Aug 262012
 

This summer, Bobbi Brown’s Desert Twilight Eye Palette ($60) was released as part of the Fall 2012 collection. Although many beauty lovers have a weakness for lip products, mine is eyeshadow palettes. I bought one sight unseen. The palette comes in a beautiful brushed champagne metal package, and it sufficiently small to slip into a carry-on makeup bag to make it eminently travel friendly.

The palette contains a well-chosen, slightly mauve-toned selection of colors. This includes everything from a shell-matte highlighter to a deep espresso liner color. Two of the colors (top right, and third from the left on the bottom) are Bobbi’s sparkle formula, which gives a sheer wash of sparkle. Although this isn’t my favorite formula, I thought that the combination of mattes and shimmers in the palette made the sparkle colors inclusion tolerable.

 

Unfortunately, I found that the eyeshadow texture of this palette was not up to par. In the past, Bobbi Brown has released some buttery soft palettes that I still love (including this Modern Classic, which was limited edition and I still use quite frequently). The highlighter is very sheer even by Bobbi Brown standards. Most of the textures are quite hard using my standard eyeshadow brushes. It was hard to work up good pigment and texture with these.

Here is Bobbi Brown’s Desert Twilight Eye Palette swatched next to the comparatively richly-pigmented and buttery soft Guerlain Les Fauves. Although the Bobbi Brown palette was workable, I believe that you can do a little better in this season of richly-textured neutral palettes.

I’d like to compare Bobbi Brown’s Desert Twilight to the Nars American Dream (reviewed here by The Beauty Look Book), so I am going to get one. For now, I’d wait to invest in the Bobbi Brown.

Please follow us on....

Aug 152012
 

Guerlain has just released a new blush series, Rose Aux Joues ($50), which has a duo format of lights and darks (Messywands has counter-swatched them all). These come in the now-familiar Guerlain gold format palette, which includes the full mirror. It is relatively sleek for packing, yet has enough impact to retain elegance.

I chose Golden High ($50/ #05) as my first test into this new line. This is one of the more unique combinations, yet extremely versatile for frequent wear.

Golden High’s top color is an apricot-brown with a soft shimmer, and the small bottom shade is a matte soft peach that is a more pigmented version of Nars Sex Appeal. Swatches:

The duo is a nice combination for a subtle “nude with a splash of color” look. It’s sophisticated, will work well with nearly all fall colors (reds, burgundy, greys, khaki greens, and navy), whether worn with these colors as eyeshadows, accessories or clothing.

I found that the glowy shimmer in the top shade did not translate very strongly to my cheek. Although your effect may vary, the found that the shimmer was very slight once applied.  The effect of the lighter peach shade (in the bottom small pan) was very subtle.

The Guerlain Rose Aux Joues blush pans are relatively small–to apply the color separately, I first tried a MAC 168, which has a small, dense head. Because the top shade is so pigmented, I found this was unsuccessful. It concentrated the color too strongly in my application areas (I prefer a more subtle, glowing look). I had far better results with the Nars Yachiyo brush (reviewed here at The Non Blonde).  The small bristles at the top of the Yachiyo, in combination with the steep cut of the bristle head, allowed me to get softer color with edges that blended naturally into my skin.

Overall, I liked Guerlain Golden High. It doesn’t have a gasp-worthy effect of a Chanel Joues Contraste, but the effect is beautifully natural. The powder is very finely milled–it does melt into the skin. Golden High also fits well into the rest of Guerlain’s gray-toned eyeshadow palettes (there are a few in the line). Looking in my car’s rear-view mirror driving around town, I really liked the subtle and flattering effect. Those who find some blushes too “powdery” or obvious will love the very natural effect that these give.

It will be easy to pass these by if you look at the pans on a counter. The texture is a bit hard, and the colors do not jump out at you. At the same time, if you try these on during a makeover, I think you’ll be persuaded that these add a really nice, natural and sophisticated effect. I prefer this duo blush duo range to Guerlain’s 4-color blush line.  Except for Red Hot, I’m not tempted to get too deeply into the rest of this range. The colors are subtle and lovely, but some may find that they already have similar colors from other lines.

Please follow us on....

Aug 132012
 

Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Lip Color Paresse ($48 /M65) is a pigmented, liquid, matte medium pink lipstick. Packaged in a longer variation of the Guerlain Rouge G line, this is an intricately packaged formula.

Readers familiar with the Rouge G lipsticks will recognize the iconic packaging, which is based on the design of Lorenz Bäumer (both are affiliated with LMVH, and so the collaboration likely derives from this relation). The mirrored surface, although flawlessly executed, does show fingerprints.

The design is a bit high-maintence–one must first pull the small end out, then twist. It’s not rocket science, but it’s not necessarily intuitive either. Directions are included.

After the first pull, the mirrored top opens like a butterfly, just like Guerlain’s Rouge G lipsticks.

I must admit it is nice to have a mirror when I’m applying a highly pigmented formula–and these are highly pigmented in just the right way. Although these are bulky for a lipstick, they are certainly less bulky than carrying and opening a separate compact to apply. For craftsmanship, the packaging is beautifully done.

Unlike the lipsticks, Guerlain has added a color chip on one side so you can quickly tell which color tube you’ve grabbed. However, the color dot for Paresse is a vamp red but the color applies as a medium pink. Some mental translation will be in order.

The formula, which is applied with a doe foot applicator, has a light scent. It feels very moisturizing when applied, and dries down to an almost-entirely-matte finish.

Unlike many mattes, Guerlain’s Rouge G L’Extrait never feels drying. It doesn’t feel quite as moisturizing as the Chanel Velvets, but it is so much better than many others which seem to pull the moisture out of one’s lips entirely. It takes a few minutes to “dry down” and go matte. It doesn’t feel completely dry–there’s a little movement to the formula even after a while. Like anything else, you can top with a gloss if you like.

The wear time is quite good–nothing lasts on me, but the Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait did give me a few hours of color (even with my chronic water-drinking).

Guerlain Rouge G L’Exrait in Paresse (a medium/deep pink) on Liz:

I liked Guerlain Paresse so much better than Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture (which I returned rather than doing a review). I found the YSL a little thinner in texture and I didn’t like the stain format (or the scent). The Rouge G L’Extrait is more of a pigmented, long-wearing liquid that wears as a matte. On Liz:

Because the color is so pigmented, this is about how it looks on my deeper toned lips as well.

Overall, I love Guerlain Paresse. At some point, I will probably pick up one of the deeper reds. I know that some want to pick up all of the line, but I will refrain. The packaging, although intricate and beautiful, does seem to be a major component of the price.

I wouldn’t hesitate to pull this out in a restaurant or the like, although others might find the gesture a bit de trop. The formula is lovely, but I believe that not all of the colors will work for me (for example, I tried on a deep mauve that seemed a little draining).

Some swatches next to some other medium range pinks–the very sheer Burberry Tea Rose Gloss, Chanel’s now-discontinued Rouge Allure Laque in Empire and Chanel Glossimer in Courtisane. This picture really shows the difference in texture–of course, no one makes a matte liquid lipstick so exact comparisons would be hard to find.

No stickiness (particularly important for passing the “kiss test”). Long-wearing. No feathering. Lovely texture. I completely trust Guerlain for excellent lip product formula. Liz and I both wanted (and now own) Paresse. It’s a beautiful easy-to-wear color. Love.

Please follow us on....

Aug 122012
 

Guerlain Fall 2012 introduces the Les Fauves eyeshadow palette ($59/ Ecris 4 Couleurs Les Fauves #14). This is a warm, pearly autumnal palette that gives a perfect Fall eye. The colors include a warm shimmery coral, a pearly mocha, a semi-shimmery warm brown, and a deep shimmery pearly deep brown. The overall impression is quite warm.

The tones should work beautifully with blue or green eyes, although those with deeper eye colors might still enjoy the pearly contour effects that the palette allows. Swatches:

I found that the ease and texture of Guerlain Les Fauves made this one a must-have. This has the soft, buttery texture that I adore. I found that using the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush made this extraordinarily easy to use. Below, Liz used the shimmery mocha color from the palette’s right side all over her lid. She used the bottom coral in her inner corner, and the top brown in the crease. The deep color on the left side is a good liner, although it can be used for a crease color as well. There is no highlighter in the palette, although most of us have multiple choices in our stash.

Another with the same lighting, the evening sun skating across the lids: 

Here is a full face, with Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Lip Color  in Paresse (review to follow). When the light is not shining directly on lids, the effect gives a subtle contour. In shade, no flash:

One more:

Guerlain’s pearly neutral palette was a must-have for each of us. A great palette for Fall (and the end of Summer).

Please follow us on....

Jul 262012
 

Nars Foreplay Blush Palette ($49/Sephora Exclusive) is a deconstructed version of the iconic Orgasm blush. This includes the original Orgasm blush (bottom right), together with the individual elements of the original–a matte fuchsia pink, a matte coral, and the shimmery gold highlighter.

The palette is a crowd-pleasing mix of colors that allows you to customize this universally flattering shade as you like. Personally, I’m so attached to cool pinks, I love popping a little bit of the fuchsia on my upper cheek, with the Orgasm down below. Here’s a swatch of all of the shades (softly on the left, more dense on the right):

A few close-ups of the colors:

More:

When I first saw the press for Nars Foreplay, I wasn’t sure as I hadn’t used my original Orgasm in a while (no double entrendre intended). Now that I’ve played with Nars Foreplay, I see its genius. I frequently layer blush in other lines, and having the ability to control the separate elements is sort of awesome. I love adding Fuchsia to Orgasm. It makes the whole color new. Here’s one look on Liz, playing with the colors:

Here, she started with Orgasm as the base shade, then added the fuchsia and coral separately, adding the gold as a highlighter at the end.

Bottom line–The price is right, the package is extremely convenient (especially if you live on the road as I do at times). Awesome, consistent Nars quality. You can get infinite looks easily. This gives a brightening glow. Love.

The Nars Foreplay Palette was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

Please follow us on....