Monday, March 31, 2014

April is for Burberry Beauty Love

Look carefully at this photo.  Notice a theme?

This was a group photo taken a few weeks ago.  While I was disappointed by my first two Burberry Beauty purchases, Nail Polishes #107 Light Gold and  #303 Oxblood, I fell in love once I ventured away from their nail products and towards their color cosmetics.  I've previously raved about Sheer Eyeshadow #09 Rosewood, and both of the spring palettes, #10 Rose Pink and #15 Sage Green.

Clearly, I've been holding out on you, blog readers.

It's not a stretch to say that Burberry Beauty is now one of my favorites. I'd rank it up with Chanel and Tom Ford.  I've been taking time with my new purchases to really experience the line, so I feel like I can give a good overview for those (like me) who do not have access to a counter.

I'm thrilled to declare that April is for Burberry Beauty love!

What does this mean, exactly?  Don't worry, you'll still get your NOTD post every day and I'll also be posting about new releases (like the items I already have from Laura Mericer, Dior and Butter London, and the Tom Ford Summer 2014 goodies that should be here in the next couple of weeks). However, I'm going to be posting about Burberry Beauty every single day.

Among the products I'll be discussing are the solo eyeshadows, blush, all three lipstick formulas, their lip glosses, foundation, and a brush. As of right now, I don't own any eyeliners and don't plan to purchase. The same goes for the Burberry Beauty mascaras and lipliners.  I don't expect to purchase any additional nail polishes either.

I've linked my prior Burberry reviews in this post if you want a preview of what's to come.  I'm a couple of items shy of the 30 I'll need for a month's worth of posts, but I've been buying each paycheck so it's just a matter of time.  I can't wait to get started!

March Favorites

I can't believe three months of 2014 are over already!  Here are some of my favorites.  You've seen some of these on the blog, and others I'm holding for a very special monthly feature in April.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes (L-R) Luminous Flush, Ethereal Glow, Diffused Heat, Mood Exposure: This is my new favorite blush formula. I've raved about it multiple times on this blog, so I highly recommend trying at least one.
Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush #10: I rediscovered this old favorite, which has sadly been discontinued.
Burberry Beauty Sheer Eyeshadows: #17 Pearl Grey, #13 Lavender Blue, #09 Rosewood.  Stay tuned for a special post soon explaining why there has been a conspicuous lack of Burberry on the blog aside from my FOTD and favorites posts.
Tom Ford Santal Blush EDP: I love this perfume so much that it almost makes me cry. It's just a matter of getting my head around spending $210 on this creamy sandalwood.
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine #54 Boy- I forgot how low maintenance and amazing this shade is!
Clarins Hydra Quench Lip Balm: Finally, a suitable replacement for my Shiseido balm!
L'Occitaine Pure Shea Butter: Love this!
Lancome Lip Lover (#339, #332)- I love this new product, and these are my two favorite shades.  If you read this blog and missed my raves, just look for one of my 9 posts.
Tom Ford Lipstick- Lip Sheer 08 Paradiso, Lip Color 04 Indian Rose, Lip Color 08 Flamingo:
MAC Pro Custom Palette- Blanc Type & Honesty- This is a perfect duo to keep on hand to finish up any eye look.

Those are just a few of my favorites- what have you been loving this month?

NOTD: Sephora by OPI Wild About Shimmer

Today's NOTD is one of my favorite polishes from the discontinued Sephora and OPI collaboration.  Sephora by OPI Wild About Shimmer is a sheer golden shimmer.  It's not the same as a pure gold glitter topcoat- it's far more subtle.

These swatches are with 3 thin coats.  This is such a pretty color.

I tend to favor cremes, but every now and then a pretty, shimery color does the trick.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nail Art Sunday

Today I'm off attending the VIB Rouge event and I haven't had much blogging time recently.  What I have had time to do recently is play with some nail art.  I've been inspired since a recent Butter London event, and have discovered how amazing their polish is for nail art.

This is what's on my nails right now:

That's Butter London Muggins, Kerfuffle, and Fiver.

Sunday Dreaming

Even though I just showed you some of my Tom Ford picks a few weeks ago, I'm returning to that theme again because Tom Ford and Burberry are my two favorite brands at the moment.  Here are some of the products on my radar.  I'll be sharing some of the Burberry products that I'm lusting after next week.

1. Tom Ford Private Blend Perfumes- Santal Blush ($210)

I am in love with this perfume. It's a creamy sandalwood that has been haunting me for weeks. It's just a matter of getting my mind around spending $210 for a single fragrance. This could easily become my signature scent, it's that good.  I'm just obsessed with it.

2. Tom Ford Black Orchid Perfume ($72+)

I'll admit that while this post is running, I'm either picking this or Neroli Portofino up at Sephora's VIB Rouge Shopping event. I'm in love with Tom Ford's perfumes, and it only makes sense to start with an accessible scent.

3. Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color Shine- Nubile ($48)

I've been exploring more natural-looking lips lately.  Indian Rose is my perfect MLBB nude, and Nubile appears to be a shade or two deeper.  I'm also interested in exploring this formula.  My normal first impulse are bright pinks, so I'd like to go in a different direction initially.

4. Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color- Pure Coral ($49)

I've learned to love coral lips over the past year, and this seems to be the ultimate coral.  I believe in collecting classic shades in this formula.  I have a perfect bright pink and nude; I need to find my perfect coral and red.

5. Tom Ford Nail Lacquer- Fever Pink ($32)

Had I been able to find this locally, it would already be in my stash. This looks like a perfect intense pink for summer.

6. Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick- Alabaster ($78)

It looks quite dark in the stock photo, but this is the lightest shade of these sticks.  It's slightly too dark for me during the winter, but with a little self-tanner it should be perfect.

7. Tom Ford Nail Lacquer- Ginger Fire ($32)

This has a bit of shimmer that doesn't show up in the stock photo.  I have had it in my hands multiple times, so it's time to bring it home.

NOTD: Illamasqua Raindrops

Today's NOTD is a classic Illamasqua polish: Raindrops.

This is three coats, no topcoat.

Illamasqua Raindrops is a grey jelly with glitter flakes. It's beautiful.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

rms beauty Raw Coconut Cream

I realize that I'm a bit behind on the coconut oil trend, but it was recently recommended to me by a top-notch manicurist to tackle some odd callouses that I have on the sides of my fingers near the nail beds.  I actually purchased two different coconut oil products so that I could do a great comparison.  I'm still testing both of these in the long-term, but I've been using this one for a couple of weeks now and feel comfortable writing about it.

First up: rms beauty Raw Coconut Cream

I specifically chose this brand because it's high-quality, vegan coconut oil extracted with centrifuges (instead of heat). This is far different than the stuff you can buy at the grocery store.  I'm honestly not a natural beauty products person, but after spending some time on the rms beauty website, I'm mulling a future purchase or two (like this or this or this).  You can read about their brand philosophy here.

I purchased the 2.5oz tub ($18).  It comes in a frosted glass container.  It's weighty and a nice size for on my bedside table- which is where it has been living.  One of the keys for using any coconut oil product is maintaining a constant temperature.  Coconut oil will liquify upon contact with your skin or higher temperatures. If your coconut oil liquifies, put it in the refrigerator for a bit.

You can apparently use coconut oil as a moisturizer, cleanser, or any number of uses. I've been trying to heal some odd callouses and other imperfections on my hands.  I've also been using it on a patch of rough skin near my shoulder.  I haven't tried it on my face as a cleanser or a moisturizer because my skin is pretty happy at the moment and I'm afraid of upsetting it.

I'm very impressed with the results I've seen so far.  Callouses and odd skin imperfections I've had for years on my hands are significantly diminished. For that reason alone, I will continue to use this.  I believe this tub will last me for a long, long time.

rms beauty products are available via the brand's websiteDermstore, and Net-a-Porter.

I have another coconut oil product to test, which you'll see sometime next month on this site. I don't believe in skincare reviews without sufficient testing time.

NOTD: Tom Ford Trophy Wife

This is actually a very recent purchase for me. The Tom Ford mini counter at my local Nordstrom put the tester back out last weekend- which, naturally, I noticed. They'd discovered a few bottles lurking in the back, apparently.

Trophy Wife was one of two Holiday 2013 LE shades. It's somewhat similar to Chanel Rouge Carat- a deep fuchsia/red shimmer polish.  I have two coats plus Butter London Hardware on my nails here.

It may not be a totally spring-appropriate hue but it did make me smile this week. I love Tom Ford's cheeky shade names.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tom Ford Lip Color- Indian Rose

It seems that Tom Ford lipsticks multiply when left alone.  Somehow I've gone from 0 to 1 to 3 in less than a month's time. They're each unique, classic shades that I will treasure.

Today I'm going to share with you my latest Tom Ford Lip Color, 04 Indian Rose.

Indian Rose is a lovely nude rose shade that is without shimmer but packed with pigment.  I debated between Spanish Pink and Indian Rose for my "nude" selection from the line but ultimately landed on Indian Rose because it's a shade or two darker. Karla Sugar has a great group swatch. This promo image of the original line also gives you a good feel for the difference.  I also stumbled onto this blog with a duo swatch recently.  I may try Spanish Pink at a counter in the future, but I felt that Indian Rose was a safer bet for my pigmented lips.

Isn't it glorious?

This is actually my perfect MLBB shade and I can already predict it will become a permanent resident of my cosmetic bag (Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Boy is the other).  This shade is always appropriate for my office- or any time.

This lovely rose shade is actually a popular shade for fair beauties, according to the brand rep that I spoke with.  She named several high-profile actresses known for their ivory complexions as having worn this shade to A-list events in the last couple of years. I hate to admit it, but that's what swayed me towards this shade rather than Spanish Pink.

Let's look at some swatches, and then I have a rare lip comparison swatch for you.

First, on my lips.  Outside, no flash:

Outside, with flash:

It's such a glorious rose, isn't it?  Normally I'd start with my hand swatches but I think it's a color best appreciated on the lips.  Tom Ford's formula is creamy and opaque, but this is quite similar to my natural lip color.  I hate to say it, but this is my HG professional/MLBB shade. Period.

OK, some swatches on my hand.

Outside, with flash:

Outside, no flash:

Inside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:

Although this shade is incomparable, it reminded me of another shade I bought in the last few months: Dior Rosewood Serum de Rouge.  They're fairly similar, which you can see.  If Tom Ford's $49 pricepoint is a bit above your comfort level, the Dior retails for $34.

Outside, without flash:

Inside, with flash:

I feel like the formula is different enough to justify having both shades in my collection.  I'm in love with every Tom Ford shade I've selected- and I find it increasingly difficult to reach for anything else these days.  I purchased mine at Nordstrom, but you can also find Tom Ford Beauty at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

NOTD: Yves Saint Laurent Rose Baby Doll

Today's NOTD is another recent YSL purchase.  I actually had been looking for this shade for awhile because let's face it- you can never have too many dark hot pink cremes!

I've got 2 coats plus Formula X topcoat on my hands.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush- Mood Exposure

Whenever we ignore our instincts, it usually doesn't turn out well, right?  For those of us who make beauty either a hard-core hobby or our life's work, the same thing applies. Sometimes we can override our gut instincts with logic when our gut was right all along.

Enter Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure.

When I first saw the online swatches, this shade cried out to me. No, I thought, better to stick with a tried and true formula like Ethereal Glow.  And then go for a punch of color with Diffused Heat. And try to find a beautiful pink with Luminous Flush. Heck, I would've gotten Dim Infusion had it not swatched dead orange on me multiple times.

What was it that scared me away from the shade I instinctively was drawn towards? Other bloggers. The only testers who seemed thrilled with this shade were ladies of Asian heritage- especially those with yellow undertones and medium complexions.  Those are three descriptors that you'll never use to describe me.  Add in my aversion to deep blushes and pigmentation issues in the cheek area and I suppressed my instincts to buy this blush.

It wasn't until I started side-eying Radiant Magenta that I thought "enough is enough."

I can only say that next time I'm going with my gut, logic be damned.  Mood Exposure is by far and away my favorite in this range.  It's nothing like I was expecting. I've hyperlinked my other reviews by shade name so I won't be going into the details about this product since they're all the same size and price.

Mood Exposure is a combination of plum blush and Mood Light Ambient Lighting powder and is listed as the darkest shade in this line. On my skin, it looks nothing like what you'd expect.

I use a rather light hand and an angled blush brush when applying Mood Exposure, but have found it to be the most natural neutral blush.  On my translucent skin, it looks beige.  It wears on me like a cousin to Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush #10.  I think I've found my replacement for #10 when I use my current pan up!

The whole beige out of a plum blush thing has me really puzzled, but I'm not fighting it.  Mood Exposure is a lovely compliment to any natural, neutral look that I do. I'd rank it as the second least pigmented, with only Ethereal Glow as having less color payoff.  I'm not sure why my experience has been so different than most.  Bottom line- pale ladies, don't rule this one out.

Here are some swatches.  All were swatched heavily with a MAC 130SE to get the greatest color payoff and are unblended. Do not attempt to apply blush to your face in this way, obviously!

Outside, no flash:

Outside, with flash:

Inside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes last all day for me without touchups.  This is quite an amazing formula, and the 4 that I have are 2/3 of my current blush rotation (the others are Armani #10 and a Burberry blush I promise to post about soon). Mood Exposure will be my last selection from this line for awhile, but I wish I hadn't put it off so long.

Overall, I find this to be the most wearable of my selections by a long shot.  So don't be scared about the color at all.

NOTD: Chanel June

Today I'm happy to share Chanel June with you today.  It's a lovely apricot creme that was released in Spring 2012.

I've got three thin coats plus Formula X topcoat on my nails here.  This just screams spring:

Now, if only we could get spring weather to stick around!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lancome Lip Lover- Reviews in Review

It's been a couple of weeks since I brought home nine of the new Lancome Lip Lover hybrid lip gloss/stick/balms.  There appear to be 18 total shades, which means I've tested half of the collection.  In my humble opinion, not bad for your everyday beauty junkie who does not receive press samples.  Since I've swatched the rest of the line, I feel like I can speak with some overall knowledge base about this product.

First, some links. My prior reviews of each shade can be found here, here, here, here, and here. Add in my intro post, and yes this is really my seventh post about this collection.

In case you needed a refresher, I reviewed the following shades:

332: Beige Adage
334: Corail Cabriole
336: Orange Manege
339: Fuschia Attitude
355: Framboise Etoile
356: Belle de Rouge
357: Bouquet Final
361: Violette Pirouette
362: Bordeaux Tempo

Swatched- outside, no flash:

Inside, with flash:

Swatched on a piece of paper:

Rather than slogging through my reviews (which if you haven't, I do recommend), here are my quick thoughts (which include some shades I didn't purchase):

QBB's Top Picks: Beige Adage, Fuschia Attitude

Most On-Trend for Spring 2014: Violette Pirouette (Radiant Orchid), Orange Manege

Best Pick for Fall: Bordeaux Tempo

Most Like a Lipstick (opaque color payoff): Beige Adage, Fuschia Attitude

Most Like a Traditional Lip Gloss: Coral Cabriole, Orange Manege, Belle de Rouge

Sheer Alert: Coral Cabriole, Rose D'Eau

Best Nude Look: Casse Noisette, Beige Adage, Rose Ballet (for those who want slightly pink nude lips)

Dupe Alert (Pick one, not both) : Fuschia Attitude and Lip Lover, Orange Manege and Belle de Rouge

Shade Missing from the Line: A true red. Framboise Etoile is the closest, but it's a raspberry red.

Worst Online Shade Description: Fuschia Attitude, on it's NOT purple, people!

I hope this quick reviews in review help. I truly believe everyone needs at least one of these in their stash.  Beige Adage now lives in my makeup bag because it's such a perfect MLBB shade for me and a classic fallback. Considering I only carry 2 products all the time (in addition to what I'm wearing), that's a big deal.

Have you gotten any Lip Lovers?  I suspect my exuberance in collecting so many of these is why I've yet to order the new Fluid Sticks from Dior. I'm lippie'd out for now.

Urban Decay Electric Nail Color Trio

I know there are a lot of nail reviews lately, but they are easier to write while I'm not feeling well. They do pretty much write themselves.

Urban Decay has released a limited-edition nail trio corresponding with their Electrics eye palette for Summer 2014.  There are three mini nail polishes (5ml/0.16 fl oz each) in this set, which retails for $12. I picked mine up at Ulta.

There are three polishes in this collection: Deep End, a metallic aqua green, Goldmine, a gold glitter topcoat, and Woodstock, a shocking neon pink creme.

I only swatched these on a nail wheel because I didn't want to ruin the mani I had at the time. I can't actually review Woodstock.  I believe my bottle wasn't sealed properly because it was mostly solid and the consistency of a thick gel lip gloss rather than nail polish.  I didn't feel like dealing with the return/exchange process for 1 of 3 minis for the most dupeable color, so I have nothing else to add on this shade.

I did pull some comparisons for two of the three shades. I didn't pull comparisons for Goldmine because everyone has a gold glitter topcoat in their stash.

Despite the formula/bottle issues, I have two comparisons for Woodstock:

Julep Avery has more of a matte finish and is slightly lighter, and Chanel Riviera is half of a shade darker.

For me, Deep End is the standout of this collection.  This shimmering deep green aqua is unique in my collection. Chanel Azure is the closest- and looks simply weak and boring in comparison.

I find this to be a fun trio, and it was an interesting experiment at a low price point. Since I didn't put these on my nails, I can't speak to the longevity.  I can see myself enjoying Deep End as a pedicure color as summer arrives.

NOTD: Chanel Delicatesse

Today's NOTD is a polish I spent quite a lot of time tracking down after most of the special edition colors disappeared from  Delicatesse is a warm orangey-taupe-brown shade that was part of the FNO collection from 2012.

There are two coats on my nails, plus Formula X topcoat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2014 Flower Crush Palette Rosy Blush

I have the ultra-rare double post for you today.  This is the last of the Spring 2014 collections, and since I'm already testing and posting about summer, I didn't want to delay for another day!

I know I'm a bit late with this Spring 2014 collection, but this particular item had been haunting me for months.  I first saw promotional photos of the Flower Crush Palette Rosy Blush Duo on a number of European beauty blogs, but it was never available at any US-based YSL counter or store website. Consider my shock when I spotted it on the US YSL Beauty site.

The Rosy Blush Duo contains 0.15oz/4.5g of product and retails for $46. As far as I can tell, it's a YSL online exclusive here in the US.

This is such a beautiful and glorious piece. It will be a shame to mess it up.  I have a silly number of photos for you to admire it.

The compact itself has a lovely "cracked" pattern:

And here's a look at the bottom:

Some more photos of this stunning blush:

Except... this product is mis-named.

You're going to have a very difficult time identifying the blush on my hand.  Remember, I'm a Bobbi Brown Alabaster/Marc Jacobs Ivory Light/NARS Mont Blanc/MAC NC10/NW15.  Blushes usually jump off my skin!

In direct sun:

Do you see it? I promise there's a strip there.

Let me annotate some other photos for you.

Outside, no flash (not in sunlight):

Inside, with flash:

Let's be honest with each other and really talk about this stunning product.  It's not a blush.  YSL did themselves a huge disservice by naming it a blush duo.  The pink and peach mixed together (or used apart) are simply a lovely highlighter duo.  There are some obvious flecks of glitter, but they appear to be surface spray.  This makes a beautiful highlighter for me- and I'll be using it as such.  Applied as a highlighter, I get a luminous effect which is very flattering on my light skintone. It's like Dior Shimmer Block Rose Diamond went to the beach and came back with a peachy tan.  I'll use this to its last bits- but had to adjust accordingly.

This prouct is lovely to stare at, but do not expect to get a blush duo. It's a lovely highlighter duo.