Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bobbi Brown Holiday Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette

A few holiday sets are trickling in stores and Bobbi Brown's first round of holiday palettes are stunning. The one that caught my eye was her new Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette ($75) which contains 10 different eyeshadows and 4 lip glosses. I found this at Nordstrom but don't know if other counters have these yet. I assume very soon if you haven't spotted them recently.

This comes in a similar size to her Chrome Palette from last year, but the colors in this palette are so much better. The shadows are to die for and come in matte, shimmer wash, metallic finishes. They are all soft and easy to blend with excellent pigment. I only wish she would release more singles instead of palettes. The lipglosses are very sheer but will look stunning over other lipsticks.

  • Regulars/Mattes: Ivory, Birch, Navy Charcoal (although this has slight sparkle), Espresso
  • Shimmer Washes: Antique Pink, Quarry, Heather Rose
  • Metallics: Oyster Grey, Taffeta, Gold Thread

The glosses (first three from the left are glitters):

Overall stunning and absolutely gorgeous. The shades were all swatched without any base or moisturizer so you can imagine how much better they will look when used over a proper base. The swatches simply cannot do these justice. Definitely a winner and a must have, even with the high price tag. It's extremely versatile and you'll get a lot of different looks using this palette.

The other eyeshadow and lip palettes were also to die for. I'm just waiting for another event/gwp which I believe will happen soon at Neimans.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Le Métier de Beauté Le Cirque Kaleidoscope Eye Kit

The Le Cirque Kaleidoscope Eye Kit by Le Métier de Beauté ($95) was launched a few weeks ago and it is truly stunning. This kit has one of the most unique color combinations I have ever seen - I don't think I have ever seen a palette quite like this. Each shade has a complex mix of colors that give off a luminous sheen. It's beautiful when layered (from the top shade to the bottom) and extremely versatile for a subtle daytime look and gorgeous for evening as well. I've been eagerly anticipating this ever since the lovely Gaia gave us her preview on The Non-Blonde (about 2 months waiting!). My kit didn't come with the colors named, but you can see the color names on Gaia's blog and note that each color is currently not available for sale individually.

There are four shades in the kit. All are shimmery but not overly so. The shadows are high in quality, soft and easy to blend. The texture is hard to describe, but this palette seems to be softer than most other Le Metier shadows I've tried which allows you to blend all over the eye with ease. I agree with Gaia's review that they are slightly powdery with a bit of residue after you swipe the product with the brush, but there is no fall out when applied to the eye. I would have never thought of combining these shades together, but when applied the final result is gorgeous.

Here are my descriptions:
  • The top shade is a multi-dimensional color, light beige-grey with an opalescent pink & green sheen. I couldn't find anything like it. It reminds me of colors like MAC Hush and Vex in that there is a slight duochrome quality, but the Le Métier is not as frosty, it simply glows. I've compared it to MAC Vex (more pink and lighter) and Paul & Joe #18 (more silver, no duochrome).
  • The second shade is a shimmering (slightly frosty) neutral taupe. I've compared it to MAC Satin Taupe and Le Métier Corinthian. It's almost an exact dupe to Corinthian, but the Le Cirque taupe has less silver shimmer making it less frosty and more glowy.
  • The third shade is a shimmering plum-brown. I've compared it to Bordeaux (almost an exact dupe, but the Bordeaux is frostier and has more red) and also Stila Twig (darker, more pigmented and more brown). The Le Cirque shade has this special red sparkle flecks that the other shades do not.
  • The bottom shade is a deep smokey brightened purple. It's more intense than Le Métier's Water Sapphire and deeper in color. This shade is the least shimmery but it does have a subtle sparkle which gives it some depth.

The top shade (when photographed at an angle, you can see the green in it):

Top shade comparisons:

Second shade:
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Second shade comparisons:

Third shade:

Third shade comparisons:

Bottom shade:

Bottom shade comparisons:

If you own Bordeaux or Corinthian, you may think you won't be needing this kit. I wasn't able to compare these in person before purchasing it but I still think it is well worth the price given that Le Metier Individual Eyeshadows cost $30 each. I like that the shadows in the Le Cirque Eye Kit have this luminous quality that allows you to layer each shade and get a soft or deep glowy eye. The compact comes with a mirror that flips up. I find it a bit difficult to hold in my hand and apply with this mirror, but I suppose it could be handy for touch ups.

At this time I do not know if this kit is limited edition or not, I have yet to see a Kaleidoscope Kit that is permanent, so this is one thing I would recommend you get now so you don't regret missing out once it's sold out.

Those not familiar with this line, Le Metier de Beaute is a luxury brand available at Bergdorf Goodman, select Neimans and Nordstroms, Fred Segal and various boutiques and salons. Check their website for listed locations. I have a number of reviews on this brand you can check out by clicking the Le Metier de Beaute label below or on the sidebar.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Butter London All Hail McQueen

Butter London's All Hail McQueen seems to be the season's hottest neutral for nails. Raved about by Amy from Café Makeup, Gaia of The Non-Blonde and Soaper1 on Karla Sugar - this instantly caught my attention and I knew I had to try it. All three reviews give us a slightly different glimpse of this beautiful shade. I loved how it looked in each review and immediately ordered one for myself.

The color is a complex holographic beige with bits of reflective particles in various shades of gold, silver, beige, tan, yellow - very hard to describe. Unfortunately the holographic quality only really shows up when the light hits it directly. It's a beautiful shade, no doubt, but on my skintone, I feel it makes my hands look aged and tired. I actually prefer OPI's DS Classic shade which is similar, just less brownish/grey, warmer and slightly brighter.

The formula itself is very sheer. I had to ask the salon to apply three coats to get it to show up. Lasting power was decent - it lasted about 3 days without any wear, chipping or flaking and I didn't reapply any top coat after the initial application.

OPI DS Classic vs. Butter London All Hail McQueen

Overall pretty, just not really super flattering on my skintone unless the sun shines on my fingers directly. I personally prefer Butter London's Yummy Mummy (reviewed and compared here) and also Chanel Particuliere for a more contrasted shade of beige/grey. It's beautiful when the light hits, but just not really cup of tea. I will probably be sending this to a close friend who I know will go gaga over this shade and won't mind that I used it already.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Work Bag Essentials + Back-To-The-Office Survival Kit

It's back to the grind and I am still trying to adjust to my new job. Trying to get used to the office work wear, pumps (instead of my comfy sandals), having to be stuck in one building for 9 hours straight, office politics. I've done my best to fill my work bag with a few little luxuries to brighten the work day but I've still been missing quite a few office necessities that I keep forgetting to pack. This problem was miraculously solved today as I received the best package from my sister: The Back To The Office Survival Kit. Cutest thing ever. I now have everything I need to survive the work week.

First up, Inside My Work Bag: I amazed even myself that all this fit inside, but you can see how I was missing quite a few survival necessities

LV Epi Jasmin Purse, LV Damier Azur Alexandra Wallet, Paul & Joe Makeup Bag, Miscellaneous Candies, Chewing Gum, Splenda packets, Red Moleskin Notebook, L'Occitane Hand Cream

Le Metier Marchesa Card, Chanel Rouge Coco, Chanel Rouge Allure Laque, Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss, Edward Bess Lipliner + Compact Rouge, Laura Mercier Mini Brushes, Chantecaille Lip Chic, MAC Mini Face Brush, Chanel Powder Foundation, Paul & Joe Lip Lacquer, Lancome Juicy Tube

What came in the mail today, best package ever! All the practical things I need for office survival (instead of the million lipglosses I crammed into my makeup bag):

Close ups of just a few of my favorite things she sent:

(My sister can read my mind, I was thinking about this same thing the other day)

To my dear sister: thanks a million :) All the little notes made my day and brought a smile that washed away all the stress and anxiety from the office. I only wish she lived near me instead of hours and hours away.

Working girls - what are your work-bag essentials? What kinds of things do you do or bring with you to help get you through the week?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

YSL Rouge Volupté Perle 104 Stellar Pink

When YSL Fall arrived instores during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I fell in love with the Rouge Volupté Perle in Beige Caress #101. I had swatched the other shades and initially thought 103 and 104 resembled MAC Lame/Sequin, but on another occasion swatched them again and looked at the colors in natural light and was surprised how wearable #104 Stellar Pink was and ran right back in to get it.

I would describe it as a soft mauve pink rose with a slight (very slight) blue iridescent quality. I normally can't wear any lip items with a blueish sheen but this one is just beautiful. These have a super soft texture and feel like a lip balm on the lips but show up quite well. I like that these have a glossy sheen for the finish and they taste like candy. The scent isn't too noticeable but does smell like other Rouge Voluptés.

You can read my review of these on Beige Caress, but to recap - the Perles have a more forgiving finish than the regular Rouge Voluptés which due to their opaqueness can look a bit fake and thick if not applied carefully. The Perle formula is more natural but still shows up pretty well on the lips.

If you already have MAC Lame and don't mind the frosty quality, then I'd say it's pretty similar in color. I find adding a bit of clear gloss or lip balm to MAC frost finish lipsticks can tone down the frost quality. (Lame is one of the few shades I have gone through a full tube of, although I always find I need to tweak it a bit with gloss to keep it from looking too metallic on the lips.) Here is the YSL compared to MAC Lame and Chanel Legende (mini size):

Pricey at $34 but I like that this lipstick does not require any additional work (liner or gloss) to make it work on me. It's an easy swipe and go type of shade. I found mine at Nordstrom. I'm not all that familiar with YSL so I can't say whether or not this is limited edition or not.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chanel Steel Le Vernis

Might be a bit too early in the year for a dark manicure but Chanel Steel is one shade that I just couldn't wait to put on. I swatched the Soho Le Vernis in Steel & Strong last week and decided to go with Steel first. I find these shades typical of certain shimmery Chanel Le Vernis shades like Jade Rose, Paradoxal, Vendetta etc. in that what you see in the bottle isn't exactly what you get on the nails. In this case, what you see in the bottle is a deep grey laced with silver pearly streaks. What you get on the nails is more of a deep midnight steel blue-black.

Here are a few close up shots and further below it's on a full manicure (2 coats although 1 would have been sufficient) in different lighting so you can see the full effect.

Outdoors, natural light, this is what it looks like with a bit of sun shining:

This is what you see without direct sunlight or flash:

Photographed with high flash against Black Caviar Leather (you can see the blue sheen):

Also against Black Caviar Leather, but without direct flash (the color on the nails is dark but not a pure black):

I compared it in my previous post to a few other shades, Chanel Noir Ceramic and Essie Over The Top (see last week's post). In looking at my other colors again, I thought it might be similar to Lippmann's Hit Me With Your Best Shot, but I find the quality of the Chanel superior as you only need 1 coat while for the other you need at least 3 to get a rich opaque finish. The Lippmann shade has a more steely-blue cast, but if you have this color and don't mind applying more coats then I think they are similar enough that you don't need the Chanel.

Chanel Steel vs. Lippmann Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Next to Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle - you can see the blueish tones:

It's perfect for fall. Not too black and has a rich opaque finish (as you can see with just one coat swatched). I find it a tad thicker than most Chanel nail polishes (Strong as well) so you may want to adjust your application slightly with that in mind. Worth every penny.

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