Showing posts with label Dior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dior. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fall Fragrance Loves for Him and Her

Best fall perfumes and colognes

There are so many new scents that have launched this season. I usually find one or two new scents each season that I love but this season almost every new fragrance I've tested I've fallen in love with. I have a roundup of ones I have in rotation right now along with a men's rotation for my husband. He usually sticks to the same colognes so many of the ones you'll see here have been featured numerous times. I like to switch things up frequently so some of mine are newer ones.

Up first are my favorites along with thoughts on some others I've tested:

The three most exciting fragrance launches this season for me have been from Louis Vuitton, Louboutin and Edward Bess. I will have dedicated reviews coming soon on the launches but wanted to give you a roundup of highlights right now. Shown above:
  • Chanel N°5 L'Eau (c/o, reviewed here) is a light clean floral that dries down to a slightly powdery musk. Many of you have bought or tried this one too and mentioned that you either love or hate it. I really like it for the clean lively feel. It was a exclusive for a few weeks but you can find it now at all Chanel counters (for those wondering).
    • Notes include lemon, mandarin, orange, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, cedar and cotton musk.
  • L'Artisan Mûre et Musc has been a long time favorite. I discovered it thanks to one of my best friends who always smells amazing. L'artisan recently redesigned all their packaging so out of curiosity I ordered one of the new ones and was relieved to find the scent is still the same. Sometimes I worry formulas change when packaging does. In this case it's the classic berry musk.
    • Notes include lemon, orange, basil, lavender, blackberry, jasmine, musk, patchouli and oakmoss. It's one of my husband's favorites on me.
  • Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Eau de Toilette is one of my favorite Molton Brown scents, I discovered it in the hand cream and shower gel and loved it so much I bought the perfume. It's difficult to describe but it has a pink pepper, patchouli and cedarwood mix with a girly zest. They have a Discovery Set online that has 8 small spritzers of their scents you can order.
    • Pink Pepperpod notes include pink pepper, tangerine, elemi oil, nutmeg, ginger oil, patchouli and cedarwood oil.
    • This weekend their Friends and Family 20% off sale is happening through October 3 with code USFF20 at checkout. I won't have a home fragrance roundup in time before the sale ends, but their Coco and Sandalwood Candle is to die for for fall.
  • Replica Filter in Glow is a new perfume primer designed to layer with your perfume. It's an oil based spray and scented so it adheres well to the skin. I like using it alone or layering it with Replica Lipstick On afterwards. It's a soft warm citrus that feels bright but not sharp.
    • Notes citrus neroli.
  • Byredo Bal D'Afrique is one of the few sweet scents I find I can wear. It's one of the most unique fragrances I've tried and to me I smell a slight hint of apricot in it but it's not really like that at all. For me it's a bright sweet with a hint of musk, amber and cedarwood mixed in. It's floral but sweet. I find it impossible to describe. I know many of you also love this one. If you can chime in the comments how you'd describe it I would so greatly appreciate your help!
    • Notes Bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, Jasmine petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood
  • Byredo Unnamed (not shown) is a new one that I tried at Barneys over the week. It was truly love at first spritz but I decided to wait on this. I cannot find the notes on this one anywhere but if Gypsy Water and Black Saffron had a baby together this would be it. It's fresh and modern like Gypsy Water and but not as sweet as Black Saffron. I'm seriously tempted.
  • Edward Bess Spanish Veil (c/o) is one of three new scents launched by Edward. I'll have a full review on all three very soon. Right now they are exclusive online to his website. I do believe you can call the Bergdorf Goodman counter to order but they should launch online very soon. Spanish Veil is one of my favorites. It has a Byredo Gypsy Water feel but is less sweet and more woodsy. For some reason I detect a hint of licorice.
    • Notes include Pure Sandalwood, Tonka and Guaiac Wood
  • Louis Vuitton Apogee is one of seven new perfumes launched. I bought the mini set and owe you a full review. For now my top two include Apogee which is lily of the valley. I normally do not gravitate towards lily of the valley scents but this one is just one of the prettiest florals I've ever smelled. It has a powdery feel so if you don't like powdery scents this may not be for you.  It's fresh and feminine.
    • Notes include lily of the valley, jasmine, magnolia, rose, guaiac wood, and sandalwood essence.
  • Louis Vuitton Matiere Noire is my second favorite and is more of an evening night scent. If you like fragrances like L'Artisan Mure et Musc, Byredo Black Saffron or any blackcurrant kinds you will like this one. It's a woodsy blackcurrant kind of scent that is more of an evening one rather than day to day. There is a floral mix in it which makes it smell rich but feminine.
    • Notes include blackcurrant, marcissus, jasmine, patchouli, Laos agarwood.
  • Louboutin Tornade Blonde (c/o) is one of the most luxurious perfumes I own. If you have a current Saks or Neimans catalog you can find a small sampler card inside one of the pages to try. All three are really amazing but I fell in love with Tornade Blonde which is exactly what I think of when I think of a perfume kind of scent. It's a very strong floral with red rose, violet and cassis along with hints of jasmine. The bottle is just incredible in the design.
    • Notes Rhubarb, Violet Leaves, Ambrette Signature, Cassis, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmin Sambac Absolut, Orange Flower Petals Firnat, Gardenia from Brazil, Ambregris, Cedarwood, Australian Sandalwood, Patchouli.
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon (not shown) is one of two new Nirvana additions. As you can see from my list I like soft florals but also fresh scents. Many of you prefer sweeter more gourmand fragrances and unfortunately for me my husband does not like vanilla at all. As I do not want to repulse him I do not wear it. Nirvana Bourbon is a seductive smoky vanilla. If you like vanilla scents this one is perfect for fall. You can also now find all four in this Nirvana Mini Rollerball Set for holiday which is just so cute!
    • Notes Vanilla Bourbon. Oakwood. Tuberose.
  • Viktor and Rolf BonBon (not shown) is one I had high hopes for. As a Flowerbomb fan I thought BonBon could be a great alternative. For me it has a similar vibe but is very very sweet. If you like sweet scents I suspect you might like this. For me it was too sweet, almost like a cookie or dessert.
    • Notes Tangerine, Blackcurrant, Orange, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Peach, Guaiac Wood, Cedarwood, Caramel.
For a cologne roundup I asked him to pull his favorites for right now. Many of these you'll recognize from past roundups. For him cologne and scent picks are more a year round kind of thing. He'll pick one depending on occasion whether he's looking for an everyday kind of scent or something more dressy for going out:

Bleu de Chanel, Tom Ford, Dior Sauvage

  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel is in my husband's top three favorites. Out of all the colognes he has tried this is probably the one he's asked me to repurchase for him the most. He prefers using the Refillable Travel Spray version so he can carry it with him in his briefcase or store easily in his desk at his office. It is hard for him to describe scents but he says this is a good everyday cologne that smells clean and modern but a woodsy feel. It's strong enough without being too strong.
    • Notes are citrus and wood.
  • Tom Ford Costa Azzurra is more of a summery kind of cologne. It's a unisex kind of scent that I adore and would actually wear myself except my husband says it's too masculine for me. After spritzing it a few times I actually did have to agree it's clearly more masculine with a woodsy oak with a slight green juniper mix.
    • Notes Juniper, Herbs, Green Notes, Oak, Warm Woods.
  • Tom Ford Vert des Bois (c/o) is a new one this season part of the Vert line. This too is another unisex one but still pulls more masculine. I've worn this myself this week as my husband has been traveling and it makes me think of him. If you liked Oud Wood you will really like this one. For a more feminine option the Vert Boheme is just lovely. It's on my wishlist but given my long list for now I'm relying on my mini decant sample.
    • Notes Poplar Bud. Ouzo. Woods.
  • Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb is hands down the best hot-guy date night scent I've smelled and also is my husband's favorite. He's already gone through a few bottles. Since we were such big fans of this I picked up the Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Fresh thinking it would be a more modern version. We both agree the original is still the best as by comparison the Fresh one almost has a feminine feel which is nice but the original is better.
    • Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord.
  • Dior Sauvage (c/o) is the third in the top three colognes for my husband. He believes most men like to stick to one or two colognes versus women who like to try lots of things. For the longest time no matter what I bought him to try he stuck with the Bleu de Chanel which works, but he did get a bit bored using the same one everyday. He says if you like the Bleu de Chanel but want something different to switch things up, the Dior Sauvage is the one to go with. This marks the one year anniversary of Dior Sauvage and they launched a larger 6.8 fl oz version. My husband owns and has already gone through a few of the smaller size. He likes the way the bottle is designed with a round sturdy glass jar and magnetic cap.
    • Notes Reggio Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Ambroxan.
  • Dior Sauvage Deoderant (c/o) is one I think smells amazing for a men's deodorant and matches the cologne. My husband has sensitive skin under his arms and many will make his skin peel. This one does not and lasts all day for him so it's a winner. There's a Deodorant Spray as well which I've been trying to get him to try but he's a creature of habit and uses the stick.
  • YSL L'Homme Deodorant is another winning scent for him and he says this is the best scented deoderant he's ever tried. When I bought it he had very low expectations for this because he's tried a lot and found they either didn't last or didn't smell good. The rep at Sephora swore by this one as his favorite and said "your husband won't be disappointed, I promise." So I gave it a go and I'm glad I did.
That rounds up our current scent rotation favorites for fall. I have a few others I've kept in rotation but I tried to narrow it down to my absolute favorites for right now. If I had to pick three, they would probably be Replica Filter in Glow, L'Artisan Mure et Musc and Byredo Bal D'Afrique. Out of the ones on my wishlist I'm gravitating most towards the Byredo Unnamed perfume but there are some others I still want to smell before deciding on another one.

As always I'd love to hear what you are wearing for fall. I'm also curious to hear how you buy your perfumes. I always find it overwhelming trying to decide. Do you ever buy perfume sight unseen? I try to at least test in store if I can, although sometimes I will order online after thinking about it for a while if I can't get to a store or if there are no stores that carry a specific brand. (For me no nearby stores carry Le Labo, Byredo, Frederic Malle, L'Artisan.) Let me know in the comments how you go about trying new perfumes or deciding on a new purchase!

Are there any new ones launching that you're excited about or have anything on your wishlist?

I will have dedicated reviews on the Louis Vuitton, Replica Filters and Edward Bess perfumes soon. If you want any other detailed posts let me know and I'll see what I can do to fit them in.

Press samples featured have been indicated with "c/o" next to them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Rouge Dior Lipstick Collection - The Natural Nudes Reviewed

This month Dior introduces a newly reformulated version of Rouge Dior ($35 each for 3.5 g / 0.12 oz) designed by Dior Makeup's creative director Peter Philips. There are 50 shades total in two finishes: 35 classic luxe satins and 15 new long-wear mattes. The new formula is split into five different categories: natural nudes, pretty pinks, passionate corals, legendary reds and extreme/pastels covering a wide range of color options.

If you've followed Dior launches for a while you know that most of the line has been reformulated over the years. It's been a couple generations of reformulations since I've tried the Rouge Dior formula because I've gravitated towards the glossy formulas like the Addict Fluid Stick, Rouge Dior Baume and Rouge Dior Brilliant. As one who likes glossy moist lipsticks I have to say the new Rouge Dior formula does not disappoint and I was completely blown away by how incredibly smooth, hydrating, pigmented and comforting the formula looks and feels. They have Hyaluronic Acid to plump the lips and Mango Butter to nourish and protect. The color payoff is very good while still looking natural.

When it comes to lipstick, I have tons that I can recommend. It's one thing I really like to experiment with, but for others so many factors come into play for finding the right one. Color options, coverage, finish, packaging, price and scent matter.  Most of my friends are not into the matte lip look, they want something that has medium to full coverage with a bit of shine, moisturizes and preferably under the $40 mark. Most are ok with a bit of scent as long as it's not too sweet or floral. The Rouge Dior fits the bill on all counts. There is a bit of scent to them but it's not strong and fades within a few minutes.

A quick look at the color range:

For my last post on the Skyline Fall 2016 collection Dior offered a special promo code on their website for a limited time. Out of curiosity I placed an order for some items to see what it would look like in person. If you want to see the full haul let me know and I'll do a separate post. But first a look at the packaging and presentation. Orders come in a gorgeous gift box tied with a bow (which in my excitement removed and untied immediately). There are always samples online at, promos vary every week or so and you can always see them at the checkout page. With any $100+ order you get a deluxe sized sample (mine was the Sauvage Cologne) and 2 complimentary smaller samples come with every order.

For my review I have a look at nine of the Natural Nudes in the satin formula. I had a serious OMG moment when swatching these because as a nude and neutral lip lover I always find at least one shade doesn't work for my pigmented lips. It's happened with Tom Ford, Charlotte Tilbury and a number of other brands. The OMG moment is because every single one of these colors is just perfect. There are a few I wouldn't really call "natural" or "nude" but compared to the other colors in the launch they are all relatively natural.

Top Row: Premiere, Grege 1947, Rose Montaigne, Bal, Hasard
Bottom Row: Saint Germain, Promenade, Dolce Vita and Rendez-vous

A closer look at all the colors and descriptions as I see them. All of these have flawless coverage. It's similar in effect to their nail polishes in the sense that they glide on and have a naturally glossy finish. They feel instantly comforting without being thick or heavy. While they do feel moist they don't feel like they will slide off the lips.
  • Premiere is a cool-toned medium pink with a bit of brightness, I rarely can wear cool-toned blue based pinks because it makes my skin look sallow but this one is just stunning
  • Grege 1947 is a medium beige pink cream
  • Rose Montaigne is a lovely light pink, this is the most natural looking on me and had the least coverage, but still covered my lip entirely
  • Bal is a warm pinky rose neutral
  • Hasard is a light ballet pink
  • Saint Germain is a stunning medium rose neutral nude
  • Promenade is a warmer neutral nude
  • Dolce Vita is a muted orangey color with a hint of copper
  • Rendez-Vous is a neutral reddish color with a slight hint of plum

Closer looks at Premiere, Grege 1947, Rose Montaigne, Bal, Hasard

Saint Germain, Promenade, Dolce Vita and Rendez-vous

Swatched below on bare lips. For skintone reference I'm wearing the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation in Y315 set with NARS Powder Foundation in Punjab. All of the lipsticks apply nicely on the lips without emphasizing lip lines or creeping into crevices. Lasting power is very good as long as you don't eat snacks. If you feel like your lips are dry and want to add a base, I've had good luck with the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade. It's supposed to be a color reviver formula to adjust like the stick version. On me it just stays clear but I've been using it as a lip oil treatment which is easier to use and less messy than the Creme de Rose Balm.

Swatches side by side:

My top 3 favorites: Grege 1947, Saint Germain and Rendez-Vous, also Bal comes in close 4th

Since these had a naturally glossy satiny sheen some of them may look shimmery as the flash reflected off the surface. Even the colors that have some shimmer are very natural and soft in effect. To show the difference I have a couple shades to show with versus without flash:

For quick reference, other new colors that are part of the Rouge Dior launch:
  • Rouge Dior Brilliant ($35 each) in Miss #047, Premiere #060, Red Smile #080
  • Rouge Dior Contour Lip Pencil ($31 each), 7 new shades in Miss #047, Premiere #060, Red Smile #080, New World Matte #365, Sydney Matte #644, Euphoric Matte #756 and Mysterieuse Matte #994
Bottom line the satin formula is perfect. Just absolutely perfect. The rest of the week will be a lip-heavy week for posts as I have quite a few lipstick formulas going through testing and are ready for review. You may want to wait and see reviews on others if you're trying to decide on one lipstick formula for fall, but I will say the new Rouge Dior is brilliant. I did not test the last round of formulas so unfortunately I am not able to compare the old vs new. The last Rouge Dior I bought was probably at least two years ago and I no longer own it so cannot compare it either. However, based on my experience trying other reformulations I can say that Dior does seem to improve the formula, texture, pigment and lasting power with each new generation of products.

I'm thoroughly impressed with the Natural Nudes shades. As one who finds a lot of "nudes" end up washing me out, I am really quite pleased to find a new line of easy to wear shades that don't need any tweaking. I'm set for now although the formula is so good I have to admit I'm a bit interested in some of the plum-reds which I think could be nice for fall. I'll have to go investigate this weekend.

You can find the Rouge Dior at and all other Dior counters. Have you had a chance to look at these yet? If yes what do you think? How do they lineup next to the previous formula?

Eight of the Rouge Dior Lipstick shades were provided courtesy of Dior for review. One shade Rose Montaigne was purchased by me.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Beauty and Skincare Favorites

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8   /   9   /   10   /  11  /  12  /  13  /  14   /  15

Quite a few of you have asked that I bring back my monthly favorites roundups so I have one for you today. Many of you like the rotation and roundup kind of posts, I still have the nail/hand care, foundation, hair styling and skincare ones in the work. For those who can't wait I'll say that my top three favorite foundations still remain the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint (still Groenland + St. Moritz mixed), Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (I use 125/Y315, all shades also available online in this value set now) and the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation (my best match is 123/Y365).

Onto my favorites for this month which was difficult for me to narrow down. I'm still enjoying these Molton Brown mini hand washes and these lip treatments. In addition these liquid lips are really very good. I have managed to narrow down a list of my top favorites for this past month though even though a lot of loves have gone unmentioned:
  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadows have been in heavy rotation because of their silky smooth texture, rich pigment, blendable finish and easy to wear shades. You can pick and choose your own colors to create quads, the one shown above has Sateen, Chiffon, Warm Taupe and Chocolate. To date I've accumulated quite a few you can see swatched here and here.
  2. Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara is something I discovered in a set from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I love this because it thickens, volumizes and holds the curl. It also looks super dark on the lashes. I will repurchase this.
  3. Dior Vernis in Minimal (c/o) is my current perfect pale polished nude. Review + swatch here.
  4. Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder (c/o) is relatively new to me but it is hands down the most naturally luminous highlighter I've tried this year (out of the new ones launched this year). I think it's a must, swatches here.
  5. Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped is one of the prettiest palettes I think I've seen in a while. If you don't mind a good shimmer this is a great one for eyes and cheeks. I like mixing and swirling colors before applying to the eyes. Review + swatches here.
  6. MAC Eyelash Curler is something I picked up recently and was pleasantly surprised. My go-to Chanel lash curlers have seen better days after years of use and I don't think they're carried in the US anymore. The one from MAC comes in close second for my eye shape.
  7. Tom Ford Ultra Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me (c/o) best nude for me right now (actually since April of this year). You can see it swatched on my lips in this post here.
  8. Edward Bess Deep Shine Lip Gloss in French Lace is a pretty soft pink. All of his lip glosses reviewed in this post here.
  9. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Kidman's Kiss (shown) and Super Cindy are both pretty close neutral peachy colors, I think the entire Hot Lips Lipsticks have been a knock out success, especially for those who like matte lips (she has the best matte lipstick formula in my opinion). The entire launch reviewed and swatched here.
  10. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and Iconic Nude are my most reached for liners. Pillow Talk is a deeper pinky color while Iconic Nude is a brown nude. Both swatched here.
  11. Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo wins for best shampoo to clean the hair well with a squeaky clean feel but won't dry out the hair. It has a mild but fresh beachy kind of scent. Leaves the hair feeling soft and fluffy (but not frizzy). Even my husband likes it. September beauty events are just around the corner. I recommend putting this on your shopping list. I will repurchase this.
  12. Bumble and Bumble Surf Conditioner also is a winner. I rarely am in love with both shampoo and conditioners of the same formula/brand and typically have to mix and match. This combo is pure love. More in this review here.
  13. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel (c/o) is something I received earlier in the spring. It took me a long time to get into testing this because frankly I don't like face gels. They're often sticky or tacky and just don't absorb well into my skin. This one does indeed have a gel like consistency but if you massage it into the skin it melds in nicely and doesn't leave a film like other brands. I've been alternating this with Kate Somerville Nourish, both of which are lightweight for warmer weather. Neither will get greasy but have enough for my normal-combination skin. They wear very well under foundation too. The Pore Perfecting Water Gel is also available in a mini travel size. I love the packaging, the pump and the way it feels on the skin. Huge thumbs up. It also helps to smooth out pores.
  14. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask remains my tried and true clarifying mask that is gentle, even when my skin has flare ups. It sucks up excess dirt and oil. I have finally lost count of how many tubes I've bought and used up.
  15. Kate Somerville RetAsphere™ Micro Peel (c/o) is a leave-on treatment for night that helps with skin uneveness and really works to improve texture. It's very gentle but I use it once a week. It's a micro-peel that infuses skin with retinol with 10% glycolic acid and lactose to help resurface skin. Out of all the skincare lines I've tried, I feel that Kate Somerville has truly been one of the game changers for my skin as I transitioned from my 20's to 30's. During that transition I went through a lot of stress and my skin suffered a lot with texture issues and repeated break outs. While I've worked to manage the stress, finding the right skincare has played a major role in improving texture. I've tried so many lines and out of all the ones I have tried, Kate Somerville all around has worked the best for me. I don't use a night treatment every night because I sometimes just want to let the skin breathe. The RetAsphere™ 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream is one of the best most gentle yet effective night treatments I alternate with the Micro-Peel. The Micro-Peel makes the favorites list though because just using this once a week has improved my skin texture tremendously.
What are you loving right now? Do you have any favorites from the past month? As always I love reading about what you've tried, love and recommend. Even if something you tried hasn't worked for you, I still love reading about those experiences as well. Are there any colors or collections you've been smitten with as we transition to fall beauty?

Press samples featured indicated with a "c/o". As always all opinions my own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dior Skyline Collection for Fall 2016

The Dior Skyline Collection for Fall 2016 is the first fall collection I'm reviewing this year. A lot of you have been e-mailing me and messaging me about fall beauty which has just started to arrive at counters. The most highly requested item for review has been the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer in this collection and I will say right up front go buy it now - Dior never disappoints with highlighters and they give a very pretty glow. The Dior team has also created a special promo code for Beauty Look Book readers so if you see any items that catch your eye, scroll down to the end of this post for details.

The items from fall that I have to review:
Up first are the standouts in my opinion which include the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks and Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer. I already reviewed and swatched the contour sticks but I will repost photos for reference. As a quick recap, the Diorblush Light and Contour sticks are natural looking contour creams that are very easy to use and that won't give you a harsh look. They blend nicely along the cheeks and for a contour-dummy like myself, they're impossible to overdo.

A closer look at the contour sticks:

The Diorskin Nude Air Luminzer 001 for fall is absolutely stunning. It comes with an embossed design on the surface. This is one of those shades that will look different on everyone. Fair skin-toned beauty lovers will find this almost peachy while deeper skintones will find this more pale. On my medium skintone I find it to be a champagne gold with slight peachy tones. It's finely milled, blends in with the skin flawlessly, doesn't emphasize pores, stays put all day and has the prettiest sheen. The highlighter comes with a tiny kabuki brush which is well made but for me on the small side so I find it best for touch ups or on-the-go rather than for regular application.

Left is swatched heavily, right is blended out. You can blend or sheer out the color more if you prefer a more diffused glow. It's absolutely perfect!

Swatch comparisons below show that the Nude Air Glowing Gardens 002 from spring is a tiny bit lighter than the Nude Air Luminizer for Fall 2016. On my face they are almost identical, I put one on each side of my face and they looked pretty close. Photos of course cannot do the shimmers or texture justice but I hope these help show the difference. And yes, even if you already own the spring versions, I think the one for fall is still a must.

Up next are the two Skyline Eyeshadow Palettes. These also come with a stunning embossed surface. Texture is similar to that of the highlighter - they're powders with a slightly creamy feel. Pigment is medium but buildable and the texture melds in with the skin so they don't look powdery. If you apply them with a slightly damp brush the color can be intensified.

Capital of Light has a mix of shimmery and satiny shades including a gorgeous grey taupe, pale ivory white shimmer, satiny baby pink, shimmering tan and deep violet plum. The mix of colors creates a pretty smokey plum eye.

Parisian Sky has all shimmery shades. This one is better suited for an everyday kind of look. The colors include a shimmering tan, light sand shimmer, pale blue shimmer, silvery blue sparkle and deep chocolate shimmer. The blues give a sheer wash on the eyes and brighten the entire eye area when layered with the sand and beige colors. As one who rarely wears blue colors on the eyes, I found these surprisingly wearable.

Next up are two lip colors for the fall collection which is the Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks ($35 each). There are a few repromoted colors like Incognito 316 which is a classic neutral pink that pulls cool on my skintone. There is one new limited-edition color called Sophisticated 927 which is a cool-toned plum with a silvery sheen. These have a smooth sheer to medium coverage and glossy shine. If you're one who likes glossy finish lipsticks but want something to give visible coverage these are it. They have more coverage than the Rouge Dior Baumes but have that same glossy finish. These have a semi-thick almost gel-like feel which makes the pigment adhere well to the lips. Adding a liner of course will help extend the wear but they feel very comfortable on and fade nicely. As far as I can tell there is no detectable scent.

I applied these on the arm with a lip brush because these are the types of lip colors that don't show up well on arm swatches straight from the tube, but do on the lips:

Below, applied straight from the tube on bare lips:

Last but not least are the Dior Vernis nail polishes in Minimal and Skyline. Both look very standard in the bottles and borderline boring. I will say at first glance I thought they looked a bit unimpressive but Dior polishes rarely disappoint. In my opinion, out of all the luxury brands that have reformulated their nail polishes over the years, the Dior revamp has been the best. Formula has always been top notch with a smooth, glossy flawless finish. They improved the brush by rounding the tips so application is really easy. Minimal is a perfect creamy beige peachy nude. Good nudes can be hard to find and this one brightens the hands without looking too pale. Skyline is a gorgeous chocolate cream, also not the most unique color but it has the perfect mix of brown and vamp to give the hands a perfectly polished look.

A lot of you have asked for nail comparisons - I'm fresh out of nail wheels so I will post comparisons in a separate post as soon as I get them in the mail. I will say right now though that Minimal is almost an exact dupe for Chanel's discontinued Secret (the Dior is a bit brighter and has smoother/better coverage) and by comparison Chanel's discontinued Emprise is a lot peachier and darker.

Two coats in sunlight:

Two coats of Skyline:

Bottom line gorgeous. Top three stand outs to me are the Diorskin Nude Air Luminzer 001 and Dior Vernis in Skyline and Minimal. The Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks comes in close fourth for formula - right now I'm still in the summer state of mind but I think Sophisticated is perfect for fall. Quality-wise everything is excellent. Pigment on everything is rich and visible on the skin but easy to blend and layer for those who like a natural refined beauty look. If you buy just one item I would say go for the highlighter unless you already have a lot and don't feel the need for one more in which case I would say opt for the Minimal nail polish. It's a great everyday neutral that will give the hands a clean polished look.

Dior is offering an exclusive promo for Beauty Look Book readers. usually offers complimentary samples with any online order but starting today through the end of the month they are giving my readers extra deluxe samples. With any $100+ purchase using code BEAUTYLB at you will get some extra deluxe minis including a 5 ml Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming fragrance, mini Hydralife Sleeping Mask packette and mini Diorshow Maximizer 3D. Code is valid today through 8/31/2016, while supplies last (U.S. site only).

You can find the Dior Skyline Collection for fall available now online at and at all Dior counters. All the items are limited-edition. Have you checked out the fall pieces yet? What did you think? If you haven't, what's on your wishlist?

Skyline Collection provided courtesy of Dior for review consideration. Many thanks to Dior for providing my readers with a special promo code!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Easy to Wear Contour and Highlight Sticks

I have mixed feelings about the contouring technique for beauty. Mainly because I'm not very good at doing it myself on my own face. I have used a bronzer like Bronze Universel de Chanel or NARS Laguna in a 3 shaped motion along the sides of my face to warm up the complexion and add depth, but for the popular contouring powders and creams - I find they are easy to overdo and while they look great in photos, in real life I think it can look very much overdone. I do own quite a few contouring powders and the most natural ones to date that I've tried are the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Powders for flawless finish and textures that blend beautifully with the skin. I haven't really found a cream product that I love - there are a number of compacts others rave about but cream compacts get messy so I haven't really found anything that speaks to me. Today I have a roundup of four brands of contour sticks, several of them are multi-tasking and great for travel because they are double-sided.

I find it rare to find all items I test in a category phenomenal in the sense that I think all aspects  of the product are great but this is one of those rare occasions. I tested highlight/contour sticks from Burberry, Wander Beauty, NARS and Dior and all of them are impressive to me and perfect for a natural look. If you need a contour product for dummies (like me) these are the perfect option for you because they look very natural, easy to use and blend really well. Picking one will come down to brand, texture or color preference.

Up first are the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen in Nude Radiance 01 and Face Contour Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes in Medium 01. In terms of a highlight the Burberry Fresh Glow Pen is on the sheer and subtle side. You will see a glow on the face if you highlight the cheekbones or eyes but it gives a luminous glow versus a more visible shimmer. The fresh glow highlighting pen comes in 1 shade, if you're similar to my skintone or lighter the effect will be more subtle, but if you're tan to deep there will be more contrast and it will show up better on your skin. Texture is creamy but dries down quickly. It is easy to blend before it dries down so you don't have to rush.

The Face Contour Pen comes in two colors and I picked the lighter option. It dries to a matte finish and blends easily on the skin for a very natural contour. It is on the warm side but it's not too warm. This one is the easiest for me to use by applying a few stripes along the cheeks and then blend with either a finger or brush. This is the easiest to use along the sides of the nose because it's slim. You can find these at Nordstrom, Sephora and Net-A-Porter.

There are two On-The-Glow Bronzer Duos from Wander Beauty. I received both items to try out, each one has the same highlighter in Candle Glow. The lighter option is Malibu which is a neutral brown and Capri is the darker/deeper option. If you go to their website you can see it on different skintones. These have a thicker creamy texture but they don't feel greasy and look completely natural once blended. I love Malibu because it's a lighter color and the perfect shade for my skintone for a barely there contour. Candle Glow Highlighter has the perfect mix of gold and warmth so it doesn't look yellow on my olive skin. You can also find these at Sephora.

Next up are the NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos which are currently Sephora exclusives. I had very high hopes for these as I'm a huge fan of the multiple sticks and they did not disappoint. The texture of the highlighter multiples are stiffer than I normally see in multiples so they do not swatch well on the arms. They do swipe a 100x better on the face or eyes. I found these to be on the more subtle side which I think is due to the slightly stiffer/harder texture. The bronze/contour sides are amazing though. As a lover of lighter contour shades I love the Copacabana and Sidari Beach duo - it's a peachy pinky color on my skintone which makes for a less traditional brown contour.

As you can see below they look to be on the sheer side. I think the highlighters are all sheerer than most multiples I've tried from NARS. The darker contour sides are creamy with little to no shimmer. They look streaky on the arm but blend out easily on the face.

Last but not least are the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks which are part of the fall 2016 collection launch. They just launched at and there are three shades each with a different color of shimmery highlighter and contour cream which has no shimmer. These are my favorite of the bunch because the round tip makes them easy to glide along the face. The flat tips of the others are still easy to apply but having the round tip is easier for me to put on the cheeks. My favorite color is 001 but 002 is probably better suited for my skintone. The browns are on the warm side which I found a bit too warm for my nose but for the rest of the face or eyes it's perfect. Texture is very creamy but natural looking without being too dewy.

Here's a quick look of before and after the Diorblush Light and Contour Duo in 002. Also worn on the face includes NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Groenland and St. Moritz mixed, Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped on the eyes, Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara, Lancome Juicy Shaker in Lemon Explosion. On then nails is Dior Minimal.

I couldn't fit all the items on my arm so I split them between the contour side and highlighter side with a few added items to compare.

That wraps it up for thoughts and swatches on four brands of contour sticks that are easy to wear and natural looking. My personal favorites are NARS Copacabana/Sidari Beach and Diorblush Light and Contour Duo 001 - but all of the ones I tested are pretty good for that natural contour. In terms of application I put these on the face after foundation and powder. I like putting these on the cheeks in stripes along the side of the face directly from the tube and then either blend with fingers or a duo fibre brush like the MAC 159 or any synthetic brush like the ones in this post here.

Do you have any contouring favorites? If so please share in the comments what your skintone is and your favorite shades or brands. If you haven't tried contouring and are interested in starting with natural looking products, I hope this post helps you find something new to try!

Press samples include products from Wander Beauty and Dior Beauty.


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