Dec 042013
 

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites3

This year, the Guerlain Holiday Collection includes the Crazy Meteorites Pressed Radiance Compact ($69) (limited edition), a finely milled pressed finishing powder with a pattern evocative of the Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Compact/Mythic ($170) (originally reviewed here). Unlike the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Pearls (reviewed here), the effect of the Crazy Meteorties pressed is subtle, less shimmery, and slightly more neutral in color.

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites1

Let’s talk first about the differences between the Voyage and the Crazy compacts. The amount of powder in the Crazy pressed is slightly more (.35 oz. compared to .28 oz. in Voyage). As you can see, the Guerlain Voyage has a more complex and more pastel powder pattern. By comparison, the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites has a simpler, brighter color pattern. Those who love their clutches take note–the Guerlain Voyage has a heavy, luxurious, slimmer compact (roughly 5 5/8 ozs. including the powder and compact together), compared to the lighter, plastic/composite compact of the less expensive Guerlain Crazy Meteorites pressed (roughly 3 1/4 ounce all together).

Guerlain compact comparison1

The powder color with the Guerlain Crazy pressed is slightly more vibrant healthy pink color. The Guerlain Voyage is slightly, subtly more illuminating. This is a difference which could give you a slight color glow with the Crazy, but most of you will not notice a a strong color when applying lightly with a soft powder brush. I did my best to do a color comparison, but am not super hopeful that you will actually see much here unless you click to enlarge and unless you have a very, very good computer screen. These comparison swatches are the Guerlain Crazy (pressed), the Guerlain Voyage, and the Guerlain Illuminating and Mattifying pressed powder (which matches my skin tone and therefore looks virtually invisible). Click to enlarge:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites8

One more, same order and different light:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites9

Like the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta, the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites compact looks like a dark brown-black in typical lighting. However, the compact has a neon pink effect in the “68” pattern (the Paris address of the main Guerlain boutique and spa at 68, Avenue de Champs-Élysées) in bright light:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites5

 Overall, the Guerlain Crazy pressed is an excellent and finely milled glowing finishing powder, at a lower price point compared with the ultra-luxurious Guerlain Voyage. Texture-wise, both are excellent. Guerlain knows its powders (as well as its fragrances, lip products, and nail polishes, oh my!). The packaging and powder construction is different(and therefore, so is the price point). The Crazy provides a slight pink glow (that is hard to detect with typical application), while the Voyage is slightly more brightening and ethereal.

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Nov 232013
 

Guerlain Crazy Pearls1

This holiday brings many special products, and this year I made Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder ($58/ 1.05 oz./30 grams)(also available at Nordstrom) a must-have on my list. I’ve been a fan of these beautiful powders for years, and so I cannot pass them by when they are released.

The packaging is embossed with the words “Champs-Élysées” to evoke this year’s Holiday 2013 Guerlain Crazy Paris theme, as well as the location of the primary House of Guerlain in Paris. As an aside, the House has just been re-opened in a completely renovated and renewed format (details are at the Guerlain video from their November 2013 Google+ hangout).

guerlain-store

Guerlain’s re-designed flagship store at 68, Avenue des Champs-Élysées

My package seemed packed with meteorites this time, with a generous helping of pink, lavender, shimmering peach-gold, beige and lavender colors.  With these colors, I was expected a strong wash of color akin to a blush, however I found that this was not the case. Instead, I got a soft wash of pore-less texture with a slight, soft glow of the powder. The effect is more “my skin but better” rather than a wash of color.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls3

I must admit that I use these with a very soft brush, usually the Bobbi Brown Face Blenderwhich has very pliable bristles and is a good shape to fit into the Meteorites packaging. Another one that works well is the Shu Uemura 18R.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls4

Even when I tried to build up the color of the  Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder using a very dense buffing brush, I was unable to build up color to a point of detection. If you are concerned that using this will give you a pink-toned face, I’ve concluded that it cannot at least for me. Of course, if you are hoping to wear this as a blush, I cannot give you any encouragement on that use either.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls2 copy

As always, these are scented with a slight violet Meteorites scent. Liz is wearing these over her makeup as an all-over soft veil in this picture, and I think it gives her a lovely, soft glow:

T3 Roller close ups liz3

She’s also wearing the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta Bronzer, and Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait in Paresse, and has used the T3 Bodywaver on her hair.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls6

Overall, I’m enjoying the Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder. Although these are more classic than unusual, I love using these powders to add a touch of Paris and glow to my makeup routine. Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder is a lovely addition, and of course highly gift-able to first time users (especially for a Francophile in your life). Those who love the standard Guerlain Meteorites should take note that it appears that the company has a reformulation in the works, as detailed here at Rouge Deluxe.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, and other Guerlain sources this holiday.

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Nov 172013
 

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta01

Holiday 2013 brings the Guerlain Crazy Paris Terracotta Healthy Glow Powder ($69) is a bronze and pink confection that delivers a healthy glow.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta05

The Guerlain Crazy Terracotta packaging looks like the traditional Guerlain tortoise shell, but titled just right in the light and the address of Guerlain’s Paris flagship store is revealed–68, Champs Elysee, Paris. Inside the palette has the traditional Guerlain color mosaic in a pattern of pinks, bronzes, and beiges.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta02

Although the pink portions are few in number and area, they do predominate to give an overall pink-bronze glow when used lightly allover the face.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta06

 When concentrated on cheeks, Guerlain Crazy Terracotta works beautifully as a blush. This is how Liz used Guerlain Crazy Terracotta here–all over her face and more focused on her cheeks as a blush.

Liz Guerlain Crazy Terracotta

As with so many Guerlain products, using Guerlain Crazy Terracotta as an allover face powder added a touch of bonne mine healthy color and makes Liz’s skin look even more flawless than usual. Honestly, the texture of this finely-milled, enhancing powder looked amazing on her skin. For highlighting, she’s also wearing Giorgio Armani Eccentrico Face Palette ($88) on her cheek and over her brows (review is upcoming).

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta15

I compared the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta with the Guerlain Terracotta Sun Blondes 04, the Guerlain 4 Seasons 00 Nude (reviewed here), the Guerlain 4 Seasons Naturel 02 (reviewed here), and Chanel’s Rose Bronze. Most of these record as quite bronze–only the Guerlain 4 Seasons Nude has a similar fresh pink tone. Overall, the Guerlain is the most natural for a soft rosy bronze flush, and it delivers slightly more pigment than the Guerlain 4 Seasons Nude 00.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta12

Overall, we found Guerlain Crazy Terracotta a lovely powder for a winter appropriate healthy glow. We expect that this will sell out quickly, so if you are interested it is best to act quickly. Many of the Guerlain limited edition powders are made in very small quantities, and so as with previous years you’ll want to commit before it sells out.

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Oct 102013
 

Guerlain vega31a

I’ve been falling in love with Guerlain Vega Nail Polish ($23). Actually, I’ve been loving any and all Guerlain nail products that I’ve gotten my hands on, including the Guerlain Gel Topcoat and Guerlain Rouge D’enfer. I can see that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Guerlain vega41a

Guerlain Vega is a rich, dark vamp color. So-dark-it’s-almost-black, and not quite black. With a high gloss Guerlain Gel Coat, it looks very expensive and a little edgy (in other words, perfection). As soon as it starts wearing off, I replace it with the identical manicure. It’s a beautiful Fall color that applies perfectly in two coats. I love the big chisel brush, it gives me a steady application with about two swipes.

Guerlain Vega63

On fingers, with the Guerlain Top Coat.

Guerlain vega1

Here are comparisons with Chanel Rouge Noir (redder, lighter), Chanel Madness (browner, lighter), Chanel Accessoire (lighter, redder), and Zoya Paris (closest in color, slightly lighter).

Guerlain Vega61a

I’ve been enjoying Guerlain Vega as my go-to Fall shade.  Highly recommended.

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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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