Sunday, July 31, 2011

Laura Mercier Fall 2011 Collection - Canyon Collection

Canyon is the newest collection from Laura Mercier, a whole collection of warm, earth toned shades.  This one really breaks from many of the fall collections that we have checked out so far.  We have been looking at lots of cool toned eye makeup shades so far and haven't really seen many that could create the neutral or natural eye makeup look.  As pretty as many of these shades have been so far, they really have left many women with warmer skintones almost completely out of the fall beauty shopping bonanza.  Laura Mercier's Canyon collection completely answered the call for a more neutral collection and new shades for warmer toned complexions.  On first glance, the shades in this collection remind of the American Southwest and it looks like a collection that could be easily worn in summer or fall.  This collection seems as though it might be better for a more tanned complexion than mine.

Laura Mercier's website states the following as a descrioption of the new fall collection.  "Inspired from the beauty of the earth, cheeks are dusted in sunset inspired hues.  Eye Colours are paired with soft golden highlights.  The look is finished with lush lips in shades of russet, rose, and sienna."  I am very interested in the Eye Colours in this collection since I look golden highlights in my eye makeup.  I would also love a new rosy lipstick or gloss to update my lip collection.

Laura Mercier's new collection...

Cheek Melange - Laura Mercier Cheek Melange is a cheek colour with sunset inspired hues perfect for adding warm glow to the face.  Each colour blends evenly onto skin and provides long-wearing colour.  Oil-free and dermatologist tested.  Perfect for all skin types.
- Canyon Sunset - blend of warm dusty roses, beiges, and bronzes

Sateen Eye Colour - Laura Mercier Sateen Eye Colour is a lightweight eye shadow with a creamy powder texture that provides an immediate release of intense luminous colour with superiour blending for a long-wearing, crease-resistant application.  Distinctive and full of colour with one stroke application.  Unique blendability and silky application imparts a supple film of comfort on the skin.  Creates a harmonious blend of pigment and pearl. 
- Canyon Clay - soft tawny peach
- Cedar - warm brown with shimmer
- Pine Bronze - smoky green with bronze shimmer

Luster Eye Colour - Laura Mercier Luster Eye Colour is a luxuriously smooth eye shadow that imparts pure dynamic iridescence with a sophisticated frost finish providing amazing adherence for a freshly applied look throughout the day.  Long-wearing and crease-resistant.  Micronized pigments deliver deep colour in the release of one stroke.  Offers true colour and brillance.  Ultra-refinied for a soft, luxurious feel.
- Chocolate - deep brown plum with shimmer

Lip Glace - Laura Mercier Lip Glace is a high-shine, perfectly pigmented lip gloss with rich, long-lasting colour and brilliant shine that creates the appearance of fuller lips.  Any skin tone is virtually enhanced by creating a subtle contrast in texture.  Contains the Laura Mercier Lip Complex which hydrates and protects lips leaving a wonderfully smooth surface.  Lip Complex is a unique blend of moisturizing, anti-aging, anti-oxidant and plumping ingredients to boost the performance of the Lip Glace.  Non-sticky gloss formula plumps and conditions lips.  Lays down evenly without feathering or bleeding.  Adds a glamorous touch without looking too heavy.  Available in a wide range of coverages (sheer, medium, and full) and finishes (shine, sheen, and shimmer).
- Quartz - rich bronze rose shimmer
- Mauve Plum - deep plum
- Desert Rose - dusty rose with shimmer
- Brick - warm terracotta

Creme Lip Colour - Laura Mercier Lip Colour - Creme changes the way you feel about lipstick in one swipe in the newest revolutionary lip colour formula.  The wide range of shades and finishes enhances your lips appearance, protects them from the elements, provides hydration and cares for the lips like skincare.  Lip Colour Complex is a unique blend of moisturizing, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, and plumping ingredients to boost the performance of the lip colour.  Offers Vitamin A & E as powerful anti-oxidants to soften, soothe, and condition lips for a plumper, smoother, and healthier-looking lips.  Long-lasting coverage with a modern sheen.  Colour is refreshed each time lips are pressed together.  Application is always fresh and flawless.
- Bing Cherry - creme rich burned red
- Espresso - creme deep neutral brown

My favorite pieces of this collection are the eye makeup shades, I have just come to terms that this is going to be a heavy eye makeup shopping season.  The shades in this collection would fall more into the neutrals category and are more likely to be some of my everyday shades instead of some of the special shades that I have been seeing in other collections.  The three new shades in the Sateen Eye Colour collection will be perfect to create a neutral eye for the day and could be amped up at night with an eye liner to make more of a smoky bronze eye.  I like these colors but I must admit that I already own each and every one of these shades so nothing here is a must-buy for me. 

As I had originally feared with this collection, many of the cheek and lip shades are much too warm for me to pull off.  The Cheek Melange is very pretty in the pan but all the bronze in this will be too warm and deep toned for my skin, so I will be skipping out on this product.  Every single one of the lip glosses and lipsticks are all warm-toned and have a strain of brown in them.  Nothing here will work for me so with the exception of chekcing out those three eye shadow shades, I will be skipping out on this whole collection.

photo courtesy of Laura Mercier

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze

Most people who have followed this blog from the beginning are well aware that I have been obsessed with Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime Verbena ever since I started as a part-time associate at the company back in 2003.  Over the years, I have gotten new degrees and new jobs but I have still repurchased products in this fragrance time and time again.  Which is a huge feat for this fragrance, seeing as how my collection consists of ton of body product fragrances.  At the last big Semi-Annual Sale, Bath and Body Works announced that they would be discontinuing the Coconut Lime Verbena and them later on in the summer, they would be replacing it with Coconut Lime Breeze.  I was very disappointed with this move but was told that Coconut Lime Breeze would not be very different than the original and would simply be an update on the original fragrance.  As long as most of the original fragrance remained, I decided that I could deal with this change...

The original version of this fragrance was a mixture of coconut, lime, vanilla, and sandalwood.  Coconut Lime Verbena came out in the beginning of 2003 when the company didn't produce the sophisticated and modern fragrances that have been coming out in the past year or two.  Many of the fragrances from that time have gone to the graveyard of fragrances or have been reworked to fit the newer image of the company.  The original version had very little lime in it and couldn't be considered a citrus fragrance especially since the lime was really only evident in the shower gel and spray forms and could barely be detected in any of the creams and lotions.  So this was great for people who loved coconut but never worked for someone more interested in the lime notes.

The new version can really be called a citrus, the lime is a much more prominent note in Coconut Lime Breeze.  "Our exclusive Coconut Lime Breeze is a fresh blend of coconut water, lime blossom, and bergamot inspired by a tropical breeze of exotic fruits and luscious citrus."  The top notes are: Sparkling Tangerine, Lemon Italy Oprur, Neroli, Bergamot Italia, Oprur, Zesty Lime Juice.  The heart notes are: Watery Melon notes, Sheer Muget, Pineapple Juice, Jasmine Petals, Lime Blossom.  The base notes are: Sheer Coconut Water, Sandalwood, Musk, Madgascar Vanilla. 

It looks like Bath and Body Works took the original fragrance and made those notes the bottom of the new fragrance instead of the heart.  The lime plays a much more prominent note in the new version and the bergamot is also able to easily be picked out.  The new version is very crisp and light, lots of citrus and coconut water.  The new version almost reminds me more of many of the margarita scents available on the market, just a bit on the sweeter side, this is great summer scent.  When applied on my skin, the moisturizers smell almost exactly like the original version and it is just a bit lighter on my skin.  The spray is a bit too citrus and sharp on me, so I prefer the body products in this fragrance.

The new version is currently available in the following forms: the Shower Gel, Body Lotion, Triple Moisture Body Cream, Body Splash, and Body Butter.  This seems like a limited release so I am hoping that more products might be forthcoming.  This fragrance doesn't replace my beloved fragrance (especially in the Body Splash form) but it is so close that I haven't any issues with buying and using these products when my Coconut Lime Verbena products are finished up.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Friday, July 29, 2011

Urban Decay Afterglow Cheek Tint

I have been excited to try this product since it first came out in the spring and I am happy to report that it was well worth the wait.  I have been obsessed with cream blushes for the past few months since I have been told that I look fantastic with bright cheek colors.  Bright cheeks were very popular this spring and are now going to have the same popularity for fall (after a break in the summer for bronzed complexions).  My cheeks are already pink so it is very easy for me to pull off the pale skin look with bright pink cheeks.  I love that I have a look that is very easy to pull off and is still very stylish at the same time.

Afterglow Cheek Tint is a very versatile cheek product, it can be applied very lightly for a just a bit of a glow or buildt up for a stylish bright look.  "Look you're blushing!  Sheer, buildable cheek tints feel weightless and glide effortlessly over foundation or bare skin.  Build your tint to suit your desired blush factor.  Finally!  Sheer, buildable cheek tints that glide on and feel weightless - (never heavy or greasy like your Gramdma's cream blush).  Our techy-feeling tint applies effortlessly on top of any foundation or bare pulling or rubbing needed to make it look right.  And you'll never get that powdery, cakey look that sometimes comes from powder blush.  Our modern, yummy shades include a shameless hot pink, a super-healthy berry, and nautral peachy tints, to name a few.  The formula is loaded with good-for-you ingredients like Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, so your skin gets nourished and protected.  The color goes on more sheer than it looks in the pan, but since its so buildable, YOU control how much you blush.  We also love to blend two shades together to mimic a natural flushed effect.  Whether you've been a fan of cream blush in the past or not, the shades, the silky formula and the little foil snake on top of our compact will definitely make you a believer."

This is the best cream blush that I have found since discovering Vincent Longo Water Canvas blush (almost five years ago) and is one of the few that also meets my requirements for bright cheeks.  I am using Quickie, a shade that is described a "light pink" but is more of a bright than a light.  I was sent this shade as my Sephora Beauty Insider 100 point sample and I have been using it for the past three weeks.  I have used on top of foundation, tinted moisturizer, and on bare skin.  It blends easily on all three however I have found that it blends the best and the color appears truest when it is used over foundation or tinted moisturizer.  It works well on bare skin but I do recommend to use it with something underneath it to bring out the best in this product.

This product goes on much sheerer than it appears in the compact.  Quickie appears neon bright pink in the package and can be quite scary looking to those who don't often work with cream blushes.  A light tap on the product gives me enough product to create a very natural flush for each cheek.  Swirling my finger on the product picks up more pigment and is better to create the very bright cheeks look.  The product feels almost cool when applied to the skin and blends quickly and easily.  It sets quickly and then lasts all day, I test drove its lasting power during some of the hottest days of the summer and it stayed in place even while I was sweating throughout the day.  This is a great choice to use on very busy days or days when you will be outside all or most of the day.  Once you put this product on in the morning, you are set for the rest of the day.

This cheek tint is currently available in seven shades...

- Score - peach-pink with gold shift
- Fetish - rose pink
- Quickie - light pink
- Greedy - berry
- Bang - bright orange
- Crush - bright pink
- Indecent - peach

I originally wanted the Fetish shade since it is very close to Vincent Longo's Swan Lake.  I now want this shade even more since I found out how much I just love this product.  With how bright Quickle can appear, I almost don't know that I even want to really try Crush since "light pink" in this product is very bright when it is built up.  I would repurchase the Quickie shade should I ever run out of it however I have been using it for three weeks and it doesn't even look like I have touched the product.  I still want the Fetish shades and I want to try the Crush shade too.

photo courtesy of Urban Decay

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NARS Fall 2011 Collection

I was in the air over the NARS palette made for the Nordstrom and therefore I was am so excited for the new fall collection.  So far, we have had some hits with Urban Decay and Chanel so I have high hopes for this one since NARS has always been a favorite brand of mine.  This collection from NARS is another one that is heavy on the eye products but looks nothing like the other ones.  The company's website describes the collection as "Edgy.  Arresting.  Resolutely avant-garde."  And avant-garde, this collection is! 

The NARS facebook page offers further details about the new collection.  "Outremer, Galion, Montego Bay...Introducing the NARS Fall 2011 Collection!  'It's the perfect time to play with dramatic shades, like a bright blue or a stormy gray nail,' says Francois Nars."  This collection is very dramatic, the model for it has bright blue eye shadow starting from the inner corner and extending it all the way out to nearly the temples.  That look is not for me but I now looking to this collection for some lip colors that will work well with a strong eye.

Here is the collection...

Trio Eye Shadow - A trio of harmonious color combinations of eye shadow shades.  Worn alone or all together, all Trio Eye Shadows feature micro-fine powders that are highly pigmented, long-wearing, and crease-resistant.  Color glides on smoothly, evenly, and blends effortlessly.
- Delphes - sparkling sheer peach/matte dove gray/frosted sage

Duo Eye Shadow - This long-wearing, crease-resistant formula is uniquely paired in dazzling and creative color combinations, expertly coordinated by Francois Nars.  Worn together or alone, these shades are richly pigmented and can be applied sheer or built up for a more dramatic effect.  Used wet, these shadows also double as eye liners.
- Grand Palais - silver taupe/dusty rose

Matte Eye Shadow - Highly pigmented, velvety-matte, ultra-fine powders for shading, creating depth, and lining eyes.  Long-wearing, crease-resistant colors glides on smoothly and evenly and blend effortlessly.  Can be applied sheer or layered for a more dramatic effect.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for heightened intensity.  Rich, vivid shade range, from neutrals to high-fashion hues.
- Outremer - bright true blue

Lip Gloss - Serious shine and sexy color in sheer, semi-sheer, and creamy formulas.  Extremely wearable and versatile shades may be worn alone or over other lip formulas for added dimension.  Ultra-smooth, non-sticky, comfortable wear.  Enrich with Vitamin E to help lips feel supple and hydrated.  Iconic NARS shades.
- Oasis - sparkling pink champagne

Sheer Lipstick - A beautifully sheer formula infused with ingredients to improve the condition of the lips.  Sheer, long lasting color pigments have been suspended in this translucent formula to provide a sophisticated shine.  Lightweight formula glides on smoothly.  Lush shade range.  Patented blend of conditioners and anti-oxidants hydrate, nourish, and protect lips.
- Pogo Pogo - shimmering pink

Pure Matte Lipstick - Bright.  Bold.  Perfectly matte.  This super-rich lipstick provides high-impact payoff: an ultra-pigmented, long-wearing formula that glides on effortlessly with comfortable wear.  Contains wild mango butter, known to provide advanced moisturizing properties to repair dryness and scaling.  Long-wearing application.  Enriched with Vitamin E and acai oil for anti-oxidant benefits.
- Mascate - bold red
- Montego Bay - rose pink

Velvet Matte Lip Pencil - The application of a lipstick combined with the convenience of a pencil in a jumbo crayon design.  Lips are instantly saturated with rich pigments and a velvety matte finish.  The long lasting, non-drying formula is enriched with emollients for a creamy texture, while a combination of unique silicones ensures long-lasting, seamless color for hours.  Use for lining, all-over lip color, or pairing with another lip product.  Rich, vivid shades.  Enriched with Vitamin E.  Convenient, easy application.
- Train Bleu - deep aubergine

Opaque Nail Polish - Fashion-forward and classic NARS nail polish shades impart incredible luster and prolonged gloss retention with UV protection to prevent polish discoloration.  An advanced polymer system provides extended wear and a durable, chip-resistant finish.  Modern, iconic shades.  Toluene, formaldhyde, and DBP free.
- Galion - stormy gray

I hate the blue eye shadow shade, the matte is super strong and this is just not for me.  So I will be skipping out on this one though I have tons of respect for NARS so doing something totally different than gilded or smoky eyes for the fall.  What I don't really get is why the rest of the eye shadow products don't come close to matching this bright shade and couldn't really be used with it.  It seems like the blue shade was just thrown into the collection to make it more unique...

But I digress...  I do really like a lot of the shades in this collection and I am happy to find a choice of lip products!  Eye makeup-wise, my favorite product is the Trio Eye Shadow, all of those shades will work very well with my eye shade and I can see myself getting tons of wear from them.  The Duo Eye Shadow I'm not all that excited about so I can safely skip this one.

My favorite pieces of the line are the lip products.  The Lip Gloss is lovely and Oasis is described as a "pink champagne" however it appears as more of a deep berry shimmer, the description is totally off.  It still is a very pretty shade and it is perfect for fall, paired with any type of neutral or gilded eye.  The Lipstick is another product that is described as a "pink" though it is more of a neutral than a pink.  This is shade will pair well with any eye look, I want to compare it to Belle du Jour before I decide to buy it or not.  The Pure Matte Lipsticks contain another shade who hue doesn't match the description in the least.  Montego Bay is said to be a "rose pink" but it comes out more of a peachy pink, heavy on the peach.  This one is very dupable and is one that I can skip.  The Mascate red shade is another story.  This one is the perfect brick red matte and I love this hue.  Last but not least, I love the new gray nail polish shade and it will be perfect to use throughout the fall.

This is best collection for lip products so far this fall, even though none of the shade really match what NARS insists that they look like.  The Mascate Pure Matte Lipstick is my favorite piece and this is item that I will be most interested in tracking down.  The other lip shades are ones that will need to be tried before purchase since they are so different from the descriptions.

photo courtesy of NARS

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

C.O. Bigelow Mentha Body Vitamin Body Lotion

A heat wave is currently surging throughout the whole East Coast and people are seeking any ways that they can cool their skin down.  I first started with the C.O. Bigelow Mentha Body Care line when it was sent to me by a PR company last summer and I quickly discovered how great it is to use in the summer months.  I started with the body wash in this collection and quickly fell so in love with it that I started using the matching scrub and lotion.  I reviewed the wash and the matching scrub last summer but somehow managed to forget about the matching body lotion.  I dug this product out of my collection at the beginning of last week and fell back in love with it very quickly.

It is no secret that I love the scent of mint.  Bath and Body Works Twisted Peppermint is a favorite of mine to buy every single holiday season and I always make sure to have a bottle or two of the shower gel on hand at anytime.  C.O. Bigelow's Mentha Body Care line is more a natural and herbal mint instead of the peppermint candy scent of the Twisted Peppermint.  Both of the fragrances are fantastic at any time during the year however, in the hot months, they become prized possessions.  Both of the formulas really help to cool skin down and leave a bit of a tingle when applied, just what is needed most in the hot weather. 

"Our mint-infused body lotion moisturizes, tones, and nourishes skin with a refreshing, minty sensation.  This hydrating formula deeply conditions with vitamins A, C, and E, leaving skin soft, smooth, and supple.  Infused with cooling peppermint for an invigorating experience."  This body product is unisex and the fragrance is the natural peppermint so it fades in several minutes, unlike the Twisted Peppermint.  Therefore, this line is more subtle than the Twisted Peppermint and I think it is more universal. 

This lotion has a lightweight texture and therefore makes it better suited to the summer months than the winter.  It absorbs in quickly and the mint tingles on your skin then cools it down.  This one is best used in combination with the shower gel and/or the body scrub to really complete the experience.  As I stated above, the fragrance oil in this product is the natural peppermint so it tingles on your skin and then the scent fades within several minutes.  Because of this, this is a great lotion to apply in both the evening and morning.  The scent fades so quickly that you can then use any type of perfume and the fragrances won't clash.  This is great way to both start off and finish up a super hot summer day.  The pump bottle is very convenient and can be used at the sink as a hand lotion too.

Hopefully this heat wave will pass us by soon but until it does, mint body lotion will play a very prominent place in my beauty product collection.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer

With the heat and humidity that is plaguing my area of the country at the moment, I have scaled back my makeup routine to eliminate any type of foundation.  I am now using a combination of tinted moisturizer, a bit of spot concealer, and then some bronzer to top it all off.  Instead of repurchasing my stand-by Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer, I decided to try out one of the unopened samples that I found in my makeup collection.  I remember being very interested in the Smashbox Tinted Moisturizer when it first came out but I was half way through a tube of the Laura Mercier and very much in love with it.  I got a very large sample of the Smashbox product from Sephora and I deicded to put it away until I was finished with the Laura Mercier product.  And then I completely forget about it since I use foundation and any type of face product very slowy. 

To begin with, I only use Tinted Moisturizers (from any brand) in the warmer weather.  If I plan to use one instead of a typical foundation, I only apply a facial sunscreen to my face and skip the moisturizer all together.  I can only really do this in the warm weather when my skin gets oily enough that it can hydrate itself with only a little boost from a very light face product.  Also all the self-tanner that I use in the summer helps to make my skintone look much smoother and more even, allowing me to use a lighter coverage than I would in the winter.

"Our new lightweight, oil-free tinted moisturizer is packed with vitamins and anti-aging peptides for naturally raidant skin.  The unique citrus honey moisturization technology nourishes as it absorbs excess oil throughout the day, and UVA/UVB SPF 15 guards against future damage so skin stays flawless and protected."  In addition to a product description, the Smashbox website provides several tips to enhance the usage of this product.  "For longer wear, apply Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer over the Photo Finish Foundation Primer of your choice using fingertips.  Luminous can be worn alone or mized with Fair, Light, or Medium shades for a soft, all-over glow."

Luminous is the shade that I was given in this product, this is the multi-purpose neutral shade that can be used by anyone who has a skintone from fair to medium.  This one works quite well with the results of the self-tanner on my face and I would use the Fair shade only if I would use this product in the spring or fall.  For summer, Luminous is my top choice since most people's skin is constantly changing hues due to sun and tan fading.  This one covers the range of shades that my skin is in the warmer months. 

This tinted moisturizer provides very sheer coverage with one coat and would need to be built up with two coats or use of another product to reach a medium coverage finish.  I use one coat of this product to set a base and then use a spot concealer on dark circles and any areas of uneven pigmentation.  The finish of this product is sheerer than the Laura Mercier version, this one can't be used in place of foundation if you want a medium coverage without the feel of a foundation.  Smashbox recommends that this product be used with a primer underneath (of course one of their's is the pick!) and I did try to use it that way.  I am currently using a Clarins primer that I found to be a bit to heavy for the summer so with the combination of the two products, it was no difference than wearing a full coverage foundation.  Which totally defeated what I was trying to achieve with the use of the tinted moisturizer formula.

The only major dislike that I have with this product is the inadequate sun protection.  SPF 15 is never enough for me and this product is applied sheerly so the SPF never really penetrates and covers every single area of the face.  I find it very irresponsible of many beauty companies to try and tell people that using SPF in foundations, tinted moisturizers, or powders is enough for full protection.  It isn't and it never will be.  I never look at SPF in any face product of mine, I prefer to buy my own sunscreen and use it in combintion with the rest of my facial care products.

This product is lovely if you want a tinted moisturizer with sheer, buildable coverage.  This is a product is best for skin that needs very little hydration and only in times that a separate hydrator isn't needed.  This product is best layered over sunscreen since the SPF is minimal at best.  The Luminous shade is a great choice to use on summer skin that changes shade with the sun and tanning products.  I wouldn't recommend this product for anyone with dry skin or that needs a medium to full coverage.  It helps to make my skin look lovely and natural in the warm months and (in tandem with self-tanner and bronzer) gives my skin a great glow.

photo courtesy of Smashbox

Monday, July 25, 2011

Newest Viva Glam Model Announcement!

It has just been announced this morning that the newest Viva Glam models are Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin.  Nicki Minaj isn't a favorite of mine for music (or hairstyles for that matter!) but I am still really excited to see the new shade that comes out in the Viva Glam collection.  I do wonder what we will see when the lip collection releases in Febuary of 2012, I am thinking something bright pink with tons of pigment!

photo courtesy of

Illamasqua Magenta Muse Collection

Illamasqua has introduced a small collection for the end of summer/beginning of fall.  This collection consists only of lip and nail products, all of which are in the cool toned purple families.  This collection looks as though it is just a small group of products to tide us over until Illamasqua releases their massive fall collection (of which I am eagerly awaiting), MAC often does small collections like this of products and shades that aren't new but go together well and fit a certain theme.  I have been loving lavenders and purple ever since the beginning of the spring so this collection is a perfect fit me for me...

"Featuring a fearlessly electic blend of textures and finishes, spanning from gloss to matt and iridescent, transform yourself into a Muse by midnight with the Magenta Muse collection.  Set to transform perceptions of beauty, in this urban gathering of alternaive hues for the lips and nails; gray, mauve, and magenta mix effortlessly with flashes of coral and red."  I am most excited for the nail varnish hues in this collection and I am much looking forward to picking up a few products from this little collection.

The lip and nail products of this collection...

Lipstick - Let your lips speak volumes.  Indulge in colour-intense lipstick with a highly pigmented formula, available in a choice of flawless finishes, from matt to glossy.  Illamasqua Lipstick glides on smoothly and never feels dry, for the perfect all-night pout.  A must have for professional makeup artists, and those who want to make a statement.
- Underworld - iridescent blueberry violet with a shimmer finish

Sheer Lipgloss - Super glossy, with a sensual, sheer colour designed to enhance your lips.  Use Illamasqua Sheer Lipgloss on its own or with Illamasqua Lipstick for added pout.  Add a little more sexiness to your smile.
- Tantrum - deep berry pink

Nail Varnish - Leave your mark with bold, rich, vibrant colours.  Hardwearing and chip-resistant with individual finishes from matt to high gloss.  Apply two coats for intensity and use with Illamasqua Nail Base Coat and Illamasqua Nail Top Coat for the perfect finish.  Talk with your hands and make a statement.
- Poke - bright violet purple with a shimmer finish
- Muse - deep teal blue with a glossy finish
- DWS - cement gray cream with a glossy finish

I am not all that interested inthe two lip products from this collection, I like both of them but I don't love them enough to purhcase them without getting a chance to see them.  I love all three of the Nail Varnishes, I just bought my first Nail Varnish from Sephora and have been loving the pigmentation and wear of it so far.  I think my favorite of the three is the Muse shade, I love blues and this teal will be great to use both in the end of the summer and right on into the fall.  DWS will be a new neutral for me, I would wear this one to work too.  I wonder how Poke compares to my favorite Lippmann shade (Purple Rain).  I believe that Purple Rain might be more on the lavender side and a bit less bright than this one.  But since I already love purples, I will check a swatch of this out next to it and I bet that I will order Poke right along with the other ones.

This little collection was just enough to tide me over until the full fall collection is released...

photo courtesy of Illamasqua

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer

My mind may be fully engaged with fall scents and makeup lines however my makeup routine is still firmly entrenched in summer.  At the beginning of this summer, I was reorganizing my traincase and randomly found this Clinique bronzer that I had never opened.  I must have gotten it for free with a Clinique gift over the years since I didn't reocgnize the packaging of the palette that it was housed in.  My Lancaster bronzer was getting low so I decided that I should try this one out for the summer and see how it performed.  I have worked with many Clinique powder formulations over the years and have been happy with them so I had high hopes that this bronzer would perform as well the foundations and powders did.

"Lightweight powder bronzer creates a natural-looking, sun-kissed radiance.  Blends, builds easily to your desired level of bronze.  Perfect for on-the-go glow.  Long-wearing.  Oil-free."  This bronzer has more of a matte finish than a shimmer, which I much prefer when using a bronzer.  I hate to use the heavy shimmer powders for everyday use so I am so happy with the slew of matte finish bronzers that have been hitting hte market over the past two or three years. 

I use this like any other powder bronzer; sweep a bit on a big fluffy brush and then use it to highlight the areas of my fave that are naturally touched by the sun.  This formula is one of the lighter ones that I have used and is very easy to apply and blend.  This product goes on very sheer and has to built up in two or more layers to really get the "bronzed" look.  For myself, this is fine since I have fair skin and only self-tanner to get myself a few shades deeper than normal.  A dark bronze wouldn't work for me and therefore if you have medium to deeper skin and really want a deeper tan, this product won't be enough for you.  However, for fair to light-medium skin, this product is very natural looking and enhances the little bit of color that I get with self-tanner.  This bronzer is very soft and has a buttery texture, I love the feel of this product.

This product currently is available in three shades, all of which are best for fair to medium skintones.

- Sunswept - warm bronze with flecks of gold pearl
- Sunblushed - reddened bronze
- Sunkissed - pink bronze

I am using the Sunkissed shade since my skin already has so much pink in it.  It looks much more natural for me to use a bronzer with a pink tone in than to use one that is considered a neutral shade.  After I completely finish my Lancaster bronzer, I will look for more bronzers with pink undertones.  The Sunkissed shade has no pearl to the finish so it looks very natural, Sunblushed is exactly the same.  Sunswept has the pearl in it so I would be more likely to keep a shade like this for the evening.

I will continue using this bronzer until Labor Day and then I will start going into my fall makeup routine.  I am very happy with this bronzer though I really only recommend it for ladies with fair to light-medium skin.  It isn't a deep enough shade to really show up one someone with a deeper skintone.  

photo courtesy of Clinique

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Urban Decay Fall 2011 Collection

This is has been a huge year for Urban Decay and they have been celebrating by releasing a special product or set each season to celebrate their 15th anniversary.  So far, my favorite of the year was the spring release of a special set of the award-winning 24/7 Eye Liner Pencils.  So you can all imagine how excited I was to read on the company's website that the fall collection is here and also contains a limited edition eye palette as the special product.  And by coincidence...this is my 1000th blog entry, so this is an anniversary celebration for me to (but in a much smaller scale!).  This is doubly special post for me, since it marks 1000 entries of my beauty ramblings and a brand new fall collection by one of my top favorite brands.

This is another collection that is very heavy on the eye makeup products.  It is a bit too early for me to make overall conclusions about this fall but I feel like the collections that I have been looking at all are very heavy on the eye makeup products and contain minimal lip and face products.  Which I can certainly live with, since I have been obsessed with eye makeup and nail polish lately.  I know that even if a ton of new lip shades aren't being released, I can always turn to the MAC counter and find a dozen lipsticks and glosses that I want to buy (in about five minutes flat!)

I remember the Naked Palette from last fall's collection and I already see the Anniversary palette following in it's footsteps.  It is still hard to get your hands on the Naked Palette and I am still thankful that I bought mine last summer, I use it all the time and it is one of my top 10 staples of my traincase and has been for the past few months.  This palette is already sold out on the Urban Decay website and I am on a mailing list for when it is avaiable again, such is the fate of those who love Urban Decay eye shadows with all their heart.

Here is the 15th Anniversary Palette and the rest of the amazing Urban Decay Fall 2011 Collection...

15 - Year Anniversary Eye Shadow Collection - 15 ALL - NEW shadows for our big 15!  You get neutrals, brights, AND deep shades in a sleek gunmetal collectible box (our most luxe EVER!).  It's our party and we'll launch 15 NEW (and only in this kit!) eye shadow shades if we want to!  With just the right balance of neutrals and brights, darks and lights, the 15 - Year Anniversary Palette is both versatile and the ultimate UD junkie collection.  Shades like "Junkshow" (a bright pink), "Evidence (a deep metallic blue), and "Midnight 15" (an oyster pearl shade) mesmerize the eyes.  The collectible gunmetal outer box features a luxe faceted jewel "UD" on the cover and an eye-grabbing laser-cut filigree design on the sides.  Inside, the shadow tray pulls out to reveal a velvet-lined compartment that can be used to stash jewelry or personal mementos.
- Deeper - deep shimmery golden brown
- M.I.A. - soft shimmery dark brown
- Ace - dark gunmetal shimmer
- Blackout - darkest, most saturated black
- Half Truth - shimmery smoky purple
- Tainted - pale matte purple with golden shimmer
- Junkshow - bright pink with fuchsia shift
- Omen - shimmery metallic bright purple with blue shift
- Evidence - deep metallic blue
- Deep End - bright teal shimmer
- Midnight Rodeo - medium metallic brown with silver and gold glitter
- Midnight 15 - oyster pearl with silver glitter
- Vanilla - shimmery white gold
- Flow - soft peach shimmer
- Chase - metallic bright bronze

24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner - Draw liquid lines so sharp they could cut glass.  Our slender brush lays down long-lasting matte, slick and shimmery shades sure to satisfy your color lust.  Achieve clean, sharp WATERPROOF lines with shocking ease.  The newest addition to our 24/7 franchise is available in a veritable rainbow of long-lasting, highly-pigmented, waterproof color options - shades ranging from matte to glossy to shimmery!  (And why would you only buy one?  Try them all!)  Use the ultra-fine brush tip to create lines that are razor-thin or thick, even and bold.  The brush is also short and easy to control, making it ideal for liquid liner newbies.  The slim pens are convenient - go ahead and pack'em all into your makeup bag - and are color matched to each shade.
- Bobby Dazzle - white silver with iridescent sparkle
- Demolition - deep matte brown
- El Dorado - yellow gold with gold sparkle
- Perversion - carbon black
- Radium - bright blue with silver sparkle
- Retrograde - dark purple with purple sparkle
- Revolver - dark gray with iridescent sparkle
- Sabbath - deep matte navy
- Siren - teal with blue shift
- Smog - deep brown with golden shimmer and iridescent sparkle
- Woodstock - hot pink with iridescent sparkle

The Revolution High Performance Lash Curler - This sleek lash emancipator abolishes one-size-fits-all curling.  The open cage lets you curl your lashes all at once or in sections and won't pinch your skin!  So eye lash curlers that look like scary torture devices make you scream?   Ours won't crimp your lashes or pinch your skin because we eliminated the culprit - those maddening bars on either side of your old eye lash curler.  This sleek lash emancipator handles deftly with an open cage that allows you to curl your lashes all at once OR in sections (like just the outer lashes).  And if your lash line is longer or shorter than average, gone are the days of contending with a standardized cage that was clearly designed with someone else's eyes in mind (no more one-size-fits-all curling!).  We even include 5 replacement pads - swap them out to keep your curler clean and springy.  Viva The Revolution!

Lush Lash Mascara - Indulge your lashes with the hardest working mascara on the planet.  Our unique formula delivers instant length and volume and allows them to grow LONGER!  Nourish, thicken, and lengthen your lashes - from the inside out.  Infused with Peptides that allow your lashes to grow for a longer period of time (as well as moisturizing Panthenol), this formula builds AND beautifies them simultaneously.  The large, unique, hourglass-shaped brush provided generous distribution.  Use it in conjunction with our serum for even more lash nourishment!  This very enduring formula is not technically waterproof, but there was zero smudging or running after road-testing it in a hot yoga class.  The outer component features a lush swirl motif.  This mascara is perfect for anyone who suffers from brittle, fragile lashes as well as those with great lashes who want to build and strengthen them even more.
- Black - rich deep black

Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color - Urban Decay's creamiest, most sumptuously pigmented lip pencil.  This formula delivers all the opaque, saturated, high-impact color of your favorite lipstick and an arresting high-gloss finish in one chubby pencil.  And with a dynamic bright to deep shade range in creamy and sparkly textures, the runway-ready possibilities are endless.  Even the glittery hues in this collection of high-gloss lip pencils feel smooth on your lips (and leave not a trace of sparkle grit).  This conveniently portable lip pencils's high-gloss shine can be blotted for a more stain-like effect, but no matter how your wear it, the color lasts.  Free of mineral oil and paraffin, this formula contain plant-derived ingredients that nourish lips.  Because the barrels and boxes are color-matched to each shade, locating the color you want is easy, even in the deep, dark depths of an oversize tote.
- Adrenaline - bright fuchsia sparkle
- Big Bang - bright pink with sparkle
- Crush - hot pink
- Fbomb - bright red cream
- Punch Drunk - bright orange cream

Of course my favorite item from the collection is the eye shadow palette, I can't believe that Urbane Decay has finally released a palette that contains all brand-new and exclusive shades.  I have a huge collection of Urban Decay shadows that are all repeats of their best-selling shades and I just love that I can get all new ones with this set.  My favorite shades in this palette are both the neutrals and the brights.  I love the Deeper and M.I.A. shades, I love Urban Decay's browns and these look lovely in the pictures.  From the brights, Tainted is my favorite, it reminds me a bit of Asphyxia since it has the blue cast.  The search and the wait for this product promise to be worth it and I am now going to see how many waiting lists I can get my name on for it.

I love the liquid eye liners and I am so glad that Urban Decay has released a new product in their 24/7 line.  Smog is my most wanted of these shades since it is a deep brown with a gold shimmer.  I will use this product all the time and it will become a staple for my fall look.  I also love El Dorado since Urban Decay makes lovely gold eye makeup shades.  I want to test out Perversion and see how it compares to MAC's Penultimate liner.  The eye lash curler looks intense and I would consider trying it out however I am perfectly happy with my current curler and don't need a new one at the moment. 

The last item that I want to try from this collection are the lip gloss pencils.  Fbomb is the only shade that I would try from this group and I would want to see how bright it really is before I buy it.  I like the other shades but I'm not in love with any of them.  Maybe I will work with this product more if Urban Decay releases a few more shades in it.

This collection is best for eye makeup choices only.  The lip choices are minimal and the face products don't even exist.  I'm not unhappy with the eye makeup heavy collection but I am hoping that not every fall collection is going to be like this one.  The best parts of the collection are the eye shadow palette and the new formula of liquid eye liner, however I feel that this collection could have been a bit larger and contain more variety of product and shade choices.  In the past, fall and spring have both contained huge product assortments and I feel like this year, Urban Decay is focusing a bit too much on just the 15-Year Anniversary products and not on their overall line.

photo courtesy of Urban Decay

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bath and Body Works Double Delish Lip Gloss

Bath and Body Works has revamped and re-released their entire Liplicious gloss line.  Some of the shades have been repackaged and some of the shades are brand new for the fall season.  I was a bit bummed when their Coconuts line of glosses went on sale but I picked up an extra Coconut Mango to last me through the summer and now I am getting my makeup collection ready for the fall.  Double Delish is one of the new groups of Liplicious that have just been released and is a great collection is you love yummy, sweet lip glosses. 

Double Delish is a little line of four lip glosses each of which contain two sheer shades of lip gloss.  Each shade has a different flavor and they combine together to make the gloss even better.  The two flavors complement each other and create onle yummy little lip gloss!  This collection contains one flavor that I find appropriate for this time of the year (Strawberry Lemonade) and three other shades that I would hold off until the fall to wear.

"Our fun, new side-by-side formula gives you the perfect combination of flavor and shimmery shine!  What's better than your 2 favorite flavors - combined?"

Strawberry Lemonade is the first of the four flavors, the only one that I find appropriate for use at the moment.  These glosses are rather strongly scented and this is the best one for the wamr weather months.  This one is a perfect mix of the tart lemonade and a bit of sweet strawberry, the Bath and Body Works website stated that this is made to be a "sweet" lip gloss but I found it more on the tart side.  I must note all of the glosses are very sweet and this one seemed very tart next to them but my perception could have been off.  This gloss may just be less sweet than the others, which are very sweet.  "A pink and gold side-by-side shimmer", this one applies a warm sheer pink with a bit of gold sparkle.  This one is best worn with a tan or by someone who has more of a warmer skintone.  I could only pull this shade off with a tan and therefore I do wish that this shade had come out earlier in the summer.  For that reason, I skipped this shade but I would consider purchasing it next summer when I have a full season of wear to get from it. 

Salted Caramel is the second of the new lip glosses, this one was inspired by their very yummy Salty Caramel candle (a favorite of mine since I first smelled it in the end of March).  This one smells exactly like caramel ice cream when it is first smelled but turns more into a sweet butter scent when applied to the lips.  This is the sweetest one of the bunch, "a tantalizing twist of sweet and creamy caramel with a touch of salt".  This one is so sweet that I almost found it sickening after a hour or two of wear.  The scent alone made me want to skip out on it which isn't a bad thing since I dislike the color of the gloss too.  "A bronze and white side-by-side shimmer", this one is best for warm and tan complexions, neither of which I am very much.  This shade really washed me out and therefore I would skip on this one anyway, even if I did like the fragrance.

The third shade is the only one that I ended up really liking from these selections.  Apple Cinnamon is the most pigmented of the shades and is also the yummiest of the scents.  This one is a very strong scent so it is best left for fall, I wore it for a bit yesterday after purchasing it but I will save the tube for October after this.  This scent is a very sweet blend of apples and cinnamon, it reminds me of apple cider but with lots of added sugar.  It is a bit too sweet for me to wear everyday since the scent is very strong but I still am quite fond of it.  This is going to be one of those glosses that I can wear about two or three days in a row and then I will not be able to stand it for about a whole week.  This shade is a "delicious blend of crisp apple and sweet cinnamon".  This scent is not crisp, the apple note is more sweet than anything else.  This one is described as a "pink and neutral side-by-side shimmer".  This one applies as more of a sheer red pink and appears on the lips with only one application.  This is my favorite of the four, I love both the scent and the shade.  I can't wait for the fall so that I can wear it more.

The last shade is my least favorite of the group.  Peanut Butter and Jelly just turns my stomach and I could barely smell this one in the tube.  My brother is very allergic to peanuts so peanut butter is a forbidden substance in my life, I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but I can't handle the scent or smell of straight peanut butter.  So this one was an automatic "no" for me.  "A creamy blend of delicious peanut butter and sweet jelly", the jelly note is a grape scent.  The scent is very strong on the peanut buter and is another scent that I found too strong to wear on a dailty basis.  The shade combination is the oddest of the group, "a bronze and berryside-by-side shimmer".  The bronze is warm and the grape is cool and they just don't mix very well together.  The bronze came out more when I put it on and I failed to find this shade at all flattering, the bronze is best for warm complexions and the grape is best for cool.  This one is also going to look best on deeper complexions, even with a light tan, I couldn't pull it off.

Of the four shades, the only one that I really like is the Apple Cinnamon shade.  This one will be lovely in the fall however I do find that overall the scents are too strong and sweet to wear on a daily basis.  If this collection stays, then I hope that the shades are rotated out on a season-by-season basis.  I could see a peppermint and chocolate mix or maybe a sugar cookie and frosting mix.  A few of the shade combinations are lovely however I can't make this statement for the whole collection.

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bath and Body Works Fall Sweet Treats Candles Preview

I just saw this picture today and I am falling in love with some of the fall candles that Bath and Body Works will carry.  I have dreaming of fall ever since this heat wave started and I love all types of apple and bakery scents for candles.  Slatkin & Co will introduce several new candle scents for this fall (in addition to their traditional fall scents): Pumpkin Caramel Latte, Smores, Apple Crumble, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. 

Pumpkin Caramel Latte - A froth blend of creamy pumpkin, sweet vanilla cream, and rich pralines is topped with a spiced caramel swirl.

Smores - Layers of gooey marshmellow, melted dark chocolate, and sweet graham crackers.

Apple Crumble - Baked Granny Smith and McIntosh Apples topped with vanilla crumble, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie - Fresh baked oatmeal blended with sweet raisins, caramelized brown sugar, and vanilla extract.

Smores and Apple Crumble sound like winners to me!  I love Slatkin candles and this fall's scent will just add to my ever-growing candle collection.  I am very interested in the Pumpkin Caramel Latte since pumpkin doesn't always work with me.  If this one is heavy on the caramel and vanilla then I will love this candle and will purchase it too. 

Thinking ahead to the end of the heat wave!

photo courtesy of Bath and Body Works

NARS Bright Lights, Big City Eye Palette for Nordstrom Event 2011

After the huge letdown of the MAC products from the Nordstrom Event, I decidedly to simply focus on my favorite piece made for the event.  After all, I can only buy and use so many products, so I should at least focus on my absolute favorites.  The NARS eye palette is amazing and contains six lovely shades that I will get lots of use from, starting with using the bronze for summer nights and the blacks for a smoky eye well into the fall season.  I can never turn down a NARS palette and I think that this may be one of my favorites so far.

"Urbane.  Chic.  Sophisticated.  Take to the city with this limited-edition color collection created by NARS exclusively for Nordstrom.  Day or night, this ultra-modern collection ups the dramatic flair of any urban sophisticate."  This palette contains six shades that are already found in the NARS Eye Shadow collection but have been brought today only for this special beauty event.  In this palette, there are a combination of Matte, Shimmer, and Night Series shades so that you get the best from all the NARS shadow formulas.  I have mostly used the Shimmer and Night Series of formulas from NARS and I can say that I have have very few misses with both shade and formulation.  I would recommend these eye shadows to anyone who wants a highly pigmented, long-lasting formulation.  In order to give someone who doesn't really use these shadows a bit of background, I turned to the NARS weebsite for a description on each formulation.

Matte Eye Shadow - Highly pigmented, velvety-matte, ultra-fine powders for shading, creating depth and lining eyes.  Long-wearing, crease-resistant colors glide on smoothly and evenly and blend effortlessly.  Can be applied sheer or layered for a more dramatic effect.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for heightened intensity.  Rich, vivid shade range, from neutrals to high-fashion hues.

Shimmer Eye Shadow - Luminous, light-reflecting shades for shading, highlighting and lining eyes.  Highly pigmented, long-wearing, crease-resistant colors that can be applied sheer or layered for more dramatic effects.  Color glides on smoothly, evenly, and blends effortlessly.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for stronger intensity.  Sophisticated, luminous shades.

Night Series Eye Shadow - High-pay off signature shades with tone on tone sparkling pearl that creates beautiful dimension for the eye.  Ultra pigmented, long-wearing, crease-resistant colors that can be worn for subtly shimmering or seriously smoky effects.  Color glides on smoothly, evenly, and blends effortlessly.  True color application.  Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for stronger intensity.  Iconic shades.

The shades are...

- Cyprus - bronze with shimmer (Shimmer)
- Biarritz - perfect neutral cream-colored beige (Matte)
- Fathom - pink tulle with silver shimmer (Shimmer)
- Night Clubbing - black with gold pearls (Night Series)
- Coconut Grove - deep taupe brown infused with gold reflections (Matte)
- Night Breed - black with silver glitter (Night Series)

I love these shades, they are all lovely and will work so well together.  This is one of the best eye palettes that I have ever seen from NARS, it both a great introduction to the brand and an essential palette to own if you are already a huge fan.  This is my number one pick from everything that came out for their whole event!

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

MAC Cine-Matics Collection for Nordstrom Event 2011

The exclusive MAC collection that was released for the Nordstrom Event was the one area that I was most interested in when the event was fast approaching.  MAC hasn't been wowing me all that much lately though i still look forward to their new collections as a young child looks forward to Christmas morning.  Semi Precious contained two pieces that I really liked, which is a rare event for a huge MAC collection.  Cine-Matics is the latest collection from MAC; it releases this month just for the Nordstrom Event and will be released to the other counters next month (under the name Colourizations).  Today, we will look at the items that were made just for Nordstrom and next month, I will look at the Colourizations collection and see what the differences are in between the collections.

This collection contains the following product groups; two eye palettes that create smoky eyes, eye duos in contrasting shades, little cosmetics bag that contain lip products, and little cosmetic bags that contain special sizes of famed MAC brushes.  I can't say that I am seriously in love with any of the pieces of this collection...

The Nordstrom Exclusive MAC line...

Cine-Matics Smoky Black Makeup Lesson - Learn how to smolder!  Define the ultimate smoky eye with three sensational shadows - Carbon (M), Ambience (VP), and Bisque (M) - Zoom Lash Mascara in Zoomblack and Technakohl Liner in Graphblack, plus a 275 SE Brush to smudge, and a 212 SE to blend and step-by-step instructions.  Set the screen on fire!
- Carbon - intense black (Matte)
- Ambience - medium gray (Veluxe Pearl)
- Bisque - soft muted pinky-beige (Matte)

Cine-Matics Smoky Brown Makeup Lesson - Be a goddess of the cinema!  Tempt with three sizzling shadow shades - Showstopper (M), Sable (F), and Retrospeck (L) - Zoom Lash Mascara in Zoom Black, and Technakohl Liner in Photogravure, plus a 212 SE Brush to blend, and a 275 SE to smudge and step-by-step instructions.  Discover true drama!
- Showstopper - tawny (Matte)
- Sable - gold plum with bronze pearl (Frost)
- Retrospeck - beached blonde (Lustre)

Cine-Matics  On-Screen Pro Palette Eye Shadow Duo - Eyes are twice as tempting with on-screen duos - eight daring pairings that are doubly dramatic in an ultra-slim, stackable, easy-to-use palette.  Great for your makeup kit.
- Double Feature 1 - bright yellow gold (VP)/pink-up chrome purple (F)
- Double Feature 2 - bright lime (VP)/frosty deep gray (VP)
- Double Feature 3 - midtone teal (M)/deep chocolate (S)
- Double Feature 4 - deep forest green (VP)/midtone ochre brown (M)
- Double Feature 5 - pale frosty peach (F)/dark brown with green pearl (F)
- Double Feature 6 - light gray taupe (M)/midtone bronze (VP)
- Double Feature 7 - bright fuchsia (F)/cool black (S)
- Double Feature 8 - midtone orange (F)/deep navy (S)

Cine-Matics 'Overnight Sensation' Lip Bag - It's the classic Hollywood story - unknown one day, superstar the next.  The Overnight Sensation Lip Bag has three superstar shades for lips, including Pillow Talk Lipstick, Overnight Sensation Dazzleglass Creme Lipglass, and Creamola Cremestick Liner.
- Pillow Talk - deep spice cream
- Overnight Sensation - shimmering medium neutral tan
- Creamola - neutral tan

Cine-Matics 'Nude Scene' Lip Bag - Pucker up provocatively with three hedonistic hues.  Amp up your au naturel allure with Nude Scene Lipstick, Lightly Prancing Dazzleglass Creme Lipglass, and Sublime Culture Cremestick Liner.
- Nude Scene - creamy pale nude
- Lightly Prancing - shimmering nude with neutral undertones
- Sublime Culture - pale nude

Cine-Matics 'It's a Girl' Lip Bag - Ingenues of all ages have everything necessary for big-screen kisses with a tantalizing trio of pinks including Innocence Beware Lipstick, It's a Girl Dazzleglass Creme Lipglass, and a Creme o' Spice Cremestick Liner.
- Innocence Beware - medium cool pink cream
- It's a Girl - shimmering cool pale pink
- Creme o' Spice - pale pink

Cine-Matics All Over Brushes - Go from nominee to winner with a star-quality set of short-handled brushes for eyes and face.  Packed in a chic zip bag, these five Technicolor talents are musts on red carpets and runways everywhere.  Contains the following brushes:
- 129 SE - Powder/Blush Brush
- 227 SE - Large Fluff Brush
- 224 SE - Tapered Blending Brush
- 219 SE - Pencil Brush
- 266 SE - Small Angle Brush

Cine-Matics Face Brushes - Touch up your look with a fabulous foursome of short-handled face brushes packed in a stylish gray MAC bag with red trim.  With Technicolor bristles, these are sure to take your close-ups to the next level.
- 187 SE - Duo Fiber Face Brush
- 190 SE - Foundation Brush
- 168 SE - Large Angled Contour Brush
- 194 SE - Concealer Brush

What a let down!  I have no interest in this collection at all!  What is happening with MAC, none of the recent collections have grabbed me recently.  Looks like I will still be waiting for that next collection that I will purchase half of.  The only item that I like in this exclusive collection is the It's a Girl bag that is full of pink lip shades.  Otherwise, nothing else is all that unique and I either own shades like it or can find shades just like it in any color collection.

I will be fair to MAC and will relook at their website when they officially release Colourizations.  I am hoping that somehow their release will contain an element that is missing from the Nordstrom release.

photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Most Wanted Nordstrom Event 2011

Nordstrom's big beauty event just began at the end of last week.  I rarely get down to my Nordstrom (I have to drive over an hour and a half to get there so I have to plan an entire day around it) but this type of event is worth spending a day at the store.  I have made a Most Wanted list to direct my shopping.  MAC has created a new collection for this event and many other companies have created special products just for the event.  The MAC collection is the first area of interest for me so I will look at it in much more detail in the post following this one.

My Nordstrom Event shopping list...

- MAC Cine-Matics 'It's a Girl' Lip Bag
- Bobbi Brown 'Tortoise Shell" Beauty Kit
- Viktor & Rolf 'Flowerbomb' Anniversary Set
- Philosophy 'Amazing Grace' 3-Piece Super Set
- Trish McEvoy 'Sexy 9' Blackberry & Vanilla Musk EDP Rollerball
- NARS 'Bright Lights, Big City' Eye Shadow Palette
- NARS Nail Polish in Koh Lanta
- Butter London 3-Free Nail Lacquer in Wallis
- MOR Sugar Rose Tiger Lily Hand & Body Lotion
- Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Face Lotion (Large Size)

I am most excited about three things in the event collection; two fun items and one more practical item.  I have just tried a sample of Flowerbomb for the first time and I fell in love with it, so I must have the Anniversary Set in this fragrance.  I also love the NARS eye palette.  The practical item that I want from this collection is the very large bottle of the Clinique Face Lotion since that has been serving me very well this summer.

Time to find a day to devote to the Nordstrom counters!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lippmann Collection Fall 2011 Collection

Within days, the one of the first of the new nail polish collections for fall will be hitting the stores.  For the past few weeks, I have been cleaning out my old nail polishes in my collection so I am ready to buy some new ones to replace the bottles that I threw away.  I have never really been one for summer nail polish shades so I didn't buy anything new for the past few months (brights aren't my thing and owning less than five of them is enough to satisfy my urge for a few bright beach pedicures), so I am ready to find some new shades.  Lippmann Collection has released four new shades for the upcoming season, one of which is a collaboration with fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez.  I remember their collaboration with Zac Posen from Spring 2009, the lovely lilac shade that is on may nails as I type this.  I have high hopes for this collaboration!

Billionaire is the first of the new shades for fall.  It is described by Lippmann Collection as a "moody hunter green" with a cream finish.  This one will be great for a manicure against some of warmer toned clothing that I saw in last month's Vogue.  The cream finish on this shade makes it a bit more subtle than if it was a shimmer finish and this just might make it work-acceptable.  This shade will be a good addition to my collection sincer the only greens that I have left in my collection are a light mint and a very deep forest green.  I will be looking forward to buying this shade and adding to my polish shades that are more neutral and can be used in many scenerios.

The second new shade of the collection is the only one with a shimmer finish.  It is named Brick House and the name alone made my laugh and turned this into a must-own for me.  It is a "shimmering rust" and reminds me of a lighter and warmer version of Since I Fell For You (a longtime favorite of my from Lippmann).  This shade reminds me of the shade that the leaves turn during the fall, it is very pretty.  This shade is not very unique and I know that I could find dupes to it from either O.P.I. or China Glaze, I can't state that this shade is a must-buy for me though I would very much like to own it.  I am also afraid that this shade might be too warm for my skintone.

The third of the four new shades is Single Ladies, named after the hit Beyonce song and the dance craze that it inspired.  This one is a "flirtatious red" and is another cream finish.  Based on the image provided to me, this one looks like a traditional deep red cream and I wonder how much lighter it is from Just Walk Away Renee (one of my top five favorites from this company).  This is another one that is very pretty but is another one that I could easily find a dupe for. 

The shade that was made with Narciso Rodriguez is named Stormy Weather and is the shade that I have pictured with this post.  An "edgy granite" describes this shade and it is another one in this collection with a cream finish.  This is the one shade that I consider from this company to be really unique and therefore this is the shade that I want the most from this season's polishes.  This shade is another one that can be worn day or night, for work or play. 

My favorite of the shades is this season's collaboration with Narciso Rodriguez, just as I thought that it would be.  The designer collaborations are usually the best shades in the collection and this one doesn't disapppoint.  This will be my fall/winter designer collaboration shade with Purple Rain being my summer one.  This is strong collection from Lippmann though I can't say that it is a super stand-out, the shades are very nice but there is nothing surprising or unique about many of them.

photo courtesy of Lippmann Collection

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tarte for True Blood Collection

The newest season of True Blood just started up several weeks ago and was long awaited by all of its fans.  I was a late comer to the phenomenon that is True Blood, I don't have HBO in my home (I know, I know) and I have to catch the episodes online in my spare time.  I have read and love all the books in the series and I must admit that I prefer the books to the TV series (as I often do in cases of books made into movies or TV series).  As the new season was starting up, Tarte released a small makeup collection that is based on the TV series and was created in tandem with the makeup artists for the show.  This collection was first available on the Sephora website (to Beauty Insiders only) and now has been released officially on the Tarte website.  I was able to buy the eye shadow palette right from the Sephora website right as it was being released, from what I am hearing this palette is beginning to get hard to find with limited quantities available.

This collection consists of three major products: an eye shadow palette, a lip stain, and a cheek stain.  All of the formulas in this collection are their best-selling and top-rated products so there will be no misses in this collection.  This collection is actually a great way for Tarte to reach a whole new audience, I was first attracted to this line because of the tie-in with True Blood.  I don't own many products from Tarte so without the True Blood tie-in, I might have gone right by this on Sephora. 

"Get glamoured by Tarte for True Blood, a limited edition cosmetics collection, inspired by the hit HBO series True Blood.  Whether you're a supernatural beauty or a vampy vixen, this collection contains versatile shades to take you from dawn to dusk, and well into the night."

Here is the Tarte collaboration with True Blood...

Tarte for True Blood Limited Edition Lipsurgence Lip Tint - Experience love at first taste with Tarte's Lipsurgence natural Lip Tint, inspired by the hit HBO series True Blood.  It's all flavor and no bite with this mint-infused, iridescent red shade that drenches lips in luminous, long-lasting tint while Tarte's Lipsurgence technology rehydrates lips by delivering a surge of moisture for a deliciously plumped up appearance.

Tarte for True Blood Limited Edition Natural Cheek Stain - Have you spent an eternity in search of an everlasting glow?  Meet your Maker.  Inspired by the hit HBO series True Blood, this sparkling red cheek stain blends on smooth and lasts from dawn to dusk, and well into the night.  A drop is all you need to create a crave-worthy natural luminescence for all skin tones and types.  Like all Tarte products, this lusty natural stain will do good things to you thanks to natural mineral pigments and fruit extracts.

Tarte for True Blood Limited Edition Palette - Get glamoured with this limited edition palette packed with 17 killer new eye shadows and more.  Each richly pigmented shadow is softly milled and infused with Amazonian clay for pure color payoff, silky application, and long wear.  From ethereal goddess to vampy vixen, you can create countless looks using these shimmering, matte, and smoky shades.  Open after dark: buried in a pullout drawer is a full-size EmphasEyes Aqua-Gel Eye Liner in a Black, a deluxe Lights, Camera, Lashes! clinically proven natural mascara and a deluxe Lifted Natural Eye Primer with Firmitol to help you complete your look.  Turn into a real Tarte trubie using the four 'get the looks' included with each palette, exclusively created by True Blood's award-winning lead makeup artist Bridgette Ellis.
- The Light - shimmering warm ivory
- Fairy - shimmering pink
- Dusk - wamr matte taupe
- Dawn - shimmering gold dust
- Werewolf - matte chocolate
- Waitress - sparkling pink champagne
- Nocturnal - sparkling deep indigo
- Charmer - sparkling burnt copper
- Glamour Me - sparkling deep plum
- Stake - matte steel
- Bayou - shimmering golden tan
- Telepath - sparkling warm rose
- The True Death - sparkling silver
- Immortal - sparkling midnight black
- Moss - shimmering forest green
- Legend - deep matte black
- "V" - sparkling crimson

This palette provides a great range of shades and I am very impressed with the texture and pigmentation of the shades that I have really worked with.  I have been using the shades in this palette in two ways; to create a few lighter looks for the summer months and following the looks that were provided in the booklet.  Right now, I am in my summer bronzed look so I have mostly been using the looks that seem to have been created for Sookie (bronzed and blond beauty).  The shadow shades that I have worked with so far are The Light, Fairy, Dawn, and Bayou.  Bayou is a my favorite so far, it is lovely shimmering gold and has a great buttery texture. 

So far, I have only followed the directions on one look in this palette, the Luminous Fairy look.  This one is created with ivory, champage, and gold shades; along with the black eye liner included in this palette.  So far, I also really like this formula of liner so I must check this product out on the Sephora website in the near future.  Within the next week, I will have separate posts up with the details of each of the four looks inthe booklet. 

I love this palette so far and it was a great purchase.  I recommend that you all check this out since you will love the colors in it, whether or not you have any interest in the True Blood series.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Butter London All Hail The Queen Nail Polish - Must Have!

Butter London has a nail polish that is named All Hail The Queen!  This polish is just perfect for me and I must have it because of the name however it also helps that I actually like the shade.  "Rock it like royalty in this opaque, holographic beige.  If you love our best selling lacquer Yummy Mummy, this winter version will delight!"  This polish is currently sold out so I will updating everyone once the company gets it back in stock or I can find it from another source.

photo courtesy of Butter London

Saturday, July 16, 2011

French Week 2011 Day 7 - YSL Paris

It is now the last day of our French Week for this year, hopefully you have found a new reason or two to love the French beauty industry.  Personally, the biggest eye opener that I had this year was the information about Guerlain's history in the beauty industry, I always knew that the company created wonderful products but I had no idea that they were pioneers of the lipstick and bronzer industry at the same time.  For the last day of the theme week, we are going to end it on a very high note.  YSL's iconic scent Paris embodies both the spirit of the city and the image that the brand has built up for themselves over the years. 

Yves Saint Laurent became Christian Dior's assistant in the late 1950s and the influence of Mr. Dior can often be seen in the clothing and beauty lines coming from this brand.  Within four year, Laurent took the Dior empire over and became the head designer for the next few years.  In the year 1961, Laurent moved on from the House of Dior and started his own fashion house.  He then quickly emerged as one fo the top designers in the France and within years, gained that same status all over the world.  In the springtime, little rose gardens pop up all over the city.  The streets and gardens take on a lovely smell of roses and the color pink becomes a dominant shade throughout the city.  And since I love both Paris and roses...  I am seeing a trip in my very near future...

This fragrance is getting harder and harder to find even though it is considered to be an iconic fragrance.  It wasn't on the Sephora website or at Macy*s so I had to turn to the YSL website itself to find the needed information.  "Romantic, ultra-feminine, exquisitely refined, the scent of a rose in full bloom: YSL Paris, the perfume Yves Saint Laurent designed to give to the world the glamour and allure of the city he loved above all.  A rose opening at dawn to reveal its secrets...the first notes flower in solitude, then are joined by hints of violet with hints of bergamot.  The middle breathes with light powdery accents of may rose and iris.  Completing the rose accord: the awakening of sandalwood, vetiver, and vanilla.  In a tempered glass flacon."

This fragrance is one the top rated ones in "Perfumes.  The Guide" from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, a book that is quickly becoming my personal guide to choosing fragrance and learning about all the notes that are involved in making them. 

"Fragrance, along with fashion and music, reached an unprecedented level of bombast in the eighties: the shoulder pads were wide, the hair was big, the music was mindless, and the perfume was far, far too strong - which was why everyone in the nineties took to wearing CK one and L'Eau D'Issey, as sort of an olfactory fast to atone for years of overdoing it.  To this day many people believe they hate perfume because they only remember the Poisons, the Opiums, the Giorgios, and Paris, the zenith (or nadir, depending on how you look at it) of the perfumer's rose.  The word on this fragrance is that it is rose composed of ionones, those wonderful materials that smell fruity, powdery, and woody all at once.  Spray Paris on paper and it exhales an intense, rich, wine-like breath.  It comes off as more of a vast bouquet than a soliflore, and reminds me of those bridal bunches some florists construct by reassembling the petals of a dozen blooms around a single center, creating a Frankenstein rose the size of a cabbage.  An hour in, you have room to breathe at last, and find, in the cloud of sweet and woody notes, long streaming sections running through it like alternating pink and green silk ribbons: a tender, powdery mimosa and a piercing fruit green.  The great Sophia Grojsman (Yvresse, Tresor, Eternity, Calyx) put this one together, and it marks the absolute end of the particular road, the point beyond which it is not possible to make a louder, bigger, more complicated rose.  From here on, it is only possible to innovate by taking away, not adding.  A brilliant, beautiful monstar.  I sprayed it on thoughtlessly the first time that I saw it in a department store and knew I had made a social misstep when I saw people cringing away from me in the street and on the company elevator.  Buy it, but put in on at your own peril."

I love strong florals and this seems to be the strongest floral that is on the beauty market.  The description from the "Perfumes" book might be off-putting to some but it just draws me in.  It reminds me what some people in the United States think of the French citizens though I do not agree (as a generalization).  This fragrance is strong and reminds me of being surrounded by roses just as I would be in the streets of Paris.  This fragrance is an icon of the French ladies and provides the type of sophistication that I aim for when selecting a nighttime fragrance to use in the fall and winter.

So this is the end of our French Week for this year and I must say that this one has been my favorite so far!  I have learned so much about the history of the French beauty industry and my skin has never looked better after working with all the Caudalie body products.  I have found two new fragrances that I can look forward to buying this fall and hopefully will continue to refine my personal style in order to become more French...

photo courtesy of YSL

Friday, July 15, 2011

French Week 2011 Day 6 - Caudalie Body Product Line

I have often raved about the facial skincare products from the French beauty product line Caudalie.  They began as a facial skincar eline but over the years began to release matching body care products that also have the patented Vinotherapie ingredient blend that makes the facial products so effective.  Caudalie has fantastic spas in major cities all over the world that provide both an amazing pampering experience and major skincare benefits.  A visit to a Caudalie spa would be one of my dreams come true, especially if it the one in Bordeaux...

Bordeaux is a region that it located in the south west of France, a region that has another climate that is suited for farming and agriculture.  The research and theories behind this company actually began back in 1993, when Mathilde and Bertrande Thomas met a scientist who introduced them to his theories around grape seed polyphenols and his predictions on how they would change the face of anti-aging is harnessed and used correctly.  "Over the past decade, Caudalie has continued to wow us with their amazing scientific breakthroughs, revolutionizing the world of natural skincare in the process.  From the groundbreaking discovery of grape seed polyphenols as exceptional anti-oxidants, which was patented in 1994, to the identification of Resveratrol, a polyphenol that activates cell renewal (patented in 1999), to their most recent innovation, Viniferine, a polyphenol isolated from the vine stalk that inhibits melanin synthesis (patented in 2004), each new Caudalie innovation proves to be even more impressive than the last.", states the Sephora website in their Behind the Brand area for Caudalie.

The stabilized Grape Seed Polyphenols help to fight the signs of aging.  "Grape Seed Polyphenols are the most powerful anti-oxidants in the vegetable world.  Extracted from grape seeds, they protect against free radicals that age the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles."  Resveratrol maintains the firmness and youthfulness of the skin.  "In 1999, Caudalie patented Resveratrol,  a remarkable molecule found in grapevine stalks responsible for its life span and longevity (Some vines live for a hundred years.).  Caudalie researchers discovered this unique polyphenol also aids in cell renewal and restores skin firmness."

Mathilde herself actually lists the body lotion as one of her top picks from the entire product line.  "For the body, Caudalie Nourishing Body Lotion is not only a great moisturizer, it also contains powerful anti-oxidants that protects your skin from free radicals, which slow down the aging process.  It is also an iconic Caudalie product that can be used daily."  The body product line contains two moisturizers for the body and one for the hand and nails.  It also contains two body washes, one of which has the fragrance of my favorite Fleur de Vigne scent from this company.

The Nourishing Body Lotion is a favorite product of mine, I first bought it several years ago and have been continuning to use it ever since.  "A rich, hydrating body treatment.  Add and retain essential moisture as it promotes microcirculation and helps prevent premature skin aging.  It leaves skin soft and firm."  The Vine Body Butter is a new product that contains the same anti-oxidant treatment but is better for very dry skin.  "A rich, deeply hydrating body moisturizer.  Rich in moisturizing Vinolevure ultra-nourishing body butters, grape-seeds, and shea butter, this balm repairs dry skin with a protective hydrolipic film.  It smoothes rough spots and soothes tightness.  With the delicious scent of sweet orange zest, peach pulp, carrot, and iris, this cream wraps skin in a veil of satiny softness.  In a four-week trial with volunteers, subjects had 65% hydration after 6 hours and a + 95% softer, more comfortable and intensely nourished skin."

The Hand and Nail Cream is one of the best products in the line.  Hands show age faster than the face and therefore a strong anti-oxidant is needed to protect this area.  "A cream for those who want a nourishing anti-aging treatment for hands and nails.  Protects the skin against aging as it hydrates, soothes, and nourishes.  Nails are strengthened and invigorated without a greasy film.  Infused with a sweet orange fragrance, this cream is highly concentrated in patented anti-oxidant grapevine polyphenols and Vinolevure."

I bought both of the shower gels that come from the company, my favorite is the Fleur de Vigne but both scents are lovely.  The Vine Peach shower gel is the one that I match with the body lotion, both have a light fruity scent to them.  "A skin-softening, intoxicatingly-scented body cleanser.  Gently cleanses, leaving the skin soft and subtly perfumed, while transforming your shower experience into a moment of total relaxation.  Vine Peach fragrance: the sweetness of vine peach nectar and almond milk joined with the invigorating freshness of mint leaves.  The "peche de vigne" (vine peach) has grown amidst the grapevines in the vineyards of France for generations.  Because of its delicate fruit and irresistable aroma, the vine peach is used to lure insects away from the precious vines, protecting the vinter's crops.  Paraben-, phenoxyethanol-, and soap-free.  Not tested on animals."

I love the Caudalie body products just as much I love the face care line.  The Caudalie products bring a bit of the French Vinotherapie experience to my bathroom.  I really love the Nourishing Body Lotion in this line  and am looking forward to buying the Body Butter for this fall and winter.  If you use nothing else from this collection, I recommend the Hand and Nail Cream as you will reap the anti-oxidant benefits for your hands.

photo courtesy of Sephora

Thursday, July 14, 2011

French Week 2011 Day 5 - Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick

It was recently pointed out in an issue of In Style magazine that French women are known for wearing very little makeup but always having perfect skin and a great lipstick.  We already covered the Clarins primer that I believe is part of this equation and now we are going to look at the lipstick part of the look.  In Style also pointed out that most French women tend to prefer red lipstick so we will on the look-out for a great red shade in this post.  For the lipstick part of this theme week, I pondered several different companies but decided that Guerlain has always been considered a consistent winner in the lip product category with the additional bonus of a very strong French heritage. 

The Sephora website provided the needed information on the company history and impact on the beauty industry.  "In the world of fragrance and beauty, The House of Guerlain has one great reputation - one of unparalleled devotion to luxury, sophistication, and elegance complemented by unprecedented excellence that has been handed down from generation to generation."

"Guerlain was founded in 1828, when Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain opened his first boutique in Paris.  Trained as a doctor and chemist, he enjoyed immediate success thanks to his revolutionary work, which led to many innovative 'firsts'.  Guerlain was the first to create scientifically based skincare and to sell kohl eyeliner and mascara.  Then in 1840, he introduced the very first lipsticks.  Even years later, The House of Guerlain continued this tradition of 'firsts' by introducing Terracotta, the benchmark for all bronzers, and Meteorites, the first product to incorporate colored pearl to create luminosity and even out skin tone.  Add to its oeuvre more than 700 fragrances (several of which are considered to be among the masterpieces of perfumery), and the Guerlain name has become internationally recognized as a symbol of artistry, superlative quality, impeccable style, and ultimate grace."

The description from Sephora convinces me that this is the perfect brand when looking at French women and their love of lipstick.  I had no idea that Guerlain was so revolutionary in the beauty industry, especially around the inventions in the color products.  This is the first company that introduced lipsticks and now creates many of the most famous lipsticks in the world. 

Guerlain has several lipstick formulas available right now.  Today, we will look at the KissKiss formula, one of their traditional best-sellers.  "Lipstick is like a girl's best friend, her accomplice in seduction.  Both luxurious and beautifying, it's also an essential everyday accessory.  An ultra modern, jewel-like talisman that provides radiant color for lips.  With a name so evocative of all that is fun-loving, sexy, and provactive, KissKiss Lipstick is the perfect choice for every look imaginable.  Housed in a polished gold lightweight metal case, it's the ultimate in modern luxury."

This lipstick is available in six beautiful shades, from the most daring red to a muted neutral beige.  I would go right for the famous reds in this collection but all of the shades look amazing.

- Exces de Rouge 523 - intense berry red
- Cuivre Fusion 529 - golden berry red
- Forever Beige 558 - dark warm beige
- Rose Strass 567 - rose pearl
- Rose Malicieux 568 - shimmering plum
- Rose Miami 579 - vibrant pink rose

Exces de Rouge would be my first choice from this lipstick line and since it is vibrant red, I am betting it is the best-selling shade in the product line.  I find it fitting that the most beautiful lipsticks come from the company that first created the concept of lipsticks.  And how chic are the containers that house this jewel of a lipstick?!  I would love to pull this one out for touch-ups!

Perhaps my look this fall can be learned from the French; red lipstick and little to no face makeup piled on to cover a few flaws...

photo courtesy of Sephora