a true silver (Shu Uemura ME Silver 950), a silvery grey shimmer (MAC Swan Lake, limited edition from the Danse Collection), and a true taupe (Shu Uemura ME Silver 945).  You can see that the left side of Grand Palais is more silver / lighter than a true taupe but more brown than a true silver or gray.


I wondered whether Grand Palais’s silver taupe was similar to a pewter tone, but found that Grand Palais is more firmly in the silver taupe category.  You can see that some pewter shades in my collection (here, Shu Uemura ME Brown 851 and Bobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter), lean much more warm metal with a touch of silver and green.  By comparison, the left side of Grand Palais is quite brown/taupe.  (Karlasugar’s swatches of Bobbi Brown Pewter show the warm greenish tone as well).

Just as in the rest of his line, Nars develops colors that don’t seem to have exact duplicates anywhere else. In other words, NARS Grand Palais includes a shade that you could drive yourself crazy trying to find.

The next question is, how does Grand Palais work as a duo?  If your coloring is just right, Grand Palais is going to deliver a unique modern vision–really, I imagine it might be very striking on some.  You can see a lovely look here on Messy Wands. 

Personally, I found that Grand Palais took a fair amount of work to create a wearable eye on me.  I have no colors comparable to the dusty rose because this is not a flattering color for me to wear in the eye area.  I tried every lid/crease combination that I could think of, without success, washing the colors next to each other.  My recommendations to make this duo wearable:

  • Layer the colors –The top swatch pictures swatch (far right), shows how the shimmery wash changes the dusty rose.  Later, I found that this was the solution that Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog derived as well.
  • Use with a soft neutral brown — Using a crease or outer corner deep brown tone (similar to MAC Espresso) seemed to neutralize the combination and add a pleasant depth and contrast.  It is important the brown that you use have no red undertones, or it will just become worse.
The quality of NARS Grand Palais is excellent. The formula is lovely, and I love that the palette has a contrast of shimmer and a great quality matte.  Unfortunately, this color combination is very tricky for someone with my skin tones.  As a combination, I know that I will not reach for this very often.


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Jul 282011

Last week, I did a series on Dior Vernis in Tuxedo, new for Fall 2011, including some comparison pictures.  At the time, I wasn’t happy with the comparison pictures.  I had no nail wheels and too many blue glitters to compare on my nails.  Now my nail wheels arrive, and I’ve done better comparisons with Dior Tuxedo, Butter London Big Smoke, Chanel Nuit de Russie, Chanel Blue Satin, Le Metier de Beaute in Midnight Rendevous and Lancome Indigo Paris.

Indoors with flash:

Outdoors with sunlight and flash:

  I’ve replaced the former pictures with these.  Enjoy!

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