Showing posts with label Eyeliner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eyeliner. Show all posts

Saturday, July 19, 2014

MAC Look in a Box All About Coral | Nordstrom Anniversary 2014


MAC has several limited-edition boxed sets and palettes available for this year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I bought the Look in a Box - All About Coral ($39.50) which includes 2 lip items and 2 eye products:

  • Passion Charge Lustre Lipstick is a glossy medium-bright coral peachy shade
  • Stoke the Flame Lipglass is a frosted peach with visible sparkles
  • Collective Chic Veluxe Pearlfusion Eyeshadow has a glitzy champagne, olive shimmer and plum-brown frost shade
  • Brownborder Technakohl Liner is a warm brown eyeliner, it's the only item you can purchase separately



I bought this mainly because I fell in love with the lip items. The Passion Charge lipstick and Stoke the Flame lipglass combination creates a pretty peachy coral lip that's perfect for summer. The lipstick is a lustre formula but has impressive pigment for a glossy lipstick. The lip glass looks good layered over lipsticks but has enough color to wear alone.



If you're like me and only like the lip colors, here are some swatches that I did in attempts to dupe Stoke the Flame Lipglass. I couldn't find anything identical but here are some swatches:

MAC Mimmy (Hello Kitty collection, discontinued)
MAC Eurobeat Dazzleglass (discontinued)
MAC Meteoric Cremesheen Glass (discontinued)



Some more dupe attempts with other corals and peaches. I was really surprised how close it is to Tom Ford Sweet Spot:

Tom Ford Sweet Spot (discontinued)
Edward Bess Forbidden Flower (discontinued)
MAC Fresh & Frisky Huggable (discontinued)


I swatched the eye palette in store and was really impressed with the pigment. On the eyes it proved to be a bit tricky to apply. The champagne color is quite glittery and when I applied with a brush I experienced a lot of fall out. I found it best either applied with fingers by patting all over the lids with a creamy base or on top of the other two shades to set. Once on the eyes it didn't budge, but the initial application had some fall out over the face. The khaki olive and brown plum applied smoothly with a brush and layered nicely for a smokey eye. I tested this in warm hot weather outdoors at an event that lasted from 1 pm to 7 pm. I spritzed the Urban Decay All Nighter Spray (also featured here) over the eyes and face and it made the look last all afternoon and kept it looking fresh - nothing budged.

The eyeliner is pretty basic. I like the smooth creamy texture and find it lasts long, but if you have a lot of brown eyeliners it's not a must-have. I did some comparisons for the eyeliner.




The MAC Look in a Box sets are limited-edition. It appears the All About Coral Set has sold out online along with a few other sets but I've linked it so you can find the Product/Item Number. I suspect it's still available in stores and you may want to have Nordstrom Customer service locate one for you if you're interested. They might restock online. I found the set to be a good deal for the price. If you only like a few items in the set I hope the comparison swatches above help find something similar.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Topshop Makeup


It's been years that many of my readers have been e-mailing me about Topshop Makeup with raves about their blushes and lipsticks and numerous requests to try the brand and review it. Topshop is one of those brands I don't have easy access to, but it's been on my list to try for quite some time. Topshop recently reached out to me to try a few items from their makeup line and I was thrilled to get my first look. There are so many gorgeous posts about their lipsticks from many UK bloggers. The items they sent for review included their 3D Curve Mascara, Brighten in Moonlight, Kohl Pencil in Coal and Saint Lipstick.



3D Curve Mascara ($20 for 9.5 ml/0.30 fl oz, made in China) comes in Black with a large brush. I found it did give a multi-dimensional look for my super thin and straight lashes. The color is a pure black and stayed black after it dried (some mascaras tend to look grayish on my lashes once dried). I found it lasted quite well without any smudging but I did get a bit of flaking by the end of the day. If it didn't flake I would give it an A+ rating. My first attempt at taking before/after photos of my lashes below (along top lashes only):




Brighten in Moonlight ($14 for 1.5 ml/0.05 fl oz, made in Italy) is a one-shade fits all under-eye concealer. It comes in a twist up tube with a brush applicator. I was worried this would be too pale or pink for my skin, when swatched it looks very light and very pink against my olive skin. However it has a sheer slightly luminous (but without any shimmer) quality to it that blends well with my medium/tan skin. I was really surprised how this brightened the under-eye area. I tend to avoid concealers under the eyes in general since they end up looking too heavy or cakey. This one has enough sheerness to it to even the skin without looking heavy. To apply this, I've been dabbing it under the eye over foundation and set it with powder. It lasts well all day. I'm not sure if this would work on anything darker than a Chanel B40 or MAC NC40 - if you've tried this I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Kohl Eye Pencil in Coal ($8, made in Czech Republic) is a dark black pencil. I found it to be a pure rich black with a smooth texture that doesn't tug. The lasting power is quite good and I didn't get any smudging or pulling with the pencil. (Also available in Sable/Dark Brown). Finding a good true black for me is difficult. Most black pencils end up looking too harsh, too grey or just not really dark enough. Coal is a good true black that applies very smoothly and stays put. I couldn't ask for a better pencil for the price.


Saint Lipstick ($16 for 3.5g/0.12 oz, made in Italy) is a pale peach pink cream. This one is difficult for me to evaluate simply because the color is so light I think it will be hard for anyone to pull off this color. Since it's drastically paler than my natural lip it tends to enhance any crease or imperfection even with smooth lips. Given the raves and beautiful reviews I've seen of Topshop lipsticks on other blogs I suspect it's only the color that makes this one not work. For me to be able to wear this one I had to cover the entire lip with a darker nude lipliner, apply a light layer of Saint Lipstick and blend like crazy. If you've tried any of the lipsticks I'd love to hear about the colors and formulas you've tried.




I like the look of the Topshop makeup line although it's completely different from what I normally go for in beauty brands. I have their shop in Los Angeles on my list to check out - I'm hoping all the stores carry the full makeup line. Have you tried Topshop Makeup? I'd love to hear your recommendations. I already have a list going from readers to check out their blushes - but I'd love to hear your thoughts. (This Glow Highlighter looks seriously amazing, tell me do I need to check this one out?)

This post contains press samples sent for review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own. For more information refer to my disclosures.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Beauty Look Book Essentials | Eye Basics


This is Part 2 of my Essentials Series. Today I'm sharing my favorite eye basics tools and products such as bases, mascaras and brow products. Details listed below for each product, followed by some swatches and extra photos below.

An overview on what I've looked for in each category:
  • Bases - I have normal to dry lids so I tend to look for products that are a tiny bit moist and dry down slowly so I can layer shadows without having to rush. At the same time I want something that will also dry to a finish that is longer-lasting and something that will stay put throughout the entire day. For color I know many like to match the skin color exactly to even out the lids. I prefer something with a bit of shimmer or a few shades darker otherwise the lids end up looking very flat and washed out.
  • Pencils/liners - I have found many basic browns or blacks are not dark enough or don't have the right texture. Many look great for a few hours then slide off or fade. Finding the perfect combination of color, texture and lasting power has been a challenge. Sometimes layering a powder shadow over a liner can help extend the wear-life of eye makeup. I usually prefer bronze or navy colors instead of your basic brown or black.
  • Mascaras - I have very straight lashes so without a mascara to lengthen, hold curl or volumize, I end up with raccoon eyes or look like I don't have lashes at all. Some long-wear mascaras end up feeling crunchy (if that makes sense) as they stiffen, I prefer something that has a bit more of a glossy looking finish but one that will stay put. Color is also key, I look for mascaras that look like they are a true black. Some dry down to a lighter color than what you see when it's moist.
  • Brows - I am still searching for my perfect brow pencil. I found one with NARS in Panama but they discontinued it and came out with a new formula and colors.
My tried and true list of products I've found over the years. While this is quite an extensive list, note that these were accumulated over time. There is always debate over shelf life of products, I usually keep items until they dry out, start to smell funny or just don't perform the same. Some liners/bases have lasted over 2 years - I think as long as you use clean brushes and occasionally wipe down the surface with a paper towel or cotton pad you should be ok. The only eye items I throw out regularly are mascaras at the 3 month mark.
  1. Chanel Eyelash Curler ($34, limited-edition) is a classic black eyelash curler. It was released a few years ago at all counters but you can only find it now at select places like Chanel.com. Detailed review with photos here. It works for my eyelid shape so it doesn't pinch around the edges and curls perfectly. Since it's black and I have black lashes, it can be hard to see what I'm curling unless I have good light, but the results are good.
  2. Le Metier de Beaute Eyelash Curler ($18) is a favorite at a relatively inexpensive price for a high-end curler. The pad has a bit more cushion to it but is gentle. This curls my lashes well and fits the eye shape perfectly.
  3. MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork ($20) is a classic cream tan brown color. I like it as a base for 1/2 way up the lid or as a soft contouring shade. It's darker than my natural skin tone but blends well and stays put. It helps add definition in a subtle way.
  4. RMS Cream Eyeshadow Solar ($28) might sound odd as an eye basic but the gold shimmer makes for a perfect swipe-and-go kind of color. It's all I need on lazy days and also works well as a base. The shimmery gold color helps brighten powder shadows and also intensifies colors when applied over the cream.
  5. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner in Bronze Shimmer was a classic for years and then Bobbi Brown discontinued it. You may still be able to find this at various outlets (I have and stocked up). The closest color from Bobbi Brown is Chocolate Shimmer Ink (which is still darker and redder). Urban Decay has close matches as well but the lasting power doesn't match.
  6. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner in Caviar Ink ($24) is a dark black but not quite a true black. There's a hint of brown in this so it's not too harsh. It's my perfect black liner.
  7. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Nude Beach ($25) is another discontinued favorite. It was limited a few summers ago and is my holy-grail nude eyebase with shimmer. I wish it were permanent but the good news is Shore is a close match (just doesn't have the shimmer).
  8. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Shore ($25) is a good matte nude. It's an amazing base that covers the lids and helps shadows adhere better. Depending on your skintone you may need something darker - Bobbi Brown has a wide range of neutrals to choose from. Shore is the one that matches my skin the best.
  9. Edward Bess Defining Eyeliner in Deep Brown ($29) is the best basic brown liner I've tried. It has a smooth texture so it glides on easy but it lasts all day after it sets.
  10. Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($32) is the blackest black I've found that stays put. It's darker than Ebene (Chanel's classic black). I like that it's a twist-up kind of pencil. The end pops off so you can sharpen the tip.
  11. NARS Larger than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner ($24 each) in Via Appia (bronze) and Rue Saint-Honore (navy) are amazing eye pencils. These are twist up pencils as well with a removeable cap at the end to sharpen the tips. These are rich in color and easy to blend (if you blend quickly after application). Once they set, they don't budge.
  12. Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne ($36) is the classic taupe pencil that you can use as a shadow base. If you've had a makeover from any of the artists from Le Metier de Beaute, they will almost always use this - it's universally flattering and works wonders to add a bit of color to the eyes.
  13. Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base in Suede ($30) is my holy grail eye base. There's nothing else that will help my shadows last as long as this base does. See my review and swatches here.
  14. NARS Volumizing Mascara ($25) is one of my favorite volumizing mascaras. It really does what it claims to do. It volumizes and thickens the lashes. I love that it doesn't budge or smudge. It's a rich black color which I love.
  15. Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara - Stretch ($32) is another favorite, if I were pressed to pick one favorite, this would be it. It's my does-everything mascara. Lengthens, thickens, defines, stays put, darkens and volumizes the lashes like no other mascara. There are several other variations of Eyes to Kill Mascaras. I've tried them all and they are all very good. This one grabs my thin lashes better and defines the best out of all of them. Artists I work with from Armani all have their different favorites.
  16. By Terry Eyebrow Mascara in Dark Brown ($38) is something new I've discovered. (I'll have a more detailed review later.) I have the worst brows ever. Everytime I have a makeover or work with an artist, they always ask me "what do you do to fix your brows?" My answer is usually nothing because there's usually very little I can do to "fix" them. Most pencils are too warm or too dark in color. The By Terry Brow Mascara in Dark Brown is the best brow product I've discovered. It helps define the brows and keeps them groomed. It dries to a natural feel (not a crunchy finish like many do). With this one I suddenly have defines brows that don't look so bad anymore.
  17. Bobbi Brown Tweezers ($30) grip the brows and tiny stubborn hairs. I've tried Tweezerman and Anastasia before - both of which are good, but nothing compared to Bobbi Brown. There is something about the design of the tips that helps grip hairs better. I like the classic silver design. It comes with a rubber tip to cap it so you can store it in your purse or makeupbag.
  18. Shu Uemura Slant Tweezers were my favorite of all tweezers. I'm very sad they discontinued this in the US. I keep checking Shu Uemura's website to see if it pops up again. No luck so far. Bobbi Brown is my close second for now.
  19. Leftover mascara wands are what I use to groom and brush brows or lashes. After my mascara is used up, I wash the brushes with warm water and soap and then they make their way into my brush containers to be recycled and reused. 
Eye Basics / Color Swatches



Eye Basics / Tools


I hope this comprehensive post gives you a list of ideas on what to try. We all have unique eye shapes, skin tones and skin types, so what works for you will depend on a number of factors. I hope the descriptions and details above will either help narrow down what to look for. If you can schedule a sit-down session with your counters, I recommend it. Artists have a wealth of knowledge - sometimes scheduling in advance can help them make sure they have extra staff on hand.

If I were to pick only 5 items for eye basics, they would be:
1) Le Metier de Beaute Eyelash Curler
2) Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara - Stretch
3) Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base in Suede
4) NARS Larger than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia and
5) Shu Uemura Slant Tweezers


What are your holy-grail tools and eye basics?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Chanel Mystère, Gri-Gri and Khaki Précieux

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The Chanel fall collection for eyes this year consists of some beautiful neutrals in the khaki family. I immediately picked up Gri-Gri Ombre Essentielle a beautiful sparkling taupe. I resisted the Chanel Mystère Les 4 Ombres and the Khaki Précieux Stylo Yeux Waterproof for a week before caving. Khaki colors are challenging for me to pull off. The olive color on olive skin often results in a sallow muddy look. I was hesitant to try any of the khaki items but a quick mini-makeover with the quad at the Chanel counter fixed everything.

Quick swatches, left to right: Mystère Quad, Gri-Gri Single and Khaki Précieux Eyeliner, I find it interesting the taupes pull more mauve on me while it pulls more neutral and brown on others (similar effect happened with Taupe Gris and some other taupes). See Mystère on Café Makeup and Weekend Ramblings, also Gri-Gri on The Non-Blonde. Clearly your mileage may vary depending on your skintone.


Some close ups of each item. First up, Mystère Quadra Eyeshadow ($59 for 6.8g) is a stunning mix of pale sparkly champagne with gold flecks, soft neutral mauve-taupe, dark blackened-khaki with gold shimmer and a neutral brown satin with green tones. What makes this work for me is that none of the shades are a pure khaki, but two have some khaki elements. The lightest and darkest shades have slightly larger shimmer particles. A base is absolutely necessary or else you will have some glitter fall out on the cheeks and smudging for the dark shade. I used this over Edward Bess's Eye Base and also RMS Beauty Solar Cream Shadow. The colors are well pigmented and easy to blend. I found it flattering on my olive skin. Easy to wear for day and versatile enough to take into night by adding more of the smoky khaki/gold/black color.








Next, Gri-Gri Soft Touch Eyeshadow ($28.50 for 1.6g) is a must-have for any taupe lover. On me it pulls more on the mauve side versus a straight taupe. It's very sparkly. I love it. Some close ups and comparisons below.




Khaki Précieux ($30)  is a lovely metallic khaki green. I find it to be both a good liner and a smudgey base for a smokey eye. It's dark enough to define the eyes but the shimmery quality makes it soft. The texture is soft and easy to apply on the eyes, but firm enough so it doesn't smudge. Some close ups and comparisons below.




For me, I think the Mystère quad is the winner for eyes. The taupe is similar to the Gri-Gri single (although not an exact dupe). There's more versatility in the quad.

So far I've spotted the collection in store at Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms and the Chanel Boutique on Rodeo Drive. It should start trickling in all stores by next week, as well as online. For now you can find the collection online at Nordstrom.com.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chanel Or Rose, Santal and Beryl Stylo Yeux Waterproof


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

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



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



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


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

Did you pick up any of the spring eyeliners?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chanel Silver Light #87 and Noir Intense #88 Stylo Yeux Waterproof - Fall 2012


Chanel has released two new shades in their waterproof eyeliner formula this season: Silver Light #87 and Noir Intense #88 ($30 each). I ordered sight unseen and meant to only purchase the silvery shade, however both were sent (and charged). Chanel's Stylo Yeux Eyeliners are among my favorite for lasting power and texture. They are soft enough to apply easily, yet not too soft that they smudge, fade or bleed. Added bonus: the bottom can be removed to sharpen the tip only, so there's not too much waste when sharpening (see the diagrams at Natural N Chic Makeup and Makeup and Beauty Blog).

Silver Light #87 is an ultra-pale silvery metallic. On my olive skin it appears slightly greenish (only on the hand). I find it difficult to envision myself wearing this as an actual liner, even in the corners of my eyes or as an accent. It's simply too contrasted for my skin - perhaps it will make a good eyeshadow if I apply and blend carefully. I find Rose Platine and Khaki Platine much more wearable for my skintone. (Comparisons to be shown below).

Noir Intense #88 is a deep dark black matte shade. When I received this I wondered if it would be the same as Ebene (see it featured on Cafe Makeup here) or if it would be darker/more intense (as the name suggests). Swatched side by side, Noir Intense is darker and deeper. I can't say the difference is dramatic, to my eye it's noticeable but still subtle. More close ups and swatches.




Given the fact that Khaki Platine and Rose Platine from past seasons were a huge hit, it makes sense for Chanel to release another silvery shade of eyeliner this season. I personally see it being a difficult shade to pull off myself. Any tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Comparisons to other black eyeliners and silvery eyeliners. All Chanel except where noted. I believe the Khaki Platine and Rose Platine were limited and no longer available. The others I think are still easy to find.


I'm glad that Noir Intense was sent to me unintentionally. I think it is a good purchase for me since sometimes Ebene isn't deep enough on my skin (many black eyeliners end up looking ashy or greyish on my skin). However, many of you may already have your staple/holy grail shade in your stash making this one an easy one to skip. Silver Light is a beautiful silver but something I'm going to have to experiment with. Any tips welcome.

In general I can't say either of these are must-haves. $30 is steep for an eyeliner, but the packaging is well designed and these Chanel eyeliners are among the few that actually last throughout the day for me. I love eyeliners from a number of other brands for the color and pigment, but few last as long as I'd like them to.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chanel Taupe 84 Stylo Yeux Waterproof


Chanel's newest Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner is Taupe #84 ($29). It has been released in the US as part of the Sophisticated Eye Collection, a collection of new eyeshadows, eyeliners and tools (see entire collection lineup on Karla Sugar and featured on Chanel.com). I'm a huge fan of the Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliners. They're waterproof, easy to apply, soft yet not too soft (as in gentle on the eyes) and I love that they come with a twist-up design. Taupe #84 is a complex color. It's nothing like you would expect from the name. I anticipated a grey-brown to arrive. Instead, I found that Taupe #84 is an intriguing beautiful complex fusion of plum brown silver. I applied this alone on the eyes and it gives subtle but pretty definition to the eyes. The silver shimmer makes it slightly lighter than I anticipated. It will look lovely with light-to-medium shades. However, over darker colors, I think this will not show up. I do envision that it will make a great layering base for colors like Fauve and Taupe Gris to intensify the color or help extend the wear of powder shadows.




It's quite unique as shown by a few comparisons to other liners: L to R, Chanel Rose Platine, Chanel Brun-Cuivré, Chanel Taupe, Urban Decay Underground, Chanel Violet Smoke, Chanel Berry, MAC Earthline



At first glance I thought it might seem similar to Dior's Aztec Chocolate Nail Polish. It's in the same color family but has quite a bit more silver making it look more purply than brown. Here it is also compared to Chanel Fauve and Taupe Gris Eyeshadows.


$29 is rather steep for an eyeliner, but the quality and uniqueness of this color makes it easy for me to justify. I like the color but the lightness/silver reflective quality of this makes it seem more of something I will use like a cream shadow rather than a definer. It will be lovely with lighter subtle colors or as a base for Fauve. For the lasting power, I put it on this morning (alone without any other shadows or base) around 8 am and it lasted until around 5 pm.

Also see Natural N Chic Makeup's blog for her thoughts, swatches and comparisons.
 

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