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:

Another:

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)

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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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