Jun 142010
 

Guerlain’s Terracotta line arrives completely renewed this year, with reformulated lipglosses.  You may already be familiar with the former glosses, in creamy golden and earthen tones with a high glitter factor.  These had names like “Caramel Sun,” “Beige Sun” and “Pink Sun.”  They are beautiful glosses, in their little clear cases and the golden-topped wands that look similar to the tops of the Terracotta Eye Kohls.  KarlaSugar has swatched the former line here.

This year, Guerlain has reformulated the Terracotta glosses, giving them a new look.  The former glosses have been pulled out of the stores, replaced with these smoother, silkier, and less glittery replacements.  The new glosses are less sticky, feel lighter on the lip, and include moisturizers and antioxidants to condition lips exposed to the sun.

Also, Guerlain has added SPF 15 protection.  The sparkle factor has been almost eliminated–there is a tiny microshimmer that is barely visible unless you look extremely close to the product.  The almost metallic look of the former glosses has been replaced with a more natural, more sophisticated look.

Here is a look at the former packaging (left), compared to the new (right):

The gloss tubes no longer have the familiar gold tops.  Rather, they have a new look, using a darker metal.  When closing the new gloss, there is an audible “click” that assures you that the gloss has been definitively closed.  I love this feature.

The most dramatic change is the texture of the gloss.  Here is a comparison with two older glosses (left) and the new gloss (on the right, #4, Ambre).  You can immediately see that glitter in the older ones is comparatively quite large and obvious.  Ambre’s glitter is barely detectable; instead, you have more traditional, yet beautiful, deep warm rose that looks lovely when wearing bronzer and summer tones.

Here is an on-the-lip swatch of Guerlain’s #4 Ambre.  The lips look very natural, without the metal/glitter of the former gloss:

Here is #4 Ambre:

My verdict– The new version is a welcome change.  The earlier ones seemed appropriate when they were released.  Just as fashion changes, so do makeup looks.  The new gloss feels very silky and smooth on the lips, unlike the former ones which could feel a tad gritty.  These feel very moisturizing.  I like having the SPF protection and, let’s face it, the colors in this new release are gorgeous.

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May 282010
 

On the Champs-Élysées in Paris, right next to the Sephora, is the Guerlain flagship store.  Although this is not the company’s first location, it has been there since 1914 and is its most iconic.  It holds not only a unique architectural style, but incredibly informed staff and is a tribute to the company’s history.

I have previously done a shopping report for this store at this link, although after reflecting on my previous experience I was better prepared for the boutique during this summer’s visit.  I read other internet reviews of the store, and spent some time on Guerlain’s website learning more about the company’s history.  If you have not done so and like the line, I encourage you to look at the Guided Tour.

The store is the very definition of elegance.  It is an incredible treat for the senses.  If you ever get to Paris, you must go.

This time, I bypassed the first floor displays of perfumes and headed up the stairs at the back to the second floor.  As I previously described, the upstairs foyer is covered in yellow-gold shimmery tiles, and the walls have organic, flowing shapes.  The clientele tends to be well dressed, and everyone seems to be well treated regardless of their dress.  There were only four or so staff visible; I was immediately greeted by a friendly woman about my own age who gave me the typical “Bonjour madame!” in her lyrical French.

I can get excited about some Guerlain products, although others leave me a bit cold.  I have never loved Meteorites, the round powder complexion enhancers.  I reasoned that if I were to ever love them, this would be the place to fall in love.  So I asked to see them first, remembering from my last visit to pronounce the product with the French style (Meet-ee-or-eets), rather than the U.S. which sounds more like a celestial object.

“Aah!” my assistant led me to the large makeup area.  I should note that this boutique does not seem to have any makeup products that are exclusive to that location, although there are some special perfumes.  After examining the Meteorites display, I could not conjure up any more love for them than I already had.  I wish I did.  This boutique is the perfect place to finally get that gorgeous compact.

I did ask about the new Guerlain bronzers for Summer 2010, which I had not seen before in person.  There are two series–first, the Four Seasons ($74) in two shades:

Both of these swatched very dark, and a bit orange, for my NC15/Chanel Cameo skintone.  Second, the Terracotta Light Collector ($50/ 46 euros) which looks very much like the sheer bronzing powder with the mosaic of five different colors:

I already own a similar looking product, called the Terracotta Sheer Bronzing powder in Blondes, which has good reviews but which I rarely use.  It’s another product that I wanted to love, but it seemed to lack…something.

I told my sales associate that I already owned Blondes, pointing to the prior version in the display.  “Ah,” she said, “that one is too beige for you.”

And just like that, she won me over.  She was right.  The prior Blondes was too beige for me.  The new one has more intense color, we tried it on and indeed it was gorgeous.  She then explained that the new Terracotta glosses had been reformulated this season.  She pulled out a beautiful bronzed pink-rose one (#4 Amber) that looked amazing with my skin tone.  Because I was buying two items from the Terracotta collection, I got the boutique’s gift with purchase– a rather large soft makeup bag with a mini-Terracotta bronzer #1 and a mini-kabuki brush.

After paying, I wandered around the perfume area, which is a large room with an incredible display and adorned with glass bead curtains.  I was drawn to a large display featuring the L’Art et la Matiere series (168 euros each).  These were accompanied by little still-lifes of the notes featured in the accompanying bottles, bi-lingual descriptions and antique versions of the fragrances that appeared to be a century old with reductions of the scents lining the bottom.  I fell in love with each one, each one as life-changing as the last.  I particularly loved the white chocolate of Iris Ganache and the incense of Bois d’Armenie.  I had seen a display at the register which indicated that Guerlain would engrave the bottle with your name if you had a few days before pick-up.  Although very tempted, I decided to think about it before plunging ahead.

I wondered about all of the women who have experienced this store over the last century, all of the occasions celebrated with a gift of one of these perfumes, and the hours spent enjoying the scent.  I suspected that some of these perfumes were still being sold today, although perhaps their notes had been subtly refined through the years.  The atmosphere was quiet and polite, allowing me to experience each of them, including the new additions, for myself.

This location also has a luxurious spa, which I did not visit.  I’ve been very impressed with the few Guerlain skincare products that I’ve sampled, so I’m certain that such an experience would be lovely.

If you are interested in the history of Guerlain, this website (Monsieur Guerlain.com) is an incredibly rich source of information.

As you can probably tell, I have the view that one does not need to go to a museum to experience history.  If you are of the mind, or simply enjoy experiences rich in culture, I would put La Maison Guerlain on your list if you get to Paris.

Architectural detail above Guerlain's door

And so, readers, if we were to go back to this store together this weekend, what would you look at?  What would you get?

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Apr 162010
 

I’ve been testing Guerlain Terracotta Teint D´Ailleurs Tinted Moisturizer ($46) in Blondes, part of the line’s Summer 2010 Terracotta collection.  I was originally skeptical of the product–one might look like one is wearing the wrong color foundation or went over-the-top with a spray tan.

I am a passionate believer in sunscreen.  I don’t use self-tanners, because my skin care regimen would exfoliate off the effect almost overnight. Instead, I’ve gone with powder or liquids applied in selected areas for a more natural look.  Still, I often envy the overall softly tanned look on some that I see.  Also, I thought that if anyone can make bronzer look good (or, at least, natural), it’s Guerlain.  So I ordered the lighter Blondes from Nordstrom.com to give it a try.

The tinted moisturizer comes in a luxe glass bottle with a gold-colored pump, and a simulated wood-textured plastic cap.  The application is somewhat sheer– I would say about one-half the coverage of a light foundation such as Chanel Tient Innocence Fluid.  This allows a bit of your natural skin to peek through.  As an aside, I used this with my physical sunscreen (Elta MD Physical 41), so combined I had sufficient coverage.

The texture is glowy, allowing the surface of the skin to have a bit of sheen.  Guerlain took the “moisturizer” in the product name seriously, it feels very luxurious, nourishing and moisturizing.  It lasted well through a ten-hour day on my combination skin.

As far as the color, it took my MAC NC15/Chanel Cameo Intensity 1.0 down a good two to three shades.  I got a few questions about whether I had spent some time in the sun from others, and I looked like I had.  I added a bit of darker powder bronzer on the cheeks to break up the “all one color” look, and of course a pink blush.  There were no orange tones on my warm skin, and no shimmer bits either.  It was sort of a sheer wash of color that looked liked I had acquired a light tan.

I know that some “embrace the pale,” but sometimes I enjoy adding some tan look to my skin.  I know that I’ll continue to use the Guerlain Tinted Moisturizer over the summer.  My sense is that it looks about as natural as a good self-tanner (again, the color looked natural not orange or brassy).  I’m going to give this a cautious positive recommendation, but this is very much a Your Mileage May Vary product, depending on your skin tone.  It’s worth looking at if you’d like a bit of a natural glow with a nice, moisturizing feel.  If at all possible, try before you buy so that you can tell whether you’ll like the effect on your skintone.

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Mar 302010
 

Guerlain’s Terracotta 2010 collection includes two Eyeshadow and Liners (Fard Metal Fard & Paupieres Liner) ($35 each) in 01 Gold Rush and 02 Smoky Metal, designed to look beautiful on summer skin.  For the past few years, the Terracotta line has included eyeshadows in very creative formats–once an exotic looking shiny pot, another a loose powder pigment. I’ve used these unusually packaged products as staples all the way through winter.  In the past, the eyeshadows have been neutrals with a shimmery kick.

2010 continues that tradition.  These eyeshadow/ liners are a shimmery cream twist-up plastic-encased pencil and their texture is rich and beautiful.  There is a very warm yellow-gold Gold Rush, and a shimmery brown Smoky Metal.

These apply with a sort of effortless buttery-ness–the texture is really lovely.  The shimmer factor is high for a creme textured shadow and there are no obvious sparkly bits.

They are similar to MAC Shadesticks, but they work much better in my opinion.  They are softer and provide a nice even color tone effortlessly.

The brown color goes on very softly–those with medium to dark skin tones may find that the color disappears into the lid, leaving just the sheen.  If you are looking for a drama, look elsewhere or be ready to add the drama with your liner color (a liquid gold and deep chocolate brown–such as the Mystic Kohl– might be amazing).  Smoky Metal is far less striking than the gorgeous Deep Metal powder eyeshadow sold two years ago.  Likewise, it does not have the complexity of the Holy Smoke eyeshadow powder pigment released last  year.  Rather, it’s a softer shimmery, glowy brown that you can wear to a casual outing or put on easily without worrying about precision.

Gold Rush is a shimmer yellow, which will look nice on warmer medium to darker skin tones.  Gold Rush is a medium-toned color, so my guess is that it will be too dark to use as a brow bone highlighter on many.  I expect that lighter, cooler skin tones will find that Gold Rush clashes with your natural coloring so swatching before spending $35 is worth the trouble.  I found that the colors worked well together by using Gold Rush as my inner corner color and Smoky Metal as my all-over lid shade.  An ivory brownbone color finished off the look.

I wore these without a primer for a very long day, and did get some very minor creasing.  I’ll have to update this later today, after I try this with a primer.

Here are some swatches:

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Mar 292010
 

The Guerlain Terracotta 2010 collection includes the Mirage Kohl (Guerlain Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl/ Khol Poudre Libre #6)($35) is another in Guerlain’s loose powder eyeliners.  I find that although I love the look of most of Guerlain’s collections, their annual Terracotta offerings are the ones that I find the most impossible to resist.  Their bronzers and summer products are so beautiful, and they work quite well.

Guerlain’s loose powder kohls continue to surprise with their ease of application and durability. Essentially, the little container includes a highly pigmented powder that is applied with a straight metal rod, depositing the very fine powder at the lashline.  When I am really in a hurry, this is always the eyeliner that I reach for.  I find them much faster than pencils.  It’s a quick swipe, swipe and done. Guerlain includes a handy little product insert sheet which teaches the two most popular application techniques.

Mirage comes in the same familiar packaging with the clear container that looks like it is holding an exotic and very precious substance.  I’ve never experienced any spilling with these containers.  The color is a very deep chocolate brown:

Here is a very quick swipe.  As you can see, the color applies as a matte chocolate brown to give a very defined look.

I played with this on the back of my hand, and as I smeared it around in direct sunlight I did notice some extremely tiny microsparkle as I sheered the powder out completely.  This must be so fine that it doesn’t show when applied in a more typical swatch, but must help give some dimension to the powder.

I know that Guerlain makes another brown kohl called “Brun,” (or sometimes “Golden Brown”).  I don’t own Brun, but my sense from looking at pictures and reading reviews it that Brun is likely lighter, more shimmery and more golden than Mirage.

I know that I’ll get a lot of use out of Mirage, it’s a nice basic color for a quick and beautiful eye.  If you like this format for eyeliner, this is a very useful color to have.

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