Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tom Ford Lips & Boys - Beauty Look Book Picks


Tom Ford launched 50 shades of clutch-sized lipstick last month with the Lips and Boys collection as an online exclusive for a very short period of time. Ordering the colors I wanted was a bit tricky for me since many of the colors sold out on different sites almost instantly. They are making a comeback though, while supplies last, online now at Nordstrom, Saks and Bloomingdales. They are expected to launch again on December 26th at select Tom Ford counters and boutiques, also online at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman. I have my neutral picks to share with you along with swatches and thoughts.


The Tom Ford Lips & Boys are clutch-sized lipsticks priced at $32 each for 0.07 oz/2 g. They are in between the sizes of the full sized Lip Colors and baby gift with purchase Lip Colors. For size reference here are all three options lined up side by side.

Full Size is .1 oz / 3 g priced at $50 each
Lips & Boys are 0.07 oz / 2 g priced at $32 each
Baby Gift with Purchase is 0.03 oz / 1 g 

After playing with the shades for several weeks I can say that my overall impressions are positive. I think the lip colors are the strong point of Tom Ford's beauty line and have been impressed with pigment, coverage and feel ever since the first launch back in 2011. The Lips & Boys have two different finishes. There are shimmery shades and then there are cream shades. Some of the creams have a tiny bit of shimmer in the tube but on the lips they apply more like a true cream. Pigments range from sheer to medium to full depending on color. Closeups and arm swatches below:


Photographing 15 lipsticks on one arm was a bit tricky because of my arm curve and also because many of the colors have this natural glossy sheen. I have several shots to try and capture the colors and show you the difference between the nudes:




Close ups and lip swatches with descriptions of each shade:


  • Addison is a creamy full coverage medium neutral pink, the coverage is perfection, Addison is reported to be a repromote of Pink Dusk - I find Addison about a 1/2 shade darker than Pink Dusk
  • Alexander is a full coverage bright pink with cool tones, on my lips it pulls very blue, this one emphasizes dry patches and lip lines
  • Beau is a full coverage creamy nude, it's almost flesh-tone on me, it's reported to be a dupe of Blush Nude, in the tubes Beau is slightly more pinkish, Blush Nude is a tiny bit lighter and more beige
  • Cary is a full coverage deep mauve pink, it pulls brighter on my lips
  • Flynn is a baby pink with medium coverage







  • Henry is full coverage shimmering brown, on my lip/complexion it pulls very orange
  • Ian is a sheer shimmery light pink nude
  • Orlando is a sheer frosted mauve nude tan
  • Patrick is a bright medium coverage coral pink, texture was patchy on this one
  • Peter is a shimmering medium coverage neutral pink with pale champagne shimmers






  • Rory is sheer shimmering pale gold, it goes on patchy if your lips aren't well prepped
  • William is a medium coverage shimmering warm nude peachy pink, this is reported to be a repromote of Pink Dune, I don't find them similar, Pink Dune is more beige and glossy, William is a lot warmer almost peachy gold by comparison
  • Julian is a full coverage medium cool pink
  • Luca is a medium to full coverage coral with contrasted pale champagne frost mixed in
  • Olivier is a medium coverage cool pale pink






Swatching 15 lipsticks was extremely harsh on my lips with all the wiping and re-applying so some of the swatch photos may look a bit dry. I found that the shimmery shades have a high level of pale frost in them which ended up emphasizing lip lines with a camera flash or super dry lips. I think prepping the lips and making sure they are hydrated is key - but I do think extra moisture is needed right now with the dry winter weather. The creams performed the best for me with the exception of Patrick which I found applied patchy and uneven (it took extra work). Still with the creams you need a well hydrated or smooth lip because the pigment is rich and creamy with full coverage.

My favorite shades include William, Peter, Addison, Ian, Orlando and Luca. I personally don't like Alexander, Julian & Olivier because cool-toned pinks just don't work well with my skin although they are very pretty pinks. I had application issues with Rory and Patrick (at least straight from the tube). Henry for some reason turns very orange on me.

Overall my thoughts are thumbs up on most of the colors. The clutch size is just so adorable - I can never resist a mini. The price point is still a bit steep but I have an easier time justifying $32 vs $50 on a lipstick (even if the size is small).

If you're not able to see these in person before purchasing, I highly recommend researching swatches and reviews online. I won't have time to do comparison swatches but there are many resources that have helpful reviews you can find on other blogs. The Tom Ford Beauty discussion thread on Specktra.net is extremely helpful, many have chimed in on their thoughts, added swatches, photos and have additional shopping tips.

If any of these interest you at all I recommend you order sooner than later because I think it's a good assumption that these will sell out very quickly. You can find the Tom Ford Lips & Boys online now at Nordstrom, Saks and Bloomingdales. Available for pre-order at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Expected to launch at Tom Ford counters, boutiques and online this week on December 26th.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. I will be taking a few days off from the blog to enjoy time with loved ones. Merry Christmas from me to you! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chanel Collection Rêverie Parisienne Blush Camélia Rosé and Angélique


Chanel has two stunning options for cheeks this spring in the Collection Rêverie Parisienne. There is a beautiful floral cheek powder called Blush Camélia Rosé ($55 for 3 g/0.1 oz, limited-edition) and a new Joues Contraste called Angélique #190 ($45 for 6 g/0.21 oz). Both look like spring in powder form and they look quite stunning in the compacts.

The Blush Camélia Rosé has two shades in one compact. There is a soft light pink and a medium rose intertwined in a stunning camellia rose pattern. The overall tone is cool-toned and there is a slight hint of silver sparkle in the powder. On my medium olive skin this is semi-sheer but has a glowy finish. It does show up on my Chanel Beige 30 skin but it is very subtle. My first impression when I saw this was to think "this is so tiny!" - I do wish Chanel had skipped the brush on this one and made the powder larger like the Beiges De Chanel or seasonal highlighters. Still, it is remarkably beautiful in the compact and on the skin. If you need something more dramatic or visible but still natural and glowy I would recommend Hourglass Mood Exposure (reviewed here and here).



Angélique #190 Joues Contraste is a stunning peachy pink blush. It has a super smooth texture with a glowy finish. I found the pigment in this one just perfect. It has a lovely mix of pink, peach and rose in it so warms and brightens up the skin. If I had to pick one of the two cheek options, this would hands down be it.



Here are the two spring shades swatched side by side:


A few comparisons:


Hourglass Incandescent Electra (exclusive to the blush palette)
Chanel Espiegle (discontinued)


I'm in love with Angélique Blush. It is such a pretty peachy pink that I tend to gravitate towards. I have mixed feelings about the Blush Camélia Rosé mainly because of the size. It is a pretty soft pink rose that has a lovely glow but I do wish it had just a tiny bit more pigment on my medium skin.

For reference on other Chanel Spring 2015 reviews:


You should be able to find Chanel spring at all counters now. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bloomingdales and Chanel.com.




Monday, December 22, 2014

Favorite Makeup Tools for Face, Cheeks and Eyes


I've compiled several detailed brush guides this year but several of my readers have asked for a more consolidated list of recommendations. Like most of my beauty routine, when it comes to makeup tools, I rarely stick to just one brand. I think different lines have certain strengths in particular areas.  Some have a better shape while others are made of better materials. There is a lot to sort through in terms of brush shape, size, material and price point. For me, it's really important that I am able to test a brush in person before purchasing it so I tend to stick to main stream brands. Today I've compiled a list of my most reached-for tools for face, cheeks and eyes.


My top picks for brush brands include MAC, Chanel and Tom Ford. In my experience, the overall best brand for quality and price is MAC. I own many MAC brushes that have lasted me over a decade. I like that the brushes have a simple and sleek design and the quality is consistent among all the tools regardless of material or type.

Chanel is also another great brand that I use a lot for brushes and tools. They recently redesigned all their brushes (I think in the last year or so) for a more modern look. The tools work really well with all brands of makeup. There are many similarities in shapes between MAC and Chanel although the material is very different in most of the tools. 

If price is no object, Tom Ford hands down makes the best brushes I've ever tested. All the brushes are super soft and plush and perform the best out of all the tools I've tried. The cream foundation brush is the only brush that gives me a streak-free application for foundation or tinted moisturizer. Tom Ford's brushes are among the few brands I ordered sight unseen. I splurged on a brush set a few years ago and although it made a serious dent in my wallet but I have no regrets and it makes applying makeup a truly luxurious experience each day.



1 / Beautyblender ($19.95) is the best sponge I've used. I just discovered it this year and don't know how I ever got along without it. There are multiple colors and types of beautyblenders but the pink one performs the best. Use it damp and it expands and applies foundation flawlessly.

2 / MAC Duo Fibre Face Brush #187 ($42) everyone needs a good skunk brush. These are fluffy brushes with two types of material mixed in. The uses for this are endless. I like to use mine to apply powder bronzer or highlighters to the face. You can also use these with cream products or to buff out powder foundation or to blend items. MAC also makes the Duo Fiber brushes in a number of other formats like the Short Handled #187 and a tapered Blush #159 version. I like the classic version the best.

3 / MAC Large Angled Contour #168 ($35) is super soft and fluffy angled contour brush. I use this for bronzer or blush (primarily powders). It's also a good blending tool. The angled edge helps control application.

4 / Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush #02 ($72) is the best foundation brush I've used. It's one of the most expensive tools I own but worth every penny. When I use this to apply liquid or cream foundations, application is flawless and completely streak free. I normally prefer to use sponges for foundation but often times they soak up so much product. This is the closest thing I have to getting a sponge-finish look with foundation but in brush format.

5 / Chanel Foundation Brush #6 ($45) is my most reached-for foundation brush. It's not quite as perfect as the Tom Ford, but for me it's the next best thing. I like this for cream blushes too.

6 / Chanel Blush Brush #4 ($54) is my favorite blush brush because of the shape and material. It's medium-sized and compact but has just the right amount of density to pick up color and dispense it perfectly on the cheeks. MAC makes a lot of good blush brushes too which are very good quality, but I find myself reaching for the Chanel the most.

7 / Chanel Powder Brush #1 ($65) is my favorite dense but soft powder brush. I use this for loose powder, pressed powder and powder foundation. It comes out of the box tapered but once you wash it it fluffs up quite a bit while still retaining a round shape. I like that it's sturdy with a substantial handle but still easy to hold and maneuver.



1 / MAC Blending Brush #217 ($24) is the best white fluffy brush you can find for $24. This is key for me in terms of blending shadows for a subtle gradient. I also like to use this as a regular eyeshadow brush when I want an all over lid color.

2 / MAC Eye Shading Brush #239 ($25) is in my top 2 picks along with MAC Brush #217. This is my all time favorite eyeshadow brush. It picks up color really well and blends powders together nicely. I like that it's dense but super soft.

3 / Tom Ford Eyeshadow Contour Brush #12 ($56) is another favorite. This is my do-it-all kind of brush. It applies shadow on the lids, it will contour or smoke out darker colors and the tip is dense for a smokey eye.

4 / MAC Shader Brush #242 ($25) is what I like for cream shadows (or concealer too). This one has lasted me the longest, I think it was one of the first MAC brushes I bought for myself. It has a really nice round tip making application easy and smooth on the eye (so it doesn't poke the skin).

5 / Chanel Large Eyeshadow Brush #25 ($38) is a medium to large eyeshadow brush that isn't too big or fluffy. I do like a good fluffy brush, but these days I find myself reaching for this one because it isn't as thick or dense making it easier for me to control color and application. If you want something fluffy, soft and more dense, the Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep Brush is one of my favorites.

6 / Laura Mercier Smudge Brush ($24) is a good dense detail brush. It's stiff but not too stiff so it's easy on sensitive skin or eyes. I like this one to smudge eyeshadow or eyeliner. I use this instead of a regular liner brush because I like a more smudged softer line to define the eyes. It offers precise application but if you are looking for something super precise, I'd recommend the Bobbi Brown Eye Liner Brush or the Angled Eye Definer Brush.

7 / Trish McEvoy Laydown #40 ($42) is one of my favorite multi-purpose brushes. I like this for powder eyeshadow, cream eyeshadow and concealer. I owned this back when Trish McEvoy had gold handles for the brushes (they are now lucite). It's the perfect shape, size and density for creams to get a good smooth and even application.

8 / Charlotte Tilbury Eyelash Curler ($20) is one of the newest eyelash curlers I've tried. When I first tried it I wasn't super impressed because it's called the "Life Changing Lashes" eyelash curler and well, it simply didn't change my life. I found it just as good as my Trish McEvoy and Chanel eyelash curlers but not anything super special. I've since tried a few others from other brands like Shiseido and Shu Uemura and have really come to appreciate the design and shape of the Charlotte Tilbury. It has just the right amount of curve to fit my eye shape. Many others are too flat or not curved enough. The wrong shape will either pinch my eyes around the corners or miss lashes making the curl uneven. I give the Charlotte Tilbury a huge thumbs up for the way it performs. 

9 / Trish McEvoy Eyelash Curler ($20) is a classic go-to for me. I have several of these right now and  it's been my most-replaced tool (some recommend you change or the pads these every 90 days, I tend to use these longer replacing once every 6 months). It just works the way an eyelash curler is supposed to. It grabs all the lashes and curls them evenly and in a round flared up shape. 



I have some additional thoughts on brushes focusing on double duty or recycling. Based on the above guides, you might be wondering what I recommend for eyeliner, concealer, crease, bronzer, brows or lips.

I think a lot of tools can be used multiple ways which means you can stretch out the uses. Having multiple brushes can be extremely useful so you don't have to worry about mixing colors or washing brushes frequently if you change from a light to a dark color for a certain tool. I do like brushes that will do multiple things though. For bronzer, I will sometimes use my blush or powder brushes. For the eye crease or contour I find the MAC #217 works just perfectly. For concealer I like blending with the fingers or a sponge.


For brow a lot of brow pencils come with a brush on the end to smooth out the color. I've bought a few brow combs before but find they don't last me very long so I like to recycle my mascara wands after they are used up. Rinse the end with soap and warm water and you've got a lash comb and brow comb in one that you can toss whenever without worrying about throwing money away.

Lip pencils often come with a lip brush at one end so I don't find the need to purchase a separate lip brush for gloss or lipstick. Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana have lip brushes which I find handy.


Last but not least, long time readers know I'm a fan of recycling candle jars. I use them to store brushes, pencils, lip gloss and office supplies. Diptyque and Jo Malone are my favorite to recycle. I just clean them out with warm-to-hot soapy water and a dish sponge. My candles don't always have a clean burn so often times there are remnants of wax stuck on the sides. Some recommend freezing or using boiling water. I find that using anything too drastic with temperature changes can crack the glass or melt off the sticker (which I like to keep in tact).

If you're just starting to build up your collection of makeup tools I hope you found this guide helpful. It can be overwhelming to sort through all the options so I have found the best way to start is to focus on one area at a time (i.e. start with eyeshadow brushes or blush brushes) and do your research. If you're an in-store kind of shopper, I highly recommend bringing a small list of options you've found interesting or with high ratings. Having a list can be helpful in case you want to see different brands in one store. Some brushes go by number so writing the numbers down is handy unless you have a super good memory, I often have to look at the numbers on my MAC brushes when someone asks me "which brush is that?"

Building a good brush collection will take some time but it doesn't have to be complicated. Brushes can be pricey especially when you add them up so I do recommend taking your time to research in advance to make sure you find ones that work best for your specific needs or wants.

I hope you found this guide on my favorites helpful to start!





This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions my own. All tools my own. For more information you can refer to my Disclosures.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Inside My Bag


I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! I have a few things to share that I've been loving lately - all of which are compact in size making it easy to slip into a flat leather clutch.

First, Elizabeth and James just released a new Solid Perfume Compact for Nirvana Black and White. It's the prettiest solid perfume compact I've seen. It comes in heavy duty a mirrored compact with the same detail as the full size bottles. It's currently a VIB/VIB Rouge Exclusive at Sephora.com through 12/27 and will be officially launch in the new year. The solid Nirvana Black smells just like the Eau De Parfum and Rollerball (full review on those here) with decent lasting power.

Next, I've been really enjoying the Tom Ford Lips & Boys clutch-sized lipsticks. I have posted a few sneak peeks here and on my Instagram, I'm working as fast as I can to get the full review and swatches up this week. Below is William, a sheer glossy nude peach shimmer.

NARS is a regular go-to these days with their Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Dione (review) and Audacious Lipstick in Barbara (review). I've been shopping my stash with both formulas.

For the dry winter weather, I've been using hand cream and lip balms religiously. Two I really like at the moment is L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand cream mini that I got as a gift with purchase at the boutique (always a classic) and the Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer.



Full clutch contents this weekend:

1 / NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara
4 / Chocolate Mints Tin
5 / Louis Vuitton Key ring
6 / L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
9 / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (review soon)
10 / Tom Ford Lips & Boys in William
12 / iPhone


Hope you have a lovely Sunday afternoon!

The Elizabeth & James solid compact was provided for review consideration. The mini L'Occitane hand cream was a gift with purchase in store. All other items purchased by me.

 

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