Monday, November 28, 2011

Recently Asked Questions

Answers to a few recently asked questions.

Chanel Rose Caché looks similar to OPI Tickle My France-y, do you know how close they are? They are very close on the nails. Chanel Rose Caché has more warmth and more pink while OPI Tickle My France-y has more grey tones. I don't have a preference for either color, I think they are both lovely.

I can't see full posts or photos in my Google Reader or subscription emails. Did you change your feed? Yes, I did. Like many other bloggers I have had my content stolen through my RSS feed to download into a number of spam blogs. Stolen content can be removed via Google forms and by sending out DMCA notices, but it is extremely time consuming and not always effective. Thanks to London Makeup Girl who wrote a helpful article to help prevent content being stolen through spam blogs. I have changed my feed to "short" to only include the first paragraph. I realize this may be an inconvenience for some of my readers, but it is heartbreaking to have my hard work stolen - especially when most of the photographs on this blog are my own (ie they are not stock/promo photos). At this time I do not generate any revenue from ads, affiliate links etc. and it bothers me when others try to benefit from my work to generate traffic/hits/revenue for themselves by stealing. I apologize for any inconvenience to readers who prefer the full feed but I will not be changing it back in the near future. Shortening my feed is one thing I can do to try and protect my content. I could change my format to restricted access but I feel that would be more of an inconvenience. Thank you for understanding.

If you were to only pick one, which would it be? Chanel Noir-Ivoire or Dior Couture Golds? If I didn't have Endless Shine from last year then I would have just picked the Chanel. Both options are very different though - Chanel duos offer a simple polished refined look while Dior quints give more variety but are usually more shimmery and festive.

What's the best new highlighter this holiday season? This year is the season of the uber-subtle glow. I would say tied between Edward Bess South of France and Giorgio Armani Madre Perla 1 for the new items this holiday season. Personally I prefer the more visible highlighters of past seasons a bit more but this season offers some lovely options.

There are so many new foundation options out there now. In your mind what is the best one? The right foundation for you will depend on your skintype. Mine is normal, sensitive, small pores. Right now, my top 2 favorites are Dolce & Gabbana's Perfect Creamy Foundation and Powder Foundation (sorry Chanel, my long time favorites were discontinued, so I found a replacement). I cannot pick between the two. Both are fine on their own. The cream works just fine without any powder and the powder foundation works well by itself, but I prefer to layer them both. The finish is smooth with natural but full coverage.

What's the best skincare out there? The right skincare will depend on a variety of things like skin-type, sensitivity issues, age among a number of other things. I've always felt less is more when it comes to skincare but as I age, my perceptions have changed. These days I use a mixture of Cle de Peau (gentle cleanser and eye cream), Koh Gen Do (masks, cleansing water, massage milk, gommage) Le Metier (peau vierge day cream and cleanser) and La Mer (toner). I would never tell anyone that this is the mixture of things to use - skincare is so personal, no two people are alike. What works for me most likely won't work the same for you. Some people like gel cleansers, others like ones that foam up. My only advice is that finding the right skincare will take time: lots of research, trial and error, if samples are available then the testing will be easier.

What did you think of the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvets Collection? Will you be reviewing anything? I passed on all the Rouge Allure Velvet lipsticks. I'm not a fan of matte or semi-matte lips. I think it can be hard for me to pull off since I have full lips.

How do the top two shades in Le Métier de Beauté Le Cirque compare to the taupey shades in Splendid Frost/Come One, Come All? I find the shades from Le Cirque to be very different from Splendid Frost/Come One, Come All. Here they are below.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Armani Holiday 2011 Eyes to Kill Silk Eyeshadows 17, 18 and 19

This year, the Eyes to Kill Silk Eyeshadows from Armani for holiday are all about the sparkle. Three new shades in the small twist-off cap pots are $32 each for 4 g/0.14 oz:
  • 17 a highly metallic silver sparkle
  • 18 an intense sparkling pale gold
  • 19 hybrid silver-gold shimmer

I've been a huge fan of these cream-powder shadows and loved the other Eyes to Kill shades (see Holiday 2010 here and the March release here) and did not find them too intense with the sparkle factor on the eyes. The newest colors this year are much more sparkly and more appropriate for going out or holiday parties.  For the other shades I own, I use both fingers and brushes to apply. With the new holiday shades, I found that regardless of how light I tried to apply, all the shades were extremely sparkly. Blending or patting softtly still resulted in sparkle overload.

In terms of colors, I found that #19 was the most wearable with a slightly more subtle shimmer (but still intense). I would not feel comfortable wearing any of the holiday shades to the office.  Perhaps the Gold #18 if I muted the sparkle with a satiny shadow on top. (Note the finish isn't creamy at all so I wouldn't recommend using these as a base. The texture is slightly creamy but they act more like a powder.) If you're looking for a subtle refined glow, I would recommend you opt for Laura Mercier's Metallic Creme Shadows or Bobbi Brown's Cream Shadows instead. Here are close ups of the shades plus swatches:

Swatches with two different views, these were all applied with a cream shadow brush (Bobbi Brown and Becca brushes were used to swatch):

Overall lovely and perfect for going out, but the shades are intensely sparkly and might be too much for some. For me, these definitely are not everyday products to wear. #8 looks chunky and loaded with sparkles in the swatches but for some reason it's quite a bit easier for me to pull off compared to the new holiday shades. If I could only pick 1 shade it would be #19 because the mix of the silver and gold make it more wearable (less contrasted to the skin/eyes). I personally prefer the palettes that were released with the collection because they are more wearable. If you need intense sparkle that lasts, you will love these. The lasting power is very strong. If you're not a huge fan of a super sparkly (borderline glittery) eye, then I would recommend you pass and opt for the MadrePerla palettes (reviewed here) or something like LM's Metallic Eye Creams.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Grey Pearl and Amethyst Nail Lacquer Comparisons

Here are comparisons to a few other shades. No dupes to be found from what I own, but here is what is in the same color family L to R: Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge, Rescue Beauty Lounge Decorous, OPI You Don't Know Jacques, Chanel Particuliere, Dolce & Gabbana Grey Pearl, Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst, Dior Purple Mix, Chanel Rodeo Drive, Chanel Paradoxal, Rescue Beauty Lounge Insouciant.

In direct sun with flash:

At a different angle:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Precious Stones for Holiday 2011 - The Beauty Look Book Picks

The holiday collection this year by Dolce & Gabbana is called Precious Stones. You can see the entire collection lineup on Dolce & Gabbana's Digital Magazine website Swide. The color theme of this collection is primarily mauve and purple - not typical of most holiday collections, but still beautiful. Being one who is scared of pure purples for both eyes and lips, I ordered a few things I felt were safe based on over-the-phone descriptions from Saks. My picks, descriptions and thoughts:
  • Grey Pearl 230 Nail Lacquer ($20 for 11 ml/0.37 fl oz) is a cream blue-mauve grey (more blue-based than Chanel Particuliere). The formula seems a bit thick in texture but sheer in finish (if that makes any sense). I found it more difficult to apply evenly because it was hard to get the right amount of product on the brush to get good smooth coverage. The color is reminiscent of Chanel's Particuliere but with less brown. Although the name has the word "pearl" in it, there is no visible shimmer. I love the color but the formula isn't my favorite - a surprise for me since I've had luck with other Dolce & Gabbana colors.
  • Amethyst 168 Nail Lacquer ($20 for 11 ml/0.37 fl oz) is a bright blue amethyst cream. It's the brightest purple I own and a stunner. I'm not sure I would feel comfortable wearing this to the office on the fingers. I had applied this for a pedicure and was amazed at the lasting power - probably 2 weeks without any chips or tip wear. The formula is easier to work with compared to Grey Pearl. It does need 2 thin coats for full coverage. The first coat will look a bit streaky but it evens out with the second coat.
  • Mauve Diamond 38 Blush ($44 for 5g/0.17 oz) is a medium dusty mauve with hint of plum. I thought it looked similar to Delight, but when put side by side, I found Mauve Diamond to be several shades darker. It does not go on muddy and it's a lovely color. Tanned skin ladies will love this shade.
  • Pink Sapphire 139 Lipgloss ($29 for 4 ml/0.13 fl oz) is a sparkling blue pink. Initially I wanted to pass on all the lips, but Nikki from Saks Houston assured me it was wearable and more pinky. I still find it very blue-based but the sheer glossy sparkles make this wearable. It is scented with a slight rose scent but it's not too heavy and the smell fades within a few minutes. I find it to be a bluer, glossier more sparkly version of Le Metier Purple Haze, but the shimmer/texture makes the Dolce & Gabbana more easy to pull off.
Some more photos and swatches below:

Although I was slightly disappointed with the options for eyes this season (too purple for me based on preview photos so I passed), I am overall happy with the items I picked. Dolce & Gabbana makes beautiful blushes and Mauve Diamond is no exception. The purply Pink Sapphire gloss turned out to be more wearable than I thought from looking at the tube. The nail polishes are good colors, not really must-haves, but I will get quite a bit of use out of these even throughout the spring season next year. Note that Delight was not part of the holiday collection but I swatched it for comparisons. Nail polish comparisons to come tomorrow. Bottom line - although not really inline with the holiday color theme (either red, gold, classic silvers, or wintery theme), I think the blush is a winner and I am overall pleased with the items I ordered.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chanel Rose Caché 521 Le Vernis

Rose Caché 521 Le Vernis is one of three nail polishes released in the Rouge Allure Velvet Collection this year. I had high hopes for the three new shades (as you may know I have problems with restraint when it comes to Chanel nail polish). Rose Caché, Pirate and Rose Exhubérant are all indeed beautiful classics, but seemed like uninspired repeats of past collections. After a few swipes of testing I was pleasantly surprised. The colors are beautiful even though not the most unique. The first shade I put on for a full manicure was Rose Caché 521, a sheer pale neutral nude rose-pink. There is a slight iridescent glow in the bottle similar to what you see in colors Paradoxal and Jade Rose but when applied on the nail you get a creamy non-shimmery finish.

The formula is very sheer and natural, I had to use three coats to get decent coverage and the tips of my nails still showed through slightly. The shimmer does not show up on the nails once applied. Some shimmer will show up when the sun hits the nails directly but it's very subtle. For my skintone, the color of Rose Caché is very nude and almost mannequin-like. It's more pink and more visible on the nail compared to Jade Rose, but Rose Caché is still extremely sheer. All swatches below are with 3 coats. I do like that it is non-streaky (it has better coverage than Riva or Jade Rose).

Since Rose Caché is classic and neutral, I think it could be easily duped with other brands, but I don't think others can replicate the fine iridescent quality Chanel has that give their nail polishes depth and dimension. It's been quite a while since I stopped looking at neutral creamy pinks from brands like Zoya, OPI or Essie - all the ones I've tried are either too pale or too warm. I do have comparisons to some other Chanel neutral pinks as shown below Mica Rose, Magnolia Rose, Rose Satin, Jade Rose, Perle Roseé and Rose Confidentiel. I didn't think Rose Caché was very unique, but after comparing to other pinks, I found that there's not really anything quite like it. (Below the angle/flash shows the iridescent shimmer of some of the shades.)

Overall nice to own, but not a must-have. There are some Chanel colors I really wish the shimmer was more visible. Rose Caché is one of them. If what you see in the bottle appeared the same on the nails (plus if it were a bit more pigmented/less sheer) I would have been completely head over heels. Prior to the US release I had googled "Rose Caché" on a weekly basis. I especially loved the features from A Lipstick a Day, Polish Police, Makeup Magpie and Elevensixone's Flickr Page - all of which I highly recommend you check out.

Did you check out the Rouge Allure Velvet collection? I'm not a fan of the matte or velvet look for makeup so I passed on all the lipsticks and the matte topcoat. I think looking back on the past year, the Soho Collection, along with Spring (Black Pearl Le Vernis) and Fall (Illusion d'Ombres) blew us away in such a way that anything new is hard to top. What did you think of the new Chanel items?

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright © 2009-2011 The Beauty Look Book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BeautyBloggers.Org Charity Auction for 2011

Our lovely Karla Sugar is hosting the BeautyBloggers.Org Charity Auction again this year! You can shop for a  cause this year to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Beauty bloggers and brands have joined forces to donate a treasure trove of the best lotions, potions, products, and gadgets. The auction will be live Monday, November 28th through Monday, December 12th. When the auction ends, winning bidders make their donations directly to Doctors Without Borders, through the site’s secure giving page.

This year I donated two brand new bottles of Chanel Le Vernis hard-to-find shades:
Khaki Vert and Riva (listing for the duo is here).

Note that even though you can't start bidding until the 28th, you can register and can "bookmark" your favorite items. When you register with the site, your first name, last name, and email address are private.  You should use an email address you check regularly, because that's how we will get in touch with the winning bidders.  Email addresses will not be used for any other purpose. Even if you registered last year, you have to do it again this year.

For more details, visit the FAQ page.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Come One, Come All Kaleidoscope Eye Kit

Le Métier de Beauté Come One, Come All Kaleidoscope Eye Kit ($95) was recently released as an exclusive to Nordstrom Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland. Many thanks to Best Things in Beauty who told us all about this the morning it was released for the Trend Show. She provided detailed descriptions, contact information, swatches and photos and I called to order as soon as I saw it. The colors & descriptions (thanks to Charleston Girl for providing the names as well since the kits don't have names on them):
  • Haute Honey is a glistening warm champagne gold
  • Tawni Taupe is a shimmering frosted taupe with gold shimmer and slight olive tones
  • Montgomery Mauve is a mauve reddish purple
  • Bethesda Brown is a deep brown with gold flecks

Haute Honey

Tawni Taupe

Montgomery Mauve

Bethesda Brown

It took a little over a week to arrive from the East Coast and when it did, it took my breath away. I was however slightly let down for two reasons: 1) The kit contains yet another warm burgandy/plum/mauve shade which I feel are in too many Le Métier Eye Kits (I find these difficult to wear on my eyes, even with layering). 2) I found that three of the four colors are duplicates from other kaleidoscope kits, Splendid Frost from last holiday and Silk Road from this past fall. Makeup Magpie has also identified the same dupes. I highly recommend you check out her beautiful photos and swatches on her blog to see them on different skintones. (I did not photograph my swatches of the dupes but they are indeed identical. You can click for larger viewing.)

I applied this on the eyes as soon as it arrived using the Le Métier couches de couleur method of layering from top shade in the kit to the bottom color. The result: unexpectedly gorgeous. Yes, I detest warm reddish shades, but layering these colors resulted in a really stunning eye look (not to sound vain, but the color combination is really astounding). So I take back part of my pouty attitude, the colors are really very wearable. I wore this kit every day for the last week. I still cannot take good eye pics so I tried to layer on my arm to show you how they look mixed. I love the convenience of this kit.

At this time I do not know if the kit is still available but check out Best Things in Beauty for the contact info for the counter. If you have Silk Road and Splendid Frost, I don't think you need this one. I still haven't found a good dupe for the top shade although it reminds me of Chantecaille's Rose Gold Eyeshadow (currently missing in action, I'm just disorganized at the moment).

Even with the dupes, many might ask: was it worth the $95? I think so, but I could have lived without this. Curiosity got the best of me. Still, I adore it and I would have never thought to combine the colors together like they are in this palette. The versatility of this palette is amazing. I think that Come One, Come All should have been released for fall instead of Silk Road since it appears to be more neutral and universally flattering. Silk Road is indeed gorgeous, but a bit difficult to pull off because it's so warm (at least in my mind but of course I still caved even though I did not review/feature it).

Many have been asking if I will order Dustin's new kit from Bergdorfs (see preview on Messy Wands). I'm still undecided. That rust-shade scares me but every NY girl tells me it warms up the look wonderfully. I'm still not sold ... yet.

Copyright © 2009-2011 The Beauty Look Book.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chanel Stupendous vs. Tom Ford Silvered Topaz

Here is Chanel Stupendous (from the Soho Collection last year) compared to Tom Ford Silvered Topaz. They are not identical dupes but very similar. I prefer the Chanel to the Tom Ford by far. I had thought Stupendous was a limited edition quad, but I just checked and it still shows up available for purchase. Swatches side by side:

  • Tom Ford Silvered Topaz: $75 for .35 oz/10 g, made in Italy = $7.50 per gram
  • Chanel Stupendous: $57 for .24 oz/6.8 g, made in France = $8.83 per gram

Even though the price per oz/g is more for the Chanel, I think it's more justifiable at $57, plus I think the overall finish and quality of the Chanel looks better on my skin. Don't let my reservations about Tom Ford Silvered Topaz stop you though. I still highly recommend that you check out the line in person if you can. If you can get to the Beverly Hills area, Neiman Marcus is the ideal place to shop for Tom Ford because they have Edward Bess and Le Metier among a number of other fabulous brands. Also Dolce & Gabbana is next door at Saks, not to mention all the goodies at Barneys like Koh Gen Do, L'Artisan, Serge Lutens, Le Labo, Byredo etc.

Copyright © 2009-2011 The Beauty Look Book.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tom Ford Silvered Topaz Eye Color Quad

Tom Ford's full makeup line has just been launched in the US at Bergdorf Goodman and select Neiman Marcus locations. I have not yet had a chance to see the entire lineup in person but I did pre-order a few items online. I've been enamored with the formula of all his lipsticks (original and new revamp) so my expectations were set pretty high for the rest of the line. First up to be reviewed is his eye color quad in Silvered Topaz 05 ($75 for .35 oz/10 g). Each quad has a diverse range of finishes, Silvered Topaz has an intense champagne sparkle, a satiny silvery grey, shimmery pale mauve and matte brown plum. The overall undertone of this quad is very cool, I found it a bit too silvery for my olive skintone but it looks amazing on Karla Sugar (see her makeover results here). (On thumb at top is Chanel Rose Cache.)

Here are some more close ups and swatches (scroll down for the review):

* On thumb is Chanel Nuit de Russie (from 2008)

Quality, Pigment & Texture: The quality of the shadows in Silvered Topaz are good but not great. The texture is smooth and easy to blend which is nice and the shimmer is finely milled for the satin/shimmer shades. The high-sparkle shade is lovely as a finishing color with no fall out but very intense. The matte shade is also smooth. Pigment is medium but layerable. Overall I think the quality is decent, but perhaps I've just been spoiled by Le Metier & Dior lately. $75 is a huge ouch to the wallet. I would rather pick out shades I love individually or spend an extra $20 for a Le Metier Kaleidoscope.

Packaging: The compact has a large mirror, magnetic closure and two double-ended applicators. I like that the compact comes in a decent size. It feels sturdy but not $75-worthy. Again, I feel it's good, but not great. I highly recommend you check out The RaeViewer's Video Tutorial and Swatches of Cognac Sable. I felt her thoughts resonated with me.

Colors: The promotional photos and previews from UK girls Get Lippie & London Makeup Girl had me drooling. Upon receiving the quad and seeing it in person, I was a bit less than wowed. It's a bit too cool-toned for me and the colors don't seem all that original. Still, in my stash, I couldn't find a dupe for any of the colors.

Here are a few comparisons:

Bottom line: It's like but not love. At $75 I need to love everything about this to feel ok about the price. Yes, buying four shadows individually from most brands will most likely cost me over $75, but I still haven't been completely won over. Upon further digging through my stash I figured out why I thought this wasn't so original. It appears to be close to Chanel Stupendous (comparisons to come tomorrow). My heart still belongs to his lipsticks. (I've also purchased one blush and lipgloss but still need to do some more testing on those.)

Have you been able to check out Tom Ford's Beauty Line in person? What were your thoughts? Share your hauls or testing experiences at the counter so the rest of us can live vicariously through you. (For inquiring minds, nail polish featured in the top photo is Chanel Rose Cache while nail polish in the middle with the back of the compact is Chanel Nuit de Russie. Photos were taken over different days.)

Copyright © 2009-2011 The Beauty Look Book.

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