Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A First Look at Tom Ford's New Lip Colors

Tom Ford's newest lipstick shades have arrived online at See the full lineup of the new shades here (plus what's being phased out and what's staying). I eagerly ordered some neutrals sight-unseen in Spanish Pink 01, Pink Adobe 02, Indian Rose 04, Nude Vanille 12 and Sable Smoke 14 ($48 each for 0.1 oz/3g). There are a few changes in packaging. The lipsticks still come in a heavy weight rectangular twist-up tube but now come in a dark mahogany & gold finish (rather than the white). Without direct light shining on the tubes, they appear to be pure black. Another change is in the engraved lettering on the top. They now say TF instead of Tom Ford. I was able to order two of the original shades online at last week - if you've delayed your purchasing on the older packaging and shades, act fast! It looks like they will be pulled very soon.

White original packaging versus the new dark mahogany packaging:

*Update* One shot for Amy to compare the Tom Ford packaging to Edward Bess, Chanel, Burberry.

I have not yet had a chance to swatch or play with these. Upon opening all 5 you can tell that they have the same wonderful vanilla scent as the original shades. All the new ones I picked out are cremes with the exception of Indian Rose which appears to have a slight shimmery sheen to the tube. My first thoughts were to wonder if I had lost my mind in ordering so many neutrals all at once sight-unseen. I suspect that Nude Vanille will be a challenge to work with simply because it's on the lighter side. At this point in time I'm not sure whether I should just leave it untouched to re-gift it or take a risk and swipe it to see if it will work. Given the luck I've had with Pink Dusk, I suspect the others will work well with my coloring. I will need to play with these in the next week or so to see.

I apologize I don't have swatches yet but I've been a bit short on swatching time. I haven't compared any of these to other shades (Pink Dusk included) so I can't give any assessment at this time. They literally just arrived and I wanted to give a little sneak peek of these in hopes that it will help you know what to expect with the new neutrals!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dior Smoky Khaki 481

This season seems to be the season of new innovations in eyeshadows. Chanel released their Sophisticated Eye Collection with new quads, singles and eyelash curler and Guerlain came out with nine new quads. Dior has also released a beautiful collection of Smoky Eyeshadow palettes with six new trios that have just started to trickle in stores (I spotted these at Nordstrom). Fab Over Forty has details on the full lineup and Cafe Makeup has a lovely feature on Smoky Pink #051. The trio that captured my attention the most was Smoky Khaki #481 ($48 each).

These trios come with a new type of packaging with a sliding top and a mirror that flips open once the top slides back. According to the National Artists at the store, the mirrors are designed at the perfect angle so you can apply your eyeshadow while looking down. The compacts are on the smaller side with a small mirror. It's great for a detail touch-up but too small to be ideal for normal application (in my opinion). Each trio has three colors with different finishes/textures designed to create the perfect smokey eye by layering. The colors in Smoky Khaki are:
  • Base: golden beige shimmer (soft and buttery smooth)
  • Soft smoky: dusty khaki-brown (subtle shimmer but very fine)
  • Couture smoky: high sparkle khaki gold

Don't let the sparkle in these palettes scare you. They apply beautifully on the eye without having an overly glitter or frosty appearance. Yes, the sparkle is extremely intense, but the colors look amazing once you apply. The base comes in a soft smooth texture while the other two shades have a slightly harder finish giving them a more sheer finish. The colors are easily buildable though so I found the pigment payoff excellent with a bit of layering.

The trios all come with a small instruction booklet and diagrams. The application recommendations:

I tried this today using my regular eyeshadow brushes from MAC and Trish McEvoy and the result was a pretty polished neutral smokey golden khaki eye. Swatches over NARS Primer:

In outdoor natural light, no flash:

I played with only 3 of the palettes and all seemed to have the same quality and texture and color payoff. I love Dior's interpretation of the smoky eye this season and am thrilled with the variety and uniqueness of each palette. For me, the traditional smokey eye palette of cream, grey and black doesn't always work for my skin making me look dead and washed out. The new trios from Dior offer a diverse range of options to give a modern smokey eye. I highly recommend you check these out.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté East Meets West Nail Lacquer Collection Fall/Winter 2011

Messy Wands and The Ultimate Makeup have had us all drooling over Le Métier de Beauté's East Meets West Nail Lacquer Collection for Fall/Winter 2011 for weeks. I was initially under the impression that the Fall/Winter Silk Road Collection would be limited to the new lip and eye kaleidoscope kits, both of which I felt would be too warm-toned for me. After seeing more news, I was happy to learn that Le Métier has quite a few other items scheduled for release this fall to choose from including nail polishes, lip cremes, plus deep wine colored lip & nail sets (see a few sneak peeks at Best Things in Beauty).

The East Meets West Nail Lacquer Collection consists of four shimmering rich jewel toned colors:
  • Dynasty - a deep shimmering fuchsia
  • Urban Dweller - a rich chocolate plum with gold
  • Anatolia - a rich plum illuminated with bronze and gold shimmer
  • Silk Road - a metallic bronzed copper
All four shades were kindly sent to me by Le Métier as samples for review. I already had my eye on Anatolia  the moment I saw it on other blogs. From the outset, it appeared to be a shade I suspected would rival the long discontinued Tulipe Noire by Chanel. After testing all four shades out, I was surprised to discover that I was most drawn to the chocolate and copper instead of the plums and reds (scroll down for more details).

Dynasty is a fuchsia red shimmer. With one coat a blueish sheen is more visible but with two coats, the color transforms into a deep reddish fuchsia. The formula with this shade was the best out of the fall shades with a smooth easy-to-apply consistency. It does require two thin coats for an opaque finish (one coat isn't quite rich enough for my preference). The shimmer is very tiny in this so there are no streak marks and the result is a smooth shimmer. Dynasty has a thinner consistency than most nail polishes I've tried so I found it dried very quickly.

Urban Dweller is one of my favorites for the color. It's a rich shimmery chocolate with gold. I love that the brown has just the right amount of plum to prevent it from being too warm. The gold shimmer prevents this from looking too dark. The only downside I found was that texture of this shade is a bit thick making it trickier to apply for me. It's still easily manageable - just apply with a few single layer strokes and let it dry completely before running the brush over the nail color for a second coat.

Anatolia is a high-sparkle plum red with gold. I thought this would be my favorite but felt the others were more unique. Still this is a stunning shade. The red is slightly transparent and it's packed with plum and gold shimmer making it look multi-dimensional on the nails. Since the base seems to be slightly jelly-ish, it requires two thicker coats to achieve full coverage. To date, this is the closest shade I've seen to Chanel Tulipe Noire,  not a dupe but close. Comparing the two, Le Metier Anatolia has a bit more kick, attitude and dimension since it has a more sparkly finish. I see this as a shade that can be worn year round but will be particularly fun for the holidays. The formula of this shade is slightly thicker than Silk Road (copper) but not as thick as Urban Dweller (chocolate). Apply this one slowly and let the first coat dry before applying a second.

Silk Road is a metallic orangey copper. I never thought I'd wear a darker warm coppery shimmer on the finger nails. Orange pumpkin colors do not typically flatter my olive skintone. It's a color I avoid in clothing at all costs. I adore Chanel's Golden Sand, & Dior's City of Gold, but those are more golden rather than copper. It was surprise to me how much I love Silk Road on the fingers. The texture of this shade is thinner but the pigment is just amazing. It's swatched below with just one coat. This shade is proof that I need to go outside of my neutral makeup comfort zone and try different things.

Here they are all lined up and swatched next to each other plus comparisons:

Although $10 is steep for these tiny bottles, I agree with assessment from The Non-Blonde & Cafe Makeup that with this size, one does indeed have hope of using these up. I've spotted the Silk Road collection already in stores at Neiman Marcus on the West Coast. I highly recommend you check your local counters if you haven't already.

Have you picked up anything from the Silk Road collection? Thoughts? What are your favorite Le Métier nail polishes?

The items featured in this post were provided by Le Metier without charge for review.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fall 2011 Highlighters: Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Estée Lauder & MAC

This year designers have brought us some of the most beautiful bronzers and highlighters I've ever seen. For the summer releases we saw gorgeous bronzer palettes from Chanel, Dior & Guerlain with intricate embossed patterns woven with different shades. The trend has continued into the fall season with the release of new highlighters that have unique formulas & textures. When it comes to highlighters, I've traditionally been very open to all intensities of shimmer and frost. These days, my preferences have changed and I now look for powders that have a finely milled shimmer without the intense frost and that are also easy to apply with a single swipe on the cheeks or temples. The highlighters I tried this season include Dolce & Gabbana Illuminator in Shimmer, Chanel Ombres Tissées in Beiges, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Semi Precious Crystal Pink, Chanel Pearl Glow Powder and Estée Lauder Pure Color in Modern Mercury.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guerlain Les Noirs 09 Écrin 4 Couleurs

After seeing all fall palettes from Guerlain in person at Nordstrom I added Les Noirs 09 ($59) to my collection of Les Bois de Rose 04, Les Gris 05 and Les Fumés 06. The Les Noirs 09 is a classic smokey eye palette with a soft matte black, a gunmetal frosted grey, a satiny dove grey and a pale frosted pink. The colors are simply breathtaking in the compact and apply with a smooth soft finish. The pigment on these shades is soft to medium. The frost for the 3 shimmery shades is simple and uncomplicated. The shimmer is visible on the skin but not overly frosty or glittery.

I played with this a few times this week. The quality and texture of the shadows is excellent however I'm not sure the colors are best suited for me. I find that dark grey and dark black shimmers can be difficult for me to pull off on my eyes and skin. To date, one of the few classic black/grey/cream palettes that work for me is Edward Bess's Soft Smoke Trio. I also adore Bobbi Brown's Black Plum Shimmerwash Eyeshadow as a dark black (on me) because it has a bit of brown and plum to give it depth on my eyes.

I typically need to layer blacks and greys over something with a bit of warmth or shimmer such as a dark bronzey-brown liner or cream in order to prevent the colors from looking too harsh or too dull. Most dark blacks wash out my skin. My experience with Les Noirs is typical of my experiences with most classic smoky eye palettes. The greys all looked similar on my skin and eyes even when layered. The pale frosted pink washed my eyes out. The palette is still gorgeous - just a bit more high maintenance for me. Chances are I just need more experimentation with this to get the layering technique down better - but after my first two tries, I know this will require a bit more practice for me to get the colors to work with my olive skintone.  I find that applying the darker gunmetal with a damp brush will bring out the shimmer and depth. Lining with the matte black with a fine tipped brush (also damp) brings out the intensity as well.

You can see this same palette swatched on Rouge Deluxe, Karla Sugar, and Makeup and Beauty Blog.

Comparisons to a few other brands: MAC Shimmertime Pigment, Armani Maestro 29, Guerlain Les Noirs, Chanel Gris Exquis, MAC Black Tied, Burberry Midnight Black, MAC Knight Divine

While Les Noirs is a gorgeous palette, I don't think it's very unique. That being said, I think it's hard to create a good classic smoky eye palette that doesn't seem too basic. Have you checked out Guerlain fall yet? What are your thoughts? Did you try Les Noirs?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Giorgio Armani Jacquard Eye Palette #2

Giorgio Armani's Jacquard Collection this fall is among the most beautiful and unique for the intricate embossed woven texture of the palettes. I ordered Eye Palette #2 ($59) after seeing it featured on Front Row Beauty. The palette has a unique trio of shimmery greys combined with a deep matte warm brown with a tinge of auburn. This fall the compacts are magnetized instead of having the snap-click closure. The top comes with painted with the Armani logo in a high gloss black finish.

At first glance when I received this, I was a bit concerned the frost might look too washed out on my skin. The silvery greys are indeed frosty. At the top you have a frosty pale grey-white, in the middle you have two variations of silver: one is more of a pale grey shimmer, the other is a pale mauve grey shimmer. The colors do have a contrast with my medium-tan skintone, but there is a lovely shimmer quality that gives the colors depth even though they are fairly pale.

In direct sunlight you can see the sparkle:

Swatches in different lighting:

Comparisons to a few other shades:

This morning I applied this quad over MAC Groundwork Paint Pot. I'll report later on the lasting power. I find this palette a bit hard to wear. 3 of the 4 shades are so similar they all end up looking the same on the eye. It took quite a bit of blending and I had to mix the dark auburn shade with a matte black (both applied damp) to get a non-reddish smokey line. After blending and layering though I've achieved a subtle smokey eye and I love it. I'll have to experiment more with this palette for application ideas.

In addition to #2, there is a green palette Eye Palette #1 (greens) and a Face Palette (pinks, beiges and dark pink). The items are all beautiful but Eye Palette #2 was the only one that intrigued me. I don't typically wear greens on larger portions of the eyes and I found the face palette too frosty. For the lips, cheeks and new mascara, I haven't caved on anything yet. There are some lovely lipsticks but I've overindulged on Chanel and Guerlain lately. Front Row Beauty reviewed all three palettes. Best Things in Beauty also has all three palettes reviewed plus some other items as well.

Have you seen the Armani Jacquard collection yet? Thoughts? Any loves?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chanel Pink Cloud

Chanel has released Pink Cloud 66 Joues Contraste in the US with their Aquarelles Collection. It comes in the European baked formula but is not a new color (only new to the US). It's a pale pink shimmer with tiny microsparkles that makes the skin glow. On my cheeks it has a similar quality to Armani's Blush #12 - it looks super pale in the compact but blends on the skin to give a lovely light pink glow. The shimmer is visible on the skin but it doesn't apply quite as pale as appears in the compact. The shimmer is finely milled and not overly frosty like some pale pinks can be, for this shade the shimmer is clearly visible on the cheeks. I would rate the shimmer/frost factor as medium.

As Café Makeup reported, it's a warmer pink (she has lovely comparisons). NaturalNChicMakeup also has reviews (it pulls a bit paler/lighter on her than it does for me). Also check out The Stash Archives - she has an amazing collection of Euro blushes to compare Pink Cloud to.

Here are my comparisons to: Chanel Winter Shimmer (from 2006 or 2007ish), Chanel Pink Cloud, Chanel Beiges, Chanel Silk Dream (from 2004), Armani Blush #12 (from Fall 2009)

This is the baked Euro formula which means the surface layer has a powdery texture/finish with bits of debris. After the top layer is brushed, the underneath powder is slightly harder in texture. I'm wearing this today alone and it shows up on my skin, but just barely. I wouldn't call it a must-have although my skin does have a natural angelic pink glow now. It's simply too sheer on my skin (olive tanned Chanel Vitalumiere B30/Teint Innocence Shell). Even as a highlighter I find it on the sheer side. Had this been the US formula I think the  pigment payoff would be better. If you have lighter skin than me then I think you will love this as a soft natural pink blush. For me it's like but not love. After 2 hours of wear it has faded completely on me. I think this will be a great product to soften other blushes and bronzers without changing the color. By layering this on top of other shades or by blending on the outer edges of the face, I think this will be great to help soften harsh lines or tone down the cheeks if you've applied too much blush. Do check out the other reviews and swatches linked above in the middle of this post. I think your mileage may vary.

Aquarelles were initially released to Neiman Marcus stores only but I've seen it pop up at various Nordstrom locations. I know Nordstrom Seattle received the collection. I highly recommend you test before you buy.

Sneak Peek: Upcoming Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color Collection

Those who have experienced the luxury of Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Color will be excited to learn that Tom Ford's upcoming makeup line will be expanded to include new shades of lipstick. I received a preview card of the upcoming shades and am already creating a wishlist. Some existing colors have been mixed together to create new ones which means a few will be discontinued. Also, the new shades will all come in the dark mahogany colored packaging instead of the white. I've been told Neimans expects the release to be sometime in October. I apologize the scan of the card I received is a bit blurry but here is the new lineup.

New shades: Nude Vanille, Sable Smoke, Pink Adboe, Coco Ravish, Deep Mink, Spanish Pink, Indian Rose, Casablanca, Flamingo, Violet Fatale, Wild Ginger, Scarlet Rouge, Crimson Noir

Original shades that are staying: Black Orchid, Blush Nude, Cherry Lush, Pink Dusk, True Coral

Original shades that will be phased out: Bruised Plum, Ginger Fawn, Moroccan Rouge, Pure Pink, Smoke Red, Vanilla Suede, Warm Sable The Irish Beauty Blog gives us a first look at beautiful real life preview photos and BellaSugar has some promotional photos as well. Of the existing shades, I adore Pink Dusk (a highly pigmented nude pink, aka perfection in a tube) and I've been eager to try more but none of the other shades have really spoken to me. I look forward to seeing the new colors. If you've fallen in love with any particular shade, I recommend you check to see if it's on the new lineup - now might be the time to stock up if it's going to be discontinued.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jo Malone Wild Bluebell

Jo Malone has introduced a new fragrance collection called Wild Bluebell available in four different pieces: cologne, body & hand wash, body creme and home candle. The collection has arrived at Neiman Marcus and I have fallen in love with every piece in the line. It's a light and fresh floral that smells like a spring garden with top notes of fresh bluebell (engineered equivalent) and clove combined with hints of lily of the valley, eglantine, jasmine, white amber and musk. The theme is more whimsical and fairy-tale like with the focus on a nymph-like character and white rabbits rather than the actual product.

My local Neimans Jo Malone rep called me the minute it arrived. I asked for her thoughts over the phone and she felt it was a nice light scent but very different for Jo Malone. Her impression was that it would be a wonderful layering piece. A few customers who came in reported they smelled watermelon before it dried down. Although some have not been thrilled with departure of recent releases (Tea Collection & Cherry Blossom) from traditional Jo Malone scents, I have been ecstatic with all recent collections this year These are lighter, fresher, less complex scents that are great for the no-perfume kind of woman like myself. To me, the recent releases feel more youthful and energizing. I love the variety and feel the new releases this year layer well with the other scents in the line.

I went with an open mind not knowing what to expect. I cannot put my nose exactly on what it is I smell except that it's refreshing and light, just like spring. It's clearly floral, but the hints of clove and musk prevent it from being overly floral. When I first sprayed it on my wrist, I smelled a slight hint of watermelon, but not in the fruity sense. At first spritz I noticed a fresh wave of fragrance similar to a fresh watermelon but this dries down to a floral. Best Things in Beauty has a wonderful detailed review and Lipglossipping has more information and beautiful preview photos from an event earlier this year. I highly recommend you read their reviews to learn more.

I splurged on the cologne & candle online and the body wash instore. Over the past week I've found everything very calming and refreshing. I don't recommend ordering the candles online during the summer - the heat can be damaging as it will melt the product causing a mess. Mine, thankfully, arrived in perfect condition due to a rush shipment.

The lasting power on the cologne and shower gel is light to medium. I find most fragrances tend to fade quickly on me but I am one that prefers lighter scents that aren't overpowering. The candles are to die for and Wild Bluebell has been burning in my home the past week. I can easily see myself stocking up on a few during September's Beauty Event. I love everything about this fragrance and am testing out the body creme right now.

Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills has all the items except the candle which they expect to be receiving soon. The official release is scheduled for September and they are expecting new displays in the Wild Bluebell theme with blue ribbons and little bells for their bags. They have one of the most beautiful Jo Malone displays I've ever seen (front and in the corner of the store). If you happen to be in LA, I highly recommend you visit them. This past weekend I met the team at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills for the first time: Navid, Bryan and Henga. All extremely knowledgeable, helpful and wonderful. I highly recommend you visit their store to experience Jo Malone first hand.

The price points and offerings for the Wild Bluebell Collection:
  • Cologne 30 ml $55
  • Cologne 100 ml $110
  • Body & Handwash 250 ml $50
  • Body Creme 175 ml $75
  • Home Candle 200g/45 hours burn time $65
PS - On an unrelated note, Edward Bess will be in-store at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills until Wednesday!

Have you tried this? What are your thoughts? What are your favorite Jo Malone items?


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