Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks Lip Swatched: Darling, Sensation, Iridescent, Desireable & Rose

Here are the Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks lip swatched. More details, descriptions and thoughts per shade:
  • Darling - gorgeous pale peachy pink that isn't too pale and makes the lips glow
  • Sensation - my least favorite because the shimmer is too chunky-looking and base color too sheer, still feels smooth on the lips, but you can feel a slight texture from the shimmer when applying
  • Iridescent - surprisingly warm and pigmented, thought this would be more pinkish, but goes on a coral-pink on the lips, on the hand it's more of a pinkish color (your mileage may vary with this one on the coral or pink scale)
  • Desireable - sheer, glossy, nude-tan-rose, on the sheer side, but lovely
  • Rose - went on my lips a bit purply because of the cool-tone pink, shimmer does show through, very pigmented

I'm wearing the Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation in 120 Natural Beige with Cle de Peau's Beige Concealer and 100 Warm Powder to finish. On the nails is a tiny sneak peek of the Dolce & Gabbana Grey Pearl Nail Polish from the holiday collection.

I really love these new lipsticks. My favorite shade? Darling :)

Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks

Dolce & Gabbana has released a new lipstick formula called Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks ($34 each). These are a unique duo formula lipstick with a rich cream color on the outer rim with a and gloss in the middle. The texture is smooth, rich, creamy and luxurious and these lipsticks make the lip glow from within. There are currently 20 different shades encased in a long slender tube all with the signature rose Dolce & Gabbana lipstick scent. The shades have varying degrees of shimmer on the outside and different textures of gloss in the middle. Formula-wise I would say these are a hybrid of Chanel's Rouge Coco Shines (Chanel being more emollient and sheer) and Dior Addicts (having a harder texture with more pigment). I ordered mine all sight unseen based on over the phone descriptions. I'm quite pleased with the finish and pigment. I find these to be a great swipe-and-go type of lipstick with better pigment than Chanel. No liner or gloss needed, although I suspect a natural liner will help make the gloss last longer. Here is what arrived:

  • Darling - a sheer flesh tone peachy-pink with a glowing pale pink center
  • Sensation - a highly iridescent frosted peachy pink with a healthy pink gloss interior (fuller in color and more shimmer than Darling)
  • Iridescent - oddly named, but a warm coral-rose pink exterior, sheer transparent glittery gloss inside
  • Desireable - a sheer glazed shimmer rose-brown (similar to Naked Lipstick)
  • Rose - a cool golden rose pink with a clear gloss center that has mauvey pieces of glitter

* Darling & Sensation look identical in the swatch, I prefer Darling because it glows more, but on the lip it's paler. Sensation is significantly more sparkly/frosted although it doesn't show in the swatch photo above.

All in all, I love all of these (except Sensation which I find to be a bit too glittery/frosted). Glitter-phobes need not worry though. Even with the glitter in the gloss, the texture is very smooth and non-gritty. The texture feels moisturizing and soft, but not too soft that it feels greasy. The formula adheres to the lip quite well for a glossy lipstick (some sheer-glossy-finish lipsticks have that feeling like they will fall off the lip, not with the Dolce & Gabbana).  Are these better than Dior's or Chanel's new lipsticks from earlier this year? I'm inclined to say similar in concept but different enough to justify buying one or two. The promo photos from Dolce & Gabbana were just phenomenal, unfortunately not having in person access makes it difficult to assess the color options. Ladies without a Saks or Dolce & Gabbana counter near you, I feel your pain. For those who asked for Foundation shade recommendations the other day, I apologize, I don't feel knowledgeable enough to comfortably match or recommend something like foundation colors. If you are olive, go with 120 like me, if you're more neutral, go with 100. Ultimately, I recommend you call your local Dolce & Gabbana counter for a better match recommendation.

I am attempting lip swatches right now and will get them up as soon as possible.

For those new to Dolce & Gabbana, the cosmetic line is available in the US for sale at and select Saks Locations. I purchase mine from Saks Houston.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

NARS Mandchourie Duo Eyeshadow

NARS Mandchourie Duo Eyeshadow ($33) is the new holiday duo from NARS this season. It's an intensely smoky palette of olive-golden-indigo shimmer and a deep dark matte indigo blue. The colors are deep and dark and not for the faint of heart. Playing around with this resulted in a super smokey dramatic eye. I recommend having a paler neutral shimmer on hand to help tone down the intensity or to help blend harsh edges out. My favorite way to apply so far is to use Laura Mercier's Platinum Metallic Creme Eyeshadow as a base and then apply the dark golden-olive shade on lids with a soft fluffy brush like MAC 217 then apply the darker matte navy with a pencil brush and smudge over the lash line upwards. The pigment in this duo is quite good, the matte shade can be a bit chalky on first swipe but layers well.

Compared to other NARS duos, Mandchourie is quite different and unique. Here are comparisons to Brumes, Dogon and Underworld. I also swatched Stila's Diamond Lil to show how intense the NARS Mandchourie is by comparison.

Overall NARS Mandchourie is beautiful, unique, dramatic and intense. It's lovely but a bit too dramatic for my taste - for everyday. For smokey eyes I will be reaching for NARS Brumes or Cordura more often since I feel those duos are easier to pull off although Mandchourie does go well with a softly bronzed cheek and pink lips. I'm one who prefers a natural smokey eye and while Mandchourie can easily be layered lightly for a less smokey look I still think it's very intense (in a good way though!). It's neutral enough in color so it won't look too harsh on any skintone (at least in my mind). Some pure greys/blacks can look harsh and even some navy blues can look too contrasted on the skin. Mandchourie has an excellent blend of other colors in the undertone to make this intense/smokey/dramatic without being too harsh on the skin.

(For inquiring minds, the only other holiday items I picked from NARS were the multiple and highlighter but those are on presale for Nordstrom's Trend Show, so they most likely will not be making an appearance on the blog for quite some time.) 

What do you think of NARS Mandchourie?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation

Dolce & Gabbana has released a new cream foundation called the Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation ($66 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz, made in Italy). I was hesitant to try this since I was convinced that there could be nothing better than their Powder Foundation (my holy grail). Plus I've never had good luck with cream foundations in the past (creams in a tub tend to be too rich or to cakey for my taste). Nikki from Saks Houston kindly sent me a few sample pots telling me she knew I would fall in love with it ... and I did.

Dolce & Gabbana boasts that the Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation gives the perfect airbrushed finish that gives the skin a radiant glow that gives flawless full coverage with a lightweight texture. I couldn't agree more. Here are my thoughts ...

Texture: This is described as a lightweight foundation and it does feel light on the skin, but not entirely lightweight. Compared to most creamy full coverage foundations it is indeed very lightweight. When you dip your brush or fingers into the product it feels semi-heavy but blends out nicely and very smoothly on the skin.

Finish: I find the finish to be more on the full coverage side but there is a slight transparency to it so your skin shows through. It's difficult to explain, but I find it gives full natural coverage without looking fake. I also found that I did not need to set with any powder (although most of the time I do). The finish is natural, slightly satiny-matte, but not a full matte.

Application: I received the new Dolce & Gabbana Foundation Brush as a gift with purchase from one of Saks Houston's gwp events (not sure which event it was, perhaps beauty week or EGC?, they do have awesome GWPs in store, I recommend you get on the call list). I find the brush to be great at applying the cream foundation with minimal streaking. It's very soft with a tapered head. I find it a bit skinner in width than most other foundation brushes but thicker in depth. I've also been applying with a sponge but prefer the brush since it soaks up less product. I'm not a fan of using the fingers to apply. I find it gets messy. I highly recommend you visit Swide to see Pat McGrath's application video.

Color selection: I played with 4 different shades for a week before deciding on 120 Natural Beige (very olive) although 100 Natural Glow was almost an exact match but just the slightest bit too light. For colors I found that what you see in the tub is a bit darker than what applies on the skin. When I looked at all the samples I was sent I thought they would all be too dark for me. Also let the foundation sit for a minute after application. It doesn't oxidize/darken but rather letting it sit allows the product to adjust to the warmth of your skin which makes the color change or set slightly. I definitely recommend you see if your local Saks carries the brand and try at least 3 shades on your jawbone to see which one matches best. RaeViewer has a beautiful tutorial on this foundation.

Here is Natural Beige 120

Here are the samples I received and swatches plus a scan and photo of the card swatches (sorry they are off b/c of the glare on the card):

How does it compare to other foundations I've tried? It's really quite different. I rank foundations by three main categories:
  1. first based on formula (liquid, tinted moisturizer, cream, compact, powder)
  2. then by coverage (sheer, medium, full)
  3. then by finish (dewy, satiny, matte)
The Dolce & Gabbana is a cream, full, satin finish foundation - probably the only that I've tried that fit these 3 criteria. Other cream foundations I've tried felt too greasy or darkened significantly on the skin. The Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation is creamy and full coverage but natural feeling and non-greasy. It lasts all day with or without a setting powder. Is this a must-have? I would say it depends on your skintype, but for me (normal, slightly oily T-zone and sensitive) I would say yes for now, in the summer months this may become too heavy but it's perfect for fall/winter right now and I adore this. Do note that when it comes to foundations I like variety in textures and finishes and alternate frequently each week.

Overall: I really love this foundation. Finding a good color match might be a bit trickier than most since the what you see in the glass bottle is a bit deceiving compared to what goes on and blends out. I find the packaging slightly bulky and not the most user friendly. I definitely would not take it traveling with me anywhere. Still it is functional. Bottom line is that I highly recommend.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Edward Bess Quad Royale in Summer in Capri

Edward Bess has several new exciting products that are being released for fall and holiday. His new face quad called Summer in Capri ($45 for .25oz/7g) has recently been released in-store at Bergdorf Goodman and online on his website. It's a beautiful highlighter with four shades of tan and peach all of which contain a lovely subtle pearl glow. The powder is encased in a rectangular black mirrored compact complete with a face brush for application. The texture is soft and the powder is finely milled and applies beautifully on the skin to give you that subtle glow from within.

On my face it adds a lovely beautiful soft light peachy glow. The luminosity resembles Chanel Poudre Douce with a slightly more contoured finish since the Edward Bess Summer in Capri has two shades of beige/tan. I really love the little brush that comes in the compact. The handle is beveled to a point which makes it easy to hold and the brush head is wide enough to cover the whole cheek with two sweeps. On the face I've worn this over his Daydream Bronzer to add a subtle glow and I love the way it makes the skin look. Each shade individually also works on the eyes (I love it layered over his Sunlight cream highlighter) as a lovely all-over lid color. My favorites for the eyes are the bottom two shades layered together for a very subtle contour.

Best Things in Beauty has a lovely review and managed to get all four shades to show up in her swatches (something I was not able to do). Here is my swatch on the arm (which was very difficult to photograph).

Blended all together on the arm (blurry, but the best I could get):

Out of all the new holiday highlighter options out there this season, I say hands down this is the highlighter of choice for me. Do note that this season seems to be the season of highlighters that offer a very subtle subdued glow. If you're looking for something more visibly shimmer or glowy you may want to shop your stash as most of what I've seen this season from Chanel to Guerlain and even MAC seems to be more on the subtle side. Edward Bess Quad Royale in Summer in Capri shows up on my skin and is easily layerable. Adding a few more swipes on the cheeks over a cream blush makes it show up even better. Due to the subtle glowy finish and lightness of the colors I'm not sure how it would work with darker skintones. I personally adore it and highly recommend. It is a face powder that will work year round for any occasion.

Have you tried Edward Bess Summer in Capri?

P.S. I know I've been a bit slow in blogging this week. I hope to catch up this weekend!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trish McEvoy Delicate Beauty Voyager Collection

In August, Trish McEvoy launched her newest Little Black Card called Delicate Beauty in her Voyager Collection Kit ($85). This is the cutest mini makeup kit I think I’ve ever seen filled with the easy-to-wear colors and mini brushes perfect for those emergency touch-up situations. It’s the perfect little case to throw in even the smallest of purses. Even though I’m not a fan of palettes that mix creams and powders on the same layer (the powder debris tends to get the cream products messy), this was just too cute to pass up.

Size-wise, it’s about the same size as my computer mouse. It’s smaller than my Goyard coin purse and I’ve photographed a mini Chanel sample perfume next to it to show the scale. The colors and descriptions are listed below.

Top Tier:
Eye Shadow Soft Peach – a soft matte pale peach-beige with tiny gold flecks
Eye Shadow Delicate Pink (new) – a soft sheer cool pink
Eye Shadow Fig (new) – matte bark color
Eye Shadow Thunder (new) – satin grey
Glaze Eye Shadow White Peach – frosted medium champagne
Glaze Eye Shadow Romance – frosted pale white-pink
Eye Definer Deep Plum – a deep iridescent plum
Eye Definer Starry Night (new) – a deep navy shimmer

Bottom Tier:
Matte Bronzer Medium – neutral sheer warm bronzer (no shimmer)
Blush Glow – shimmery coral golden glow
Classic Lip Color Vibrant Coral – bright coral-red cream
Beauty Booster Lip Gloss Sexy Petal – sheer sparkly pale pink
Brightening Line Minimizing Concealer Medium

Brushes include:
Brush 48 Blending
Dual Ended Brush 19/42 Laydown and Contour
Dual Ended Brush 11/41A Precise Eye Lining/Smudge
Covered Lip

Overall thoughts: This kit is convenient and totally squeal-worthy because of the cuteness. The colors in this kit are definitely what I would classify as classic no-fail colors. I do feel they are a bit on the safe side (except for that bright coral lip). The upside is that if you own any other Trish Black Cards, you can easily pop out this one and put in your others. I felt the cheek pans were a bit small for my taste but the blush and bronzer can be easily mixed together. The brushes are functional even though tiny. They are all made in China. I would say the quality of the brushes in the set are quite good, but not quite up to par of her regular full sized brushes. Still they function well for detail touchups.

Have you bought any of Trish’s Little Black Cards before? What do you think of her newest one? I found mine at Neimans but I believe this set is available for sale at all Trish McEvoy counters right now.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dior Couture Golds 554 Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Couture Golds 554 Quint ($59 for 6 g/ 0.21 oz) has finally been spotted in-store at Nordstrom. I've looked everywhere online for this and have yet to find it listed anywhere yet. It appears to have had a slight delay in release compared to the other items in this year's holiday collection (much like last year's Five Golds). If you're looking online I suspect it might be a while before we see it show up. I'd recommend you call your Dior counter to see if it has arrived. Couture Golds is a particularly festive mix of golds and creams. The colors in the palette are all high frost/shimmer with the exception of the dark blackened-brown. I would describe the shades as (from top left going clockwise finishing at the center):
  • frosted ivory cream
  • frosted warm coppery gold
  • shimmery warm golden bronze with slight beigey tones
  • dark matte black-brown with gold flecks
  • sparkling yellow-gold champagne that has slightly chunky reflective particles

All have excellent color payoff, except for that dark color which I think needs a dense brush and quite a bit of packing on to get decent pigment. All together Couture Golds has a beautiful glowy quality that is perfect for holiday.

Is this a must-have? My initial thoughts were "yes! this is the best palette of the season yet!" I still feel that last year's holiday quint, Five Golds wins hands down, but I did think this year's Couture Golds was a huge thumbs up until I swatched it on the arm and thought it looked oddly familiar - like Endless Shine. Here is Couture Golds with some comparisons and swatches. You can judge for yourself on the similarities. There are differences in sparkle quality and undertone. Perhaps they just look identical because of my skintone. For me, they are too close for comfort. After seeing them swatched side-by-side I couldn't help but feel a bit let down thinking this was simply a re-hash or a previously released quint. I couldn't fit everything on one arm, so swatches are grouped into twos.

Overall, I still feel that Couture Golds is the best eye palette of the holiday season. The sparking champagne in the center is so gorgeous with the chunky reflective particles. I prefer it over Endless Shine (even though they are very similar) so I can justify keeping it instead of re-gifting it to someone else. Will I be using Couture Golds this season? Absolutely yes. I just feel it could have been a bit more different than something previously released by the same brand.

Have you seen Dior Holiday in person? What were your thoughts?

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