Friday, February 28, 2014

Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Sakura from the Jardin de Camélias Collection

I had to have this blush. Chanel's Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Sakura from the Jardin de Camélias Collection (#87, $43) looked like a must-have, and Chanel's online ordering system was broken. One could order everything except Sakura. The system would appear to put it in my cart, but when I tried to check out, it disappeared.

I tried online every way I knew. I called. I begged. I finally found one knowledgeable guy who fessed up: The system was broken, and IT would have to fix it. Even he couldn't get it into a cart. He estimated it would be fixed by the next morning. Early the next morning, it was not fixed. However, by the time I got to work around 7:30 am, it worked properly. I placed my order and felt relieved.

Now, on the Friday Forum, I am hearing that others experienced the same problem, but missed the window of availability. Sakura is now listed as sold out. It is very pretty, and I hope that Chanel restocks so that everyone who was inconvenienced by their system problems will be able to purchase Sakura. Because it is a limited edition, there are no guarantees.

My box arrived yesterday. When I got home from work, I rushed outside and took photos in late-afternoon sun. It was while taking my swatch photos that I decided I love Sakura. The warm pink color is magnificent.

I swatched with a sponge-tipped applicator at the top of my arm, applying the color heavily. Then I applied a larger swatch below using a brush. I'm sorry about my bruised arm. I think it was a result of my fall in the shower earlier this week. I'm trying to forget, so let's not talk about it.

The late-day sunshine may have added a bit of warmth to the blush swatches. I can tell because it added warmth to my arm's skin tone as well. I have tested the color since, and found that it is a warm pink. It is not as cool as it looks in the compact - at least on me.

The powder blush is extremely flattering on my cheeks. I am thrilled with Sakura. It's quite pigmented, so I apply it carefully, using a fluffy blush brush. What else can I say? It's a Chanel blush, one of the best. I'm so pleased to have it.

Right now, I don't know how you can find it. I'd recommend you call and beg them to restock. It is an online exclusive. I'm sure it will eventually make its way to a counter somehow somewhere, but who likes to wait? Good luck! I want everyone to have a chance to enjoy it.

Photo at top courtesy of Chanel; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

The Friday Forum - February 28

Yesterday, I received my purchases from's exclusive JARDIN DE CAMÉLIAS Collection. I had been so annoyed early last week when broke and wouldn't allow anyone to order Sakura, a beautiful blush - not even Chanel's own reps. I was unable to place an online order, and I couldn't place a phone order. I was a seriously frustrated Chanel fan.

Finally, a little more than 24 hours after they discovered the problem, their IT guys fixed it, and I was able to order. I had been checking every six hours or so. My box was waiting for me when I got home yesterday. I quickly swatched Sakura in late-afternoon sun, and I'll show it to you as soon as I get home from work today. It is extremely pretty.

That, plus receiving other boxes, was my excitement for the week. Unfortunately, the weather forecast does not show me having sunshine to take pictures this weekend. What's a blogger to do? Pray for spring. God is the only one who can change this Arctic weather pattern.

This week, there was a terrible tragedy near my house. It left me in tears. Jennifer Lawson, one of the many mothers who picks up and drops off her children at Nottingham Elementary School, has just put her child into the back seat when a dump truck drove by, sideswiped her mini-van (with sliding doors), and killed her - in sight of her child, which haunts me.

There is no room on that street for dump trucks. It is narrow, and when school is active, it's really tight. Those trucks belong on the main roads, but are using neighborhood streets to save a few traffic lights on the main roads. One dump truck, trying to save five minutes, killed a mother of three and left a whole community in mourning. I left flowers at the site and tried to donate to a memorial fund that a friend of the Lawsons had set up. The fund goal was $5,000, but had amassed $17,000 less than 24 hours later when the Lawsons asked that it be closed.

What can I do? I'm putting my citizen activist hat back on after a long pause. My new cause is to get dump trucks, tractor trailors, car haulers, you name it, off our neighborhood streets and back on the main roads. Yes, DC area traffic is terrible, and everyone looks to save a few minutes by cutting through neighborhoods. Few people die as a result. When the cut-through traffic changes in character and includes large trucks, more tragedies will result. I had already asked my county supervisor to ask VDOT to get tractor trailers off Great Falls Street. Now I have asked the Arlington County Board to ban through trucks on their neighborhood streets. The City of Falls Church did it over 30 years ago, and it stops most of the truck traffic. Something must be done to ensure that children will grow up having mothers - or that mothers will not lose their children to reckless truck drivers. I'm upset. Just like I was upset yesterday when a school bus hit a 90-year-old man crossing the street with his walker. Are people paying any attention when they drive?

I have so many new things in show you, in addition to Chanel. There is more Armani, Shiseido - pretty things. I have some new fragrances too, and they are really nice. I want you to know about them.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Photo courtesy of Chanel

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty New Cheek Fabric Sheer Blush Collection

At Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which seems to be the only source in my area right now, I found Giorgio Armani Beauty's new Cheek Fabric Sheer Blush ($46) Collection - seven new blush shades that are intended to replace the iconic Sheer Blush that drew many to Armani's color when it was new to the makeup scene. The shades offer something for everyone - or in my case, three initial must haves. I've got my eyes on a a fourth, one of the peach shades.

Cheek Fabric introduces a renovation of powder blush. Vibrant, tactile colors in the thinnest, softest textures to brighten the face and highlight cheekbones for the ultimate glow.

Going for the lighter shades, I selected #306, Attitude; #503, Daybreak, and #502, Skin. While they look similar in my photo above, taken in very bright, full sun, they do have significant differences on the skin. I hope you can see that #306 is noticeably darker than the other two. I stood at the counter trying to decide if it was too dark for my skin. As you can see, my decision was that it works.

I took swatch photos in full sun, surrounded by snow, as has been the case lately. Snow reflects light in ways that challenge makeup photographers. However, nothing could stop me from showing you my new treasures.

I applied all three with a sponge-tipped applicator at the top of my arm, starting numerically with #306 at the top, moving on to #503, and ending with #502. Then I took a kabuki brush and applied #502 very heavily in a large swatch below. I did that to show you how the blushes might look in real life instead of little stripes. If you look closely, you may see a few micro-flecks in my large swatch.

I think the three shades are very different on my skin. #306, Daybreak, is a pigmented warm pink. I suspect it will be very popular. The gorgeous #503 is surprisingly brown-mauve on my skin. I'm delighted with it. It's much like the color of Hourglass's Mood Exposure, one of my new favorites. It is also the one some are comparing to the original Sheer Blush #10. #502 is a pure pink that straddles the line between cool and warm. It's as pretty as it gets for spring.

The compacts are smaller than their predecessors, the Sheer Blushes. They weigh in a 0.14 ounces. Their predecessors were 0.21 ounces and $2 less expensive. The new compacts are shiny, black, and oval and come with the Armani logo marking the spot to open them. Naturally, they offer a mirror for on-the-go application.

The Cheek Fabrics offer the renowned ultra-fine powder formula that we have come to expect from Mr. Armani. Although I can see micro-flecks in the powders in the pan, I do not see sparkle on my cheeks. I would call the finish on my skin luminous - perhaps satin. It's not matte, and it's definitely not sparkly.

The color range is a nod to the fact that women come in all colors - from porcelain to chocolate. I'm sure when you go to the counter to check out these new blushes, at least one will catch your fancy. They offer the luxury we have come to expect from Armani Beauty, along with the Armani Glow that is the stuff of legends.

I would love to be able to tell you more about them; I don't have a press release. That means you will have to go to the counter and play, deciding if one of these new blushes must go home with you. I found them online at the Saks Web site. Please let me know what you think.

I'll show you my choice from the new bronzers in my next Armani feature - soon.

Update: In my original feature, I mixed up #502 and #503. A sharp-eyed reader, Jenny, caught it and e-mailed. I checked, and she was right. I swatch either by number or alphabetically. This time, I swatched alphabetically, but assumed I had swatched by number, and that is how they came to be mixed up in my write-up. It is #502, Skin, that is very pink. At this moment, the names are correct. Many thanks to Jenny!

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eulogy for a Blush: Giorgio Armani Beauty Sheer Blush #10

No photo of Giorgio Armani's Sheer Blush does it justice. My photo above was taken years ago. I'd go outside and take another now (with a much better camera), but it's dark outside. Called simply Beige by Armani, Sheer Blush #10 is the blush that does it all.
  • Despite how it looks in the compact, it works on everyone's skin - from ivory to chocolate.
  • It adds color with a radiance that is undeniable.
  • It offers a one-size-fits-all blend of pink, gold, and beige with a microshimmer that will never make you look glittery.
  • You can apply it softly for an everyday look or more dramatically for a look with more punch.
  • I think it's the perfect blush. So do a lot of others.
Here is a photo of my friend Lexi wearing #10 after a "makeover" by Loyd Cassler a few years ago. Does it get prettier? See that blush on Lexi's cheeks? It's perfect.

Legions of women (possibly men too) have succumbed to the lure of #10. That is why I must sorrowfully report that Giorgio Armani Beauty has discontinued it. How on earth do companies make these decisions? This decision was, in my humble opinion, just plain stupid. Along with the demise of Sheer Blush #10, Bronzer #1, another Armani icon, has been discontinued.

Tim Quinn said of #10, "I was thinking that the end of #10 is rather like a classic vintage Hollywood story - gone much too soon and at the height of its career - truly an icon now and will continue to be the inspiration for years to come. The new #10 has all the beauty, talent, and charm, with a touch more advanced formula."

The good news is that I'm telling you this today. There is a good stock of Blush #10 and Sheer Bronzer #1 - the products that converted countless women to Armani Beauty - at store counters. Let the hoarding begin! As soon as I found out about the discontinuation, I bought enough of both to take me to the grave. If you are as much of a fan as I am, place your order quickly. Call your favorite counter and secure your back-ups. Wait too long, and you'll be trolling eBay, paying twice what you might pay today. Trust me; act quickly.

There are replacement products - the new introductions - and they are beautiful. I bought "the new #10" and will show you swatch photos this week. The photo below shows the new Armani powder blushes. It was taken indoors at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase.

While in the store, I also took a photo of the four new bronzers. Ranging from #100 to #400, there is one for every skin tone. I purchased #100.

I am sure I will love the new colors, but just in case you feel like an sinking woman without a life preserver, you too can have a lifetime supply of blush and bronzer in the tried-and-true colors and formulas that I cherish. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

New YSL Gloss Volupté

Yves Saint Laurent premieres the first lightweight non-sticky lip gloss. A precious liquid, light yet intensely glossy, its ethereal texture is a celebration of pleasure that invites indulgence. “Bouche a Bouche,” the applicator, envelops the lips with this elixir of seduction. In a breath of life, lips are filled with a reflective and radiant color. Golden, Iridescent or Pure…Beautiful. To die for. Encapsulated in a divine jewel, this lip gloss attracts like an irresistible magnet.  

That's pretty high praise YSL wrote to publicize its newest lip gloss, Gloss Volupté - over the top, actually. So I set out to find this latest wonder-gloss and see if it really is the paragon of lip glosses.

The new Gloss Volupté is available in 10 sparkling golden shades, four iridescent shades, and nine "pure" crystal effect shades. Enlarge the photo above by clicking on it. All 23 of the shades are called base shades. Additionally, there are three top coats: #1 Gold (golden radiance); #201 Pure for enhanced shine; and the limited-edition #209, Smoking, for a day-to-night look.

The Light Kiss System is said to instantly transform the texture of your lips on contact (you can't make this stuff up). The gloss leaves an ultra-slim, non-sticky film on the lips (truth). Offering balm-like care, it's said to be 10 times more unctuous than a classical lip gloss.

The unique applicator has a hole in it, as you can see above. It is said to have 3D curves for an intuitive application, a fine tip for precision, and a supple and flexible core for a sensory application. The pout heart along the edge is said to allow for even distribution of the gloss along your lips. For full lips, the enveloping inside 3D curve is perfect for a full and voluptuous lip. For finer lips, the distinct outside 3D curve allows for precision. I'm having trouble typing this with a straight face.

The gloss colors are gorgeous. I purchased two at Neiman Marcus. The photo above is dark. I had to take it in bright overcast conditions. At least the sun came out later - enough for me to take swatch photos. Number 4, Fuchsia Vermeil, a golden shade, is shown above at left; #102, Rose Satine, an iridescent shade is shown on the right. I wanted one pink and one peach shade. The display was overwhelming - so many shades! As I tested the testers on my hand and arm, I was looking for pigmentation.

Many of the shades were very sheer, but I managed to find two that have nice pigmentation. I will be able to wear them without lipstick underneath.

Why are my swatches so uneven? It's that bizarre wand. Just look at my photo of the wand below. It looks like Charlie chewed on it. It has a weird, bent shape, which adds nothing to the ease of application or its precision in my opinion.

Let's look beyond the hyperbole in the marketing copy and the bizarre wand and talk about the new colors. I really love them, particularly Rose Satine - the peach one.

I think these two colors are gorgeous. They feel good on the lips. They apply just fine, but no better than other glosses with more traditional wands.  They offer average lasting power and lots of pretty shine. I could have easily selected more shades. The range is phenomenal.

Be aware that Gloss Volupté has a noticeable taste. I could do without the taste. Unfortunately, it sticks around too long.

It's time to conclude this feature. In the past, YSL's glosses have taken their place among my favorites. It remains to be seen whether the new Gloss Volupté will earn such a coveted spot. I'm reserving judgement until I have more experience with them.

Photos courtesy of YSL and by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sisley Phyto Lip Twist Tinted Balm

Sisley's new Phyto Lip Twist Tinted Balms ($50) are colored like a lipstick and shiny like a gloss. They are applied with a single "twist" (if necessary) and leave the lips supple, moisturized, visibly smoothed, and plumped thanks to their cocktail of plant-based active ingredients. I purchased two at Neiman Marcus.
  • Their ultra-sensory smooth glide-on texture reinvents lipstick (perhaps an exaggeration).
  • Their luminous, easy-to-wear shades match any occasion, offering colors from virtual nude to intense.
  • They are fun and practical - the new XXL pencil does not need a sharpener.
With Sisley's favorite new zebra print cases, these new lip colors are snazzy and modern. I was instantly drawn to them. I forced myself to select only two. They are pricey, so I figured $100 (for two) was all I could justify. I'd sure love to be on Sisley's blogger list!

The pink on the left in my photo above is shade #2, and the coral is #3. It took me all of two seconds to select them - and then hold myself back from falling in love with more shades. I was not going to do an Hourglass repeat!

Sisley says to apply them just like a lipstick, and that works nicely. The tip is the perfect size for outlining and coloring the lips in a single stroke. Apply a single coat for a sheen of glossy color, or layer for a stronger, stunning flash of color. The choice is yours. They apply like a dream and feel fabulous on the lips. Sisley always packs its color with good-for-you ingredients.

I took swatch photos in full, mid-day sun. I think you will like the colors you see. Unlike some tinted balms, they have color you can see. Number 2 is shown at the top of my arm, with #3 below. Aren't they exquisite shades? Incidentally, I don't know why my photo below shows goosebumps on my arm. It was pretty nice outside when I took these photos.

There are six colors, all of which have names on the Neiman Marcus Web site. My Phyto Lip Twists only have numbers on them. The names are Nude, Baby, Peach, Pink, Berry, and Cherry. There isn't one I wouldn't want to wear.

You can find Sisley's new lip colors at all Sisley counters and online. Need help? Call Vicki Hamilton at (202) 966-9700, extension 2258.

Despite the high-end price, I'd highly recommend you give these a look-see. I'll bet you come home with one (or more).

Photo at top courtesy of Sisley Paris; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Blush

Hourglass Cosmetics has introduced six shades of a new product: Ambient Lighting Blush ($35), which is a very clever follow-up to its uber-successful Ambient Lighting Powder. When I went to Sephora to check out the shades during the V.I.B. early access preview, they were all sold out. Apparently they went as quickly as you can count to five.

With a click of a mouse, I headed over to Hourglass's own Web site and found six lovely blush shades beckoning. What a choice! It was so difficult, I surrendered my sanity and ordered all six. I figured it was a pretty safe purchase since they looked so pretty. I love marbling in color cosmetics.

My blushes arrived early last week, and I kept my hands off them until I could get photos. Finally, the sun came out while I was at home, and I took product and swatch photos. Then, I started playing with my new colors.

The first photo at the top of this feature shows Diffused Heat, Dim Infusion, and Ethereal Glow from left to right. The second photos shows Luminous Flush, Mood Exposure, and Radiant Magenta from left to right.

Hourglass says that unlike traditional blush, which tends to be flat, Ambient Lighting Blush uses "Photoluminescent Technology" to exhibit depth and dimension. The airy, lightweight powders contain optically transparent particles that amplify the colors to a multidimensional level, effectively reinventing the way you view blush - or perhaps the way blush looks on your skin.

The hand-made powders are formulated using an advanced miscelare technique, which means “to mix” in Italian. The result is a perfect balance of pigment and powder - all unique, meaning no two look alike. The cutting-edge formula means that the blush's full potential is displayed only on application. Hint: you won't see the magic until you apply the blush.

Here are Hourglass's descriptions for each of the shades.
  • Dim Infusion: A subdued coral blush fused with Dim Light to add warmth
  • Diffused Heat: A vibrant poppy blush combined with Diffused Light for a subtle halo effect
  • Luminous Flush: A champagne rose blush fused with Luminous Light to evoke a candlelit glimmer
  • Radiant Magenta: A golden fuchsia blush combined with Radiant Light for a summer glow
  • Mood Exposure: A soft plum blush fused with Mood Light to brighten the complexion
  • Ethereal Glow: A cool pink blush fused with Ethereal Light for a moonlit luminosity
I took my swatch photos in full, morning sun in alphabetical order, starting with Diffused Heat at the top of my arm and ending with Radiant Magenta at the bottom. I swatched all shades heavily using a sponge-tipped applicator. If you don't like my photos, for one-by-one close-ups, see Temptalia.

Sorry about that little bandage. The bruise under it looks worse. These photos are fairly light for a very good reason: the blushes are fairly light. You can't go wrong with any one of them (although that's possible if you don't like nude). It's interesting that in alphabetical order, with one glaring exception, they move from light to medium in pigmentation.

Diffused Heat at the top of my arm is a glorious pink-peach hybrid. Dim Infusion is very nude/beige. It's a blush for those who aren't looking for help with color, just a little contouring, thank you. Ethereal Gloss is an icy pink - so light that it is best used to top other shades, not on its own - unless your skin is almost white in color.

The three more pigmented shades are my favorites. Luminous Flush is another pink-peach hybrid. It's a warm shade that packs a little more punch than Diffused Heat. Mood Exposure, which looks almost brown in the case, is drop-dead gorgeous. The plum-mauve-pink color lifts my skin's own undertones. Radiant Magenta, whose name makes it sound unnecessarily loud, is a stunning pink. Shown at the bottom of my arm, it is not magenta!

Every one of these shades works on my fair skin. My favorite by a hair is Mood Exposure, simply because it makes me look like I'm blushing naturally. All of them will be worn (no throwaways here), and I'm only beginning to start playing with layering them. A maestro makeup artist (unaffiliated with Hourglass) suggested to me that the lighter shades will be fabulous when layered over the darker ones - to add depth of color and different effects. I tried. Of course, he's right.

Let's talk about radiance for a minute. I can see some minimal micro-flecks in the powders, but they impart no sparklies to the face. They are lively. That's my term for blushes that make me look alive. Are they radiant? Technically, that term means they reflect light or add luminance. Maybe, but I would need scientific equipment I don't have to give you an unequivocal answer on that. See below for why I won't try.

Hourglass has offered us a fabulous, new set of bushes with Ambient Lighting Blush. Choose the right shades for you face, and I'll bet you will be delighted.  They blend with ease, and they offer all-day, beautiful wear. What more can one expect?

They keep selling out at Houglass and Sephora online, but persist. They are being restocked quickly. I think everyone should have at least one.

Model photo courtesy of Hourglass; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Beauty Event Today

Holy moly, the brands must be desperate. I thought that the economy was improving, but I was disabused of that notion by the number of brand-hired freelancers who aggressively sought to sell me perfume at Beauty Event. It was a real turn-off.

Stationed at the front door, one woman actually got in my way,  imploring me to try Brand X's new fragrance as I made a bee line to the counter I had gone to visit. She did not take my polite brush-off well. She persisted, so I had to not-so-politely ignore her and keep walking. Darn if she didn't try again as I left the store. All I could say was, "I'm outta here." Apparently she had no memory of being rejected the first time.

Before I could get to my "home counter," I was pitched by two more of them! I detected a frenzy of desperation. Is perfume not selling? I also had several offers of makeovers. At least they were nice/helpful and carried no message that I needed one.

By the way, I bought fragrance, but from my favorite Tom Ford representative who actually had to tell one of the spritzers to stay away from me because she had patchouli in her bottle.

I choose where I shop using many factors, one of which is lack of aggressiveness. A few years ago, I told the tale here of a particularly annoying trip to Nordstrom. That day, I was unable to take three steps before being assaulted by someone trying to sell something, all the while having to answer one person after another as he or she asked how I felt that day. The pleasantries nearly drove me over the edge.

Now they seem to be even more aggressive, skipping the pleasantries and going straight for the sales pitch - a pitch I already know because I do follow their industry. Today, I was approached by the same freelancers multiple times. I finally went to get a store regular to escort me, help me select what I wanted, and get out of there without interference.

I'm glad my friends and regular brand representatives were there. Otherwise, I would have left for home without experiencing the nice day I anticipated. How was your beauty event experience this week? Did you notice a hint of desperation in the air?

Photo courtesy of

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Friday Forum - February 21

After trying to convince myself that I should approach all things in moderation with respect to my cosmetics buying habits, I ordered all six shades of Hourglass's new Ambient Lighting Blush. Now, it's official: I am certifiably crazy.

I might have selected only a few if I could have seen the shades in person in advance. By the time I ordered, all shades were sold out at Sephora, so I ordered from Hourglass. They arrived this week, but I haven't had a moment of daytime/sunshine to take photos. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that this weekend. The weather forecast is hopeful.

This "groundbreaking hybrid" combines the customized lighting effects of Ambient Lighting Powder with a spectrum of breathtakingly modern hues. The result is a natural radiant finish with seamless, soft-focus and buildable color - in other words, my kind of blush.

We should have fun exploring them together. I can't wait to try one. I like to keep my compacts pristine until I take photos of them, so I've been depriving myself since early week.

We are expecting a cold front to bring thunderstorms at lunchtime today - the same storms that have already ripped their way through the Midwest and some southern states. Let's all hope for the big trees. The ground is totally saturated, and it won't take much wind to rip them right out of the ground by their root balls.

I have not been able to make my way to either Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus yet to check out the beauty specials. The bags aren't much of a draw. The Neiman Marcus bags look cheap to me. The Saks bags have potential, although they are very large - large enough to serve as small suitcases.

I've found that the brand gift with purchase qualifying amounts have become ludicrous. I'm not willing to spend $350 to get four small samples in an ugly makeup case worth nothing - perhaps with a mini mascara thrown in. Most makeup companies have matched the GWP price to value decline of their competitors, making beauty events much less exciting than their used to be. Michael Reinhardt has a great Le Métier de Beauté offer at Neiman Marcus Mazza Galleria, so that's where I'll be tomorrow.

It's time for the Friday Forum - our first in weeks. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.
Because I am at work, I'd better skedaddle for now. I hope to check in frequently over the weekend.

Photos courtesy of Hourglass Cosmetics

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bobbi Brown Bronze Eye Palette from the Nude Glow Collection

The assortment of beautiful new eye palettes at Bobbi Brown counters is dizzying. I stood at the counter at Neiman Marcus, wondering, "How many can I afford?" "How many will I really use?" Those questions turned out to be my decision criteria.

There were multiple palettes on the Nude Glow and Nectar and Nude displays. Had I had unlimited funds, I would have selected several. Then I asked myself, which one or ones would I use the most? Several of the Nude Glow palettes offered two matte shades, which are not my favorites for several reasons: 1) I have plenty of neutral, matte eye shadows, and 2) I find them rather lifeless on my skin.

The limited-edition Bronze Eye Palette ($50) stood out. It had only one matte shade and offered three shimmering shades that were quite wearable. You can see my very own palette below.

Luminosity for eyes meets skin tone-enhancing color - Bronze Eye Palette features four perfect hues for medium skin tones in a mix of matte and sparkling textures: Gold Bar Sparkle Eye Shadow, a beige gold; Amber Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow, a warm copper bronze; Toast Eye Shadow, a toasted peach; and Rich Bronze Eye Shadow, a golden brown. Go figure! It was created for medium skin tones. I can't buy that. I have fair skin, and the colors look great on me. So there. Who thinks up this guidance?

As usual this week, my swatch photos were taken in full sun as I was surrounded by snow - not ideal photography conditions. I was freezing, so you may note the goosebumps on my arm. The things I do for this blog!

I used a sponge-tipped applicator to apply all shades (heavily), and I took the photos in full, mid-morning sunshine. I started my application at the top of my arm with Gold Bar Sparkle Eye Shadow at the top of my arm and moved clockwise around the palette, finishing with Toast Eye Shadow at the bottom. Incidentally, I'm not terribly fond of Toast. It's a little muddy on my skin, but the other colors are good for looks I like. I'll play with Toast. Maybe I can learn to love it.

Gold Bar Sparkle Eye Shadow is heavy on sparkle and light on pigmentation. You can see how sheer it is. Still, it leaves a pretty effect on the eyelid, so I won't hold its sheerness against it. Naturally, you can use it to top any eye shadow shade to give it a lift.

As you can see directly above in a darker photo, Amber Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow is drop-dead gorgeous. The warm copper bronze makes me dream of spring. The same is true for Rich Bronze Eye Shadow. The golden bronze is a gorgeous accent or crease shade - perfect to warm up your look.

Bobbi Brown says these eye shadow shades work with your skin tone, practically blending on their own, to bring brightness and lightness to any look all in a polished silver compact. How to use it? The company suggests starting with a classic Bobbi eye - light allover shadow, medium lid shadow, dark liner - then layer Sparkle Eye Shadow on top. How will I use it? Most often I will combine Amber Shimmer Wash with Rich Bronze Eye Shadow for a warm look that will sweep me away to a tropical island.

The new Bobbi Brown eye shadows are available at all Bobbi Brown counters. I purchased the Bronze Eye Palette at Neiman Marcus. You can also find it at the Bobbi Brown Web site.

Photo at top courtesy of Bobbi Brown; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tom Ford Lip Color Sheers for Spring 2014

The new Tom Ford Lip Color Sheers ($49) for Spring 2014 are gorgeous. Of the eight available shades, I selected three: 02, Pink Dune; 04, Summer Fling; and 07 Paradiso. They are shown in that order above, from left to right. Because they are sheer, it was almost a given that I would be smitten.

Harmonizing sensuous shades of shimmering nudes and hot, vivid colors, the limited-edition Tom Ford Sheer Collection delivers an irresistible effect that complements sun-kissed, summer skin. A blend of shea butter and vitamins C and E helps lavish the lips with saturated moisture. The distinct, beveled Lip Color Sheer bullet is packaged in a retro-chic, ivory- and gold-colored Tom Ford case.

I took swatch photos of them this past weekend. It was very cold out when I did that, so you can see a map of my veins along with the colors. What a bonus!

Pink Dune, shown at the top of my arm, actually shows up on my lips. It's a pink-tinted nude on me. Summer Fling definitely offers more pink pigmentation. It is cool-toned with medium intensity, while Paradiso, shown at the bottom in my photos, is a vibrant pink on me. It's about as dark as I'd wear for an everyday look. The photo below is a bit washed out, but it was the best I could do with all that blinding snow reflecting the sunshine. I'm not complaining about sunshine.

These lip colors have a fragrance. It is light, but be warned if you don't like to taste or smell in your lip color. They offer average wear. They sure feel good, though.

The Lip Color Sheers are accompanied by four new nail lacquer shades to make up Tom Ford's Spring 2014 Collection. You can see the nail lacquers in a collection photo at Chic Profile. Since the collection has been on counters for weeks, I'll bet Tom Ford fans have already made their selections.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, February 17, 2014

Chantecaille Lip Chic - Primrose and Wild Rose - New Shades for Spring 2014

Primrose and Wild Rose Lip Chic ($35) are perfect sheer shades for greeting spring with a pastel glow.

As I've written many times, Lip Chic is a hybrid lipstick that combines the high shine and plumping effects of a gloss with the rich, even coverage of a lipstick. It applies with an incredibly soft, lightweight texture as it helps to smooth and firm the lips.

This exceptionally comfortable formula is easy to apply in an even finish that is shiny but never sticky - it's hydrating. Lip Chic leaves lips decidedly more youthful in appearance.

I love Lip Cheek, so I was thrilled that I could select from two new shades. I saw them at the counter at Neiman Marcus and decided I had to have both. I suspect any sheer lipstick lover will have a dilemma choosing only one. There are four Lip Chics on the spring display, so make sure you are looking for these two, not the other pretty re-promotes shown with them.

I made a bit of a mistake before I photographed them. I had applied a body moisturizer all over my arms before I remembered that I needed a surface to which they would adhere. As a result, the color on my arms looks a bit uneven. Blame that on me, not the lipsticks.

Wild Rose is shown at the top of my arm, with Primrose below. I had no green backdrop for the photos - mostly snow - so please forgive. That white stuff is not the best for showing makeup. Plus, I was freezing. My heart was pumping extra hard to keep by body warm!

Primrose, combined with my natural lip pigmentation, looks like a light, cool-toned pink on me. A touch of blue brings out the blue in my eyes. Wild Rose will be the favorite for everyone looking for more pigmented color. It's also a cool tone - a kiss-me pink.

I am pleased to own both. I suspect I'll wear Wild Rose the most often, but either will do just fine for a protected, hydrated, shiny lip that I can apply without needing a mirror. Wear time is average (for me).

There is a darker photo below. It shows how the colors look with a stark white background. I love the shine - the only reason I included this map of my veins.

You can find Chantecaille's Spring 2014 colors at all Chantecaille counters. Remember, the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event starts in two days, so you'll want to take advantage of the gifts with purchase.

Photos courtesy of Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chantecaille Save the Bees Palette for Spring 2014

What a glorious day! The sun is shining, and the sky is blue. That plus Chantecaille's refillable Save the Bees Palette ($83) will brighten anyone's day.

I finally got a chance to get outside to take photos. The conditions for clean photography aren't good. It was hard to find any backdrops that weren't bright, white silvery snow. The snow reflected light a bit too much. I did my best.

This refreshing eye and cheek palette artfully fuses the natural beauty of the bees’ habitat with the Spring 2014 runway trends. Five percent of proceeds from the Save the Bees Palette will be donated to The Xerces Society to help protect bees and our environment.

The Palette features Honey, a glistening golden highlighter for both eyes and cheeks; two new eye shades: Sky, an eye-opening sheer blue, and Beehive, a versatile grey beige; and Nectar Blush, a flattering warm coral-pink. These shades will work for all of us.

I think the colors could not be prettier. Although the metallic bees will disappear with a wipe or two of your brush, they leave behind beautiful memories - and an incentive to do everything you can do to save the bees.

Acting as nature’s pollinators, bees have played an extremely vital role in our terrestrial ecosystems for millions of years. Unfortunately, in the past century, a number of bee populations have become extinct as a result of disease outbreak, monocultures like corn and soy, and repeated use of dangerous pesticides. Other species are declining rapidly Their dramatic decline not only threatens our harvests and livelihoods, but serves as a serious warning sign that our environmental attitude and practices must change.

What can we do as individuals? Saving the Bees only takes a few simple everyday changes, such as:
  • Plant wildflower seeds;
  • Eliminate pesticide and herbicide use (this gardener did so years ago);
  • Purchase local honey from community beekeepers;
  • Sign the Pollinator Pledge; and
  • Bring back the pollinators (click here to learn more).
Of course, you can purchase Chantecaille's Save the Bees Palette to donate to The Xerces Society to help protect bees and our environment.

Honey, the golden shade at the top left in the palette, is shown at the top of my arm. Although it is technically a highlighter, I find it a stunning golden eye shadow. Beehive, second down on my arm is one of the most beautiful cool taupes I've ever seen - or used. I have a feeling it will become my everyday go-to taupe. That means, of course, that I will have to purchase a few more Save the Bees Palettes. Sky, a beautiful accent shade, brightens the eyes. It's almost white, so don't worry about the "blue eye shadow" stigma. The blush, Nectar, is a perfect warm pink, one that flatters the other shades, as you can see in the photo of Olivia Chantecaille shown at the top of this feature.

All of these shades leave an elegant glean, without glitter or micro-particles - my favorite finish. It's forgiving for all age groups.

Can you see show Olivia (or her artist) used Sky on the inner corners of her lids to brighten up her look? I'm guessing her lids were covered with Honey, then Beehive was used to top it in the outer half of her lids. The light cheek, composed with Nectar, added a finishing touch to her always beautiful countenance.

For the most part, my favorite palettes were all made by Chantecaille. I love the company's makeup because it fits my lifestyle. I'm not saying that I wear Chantecaille exclusively, but it has become a regular part of my beauty routine - both the skin care and the color.

Even the box of the Save the Bees Palette is lovely.  Too bad my reflection on the cover marred its perfect beauty. I love the image; this is one box I will be saving.

I should have shown you Save the Bees weeks ago. Mother Nature conspired against me, but it's a spring palette, after all. Today's sunshine reminds me that spring is not too far off. I hope you'll take a look here, even though you've probably seen photos taken in indoor studios.

The Neiman Marcus Spring Beauty Event starts February 19 and runs through March 2. Chantecaille has beautiful new colors for eyes and lips to start your season off right. The gift is a medium-sized ivory mock croc cosmetic bag with deluxe sizes of Bio Lifting Neck Cream, Bio Lifting Mask, Mirth Lipgloss, and Black Faux Cils Mascara with a qualifying purchase. If you need help, give Jeannine Barnes a call at (202) 966-9700, extension 2289. You will also be given the Beauty Event tote with any purchase in Beauty of $125 or more.

Photo at top courtesy of Chantecaille; other photos by Best Things in Beauty