Showing posts with label Laura Mercier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laura Mercier. Show all posts

Monday, December 29, 2014

Best Beauty Discoveries and Highlights of 2014


2014 has been a very exciting year and I feel incredibly blessed in so many ways. I am grateful for each and every one of my readers. Without your passion for all things beauty this blog would not be a possibility for me to keep up. Each week I am touched by the kindness some of you have shown through e-mail and comments. I think the internet and social media is amazing with the way it enables us to connect with each other across the world. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following me through this blog :) 

I have a roundup of beauty highlights in 2014. There have been so many great beauty releases and innovations this year. I think the holiday sets this season were the best ones I've seen to date. I've linked previous reviews of my favorite beauty discoveries for 2014 below. Please let me know what your top beauty discoveries were as well, I'd love to hear what your favorite picks were!
This year marked the year for a number of brand launches and store openings. New beauty brand launches in the US that I was really excited about included Gucci Beauty and Charlotte Tilbury. A number of brands added new stores and boutiques. Diptyque on Larchmont opened in Los Angeles. In Venice Beach Caudalie and Hourglass Cosmetics opened up boutiques. Another highlight for me was finally visiting the NARS Boutique on Melrose (although it opened a few years ago).

Additional highlights include a couple special features for The Beauty Look Book. In January I was really excited to be featured on Barneys New York - The Window. In March of this year I was beyond thrilled to discover that InstyleUK included me in their Top 50 Websites (thank you!!).

The best thing for me this year though was being able to connect with some bloggers and YouTubers in person (in beauty and fashion). Meeting them was incredibly inspiring. There are few things that give me that warm fuzzy feeling like seeing women support other women and I value their friendship, advice, encouragement and positive outlook on life. 

What were your top beauty discoveries this year?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Favorite Makeup Tools for Face, Cheeks and Eyes


I've compiled several detailed brush guides this year but several of my readers have asked for a more consolidated list of recommendations. Like most of my beauty routine, when it comes to makeup tools, I rarely stick to just one brand. I think different lines have certain strengths in particular areas.  Some have a better shape while others are made of better materials. There is a lot to sort through in terms of brush shape, size, material and price point. For me, it's really important that I am able to test a brush in person before purchasing it so I tend to stick to main stream brands. Today I've compiled a list of my most reached-for tools for face, cheeks and eyes.


My top picks for brush brands include MAC, Chanel and Tom Ford. In my experience, the overall best brand for quality and price is MAC. I own many MAC brushes that have lasted me over a decade. I like that the brushes have a simple and sleek design and the quality is consistent among all the tools regardless of material or type.

Chanel is also another great brand that I use a lot for brushes and tools. They recently redesigned all their brushes (I think in the last year or so) for a more modern look. The tools work really well with all brands of makeup. There are many similarities in shapes between MAC and Chanel although the material is very different in most of the tools. 

If price is no object, Tom Ford hands down makes the best brushes I've ever tested. All the brushes are super soft and plush and perform the best out of all the tools I've tried. The cream foundation brush is the only brush that gives me a streak-free application for foundation or tinted moisturizer. Tom Ford's brushes are among the few brands I ordered sight unseen. I splurged on a brush set a few years ago and although it made a serious dent in my wallet but I have no regrets and it makes applying makeup a truly luxurious experience each day.



1 / Beautyblender ($19.95) is the best sponge I've used. I just discovered it this year and don't know how I ever got along without it. There are multiple colors and types of beautyblenders but the pink one performs the best. Use it damp and it expands and applies foundation flawlessly.

2 / MAC Duo Fibre Face Brush #187 ($42) everyone needs a good skunk brush. These are fluffy brushes with two types of material mixed in. The uses for this are endless. I like to use mine to apply powder bronzer or highlighters to the face. You can also use these with cream products or to buff out powder foundation or to blend items. MAC also makes the Duo Fiber brushes in a number of other formats like the Short Handled #187 and a tapered Blush #159 version. I like the classic version the best.

3 / MAC Large Angled Contour #168 ($35) is super soft and fluffy angled contour brush. I use this for bronzer or blush (primarily powders). It's also a good blending tool. The angled edge helps control application.

4 / Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush #02 ($72) is the best foundation brush I've used. It's one of the most expensive tools I own but worth every penny. When I use this to apply liquid or cream foundations, application is flawless and completely streak free. I normally prefer to use sponges for foundation but often times they soak up so much product. This is the closest thing I have to getting a sponge-finish look with foundation but in brush format.

5 / Chanel Foundation Brush #6 ($45) is my most reached-for foundation brush. It's not quite as perfect as the Tom Ford, but for me it's the next best thing. I like this for cream blushes too.

6 / Chanel Blush Brush #4 ($54) is my favorite blush brush because of the shape and material. It's medium-sized and compact but has just the right amount of density to pick up color and dispense it perfectly on the cheeks. MAC makes a lot of good blush brushes too which are very good quality, but I find myself reaching for the Chanel the most.

7 / Chanel Powder Brush #1 ($65) is my favorite dense but soft powder brush. I use this for loose powder, pressed powder and powder foundation. It comes out of the box tapered but once you wash it it fluffs up quite a bit while still retaining a round shape. I like that it's sturdy with a substantial handle but still easy to hold and maneuver.



1 / MAC Blending Brush #217 ($24) is the best white fluffy brush you can find for $24. This is key for me in terms of blending shadows for a subtle gradient. I also like to use this as a regular eyeshadow brush when I want an all over lid color.

2 / MAC Eye Shading Brush #239 ($25) is in my top 2 picks along with MAC Brush #217. This is my all time favorite eyeshadow brush. It picks up color really well and blends powders together nicely. I like that it's dense but super soft.

3 / Tom Ford Eyeshadow Contour Brush #12 ($56) is another favorite. This is my do-it-all kind of brush. It applies shadow on the lids, it will contour or smoke out darker colors and the tip is dense for a smokey eye.

4 / MAC Shader Brush #242 ($25) is what I like for cream shadows (or concealer too). This one has lasted me the longest, I think it was one of the first MAC brushes I bought for myself. It has a really nice round tip making application easy and smooth on the eye (so it doesn't poke the skin).

5 / Chanel Large Eyeshadow Brush #25 ($38) is a medium to large eyeshadow brush that isn't too big or fluffy. I do like a good fluffy brush, but these days I find myself reaching for this one because it isn't as thick or dense making it easier for me to control color and application. If you want something fluffy, soft and more dense, the Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep Brush is one of my favorites.

6 / Laura Mercier Smudge Brush ($24) is a good dense detail brush. It's stiff but not too stiff so it's easy on sensitive skin or eyes. I like this one to smudge eyeshadow or eyeliner. I use this instead of a regular liner brush because I like a more smudged softer line to define the eyes. It offers precise application but if you are looking for something super precise, I'd recommend the Bobbi Brown Eye Liner Brush or the Angled Eye Definer Brush.

7 / Trish McEvoy Laydown #40 ($42) is one of my favorite multi-purpose brushes. I like this for powder eyeshadow, cream eyeshadow and concealer. I owned this back when Trish McEvoy had gold handles for the brushes (they are now lucite). It's the perfect shape, size and density for creams to get a good smooth and even application.

8 / Charlotte Tilbury Eyelash Curler ($20) is one of the newest eyelash curlers I've tried. When I first tried it I wasn't super impressed because it's called the "Life Changing Lashes" eyelash curler and well, it simply didn't change my life. I found it just as good as my Trish McEvoy and Chanel eyelash curlers but not anything super special. I've since tried a few others from other brands like Shiseido and Shu Uemura and have really come to appreciate the design and shape of the Charlotte Tilbury. It has just the right amount of curve to fit my eye shape. Many others are too flat or not curved enough. The wrong shape will either pinch my eyes around the corners or miss lashes making the curl uneven. I give the Charlotte Tilbury a huge thumbs up for the way it performs. 

9 / Trish McEvoy Eyelash Curler ($20) is a classic go-to for me. I have several of these right now and  it's been my most-replaced tool (some recommend you change or the pads these every 90 days, I tend to use these longer replacing once every 6 months). It just works the way an eyelash curler is supposed to. It grabs all the lashes and curls them evenly and in a round flared up shape. 



I have some additional thoughts on brushes focusing on double duty or recycling. Based on the above guides, you might be wondering what I recommend for eyeliner, concealer, crease, bronzer, brows or lips.

I think a lot of tools can be used multiple ways which means you can stretch out the uses. Having multiple brushes can be extremely useful so you don't have to worry about mixing colors or washing brushes frequently if you change from a light to a dark color for a certain tool. I do like brushes that will do multiple things though. For bronzer, I will sometimes use my blush or powder brushes. For the eye crease or contour I find the MAC #217 works just perfectly. For concealer I like blending with the fingers or a sponge.


For brow a lot of brow pencils come with a brush on the end to smooth out the color. I've bought a few brow combs before but find they don't last me very long so I like to recycle my mascara wands after they are used up. Rinse the end with soap and warm water and you've got a lash comb and brow comb in one that you can toss whenever without worrying about throwing money away.

Lip pencils often come with a lip brush at one end so I don't find the need to purchase a separate lip brush for gloss or lipstick. Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana have lip brushes which I find handy.


Last but not least, long time readers know I'm a fan of recycling candle jars. I use them to store brushes, pencils, lip gloss and office supplies. Diptyque and Jo Malone are my favorite to recycle. I just clean them out with warm-to-hot soapy water and a dish sponge. My candles don't always have a clean burn so often times there are remnants of wax stuck on the sides. Some recommend freezing or using boiling water. I find that using anything too drastic with temperature changes can crack the glass or melt off the sticker (which I like to keep in tact).

If you're just starting to build up your collection of makeup tools I hope you found this guide helpful. It can be overwhelming to sort through all the options so I have found the best way to start is to focus on one area at a time (i.e. start with eyeshadow brushes or blush brushes) and do your research. If you're an in-store kind of shopper, I highly recommend bringing a small list of options you've found interesting or with high ratings. Having a list can be helpful in case you want to see different brands in one store. Some brushes go by number so writing the numbers down is handy unless you have a super good memory, I often have to look at the numbers on my MAC brushes when someone asks me "which brush is that?"

Building a good brush collection will take some time but it doesn't have to be complicated. Brushes can be pricey especially when you add them up so I do recommend taking your time to research in advance to make sure you find ones that work best for your specific needs or wants.

I hope you found this guide on my favorites helpful to start!





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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide


The latest foundation innovation from Laura Mercier is her new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation. She's well known for her "Flawless Face" concept which includes four easy steps to achieving the most natural and smooth complexion for your skin type. The main steps include Prime, Cover, Conceal and Set. I used to use the Tinted Moisturizer religiously many years ago when I was in college with near-perfect skin. These days my face needs more than sheer coverage. I have some acne scars and areas I need medium to full coverage, but I still want something that looks natural. The new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide offers medium to full coverage that looks like skin. It comes in 24 different shade options with a multitude of undertones which made me very excited.

I had an appointment with a Laura Mercier artist last month to tested the new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide. The artist swatched several shades of the foundation along my jawline and on other areas of my face to find a good match. The foundation comes in a sleek tube that requires shaking to mix the formula inside. It's very fluid but blends nicely on the skin to give medium coverage. If you try this at the counter, you will need to smooth it out with a finger to see how it wears on your skin - the color adjusts as you blend. I was matched to Honey. The foundation is designed to offer 12 hours of wear. It's described as humidity-proof, sweat-proof, water resistant, oil-free, non-comedogenic, non-greasy and non-drying. It's formulated to be suitable for all skin types (including sensitive skin). I found that it worked well with my sensitive acne-prone skin.


Since it had been a while since I had used any of the Laura Mercier foundations, the artist walked me through the Flawless Face process as a refresher.
  1. After cleansing and moisturizing my face, she used the Radiance Primer to prep the skin. There are multiple types of primers. My main concern was that I wanted a medium to full coverage foundation but didn't want it to look too matte. The Radiance Primer was suggested to give a glow-from-within look.
  2. Next she followed with a thin layer of the Tinted Moisturizer in Sand. For good skin days she recommended the Tinted Moisturizer all over and then using a more pigmented foundation on areas I needed more coverage. She used the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Honey on the forehead and cheeks for more coverage.
  3. For spot coverage and under the eye brightening, she mixed the two shades of the Secret Camouflage Concealer in SC-3. Concealer was set under the eyes with the Secret Brightening Powder.
  4. The final step was to set with the Loose Setting Powder in Translucent (a classic that I've never stopped using).

At home, the same Flawless Face look was easy for me to replicate. I added some color to the cheeks for a natural glow with the Matte Radiance Baked Bronze Powder in Bronze 02. For the eyes, I've been layering the cream shadow Caviar Stick Eye Colors. Three easy-to-use colors for a classic no-fuss look include Rosegold, Amethyst and Tuxedo. Rosegold highlights the entire lid naturally Amethyst gives a nice medium contour and is layer able for a natural or smokey look. Tuxedo doubles as a smokey liner. All the shades are blendable and layer well together. For the lips, a thin layer of the Lip Glacé in Pink Pop brightens the face with a sheer wash of color.


Above: Radiance Foundation Primer, Spiced Rose Creme Lip Color, Tinted Moisturizer in Sand, Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Honey, Lip Glace in Orchid, Bare Baby, Pink Pop and Nectar, Matte Radiance Baked Powder 02, Secret Brightening Powder and Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold


What I used at home for a flawless face with a very natural look:






I've been really pleased with the way the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide foundation in Honey wears.  At first swatch I thought it would be too warm but it blends in flawlessly with my skin. The warmth in it adds a bit of color to my face but is still an exact match. It has a thin fluid texture but isn't too runny as long as you shake the bottle properly before use. It blends easily onto the skin and covers dark spots and uneven areas quite well while still looking natural. I've been using the fingers to apply or a damp sponge and the coverage is quite nice. Those sensitive to fragrance will be happy to know that there is no detectable scent in this foundation. As a plus, it photographs well with a flash. Lasting power is quite good when set with the Translucent powder, I was able to get 10 to 12 hours of wear each time I tested without any touch ups required mid-day.

Have you tried the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide foundation? What shade do you wear? If you haven't tested it, I highly recommend you give it a look the next time you're at the counter.

Shop the post:





Special thanks to Laura Mercier for sponsoring this post. For more information, refer to my Disclosures page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Travel and Trial-Sized Beauty


Here is my first gift guide for the holiday season. This time of year always brings about tempting value sets and travel-sized beauty gifts. I think these travel-friendly sets are a great way to try new skincare without committing to the full-sized options. For color, if you're one of the types that takes forever to use up an eyeliner or lipstick, minis are the way to go and get more options for the same price. Here are some gifts this year that I think look like great samplers.

2 Sephora Favorites Glitz and Glam Party Essentials Sampler
6 Diptyque 5 Piece Mini Candle Set
8 Fresh Sugar Cravings Kissing Trio 
12 Marc Jacobs Beauty The Sky-liner 7 Piece Mini Set
13 NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette

Have you bought any good sets this year yet? I'd love to hear what you've been eyeing and any loves so far. I'm always up for recommendations on what is the latest and greatest on the market for the holiday sets and gifts.

Some more gift set ideas below:



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Loving Right Now

iPhone case by Gray Malin, bracelet by Celine

November is flying by faster than I expected it to. The holiday season is just starting and I'm not prepared at all. This weekend I'll try to start making to-do and shopping lists to try and get an early start. I think most of my holiday shopping will be done online this year to avoid crowds and lines. Our new place is slowly coming together as we get all of our furniture delivered piece by piece. Our coffee table and some bookshelves finally arrived and I'm excited to start decorating and adding personal touches.

Right now, I'm loving a mix of new and old beauty items.


I'm all about flat zip pouches, I've been loving this Black Croc-Print Small Clutch (1) by Whistles, (similar here, white here) which is the perfect size for a makeup bag or a clutch. This newly released all-black Privacy Clutch by Truffle is also calling my name.

For cheeks, I've been using soft bronzers non-stop. The Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder (2) has been raved about for quite some time. Several of my blogger friends told me to get it. I listened, bought it, and I love it. I've been using Bronze 02.

Pinks have been my go-to lately for lipgloss. I've been loving the Dior Pink Excess (3) for holiday and Laura Mercier Pink Pop Lip Glacé (also in this mini 5 piece set) (4).

On the eyes, I've been using the Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Set (5) almost daily. Amethyst is a really pretty soft purple mauve that goes with virtually every lip/cheek look I've tried. If you gift yourself one beauty item this season, I would highly recommend this set (unless you already own all the colors).

Charlotte Tilbury's Powder and Sculpt Brush (6) is a tool I keep reaching for. It's perfectly shaped for contouring and highlighting. The bristles pick up just the right amount of product. (Review here.)

NARS Audacious Lipsticks (7) are still a huge hit with me (swatches of my picks here). Every color I've tried is amazing. I've been loving Anita a neutral pink.

Lumira released a new collection called Paradisium. The Eau de Parfum (8) is to die for. It has Bergamot, Grapefruit and Lemon, Fig Nectar and Guava, Vetiver, Sea Moss and Cedarwood. It's the most unique scent I've smelled. It's refreshing and uplifting and soothing. The closest thing I can think of is Jo Malone's Wood Sage and Sea Salt which I liked but wore during super humid weather where it turned on my skin (in a bad way) and did not work well with my body chemistry. It was too earthy and after having it turn once, I can't wear it anymore (thank goodness I got a sample to test before splurging). The Lumira Paradisium is a better alternative, it has enough sweetness in it to keep it from turning on the skin. the lasting power is phenomenal. A dedicated post on the line to come soon.

My Tatcha love continues. I've been loving the Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm (9) and Indigo Hand Cream Mini (10). Be sure to check out the holiday sets, these two products are included in a number of beautiful gift options this year.

Burberry's Effortless Liquid Liner (11) is a beautiful classic liner. I've been experimenting more with this liquid liner and although it still takes me some time to get a good even line, practice is improving my liner skills.

I know it's fall/winter season now where darker scents are in season, but I'm still loving the florals like Diptyque Geranium Odorata (12). It's a brightening scent that I find refreshing. (Original review here.)

I hope your week is going well so far! What have you been loving this week?

The Lumira EDP, Diptyque Geranium Odorata and Burberry Liner were provided for review consideration. Rest purchased by me.

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Beauty Favorites


October's beauty favorites include:

SK-II Skin Refining Treatment (1) has been a miracle worker in improving my skin. It's a night time skincare treatment that helps to refine the skin and remove dead skin cells overnight. I have been using it regularly since September and it is gentle but very effective at clearing up the complexion and giving it a more radiant look.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre Luxe Color-Lasting Lip Lacquers in Sweet Stiletto and Seduction (2) are both great pigmented neutrals. I have Sweet Stiletto swatched and reviewed here. Since then I've bought a few more of the glosses (and really like them). Let me know in the comments if you are interested in seeing a review.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (3) has been a staple this past month. During my move, I had most of my beauty items packed away in bubble wrap and boxes, I kept a small handful of things in a makeup case for regular use. This was one of them, I used this almost exclusively the past few weeks. It's versatile and goes with just about any kind of look. Swatches and review can be found here.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Moonlight (4) is a new shade I discovered in the Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set for this holiday. I just reviewed it a few days ago but purchased it the first week of October (sometimes testing takes a long time for me). I will definitely be purchasing the full size of this color soon. It's the perfect platinum warm taupe shimmer.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Ginger (5) are my two newest concealer discoveries. I'm super picky when it comes to concealer (I've used Clé de Peau Beauté and By Terry almost exclusively for years, swatches of all Cle de Peau Beaute shades here). I'll have a full review up next week, but the NARS lives up to the hype. It's quite incredible.

Wayne Goss Brush #16 is a large super soft domed brush (6). I bought it from Beautylish which describes it as being "designed for controlled application and pristine blending." This brush is one of the largest shadow brushes I own. I've been using it to apply Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder under the eyes. It's a soft but dense brush that picks up the powder nicely and gives smooth application.

Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder Shade 2 is another new favorite (7). The powder comes in three shades, I was matched to #2 which is a very good match for my Chanel 30 / Tom Ford Bisque 04 skin tone. I'm normally not a fan of pressed powders because I find that they look chalky or end up darkening my face (I prefer powder foundations instead). This one by Charlotte Tilbury changed my outlook completely. I saw it applied on my friend who is very fair in Shade 1. The artist brushed it over her skin as a touchup without adding any foundation or concealer and the effect was quite incredible.

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics (8) is the best matte eyeshadow palette I have tried. You can see swatches in this post here. I've been reaching for this one quite frequently as my no-fuss go-to everyday kind of palette.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil Spray (9) has made my favorites list for a nice pick-me-up. It has a really nice soothing scent and hydrates the skin nicely without being too heavy. More thoughts on three dry oils here.

By Terry released six tinted shades of her cult classic Baume de Rose called the Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur. I splurged on four of the shades but I'm smitten with the plum shade in Fig Fiction (10).

Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil (11) is a regular favorite. The past month I've been using it more frequently as my hands and fingers have been dryer than normal. It smells like lush coconut. Works like a charm to fix dry cuticles.

Tom Ford Spanish Pink (12) is my favorite nude pink lipstick of the moment. There's nothing like it that I've tested. It has just the right amount of warmth in it to make it look slightly peachy but not too much. Swatches here.





What were your beauty favorites in October?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set | Holiday 2014


This holiday Laura Mercier has released a limited-edition six piece Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set ($55, each mini stick 1.0g/0.03 oz). Over the past few years, I've eyed the holiday Caviar Stick mini sets but only liked 1/2 of the shades so never purchased it. This year's set has beautiful neutrals including Rosegold, Copper, Moonlight, Khaki, Amethyst and Cocoa. All the shades are colors I know I will use, I've had this set for a few weeks now and love the versatility of the colors. These are perfect no-fuss cream shadow sticks that you can swipe and blend with a finger, although brushes work too for the darker shades if you want to get detail application.
  • Rosegold is a lovely soft warm champagne with a hint of rose
  • Copper is a warm but wearable soft copper shimmer
  • Moonlight is the perfect platinum-taupe shimmer with a bit of warmth
  • Khaki is a neutral khaki metallic
  • Amethyst is a soft mauve purple with silvery pearl
  • Cocoa is a basic chocolate brown with a hint of shimmer


Each shade is nicely pigmented but easy to blend and smooth on the lids. The sticks are buildable so you can control the level of color you want. My lids are on the normal-dry side, but I can apply these straight to the lid without any base or eye cream needed. If you have oily lids you will really like how these stay put. The dry time is just perfect for me. Some cream shadow sticks dry almost instantly requiring super quick blending before they set. The Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks have a slightly dewy texture which gives you more time to blend and apply slowly - but once they set, they don't budge.

You can use these a number of different ways: a single shade alone, multiple colors layered together, or combined with powder shadow. Close ups and swatches:





Eye swatches below: top picture is just with Moonlight applied and blended on the lids, the bottom two photos are with Rosegold and Khaki layered in addition to Moonlight:



I'm smitten with this set. If you're one who rarely gets to finish a cream shadow stick because they end up drying out before you can use it up, these minis are a good way to try multiple shades in smaller doses. I've had a couple of the full sizes that have lasted over a year and haven't dried out but I'm always worried about it (many other brands have). Or if you want to try multiple shades out in a smaller travel friendly format, these are great. You can bring all six shades with you in your makeup bag or travels without worrying that they will take up a lot of space.

I highly recommend it. The Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Eye Color Set retails for $55. I bought mine at Nordstrom (currently sold out). It's also available at Space NK, Bloomingdales, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Laura Mercier.

Have you tried Laura Mercier Caviar sticks? What's your favorite color? The holiday sets this year look amazing. I've started to make a wish list.




Sunday, September 28, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


I hope everyone has been enjoying the weekend. We're still experiencing really warm weather in Southern California but it's finally started to cool down a little bit. Fall and holiday items are trickling in stores but it doesn't feel like fall yet. A few new items I've spotted that are on my current beauty radar:

Chanel has re-released some cult classics in the new Collection Les Rouges Culte (1). There are three Le Vernis shades in Rouge Flamboyant, Laque Rouge, and Rouge No. 19 along with three featured shades of Rouge Coco Shine in Boheme, Dialogue and Suspense. In my mind Chanel can do no wrong when it comes to reds so I ordered the nail polishes and will swatch them as soon as they arrive.

I'm always on the hunt for cool stationery. I find hand-written notes can be fun and they add that personal touch which I feel is slowly disappearing in this digital age of e-mails and texts. Connor has this cute Emoji Stationery Set (2) which I have on my wish list. I have their desk calendar and love their exquisite designs and the card stock they use is very good quality.

Marc Jacobs Beauty has some new items for fall and holiday. There are 9 new shades of Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer (3) for fall (hover over the shades on Sephora to see which colors are labeled as "new"). I have my eyes on Blanche (white cream), Cobra (black grape) and Louise (ballet pink beige). There are some new items for holiday which includes a new Collector's Edition Midnight in Paris shade that comes in a keepsake box.

Also for fall, there are several new palettes of the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 - Plush Shadow (4). I just ordered Enigma which has a mix of black, grey, taupe and pink. I'll be swatching in the next couple weeks and report back.

L'Occitane recently released the Bonne Mère Collection (5). There are a number of shower gels and soaps in this line that is very gentle. Each comforting formula is hypoallergenic and PH neutral, made without parabens or phenoxyethanol. I've been testing a couple of the shower gels in Rosemary and Olive over the past couple of months and they are amazing. Rosemary is such a unique one with a refreshing one that has a beautiful scent (it's not like actual rosemary like I expected).

Laura Mercier Peach Hope Lip Glacé (6) is a shimmering coral peach with gold flecks. 100% of the profits go to the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (7) will launch next month (you can add your e-mail to the wait list at Sephora). It's a definite must-have on my list, I hope to have swatches of this beauty this week as well. First impressions are that it took my breath away as soon as I opened it.

Diptyque Benjoin (8) is an online exclusive that is described as somewhere in between vanilla and caramel. It sounds like it could be either incredibly amazing or overly sweet. I have this on the way to my house and will report back as soon as I am able to burn it. This one is available for a limited time.

What's on your beauty radar this week?

P.S. Thank you to everyone who entered last week's giveaway! The winner has been announced on the widget, congrats to Denise P at e-mail deniseg*******d@sbcglobal.net, check your inbox, i just sent you a message :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On My Radar / New In Beauty


Happy mid-week lovelies! A few items that popped on my beauty radar this week. Fall collections look incredibly beautiful and there are a number of new foundation formulas on the market that sound promising.

  1. Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt has arrived for fall and it sounds amazing! This will come in a Candle, Body Cream,  are the the 1 oz and 3.5 oz Cologne Spray, I can't wait to check it out this week
  2. Christian Louboutin will launch 30 new shades of nail polish at the end of the month, I have my eye on The Nudes Nail Colors (available for pre-order at Nordstrom)
  3. Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation has been on my radar for a while now, I received a sample packet (but in the wrong shade), it felt really nice on the skin, if you've tried it please let me know what you thought, I have friends that keep telling me it really is the best, but I can't bring myself to splurge just quite yet
  4. Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation is another new formula on the market, I tested a couple samples I received at the store, it did feel amazingly smooth, evened out the skin and covered imperfections while looking natural, I had a hard time deciding on a shade
  5. YSL Fusion Ink Foundation is yet another new one, I've heard nothing but great things about this, it's on my list to try out
  6. Giorgio Armani Fall has arrived, the Palette Yeux Organica Palette looks absolutely amazing, it's on hold for me at my local Neiman Marcus counter and I hope to pick it up in the next few days
  7. Jin Soon Choi collaborated with designer Tess Giberson to create five new nail colors, I ordered two and will share them soon, the five shades are Heirloom, Farrago, Mélange, Pistache and Nocturne, available now at Nordstrom and Space NK
  8. Tom Ford Fall has started to trickle in stores and has been selling out at lightening speeds. Today, some items have popped up online at Neiman Marcus including the Contouring Cheek Duos in Stroked and SoftcoreBlack Cherry Nail Lacquer, and Lip Colors in Negligee and Twist of Fate.
I have the Tom Ford and a couple JINsoon polishes to review soon. I ordered the Tom Ford Fall Collection from Saks NY after calling around several stores to find they had sold out and had wait lists going. Many have been asking me to rush the review and post it stat. I took about 1/2 of the pictures to review and my camera broke (heartbreak!!) before I could do swatches, it will take 3 weeks to get repaired so I purchased another camera which is on its way. I have some other items photographed and ready to publish in the mean time. I appreciate your patience. If you're thinking about the Tom Ford, I suggest you act fast. I've been testing it and the eye quad and cheek duos are a must if you don't want to wait for online items to show up, call your closest Tom Ford Counter or Boutique to place an order.



What's on your beauty radar this week?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

On My Radar / New In Beauty


I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! A few items currently on my radar, from top left clockwise:

What's on your radar this week? Have you seen any other new fall items in stores yet? I'm eagerly waiting to see Tom Ford and all the Chanel quads.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Neutral Creamy Shimmer Wash Eye Shadows | NARS, By Terry, Laura Mercier, RMS and Chanel


Lately I've been a fan of these swipe and go shimmery wash eyeshadows. I like a creamy texture so there's no extra base needed for good pigment and blending. I like neutrals but have discovered a few non-nude shadows I find good for color, dimension and glow. Just add a simple black or bronze liner and mascara and you're good to go (for lazy makeup days). I also find them good for touch ups if you're transitioning from day to night to add a bit of depth to the eyes. The creamy textures mean you apply straight from the tube if it's a twist up stick or right from the compact with your fingers and smudge/blend easily. My current favorite neutrals:


  • NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Iraklion ($25) is a mauve rose quartz taupe fawn shimmer. It blends out to a sheer finish but nicely contours the lids. You can layer for more color and it also works well as a base for powder shadows but won't change the color.
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Rose Gold ($26) is a shimmery gold with a slight hint of pink tones, on me it pulls more champagne gold but the pink prevents it from being a pure yellow gold. It's on the creamy side so if you have oily lids you may need a matte base underneath.
  • By Terry Ombre Blackstar ($43 each) in Ombre Mercure (interesting oyster that flashes gold and a bit of green sparkle), Frozen Quartz (cool medium pink sparkle) and Misty Rock (plum pink) are all intense creamy shadows, I adore each of them alone on the lid with a simple liner. They are on the pricey side but the quality, texture and lasting power make these worth every penny.
  • RMS Cream Eyeshadow in Solar ($28) is something I use on a weekly basis, alone or as a base, there's something so pretty about a rich gold shimmer for the eyes that warms up the complexion (review here)
  • Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Emerville ($36) is a classic champagne peach shimmer. I think it's one neutral shimmer everyone should have in their beauty collection. It makes a lovely wash all over the lids.
  • NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows ($29 each) in Europa and Andromeda (reviews here) are nice when layered together for that simple polished glow look for the eyes. 



Swatched side by side you can see they look intense when swatched straight from the tube, the pigment is good and textures are super easy to blend and layer. They aren't quite as frosty when you blend them out. My assessment for shimmer levels:
  • Most shimmery are the By Terry Ombre Blackstar sticks but if you've tried these you know they blend out really nicely but maintain the color. RMS Solar is on the shimmery side as well but the gold base blends well with my natural skintone almost like a contour.
  • Medium shimmers are Laura Mercier Rose Gold and Chanel Emerville.
  • Sheer shimmers are NARS Iraklion and Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows in Europa and Andromeda (most in this formula are intense, but I have the softest ones).


What are your favorite creamy shimmer shadows for an all over wash? Do you have any swipe and go kind of shadows you love? Or are you one who usually prefers to layer more color on the eyes?



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tom Ford Spring Nail Polish Comparisons to Chanel, MAC, Marc Jacobs, NARS, YSL and Laura Mercier


Sugar Dune is more pinkish compared to other nude pinks like Chanel Jade Rose, Tom Ford Toasted Sugar and Tom Ford Show Me The Pink.


Coral Beach is more of a straight peach compared to Chanel Distraction, Laura Mercier Cabana (discontinued) and NARS Vertebra (discontinued from the Pierre Hardy collection).


Incandescent is the perfect mix of copper, gold and rose. It's not too metallic on the hands which makes for a more neutralish shimmer. Below compared to Chanel Delight, MAC Soiree, Chanel Rose Moire and Marc Jacobs Le Charm.


Indiscretion proves to be a slightly deeper but brighter pink. Below compared to Tom Ford Trophy Wife, Chanel Pulsion, Chanel Rose Insolent and YSL Rose Babydoll.


I hope these comparisons help with your purchasing decisions!

 

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