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

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dior Vernis Massaï 853


Dior Vernis Massaï 853 ($25 for 10 ml/0.33 fl oz) is a classic deep red cream. It was released in the new Gel Shine Long Wear Formula (swatches of multiple shades here) and is also a repromote with Dior's Fall 2014 collection. Massaï applies flawlessly with two thin coats. You get full coverage and a nice glossy lush finish. It does need a top coat to extend the wear (I like the Dior Gel Top Coat) and I've gotten a full week of wear without any tip wear or chipping (more on my nail tips and essentials here). Check my other Dior Gel Shine review on Tra-La-La for close ups of the brush. It's been redesigned in a curved shape which makes it super easy to apply on the fingers.






A few comparisons to:

Chanel Accessoire (swatched here)
Tom Ford Shameless (d/c, review here)
Louboutin Rouge (review soon)

It's pure love. I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I really do think Dior's nail polish formula keeps getting better and better. It's always been phenomenal as far as I can remember, but they've really improved the lasting power and shine. If you're looking for a classic deep red that is super easy to apply, this is it. 

Massaï currently retails for $25 at all Dior retailers. Mine was gifted to me by Nordstrom which I was thrilled about since I've had my eye on it since April. Even though it's part of the fall collection, I don't think it is a limited-edition shade so it should be relatively easy to track down.

What's your go-to classic deep red?

On My Radar / New In Beauty


Happy Friday everyone! September is a big month for beauty lovers, there are a number of new product launches and gift with purchase events. Space NK and Barneys New York have phenomenal beauty gift bags coming up next week, I'll have more details posted shortly, but I recommend you start making your lists. The price points for the minimum buy is on the higher end, but the gifts they have are best I've seen in the industry.

Some items on my beauty radar:

Diptyque has a number of beautiful new items for fall. There is a beautiful La Redoute Candle (1) with a marble ceramic jar. Ambre (2) now comes in larger amber tinted hand-blown glass jar. There is also a new Vanille Candle (3). I smelled it at the South Coast Plaza boutique months ago (they had a preview) and it's a lovely smokey vanilla, perfect for fall.

Dior has released a new lip item called Rouge Dior Baume (4). Saks has an early exclusive this month. These are supposed to be lip balms with rich pigment. There are 15 shades Dior describes as "easy to wear" ranging from soft nudes, feminine pinks, and luminous fuchsias.

Hourglass Cosmetics fans will be thrilled to know they open their first boutique at the end of this month (5). Also on my radar is their newly repackaged Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint (6). I played briefly with the colors at Sephora last week but was in a rush so I didn't get to look at the colors in detail.

Tom Ford Fall Beauty collections have been incredibly difficult to locate for some. Items have sold out at a record pace online. If you found that you missed out, don't fret, items keep restocking online so don't give up. Both of the Contouring Cheek Color Duos in Softcore and Stroked (7) are now online at Nordstrom and have been restocked at Neiman Marcus (see this post for my swatches).

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty has been on everyone's beauty radar. I have been really impressed with the Lip Lustre Lip Lacquers (8) and K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipsticks (9). She has some outstanding neutrals.

Bobbi Brown has a new Limited-Edition set called the Mixed Metals Collection (10). It's exclusive to Neiman Marcus and Bobbibrowncosmetics.com. I hope to have the swatches completed this weekend to post early next week (keeping fingers crossed I'll have the time).

The 30 shades of Christian Louboutin Nail Polish have launched in The Pops, The Nudes and The Noirs (11) (featured above). I don't have a store near me that carries them yet, so I'll be relying on online reviews and swatches. I did order a few of the colors from Nordstrom sight unseen. My fingers are working as fast as they can to swatch the colors I picked out.

What's on your beauty radar?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dior Beauty Favorites + A Few New Discoveries


Several new readers have e-mailed telling me they have just started to explore higher end cosmetics asking for advice on where to start building their makeup wardrobe and what I recommend for them to buy. Many are open to trying new brands and products but often prefer recommendations from one single brand to simplify their makeup routine. I personally like to mix it up with different brands each day depending on mood but for those who want to stick with one single brand, Dior is one of a few lines I've tried that I would feel comfortable using exclusively for everything from foundation, skincare, makeup and tools. I've partnered with Nordstrom to share some of my Dior Beauty favorites with you today.

I've been using Dior beauty since my college days (early 2000's). Over the years they've revamped almost all formulas for every product. I always panic anytime I hear "reformulate" thinking why change something when it's already really good? Dior has revamped their products for better though. Their nail polish keeps getting better, the Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer is the latest and it has a lush glossy look with rich pigment that applies flawlessly. Their Addict Lip Gloss is a classic favorite for a super glossy natural tint. It comes in a diverse range of colors from pales, brights and darker shades.



A few of my favorites which I highly recommend for anyone whether you're getting into Dior or higher end lines include:
Dior's Purifying Foam Cleanser is one of my top cleanser picks out of all that I've tried. I've repurchased this countless times. There are several different formulas of Dior cleanser, the Purifying Foam is for Normal/Combination skin. It is really effective at cleansing the skin but is still gentle. My husband loves it as well. It foams up nicely and leaves the skin feeling really clean without making it tight or leaving a film.


Diorskin Airflash Skin Foundation is one of the longest wearing foundations I've tried. There is a learning curve for application though. The Airflash comes in an aerosol spray. Hold it about 5-6 inches away from your face and close the eyes before you spray. You have to make sure your face is completely relaxed or else it will apply unevenly and miss spots. I spray in a Z motion twice from top to bottom. I don't always get a flawless application with the spray but it is easily fixable with a brush or sponge. I set with a sheer loose powder and it stays put all day. If you find yourself getting oily or shiny from this, you've probably applied too much. It is long-wearing and has fuller coverage, so to take it off, I recommend you use either a Cleansing Water or Cleansing Oil combined with your regular facial cleanser.


Dior has a good range of gloss options. The Addict Glosses are sheer, shimmery and add the perfect tint to the lips. My favorites are Nuit Boreale (a pale iridescent pink with some blue and green shimmer), Bed of Roses (a soft pink rose) and Diablotine a sheer but bright coral. If you're one that likes more pigment, the new Dior Addict Fluid Stick is incredible. They have super rich pigment and they glide onto the lips really nicely. Blend it and the color melds with your lip flawlessly. It's a hybrid lipstick and gloss so it has that lush gloss look but pigment of a lipstick and stays put relatively long.



For nails, Dior has always been a favorite. The formula has been revamped several times over the year and it just keeps getting better. There are a lot of limited-edition shades released each season. They often don't do repeats of the trendy shades although sometimes they will release something similar at a later date. I've been a collector for years and have amassed a sizable collection. If you're just starting to get into higher end nail polishes, Dior is a great option. I am one who really believes there is a difference in formula. The ones by Dior glide on seamlessly. The pigment and coverage is phenomenal these days. The brush is chiseled at the tip for easy two-swipe application. The colors are rich and range from classic to neutral to trendy. I love the Gel Top Coat over other Dior Polishes. I can get up to 7 days of wear without any tip wear or chipping. If you're looking to start with color, my top three can't-go-wrong picks are Incognito for an everyday classic neutral, Wonderland for a brightening pink and Nuit 1947 for a classic vamp with a jelly finish.


Painting on Nuit 1947 with the Gel Top Coat




The Diorshow Brow Styler is something I discovered mid-July. One of my favorite Dior artists recommended this for me. I was skeptical since the Brow Styler only comes in one shade in the US in Universal Brown 001. It's a light taupe brown that actually works for my lighter brows and dark black brown hair. Often times an exact match to my hair makes my brows look too intense and sharp. I like to opt for a color that is lighter but doesn't contain any red or isn't too ashy. The Universal Brown appears to be really universal from what I've seen.



above, wearing Nuit 1947


For lashes, my go-to lash primer is the Diorshow Maximizer Lash Pluming Serum. It's a white base you apply to your lashes as a primer. It helps add volume to the lashes and makes them look thicker without clumping. The trick to this one is to not let it dry completely before adding mascara. You can still add it, but applying your mascara while this is still a bit wet helps the product glide on better. The mascara will adhere to the primer and if it's completely dry, I find it tugs a little. You don't need to rush application, but I wouldn't wait a long time.

For mascaras, I've tried almost every Dior mascara made. They have the best mini samples each time a new one is released. I've developed a couple really good relationships with Dior reps at my Nordstroms so they always call me when they have samples. My favorite is the regular Diorshow for the plush bristles and rich color (and it doesn't flake or smudge). Nordstrom sent me one of the new ones for review which is the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. It has a curved comb which helps get all the lashes in a few strokes, no need to angle it in weird ways. It's supposed to help curl lashes. For my super straight lashes I always need a lash curler, but I find this one does keep the curl well. After testing it, I found it doesn't flake or smudge. I did need to wipe off the brush with the first application (I use a piece of paper to wipe off excess) but I usually need to do that with most mascaras.

above, wearing Wonderland

For eyeshadow, Dior has so many options. Their 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette also keeps getting a makeover in formula, color options and packaging. They've retained the same navy rectangular compact but the newer ones keep getting sleeker in design. Nordstrom sent Bar 056 (one of the five new fall options) for review. I normally cannot wear greys on the eyes as they turn out to be too cool-toned. Bar offers a lovely classic subtle palette of greys I can actually wear without looking washed out. If you're looking for an everyday neutral, Rosy Tan 754 is hands down one of my favorites. I jus opened my backup a few months ago after going through one entire palette.



For those new to Dior or new to higher end lines, I hope you found this helpful as an introduction to Dior Beauty. There is a lot to explore within each product family for eyes, lips, cheeks, nails, tools, lashes etc. Even though I like to mix up brands in my daily beauty routine, I find Dior is one of the few that can really be a one-stop shop. I've fallen in love with their lipsticks, blushes and bronzers (although many are limited-edition ones). If you click on the Dior tag at the bottom you'll see more Dior reviews I've featured over the years. If you're a Dior fan, I'd love to hear what your favorites are. I'm always up for discovering new things.

Shop my favorites from Nordstrom:



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. The Dior Bar Quint and Iconic Overcurl Mascara were provided for review. All other items purchased by me.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

7 Shades of Grey Nail Lacquer


I'm in that in between mood of summer and fall for beauty. I'm loving the vibrant bright colors for summer but also craving colors that are either more subdued or darker for fall. Right now I have an obsession for grey nail polishes. Here are seven shades of grey, some newer and some older colors that I've been loving.

All swatched side by side along with Chanel Eastern Light which is a pure white for a baseline reference on color:



Each color close up and swatched on the nails. JINsoon Kookie White is a super pale white grey with cool tones. It's almost a pure white but the hint of grey prevents it from looking too harsh. I love the clean contrast it has with the skin. It applies very smoothly with two coats on the nails as long as you have a good base coat underneath. (Roundup of all my nail essentials and favorites here.) It's fully opaque with two coats, but as with most white colors, you need to take extra care to apply precisely around the edges and near the cuticles.



YSL La Lacque Couture in Gris Deco #23 has been on my wish list for ages ever since YSL revamped their nail polishes. It's a gorgeous pale grey with blue tones and has a slight hint of pearl mixed throughout. On the fingers depending on the light sometimes it looks more blue, other times more white or grey. It's truly beautiful and clean looking. The pearl gives it a bit of dimension. This one was a bit sheer so I prefer it with three coats.


Sephora's Formula X is another favorite of mine (more thoughts on Formula X here). The Sephora team sent the Formula X in Extraordinary for review and it surprised me. It looks so basic and plain in the bottle but it applies very smoothly with full coverage. I like that it's a pale grey but has color in it so it doesn't look white on the nails. I like the blue tones in it which brightens the color. I love beige-greys but sometimes they can make the skin look sallow or dirty. 


Burberry Storm Grey is another dove grey with blue tones. The brush is on the thick side which made it a bit difficult for me to get a clean application. It's not impossible though. The formula is smooth, rich and opaque - it just takes a bit more time to apply. The color has the perfect blend of blue and grey mixed together. On the nails it's a non-shimmer.


Dior Gel Shine Nail Lacquer in Junon is a powder blue color with a hint of grey. On me it leans more blue but I still see hints of grey tones in it. The Dior Gel Shine Formula is amazing. It has a lush cushy look with a high shine. Lasting power is really good and these are super easy to apply flawlessly. It's shown below with two coats. 


Dior Metal Montaigne is also in the Gel Shine formula. It's a metallic gunmetal color. Being a metallic color you can see brush strokes when applied but it's on the subtle side. It also applies very smoothly. I like that it's a darker color that isn't too dark.


Last but not least, I've featured Chanel Frenzy again. Many think of this as a classic grey color. On me it pulls more beige as it's a warmer-toned grey color. It has a sheer jelly finish so I need three coats for this one. It's an understated classic neutral.


If I had to pick one favorite, it would be impossible. Each grey has different nuances in the undertone that make them all very unique. I am quite smitten with the pale opaque grey nail lacquers at the moment although I also love a good dove grey color. Do you like grey nail polish? What are your favorite greys for nails?

Sephora and JINsoon provided polishes for review consideration. All others purchased by me. For more information, refer to my Disclosures.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cleansing Oil Testing | Tatcha, MAC, Shu Uemura, Josie Maran, Chanel and Dior


I've used cleansing oils for years but just recently started using them on a regular basis. I have been really impressed with the long-wear formulas brands have been releasing in foundation, powder, blush and concealer. Who doesn't want their makeup to last all day without touching up or fading? For me, the long-wear factor has had one downside: it doesn't come all the way off with a regular cleanser and leads to clogged pores and breakouts. Using stronger cleansers tend to irritate my skin.

I have my local Chanel artists to thank for recommending that I add a cleansing oil to my daily skincare routine. I did quite a bit of research, pulled out some samples, looked for online promo codes for minis with purchases and bought a few small trial/travel sized oils to do some extensive testing.

This year I've explored more in skincare than I have previous years and have found it's all a slow learning process for me. I am not an expert with skincare ingredients - I know many of you are passionate about skincare and know much more than I do about specific ingredients, formulas and what to avoid. I rely on the product specialists I talk to with various brands, online reviews and personal testing to determine what works for me. As always, I share what I've experienced personally - due to different skin types, your mileage may vary.


You might be wondering if you really need a cleansing oil. If you wear long-wear makeup like me and find yourself with small areas of clogged pores, I will say yes. To see how effective your current cleanser is, take a cotton pad soaked with cleansing water or a wipe and swipe your face after your normal process. You might be shocked to see remnants of product transfer to the cotton after you wipe your face down which means you didn't clean it enough. I've found Cleansing Oils and Cleansing Waters help break down long-wearing makeup for cleaner skin. I've found the best way to use these is to apply them to a dry face with dry hands and massage all over. Rinse with warm water to activate the foaming quality and emulsify to cleanse the skin. Some are designed to cleanse the skin fully and claim to have no film leftover so you don't need to double cleanse. I still prefer to use the two step method of a Cleansing Oil + Foaming Cleanser.

I've put 9 different cleansing oils to the test with various minis, samples and travel-sized options. I wish more brands would offer sampler/trial sets for skincare. I would be more likely to try new products and brands if sampler sizes were offered.

I've tested each oil for a minimum of 6 uses each over the past few months. With all of these, the best way to use them is to apply to a dry face with dry hands right on top of the makeup and massage it in circular motions all over the face.
  • Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil ($12 for 1.9 oz) I purchased the small travel size online based on the 4.2 out of 5 star rating on Sephora. I found this one to be my least favorite of all the oils even though I had high hopes. It has a very thick texture that feels goopy on the skin. It does a very effective job at cleaning and removing makeup, but I couldn't get past the texture. The scent is also too sweet for my taste and the flip open cap of the mini leaked product all over the place. It also made my skin feel a bit too tight after application.
  • Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($12 for .08 fl oz or $48 for 5.1 fl oz) I was really pleased to find out large the trial size was after ordering it online from the Travel Sized beauty category. I was also happy to see the small version come with a good pump and also with good packaging. Sometimes minis are cased in cheap containers but the Tatcha is very well designed. This turned out to be one of my favorites. It has a medium-thin texture which applies well to the face. Massaging the product emulsifies on the skin. It cleanses well with water and gave the skin a moisturizing feel without any residue feeling. It has the signature Tatcha Camellia scent which is soothing and gentle.
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) has been a long-time favorite of mine. I like to keep the mini bottle and refill it for travel although it comes in the mini size. The $10 price seemed very affordable for a trial (when I first tried it many years ago). This is the best one for removing all trace of waterproof eye makeup without stinging the eyes.
  • MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) was a purchase I made after reading so many rave reviews, I liked the texture and soft scent, but found it less effective compared to the regular version. If you have super sensitive skin or want something more gentle this is a good option for you.
  • Chanel Le Blanc Immediate Brightening Oil-Gel Makeup Remover (mini sample shown, $60 for 5 oz) is something that has been used on my at several Chanel events. It's a clear gel that turns into an oil as you work it into the skin. It's lightly scented which might bother some of you, but it is extremely effective. It's the only one that will remove all traces of mascara and eyeliner. The upside of the gel texture is that it's slightly thick so it doesn't run into the eyes if you work it on the eye area. Even though it's thicker, it's not goopy and is very emollient once massaged but not greasy. This is the most unique formula I've tried.
  • Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Oil (green sample gwp shown, $37-$77 for full size) has had so many raves online. It cleansed well and I found it emulsified nicely too. I couldn't get over the scent. It smells like green tea with an emphasis on the herbal side. I liked that it left no residue on the skin but it left my skin feeling a bit tight.
  • Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil (brown sample gwp shown, $42-$90 for full size) is most like a traditional cleansing oil. It reminds me of the older versions Shu Uemura used to have. It's gentle yet very efficient leaving skin feeling clean.
  • Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Cleansing Oil (blue sample gwp shown, $38-$81 for full size) is a brightening oil, this one has the best scent out of all the ones I've tried, it's a refreshing clean scent, kinda like dryer sheets, but not quite as sharp. This one emulsified really well and is more gentle compared to the Ultime8.
  • Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil (mini gwp shown, $36 for 6.7 fl oz) is one I had high hopes for. So many have raved about this one too. I did not like this one. It has a slightly sticky feel making it a bit hard to massage over the face. It didn't tug or pull, but didn't emulsify quite as well as the other more fluid options. After cleansing with water the skin felt sticky.
Here are how the minis size up next to each other and compare in packaging design, some of these were samples, some purchased. The packaging of the full size versions are usually better in quality and typically come with a pump.

Samples I purchased below: Tatcha, Josie Maran, MAC. Online samples with codes: Shu Uemura. Samples at the counter: Dior and Chanel.


To summarize my thoughts:
Best at removing all traces of makeup 
Tatcha One-Step, Chanel Le Blanc Oil Gel and MAC Cleanse Off Oil

Most gentle 
 Shu Uemura Whitefficient and MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off
Most moisturizing 
Tatcha and Ultime8
Best scent 
Tatcha and Shu Uemura Whitefficient

Top picks
1) MAC Cleanse-Off Oil
2) Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
3) Shu Uemura Whitefficient

I hope you found this roundup helpful. I've found that adding a cleansing oil to my routine has helped clean my skin better and has significantly decreased the amount of clogged pores and tiny bumps on the face. Do note that your mileage may vary depending on your skin type. I have normal but sensitive skin. If you are oily or dry you might find different oils work better for you.

What are your experiences with cleansing oils? Do you have any favorites or stories you'd like to share on what worked for you or what didn't work out so well? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dior Addict Fluid Stick Rose Tricheuse #669 (Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive)


There are two Dior Addict Fluid Sticks that are Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives for their anniversary sale in Rose Tricheuse #669 and Mona Lisette #872 ($35 each). I picked up the lighter option Rose Tricheuse #669 which is a medium-bright coral with pink tones. I've been really happy with the Fluid Stick formula (see thoughts here and swatches here). These are highly pigmented lip colors that have a lipgloss formula that act more like a full-coverage lipstick.

The Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive shades are on the bright side for me but I've been trying more color for the lips, especially this summer. Rose Tricheuse #669 is a bright color but not fluorescent. Coverage is full like the other shades in the Fluid Stick formula but melds well with the lip. They have a slightly glossy sheen with a nice feel. I like that they don't dry out the lips like some liquid lipsticks can.






On the lips:


Comparisons to:

Tom Ford Paradiso Lip Sheer (swatched here)
Chanel Misia Rouge Coco Shine (Neiman Marcus exclusive)


Dior Rose Tricheuse #669 ($35) is a Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive for their 2014 Anniversary sale in the US but you can also find it at the Dior Beauty Boutique in Las Vegas, you can reach them at (702)-734-1102 (while their stock lasts).



 

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