hit and run

New Year, New Look

I’ve been meaning to change the theme for a while and I’ve finally gotten round to it. It’s less whimsical than before but I like that it’s cleaner. I shortlisted 7 themes in total and spent an hour choosing  (;-_-)

While I’m on the soapbox, the monthly empties post will now be added when I’ve accumulated enough to make a decent post. I only had 1 empty in January and sadly the poor thing doesn’t merit a post on its own.

I don’t have a posting schedule and I know it’s infrequent and erratic but I hope you guys understand. You might have gleamed from random posts (that refer to frequent hand-washing) but I work in a fast-paced kitchen and try as I might I just can’t muster the strength to post after work. Mine isn’t a blog that does shiny new toys and latest releases anyway. Thank you to everyone who subbed and drop by from time to time!

While we’re on the topic of new toys, Dior has released a new line of Diorskin Nude Air for Spring (link takes you to official French Dior site) for about a week now I believe. They include a loose powder, pressed powder, bronzer and a new serum foundation. I tried the serum foundation at Sephora yesterday and am mighty impressed. It’s thin and watery but is surprisingly pigmented and will give a fair amount of coverage with a beautiful finish. Feels like nothing on the skin. I was ready to snap a bottle up but they don’t have the shade I tried (021) in stock. Officially the shades start from 020 (beige clair) but I saw 010 (ivory) yesterday as a tester together with 021 (un-named). 021 is slightly more yellow than 020; 023 (peche) is a darker than both and more pink. On the Dior website there is no sign of 010, and while 021 is listed it’s not available for purchase (for the moment at least?). I’ve read that 010 and 021 are international shades. Sephora France lists the price as 48.50 and on the Dior site it’s 52 euros. It’s a shame cos I have 25% off at Sephora at the moment … might check out another shop to try my luck. But if the Champs-Elysees shop doesn’t have it, I kind of doubt the smaller ones would.diorair While there I also checked the Givenchy Color Confetti powder that I coveted and was glad I didn’t blind buy, simply because I have enough products like that at home. Basically it’s a finishing powder with a shimmery (the confetti side) and a matte powder on the bottom (the raised part). You can use the shimmery part to highlight and the matte to set, or mix them both and use it like a pressed meteorites. It’s a nice-to-have powder. I wasn’t wowed and doubt would reach for it often enough to justify the price.

I did some hauling during the sales (on-going, since mid-January) but mostly body products. I’m never sure whether to post hauls, they seem rather pointless without a comment on how they perform but I don’t like having 10 things opened at one time … will see about that.

Oh I actually do have a post featuring a new release coming up, hopefully later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned 🙂

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Beauty Counters Hit and Run

Beauty Counters Hit and Run

I haven’t written a ‘Hit and Run’ post in a long time. My last one was likely to be at a similar time last year, commenting on the holiday collections as well. I’m pretty much immune this year, with a few exceptions of course. Some observations and standouts:

  • Orange and Fuschia are the shades this season, they are everywhere: the Armani neons, NARS’ Coeur Battant, Guerlain’s lipsticks just for starters.
  • NARS/Guy Bourdin: This is a very well done collection, perhaps the best across all the brands in my opinion. You have of course the core limited edition items of superb quality (Cinematic formula), the gift-sets (if you can still find them, especially the big lips case) are a wonderful deal and make great gifts – I would spring for the lip pencils personally since I find the eyeliners too soft to work with. Coeur Battant is crazy pigmented – I gently placed my finger on it without swiping and just lifted it up as is and my finger was saturated with the deep fuschia colour. Very strong holiday collection, without even counting the palettes.
  • Laura Mercier: For me it’s the mini gift sets and not the palettes since I have to deal with the crazy markup and these are such a good deal. Among them all the bold brights mini lip glacé set is beckoning me. Not sure about the palest pink but I’m willing to give it a try. The nudes are nice but I imagine for a couple of them you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart once on the lips; And if they put another shade instead of the Rose Gold in the caviar stick set it would tempt me a lot more.
lmset

Laura Mercier Mini Lip Glacé set (taken from official website)

  • shu uemura: last year was Karl Lagerfeld, this year it’s Murakami. The packaging doesn’t suck me in but I did like the tubes of lip and cheek tints – super pigmented and a tiny bit goes a long way. Probably has a fair bit of silicones though and they can feel drying on the lips if you don’t condition them before. My shades to get would be Dream Pink and Magical Red as they are the ones that work best both on the cheeks and lips. The fuschia and coral are really bright. shu has  -25% offer until 20th November on its US website I think. I know I’ll never finish one and since I’m paying double here (they are 28 euros each) and this VIP sale is not available on these shores I’ll be reasonable and not get them.
  • Guerlain: At first glace I thought the whole packaging is tacky. Reminds me of Crazy Horse (and consequently Pigalle) with the neons and brights. Then I looked closer at the product and like the meteorite compact more and more. The eyeshadow palette is also looking a lot more interesting and for some reason I really like that pink in there.
  • If you missed out on the Kate Winslet red lippie from the Golden Hat collection a couple of years ago they are re-releasing it this year. Same number #132 and name Caprice. I have swatched it in my red lippies post. Otherwise their main Holiday collection is very sparkly.

These are the standouts for me. Nothing from Chanel (the LE blush Accent I found too sparkly and shimmery), likewise for Dior and YSL. We don’t get Hourglass here and I’m not a fan of Urban Decay. Clarins has a nice neutral palette but the box looks a little clunky. The only thing I want to look at from Bobbi Brown is the Hollywood red lipstick but I have enough reds. Hmmm… I’m sure I’m missing something but oh well. It’s already the end of November is what I’m thinking and I hope to post again before the month is out 🙂

Beauty Counters Hit and Run

Beauty Counters Hit and Run

Not all the holiday collections have been released here in France. Notably missing is Chanel’s, although the four new Joues Contraste are pretty exciting. They are now on Sephora France website and are permanent!

Nails – I swatched a couple of nail polishes at Sephora. I actually wanted to check Chanel’s Malice but well it’s not out yet. So I did the black shimmery one from Dior’s Grand Bal collection, called Diva. The shimmers are fine, sophisticated and evenly distributed. The polish was also easy to apply. But I didn’t find Diva glossy or shiny enough for my liking. I applied two coats and unfortunately it looked rather flat despite the shimmers.

The other one was Black Iris from Estee Lauder and I was far more impressed with this than Diva. I found this even easier to apply than Dior’s and it comes with a beautiful glossy finish. With two coats, the colour is a deep, and very dark violet. The man commented it’s just a black to him. You can see the purple under the right kind of light but I have to agree it looks almost black.

I’m now lemming OPI’s shade Skyfall, a beautiful cream maroon.

Coffrets – Saw a few of these and was reminded that Christmas is just around the corner. Nuxe and Caudalie has put together some very nice coffrets, and for those who’ve always wanted to try their products these are a bargain. I didn’t take any photos at the store but I found photos of them online:

The Nuxe set has the Huile Prodigieuse (full sized, 100ml), a small candle of the same scent, a sample bottle of their shimmery version of the oil and a 40ml tube of the Creme Prodigieuse. I found these for just under 25 euros on the internet but they tend to cost more at the stores. The second set is Caudalie’s interpretation of a dry oil, the Huile Divine and you get a 50ml bottle of that, plus a candle and a body scrub. This could be had for 20 euros.
I have blogged about both of these oils before and like them both. Both brands have come out with many different coffrets, these are just two that I think will be of most interest. I actually picked up a shower gel and perfume set for around 20 euros, and will do a separate post on that later.

Burberry – I’m still looking for the eyeshadow quads, they don’t seem to be available yet. The brand is only available in the big Galeries Lafayettes near Opera and it’s a trip I don’t enjoy making because not only is the shop always packed with people the commute to get there on road is equally plagued with bumper to bumper traffic most of the time. I asked the lady at the counter if she knew anything about them and wasn’t surprised that the answer was no.

In other related news, I took advantage of a 20% discount on Sephora’s website and ordered the Armani Eyes to Kill quad in Maestro. Before you think that’s a big discount, the quads are priced at 63 euros here and the discount just meant I saved on the sales tax, and it is still more expensive than the RRP elsewhere in the world and is nothing like the deals fellow beauty lovers in the US could enjoy. The only time I shop at Sephora is when I have a 20% discount code either online or at the shop, and if it’s for the latter I will head to the one on Champs Elysees because they have all the brands, including MAC! But I fear they will pull out of Sephora once their own flagship opens on the Champs (the construction panel outside said Christmas 2012 – but we all know renovations/constructions are never on time here, so there’s hope still).

Anyway I had wanted to compare Maestro with Burberry’s grey quad before making the purchase but I was too impatient. It’s on my way to me now and I will report once I have my paws on it 🙂

Is Turbulent back at Chanel?

I apologise for the lack of swatches and the general quality of the pictures in this post. But I saw these new blushers at the Chanel counter when I was in Sephora the other day and was determined to have photographic evidence of their existence.

These are part of Chanel’s new releases, along with the tube Perfection Lumiere concealers you see on the left. What caught my attention was the neon pink shade on the top right. Here is a photo I took with the lid open:

The bottom 2 shades are Malice and Rouge
It is called ‘Ultra Rose’ and while it looks like a pale pink in this bad photo (crisscrossed with shadows from the open lid no less), make no mistake – it is a neon pink. The first photo is more accurate for the shade. The first thought that crossed my mind was: This is Turbulent!! The limited edition neon pink blush from around 6 years ago. I know many will be thrilled to have it in their hands, especially at retail price and not the outrageous inflated ones on the bay – if you find it.  (more…)

Beauty Counters Hit and Run

Woohoo another installment! (See first one here) Sephora is tempting me (again) with 20% off, good until Oct 8th. So of course I went and have a look-see … I’ve decided to use the coupon at the Sephora in Champs-Elysees, just because they have MAC there as well. I’m thinking of getting the face and body foundation.

My findings from said Sephora:

1. Shiseido Natural Finish Cream Concealor – caught my eye. It is very creamy, spreadable and blendable. It is almost like a foundation. I might have put a little too much on the back of my hand and when I blended it all out, I couldn’t see lines or pores. It is insane. Definitely covers well, but at the same time not sure of the ‘natural’ looking claim (will have to test again). I’m thinking of thinning it out with a moisturiser to get a lighter coverage, and to eventually phase out my foundations and use something like this instead on areas where I need it.

2. NARS shadows – I’ve always skimmed their shadows at the counters because they have so many it’s overwhelming. This time I really had a look and swatched a few. They didn’t have all the shades, and I skipped all the Night series, but nonetheless I ‘discovered’ the duos Alhambra, Portobello, Brumes, Brousse, Cordura, and Lhasa (single). Brumes and Brousse are great for a smokey eye, I prefer Brumes at the moment. They are not the same but somehow I don’t think you need both. If you have a lot of browns at home I’d suggest going for Brumes, which has a matte grey and a shimmery charcoal blue. Lhasa risks looking bruisey on me, Portobello is a good matte neutral, good for shading and contouring the eyes, for a no makeup makeup look. Alhambra is like a more reflective, satiny All about Eve (which I have). I wish I have Alhambra instead (but I found out I have one of the shades in the Modern Love palette!). Cordura is very pretty but I’m not sure about the sparkles on the darker shade … fear of fallout mainly.

3. NARS Storm bird polish – A lighter grey than last year’s Galion. I have clothes the exact same colour. I love greys and I really like this.

4. Smashbox Photo Op Trio in Screenshot – I’ve been lemming this. Found out the dark brown shade (Roast) looks a lot like the dark brown in Cordura with the same gold shimmer. Lovely texture and pigmented. I like the Smashbox trios but somehow they don’t get much love?

Yes these are all permanent items. Not feeling the Fall collections at all and my wallet is thanking me.

Beauty Counters Hit and Run

Or as I prefer to call it, research.

It’s when you get this itch to buy a certain product, having read so much about it that you’ve convinced yourself that you need it, but thankfully not so completely lost in that abyss that you buy it sight-unseen straight away on the internet.

I try not to buy anything when I do this. This is about killing lemmings after all, and I prefer to have a separate day when I do the shopping all at once. I make an effort not to waste the time of the ladies who work there, so I try to do my research when it’s busier and at bigger shops so that hopefully I could carry out my work relatively unnoticed, as quickly and as unobtrusively as possible.

Anyway, I had some time yesterday and hit the busiest place I could think of, the Galeries Lafayette. Here are my findings:

1. The Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate is … really good. While the guy manning the counter was busy helping two perfume shoppers, I swatched this in the less intense shade. The highlight colour seemed a little sticky and could potentially accentuate pores but it’s a straight-up pearl colour that looks beautiful. The contour side is magic, so easy to blend, very natural and not sticky at all. I now understand the raves … and failed to kill the lemming. I’ll go and uncross it on the list ….

2. Lancôme Éclat Miracle – continuing my search for a good highligher, I tried this at the counter. It’s also a straight up pearl liquid and was so pretty even as I was blending it in that I thought it had good potential to be the one. But once all blended in, everything disappeared. I could hardly discern a trace. I should say that I’m looking for a highlighter that’s not shimmery, but gives a discreet but still visible pearly candlelit glow. According to Lancome, the Éclat Miracle is meant to be worn under foundation, like a illuminating primer. I find that the end result is too similar to the Clarins Eclat Minute that I recently purchased (review coming), it’s also more expensive, so easily gave this a pass. Maybe I should look at Becca’s?

3. Lancôme Ombre Hypnôse – not the first time I swatched these babies. They are sooo buttery soft and extremely pigmented. I need more time to really explore the shades they have. I want something not too shimmery, a shade that I can get a lot of use out of but at the same time complex enough to justify paying 26.10 euros for a single eyeshadow…. yup the price is the one thing that’s holding me back.

4. Burberry eyeshadows – Again I now understand why everyone raves about them. Impeccable texture, easy to blend, elegant and classy shades. I didn’t even want to know how much these cost here, although I did note what shades I might like …
[ETA: I just found out they are 25 euros … cheaper than Lancome!]

5. Dior Rosy Glow – I wanted to see for myself this somewhat gimmicky product and be convinced that it’s not good for me at all. All I can say for now is that it does change colour once you start blending it in. Unfortunately the rosy glow is a test to be done by 2 people… I have this suspicion that it changes to the same shade of rose on everyone but cannot confirm. I may have a theory to explain for its longevity though – I suspect this is a stain in disguise. A shadow of the colour remains even after I’ve tissued off the blush with product. Controversial, I know! In spite of all this I have a feeling I may still pick this up ……..

6. Diorskin Nude powder compact – this is their new powder foundation. It’s extremely sheer and won’t give much coverage. My opinion so far: good for lucky ladies with beautiful skin just to even out the complexion.

7. NARS blushes – My blush stash aside, I decided if I were to get another blush from NARS it will be matte. So I went to see Dolce Vita.  It looked like a rash on me. I know I can make it work with a stippling brush, but why? Then I saw Amour. I may need another visit to NARS.

8. NARS Bali eyeshadow – how come I never noticed this before?

9. Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel – I’ve pretty much killed the lemming but this gave the final blow. This has orange in it.

ck one cosmetics

the side-shave is everywhere
I first saw this line a couple of months ago at Marionnaud when I had a gift card to use. I don’t usually shop there, Sephora is, well more modern and it has more brands. As it turns out Marionnaud is the exclusive distributor of ck one in France. I became curious about this line – I remember Calvin Klein’s first makeup range yonks ago, it was one of the first fashion houses to venture into cosmetics. (more…)