Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chanel Phenix 687 Le Vernis for Holiday 2014


Chanel Phenix 687 Le Vernis ($27, limited-edition) is the new polish for holiday. It's part of the Collection Plumes Précieuses de Chanel. It's a beautiful classic red cream. The formula is very fluid and applies smoothly like most Chanel nail polishes. In my mind, Chanel can do no wrong when it comes to reds, but Phenix is very similar to past nail polish releases. I don't mind similar colors but for those who don't want dupes, you many want to shop your stash before buying. Still, if you've tried a lot of different reds you know how there are a multitude of variations. Some are darker reds, others brighter, some with different undertones like blue or orange. Finding a good red that doesn't clash too much with your skin or make it look drab can be challenging sometimes. Chanel Phenix is a bright red with the perfect mix of orange and pink in it to brighten the hands and give them a polished classic look.

More photos and swatches of Phenix, it applies perfectly with two coats:





In terms of comparisons, there are Chanel reds that are extremely similar. From arm's length they will look identical. I tried to do some swatch comparisons, but if you've photographed reds before, you know the challenge in capturing the differences no matter what lighting you use. I'll add descriptions to explain what I see the differences are, but bottom line is that many are extremely similar.

  • Chanel Coromandel is deeper in color and more opaque, it also has more orange
  • Chanel Rouge Rubis is almost blue-toned compared to Phenix, it has a cooler undertone
  • Chanel Dragon is darker and more red making Phenix look almost orange next to it




  • Chanel Rouge Flamboyant is similar but a bit darker in undertone
  • Chanel Pirate is quite a bit darker, sheerer and definitely more blue-toned
  • Chanel Enthusiast (discontinued) is the closest match to Phenix, but Enthusiast has more orange undertone and is more opaque




I find Chanel Phenix to be a gorgeous brighter red that pulls slightly warm. I think it will be flattering on most skin tones. If you already own a lot of reds, you may want to skip Phenix and opt for something more unique unless you are a die-hard Chanel fan or collector.

Chanel Phenix is limited-edition. Available at all Chanel counters and boutiques. Online at Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Chanel.com.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chanel Sweet Star Le Vernis


Chanel Sweet Star Le Vernis ($27 for 13 ml / 0.4 fl oz) is a new limited-edition polish described as a "unique metallic silver shade reveals an iridescent glow that changes with the light." It's a complex color that has a multitude of different pearly shades infused into one polish. It reminds me of a butterfly wing the way the color changes as you move your hands. It has a silver and purplish base with shimmers of silver, grey, purple, blue and violet. I bought mine at the Chanel Boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It's also online now at Chanel.com.


Sweet Star has a beautiful smooth formula. It applies very easily on the nails and even though it has a slight transparent quality, I was able to get very good even coverage with two coats. I've tested a lot of different brands of nail polish and have many loves, but I always find Chanel seems to perform best for me (it's in the top five brands for me which include Chanel, Rescue Beauty Lounge, Dior, YSL and Formula X). Many of my readers have commented that they get 2-3 days wear time out of Chanel - I usually get anywhere between 5-7 days of wear with the right base and top coat (my favorites here). If I don't use a base or top coat, tip wear begins almost instantly. 

Three photos here show how the color shifts depending on how the light hits it making Sweet Star very difficult to capture.


Swatches in different lighting below also shows how complex the color is:






I don't think I have anything like Sweet Star. It reminds me of some of the older Hard Candy and Urban Decay shades from the 90's but I don't own them anymore so I can't compare. I did pull three other shades I thought might be similar, but after swatching them, it appears they are completely different. Below is Dior Silver Purple (discontinued), Chanel Quartz and Chanel Graphite. I highly recommend you check out Color Me Loud and Indigo Kir Royale for additional Chanel Sweet StarLe Vernis comparison swatches.



Chanel Sweet Star is one of the most unique nail polish colors I own. It's very edgy without being too loud. I think it's definitely worth looking into. I found mine at a Chanel Boutique, but you may find it at various counters. Online at Chanel.com.

Sneak Peek: New Chanel Le Vernis Shades


Chanel has released quite a few nail lacquers this season in various collections. I have a sneak peek for you today. There is a lot of red this year. I've run out of nail wheels for comparisons and my fingers can only take so much swatching each day, so I'll do comparisons where I can. Many of my polishes are still in moving boxes too, so comparisons will be limited to what I can find easily. (I have a huge amount of respect for full-time nail polish bloggers who put their fingers through so much every week.)

The new shades this season include:




The Holiday and Rouge Allure Gloss collection shades can be found at all Chanel counters and retailers now such as Nordstrom, Saks and Neiman Marcus. The Collection Les Rouges Culte are a Chanel.com exclusive, Sweet Star has been spotted at various Chanel Boutiques and Chanel.com.

Here's another shot, there is a lot of glare from the flash and sunlight but it shows the differences in undertone for the various red options. I do think they are fairly similar in effect and color so for me I definitely did not need all of the reds but as a collector of Chanel Le Vernis nail polishes, I could not pass them up.


I hope to have Phenix and Sweet Star posts completed soon (fingers crossed I can finish them today). For now, if you've been debating whether or not to splurge I hope this line up of all the new shades helps you gauge how they look side by side.

Tom Ford Matte Lip Colors for Holiday 2014 - Now On Nordstrom.com

http://rstyle.me/n/sf55rubf6

If you've been waiting for all the shades of the Tom Ford Matte Lipsticks ($50 each) to show up online, all eight colors of the new lipstick formula are now available on Nordstrom.com including First Time which seems to have been the first to sell out other places and also Black Dahlia which didn't show up for a while.

The eight colors include:
Pink Tease
Flame
Plum Lush
First Time
Black Dahlia
Pussycat
Ruby Rush
Velvet Cherry

My review and swatches on the formula and picks First Time, Pink Tease, Velvet Cherry and Pussycat here. My two favorites are First Time and Velvet Cherry.

At this time I've heard that First Time and Black Dahlia are the only two shades that are limited-edition, but I reports are often mixed depending on who you ask. I do know First Time sold out quickly so if you've been searching for it, I recommend ordering sooner than later.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set | Holiday 2014


This holiday Laura Mercier has released a limited-edition six piece Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set ($55, each mini stick 1.0g/0.03 oz). Over the past few years, I've eyed the holiday Caviar Stick mini sets but only liked 1/2 of the shades so never purchased it. This year's set has beautiful neutrals including Rosegold, Copper, Moonlight, Khaki, Amethyst and Cocoa. All the shades are colors I know I will use, I've had this set for a few weeks now and love the versatility of the colors. These are perfect no-fuss cream shadow sticks that you can swipe and blend with a finger, although brushes work too for the darker shades if you want to get detail application.

  • Rosegold is a lovely soft warm champagne with a hint of rose
  • Copper is a warm but wearable soft copper shimmer
  • Moonlight is the perfect platinum-taupe shimmer with a bit of warmth
  • Khaki is a neutral khaki metallic
  • Amethyst is a soft mauve purple with silvery pearl
  • Cocoa is a basic chocolate brown with a hint of shimmer


Each shade is nicely pigmented but easy to blend and smooth on the lids. The sticks are buildable so you can control the level of color you want. My lids are on the normal-dry side, but I can apply these straight to the lid without any base or eye cream needed. If you have oily lids you will really like how these stay put. The dry time is just perfect for me. Some cream shadow sticks dry almost instantly requiring super quick blending before they set. The Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks have a slightly dewy texture which gives you more time to blend and apply slowly - but once they set, they don't budge.

You can use these a number of different ways: a single shade alone, multiple colors layered together, or combined with powder shadow. Close ups and swatches:





Eye swatches below: top picture is just with Moonlight applied and blended on the lids, the bottom two photos are with Rosegold and Khaki layered in addition to Moonlight:



I'm smitten with this set. If you're one who rarely gets to finish a cream shadow stick because they end up drying out before you can use it up, these minis are a good way to try multiple shades in smaller doses. I've had a couple of the full sizes that have lasted over a year and haven't dried out but I'm always worried about it (many other brands have). Or if you want to try multiple shades out in a smaller travel friendly format, these are great. You can bring all six shades with you in your makeup bag or travels without worrying that they will take up a lot of space.

I highly recommend it. The Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set retails for $55. I bought mine at Nordstrom. It's also available at Bloomingdales, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Laura Mercier.

Have you tried Laura Mercier Caviar sticks? What's your favorite color? The holiday sets this year look amazing. I've started to make a wish list.




Monday, October 27, 2014

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders


I've fallen in love with the Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ($65 for 60 g/ 2.1 oz) ever since I ordered it back in July. It's a unique water-activated enzyme powder cleanser and exfoliator in one product. This is a great alternative to traditional scrubs which I find can be too harsh for my sensitive skin. The Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders are designed to be used on skin without makeup. I find it's effective even with makeup on, but prefer to remove makeup at the end of the day with a Cleansing Oil first (favorites here). After I purchased the full size, Tatcha released a Travel Size version ($15 for 10 g/ 0.35 oz) which they kindly sent to me to feature alongside the full size option.

These cleansing powders are really easy to use. Pour a small amount into wet hands and add a tiny bit of water to lather up the product into a creamy foam. Apply on the face and massage like a regular cleanser for about 20 seconds and rinse.


The packaging is designed really well - it has a clever opening on the top with a small push back cap for the product. The small opening at the top prevents you from over pouring powder into your hand and also seals the packaging shut making these ideal for travel. There's no worrying about liquids or creams leaking and the size of both the full size and travel options are compact enough to carry with you in a small bag. One of the things that keeps impressing me with Tatcha is that the packaging design of the travel sizes matches the same quality as the full size.

On the nails, Formula X Wonderous

More packaging details, travel size versus full size shows similar packaging design:


Both have the same cap design with the clever push back cap opening:


I bought the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder version (and love it) but Tatcha has also released two additional options for different skin types. There is the Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder (pink powder) and Deep Rice Enzyme Powder (green powder) - both also available in the Travel/Trial sizes. With any online Tatcha order you have the option of selecting samples, these powders are often in the lineup. These packets have also been featured in several special edition kits they've released.

Tatcha sent samples of the Gentle and Deep versions for me to put to the test. Aside from the color difference, the formulas are all equally gentle but I could definitely feel the difference between each option. The Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder is designed for dry sensitive skins. After using this one, my skin felt noticeably more moisturized. The Deep Rice Enzyme Powder is recommended for oily skin and does make the skin feel more clean. I wish I had discovered this one earlier in the summer when we had really hot humid weather, it would have been perfect when my skin was more oily. After testing each, I still prefer the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder for my combination skin type.



Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ingredients: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polyethylene*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Papain (Papaya Extract), Dextrin, Red Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (Pearl) Protein,  Phenoxyethanol.


Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder ingredients: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Papain, Dextrin, Red Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cl 73360, Iron Oxides (Cl 77492).


Deep Rice Enzyme Powder ingredients: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polyethylene*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Papain, Dextrin, Red Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Houttuynia Cordata Extract (Dokudami), Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ultramarines, Iron Oxides (Cl 77492)


I highly recommend these. My personal favorite is the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder option. I use it in a double cleanse method (cleansing oil first, then rice enzyme powder. The powder is a gentle but effective cleanser and helps to improve skin texture for those with sensitive skins. It's suitable for everyday use but I tend to alternate cleansers on a regular basis and use this 2-3 times per week. These work well to clean and gently exfoliate. They are non-irritating and don't dry out the skin either.

The Travel Sized options are perfect to put these to the test before committing to the full size which I find is on the pricey side. The full size is fairly large though and a little goes a long way so it will last you a long time. If you're new to Tatcha you may also want to look into the Ritual Discovery Kit ($59 each) which comes in Normal, Oily, Sensitive and Dry Skintype options. These are really nice starter kits with enough product to give you a two-week trial introduction to the line. Another useful tool is the Tatcha Online Personal Skin Consultation which is a questionnaire designed to help you pick items that suit your skin type.

You can find Tatcha products online at Tatcha.com and Barneys New York, stockists listed here. I  highly recommend ordering from their website. Tatcha takes great care in their packaging and sample offerings, everything is delivered beautifully wrapped.

P.S. Right now there is a promo code for a complimentary deluxe sample of the Tatcha eye cream (valued at $45) with any Tatcha.com purchase - use code EYECREAM at checkout, it expires on 10/31.

Tatcha sent the mini powder and sample packets courtesy for review. The full size purchased by me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Inside My Bag: MAC Clear Bag Set



I've received lots of requests about clear makeup bags ever since I featured a clear Bobbi Brown cosmetic bag in a few of my inside my bag posts. Unfortunately it was a gift with purchase a few years ago and was never released for purchase which is too bad because it was well made and compact enough to fit into most of my smaller purses. I've been on the hunt for something similar but haven't found anything quite like it. The Truffle Clarity Clutches are a favorite for their sleek look, high quality material and functional design but some have asked for other recommendations. I spotted these new MAC Clear Bag Sets ($25) and immediately went to my MAC counter to investigate. Size dimensions weren't disclosed online so I wasn't sure how small or large these were.

The MAC Clear Bag Set ($25) is a set of two sealable rectangular pouches. One side of each pouch is clear with a black back. They are sleek and compact and the set comes with two different sizes. The zipper glides nicely in a plastic format. Below shows what I was able to fit into each:


The Large Pouch measures approximately 9.4 inches by 5.75 inches. It fits quite a bit inside. I like my flat makeup bags to remain relatively flat so I didn't pack it full. I was able to get the following inside the pouch:


The Small Pouch measures approximately 9.4 inches by 3.1 inches, this one is ideal for smaller sized items like small brushes, pencils, skinny objects or minis. What I was able to fit into the smaller clear front pouch:

Revlon Tweezers


They are both fairly compact in size. The flat design makes them fit easily into your purse and keep everything compact. The material is just ok. It's nicely made but not the best quality. It's not as good as the material used on my Bobbi Brown case or Truffle Pouch. The design of the MAC Clear Bag Set is basic and simple with a no-fuss look, but it lacks a hard backing and the trim is very minimal around the edges which makes it easy to bend. I had one corner folded (accidentally) after putting it inside my purse. It didn't crease completely, but it did get mashed up a bit. The bag isn't ruined and it will probably go back to its original shape if I lay it flat for a short while. I find these functional but in the past I have had issues with other brands of pouches and bags that have the plastic zipper seal - I've found they aren't always the sturdiest and often become misaligned and the pouches stop sealing all together. Only time will tell with these, but so far they do seem to be pretty well made.


I've used these for a couple of weeks and they have held up pretty well although they aren't the sturdiest makeup bags I've tried so I don't know how long they will hold up. I like that the design is simple and sleek. They keep everything compact and having one clear side is nice so you don't have to go digging through your makeup bag to find things. The simplicity in the design has a slight downside in the sense the trim is almost non-exisiting so it is very easy to bend. With thinner plastic material I do sometimes worry about it stretching if things don't stay flat inside making the shape distorted.

Overall I think they are nice. I wouldn't call them must-haves simply because I would have preferred something with a sturdier design. Still, they are functional and I find the price is reasonable for a set of two pouches. These would certainly be a good storage option for brushes if you are looking for something to store them on-the-go.

I purchased the MAC Clear Bag Set for $25 from Nordstrom. It's also available at Macy's and Maccosmetics.com. Do you have a favorite clear makeup bag?



 

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