Sunday, October 31, 2010

Laura Mercier Color Wardrobe Holiday 2010

This holiday season seems to be all about palettes and sets. Laura Mercier has quite a few options this holiday but the only one that stood out to me was the Color Wardrobe Palette. I purchased this from the last Neimans Incircle Event to take advantage of their gift with purchases but was under the impression the retail value was less than the $98 listed price. I will say my jaw dropped when I saw the price on the receipt. I do think it's a relatively good value for 6 eyeshadows, 3 blushes (these have more product than a full sized blush), 8 lip colors, and 2 double ended brushes, however if I knew the retail price beforehand I probably would have passed on this.

  • Top Layer, Top Row: Chocolate, Sable, Twinkling Star, Stellar, Tiger’s Eye and Baroque Eye Colours
  • Top Layer, Bottom Row: Spice, Apricot Blossom and Lotus Cheek Colours
  • Bottom Layer, Top Row: Mulberry Stain, Hibiscus Stain, Shy Pink Stain, Plum Lip Glaze
  • Bottom Layer, Bottom Row: English Rose Stain, Brick Red Stain, Mocha Stain, Naked Lip Glaze

If you're more into the individual products the good news is that most of the lip stains are available individually. I've been told that the 2 exclusive eyeshadows Twinkling Star & Tiger's Eye are going to be released next year (these are a new sparkling formula). The three blushes are gorgeous but are similar to existing colors. I compared them at the counter and they are clearly different but still close to some shades.

Don't get me wrong - this is a beautiful palette and very versatile to take you from day to night. The lip colors are neutrals with a kick. My favorite items are the brushes (Laura always does great brushes with her palettes unlike many other brands) and the blushes. I just would have rather purchased items individually.

The colors, descriptions, close ups + swatches of the top layer:

  • Chocolate - shimmering deep cocoa chocolate brown
  • Sable - cool silver-taupe
  • Twinkling Star - glittering champagne with a hint of pink
  • Stellar - neutral champagne nude
  • Tiger’s Eye - sparkling warm bronze
  • Baroque - warm tawny brownish neutral

  • Spice - the name says it all, a warm brown spice with slight shimmer
  • Apricot Blossom - reminds me of Orange Blossom
  • Lotus - bright pink with shimmer, brighter/cooler than Lotus Pink

The colors, descriptions, close ups + swatches of the top layer:

Lip Stains:
  • Mulberry - warm red brown
  • Hibiscus - bright healthy pink
  • Shy Pink - nude pink
  • English Rose - medium warm pink rose
  • Brick Red - not sure what to make of this color, it's not really a brick red
  • Mocha - cinnamon mocha brown

Lip Glazes:
  • Plum Lip Glaze - sheer glossy plum
  • Naked Lip Glaze - light peachy-beige, almost clear

Overall a nice neutral polished and classic looking palette that isn't too neutral. If you're new to Laura Mercier or are looking for a versatile palette to go with virtually everything in your wardrobe this is a great pick for you. Great for travel and the product sizes are decent. I don't know that I would be comfortable toting this around in my purse but the compact is fairly sturdy and comes with high quality brushes. It is on the pricey side but if you consider all the items you get, it's a relatively good value.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Burberry Beauty Blushes: Russet & Blossom

My initial thoughts about the blushes from Burberry Beauty were that most of the colors would be too dark for my medium skintone. Diane and I had visited the counter the week after the line launched at South Coast Plaza back in July. After swiping and brushing several shades on my hand and testing a couple on the face I thought they swatched pretty dark except for Peony (reviewed here). I tested out Cameo on the face and it turned really dark on the skin so I thought the other shades would be just as dark. Diane from Orange To L.A. did a lovely review of Blossom and it has been on my lemming list ever since.

Left: Russet, Right: Blossom

I checked out the Burberry line again in San Francisco back in August and tried Russet and Blossom once again. I was pleasantly surprised to find that these two shades applied much better on the face compared to what swatched on my hand and also were much better than what I saw in the compact. The blushes have a similar texture to the eyeshadows: soft finish, finely milled, slightly more powdery feeling than most pressed powder blushes. There is a lot of pigment in these but the soft texture allows you to blend and layer softly for a natural look.

In natural outdoor lighting, no flash:

Russet is the perfect shade of tawny - beautiful for fall. This was the shade I had my eye on from the beginning but when swatched on my fingers appeared way too brown and orangey. Don't let that fool you - if you can get to a counter try it on the face. It's beautiful. Amy from Café Makeup just did a beautiful review - you can see how pretty it is on her and she has fairer skin than me. I didn't have time to do a comparison but it reminds me of Chanel Tweed Sienna and Ambre.

Blossom is a beautiful complex-but-not-too-frosty coral that brightens the skin. I thought this would turn orangey on my skin as well but it brightens the face with a lovely glow. It's like NARS Torrid but with a bit more pink and doesn't have that overly-frosty finish that NARS shimmer blushes can sometimes have.

All three of my Burberry Blushes swatched on bare skin: Russet, Blossom & Peony

One last view:

Overall thought: Love but I wish the line had a bigger color selection. The Burberry Beauty Line has beautiful packaging and design with high quality products. For those not familiar with Burberry Beauty, it is currently exclusive to and a few select Nordstrom locations in the US.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dior Minaudière in Grey Golds 001 (Saks)

I couldn't resist. Pretty packaging, sparkly black gold + shimmery cool taupe and I was sold on the Minaudière in Grey Golds 001 from Saks. You saw my feature of the Dior Minaudière in Pink Golds 002 last week. Here are photos of the Grey Golds version - my favorite of the two options and as far as I know, exclusive to Saks in the U.S.

On the nails, Chanel Cosmic Violine, top from Banana Republic

The Grey Golds version has a black with gold sparkles, cool shimmery taupe, and a lovely warm white-gold sparkle. The eyeshadows apply true to what you see in the pan. They are softer in texture than the quints making them easier to blend. All shades are very shimmery.

The lip colors are a bit more deceiving. In the compact you see a dark vampy plum and a white-gold sparkle. When you swatch them, the plum actually applies more red and the white gold applies even more sparkly than what you see in the compact.

Here are the shadows of the 2 clutch palettes from Dior:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lancome Le Gris L'Wren 021

I'm sure you've already seen the previews of the holiday colors from The Lancome Blog. One can never really tell what to expect from backstage or runway photos. I was expecting a steel grey with a hint of blue but what arrived was a blue with slight grey tones in a metallic finish. The red shade Le Rouge L'Wren 020 (reviewed last week here) seems more holiday-appropriate but the blue shade is still lovely nevertheless and it is indeed swoon-worthy.

Here it is with 2 coats, no base or top coat:

I was prepared to do a full comparison to steely greys but since it's definitely more blue, I searched through my stash for blue-greys. Here it is compared to a few other blueish shades, l to r: NARS Full Metal Jacket, Rescue Beauty Lounge Stormy*, Lancome Le Gris L'Wren 021, MAC Blue India

* The Nars & RBL shades were previously featured here.

Overall thoughts:
Lovely color but I prefer the red one released in the holiday collection. In terms of the finish/texture Le Gris L'Wren gives full coverage with 2 coats but I found it slightly goopy making it a bit difficult to apply evenly. Do note that I am a bit clumsy when it comes to self application of nail polish. Not everyone will find this hard to work with. The metallic finish makes it a bit streaky if not applied with a steady hand. To me, Le Gris L'Wren seems like a pearl version of MAC Blue India. Still Lancome has caught my attention and I hope they will continue to release more shades in the US.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bobbi Brown Everything Eye Kit - Bloomingdale's Holiday Exclusive

Holiday palettes and kits are being released everywhere and it seems like there's something new from Bobbi Brown every week. I can hardly keep track. Bloomingdale's has a new exclusive holiday set this year called the Everything Eye Kit ($85). It comes with a 5-pan eyeshadow palette, full-sized Everything Mascara in Black and a new Thunderstorm Gel Eye Liner.

The palette contains a mix of regular, sparkle and shimmer wash colors. Inside it has (left to right) Navajo, Gold Bar Sparkle, Quarry Shimmer Wash, Pink Copper Sparkle and Caviar. Navajo/Caviar are repromotes. Gold Bar and Pink Copper are labeled as "sparkles" but they seem remarkably similar to those Diamond Dust shadows Bobbi Brown released around 2006. They don't seem like her regular sparkle shadow formula in the sense that they aren't chunky but they do have quite a bit of sparkle. Quarry is a gorgeous silvery smokey shimmer - I wish she would release this in a full sized individual color.

Thunderstorm Eyeliner is a new exclusive shade. It's a dark neutral grey with tiny silver sparkles. It looks remarkably similar to the other darker blacks and greys in the container. I would say Thunderstorm is a less blue version of Graphite Shimmer Ink.

Here it is compared to Graphite Shimmer Ink, Black Ink, Caviar Ink and Gunmetal Shimmer Ink Gel Liners from Bobbi Brown. When you scroll down to the swatches you'll see the difference between each color. In the pots they all look the same. On the skin it's a bit different. (Note: A number of these were from various GWPs over past years but I've lost track of which ones I received as gifts.)

My thoughts: It's a pretty set but not a must-have for long-time Bobbi Brown fans - this set will probably be a replica of what you already own. If it weren't for the GWP for beauty benefits at Bloomies I probably wouldn't have bought this kit. I do think it's a great starter kit for those who are looking for a good set of wearable and highly versatile shades. If you don't have a good dark eyeliner, Bobbi Brown's Gel Liners are among my favorites. Thunderstorm is a lovely dark smokey shade that will define the eyes without looking too harsh. The sparkle shadows are beautiful and aren't over the top when applied with a light-to-medium hand.

Do be aware the palette is fairly tiny - it seems to be a trend for many brands this year. If you want a more detailed breakdown of what this costs based on full-sized gel liner and mascara you get:
  • $21 = regular cost of gel liners
  • $22 = regular cost of everything mascara
  • $42 = what you pay for the palette, which is about $8 per shadow (times 5) + whatever you want to estimate for the cost of the dual-ended mini brush
I personally would rather pick out full-sized individual items and pay more for colors I really like. I've never been a fan of Bobbi's mascaras so the one from this set will most likely be gifted away. As much as I love sets and palettes, I am DYING for Bobbi Brown to release individual eyeshadows like she used to - in shimmer wash and metallic formulas please! I am hoping all these companies will get out of the palette trend come spring.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lancome Mini Vernis in 020 Le Rouge L’Wren

Lancome and stylist L’Wren Scott have released two mini nail polishes for the holiday collection in Le Rouge L'Wren 020 (deep sparkling red) and Le Gris L'Wren 021 (shimmery steel blue-grey). Both are indeed swoon-worthy and I opted for the red one today since there's nothing like a good red nail polish to make a woman feel like a woman.

Le Rouge L'Wren is a deep wine red with tiny red micro-sparkles that are slightly brighter than the base. From arm's length you can't really see the shimmer but the finish is glossy and the red is uber sophisticated. It has just the right amount of red to prevent it from being too vampy. I know I have similar shades in my nail polish stash - I just haven't pulled any to compare. Off the top of my head I don't think any have the same red sparkle quality. Now if I could only find a lipgloss the same color ...

The holiday nail polishes ($14.50 for 6 ml) come in a mini version of the full size ($18 for 10 ml). It has the same style packaging but comes with a black twist off cap instead of silver. They are too cute!

Here is Le Rouge L'Wren in action:

Applying Bobbi Brown's Kir Sugar Lipgloss over MAC's VGVI Lipstick:

Getting ready to go out:

Just posing:

I did get the blue-grey one too. That color will be reviewed soon.

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