Showing posts with label Dolce and Gabbana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dolce and Gabbana. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Beauty Look Book's Guide to Building a Makeup Wardrobe


This year I've received quite a few e-mails from new readers who just started getting into higher-end cosmetic brands. Being a beauty junkie and beauty blogger, I put dozens of products to the test each mont. This allows me to offer comparisons in order to help others determine differences or similarities across brands, formulas and product families.

For the makeup newbie it can be a bit overwhelming to sort through all the options. Finding good makeup that works for you often has to be done through trial and error. I think we've all been at that place where we bought something that ended up not working so well for our skin tone or skin type. Finding a store with a wide range of brands to choose from with a good return/exchange policy is one of the main reasons I really love to shop at Nordstrom. Today I've teamed up with them to create a personal beauty guide on how to start building a makeup wardrobe.

Most of my makeup preferences are for natural colors that will enhance features. New readers frequently e-mail me requesting a customized shopping list of my top beauty picks for them to take to the counter. Picking favorites is almost impossible for me since I really do love a lot of brands, but I've compiled an edited list that I think will be good for the makeup newbie. I've split my guide into three categories: Lips, Eyes and Cheeks.


For lips, if you're just starting to get into makeup, my recommendations would depend on what kind of look you want. Even if you want a natural color, texture and finish plays a major part in picking out the right lip product. Do you prefer sheer, glossy, velvety, full-coverage? Are you a lipstick or lipgloss kind of person? Do you like shimmer or prefer creams?
Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses offer rich pigment with high shine and flawless coverage. My favorite soft pink is Sensible 15. If you want a no-fuss medium to full coverage lip gloss that stays put, these will give a really pretty shine while adding a good amount of color. There are naturals and brights in this formula to suit a wide range of skin tones. Another really good full coverage lip gloss is the Dior Addict Fluid Stick. These are a hybrid lipstick + lipgloss and it packs in a ton of color with high shine. Whisper Beige 219 is a good natural beige nude that won't wash out the complexion.

If you prefer to ease into color and want just a tint of color and shine, Chanel Glossimers are among my favorite out of all the lip glosses in the market. Shades range from sparkling light pinks, bright corals, soft rose, beiges to plums. The holiday Chanel Give It Shine Glossimer Lip Trio has the perfect collection of shades to start your lip wardrobe. It has Amour (soft peach), Sweet Beige (nude beige shimmer) and Wild Rose (the perfect rose pink shine). These have a smooth texture with a naturally glossy sheen.

If you want a more budget-friendly lip gloss, MAC Lipglasses are hard to pass up. These are a bit sticky and tacky, but there are a lot of colors and finishes to choose from. Lovechild Lipglass is one of the most universally flattering colors I've seen. It's a soft plum with pink tones and gold shimmer. On me it pulls very natural, on fair skin it's the perfect plum, on darker or deeper skin tones it also looks good. Laura Mercier Lip Glacés also offer a wide range of colors with a natural finish. Pink Pop is a bright but sheer pink which brings the complexion to life with a sheer wash of bright color.

If you are more of a lipstick kind of person but want something natural, Chanel Rouge Coco Shines are my favorite no fuss swipe-and-go kind of lipstick. Boy 54 is the best classic rose pink shade that adds the prettiest hint of color and shine. The sheer formula won't be as long lasting as a regular lipstick but the color is flawless and formula is hydrating. These are really good if you're timid with bold colors and want something to ease into for lips. The sheer glossy formula is slightly transparent and lets you natural lip shine through.

If you want a full coverage lipstick but still want something that looks natural, the NARS Audacious Lipstick formula is hands down the best that has been released this year. The formula is full coverage with an amazing coverage that melds with the lip. If you have dry lips or peeling flakes you will need to moisturize or prep with a lip balm first, but if your lip is smooth, these are the best I have tried. It has a semi-matte and semi-velvety finish but there is a slight sheen to these which prevents it from looking flat. Raquel is my perfect nude pink. Brigitte is a nude pink beige that has more color but is still very natural.




For the eyes, there are a lot of different eyeshadows and liners that I adore. If I were pressed to pick my current top three favorites for eyeshadow, they would be Urban Decay Naked3, Chanel Tisse Rivoli and Dolce & Gabbana Smoky.


The Urban Decay Naked3 Palette is my most reached-for palette. It has 12 shades of neutral rosy-toned neutrals that can create a wide range of looks. There are shimmers, sparkles and mattes all of which have really incredible pigment. The texture of Urban Decay eyeshadows is buttery smooth and this particular palette doesn't have any glitter shades which is a huge plus for me (and any neutral makeup lover). This is the one palette that goes with me on almost every trip. It's a palette I find can go with everything. Pink shadow can be hard for me to wear (it often gives me a pink-eye look) but Naked3 is neutral enough to be very wearable. If you don't feel comfortable wearing rose-colored shadow the next best option is Naked2 which is more neutral and taupe-based.

If having 12 shadows to play with in one palette is too overwhelming and you need something more edited, Chanel Tisse Rivoli is my favorite neutral quad. The texture adheres well to the eyes and layers well. The colors are smooth and pigmented. For something with more dramatic color, Dolce & Gabbana Smoky (swatched here) is my holy grail smoky eyeshadow quad.

For a cream shadow that is a good over wash shadow the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rosegold is a good pick. It's a soft shimmery champagne with rose and gold tones. It is creamy and blends easily on the eyes. You do need to let it sit for a minute or so to dry and then afterwards they last pretty well. It also works as an eye base for powder shadows and helps bring out the pigment.

For liners and mascara, a simple classic black is a good place to start. Not all black eyeliners are good though. Some pull grey in undertone or can smudge easily. Finding good eye makeup that you don't have to worry about throughout the day is essential. My favorite mascara is the Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch because it grabs every little lash and volumizes, holds the curl, doesn't smudge, doesn't clump and defines the lashes really well. For me this one lasts all day without budging.

For liners, the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner is hands down the best liquid liner I've tried. It's extremely pricey but it is worth every penny and will last you a very long time. There are two ends with different sizes of tips which allows for precise application and complete control. If you're new to liquid liners, this hands down is the best one I've tested. It makes applying liquid liner super easy. If you prefer a pencil liner, Burberry's Effortless Kohl Eyeliners were just released this year. Jet Black is one of the deepest and richest black liners I've tried and it stays put all day from morning to night. It comes in a twist up pencil format with a built in sharpener at the end which I find very convenient (especially if you carry it on the go or when you travel).




Out of all the beauty products I own, I would say blush, bronzer and highlighters dominate my makeup collection by far. Picking out a few favorites was a difficult task. For the face I've narrowed down my recommendations to a few items that will multi-task.


If I could only wear one blush palette for the rest of my life I would pick out the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. It has three shades in a mirrored compact that cover all the shades you could need to go with any look. Luminous Flush is a coral pink, Incandescent Electra is a soft peach, Mood Exposure is a plum rose. The colors are very pigmented with easy to control buildable color. There is a bit of highlighter mixed into each blush which gives these a luminous glow. Those who don't like shimmer need not fear with this one. The shimmer is finely milled and very natural on the face. It's impossible to overdo but the pigment is rich enough to add visible color.

For a bronzer and highlighter, Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow offers both in one  convenient mirrored compact. The bronzey shade can be used as a contouring powder, although I like it as a bronzer on me. The highlighter is a pale warm gold champagne which has a high frost but looks very natural on the skin. The two combined can be used on the cheeks, temples and eyes.

Liquid illuminators are also something I consider in a makeup wardrobe. They can be used as highlighters on top of powder/foundation to add a glow or they can be used under blush to help color adhere better. I like to use these on the eyes occasionally to highlight. If you need a bit of shimmer in your foundation these can be mixed in. My favorite liquid highlighter is the Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed. It's a pale golden champagne that dries to a semi-matte finish which means it stays put all day long. If you want more color options or want something more dewy, Armani Fluid Sheers are classic staples that will give you that glow from within look.



I hope you found this introductory guide useful! Whether you are new to higher-end makeup or want to know what my current favorites are, I hope this provides an edited list of recommendations for you to start exploring. If you could recommend your top 5 beauty picks to a makeup newbie, what would they be? I would really love to hear what your favorites are!





This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions are my own.
For more information please refer to my Disclosures

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Petal 135


I've received a few requests for a lip swatch on the Petal 135 Classic Cream Lipstick I featured in yesterday's Dolce & Gabbana Beauty roundup. The online stock photos for Petal on my screen look lighter and less saturated in color compared to the real lipstick. I tested out a few of the nudes and Petal is a medium neutral nude pink. It's the perfect balance between warm and cool, on me it leans slightly warm which works better for my lips.


Here is Petal 135 swatched on bare lips:


For skin tone reference, I am wearing NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Punjab (reviewed here) and Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation in Warm 100 (reviewed here).

Comparisons added to some other nude pink lipsticks, same set in both photos, just slightly different lighting:


Tom Ford Pink Tease Lip Color Matte (reviewed here)
Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick (reviewed here)
NARS Raquel Audacious Lipstick (swatches here)
Tom Ford Pink Adobe Lip Color
Tom Ford Pink Dusk Lip Color (lip swatch here)
NARS Vanessa Audacious Lipstick (swatched here)
Armani Rouge Ecstasy 103 (review + swatches here)


I hope the lip swatch + comparisons help!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Beauty - Lips, Eyes and Nails


Today I'm sharing Part 2 of my Dolce & Gabbana Beauty favorites. There is a lot to explore with the Dolce & Gabbana beauty line and over the past few years I've done some extensive testing. Today's post will be an introduction to some of the items I have enjoyed the most. What I think is the most appealing about the line is the diverse color range in all of the products. There are good nudes and soft pinks to appeal to neutral makeup lovers, but there are also a lot of more dramatic and bright shades for those who crave color.

Up first are the Smooth Eye Color Quads ($60 each for 4.8 g/ 0.16 oz) in Smoky 105 and Contrasts 140. Smoky is hands down the best smokey eyeshadow quad I've tried. The pigment is very good and smooth. It has a pigmented matte black, deep chocolate bronze, shimmering sand and a pale ivory pink frost. If you find most traditional grey, silver and black smokey eyeshadow palettes too cool-toned for you, the Dolce & Gabbana Smoky is a great alternative. The sand and bronze colors add depth and definition with a warm touch. Contrasts is a softer palette of rosy colors. It has a soft petal pink shimmer, a pale pink-tinged cream satin, a soft plum shimmer and a warm reddish bronze shimmer. This will give you a soft defined eye that isn't too nude or too pink. If you're new to eye makeup and want to ease into wearing color, this is a great introductory quad that is impossible to mess up or overdo.

Next is the Perfect Mono Cream Eye Color ($36 for 4 g / 0.14 oz) in Desert 40. This one is listed as a matte shade but it has a slight shimmery sheen to it. Desert is a cool-toned tan nude shade. On my skin tone it's the perfect contouring nude shade to add depth and a hint of color. I like this one alone or combined with the Smoky Quad. It has a soft velvety texture. It is creamy to the touch but dries quickly. I found it went on smoothly when my lids were primed with a tiny bit of eye cream. It is described as a long-wear cream shadow that is supposed to last up to 12 hours. I found it lasted from morning to night for me, I've tested it for around 9-10 hours and each time it stayed put and did not budge.



To define the eyes, the original pencil released was the Crayon Intense Eyeliner ($30 each). These are highly pigmented pencils that come with an angled applicator at one end for blending. Lasting power depends on the shades. I find the metallics last long on my eyes while the mattes don't. Shades like Stromboli and Coffee have a matte base with flecks of sparkle - I find these work best if you layer a powder shadow on top of them to intensify color and get a smokey eye look. They don't smudge but they on me they fade by early-afternoon. I've had better experience with the shimmery metallics though like Bronzo, Shimmer and Agave - all of which last quite long on my eyes from morning until night. 



For lips, Dolce & Gabbana offers a wide range of textures and finishes. There are sheer shine lipsticks, glossy lipsticks, pigmented cream lipsticks and glosses with different levels of pigment and shimmer. Do note these are heavily scented with a soft rose fragrance so if you are super sensitive to scents your mileage may vary on tolerance. I find I can wear them without any issue and the scent does fade after 5 minutes or so. Out of all the formulas, I would say the Classic Cream ($33 for 3.5 g) and Voluptuous Monica Lipstick ($34 each) formulas perform the best. They are creamy, smooth and moisturizing with pigmented coverage. The Classic Cream Lipstick in Petal 135 is my newest acquisition and I find it is the perfect pink nude cream, it leans neutral but has the perfect balance of warm and cool in it to not wash out the face or pull blue on my pigmented lips.


For glosses, the packaging was re-designed although it still comes in a clear tube and sponge tip applicator. I have several colors in the Sheer Shine ($31 for 5 ml) formula. Two I've used up include Seduction 100 and Nude 60. I've found the old and new formulas to be identical. These are sheer glosses with high shine that work best when layered over a lipstick.

For many years I would do a lipliner + lipstick + gloss look on a daily basis. These days I find I usually skip lipliner altogether but Dolce & Gabbana does have a wide range of perfect nudes. I prefer to find a lipliner that matches my natural lip tone or something slightly lighter to go with nude lip colors. The Precision Lip Liner ($30) comes in a wide range of nude shades with pink, brown and rose undertones. They blend in well with the lip naturally and help extend the wear of lipstick. These come with a brush at one end which is handy for blending. Cashmere 8 is a good versatile nude. I've swatched a couple others below.


For the nails, Dolce & Gabbana has over 30 shades to choose from. The polishes are called Intense Nail Lacquer ($25 each for 11 ml). I've accumulated quite a few to date and like these for the glossy finish and smooth texture. Even the sheer shades have really good coverage and smooth application. Three I'm obsessed with include Perfection (a sheer but smooth nude with a jelly finish), Chocolate (a deep glossy chocolate cream with a jelly finish) and Cosmopolitan (a sheer coral peach, also with a jelly finish). The colors can be easily duped but the formulas have this perfect jelly texture that has an ultra glossy finish. Lasting power is really good and I usually get 5 days of wear without any chipping or tip wear. If you try these I think you will be impressed with the smooth coverage these offer.



I hope you found this a helpful introduction to the Dolce & Gabbana Beauty line. The brand offers high quality luxurious products that I find perform really well. It's definitely one I recommend exploring the next time you are at a counter. Out of all that Dolce & Gabbana has to offer, if I had to pick three things to look at for starters, it would be the Powder Foundation (reviewed here), Smoky Quad and any one of the Luminous Cheek Colors.





This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions are my own. For more information you can refer to my Disclosures page.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Beauty - Primer, Foundation and Face Favorites


I've been a long time fan of Dolce & Gabbana Beauty but it has been one of those hard-to-find lines that I don't have easy access to. For years I've ordered items sight unseen over the phone but now the line has started to expand into other retailers. They are currently available at Nordstrom and I'm thrilled that one of my local counters carries the brand so I can test everything in person. Since some of you still might be new to the line or not have easy access to the brand yet, I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorites in a two-part series. Today's feature will focus on face products I've tested including their primer, several foundations and a couple blushes I really like.

Left to right, Perfect Matte Powder Foundation, Foundation Brush, Perfect Matte Liquid Foundation, Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation and Sheer Radiance Make Up Base 

The Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation ($60 for 15 g) was one of the first items I tried from the line. I have used a couple shades over the past few years, but right now my skin match is Warm 100. This product is my holy grail powder foundation. I've lost count of how many times I have repurchased this one. I usually have two on hand at any given time. I have one for home and one to keep in my purse for touch ups. It offers medium to full but very natural looking coverage. It comes with a compartment at the bottom to hold a sponge applicator. I prefer to use a brush to apply it as a setting powder, although it does offer enough coverage to use alone. I really like how it offers phenomenal coverage but doesn't look cakey, heavy or flat. The lasting power on my combination skin is very good and stays put from morning to night. I do need the occasional touch up on the nose in the afternoon, but overall it lasts very long.


I don't usually do a traditional contour for my face but do like to add a hint of a natural color for warmth or depth. Two of the best natural cheek colors include Luminous Cheek Color Blushes ($45 each for 5 g) in Caramel which is a pinky beige caramel and Tan which is an interesting grey. I like layering them together. Caramel brightens the face by adding a hint of color that looks natural but warm. Tan is one of the most unique blushes I've seen that is a grey color but earthy in undertone. I sometimes use this on the eyes as well. The texture is soft and silky without any detectable fragrance. The pigment is medium but easy to build by layering.


In terms of liquid foundations, Dolce & Gabbana has four options right now. I used to use the Perfect Luminous Creamy Foundation a number of years ago and really liked it but once I used it up never repurchased, mainly because I prefer pump or squeeze tube foundations to large pots. (I mixed Warm 100 and Soft Sand 140.) Today I have three of the liquid foundations to review and compare for you. All of them come packaged in a sturdy glass bottle with a handy pump dispenser. Based on my experience, all the formulas have a slight variation in color but they do have similarities.

_____________________________

The Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation ($60 for 1 fl oz) is my favorite out of all the liquid formulas. I use Caramel 110 and it is a perfect match with olive but neutral undertones. The formula has a medium liquid texture that is easy to blend and offers medium to full coverage. It evens out the skin tone and has a very subtle luminous finish. I would say this is good for normal to dry skin. It lasts all day for me and doesn't get oily or greasy as the day wears on. If you have super oily skin you may feel this is a bit too dewy for you. Dolce & Gabbana has a Foundation Brush ($41) made of synthetic material that I received as a gift with purchase many years ago. I've found it works well to apply liquid products, but I prefer to apply my foundations with a sponge like a damp Beautyblender.


____________________________________

The Perfect Matte Luminous Foundation ($67 for 1 fl oz) is a full coverage matte finish foundation. Out of all the foundations I've tested from Dolce & Gabbana, the matte version gives the fullest most opaque coverage, but it doesn't make the skin look flat. The formula and coverage is phenomenal, but for me the downside is I can't find an exact match in this formula. I was told that the shades in the matte formula are slightly lighter than the other foundation formulas because it warms up to the skin and adjusts as your natural oils warm up the product. Caramel 110 is a bit too light and too pink for me. On my skin it will warm up after a few minutes and if I set with a slightly darker powder or mix in a bit of a liquid bronzer it works just fine. The next two shades up are quite a jump for me. Natural Beige 120 is very olive and Warm Rose 130 is very pink. The lasting power on this is really good and it will last all day. However you do need to take extra care to remove all traces at the end of the day because it really lasts (and sticks). I wish I had a perfect match to this formula because the finish is flawless. I have been mixing my Caramel 110 with a few liquid bronzers to make it work better. I have contemplated buying the Natural Beige 120 to mix the two colors but haven't splurged yet.


____________________________________

The Perfect Reveal Lift Foundation ($72 for 1 fl oz) is the newest addition to the Dolce & Gabbana foundation lineup. This one is enriched with special skincare properties designed to add moisture and reveal younger-looking and natural skin. I've been testing this for a couple months now and think it is a decent foundation. The color Caramel 110 is a very good match for me. The formula on this one offers sheer to medium coverage on my skin. It does smooth out the skin and does give it a youthful appearance but I haven't noticed any changes to my skin yet. I suspect one needs to use this over a long period of time to see the skincare effects. Out of all the foundations Dolce & Gabbana has to offer, I think the Lift formula will be the most universally suitable for a wide variety of skin types. It seems to be the type that will suit normal, dry or oily skin. The coverage is medium and although it's not sheer, I do find I need a powder foundation on top to give me more coverage.


____________________________________

Last but not least, I have a review on the new The Primer Sheer Radiance Make Up Base. I am usually hesitant to test primers without trying a sample first, but I went ahead and ordered this sight unseen. Many of my readers have e-mailed me asking for thoughts on this. After doing some testing on this, I am very glad I ordered it. This primer has SPF 30 and comes with a pump dispenser. I like that it comes in the same size bottle as the liquid foundations for packaging consistency and easy storage. The primer is a white fluid with a medium texture. A little goes a long way and I've found I only need one pump to cover the entire face. The primer does leave a slightly white cast to my medium/olive skin, but most of my foundations have enough pigment to cover it entirely and cancel out any white cast. I am really impressed with how this primer feels and how it makes a visible difference in how foundation goes on the skin. The primer gives the skin a soft feel and preps the skin well while offering a slightly moisturizing feel. I like that it's not heavy, greasy and doesn't have that silicone feel that many primers have. I give it a huge thumbs up, however, I'm not an everyday primer kind of person. The Dolce & Gabbana foundations work so well on their own, I don't think this is an absolutely necessary step. That being said, this is one of the best primers I've tried and I do think it's definitely worth looking into. For me it's a huge plus that there is no detectable fragrance.


____________________________________

Here are swatches of the Dolce & Gabbana liquid foundations I have and the primer. I've added swatches of the Matte formula in 120 and 130 for reference:


A few comparison swatches to other foundations I have in rotation for reference:


____________________________________

My top two picks are the Perfect Matte Powder Foundation and Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation. I do like the Matte Liquid formula however color matching is essential when it comes to foundations and for me, the current color lineup doesn't have my exact match. The newest Lift formula performs well, but after a few weeks of testing, I haven't really seen any changes in my skincare to warrant the extra price (it is still a very good formula though).

I hope you found this roundup helpful! If you're in the market for a good powder foundation, I really recommend the one by Dolce & Gabbana. If you've tried any of the face products or foundations from the line, I'd love to hear your thoughts.





This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions my own. For more information please refer to my disclosures.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Nail Lacquers in Daphne and Maia


This summer there are a few new lip and nail shades for Dolce & Gabbana Beauty. There are five new Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipsticks ($36 each) in Lotus, Jasmine, Amaryllis, Lily and Orchid and three new Intense Nail Lacquers ($25 each) in Daphne, Maia and Gaia (you can see the details on Makeup4All). I purchased two of the nail lacquers from Nordstrom:

  • Daphne is a beige gold with multi-colored shimmer flecks of gold, silver, champagne, rose gold
  • Maia is a metallic shade that's a rich a rose gold peach frost


Both shades apply very smoothly. The brush design of Dolce & Gabbana nail polishes has improved over the years. It's shorter and more dense with a better tip for flawless application. Both of these applied nicely with a few strokes. They are two-coaters but the pigment is rich and smooth with the first coat. They both have removable gold caps.



Daphne has a nude-beige base that is similar to my skin tone. I found it naturally flattering for a conservative polished look that's work-appropriate. I found it to be a slightly darker beige compared to most other neutral nudes I own. I suspect those with tan skin will really like this one as a perfect nude that doesn't look too pale. The pigment and coverage is very good.




Maia is a rich cantaloupe-colored metallic. Metallics sometimes worry me since brush strokes can be very visible and streaky looking. Maia has a smooth finish with minimal brush strokes showing. It's very warm on my skin but the hint of pink in the shimmer prevents it from being a pure orange.




Comparisons below (swatches on prior reviews linked below):

Laura Mercier Organza (discontinued)
Chanel Sahara Beige (discontinued)
Dior Spring Ball 343 (discontinued)
Rescue Beauty Lounge Starfish Patrick
Rescue Beauty Lounge Nails and Noms


I wasn't able to test these for an extended period of time, but based on my experience with recent releases like Oleandro, I've been able to get at least 5 days wear without any issues. I'm in love with Maia - the iridescent quality was impossible to capture with a camera, it has a lovely blueish pink shimmer that makes it really unique. Daphne is a lovely color as well - these days I'm preferring a bit more contrast and color but it's a great everyday kind of nude with a gorgeous shimmer.

I found both Daphne and Maia at Nordstrom. Also available at Saks.

 

design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2014 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK