Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tatcha Sunrise: A Plum Blossom 23-Karat Gold Illuminated Lipstick (Limited-Edition)


Tatcha just launched a new lipstick called Sunrise: A Plum Blossom ($55 for 3g/0.1 oz, made in Japan, limited-edition). As soon as I heard about it I immediately ordered a few as it looked like a pretty plum pink lip color I would wear everyday. Tatcha's Sunrise Lipstick is one of the most luxurious lip colors I think I've ever splurged on. Everything is exquisite from the box to the packaging design of the tube. It's described as a cool plum pink blush color that has a fine hint of 23-karat gold mixed in for a creamy, lustrous finish to flatter any complexion, day or night. I see a very fine veil of gold in the color but on the lips it applies more like a cream. It's very creamy and smooth and glides on the lips easily without having too much slip. I'm so impressed with the way it feels - it's very moisturizing but feels lightweight. I can't detect any scent or taste which is a huge plus. Lasting power for this glossy finish lipstick is pretty impressive. On me it pulls more pink than plum and brightens the entire look for a fresh pink glow. Do note that on me, anything plum-toned tends to pull brighter and more vibrant for some reason. I recommend you check out the swatches on The Non-Blonde and Best Things in Beauty to see how it looks on other skintones.


Tatcha's Sunrise Lip Color is inspired by the first spring time blooms of the iconic pink Japanese Plum Blossoms in Kyoto. Here in Southern California we don't have any but I played tourist in my hometown and took a visit to the Japanese Gardens at Balboa Park to see what blooms I could find. Right now the Pear Trees are in full bloom everywhere with pretty white blossoms.


A closer look at the packaging and intricate details. The lipstick comes in a heavy weight sleek metal tube. It's quite luxurious and I love the clean classic look of it. There are gold details on the cap and base that give this an extra special touch.




Above, on the nails Essie Barefoot and Topless 
Below, a look at the multi-faceted design of the lipstick itself


Another look at the detailing:

Some swatches, applied straight from the tube it adheres well to the lips, but with glossy lipsticks sometimes they swatch sheer on the arm. I have one light and one heavier one to show how you can build the pigment. On the lip swatches lipstick is applied straight from the tube.




Some comparison swatches:


Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lip Color in Bond Girl (reviewed here)
Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Cary (swatched here)
Tom Ford Lip Color in Pink Dusk (on the lips here)
Tom Ford Lip Color in So Vain (on my lips here)
Chanel Rouge Coco Mademoiselle (reviewed here)
Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Rose Blush (swatched here)

Note many of the above colors look similar on the arm, but they are pretty distinct in my opinion, especially on the lips. Tatcha Sunrise is the brightest and most youthful. Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Cary looks a lot deeper and darker on my lips. Tom Ford So Vain is significantly cooler-toned and more blue-based. Chanel Mademoiselle is warmer.



Tatcha's Sunrise A Plum Blossom shade is hands down a winner. Even with the high price point of $55 I think it's something that will be truly a universally flattering color no matter what skintone or lip color you have. Everything from the formula, packaging and way the lipstick is molded is exquisite and well worth the high price tag. I think it's the perfect bright but still somewhat neutral pinkish color with a hint of plum to add life to the complexion this time of year. It's the color I will be wearing on Valentine's Day :) It's a soft romantic pink that has enough pigment to show up but still neutral enough to be on the natural side. I believe it's exclusive to Tatcha.com (where I ordered mine). Since it's limited-edition, I do recommend ordering very soon. The last one that was launched sold out very quickly (it was a red shade and I missed out).

Right now, Tatcha has a promotion to Celebrate the Lunar New Year and a golden future ahead with their Omokage Gold-leaf Hand Mirror, a hand-crafted treasure from Kyoto. You can enjoy a complimentary Hand Mirror with code MIRROR16 at checkout at Tatcha with any order over $200. Begins 2/7/16 while supplies last.

Have you checked out the new Tatcha lipstick yet? If not I hope you will! If you have, I'd love to hear what you think about it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes - Spring 2016


This spring Tom Ford has launched eight shades of Cream Color for Eyes ($45 each for 0.17 fl oz/ 5 ml, made in Italy). Two of the eight shades have been launched before as individual cream colors in Platinum and Spice. One of the shades Caviar has a very close resemblance to Black Oyster Cream Powder Duo from a year ago (swatched here). The new ones launched this spring are smaller in size compared to previous launches, but the quality is still extremely good, easy to blend with pretty good lasting power for a cream shadow. All the colors have some degree of shimmer. According to Tom Ford PR, all the shades in this launch are limited-edition.


I have seven of the new ones swatched and reviewed. I didn't repurchase Spice as I already own the full size and it was also part of the Naked Bronze Cream Powder Eye Duo which is the same for the cream color, but I have re-swatched it for reference. The colors in this launch are quite stunning. Descriptions of each color:
  • Opale is a pale champagne ivory shimmer, the shimmer is smooth and non-glittery, although the shimmer is definitely noticeable
  • Sphinx is an iridescent pink gold peachy duo chrome color, the shimmer flecks are slightly more visible and larger in this one compared to other shades, it's not a full on glittery shade, but the sparkle factor is definitely there, even though there are chunks of sparkle, it's smooth and I didn't experience any fallout
  • Platinum is the perfect lids-but-better kind of subtle contour light beige tan color for me, it has a smooth shimmer that works so good alone or as a blending shade
  • Siren Blue is the only color that I can't see myself wearing alone on a regular basis, I did try this alone and it gives the lids the prettiest wash of aqua colored shimmer. It's not for me alone, but I did try this one layered softly over Midnight Violet and Caviar for two separate looks. Add this one on top and it gives the other shades a soft iridescent sheen.
  • Burnished Copper is a shimmering khaki olive color, it has a very smooth texture similar to that of Platinum
  • Midnight Violet is a deep violet shade, it sheers out when you blend it on the lids, but is easy to layer and build
  • Caviar is a deep metallic grey-black shimmer with tiny flecks of silver shimmer, it's not as sparkly as Sphinx but the shimmer particles are visible for a smokey shimmer look



Close ups of each shade:








To apply the shadows, I like to use fingers or any one of these brushes.


My favorite cream shadow brush to use is actually a concealer brush. The Chanel Brush #10 is my go-to for cream shadows. It has a smooth tip and it's just the right size to blend colors nicely on my lid (not too small and not too wide). I also really like the Laura Mercier Corner Eye Brush for powders and creams. To layer and blend creams as a detail color I like Tom Ford's Eye Definer Brush #15.

Swatches left to right are Platinum, Opale, Sphinx, Spice (original), Siren Blue, Burnished Copper, Midnight Violet and Caviar


I did three different eye looks to share for some ideas, in each one I used only the cream shadows listed, nothing else for eye bases or liners:




For comparisons, I pulled a few other Tom Ford Cream Shadows (most of which have been discontinued or limited-edition colors) and some Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize Cream Shadows. In my testing experience the cream ones from Charlotte Tilbury have the most similar texture in terms of how emollient they are, pigment and color payoff, shimmer and overall quality. I find all of these last extremely well throughout the day without fading, creasing or budging - but do note I think I may be the only person I know who doesn't have oily lids. Most eye bases are too drying for my skin.

Below for size and packaging comparisons:

Swatch Comparisons 1: Note the original and new Platinum colors are identical, but if you've played with it you know that depending on the angle the light hits it sometimes you see more of the shimmer, other times you will see more of the tan base. All the shades in Set 1 are from Tom Ford. Escapade, Pink Haze, Spring 2015 have been d/c.


Swatch Comparisons 2: Shown below are some of the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize Eyeshadows and NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadows.


Based on my comparisons, Tom Ford Opale is a lighter version of Charlotte Tilbury Norma Jean. On my skin once blended, they are similar. I have a slight preference for Norma Jean, but both shades are such pretty neutral shimmers.

NARS Himalia is more metallic and frosted than Tom Ford Platinum. Charlotte Tilbury is a few shades darker and warmer compared to Tom Ford Platinum. I'm a sucker for a good taupe shimmer, but I think Platinum is a must no matter how many other taupes you own.

Between Charlotte Tilbury Bette and Tom Ford Spice, I vote for the Charlotte Tilbury in terms of color choice. It's warmer in color, but I think they are close enough that you don't need both.

Tom Ford Midnight Violet almost seems like a muted violet plum shimmer, but when swatched next to Charlotte Mona Lisa, the Tom Ford almost looks bright.

I don't own many aqua colored shadows, NARS Lysithea is a cool-toned sage, on my skin it pulls almost blue.


Bottom line all winners. With the exception of Siren Blue, I can see myself wearing each color on a regular basis for everyday. They have enough shimmer to dress up the look for an easy evening look. You can always layer powder shadows on top of these colors. They have an emollient texture that makes them super easy to blend. It takes a little bit of time for them to set which I like because then I don't have to rush the blending and layering process. I think the only color some might have issue with is Sphinx - it's the most unique peachy gold shade that flashes pink, but there are tiny micro sparkles I think some might find too sparkly. I really like it, alone or layered over another shade, but if you're super conservative on the shimmer you may want to see if you can test before buying. What I like the most about these is that they brighten the eyes with the prettiest wash of shimmer. They are indeed on the pricey side, but a little goes a long way. All the ones I've purchased in the past have lasted a long time and none of them have gone bad yet.

According to Tom Ford PR, these are all limited-edition. If there's one shade you track down, definitely pick up Platinum if you don't already own it.

You can find the Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes now. Some stores have sold out of certain colors online, so you may have to shop around if you want all the colors. Online at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter and Tom Ford Beauty.

Five of the shades featured sent courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty for review consideration, two of the colors purchased by me.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016 Armani Highlighting Palette and MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer for the Year of the Monkey


Happy Chinese New Year! Today marks the day many of us celebrate Chinese New Year and this year's zodiac animal is the monkey. There are some cute beauty items that have launched to celebrate this event, I have two to feature today. One being the Armani Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette ($88 for 8.5 g/0.3 oz, made in France) and the other is MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer ($17 for 3g/0.1 oz, made in Canada).

Up first is the new highlighting powder from Armani. The Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette comes in a mirrored compact with a compartment for a small brush. The packaging design is similar to that of other highlighting powders and the powder foundation. It's a very soft and subtle highlighter in a gold shade. It does have quite a complex mix of shimmers from champagne and gold. I found the finish to be on the sheer side but it is buildable. Depending on how the light hits the compact, sometimes the color will look more golden and yellow, other times the shimmers will reflect to show more of a champagne colored shimmer. It comes cased in a stunning red lacquered compact. On the top is embossed the Chinese character for good fortune. It was difficult to capture the shimmer in this one but depending on how you apply it, you will see tiny bits of micro sparkle, almost like superfine tiny bits of glitter. It's very smooth on the skin though, there's no texture or chunkiness to the feel.


A look at the packaging design:

Swatched with a heavy hand otherwise it would not show up on camera:



A few swatch comparisons below to:

Armani Fluid Sheer #2 (also swatched here)
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (review)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Brilliant Strobe Light (swatch)
Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder Euphoric Strobe Light (review)


I think it's a nice collective piece to own if you celebrate Chinese New Year or if you simply love Armani highlighters. I find it special because of the packaging design and since I am Chinese, I do think it's a fun piece to own. In terms of the color and quality, it's a high quality powder with a finely milled texture to add a nice glow. On me I find it very subtle. I suspect some may find it too subtle or may not like the tiny gold micro sparkles. I like that it doesn't emphasize pores and it feels very smooth on the skin. That being said, I do prefer the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Powders to this one.

Next up is something from MAC. They've curated a collection of some of their top-selling items (repromotes and permanent items) for the Year of the Monkey Collection - shades inspired by Chinese opera. Online and in MAC stores they have a special gold envelope (while supplies last). I ordered Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer online as it's always been on my radar but I never caved and ordered. It's a beautiful sheer grapefruit color. It's bright but not too bright. You can find the color at all MAC counters and online. It's just the envelope that is limited-edition and exclusive to MAC online/stores. This comes in the lustre lipstick formula which is sheer but buildable. Your natural lip color will show through if you only swipe it across the lips once and it has a naturally glossy finish.




Swatch comparisons to:

Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Coral Confession (swatched here)
YSL Glossy Stain 42 (swatched here)


I think the Armani palette is a nice item to have, but not a must. I ordered mine sight unseen as I did not see it available at any counters near me. Had I been able to test it in person I suspect there's a good chance I still would have purchased it because of the packaging and personal meaning. MAC See Sheer is a good wearable coral that adds life to the complexion. It's a brighter shade compared to my natural preference for nude lips but I still find it very wearable and easy to pull off for everyday.

The Armani Chinese New Year Palette retails for $88 and is limited-edition. You can find it online at Nordstrom, Giorgio Armani and Saks Fifth Avenue.

MAC Lustre Lipstick in See Sheer retails for $17. You can find it at MAC stores and online (they will send a gold envelope with any Chinese New Year collection purchase while supplies last). If you're just interested in the lipstick, it's widely available at all MAC counters. Online at Nordstrom, Macy's and MAC Cosmetics.

Did you check out any of the Chinese New Year beauty items this year? Happy New Year to those who celebrate!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Details and Loves


Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you've been having a great weekend. The sun finally came back here in Southern California and we have weather in the 70s - I can't tell you how much of a mood lifter this warm weekend has been. I've been on a fragrance kick lately, I'll have a roundup of what I have in rotation soon on the blog. I just picked up my first Maison Martin Margiela in Replica Beach Walk (the rollerball mini) which is the most amazing beachy mix. It has bergamot, coconut milk, lemon, pink pepper, and musk ... I think it's only a matter of time before I pick up the full size spray. Right now I've been loving the Chloé Eau de Parfum for a soft femine scent (shown above). I have Love Story on my wishlist but it seems to have a very similar feel to the regular Chloé - if you've tried any of the Chloe perfumes please let me know what your favorite is!

Other details today include the Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara Waterproof in Noir (a go-to these days), NARS Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm (reviewed here) and NARS Babydoll Lip Gloss (such a pretty pink shimmer, lip swatch here). I just started playing with the new Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes last week and am beyond thrilled they've re-launched Platinum. It's one of the best all over lid shades that makes a great easy wash for lazy days. It also makes for a great base for powder shadows. Today I'm testing three layered together. Shown above from top to bottom is Platinum, Opale and Caviar. I have taken photographs of all the shades + swatches, I just need to edit them for a post very soon.

Last but not least, I wanted to do a comparison between two makeup bags. I splurged on the Louis Vuitton Epi Cosmetic Case in Dune last month. The nude pink color is just so pretty and it had been on my wishlist for a long time. I really like the durability and classic look of the Epi line and after thinking about this one for months decided to go for it. A few weeks ago I featured the Tory Burch York Cosmetic Case in my Valentine's Day Gift Guide round up post as a less expensive alternative (it's still on the pricey side, but more affordable). I purchased one in Light Oak which is a nude pink color. It's made of Saffiano textured leather and very sturdy. (More colors here.) If you're looking to treat yourself, a friend or a loved one on a pretty cosmetic case, I think either of these are great.


Here's a side by side comparison. The one from Tory Burch is slightly smaller in size compared to the one from Louis Vuitton, but the overall shape and function is the same.

Tory Burch Small York Case measures 6"W x 4"H x 2 ½"D
Louis Vuitton Epi Cosmetic Case measures 6.7" x 4.7" x 2.4" inches



I hope you are enjoying the last bits of your weekend! If you have any new beauty discoveries, or found some items in your stash that you have rediscovered, I've love to hear about what you are loving right now! P.S. if you're a fan of the Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipsticks note they are being discontinued so if you have any favorite shades you might want to stock up. On February 12th they will be launching a new lipstick formula (30+ shades) - I can't to share more details with you.



Some press samples featured above include NARS Babydoll Lip Gloss, Tom Ford Platinum and Opale Cream Shadows.
 

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