Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy

Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy ($20 on was released a year ago as part of the GOMM Collection. It's a rich luscious warm poppy infused with electric red sparkles. In my mind, Ji Baek does the best vibrant reds and corals with her Rescue Beauty Lounge line. Poppy is no exception. It's a shade I've put on dozens of times over the past year, I can't believe it too me this long to review.

Here it is swatched, the shimmers are visible on the nail, but very subtle:

I couldn't find anything quite like it. Chanel corals proved to be different, Enthusiast and Coromandel are both darker while Holiday is more orange and electric. The closest I could find is Dior Diablotine (reviewed here) which has more visible sparkles and is slightly more pink due to the multi-glitters.

Quick comparison below to Diablotine and Delice by Dior:

Even our visiting friend Coco loved Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy, she wouldn't leave my side while I was taking pictures (testing the Chanel top coat over it, read the review here).

If you're in the market for a killer coral poppy red with some shimmer, RBL Poppy is definitely a must-have. It's a classic shade that will never go out of style. You can find it now on

Do you have Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy? What's your favorite coral red by her line?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chanel Collection Avant-Première Le Vernis: Starlet, Paparazzi, Cinéma and Provocation

The Chanel Collection Avant-Première has arrived in the US with three new shades of Le Vernis in Starlet 575, Paparazzi 579, Cinéma 581 and one repromote of Provocation 599 from Fashion's Night Out 2012 (each $27 on Nordstrom). I purchased the three new ones. Each shade has rich flawless coverage. They are beautiful classics with a modern twist. I am particularly happy that the shimmers in Starlet and Paparazzi aren't the typical secret shimmers Chanel does sometimes. They actually show up this time without being full on frosts.

Starlet 575 is gorgeous rich peach shimmer. There is a slight hint of pink mixed in which prevents it from looking lobster-like on your hands. This is limited-edition and hands down a definite must-have.

Paparazzi 579 sounds familiar but is actually a new shade. There was another Paparazzi by the number 208 previously released. The two are completely different shades. The new Paparazzi 579 is a stunning dusty bronzey mauve rose shimmer. I love it. I thought it would be similar to April but this has a softer quality (scroll down below for comparisons).

Original 208 vs New 579 Paparazzi:

Cinéma 581 is a classic red. As Café Makeup noted, Chanel has mastered the perfect reds (see her swatches here). I found Cinéma to be very similar to Dragon. Cinéma is slightly cooler-toned and slightly more jelly-like in texture.

Provocation was previously featured in September when it was released during Fashion's Night Out. Chanel has now added a number 599 to the color. See the prior feature here.

Comparisons on the nail wheel show Starlet and Paparazzi are fairly unique. Cinema is very similar to Dragon. Same set on both wheels just different lighting.

The Summer L’Été Papillon de Chanel shades (see them swatched here) was fun and different but the Avant-Premiere shades are better suited for my neutral loving self. I adore each shade.

All Chanel Avant-Première nail colors are available now for $27 each online at Nordstrom and They should be arriving at all Chanel counters across the US very soon. I found the three new colors in store at Nordstrom last week.

Monday, May 27, 2013

YSL Rose Baby Doll La Laque Couture

YSL released a new nail lacquer called Rose Baby Doll ($25 for 0.34 fl oz/10ml) as part of their Rose Baby Doll collection. It's a stunning deep hot pink rose cream that is perfect for summer. The color has an impressive amount of pigment which provides full coverage with just one coat. It also comes with a well designed wide flat brush that allows for near-perfect application with a single brush stroke. I've been testing Rose Baby Doll for several days and it works extremely well with top coats from Chanel, Dior Gel and Posche. I'm on Day Three with no signs of chipping or tipwear. The color is a classic rich sophisticated rose pink that is bright and vibrant but still deep enough to not look neon. However since deep fuschias are fairly standard colors and easy to find among most brands, you will definitely be able to find something similar in color.

Here it is swatched against the YSL Rose Baby Doll ad. The bright sunlight washed out the magazine photo a bit but I found the color to be pretty close to the ad. The color is mostly a fuschia rose, sometimes it looks warmer and with visible red undertones, others it's more cool-toned.

Some comparisons showed that YSL Rose Baby Doll is closest to Chanel Pulsion. The difference is Chanel Pulsion is cooler and YSL Rose Baby Doll is warmer. The next closest option is Chanel Rose Exhuberant which is just a few shades lighter.

Bottom line: I can't stop staring at my nails - the color is really stunning. The quality, pigment and lux packaging make this worth every penny. YSL Rose Baby Doll has the perfect mix of fuschia, rose and red to give a deep yet modern looking pink. However given the fact that deeper fuschias have been done frequently with permanent and limited releases, you may want to shop your stash first.

YSL Rose Baby Doll Nail Lacquer is limited-edition, available at Sephora and other YSL retailers while supplies last.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

RMS Solar Cream Eye Shadow

I had my first experience with RMS beauty at Woodley and Bunny Apothecary (now in Los Angeles on West 3rd Street). I've been intrigued by this brand for quite some time but it's been near impossible for me to find and try in person. I picked one cream shadow to buy, Solar Cream Eye Shadow a stunning warm gold shimmer ($28 for 0.15 oz, 4.25g, made in USA) and worth every penny. Solar has a complex mixture of shimmers making it metallic-looking on the lids but not over-the-top. There is no detectable scent. The cream shadow has a dewy finish but stays put for a surprisingly long time on the lids. The pigment is extremely rich but blendable. Although there is a dewy sheen and rich pigment, the colors are surprisingly lightweight in texture. I found Solar very easy to apply. The golden color is neutral enough to go with virtually any look.

Close at an angle shows the rich warm gold base, so many different colored sparkles gives Solar that gorgeous golden sheen:

Here it is swatched, due to the complex shimmers make it look different depending on the light, here it is with and without flash. I love how it's easy to layer for a rich metallic look. It's also easy to blend out for a more subtle glow.

Swatched with a heavy hand in sunlight, the more you apply, the more metallic the color:

Some gold comparisons show that RMS Solar is quite unique and different from other golds. It has enough warmth to make the brighten the eyes but it's not too warm. Armani Eyes to Kill Shadows in 28, 26, and 15, MAC Paint Pots in Cash Flow (discontinued) and Rubenesque, Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Apparance.


Overall very impressed. I can't wait for my next trip to test out other RMS colors. If you're new to the brand like myself check out the detailed RMS reviews on Café Makeup and London Makeup Girl.

You can find RMS Solar Cream Eye Shadow for $28 online at Woodley & Bunny and in store at both their NY and LA boutiques. Have you tried RMS Beauty? What are your favorites?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dolce & Gabbana Smoky Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana has released a new eyeshadow quad called Smoky ($59 for .8 g/0.16 oz). It's part of the new True Monica Collection (more details on Makeup and Beauty Blog, Style Bistro and Refinery29). I ordered mine from Saks Houston sight unseen and was thrilled with this beautiful neutral palette. The colors have enough warmth to create a stunning smokey eye that isn't too harsh. This palette has a soft matte black, a chocolate brown shimmer infused with gold flecks, a soft sandy beige and a white pink-gold shimmer. Layered from lightest to darkest creates a goof-proof smoky eye. This might just be the best smoky eye palette I've tried yet. Each shade has a beautiful blend of different colors and shimmers to create depth.

In full sunlight:

The pigment is rich but natural. Each shade applies very smoothly and are layerable with each other. The pale pink is a white-pink-gold that flashes different shimmers. I couldn't capture the complexity of the color but it's stunning on the skin. Some swatches - this may look like a boring palette at first glance, you have to try it to see how pretty it really is on the skin:

The colors can probably be replicated with other singles and shadows however there is a beautiful softness to each shade that I've fallen in love with. It's quite different from other Dolce & Gabbana quads, I pulled Femme Fatale (formerly called Champagne) to compare.

Bottom line gorgeous. The Dolce & Gabbana Smoky Quad ($59) from the True Monica collection is available at select Saks locations and online at Saks Fifth Avenue and Sephora.

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Follow me on Instagram at beautylookbook :)

Some of my favorites on Instagram you should follow:

parisinfourmonths Paris in Four Months (blog here)
margaret__zhang Shine by Three (blog here)
cafemakeup  Café Makeup (blog here)
chrisellelim  The Chriselle Factor (blog here)
theloveassembly The Love Assembly (blog here)
lateafternoon Late Afternoon (blog here)
karenmbb Makeup and Beauty Blog (blog here)

I love discovering new ones each day!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Top Coats: Dior Gel Top Coat vs. Chanel Laque Brilliance Extreme

We've seen a wave of new nail lacquers and top coats flood the market recently. Brands claim to have developed a formula that will replicate the lush cushy high-shine finish and lasting power that gel manicures provide. I decided to try one, Dior's Gel Top Coat and put it to the test to see how it compared to one of my favorites, Chanel's Laque Brilliance Extreme. Since reviews from others have been mixed, I did three sets of testing over nail polish brands I wear most frequently: Dior, Chanel and Rescue Beauty Lounge (see my standard nail basics here).

Packaging: Both Dior and Chanel come with pull off caps, the Dior Gel Top Coat comes in a clear bottle while the Chanel Extreme Shine Nail Lacquer comes encased in a black bottle. Both are very sturdy. Dior's comes with a slightly wider flat brush while Chanel's is skinnier (see below).

Price: Dior's Gel Top Coat retails at $24 for 0.33 fl oz (previously featured here). Chanel's Laque Brilliance Extreme retails at $26 for .4 fl oz.

Formula, application and dry time: Dior's Gel Top Coat is thicker than most other top coat's I've tried. It does dry to a nice hard finish and doesn't shrink around the edges (like Seche Vite does for me). I do recommend you allowing your two coats of color to dry about 2-5 minutes before applying the Gel Coat. I usually let nails dry for 10-15 minutes after the top coat. Dior's Gel dried perfectly fine within this time. Chanel's Top Coat is thinner in texture making it easier to spread evenly over any other brand. Dry time is at least 15 minutes for me.

Finish: The finish of Dior's Gel Top coat is the glossiest I've seen. It has a lush cushiony looking finish with a high shine. Chanel's Top coat has a gorgeous glossy sheen but is not quite as shiny as Dior's.

Lasting power and performance: Performance of each top coat depends on what nail lacquer you're using for color. Unfortunately I can't say one is the best all around. Scroll down for notes below based on each test set.

Test Set No. 1: Over Dior Spring Ball

I tested both top coats at the same time, Dior's Gel Top Coat on the left hand and Chanel's Top Coat on the right hand. The verdict:
  • Dior Gel over Dior Spring Ball lasted 6 full days without any chipping and very minimal tip wear. I've never had a manicure last this long without tip wear (same performance over Dior Diablotine). The way the nails looked on Day 4 with tip wear on only one finger lasted until Day 6. By Day 7 tips started to wear noticeably on most of the fingers.
  • Chanel Top Coat over Dior Spring Ball didn't last quite as long. Tip wear started on Day 3 with noticeable on most fingers by Day 4. Click the photo below to enlarge.

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Test Set No. 2: Over Chanel Tentation

Same testing as set one,  both top coats worn simultaneously, Dior's Gel Top Coat on the left hand and Chanel's Top Coat on the right hand. How each held up over Chanel (this was also tested over Chanel Taboo):
  • Dior Gel over Chanel Tentation applied smoothly and gave a high gloss finish. Shine and coverage lasted until Day 3 when the polish started to crack. On Day 4 the cracks showed up on all nails and started to chip. Tip wear also occured. Not sure the cracks are visible in the photo below, but it was more visible over darker colors like Chanel Taboo. 
  • Chanel Top Coat over Chanel Tentation is typical Chanel Top Coat perfection lasting well into Day 6 without any tip wear. Click below to enlarge.

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Test Set No. 3: Over Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy

Same process, Dior's Gel Top Coat on the left hand and Chanel's Top Coat on the right hand. How each held up over Rescue Beauty Lounge:
  • Dior Gel over Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy lasted quite well on most fingers. On Day 3, tip wear started to show only on the middle finger, although those nails were slightly longer than the others so it may have been in contact with surfaces more frequently than the others. Still, tip wear was minimal and didn't increase other than what is shown below until Day 5. There was no cracking on the nail.
  • Chanel Top Coat over Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy lasted extremely well. There was minimal tip wear (very very slight) on the corner of the middle nail, but the manicure is still as fresh as it was on the first day as on Day 5.

Overall thoughts: I really like both, but my preference depends what nail polish I use underneath. I was particularly impressed at how long my Dior over Dior manicures lasted. However Chanel is more versatile and easier to apply over most other brands.

Dior's Gel Top coat worked best over Dior nail polishes. I did find it cracked over Chanel and OPI (not featured, but tested and it cracked over OPI on Day 3). Available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus.

Chanel's Top Coat performs best over most brands for me. It didn't work quite as well over Dior with just one application (however manicures can be extended if you re-apply the top coat on the second day). The benefit of this one is that a bottle lasts a long time and it's not limited. Find it at all Chanel counters and beauty studios and online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and other Chanel retailers.

Did you try Dior's Gel Top Coat? Or any of the other gels from Deborah Lippmann, Guerlain etc? What were your thoughts? What's your favorite top coat?


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