Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tom Ford Gold Dust Lip Lacquer

Tom Ford's Gold Dust Lip Lacquer ($30) is a warm sheer smooth glossy gold with slight coppery tones. Gold Dust is one of two shades available in the lip lacquer squeeze tube format. I haven't tried the other version (which is a clear sparkle) but have heard many good things about it. Gold Dust has a soft vanilla scent (more subtle than the lipsticks) and a very smooth finish/texture. It's fairly pigmented when swatched on the hand but sheers out to a barely-there golden sheen. It's fairly warm and borderline yellowish but I think it's sheer enough for almost anyone to pull off. I have mixed feelings about this. I love the scent and texture but was a bit surprised at how little color shows up on the lips. Granted I think the lip lacquer style/formula from Tom Ford isn't meant to be a high-impact color type of gloss, but rather an enhancer. So for the intended purpose I think it's awesome. For a gloss, I would have liked a bit more pigment, but it does give a beautiful sheen and will work well as a layering gloss.

Close up photos, swatches and more details on the packaging below.

Comparisons to some other gold glosses.

Have you tried Tom Ford's lip glosses or lip lacquers? What are your thoughts? For reference, if you click back on the archives, I reviewed and swatched some of the regular glosses about a month ago.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tom Ford Burnt Topaz, Gold Haze & Silver Smoke Nail Lacquers

Tom Ford's Spring 2012 Collection includes four new metallic nail polishes and I purchased three from in Burnt Topaz, Gold Haze and Silver Smoke ($30 each). Tom Ford initially launched sixteen non-shimmer cream shades of nail polish when the complete beauty line was rolled out to select Neiman Marcus and Saks stores. I purchased two shades sight unseen online (African Violet and Pink Crush) and was less than impressed with the color and formula for the price. I did not feel compelled to review them. The formula was difficult to apply smoothly and I felt the colors were unoriginal. Upon professional application I did find the formula extremely long lasting without chips or peeling, but still the formula wasn't so great. Several months later I was able to see the entire line in store at Neiman Marcus but the poor lighting conditions of the displays combined with the messy leaking lids on the testers prevented me from looking further.

When previews of the new spring collection surfaced, I saw nothing but raves. I thought perhaps the metallic shimmer formula is better to work with. Plus the colors looked really gorgeous. Unfortunately, I personally found the metallic formula just as difficult to work with as the non-shimmers. Application does improve with a good base coat (I tried it with Le Metier's and Deborah Lippmann's on several swatching occasions). However, I'm spoiled by the smooth flawless formulas of Dior, Chanel and OPI. I personally find that the Tom Ford doesn't apply smoothly or evenly with ease. It does even out after two coats. Note this is my personal experience ... others might not have experienced the same.

My personal issues with the formula aside, I do find the metallic colors striking. Just not well suited for spring. I know there are no rules when it comes to seasonal makeup ... often times colors are timeless and can be worn year-round. I just feel that these are more inline with a fall mood rather than spring or summer.

The colors, swatches and comparisons. Left to right: Burnt Topaz, Gold Haze & Silver Smoke:

For those of you who haven't seen these in person, the Tom Ford Nail Polishes come in a square bottle with tops that come off. Underneath is a twist-cap (which I find are prone to leaking, at least mine were):

The brush is a good length and size for precise application, if only the formula would glide onto the nail better. There are really good brush comparisons to other brands on - Tom Ford Nail Polish #08 African Violet.


Burnt Topaz is a coppery metallic warm brown. The shimmer is complex and beautiful. Streaking doesn't show up too bad which is nice for a metallic.

Gold Haze is a pale gold metallic. It leans slightly warm on me. It's not as yellow as Chanel Gold Fingers and has a softer finish/feel to it.

Silver Smoke appears to be a warm silver in the bottle but on my olive skin shows up as more of a cool-toned silver. It's also highly metallic.

Comparisons below (you can click for larger viewing):

Overall I think the colors are lovely, but for the high price I expected better formulas. I'm not completely disappointed though. The colors are striking even if they are not my cup of tea for right now. I don't have a lot of these shades from less expensive brands like OPI, Essie or Zoya, but I do suspect that these are very easy to dupe. The colors unfortunately don't appear to be all that unique. Still, if you are lucky to be near or happen to visit a store with a Tom Ford counter I still think you should have a look. It's definitely worth while to stop and play. I still think his lipsticks are the best part of his makeup line, with the blushes as a close second.

Have you tried Tom Ford Nail Lacquers? What were your thoughts?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Coming Soon ... Tom Ford Metallics for Spring 2012

Just arrived from Tom Ford Metallics. My picks, sight unseen include Burnt Topaz, Gold Haze, Silver Smoke Nail Polishes ($30 each), Gold Dust Lip Lacquer ($30), and Cream Color for Eyes in Platinum and Spice ($40 each).

I'm going to test these in the upcoming week. In the meantime check out these for more photos, swatches and thoughts:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Loving Right Now

A few things I'm loving right now:
  • Flawless coverage: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska ($42) - This is not your typical tinted moisturizer. It's so much better! It has smooth medium natural coverage that gives a well covered flawless look. It has a pleasant smell and lasts quite long on the skin. I found that my local Nordstrom counters had sample packets when this launched. I highly recommend you go and check it out. I am normally shade 3 or 4 in most lines, with this one I was the second lightest shade.
  • Layerable Neutrals: Burberry and Le Métier de Beauté make gorgeous neutrals that are layerable. I like to use them as a first layering base and add more color on top for a softer look. Right now I'm smitten with Burberry Midnight Brown, Pale Barley and Le Métier Corinthian and Jojo.
  • Hydrated Hands: L'Occitane makes my favorite hand creams. They are moisturizing without being too heavy, sticky or thick. I love their limited edition scents. Their newest is the Amande (Almond, green tube). I'm smitten with their Honey (mainly because of the packaging design). These make great gifts as well.
  • Thick Defined Lashes: I have stubby short lashes and need all the help I can get. These days I'm loving the Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara by NARS ($25).
  • Bright Nail Polishes: Chanel May (here), Dior Lucky (here) and Chanel Distraction (here). Perfect for spring to summer.
  • Soft Refreshing Scents: I'm completely in love with L'Artisan L'Été en Douce (reviewed here). It's light and fresh and perfect for everyday.

Other reads and videos I'm loving right now:
  • Garance Doré - Pardon My French/Paris Episode 4 features snippets from Paris Fashion Week
  • Nathan Branch gives us a preview of a new Serge Lutens in L’Eau Froide (he makes everything look so dreamy)
  • Café Makeup shows us the latest Joues Contraste in Malice, Tumulte and Pink Explosion from Chanel
  • Makeup Magpie swatched the new Laura Mercier Smoky Effects set at Nordstrom
  • Messy Wands has the latest kaleidoscopes from Le Métier de Beauté: Northern Lights and Cherry Blossom
  • The Non-Blonde shared Karl Lagerfield's bathroom from Harper's Bazaar
  • Into the Gloss hosted an adorable play date get together (filled with NARS, MAC and Aesop goodies)
  • Dior has an Asia-Exclusive release called Icy Halos, AudreyEleven makes me want the Icy Dew and Glacier Nail Polishes! Polish Police also has some photos here (ahhh, to want what I cannot have)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bond No. 9 Central Park West Eau de Parfum

The latest from Bond No. 9 is the 7th city-inspired fragrance called Central Park West. The actual packaging of the bottle is exquisite with the houndstooth checkerboard pattern and large pink flower (the vial shown is a lab sample sent for review). The description of this scent indicated this would be a highly complex floral. I was surprised to find that it's more of a pure clean scented floral. Since this is in the Eau de Parfum formula, the fragrance is quite intense. A single spritz provides a highly-concentrated floral mix of gardenia and jasmine. As Central Park West dries down, it becomes slightly less floral/green, but still remains a pure floral throughout the life of its wear (which I found lasted all day from early morning to late evening).
  • Top notes include narcissus, ylang ylang, black pepper
  • Middle notes are gardenia, jasmine, citrus-like linden, orris
  • Base notes are vetiver, must, white oak and treemoss

Central Park West is perfectly suited for spring, but I have other fragrances that I prefer. I found this one a bit too mature for my taste, but I do like it more than the fragrances that were recently released Jo Malone London Bloom Collection. If you're looking for a new spring floral scent to wear, this is definitely one to check out. Although I found it too mature, it's light enough to not be too heavy, but I still prefer scents that are on the lighter side.  I do envision myself wearing the sample down to the last drop, however, right now I'm just not quite smitten enough to justify a full bottle. Currently my favorite Bond Fragrances are the ones my husband wears (Chez Bond, Copper Square, New York Amber). I'm also quite fond of Chinatown as well (for me) and occasionally West Side (I have these in the mini bon-bon sprays).

Central Park West is currently available at Bond No. 9 New York Stores, Saks, Nordstrom and and available in a 100 ml ($250), 50 ml ($180), body silk ($130), candle ($110) and shower gel ($75). You can visit for more details.

Have you tried Central Park West? What did you think? Do you have any other favorites from Bond No. 9?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dior Vernis Saint-Tropez 401 Nail Lacquer

Last summer Dior released a beautiful limited-edition nail polish called Saint-Tropez 401 to celebrate the opening of their new boutique in Saint Tropez. It sold out almost immediately from select Dior Boutiques and online at and I have been drooling over the photos from Café Makeup, àla peach, and Fashion Polish for quite some time wishing I did not wait so long. Luckily for those of us who missed out, Dior has decided to re-release this shade in their summer collection this year. At this time, their summer collection isn't out yet (in the US at least) but many of us have spotted Dior's Saint-Tropez instores at Nordstrom counters (it's not online as far as I can tell right now, if you have a Dior/Nordstrom counter near you, I highly recommend calling them to see if they have this yet).

Dior Saint-Tropez ($23 for 10 ml/0.33 fl oz, Made in France) is a beautiful beachy aqua blue cream. I find it fairly close to the classic Tiffany blue color, just slightly deeper. The formula seemed a bit thicker than most other Dior nail colors I own and required a slow and steady application. One coat was sufficient for me, but to get completely even coverage, two coats are necessary. The color is striking and brightens the mood. I wanted to wear this past the weekend but fear it's borderline non-work-appropriate for my office. Definitely more of a toe-color for right now. Come summer and warmer weather, I think I will be brave enough to wear at work on the fingers. For now it will be saved for weekends or toes.

Here are more photos, swatches and comparisons below.

Below it looks slightly more cool-blue, but it really pulls more aqua (like the photo above):

Comparisons to other blues, teals and greenish colors: Chanel Riva, Nouvelle Vague, Coco Blue, Dior Waterlily, OPI Thanks a Windmillion, Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream, Dior Nirvana

I find it most similar to Chanel's Nouvelle Vague but as you can see above it's not quite the same. Here's one more view of the comparisons swatched:

Were you one of the lucky ones who bought Saint-Tropez last year? If not, do you plan on getting it with the summer release? Do you find it neutral enough to wear to work on the fingers? Or is it more of a toe/summer color for you (like it is for me)?

Kindly note, all my photos are copyrighted which means I do not allow republication or use without permission.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chanel Ombres Matelassées 51, Montaigne Eyeshadow Palette

Chanel has released a new beautiful palette to celebrate the opening of one of their new boutiques in Paris. The palette is called Ombres Matelassées 51, Montaigne ($80 for 6g/0.21 oz, Made in Italy). It comes with five stunning soft silky-smooth shimmery eyeshadows embossed with the classic quilted pattern. The colors aren't all that unique to Chanel's prior releases but the texture is amazing with an ultra-smooth finish and satiny feel. Pigmentation is medium, like most Chanel eyeshadows. The shimmer is very soft and subtle. At $80 this is extremely pricey (especially when you consider the fact that the Ombres Perleés de Chanel from Spring 2011 was $65). I fell in love with the beautiful presentation and packaging but I'm not really comfortable with the price. (I skipped the Vegas de Chanel face highlighter and so felt this splurge was justified.)

The colors, left to right: soft iridescent ivory, pale gold shimmer, satiny warm gold, khaki olive shimmer, soft greyed-black with a tinge of navy. A few more close ups.


Comparisons to a few other shades, Chanel Ivory, Chanel Blazing Gold, Burberry Midnight Black, Chanel Black Star and Chanel Noir-Ivoire. (The greenish/olive shade wasn't compared because I don't own any of the Chanel khaki shimmers.) As you can see the theme is not extremely unique, but still extremely beautiful.

I'm not sure exactly where this will be available. My guess is this will be available at the counters and stores that receive the special exclusive launches (such as Les Jeans de Chanel, Vegas de Chanel, etc.) I know Nordstrom in Seattle has received the palette and have seen reports of this being spotted at various Boutiques and select Neiman Marcus counters. I'm assuming it will be launched online at eventually but at this time I'm not sure. I purchased mine at my local Neiman Marcus although they did not have any testers. See other photos at Best Things in Beauty and Luxury-Makeup Livejournal.

Overall beautiful presentation and extremely high quality. There is a lack of originality with the colors (I found them to be repeats of prior/existing shades) but the palette is a classic and I really love it. The texture is better than some of the singles, which I'm a huge fan of, but sometimes can be a bit chunky in feel. I personally cannot envision wearing all 5 shades at once. I've tried a few combinations and prefer to use 3 at most at one time. I find it wears very well and adheres well to the lids like the classic Chanel eyeshadows do.

Bottom line, it's a true luxury product, not a necessity. I love it but I don't think it's a must-have for those who have a lot of other Chanel eyeshadows. I simply think you will find this redundant. I like the convenience of having all shades in one palette and felt the presentation is just exquisite. At the price it's definitely a splurge. If I could only have 1 palette this season, I think it would still be Dior Grège 734 (reviewed here), although a few photos of summer collections have been surfacing and I'm kinda dying over the NARS trio coming out for summer (see it on here).

Have you seen/tried this yet? What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dior Lucky 659 Nail Polish

Dior Lucky 659 ($23 for 10 ml/0.33 fl oz) has stolen my heart and made into my top three favorites this season (three-way tie with Chanel Distraction & Laura Mercier Cabana). Dior Lucky is a rich pink-red cream. It's one of those shades that's an in-between kind of color. Sometimes it looks pink, other times it looks more red. Either way, it's a stunner knock-out kind of bright that looks great on both tips and toes. I love that it's vibrant and full of life but in a wearable way. It's photographed above on top of a Jimmy Choo ad. I loved the bright nails in that photo and Dior Lucky is a slightly pinker version of what I saw.

Here it is swatched after 3 days of wear (2 coats with Rescue Beauty Lounge's top coat). I found it lasted quite long.

Out of all four shades released with the Dior Color Block nail polishes, Lucky is my favorite and the most unique in my opinion. Yes, it's similar to other bright pinks and reds, but the mixture of red/pink makes it different from most others. Compared below to Dior Cabaret Pink, Trafalgar, Chanel Rose Exhuberant, Chanel Cherry and Pirate.

I have not yet checked out the lipstick partner for the nail color, but you can see it on Makeup and Beauty Blog, Blushing Noir and Beauty Addicted (my newest discovery).

Have you checked out the latest shades from Dior? Did you pick up any nail polishes or Addict Extreme Lipsticks yet?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dior Riviera 537 and Plaza 579

Dior Riviera 537 and Plaza 579 Nail Lacquers ($23 each) are both vibrant highly saturated creams. Riviera is a hot orange coral, while Plaza is a hot pink. These have a similar vibe to last summer's Aloha and Paradise, but without the neon quality. I found both to be slightly thicker in texture which requires a slow and steady application. The chiseled brush is something I'm still trying to get used to. I find it easier to use with their metallics/shimmers, although it does apply nicely for creams. It has a very slight jelly finish - not quite as jelly-like as Laura Mercier's though. The Diors have a bit more coverage.

Riviera 537 is shown below. It's very similar to other orange-corals. I wouldn't call it a straight orange or coral, but it does lean more on the orangey side with a slight reddish undertone. Two coats and you get rich full coverage. Scroll down a little and you'll see this isn't all that unique in color. Still gorgeous and for those who don't like Chanel's formula, Dior's is amazing.

Riviera Comparisons: Aloha, Psychedelic Orange(more pink, less orange), OPI Red Lights Ahead ... Where? (a shade and a 1/2 darker), Laura Mercier Sizzle (closest match just the slightest bit deeper), Dior Trafalgar (more red and deeper), OPI I Mainely Eat Lobster

Plaza 579 is a hot pink. This color too is very similar to other releases from OPI and Chanel. The difference is in the undertone. Hard to detect on the color wheel or in the bottles. My recommendation would depend on what works best with your skintone. Some people want a warmer pink, others like a cooler pink.

Plaza comparisons: OPI Strawberry Margarita (slightly warmer than Plaza and 1/2 a shade lighter), OPI Kiss Me On the Tulips (significantly more blue), Chanel Rose Insolent (warmer in tone), Chanel May, Laura Mercier Flamingo (lighter in color), Dior Caberet Pink (slightly warmer)

Are either of these must-haves? I would say for me not really, but I really love these. If you're new to nail polish and are looking for good brights, Dior's are a good pick. The quality and finish of the polishes is amazing. It really is getting better and better by the season. If you're on a budget looking for something less expensive, there are definitely many options from OPI. I really adore their brights, especially from their recent Holland collection.

Many of you have asked if I've tried the new Dior Addict Extremes yet. I purchased 2 but haven't had a chance to wear or try them yet on the lips. After a few quick swipes at the counter, I think they look promising though! Another FAQ relates to the nail wheels used on the blog. The nail wheels were purchased from Sally's Beauty Supply. I don't know the name of the brand since I've thrown away the label/packaging. So far I've only seen 1 brand at the store. I think they also carry them online.

Have you seen the new Dior lip and nail items? Thoughts?

P.S. Dior Nail Polish fans who missed out on Saint Tropez Nail Polish last year will happy to know it's out again!! Check your Nordstrom counters! I spotted it last week. No sign of the rest of the summer collection yet. (See Cafe Makeup's and Steph's Closet swatches from last year.)

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