Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back: 2012 Favorites

There is a long list of new discoveries I've fallen in love with this year. Many were thanks to other bloggers (thank you for your inspiration). It's been a challenging year for me in my non-blogging work life. Thanks to many of you for keeping me inspired and for your never ending support. For my top picks, this year's favorites include the following:
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No. 1 - Best Splurge - Tom Ford Beauty Brushes
After reading numerous raves, I decided to purchase the Tom Ford Brush Set. It was a hefty investment but the brushes are well designed with an ultra-soft luxurious feel. The performance is simply amazing with makeup application. You have to try it to believe it. I have a detailed review on the Eye Contour Brush #12. The two others eye brushes I've acquired since then are equally amazing and while they were insanely expensive, the performance of these cannot be matched. I would say start with the Eye Shadow Brush #11, Eye Contour Brush #12 and Blush Brush #06 if you're new to his brush line.

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No. 2 Best Beauty Collection - Tom Ford Fall 2012
Since Tom Ford launched his beauty line, I mainly fell in love with his lipsticks and blushes. I felt the rest of the line was just ok. The quads were either too glitzy or glittery, nail polishes were thin and inconsistent in formula/pigment, liners seemed basic. However something happened with the fall line. I saw a significant improvement in texture and pigment with the metallic nail polishes in Dominatrix and Minx along with the Enchanted quad. Narcissist blush was as amazing as expected - a gorgeous hot pink. 

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No. 3 Best Cheek Products - Chanel Rose Initiale and Lumière d’Artifices Beiges
The prettiest neutrals for cheeks this year (for me) came from Chanel's Fall 2012 collection. Rose Initiale is a soft yet healthy neutral pink. The Beiges highlighter gave my complexion a natural glow. A more detailed review linked here.

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No. 4 Best Lipsticks - Burberry Beauty
The best and most-used lipsticks for me this year were from Burberry Beauty. They have the most naturally flattering colors. It's nearly impossible for me to pick out favorites as I adore most of the colors. My top three most-used were Rosewood, Cameo Pink and Field Rose (a few swatches here and here). I also tried a few of their lip velvets but did not have time to review. The colors are richly pigmented and texture is smooth but not dry like the name "velvet" might imply. (Great swatches on Café Makeup and Kais Obsessions.)

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No. 5 Best Eye Base - Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base
I was lucky to test a prototype of Edward's Eye Base at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills in April 2011. I waited a year before I was able to buy the actual product. Edward Bess's Illuminating Eye Base is by far the best eye base I've tried. I alternate between two shades in Dune (lighter matte) and Suede (a darker satiny color). They help shadows stay put. They even out the lids. And the best for me is that they don't dry my lids like most other bases do. They are swatched here.

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No. 6 Favorite Palettes - Le Métier de Beauté
As time goes by, I fall more and more in love with Le Métier de Beauté's Eyeshadow Formula. Their Eye Kaleidoscopes are just breathtaking and the color combinations pure genius. I love the smooth pigmented formula that layers and blends so well. Nouvelle Vague is unique and the delicate pink shades combined with the darkest black creates a sultry eye. Bauhaus is yet another beauty that I love. I hope more kits come out and that they are made more widely available.

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No. 7 Favorite Home Fragrance - Diptyque Candles
There a number of candles I love, but this year Diptyque won my heart. I love that their candles double as lovely brush or pen holders once finished. See them here too.

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No. 8 Favorite Color Theme - Coral
The most-frequently worn color for me this year was coral. My favorite coral was Chanel Distraction. See the color focus series here.

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No. 9 Nail Polishes - Chanel
Chanel still wins best nail polish category for me in terms of color selection, pigment, consistency and quality. My favorite colors this year (swatches linked): Island, Distraction, Malice, Accessoire and Delight.

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No. 10 Top Three Favorite Staples - NARS, Dolce and Gabbana and Edward Bess
The top three beauty things I couldn't live without this year: Edward Bess's Daydream Bronzing Powder (the original one, already hit pan on one), Dolce and Gabbana's Powder Foundation in Warm 100, and NARS Volumizing Mascara. These are things I've repurchased.

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In addition, a few reflections I've enjoyed reading that I wanted to share:

What were your top picks this past year? I'd love to hear what made your favorites list!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Le Métier de Beauté Bauhaus Kaleidoscope Eye Kit

Le Métier de Beauté's latest is the Bauhaus Kaleidoscope Eye Kit ($95, limited-edition). It's a stunning palette of rich shimmers in both warm and cool shades. Initial thoughts were that this was an odd combination, but knowing the genius of Le Métier de Beauté's creations, I decided to order anyways. I ordered sight unseen from Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills thanks to a tutorial/preview featured online at Zuneta (thanks Café Makeup for sending the link).

The shades are not individually named in the palette, although names are listed online:
  • Level 1 is called Axiom: sublime bronzed umber. It's a warm bronzey-golden shimmer.
  • Level 2 is called Graphic: silver liquid metal. This is a frosted pale silver metallic.
  • Level 3 is called Crucible: rich pomegranate. This shade is a warm metallic wine.
  • Level 4 is called Genre: deep gunmetal. This a frosted silvery gunmetal.

Individual close ups of each layer below.

The only shade that really appealed to me was the top golden bronze, however using the Le Métier layering technique gives a truly stunning smokey eye. It's perfect for a sultry night time look. Blending the shades will make it suitable for day as well, but to me, this has more of a night-time feel.

In comparing other shades and kits, I do believe you can achieve a similar effect with existing shades. There are very close similarities between Bauhaus and Bordeaux, Thunder, Silk Road kit, and Antiquite Poupee kit. I wouldn't say there are exact dupes - but shades that are indeed very close.
  • Level 1, Axiom has more warmth/red than Spicy (which is more golden)
  • Level 2, Graphic, I suspect is similar to other silvers (I don't own any silvers from Le Metier)
  • Level 3, Crucible is a mix between Silk Road's Level 3 and Bordeaux
  • Level 4, Genre is a more intense/deeper/metallic version of Thunder (more satiny) and Antique Poupee (has more of a blueish/silvery sheen)

Le Métier de Beauté Bauhaus is a stunning palette. I have to say I'm very impressed with the color combinations since they aren't anything I would have imagined to try on my own. Be sure to check out a few other reviews and eye looks:
Bauhaus is fairly versatile. I used it with a soft pink cheek (Chanel's Rose Intiale) and nude-pink lips (Tom Ford Pink Dusk + Le Metier Sweet Creme Lip Gloss). On another occasion it worked well with a soft bronzey-nude blush (MAC Tenderling over Laguna Multiple) and nude-pink perle lips (Chanel Perle Rouge Coco). Bottom line love.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Edward Bess Sun and Stars Prismette Eyeshadow Quad

Edward Bess has recently added three new palettes to his line called Prismette Eyeshadow Quads ($68 each for 0.25 oz/7g). These come cased in a black rectangular mirrored compact with a double-sided brush. According to Bergdorfs, these quads have Edward's Classic Ultra Luminous Eyeshadow formula in a combination of some new shades and signature shades.

There are three sets right now: Cosmic Bliss (all taupe), Over the Moon (plummy greys) and Sun and Stars (day and night look). All quads include the same basic light all-over-base-shade. For the repeats of his singles, Cosmic Bliss includes Intimate + 2 new taupes. Over the Moon contains all new shades and Sun and Stars include Escape, Dusk and Night. I will review all three in the upcoming weeks. First up is Sun and Stars.

Sun and Stars contains three existing shades, Escape (a warm coppery bronze shimmer), Dusk (a metallic taupe, looks greenish/khaki in the photos but applies more neutral), and Night (a cool satiny black). The base/matte shade is new. It has a similar color to his single shadow in Nude but is slightly darker and more pigmented. It works well as an all over base to even the lid softly without looking chalky.

I've been using Sun and Stars over his illuminating eye primers (which I think are the best eye bases I've tried) and it has performed exceptionally well. The colors are well pigmented with just enough shimmer to add depth but not overly frosty. Compared to the singles, the Sun and Stars quad applies with the same pigment and smoothness. If you already own the individual shades, then purchasing the quad isn't necessary. It is very convenient for travel and if you're new to Edward Bess, this is a perfect introduction to his line.

Here it is swatched on my arm:

Comparison shot to the singles: Nude, Escape, Dusk and Night (no swatches since the shades swatch identical between the singles and quads, with the exception of Nude which is a lot lighter/sheerer)

Bottom line: excellent! For me it's not a must-have simply because I already own the shades individually. I do like the sturdy packaging which is much easier to travel with (versus singles). Sun and Stars has performed very well. Lasting power with his eye bases is all day for me. It's a palette that can be incorporated into any look and versatile enough for day or night. I believe it will suit a wide range of skintones. While I was at the Beverly Hills counter over a year ago, I saw Edward apply Night to lovely woman with a dark complexion - it gave her a stunning smokey eye.

I'm sure all Edward Bess fans have already seen reviews on other blogs, but in case you haven't be sure to check out:
I purchased my Edward Bess quads from Bergdorf Goodman. They are also available online at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Sephora. Right now there appears to be a limited-edition set exclusive to Neimans online called Private Eye which has the Sun and Stars, Dune Eye Base and his mascara for $100 (individual products added up total $128, I haven't tried his mascara so I can't report on it, but I do love his eye bases).

Have you tried Edward's latest?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chanel Or Rose, Santal and Beryl Stylo Yeux Waterproof

Chanel has released three new eyeliners in the Stylo Yeux Waterproof formula for spring ($30 each, made in Italy). The three shades are Or Rose #89 (a luminous sparkly champagne), Santal #100 (a neutral shimmering brown) and Beryl #102 (a pale lavendar). Currently, only Beryl is listed as limited-edition on The Stylo Yeux Waterproof pencils come in a twist-up packaging with a hidden built-in sharpener at the end of the pencil (see example from Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog for close up). They are designed to be a long-wear pencil and I find them to be among my longest lasting eyeliners. For me they stay put all day.

The new shades for spring performed just as well as others in the same formula. Shimmery champagnes like Or Rose are good for lining the inner corners or lower waterline. I'm still experimenting with Beryl - it's such an unusual shade for a liner! Santal is a pretty classic warm brown shimmer. Chanel does lovely neutrals and Santal works perfectly with the Raffinement quad that was released for spring.

Swatches: Or Rose pulls a bit peachy on my skin.

In terms of dupes, I couldn't find any. Some comparisons are featured below. Or Rose is a lighter version of Peche Cuivre. Shown next to other champagnes you can see Or Rose is definitely on the peachy side. Santal is quite unique and warmer than other brown neutrals. I didn't compare Beryl to anything since I don't own any lavendar-colored eyeliners.

Based on my preferences and normal makeup routine, I like Santal the best. Or Rose is gorgeous but I would prefer it as an eyeshadow instead. Same with Beryl. I occasionally use champagne eyeliners but not frequently. They are both stunning though.

Did you pick up any of the spring eyeliners?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Love, Sabrina

Monday, December 24, 2012

Chanel Raffinement #39 Quadra Eye Shadow - Spring 2013

The winter-to-spring season brings quite a few lovely neutral palettes from Armani, Burberry, Edward Bess and Chanel. The Printemps Precieux de Chanel brings us Raffinement #39 Quadra Eye Shadow ($58 for 6.8g/0.24 oz) which is every neutral-lover's dream. The quad has a mixture of three shimmery earthy warm neutrals and a dark warm matte brown. This is hands down my favorite neutral of all the recent releases. The pigment is excellent, much better than most Chanel palettes in my opinion. The texture is soft and easy to blend. The shimmer is visible but not over the top. It's a definite must-have.

Here it is swatched, on me it pulls very warm:

Chanel recently discontinued Kaska Beige (which I found to be a good staple, I had to get backups) so I thought that Raffinement would be very similar. However looking at them side by side you can see how they are very different. The color/finish of Raffinement is similar to Armani's #6 Boudoir. The difference is that Armani has 2 light shimmer/2 mattes while Chanel's has 3 shimmers/1 matte. If I had to pick one, it would be the Chanel. I added Prelude below to show the undertones.

I could only fit three sets on my arm, so I picked the ones that were most similar, Armani #6 and Chanel Kaska Beige. There are two views below with different lighting. Right now I'm a Chanel B30.

Overall love. Raffinement is a gorgeous palette. The quality and pigment are excellent. Did you pick up Raffinement? Or anything else from Chanel spring?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chanel Django, Island, Emprise, Jade Rose and Rose Caché

Many of you have asked for more comparisons to Chanel's spring Emprise Le Vernis. I pulled a few more to compare Chanel Django, Island, Jade Rose and Rose Caché. I hope this helps show the difference!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Comparisons for Chanel Emprise, Fracas and Accessoire Le Vernis

After swatching some shades from my Chanel Le Vernis collection, this is the verdict on dupes/similar colors:
  • Emprise seems to be most similar to Pêche Nacrée, but Emprise is more opaque and pinkish on the skin while Pêche Nacrée is more pearly/peachy. I thought Emprise would resemble Django but it's quite a bit darker and more peachy. Compared to Rose Satin, Emprise is similar but more opaque and peach. I thought Emprise would be most similar to Inattendu, but swatched side by side, Inattendu almost looks tan.
  • Fracas is a warmer and more vibrant version of Rose Insolent. Compared to other pinks, Fracas makes May look pastel. Fracas has a hint of melon when compared to Dior Plaza, but Fracas is still clearly pink. On the nails on my skin, I feel it's almost identical in finish to Rose Insolent.
  • Accessoire is a lighter version of Rouge Noir. Compared to others, Accessoire is warmer/redder than Provocation (more purple/plum), more plum-red than Forbidden (most brown), and lighter and redder than Diabolic (the darkest one I have). On the nails, it's hard to distinguish the difference between shades.
On the nail wheels: Tendresse, Pêche Nacrée, Emprise, Rose Satin, Inattendu, Morning Rose, May, Fracas, Rose Insolent, Dior Plaza, Accessoire, Provocation, Rouge Noir, Forbidden and Diabolic.

Some photos under artificial light, I hope this alternate view will give you a better idea of comparisons:

Although the spring shades from Chanel are very similar to existing colors, I still think they are beautiful options for the season. Perhaps not the most unique, but they are very flattering. My personal favorite is Accessoire even though I do not need another vamp in my stash.

Have you tried Chanel spring yet? What were your thoughts?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chanel Emprise, Fracas and Accessoire Le Vernis for Spring 2013

Chanel's spring 2013 makeup collection Printemps Precieux de Chanel offers some beautiful colors this year. I ordered my items sight-unseen from Bergdorfs and have been very pleased with everything so far. First up are the three new Le Vernis shades in Emprise 569, Fracas 571 and Accessoire 573 ($26 each for 13 ml/0.4 fl oz, made in France). I found the shades from Chanel spring to be fairly similar to prior releases, but think they are still beautiful options for spring. The colors are solid staples that I think everyone should have in their nail wardrobe. However, if you have a lot of Chanel or Dior nail polishes, you may want to shop your own stash or test these in person before buying. The shades this season:
  • Emprise 569 is a soft peachy shade with a hint of pink, there is a subtle pearly shimmer infused in the bottle but the color goes on a cream, finish was semi-sheer, I found it needed three coats for even coverage
  • Fracas 571 is a hot pink melon fuschia, this shade also has that shimmery pearl in the bottle (like Distraction) but doesn't quite show up on the nail, the shimmers made this one difficult to photograph, in some photos it appears more melon, but it goes on very similar to Rose Insolent, pigment and coverage is excellent
  • Accessoire 573 is a rich plum-brown cream that applies flawlessly with two coats, it's very similar to other Chanel vampy shades, I was a bit surprised Chanel decided to release something so similar to Vamp, Diabolic, Provocation etc.
Below you can see in direct sunlight that Emprise and Fracas are infused with beautiful shimmer. I wish the shimmer was more visible when applied on the nails!

Close ups and swatches below, Emprise 569:

Fracas 571, note colors may vary per screen, this was really hard to photograph for me, I recommend checking Loulou17 and Blondy Candy for other swatches/photos:

Accessoire 573:

I'm working on comparisons now. Follow up post to come soon!

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