Apr 182011

Diorskin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder in Aurora ($46 #001), has been reviewed by Cafe Makeup here and here. As you’ll recall, this is a gorgeously textured Summer 2011 bronzer that has a touch of pinky peach.

We had many requests to see this bronzer applied, so this weekend Liz was kind enough to do a few pictures.  She applied Dior Aurora all over the face using the large, soft Chanel Flat Powder Brush (reviewed here).  She swept the brush in a downward motion, to mimic the way that the light hits the face from the sun.  She then took a small-headed MAC 165 brush, and applied Dior Aurora in a more concentrated way on her cheeks, parts of her forehead and a bit on her chin.  Liz is not wearing any blush or highlighter.  The only color you see over her foundation is Dior Aurora.

Liz is wearing Dior Aurora over Chanel Lift Lumiere foundation in Intensity 1.0 Ivoire, together with Chanel Rouge Coco Magnolia lipstick (reviewed here) topped with Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Imaginaire (reviewed here).  She’s wearing the white and pink shades from Chanel’s Ombres Perlees eyeshadow palette (reviewed here).  Just for fun, Liz added a touch of MAC Reflects Gold as a wash over the eyeshadow for a little added sparkle.

We both enjoy Dior Aurora for use on the face, because the little touch of pinky peach and glow.  Dior Aurora is a glowy bronzer–that is, the skin seems to pick up a luminous look where the light hits.  It eliminates the need to add a blush and/or highlighter, and so it’s a very convenient way to get a very natural summer look.  Particularly in the very top picture, you can see that the little bit of color gives the impression of lightly sun-touched skin, without the incurring any damage of actual sun exposure.

Here’s a quick comparison of Dior’s Aurora and Guerlain’s Terra Inca (reviewed here)–which do you prefer?

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Apr 172011

Guerlain Summer 2011 includes Terra Inca ($70- Poudre Sublimatrice / Sublime Radiance Powder), a softly bronzed illuminating powder.  Every summer, Guerlain has introduced a stunning bronzing powder. As has been Guerlain’s tradition, the pan size every year is quite large.  At $70, this year’s Inca is the largest offering in recent memory at .51 ounces (14.5 g).  A quick review of their earlier offerings shows that this is almost twice as large as a few years ago, and one-third larger than last year’s.  This large size is very practical for a product that can be used for both the face and body.

The packaging is a sleek, low-profile back case with a gorgeous sunburst engraving on the outside.  I was quite happy to see that this is not made of cardboard, it has the feel of wood or a wood composite.  It’s beautifully executed, and designed as a richly-textured, sturdy accent to your makeup table.

The top is not hinged, rather it pulls off entirely to reveal a large, usable mirror underneath.  Like Guerlain’s other elaborate summer offerings, these are not made for travel.  When closed, the Terra Inca lid is held in place with three small magnets–one pair of these magnets is pictured just below.  These magnets release with slight pressure, which is wonderful for a makeup counter but not for a suitcase.  If you wish for something on-the-go, as you likely know Guerlain makes gorgeous Terracotta bronzers in compacts that are better alternatives for travel.

This bronzer is made of a intricately carved powder–really, it’s quite beautiful in its execution.

As you can see, the pan holds a powder that has a fair amount of glow and shimmer.  Here is another picture:

Here is a very close look at the beautiful workmanship on the top of the pan, which shows the pearly quality of this beautiful powder.  It’s been my experience that Guerlain is a company that has a particularly sophisticated understanding of powders, as well as bronzers.  I find myself unable to miss their annual summer bronzers, because really the best of both worlds comes together in these offerings.  As you can see, this powder catches the light beautifully, a quality which translates when worn on the skin:

My general sense is that this year’s Terra Inca is primarily designed for those with lighter skin tones.  Although deeper in tone than Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder, it is gently tinted although buildable.  If you are looking for something in the range of Nars Casino, or are deeper in tone than MAC NC 40, this is something you would need to try at a counter before purchasing.

Here is Terra Inca on Liz, who is a Mac NC15/ Chanel Cameo-Ivoire Intensity 1.0.  She applied it lightly all over the face, then added more over the cheek area.  She topped Terra Inca with a touch of Chanel Pink Explosion blush (reviewed here).

Some of you may have seen Liz’s reaction on Facebook to Guerlain’s Terra Inca.  Generally, we both concur that Terra Inca is an excellent bronzer.  It has a beautifully natural, yet pearly texture that adds a glow and tone to the skin that looks quite beautiful (no one would mistake Liz’s bronzing technique for that used by the Jersey Shore’s Snooki, that’s certain).  In a one-to-one comparison, we should note that we preferred Dior’s Nude Glow Summer Powder in Aurora (reviewed here, $46) over Terra Inca.

We’ll post more thoughts tomorrow, although for now we found that Dior’s Aurora is smaller in size (about .35 ounces), although less expensive ($46 for Dior, and $70 for Guerlain).  We liked the pink tinge that Aurora gives for a “just out from the sun” look particularly on the face.  Although we appreciated the beauty of Guerlain’s packaging, we liked Dior’s Aurora compact better for travel.  Guerlain’s Terra Inca is more traditional bronzer color, which means adding a touch of blush on top.  None is necessary for Dior’s in our opinion.  We found that both gave an excellent glow.  We should also note that Liz wore Guerlain’s Terra Inca all day in the hot sun (over sunblock and foundation), she was complimented several times for her skin texture, glow and overall look.  I completely concur, Guerlain’s Terra Inca was absolutely beautiful on Liz.  Also, keep in mind that Guerlain’s is designed for both face and body.  Dior’s Aurora is for the face.

We both highly recommend Guerlain’s Terra Inca, but if you must choose just one, stay tuned for tomorrow’s more in-depth review of Dior’s Aurora.

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Apr 132011

Last week, I purchased Dior Nude Glow Aurora Healthy Glow Summer Powder ($46 /#001), the lighter bronzing powder from Dior’s Summer 2011 Electric Tropics Collection.  I’ve had the chance to play with this bronzer which confirm that this is exactly what I want to use in Summer 2011.

As you might recall, Aurora is the lighter toned bronzer of Dior’s Summer 2011 collection, suitable for my NC15/Chanel Cameo Intensity 1.0 complexion.  I believe if you are deeper than MAC NC 30, you should look into the deeper version, Sunset (#002).  As you can see, Aurora is an elaborately textured pressed powder that his a mix of light pink with a whisper of peach, a golden bronze and a tan.  If pressed, I would say that this bronzer leans warm with a touch of pink (and a tiny dab of peach).

Application tips: My favorite way to wear this was to use a very soft wash of color, then adding a more concentrated dose on the upper cheeks, nose, forehead and chin.  I started by applying very light layers using a large brush with very soft, pliable bristles.  I used this Chanel Euro powder brush, keep in mind that Burberry will be selling a version that is similar soon.  A Shu 18R or other very soft powder brush would work well too.  Avoid using a blush or bronzer brush for this stage, or you might get too much color.  I used the sweeping downward motion suggested by the House of Dior, where I swept the brush over the face lightly in a direction that mimics how the sun touches the skin in daylight.  The key is to go very lightly at this step, you just want a faint bit of color.  Also, do not fill in areas where the light would not hit (eye sockets, under the nose,  etc.) to avoid flattening out the face.

Then, I used a small-headed brush (in my case, a MAC 165 brush, but others will work too) and blush brush, to more precisely place the bronzer.  Here’s a nice bronzer tutorial by Lisa Eldridge:

Thoughts: Aurora is going to be one of my very favorite bronzers, based on its versatility and the touch of pink.  It looks very natural, as your skin might look as a tan with a faint touch of pink.  The warmth and pink cast remind of how skin actually looks when its been in the sun, rather than a powder bronzer.  The powder is extremely finely milled, and it gives just a touch of glow.  I just loved it.  Fortunately, the compact is very large, (.35 ounces), so there is plenty of product to get me all of the way through September.

As a comparison with other bronzers, both Edward Bess Daydream and Nars Laguna are more neutral (less warm and no pink) and deeper in tone.  When applied on the face, Soleil de Chanel Terre Epice is only slightly deeper, and lacks the pink tone of Dior Aurora.  I really love Dior Aurora, and I’m glad to have it as part of my collection.   Highly recommended.


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Apr 122011

Dior’s Electric Tropics Collection for Summer 2011 echoes the saturated brights seen on Dior runway, particularly for Le Vernis Aloha (#638) and Paradise (#558).  The vibrancy of these colors is pure gorgeousness, and exactly what I crave for a truly great summer nail color.  Each of these colors is packaged in a tinted lightweight plastic.  I suspect that this choice of plastic is due to the fragility of the fluorescent formula, which seems to require special care and storage.  Either that, or the tint is just for fun.

Each of these polishes is sold separately, in a large silver “Catwalk Duo” box that contains a glossy topcoat, that is in a traditional glass bottle.

According to the associate at the House of Dior, 30 Avenue Montaigne, where these were purchased, this topcoat is not the regular Dior formula, but rather a special glossier formula specifically designed for this duo.  Aloha and Paradise can only be purchased with the topcoat, a fact that accounts for a higher price point compared to the singles (I paid 31 euros for each of these sets, compared to 23 euros for a Dior single polish).  At first, I was a little irritated to be forced to buy a topcoat–after all, I already have plenty of good glossy topcoats by other brands, right?  Freedom of choice!!

Sometimes I can be such an idiot.

As it turns out, this Dior Catwalk Top Coat is awesome.  It dries in less than a minute to a perfect shine. Also, it’s extremely tough and flexible so that it bends with the nail. I’ve realized that some of the topcoats that I have been using (Poshe, primarily), seem to flake off after a day or so because they are too rigid. This leaves the fragile nail exposed.  The Dior lasts for days, protecting the nail for much longer, and bends with the nail as it hits.  I’ve stated wearing this Catwalk Top Coat as an everyday topcoat, seriously, it’s that good.

On to the polishes– Aloha is a slightly burned orange, with a vibrancy that rivals Rescue Beauty Lounge’s epic red Bangin’ from last summer.  Aloha applies flawlessly in two coats.  A truly awesome, retina-burning orange.  Love. This. Color.

Paradise is within an entirely different species of nail polish.  It’s a very sheer jelly, that with two coats give a very vibrant, sheerish pink jelly color.  By itself, Paradise dries down to a matte finish.  With the topcoat, it turns into a glossy jelly.

Swatches and pictures:

Close up swatches of two shades, showing the effect of the Catwalk Duo Top Coat:

A word about the fluorescent formula–this what makes these so vibrant.  To preserve that effect, the enclosed instruction card warns that these should be stored in the dark.  Through our own scientific testing, Liz and I discovered that these do not glow in the dark or anything odd (can you imagine–“I can’t sleep, my nails are too bright!” LOL).  It might be fun to see these under club lighting, but I’ll leave that investigatory work to Liz.

Gorgeous!  Another winner from Dior Summer 2011.


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Apr 112011

Dior’s Summer 2011 Collection, Electric Tropics, features two gloriously neutral eyeshadow palettes, Rosy Nude (#534) and Rosy Tan (#754) (5 Couleurs Palette Faud a Paupieres Haute Couleur/ Couture Color Eyeshadow Palette) ($58 each).  As previewed here, I was fortunate to buy these early from the haute couture and intensely magical House of Dior, at the 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris, on the first day that they became available last week.  These are both winning palettes in my opinion, their texture and application is superb.  These applied beautifully on the eye.  Their texture is soft and they lose none of their luminosity when placed on the lid.  They do not become frosty, as the powder is very finely milled (you get no (ahem) Stila Kitten effect).  They layer and blend well.  These are among the best high end palettes I’ve seen.  If you love neutral eyeshadows, do not miss out when these come to the U.S.

First, Rosy Nude (pictured above) is a collection of lighter shades perfect for daytime summer wear.  Each shade has the potential to be a lovely individual lidwash, or they can be used in combination to create a gorgeous, dimensional summer daytime eye:

  • A soft beige cream shimmer, that applies sheerly in a single layer to highlight the browbone
  • A cafe au lait shimmer neutral
  • A rich, warm peach
  • A medium-tone shimmery bronze
  • A light-toned reflective pink.  This is not a duo-chrome, but rather it reflects light very nicely and is light enough in tone so it avoids the “pink eye” effect that some pink shadows have.

This is a highly versatile palette, because the quality, layering and blendability factors are so high.  It is not as quite reflective as Chanel’s Ombres Perlees, but is a bit similar in that the palette is a about adding light and tone to the eye together with color.   Yet on my fair skin, the medium bronze tone makes a nice light liner color, or can be used in the outer corner to add a soft dimension to the eye.  Although some of you might not enjoy the pink tone, I found a subtle touch quite workable because the texture reflects pink light and the light tone seems to minimize the red.  This pink is not a color that punches your lid with pink paint;  rather the color adds a little cool dimension when used with a light-to-normal brushstroke.  I plan to use it occasionally, which I almost never say about a pink lid color.

Another picture of Rosy Nude so you can see the texture close-up:

Dior Rosy Nude


Dior Rosy Tan is a deeper version, appropriate for both day and night.  With the anchor deep brown shade, Rosy Tan is a gorgeous full-color-range neutral palette:

  • The center shade is one of the most gorgeous, shimmery highlighter colors I own.  It applies with more opaque pigment than the lightest shade in Rosy Nude, and so those with deeper skin tones may find this a better overall choice
  • This pink applies quite similarly to the pink in Rosy Nude, although with slightly more pigment
  • The bottom left shade is a very light-toned taupe with a highly reflective shimmery effect
  • The bottom right shade is a satin light cafe au lait tone, that can be used to wash the lid.  Applied on the eye, it’s a very low-shimmer, near-matte and so it is a nice shade to mix textures.
  • The top right shade is the all-important deep shimmery brown.  It applies like a dream.

This picture shows the color of Rosy Tan most accurately:

Another to show you the very reflective texture:


Swatches, swatches, swatches:

Bravo, Dior.  Bravo.

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Apr 062011

For Summer 2011, Dior’s Electric Tropics Collection includes two Catwalk Duo nail polish. These are the searing deep orange Aloha (#638) and the bright jelly pink Paradise (#558). Each is packed with a super glossy topcoat to give you the option of adding a special flash of shine to your summertime nails.

The enclosed instructions suggest that the topcoat be applied about 30 seconds after the second coat of color. Also, these warn that these nail polishes should be stored in a dark place.  The Dior sales person at the 30, Rue Montaigne store told me that these are fluo formula, which pick up a glow when one is out at night.  I can’t wait to test that out.

As my flight leaves in less than a few hours, I can’t swatch these but I thought that some color shots would help those of you who need to know.  I promise to swatch these when I return next week.

Aloha is a drop-dead dark orange.  It’s opaque in two coats, and is going to look amazing with very pale skin or with a deeper tone.  I love Aloha. Here, you can see that Aloha comes with the special topcoat in the same box:

I did a single nail while playing at Dior, and so far Aloha seemed to apply like a dream.

Paradise is a cool baby pink.  My quick test at Dior indicated that Paradise applies more as a jelly, there’s a sheerness to the vivid color.  The dry time was longer with Paradise, which is typical for a jelly.  It’s a gorgeous color, and the texture of it is unique because it is so intense yet there is a luminosity because of the jelly quality.  With flash:

One more of Paradise, in natural light, which has turned cool at the end of the day:

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Apr 062011

Dior Summer 2011 is Electric Tropics, and the stars of the collection are two beauty bronzing powders, called Diorskin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder.  The lighter is Aurora ($46 #001), and the darker is Sunset ($46, #002).

I went to see this on their very first day for sale at the House of Dior’s original headquarters at 30 Rue Montaigne in Paris.  I believed that if anyone knew how to use these beautiful powders, it would be at Dior’s main location.  It was a glorious warm spring day in Paris, and I could think of nowhere else in the entire world that I would rather look at Dior’s new summer makeup collection.

The powders come with large silver compacts with the beautifully woven top, which include a mix of bronze tones with subtle gold sparkles, plus a coordinating shade.  Aurora has a soft pink tone, and Sunset has a soft peach.  Here is a close up of Aurora:


I am NC15/Chanel Cameo, so fairly fair skinned.  I tried to talk the sales associate into admitting that I needed both Aurora and Sunset.  She refused.  “But I’m from California,” I implored.  “Everyone is so bronze there in California–it’s like Jersey Shore–do you know it?”  She laughed, admitted that she did know Jersey Shore.  Still, she wasn’t going to let me walk around on this Earth with a too-dark bronzer, because that’s what a great makeup professional does.

She explained how to use these Healthy Glow Summer Powders.  First, they come packaged with a wide brush:

One places the powder on the wide brush, then swipes the brush downward over the entire face in a downward motion.  The motion is intended to mimic how the sun hits the face.  So the eye sockets, under the nose area, and other receding areas will not get any bronzer, but areas that would be hit by the sun are touched with the powder.  Because one puts this bronzer on such a large area, the skin-tone match must be good.

In indoor soft light:

My finger-swatch of Sunset confirmed that she was absolutely right.  Sunset is a dark bronzer similar to the deeply- toned Nars Casino.  One would want to be NC35 or darker to choose Sunset.  There is no way that Sunset will work on my fair skin.

Aurora in sunlight to highlight the texture:

I looked at the Nude Healthy Glow Fluid ($46), but passed.  These come in three color tones.  These are very sheer and glowy, and they promise no skin care benefits.  Essentially, the are intended to add a very soft sheen to the skin.  Indeed, these did so beautifully, and the lightest available shade was light enough for my skin tone without adding much (if any) color.  Personally, I didn’t feel the need for another glow product at this time, although I might reconsider when I get back to the U.S.

One more Aurora picture because it’s so pretty:

To see more products from Dior’s Electric Tropics collection, see these posts:

  • Dior Aloha and Paradise Nail Polish is here.
  • Dior Rosy Nude and Rosy Tan eyeshadow palettes are here.

There were several gorgeous Lip Addict colors as well, but I thought I’d wait to pick up those.

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Mar 152011

A preview of Chanel’s Summer 2011 Collection. I suspect that we’ll begin to see these on counters and online during late March/ first week of April.

Soleil Tan de Chanel ($50 each)

  • Bronze Corail (deep beige with coral highlight)
  • Bronze Rose (natural beige with rose highlight)


  • Lilim Quatra Eye Shadow
  • Duo Eyeshadow in Khaki Discreet
  • Stylo Yeux Waterproof liner – Rose Platine (silvery rose)

Lips. Glossimer ($28.50 each)

  • Aurore (light orange with pink shimmer)
  • Pink Peony (pink)
  • Pensee (pink coral with gold shimmer)

Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige Sand


  • Mimosa (lemon yellow)
  • Beige Petale (beige rose)
  • Morning Rose (rose)

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