Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sunday Riley Blushing and Honest

Sunday Riley Blushes have me thoroughly impressed. While at Barneys I thought all the blushes looked amazing but limited myself to just two. (After all I caved on four of her eyeshadows, reviewed a few days ago here.) I purchased Blushing, a soft light natural glowing pink on the left, and Honest, a shimmering tawny peach on the right ($30 each for 0.1 oz/3 g). Both come packaged in a sturdy square mirrored compact in a little black pouch embossed with Sunday Riley's name and logo on top.

I think I may have just found pink perfection in Blushing. The Non-Blonde and Product Doctor can confirm how wonderful this color is (and both lovely ladies have completely different skintones than I do). Soft natural pink blushes are a dime a dozen, but Sunday Riley's Blushing is a cut above. It has a natural undertone and enough pink with a hint of shimmer to look like a perfect natural light blush. It doesn't turn muddy or darken with brown tones on the skin. It doesn't apply ashy or too pigmented. It really is as good as it gets. I wasn't able to get comparison shots before the sun went down, here are a few lined up to compare. I thought it resembled Bobbi Brown's Antigua the most, but on the face, BB's can darken a bit and look muddy if you get the slightest bit oily. Sunday Riley's Blushing holds up better without darkening.

Honest is equally stunning. It's a shimmering peach with a hint of nude tones. In the compact it looks quite shimmery but on the face it applies beautifully and natural. Peach lovers, take note, I think it's something you must try on in person if you're near a Barneys. Both blushes are rich in pigment with a soft blendable texture. There is a slight powdery scent but it's not very noticeable.

Side by side, Blushing and Honest, plus swatches below:

I couldn't fit all the blushes and comparisons on one arm, so I only picked a few to swipe side by side. Do take into account that my swatches tend to look more shimmery due to the flash than these apply in real life. Swatching is hard work, please take these with a grain of salt and check other blogs for different views/angles/lighting:

Overall, I'm in love. These blushes are truly amazing in the sense that they apply beautifully and flawlessly on the skin without changing color as the skin warms up. No tweaking required at all with either of these. They have just enough color to be visible and brighten the face but they are also natural enough that they won't overpower or overwhelm your look. Both shades can be easily worn year round for a number of looks and occasions. Although I've only tried a few shadows and blushes, I adore what I've bought. Many thanks to Gaia from The Non-Blonde for helping us all discover Sunday Riley's cosmetic line. I have a few sample packets of her skincare which I can't wait to try. My next trip to Barneys can't come soon enough.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow in Royal Kaki 454

Dior Royal Kaki 454 is another quint that has been released as part of Dior's New Look Collection. I purchased this sight unseen hoping it wouldn't be too cool-toned. Some websites show this labeled as "Royal Khaki" but I looked at the compact, and it's named "Royal Kaki." The colors in the quint on my skin:
  • Sharp shimmery cool white
  • Yellow-tinged gold shimmer with slight olive tones
  • Khaki green (army green) matte with small flecks of sparkle
  • Matte black (applies a bit satiny, but leans more matte)
  • Cool gunmetal silver shimmer

In the compact, the combination of colors is beautiful, but odd. The white and black and khaki green are a bit harsh in my opinion making this quint a bit tricky to pull off. So far I've tried this 2 ways:
  • Method 1: Use the left shades + middle, gold shimmer + khaki green + black, I found this to work ok, but the gold in this quint plus the khaki are a bit too green for my olive skin and make my eyes look a bit tired.
  • Method 2: Use the right shades + middle, the white is too sharp for my medium skin, even when the other colors are layered on top.
More close ups and swatches below:

Right now I'm undecided about this one. I prefer Dior's Smoky Khaki trio (reviewed here) by far, even though it has a khaki/greenish tinge, I find the trio easier to pull off than the new Royal Kaki Quint. I am scheduled to attend a Dior event soon at my local Nordstrom. Perhaps I will ask for tips on how to apply this, although I'm not sure that this will be one that is workable for my medium olive skintone. Lesson learned to wait for Dior items to arrive in store to try before buying. With so many successes with Dior I thought I would be safe!

Have you purchased/tried Royal Kaki? Did it work for you? Whether it did or did not, please share your thoughts and skintone.

A special note: Many have brought to my attention that the Numbers/Names on Sephora.com do not match my reviews and asked that I double check my labeling. I've added photos of the backs of my quints to show the corresponding number and name and believe I have them correct in each post, at least based on the packaging labels. At this time I believe that Sephora.com has the incorrect labeling but if you plan on only ordering 1, I suggest you contact their Customer Service if you're at all unsure. Since I ordered both I figured I'd find out which was which once I received my package. As labeled on my quints:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow in Grège 734

Dior Grège 734 is a stunning soft satiny neutral quint. I think this is a must-have for any neutral lover, especially if you're a fan of Dior eyeshadows. I found mine online at Sephora.com ($59 for 6 g/ 0.21 oz, made in France). It has a soft earthy feel with a mixture of shimmer and satiny shades. I personally find the combination of the colors unique, descriptions of each shade:
  • Soft warm tan camel brown (slight shimmer, satiny finish)
  • Pale greyed white frost (higher shimmer)
  • Pale mauve grey cream shimmer (high shimmer, but not frost)
  • Muted brown grey with mauvey tones (more matte, slight satin finish)
  • Shimmery blue grey with mauve tinge (shimmery)

Update: someone requested I confirm that I have the numbers of the quints correct b/c there is an inconsistency online at Sephora.com, here is the back of Grège to show the number is in fact 734:

The texture is similar to that of the Mitzah quint: soft, blendable with a soft shimmer finish. There is apparent shimmer in the compact, on the eyes it translates into a softer satiny look. The shimmer gives a subtle glow. The colors are layerable and easy to blend.

Swatches applied with a brush (I find that these apply better with a brush versus the sponge applicators that come in the compact):

I often find it difficult to wear all 5 shades at once with Dior quints but I do not think they are designed to all be worn at once. If you read the little pamphlets that come with the boxes you will find that Dior has helpful diagrams and tips. Dior suggests several different methods. One is to use any 3 shades that are touching, whether it is diagonal, the top + middle, or sides + middle. Pardon the poor quality of the snapshot, but the paper is so thin, scanning shows both sides of the ink. Hopefully these diagrams will help you if you haven't seen them before.

How does this compare to other palettes? I'm sure individually you could find similar shades, but palette-wise, I found Grège to be unique. I didn't look for dupes this time but I did pull Chanel Stupendous and the classic Dior Incognito (older version) to compare. Grège is an amped-up version of Incognito. While Grège is soft, the contrast of the colors in this palette are sharper than Incognito making it easier to wear (in my opinion). I only swatched the diors side by side.

Grège 734 is a lovely wearable neutral. Today I managed to wear all 5 shades on the eyes by layering them, medium tan shade first, soft lighter colors on top to blend the edges, then darkest shades along lash line and outer corners blended. I can easily see myself wearing this on a regular basis for everyday. For a base I used a combination of Urban Decay's Primer Potion and Laura Mercier's Metallic Cream Shadow in Platinum. It lasted all afternoon. I give it a big thumbs up.

The Dior New Look Collection is already out online at Sephora and also should be in store at Nordstrom now.

Dior New Look Collection 5-Colour Eyeshadows: Grège 734 and Royal Kaki 454

Dior's latest release is a New Look Collection which includes a new formula of DiorShow Mascara and four new quints. If you don't follow Rouge Deluxe already, I highly recommend you do. I found out about this upcoming release on her blog. My love for shimmery neutrals is still going strong and I ordered the neutral options in Grège 734 and Royal Kaki 454 from Sephora.com last week (gotta love their samples and super fast shipping). Here is a quick peek at both palettes side by side. A detailed post with better swatches on each quint to follow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Byredo Gypsy Water Eau de Parfum

Barneys New York has quickly become my new favorite playground. I adore their fragrance selection and the L'Artisan, Serge Lutens and Byredo counters have been the highlights of my trips to LA. I had been eyeing Byredo's Gypsy Water for over six months before I finally decided to purchase. My first experience with the line was last June in Beverly Hills. Within minutes of arriving instore I managed to spritz 4 different perfumes sprayed on different areas of my arms: La Tulipe, Gypsy Water, Blanche and Serge Lutens Clair de Musc. My nose quickly became confused as everything started to blend together. I was most drawn to Gypsy Water but still being new and cautious when it comes to expensive fragrances decided to wait. I tested this on two more occasions in store, once in San Francisco, one more time in Beverly Hills. Finally, the week before Christmas I caved and used a gift card to purchase the smaller 50 ml version ($145) from Barneys.com.

Byredo is a fragrance line based in Stockholm founded in 2006 by Ben Gorham. I found the interview featured on Into the Gloss particularly touching and highly inspirational. There are a number of wonderful scents from Byredo, the first one for me is Gypsy Water which is an Eau de Parfum and comes in two sizes (see Byredo.com for more details). To me, smells like a grown-up more sophisticated version of Fresh Sugar and Brown Sugar (both of which I found too sweet, too citrusy and headache-inducing). On my skin, the fragrance can be a bit finicky if I do not spray the right amount on my skin evenly. It is quite intense so two spritzes on the wrists is max that my nose can handle in one day's wear. If I do not spray enough the citrus notes overwhelm and induce a migraine. However, when sprayed on the skin in an even motion, I smell a beautiful mixture of sweet amber, vanilla mixed with a hint of lemon. The spice notes and vanilla prevent the citrus from overpowering. It's soothing and refreshing and sweet. It's uplifting with a fresh and slightly earthy feel. Still, it is a bit tricky to wear and very easy to overdo. I recommend you test and apply with caution.

The notes: Top: Bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper berries
Heart: Incense, pine needles, orris
Base: Amber, vanilla, sandalwood

I adore Gypsy Water but I don't think it's an easy fragrance to wear everyday due to the sweetness. As you can see from the listed notes, it's highly complex, but in a lighter sense (instead of being a dark kind of complex). I highly recommend testing and letting it sit on the skin for at least an hour before deciding how it wears on you. Even though I'm getting more and more adventurous with fragrance exploration, I'm still more of a no-perfume kind of perfume girl. Gypsy Water is light enough for those who don't like perfume with a surprisingly long lasting power (as long as you don't apply too much too close to the skin, I find a concentrated spot makes the scent a bit too cloying). Overall a lovely feminine pleasant sweet perfume.

Have you tried anything from Byredo before? What have your experiences been? Those who have tried Gypsy Water, do you find it wears odd on you depending on how you apply it? Any tips/thoughts you'd like to share? I would love to hear about your Byredo favorites (not just the fragrances, but candles, lotions, etc.)!

I found Byredo at Barneys in Beverly Hills. I believe it's exclusive to them in the US. Check Byredo.com for listed locations. Also, for inquiring minds, all photos in this post taken with my iPhone 4S, square photos with filters taken with the Hipstamatic app.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in Wild Rose and Rose Gold

Bobbi Brown has released two new limited-edition Shimmer Bricks in Wild Rose and Rose Gold ($39 each for .4 oz/10.3 g, hand made in Italy). I first saw the preview on Rouge Deluxe and having a weakness for all things shimmery, immediately ordered these once they arrived on Nordstrom.com. Wild Rose is a soft pinkish rose with high shimmer (on the left) and Rose Gold is a shimmery beige warm pink gold (on the right). Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Bricks can be extremely shimmery and are easy to overdo because they are rich in pigment. I apply with a very light hand and a super fluffy brush in soft layers to avoid that overly-frosted finish. Below are a few shots in direct sunlight where you can see the complex shimmery glow.

Wild Rose is a stunner. It's a romantic palette of shimmery roses and pinks. I tried swatching each color individually but with the high frost and flash, they all looked the same swatched on my arm. It pulls a bit warmer and darker than Bobbi Brown's Rose Shimmer Brick (which has pale white strips). After swiping on my fingers and arms I was really worried it would be way too frosty. Today I applied this over NARS G-Spot Multiple and MAC Golden Bronzer as a pink highlight. I was pleasantly surprised how the shimmer softened after the skin warmed up.

Rose Gold is a soft pale rose gold with strips of soft iridescent peach, sandy beige, rose and seashell pinks. Sometimes I feel like designers and artists create rose golds to be extremely rich and almost coppery-like. This Rose Gold Shimmer Brick is a pleasant surprise to be softer and more flesh toned with a hint of rose and gold mixed together. This is lovely as a highlighter. Do not let the swatches below deter you. I would caution you do use with a lighter hand though. I like Bobbi Brown's blender brushes or MAC's skunk brushes to apply.

A BIG DISCLAIMER: these were swatched with a very heavy hand. I'm not sure they will be helpful at all because nobody really applies face products with this much intensity. At least not for everyday wear. Do check out reviews on other blogs to get a better idea if you can't get to a counter to play in person.

A few comparisons for you:

Are these must-haves? As usual, I think it depends. Do you like shimmery pink highlighters? Then yes! If you're one who doesn't like any hint of frost then these might be too over the top for you. I do find Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Bricks versatile though. To get that soft glow make sure you use a loose fluffy brush. Try to apply softly in layers by swiping the face in a large sweeping motion rather than packing on the color.

How do they compare to other shades? Swirled all together, I would say Wild Rose is close to Rose and Rose Gold is close to Pink Quartz. The difference is subtle, I'm not sure that it's all that noticeable on the face, perhaps it depends on skintone. I personally am very pleased.

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