Sunday, October 30, 2011

Face: Guerlain for (Eye)Glasses

This is rapidly becoming a series, isn't it? First Le Metier de Beaute, then Chanel, and now Guerlain. Yesterday I ducked into the Saks Mazza to close out the Care for Kids charity event and to see just how much damage I could do with a 20% off everything card.

The gorgeous Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Les Bois de Roses had been on my want list for a while, so I approached the Guerlain counter. The bubbly sales associate declared she liked my eyeglasses (Giorgio Armani). Somehow it went from a simple transaction to trying on one of the decadent Rouge Gs to finally receiving a full-on facial and makeover. It was an hour well spent.

The sales associate took me through the full Guerlain skincare routine, which left my face feeling incredibly soft and hydrated. My concerns that the heavily perfumed products would irritate my sensitive skin turned out to be unfounded. For my sluggish and dehydrated skin, I was prescribed Secret de Purete Polishing Exfoliator and Super Aqua-Serum. Then on went Lingerie de Peau Foundation SPF 20 in Beige Clair 02; it applied smoothly and felt very comfortable. Blush 4 Eclats in Rose Plein Vent 5 was used sparingly. Meteorites in Teint Beige 2 gave my face a subtle glow. My skin looked and felt smooth and healthy.

What made this makeover special, though, was that the sales associate decided to build a look around my glasses. Usually makeup artists forget about my glasses as soon as I take them off and sometimes the outcome is a disjunction between the makeup and my glasses. She recommended Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Les Perles. I was a bit nonplussed, recalling the dramatic swatch on Cafe Makeup, but gave her free rein. Since I didn't have a mirror next to me throughout the process, I can't state with certainty the order and location of colors used. Guerlain likes to make colors that blend together so well, one has a hard time telling their individual origins. (The Non-Blonde has individual swatches.)

The result was lovely. The pearly and shimmery colors are both elegant and vibrant. Since three of the shades contain purple, my green eyes really popped, even behind the frames of my glasses. Below are photos I took in cooler lighting, which brings out the purple and shimmer more. No contest: I bought Les Perles in addition to Les Bois de Roses.

To finish off my eyes, the sales associate lined them with Kohl Me Eye Pencil in Black 1 and curled the hell out of my top lashes with Le 2 de Guerlain Mascara in Noir 10. She kept complaining my eyelashes were too long, and I told her I thought it was a good problem to have.

For my lips, we had chosen Rouge G in Gala 21, a beautiful shimmering ruby. Temptalia's description of it is spot on, though it pulls more pink on me than it does on her. (Compared to Chanel Rouge Allure Famous, Gala has more fuchsia in it.) The sales associate then lined my lips and filled in the center using Precision Lip Liner in Rouge Dahlia 24. It has a soft tip and doesn't need sharpening; the liner felt so easy and juicy that I immediately bought it. The final touch was a layer of KissKiss Gloss in Fraise a Croquer 821 in the center.

I also bought Rouge G in Gala. At 20% off, I couldn't resist. The color is surprisingly easy to wear and will cheer me up in the depths of winter. The fabulous mirrored case also is worth owning for the sake of owning, though it's so heavy I'm not sure if I can carry it around in my bag as an everyday essential.

Nails: Deborah Lippmann in Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

This concludes the third installment of my makeover series. I think next time I'll change it up and ask for a nude lip.

By the way, yes, I am wearing the same sweater in the Guerlain shots as I was in the Chanel ones. Why not? An angora-blend by Joseph via Net-a-Porter, it's a no-brainer weekend sweater for when you want to be comfortable and still look put together. Yesterday it was snowing in DC and miserably cold. I bundled up in this sweater, a camel-colored wool coat, heavy motorcycle jeans, and gray rabbit fur earmuffs; Belstaff boots allowed me to keep my footing on the sidewalks. I met a friend for brunch, then spent the afternoon shopping around Chevy Chase, balancing bags under an umbrella. I had a marvelous time.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Nails: Deborah Lippmann Stormy Weather

When it comes to nails, I like dark, tough, unusual colors, like Deborah Lippmann's Stormy Weather.

One could be forgiven for thinking from the bottle that it is a simple medium gray. In reality, the color is a cool deep gray-blue with even a touch of green.

I spent the weekend visiting my brother in New York, and it rained nearly the entire time. Perfect! This color looks best under an overcast sky. However, don't give in to the temptation of wearing dark clothes with this nail polish; this color deserves to be shown off. Ivory, beige, and camel colored fabrics all make for a chic juxtaposition. Like most Lippmanns, Stormy Weather is a two-coater. On the trip I put my nails through a lot of wear and tear, and on the fourth day they began to chip. This is why I like bringing my own nail polish to the salon: it means do-it-yourself repair jobs on the spot.

Stormy Weather is a surprising and intriguing color that grabs attention in a "I-don't-really-care" way. I could live in this color from October through March.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Face: Chanel by Lloyd Cassler

Doesn't this face look photoshopped? That is the magic of Chanel in the hands of Lloyd Cassler.

At Best Things in Beauty's recommendation, I made an appointment with Lloyd Cassler of Chanel at Saks Mazza during the Care for Kids charity event. Yesterday evening the place was packed, and despite the chaos swirling around us, Lloyd gave me his undivided attention. Actually, the setting seemed to fit his dynamic style of working. He will quickly and decisively apply something to your face, then step back and freeze like a painter or sculptor as he judges his own work, then step back in and adjust, bringing in other colors and tools as needed, occasionally zooming across the floor to retrieve something himself. I am deaf, and Lloyd readily communicated makeup instructions and tips to me via gestures and notes (it also helps that he's very easy to lip-read!). I walked away with not just lovely Chanel products, but also a wealth of knowledge.

On my face Lloyd used Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 15 in B30 Beige-Sable. He emphasized that I should use this foundation more as a concealer, merely blending down the bridge of my nose and outward along the naso-labial folds, chin, and forehead. My foundation shouldn't be a mask, and indeed Vitalumiere Aqua felt weightless on my skin. I also appreciate the fact that it has mineral SPF in addition to chemical SPF.

I had told Lloyd that I liked a bold red lip, and otherwise to have fun. For my eyes, he chose the Les 4 Ombres Regard Perle Quadra. First he took the bottom two shades on the brush simultaneously and applied them all over the eyelid. Then he took the top two shades, again simultaneously, and blended them along the crease all around the eye orb. Under the brows he laid down the gold shade, then layered the pink shade thickly along the inside of the top lash line, and finally applied the darkest shade to both the top and bottom lash lines.

By the way, I initially misread the darkest shade as a simple black-gray. It wasn't until I looked at other swatches online that I realized it's actually a dark sea-green. It's a lovely, luxurious color. This versatile quad is a good addition to my burgeoning collection.

Before the eyeshadow, he lined my upper lash line with Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Ebene; afterward, he showed me how I could amp the look up for evening by lining my top lash line with Automatic Liquid Eyeliner in Brun. The brown is so dark it looks black at first glance. Lloyd then enhanced my lashes with Inimitable Intense Mascara in Noir, demonstrating his unique technique: first, hold the wand vertically and run it along the very tips of your lashes, then go horizontal and gently brush the top side of your lashes before switching to the bottom side as usual. He only did the upper lashes, and left the bottom lashes alone. Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil in Brun Naturel cleaned up my brows.

For my cheeks, he chose the flattering Joues Contraste in Rose Ecrin. He also cooled down my natural redness with a pale pink-lavender blush, the name of which I didn't catch. For under my eyes and spot treatment, he used Correcteur Perfection in 20 Beige Ivoire; he'd also repurposed it as eyeshadow primer. To finish off my face, he swiped Base Lumiere Illuminating Makeup Base on top of my foundation, explaining that this method lights up the face. Last but not least, he honored my request for a bold lip and took inspiration from the holiday collection: Rouge Allure Famous with Extrait de Gloss Triomphal layered on top, lined with Aqua Crayon Lip Colour Stick in Spice. What a red!

Lloyd Cassler gave me a simple but sophisticated fall/winter look that can easily be adapted to either daytime or evening wear. I swear I didn't touch these photos. It's all Lloyd and Chanel.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nails: Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge & Bruised

If you are a nail polish aficionado, then you know Rescue Beauty Lounge held its much-anticipated Bring it Back pre-orders last weekend. I'm still rather new to the brand, but I adore it already. Two weeks earlier, to celebrate the impending sale, I brought Grunge and Bruised to my favorite nail salon. Upon seeing the combination, my nail technician murmured, "perfect," and got to work.

RBL polishes apply beautifully. The first coat of Grunge rolled onto my fingernails like butter, and we added a second coat mostly out of habit. Under the lamp, the sheen was incredible: it wasn't shiny or shimmery, but as rich as caramel. Seche Vite as a top coat actually took the sheen down a bit. I'm going to have to try RBL's own top coat.

Grunge is a fascinating color. It's a greige that runs the gamut from gray to beige to brown to nude. In certain lighting, I looked as if I had the chicest mannequin hands. My photos, obviously, could capture only a small range.

Indoor lighting, at the salon.
I thought Bruised would look good on my toes, and they turned out to. It may show up as simply plum in my photo, but Bruised is another complex RBL color. It's a mixture of red and brown that, name aside, evokes old blood and nasty bruises. Bruised is a punky, vampy, darkly fleshy color, like dirty cabernet or merlot.

The two colors play off one another well, don't they? RBL polishes are also known for their durability and longevity; in my case, Grunge lasted a full eight days before I got my first, minuscule chip.

Rescue Beauty Lounge in Grunge and Bruised have instantly become some of my favorite fall nail colors.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Face: Le Metier de Beaute Oscar de la Renta & Silk Road Kaleidoscopes

Unexpectedly, I have found myself the lucky owner of a rare Le Metier de Beaute Oscar de la Renta Kaleidoscope.

Yesterday I visited the Le Metier de Beaute counter at Neiman Marcus Mazza in DC simply to see if they had received the new Ken Downing Lip Cremes, Purple Haze and In the Know (reviewed by Messy Wands). They did not, but I hated to leave empty-handed. The sales associate set me up with Bali and Uma Paro, two close-enough lip glosses that will serve in the interim. Since I already was looking at the Bordeaux lipstick and nail lacquer sets by Ken Downing, she swatched on her own hand all three lipsticks from the collection and showed me just how many delicious combinations one could make by layering Bali or Uma Paro on top. I decided I'd also get Wine on the Vine/Bodacious Bordeaux and Red My LIps/Gypsy Rose Me.

I asked about eyes to go with bold berry red lips, a holiday party look of sorts, and the sales associate promptly steered me into a makeup chair. She laid down Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe SPF 20 (I missed the shade number) as foundation, then blushed and contoured with all four shades in the Flawless Face Kaleidoscope. The result was lovely. Starting in on the eyes, she brought out the Silk Road Kaleidoscope, which I already had. I told her as much and said I'd be interested to see how she uses these colors. Perhaps she was determined to impress me with something new, because she then brought out a second kaleidoscope.

This one looked familiar, with its rich creamy red top disc, and when the sales associate told me it was the limited edition Oscar de la Renta palette, I nearly squealed aloud. Apparently this location received only ten of these kaleidoscopes. I had drooled over Best Things in Beauty's swatches, but since the edition was for Fashion's Night out in New York City only, I didn't entertain any ideas of acquiring it myself. And now I was going to see it on my own face!

Below is my reconstruction of the steps taken using the Silk Road and the Oscar de la Renta to achieve my look. Let me preface this with a couple of caveats. 1.) The layered eyeshadows have a depth, richness, and subtlety that my photos absolutely do no justice to. It was pitch dark out by the time I got home, and I spent an hour snapping photos with my iPhone 3G in no fewer than three rooms in an attempt to capture the best lighting conditions. I've included in this post a variety of shots under warm indoor lighting to give you an idea of the chromatic range. Interestingly, the purple-blue-green appears only at a distance; close up, only the brown shades are visible. 2.) The sales associate and I communicated through gestures and a few written notes--I'm deaf--so there are no verbal instructions to accompany these steps. The sales associate had me hold a mirror so I could look at the results in between each step. As a result, I am able to remember fairly well where each shade goes, with only one or two uncertainties. Let's get to it.

1.) Smudge Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne all over eyelid, then blend with brush. Line upper and lower lash line, plus inner lower rim.
2.) Apply Silk Road first shade (Tapestry) along upper and lower lash line.
3.) Apply Silk Road second shade (Damask) along upper and lower lash line.
4.) Apply Silk Road third shade (Ikat) along crease.
5.) Apply Silk Road fourth shade (Brocade) along upper lash line.
6.) Line upper and lower lash line with Liquid Eyeliner in Noir.
7.) Apply Oscar second shade (shimmery champagne highlighter) to inner corner, all the way up to the brow bone.
8.) Apply Oscar fourth shade (neutral pink-peach eyeshadow) to arch, beneath brows.
9.) Apply Oscar second or fourth shade (can't remember, sorry) along upper and lower lash line.
10.) Apply Oscar third shade (smoky navy-green shimmer) along outer half of bottom lash line, and along outer half of crease.
11.) Apply several layers of Anamorphic Lash Mascara in Midnight Blue.
12.) Tidy up brows with Brow Bound Eyebrow Pencil (most likely in Mahogany).
13.) Line lips with Lip Liner in Rose.
14.) Apply Oscar first shade (red lip lacquer) using lip brush.
15.) Layer over lips Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss in Bali.

Ta-dah. As I said, pictures truly do not do justice. The directions are the important part, so that other readers who wish to can recreate the look. (Of course, one can always experiment!) The end result is worth it. Other sales associates kept coming over to us and checking out our progress. Ileea, if I have got her name right, did a remarkable job. This look is meant to be dramatic, perfect for going out to a classy nightclub or a luxe cocktail party. I was so sad I had no place to be that night!

A couple of comments on the quality and performance of the products. The eyeshadows performed beautifully, layering and blending together to achieve a true depth that some other makeup lines can lack. The Oscar de la Renta lip lacquer initially looked shrill under the fluorescent lights, but when I got home and looked at it in more natural lighting, it turned out to be a very classic and wearable blue-leaning red. Because it's a lacquer, it fills in lip lines and smoothes out any imperfections, but it's also very slippery: anything that comes near your lips is going to end up with some red on it! The only product that I didn't care for was the Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe. I felt that it didn't "disappear" on my skin, and that it actually brought out tiny bumps all over my face. However, I am sensitive to chemical SPF, so it may have been a reaction on my skin's part; also, I was wearing mineral SPF moisturizer beneath (Tarte Smooth Operator) and the two products may have not mixed well. I can't recommend this foundation.

Items from the look that I took home with me:
Oscar de la Renta Kaleidoscope, Bali Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss,
Midnight Blue Anamorphic Mascara, Champagne Dualistic Eye Pencil.

Further swatches, for those who may be interested: close-ups by Beauty Moogle Zone of the Oscar de la Renta Kaleidoscope; and swatches of the Silk Road Kaleidoscope by Modesty Brown and Messy Wands.

The whole experience was wonderful, and I learned a lot. I'm going to have fun playing with my Le Metier de Beaute Oscar de la Renta Kaleidoscope.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Lips: NARS Funny Face

Truth: I have nearly thirty tubes of NARS lipsticks. I really should get started on these swatches, shouldn't I?

NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in Funny Face

This is a high-octane, in-your-face pure fuchsia. As obnoxious as the shade is, it works. A hint of strawberry red grounds the fuchsia and gives it a touch of class. You can wear it when you want a strong lip, but don't want to go red. The color really brightens up the face, allowing you to go practically makeup-free.

The application and texture are good--matte, obviously, but not drying--and in fact this particular shade goes on lighter than expected, so I had to build it up with several swipes. I did not have a chance to test the lasting power. Watch out for color transfer! When I took my silk blouse off, some of the lipstick went right along with it. Fortunately, I was able to rescue the blouse.

In short, a fabulous lipstick.

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