Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Eve Face with Le Metier de Beaute Bauhaus Kaleidoscope

It's not New Year's Eve makeup unless it's shiny and metallic. Le Metier de Beaute Bauhaus Kaleidoscope might be the kit for the ultimate metallic smoky eye.

All four shades in this limited-edition palette are intensely pigmented with a beautiful burnished finish. The Beauty Look Book has spectacular swatches alongside comparisons. Here I'm going to focus on my replication/interpretation of the video tutorial by Mikey Castillo on Zuneta. Pulling the look into a more dramatic direction ended in a captivating face perfect for evening parties where you want to outshine everyone in the dim, crowded room.

I followed most of the video tutorial's steps, tweaking a couple of them. First I drew Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Noir along the waterline and the upper lash line, then used a fingertip to smear the black over the lower half of the eyelid. From that point on, it was simply a matter of layering all four shades, top to bottom, onto the eyelid. I was careful not to go beyond the crease since these colors really are pigmented. Layered, they morph into a refined, grown-up metallic brown.

The video tutorial suggested softening the black-lined waterline by also applying some shades along the bottom lash line. I applied all four, and the compression meant a darker color. So I went back and added more of the final shade, a deep gunmetal color, along the outer edge of the eye. I was pleased by the resulting gradient. In doing the eyes, my goal was to keep everything close to the lash lines and not to let anything migrate upward. In other words, stay horizontal: there's enough drama going on already with the metallics.

My upper lashes received definition from Le Metier de Beaute Anamorphic Lash Mascara in Black, then I moved on to the rest of the face. I tried out RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Promise along the cheekbones, and instantly fell in love with the shimmering salmon shade. It brings so much light and warmth, it's positively luminous.

My lips turned out unnecessarily complicated, for I lacked the medium rose shade shown in the video tutorial. I did have NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Transeurope Express, though, which is a deep almost-red rose. I applied a couple of layers, blotted, and then layered on top Le Metier de Beaute Lip Creme in Creme Caramel. The latter's frosty finish was too metallic, so I had to throw on a third layer: Le Metier de Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss in Cannes. Phew.


This look can easily be turned up or down by intensifying or de-intensifying the Bauhaus eye shades, and by switching around lip and cheek colors. My own interpretation is admittedly over the top, but I figure I have the bone structure to pull it off. And the little black dress, and the heels . . .

Have a wonderful Happy New Year's Eve, everyone.


Sunday's Mask: Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Deep Moisture Mask

Half the fun of New Year's Eve is prepping for it. Start the night of the 30th, and apply Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Deep Moisture Mask at bedtime. Your face will still be thanking you when the big shiny ball drops.

This mask is a serious indulgence. The directions assure you that you're supposed to use this at the end of your usual nighttime skincare regimen, and then to leave it overnight; you don't need to swap anything out or rinse anything off. It's an additional luxurious layer for you to swaddle your skin in while you sleep. The ingredients are a cornucopia of botanical ingredients based on the five elemental palettes of the Tao Wheel with the purpose of "resetting" your skin. Naturally, I fell madly in love with the concept. Fortunately, the action is superb too.

The product itself is a clear gel within which tiny white spheres are suspended. These emollient capsules break apart upon rubbing to release fresh ingredients into the skin. A little goes a long way, which is a good thing since the tube is smaller than my hand. The gel glides across my skin, only to immediately melt into it without disturbing my thick night cream. My face feels cooled and refreshed, and there is a luminous glow to my skin. The whole effect is subtle yet penetrative.

In the morning I wake up with soft, smooth, healthy-looking skin. I also always rub a generous amount into my neck and decolletage. Every use of this mask is a special occasion: I've found that I like to pull this out on nights that I use one of my rinse-off clay-based masks, such as Tracie Martyn Enzyme Exfoliant.

Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Deep Moisture Mask is effective skincare, but more importantly to me, it imparts a sense of true well-being that makes it worth the $90 price tag. The Koh Gen Do product page has a wealth of further information on this mask, including the full ingredient list. Whether or not the Tao Wheel is a valid skincare principle, this mask works and I adore it.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Face with Guerlain Liu Palette

The Guerlain Liu Eye & Lip Calligraphy Palette is rich and sumptuous, like the opera it is named after. With this, you can create an elegant, dramatic look for any party.

Guerlain Liu comes in a sleek palette within a velvet pouch. Lenallure has dreamy shots and swatches. Clearly, this palette would make a wonderful gift for the holidays.

I followed the "Calligraphy" look laid out in the enclosed little booklet. (Only now do I realize that I missed the "beauty mark" at the end of the cat-eye tip.) The top shade is so light that it barely showed up as a brow bone highlighter. The second shade is my favorite, with its rich gold-orange effects. The third shade is a subtle shimmery gray-taupe, while the black shade works as a smooth eyeliner. I used my own brushes to apply the shades, and added the first shade as a highlighter to the inner corners of my eyes. Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Noir was used to line my inner rim, and a couple of swipes of Dior DiorShow Mascara in Mitzah filled out my lashes with sparkling brown. 


The final look was surprisingly understated. The colors are luxurious, but semi-sheer. You look like you're going to the opera, and not performing in one! What I love about the "Calligraphy" look is that you are at your most stunning whenever you blink, and the people around you will appreciate the unexpected flash of beauty.


The palette contains two creamy reds for a bold lip, one leaning cool pink and the other leaning warm orange. I chose the latter, of course. The enclosed lip brush is serviceable and allows you to apply with precision. On the lips, the warm red turns out to have quite a bit of pink which makes it very wearable. It wears well into the night, too, with a moisturizing formula that fades evenly.

I applied Rouge Bunny Rouge Cheeks in Bloom Blush Wand in Rubens along my cheekbones for a baroque sangria-tinged flush, and this completed the look.

The Guerlain Liu Palette is a beautiful, tightly curated collection of colors that gives you a classic party look with an Asian flair. Get this one before it's too late.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Gloss d'Armani in #405 (Wild Rose) and Pink #508 (Blush) from Spring 2012

I procrastinate so much on swatches sometimes. Case in point: these Armani lip glosses came out for spring 2012 and I tried them on last winter, fully a year ago. The sweater I'm wearing in these photos look so cozy, I felt like I ought to bring this series out just before Christmas.

Gloss d'Armani Rouge #405 (Wild Rose) is a stunning rosewood. The rose color is just this side of rusty, which actually makes this gloss more appropriate for autumn than spring. It reminds me of Chanel Troublant from fall 2012, though Armani's gloss has more sparkle.

Then there is Gloss d'Armani Pink #508 (Blush) which is perhaps the prettiest, barest pink I can get away with wearing. The pastel pink is blue-leaning, and I really like how on me it turns into a twist on the nude lip. This shade would look amazing on truly fair-skinned women (I have olive undertones, and don't tan only because I stay out of the sun).

The Gloss d'Armani formula is my favorite. It is slightly sticky, as opposed to slick, and plumps up your lips beautifully. The subtle sparkle and shine make it clear that this is a lady's gloss, not a teenybopper's gloss. How wrong is it that these are the only two glosses I own from the line? Must rectify this soon.


Monday, December 17, 2012

P.S. Chocolate Sheepskin

Allow me to make an addendum to my Animal Luxury post. This is the only bag I can possibly want this winter. Sheepskin and glazed chocolate leather? And in beautifully proportioned "uptown ladylike handheld or downtown hip crossbody"? Yes please, very much. The Dean satchel by EAYRSLEE satisfies both my wool and leather cravings simultaneously in a traditional yet edgy package.

Surely, what could be more perfect to wear with my infallible white sweaters?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Animal Luxury: Discoveries of Fur, Horn, Leather, and Feather

Animal Luxury

Animal Luxury by creatureofdesign featuring travel handbags

Wearing a wool sweater or carrying around a leather bag can become so routine that we forget we are in tactile contact with an animal element. The above items reverse that by bringing the organic creature to the forefront in such a way that is impossible to ignore. Counter-clockwise from top left:


Ruma horn bangle by Kora - Made in Kenya from recycled Ankole cow horn, these bracelets glow with an inner luminosity. The brass and leather fittings make these bangles earthy enough to wear in wintertime, preferably with an oversized cream-colored sweater that has the slouchy sleeves pushed up.

Wool "mathematics hat" by Dries Van Noten - The frayed fleecy yarns give this structured hat such an eye-catching fluffy look that you are instantly reminded you are wearing wool (alpaca/merino blend). Tone this hat down by putting on a minimalist collarless black wool long coat.

Porcupine quill bib by K/LLER COLLECTION - This necklace made from brass quills and actual porcupine quills is rugged drama. Wear it under a leather biker jacket.

Stingray cufflinks by Collette Ishiyama - I didn't know I needed cufflinks until I saw this bronze and textured stingray leather version. I would clip them onto my chambray buttondown and push the sleeves slightly up my forearms; or I'd just stick them onto the collar.

Large black haircalf portfolio by Hare+Hart - The bold strip of black haircalf instantly elevates this leather portfolio into the style stratosphere.

Victorian feather mink fur button bootie by Fendi - A prim silhouette with outrageous embellishment, this bootie manages to hit on the leather, fur, and feather fronts simultaneously. Style it with slim dark jeans and an ivory turtleneck sweater.

Chieko deer clutch by Proenza Schouler - If you're feeling particularly daring, pair this brilliantly patterned deer fur clutch with the Fendi booties.

Flux fur jacket by Helmut Lang - Colored fur trim can be obnoxious sometimes, like yelling, "Look at me! I'm wearing fur!" Black fur on black leather, conversely, draws the eye and the hand to textures.

Baseball sweater with mink by Reed Krakoff - Another tone-on-tone design with fur. This sweater is lusciously slouchy, and the mink sleeves are just playful enough for a lazy weekend in the city.

And finally, in the center, goat fur "frozen scarf" by Ann Demeulemeester - Although made of goat fur, this scarf is so airy it looks as if it could have been woven from feathers. The gray and brown hues evoke winter perfectly.


Which is your favorite? Do you have any "wild kingdom" additions to this collection? Is anyone going to sic PETA on me? I was a vegetarian for six years. Go figure.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

City Weekend Look, and a Polyvore First

Weekend Set 1

Weekend Set 1 by creatureofdesign featuring a color block sweater

Why did I not get a Polyvore account sooner? Well, it looked more complicated than it really is. But now I see the possibilities and am excited by them.

For my first test drive, I went with a low-key weekend look. Something I would wear around Dupont Circle on a mild winter day. I pulled up images from the Polyvore bank without worrying about their origins or prices. Actually, I own (and got on sale) everything in this set, except for the Maison Martin Marigela ring (which I am now tempted to get). The sweater and leather pants are Helmut Lang, while the suede boots are Ann Demeulemeester. I have the Proenza Schouler PS1 in medium.

Moral of this set? There's no such thing as too much leather.


Friday, December 14, 2012

My Hangover Cure: Komenuka Bijin & Sunday Riley

We had a celebration last evening at Volt and I overindulged in red wine. The next thing I know, it's two in the morning and I'm in bed with stockings still on and a full face of makeup still on. Must save my skin!

Prevention is the first thing. I dash into the bathroom and take out a Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloth. This is the only face wipe I use. It effectively removes my makeup, sure, but the mineral-rich water and essential herbs also infuse my skin with enough healing moisture that I can pass on applying any creams afterward. This makes it an absolute time- and life-saver. I really ought to keep a pack on my bedside stand during the holiday season.

Then I drink three glasses of water (prevention!) and fall back into bed, bare-faced. In the morning I drink some more water and, after a thorough cleansing, assess the damage: my skin is dull, rough, and uneven. What I want to do now is revitalize my skin with nourishing ingredients and swaddle it in deep moisture. And I need to do this in a short window of time.

To the rescue comes Komenuka Bijin Massage Cream Mask. A semi-translucent white gel that aims to "rejuvenate the skin and even the skin tone," this cream mask is full of marvelous ingredients like rice bran, jojoba oil, olive oil, silk powder, yeast extract, sake, and mushroom. The directions tell you to massage the cream mask onto your face and neck in upward strokes for five minutes; then to add another layer over the face and neck without massaging and to leave in for five minutes. Rinse it all off.

The result is brighter, happier looking skin. Nothing dramatic, but my face likes the massage and the nutritious ingredients. The English label on the tube states "Natural Kobo Massage Pack." I ordered mine from Beautyhabit, though this product doesn't seem to be listed right now.

While I'm waiting with this mask on my face for the required five minutes, I exfoliate my parched, chapped lips with Sara Happ Brown Sugar Lip Scrub.

The final step is to seal my skin in with Sunday Riley Juno Transformative Lipid Serum. Two full pumps of this stuff drenches my skin in glowing moisture. My face plumps up right before my face. My nasolabial folds fill out and the tiny wrinkle above my left eyebrow vanishes.

With this ten-minute routine, I almost look better post-hangover than I did pre-hangover. I can proceed with my regular skincare routine and face the day. 

*Thanks to Product Doctor, who gave me the idea for a "hangover cure" post.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Face, featuring Le Metier de Beaute Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope

The kaleidoscopes from Le Metier de Beaute are foolproof. The colors are so dynamic, the pigments so forgiving, that you can throw them onto your eyelid any which way and always come out looking fabulous. Le Metier de Beaute Eye Kaleidoscope in Nouvelle Vague allows you to easily create a soft pink-neutral eye or a dramatic smoky eye. For this look, I went with the second.

Nouvelle, the first shade, is a "sheer mink negative." It barely shows up on my skin tone, and works as a brow highlighter. The second shade is named Gamine and is described as a "satin pink celluloid." This translates into an opaque shimmering cool pink. The third shade, Icon, is exactly as advertised, a "silky matte Parisian mauve." It's a rather dark color. The final shade is called Fin, and is an epic "smoldering black carbon." It is intense but smooth. (Both Temptalia and Messy Wands have superb swatches.)

To create this look, I washed the first shade all over the eyelid and browbone. The second shade went on the eyelid up to the crease, and the third shade was restricted to the lower eyelid. The black shade, Fin, was tricky yet easy to work with. It's so pigmented that even a tiny amount can go overboard, but it moves around and blends effortlessly. I lined part of my upper lashline with Fin, then blended it upward, adding a little extra to the crease. Then over this, I added more of the first two shades to the center of the eyelid. I also lightly drew all four shades down along the lower lashline. Voila.

To finish off the eyes, I lined the lower waterline with Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Noir. My upper lashes received Le Metier de Beaute Anamorphic Lash Mascara in Black. This is my favorite mascara: it simply enhances your lashes without making it obvious that you're wearing mascara. I call it MLBB (My Lashes But Better).

My cheeks gained a pop of color from Le Metier de Beaute Creme Fresh Tint in Mystique. I had been anticipating a misty wash of pink, and instead got a bubblegum pink so bright it was practically fluorescent. At a distance my cheekbones have a pretty flush, but up close you can see the unnatural cast to them: Mystique is not a color I would ever blush in real life. I suspect blondes could pull this shade off, however. If I were to redo this look, I might go with a sheer luminizer such as the pink Aura or white Halo crushed pearl & 24k gold leaf balms from Belmacz, both of which I just ordered the other day.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick in Dark Juices is described as "shiny, sheer blue-toned plum, shimmering with silver." On my lips, this shade is an intriguing multi-dimensional copper mauve that echoes the eyes beautifully. The shimmer made it difficult for me to capture a good close-up. Both Best Things in Beauty and Perilously Pale both have spectacular natural-light swatches.

The base for my face was merely Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 over Visoanska VV5 Solution. Nouvelle Vague is a lovely, classic kaleidoscope from Le Metier de Beaute. It makes even an amateur like me look good.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Design Gem: Jacob Albee Meteorite Collection

Last week, I was holiday shopping around downtown Frederick and ducked into McGuire Gallery. There I found jewelry made by Jacob Albee from precious metals and Gideon meteorite. The sleek, polished lines interspersed with the striations of raw meteorite captivated me.

The earrings are especially innovative. The meteorite is sliced into fan shapes, then attached to loops of gold. One end of the loop hinges outward so that it can be worn as a hoop earring.

This collection is titled "Heaven and Earth." Most apropos.

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