Friday, March 30, 2012

Le Metier de Beaute Red Velvet Lip Creme

While we're waiting for the rest (two lip glosses and one eyeliner) of the Cherry Blossom limited edition set to come out, I thought I'd share the sumptuous Le Metier de Beaute Red Velvet Lip Creme.

This may be the ultimate red lip, and it's not even available as a regular purchase. It was marketed as a Neiman Marcus GWP, and I actually passed the event up. It was only when I picked up the Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope at Mazza in DC that Michael Reinhardt dropped Red Velvet into my bag as a thoughtful gesture.

And oh, it's so red. Others have described this as a true red, a tomato red, and I agree. There are virtually no orange- or blue-leaning tones. It's simply a vibrant bolt of red, and as a result it's a bit overwhelming to wear. I apologize for the terribly clashing shirt; I swatched this at the end of the day, and didn't bother to change. Red Velvet would look insane with a white blouse and a sweeping updo.

The texture is rich and glossy, like an extremely decadent lipstick. I was able to get a relatively steady line with the doe-foot applicator, and the color didn't migrate or feather. Several hours later, after a meal, I still had a beautiful deep red stain.

It's so red! The next closest thing I have is Dior Ara Red Lipstick. Le Metier de Beaute really should make Red Velvet a permanent addition to their line. Failing that, you may still be able to find one squirreled away under a beauty counter somewhere.

What a marvelous red.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review of TATCHA Skincare

This evening I went in for my regular European facial at the Art of Beauty, and now my skin feels splendid. Since then, I've been lounging around the apartment in pajamas and eating chocolates. It's a good time to talk about another luxurious skincare experience that I've had recently: TATCHA, inspired by the geisha's ancient beauty routine.

I introduced the line in an earlier feature, and over the past weekend, I tried out the deluxe sampler set. I approached this with modest expectations; I'm quite content with my current regime, which works for my sensitive skin, and I receive compliments on the soft and youthful appearance of my face. Still, my skin could be better, especially when it comes to my pores. So why don't I try TATCHA?

Let me go straight to the end: TATCHA skincare is potent and delivers the "baby-pure skin of the geisha" that it promises.

The One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil is a sweet-smelling oil that you rub onto your dry face to remove makeup and also to condition dry skin. It absolutely does not strip the skin of essential oils. When I returned to my beloved argan oil cleanser from Kahina Giving Beauty, in fact, my skin felt dry and tight in comparison!

The Polishing Rice Enzyme Powder may be my favorite product out of the line, because the results are so clear to the naked eye. You pour a tablespoonful of the dry powder into wet hands, then rub them together to create a paste. Using this for the first time, I was shocked at how gentle the paste felt on my skin, and I thought that the exfoliating action mustn't be working. Then I looked into the mirror and saw smooth and glowing skin. More exciting for me, I also saw smaller pores. Nothing else has ever made my pores shrink so dramatically. After two days, I could no longer say that I had enlarged pores on my nose. Of course, now that I have switched back to my old regime, they are beginning to grow again. For the sake of my pores alone, I must have a vat of this polishing powder. I tried both the Classic and Gentle versions, and I can say that the Classic is perfect for twice-daily use on even my reactive skin. Alternatively, I like to use Classic at night and Gentle in the morning.

The Deep Brightening Serum is similarly marvelous. A pump or two of this milky serum absorbs into the skin weightlessly, and delivers a massive amount of hydration; in the first few seconds, also, it delivers an intense warming sensation. The brightening effect was not dramatic, but the company says it takes four to six weeks of regular use for a difference to be noticed. I like this serum simply for the remarkable hydration that it delivers.

The Moisture Rich Silk Cream is the final step in the routine, and it seals all that moisture in to create a protective barrier around the skin. Amazingly, it is as weightless as the serum, and I felt like I had nothing on my face at all. However, I merely had to stroke my cheek to realize that TATCHA skincare had made my skin the softest and smoothest it has ever been. Geisha beauty secrets, indeed.

The only issue I could find was that the products didn't improve the inherent redness in my skin. Most products aggravate the redness, and it's been a lifelong battle to find ones that are kind to my skin. TATCHA skincare made my face porcelain-smooth, but not porcelain-white. Is this a deal-breaker? I'm not sure yet. I haven't used up my samples yet -- it looks like they are meant to last about a week -- so I'm going to continue experimenting. If nothing else, I know I'm getting the Polishing Classic Rice Enzyme Powder for my pores.

Update 3/28: This morning, I still felt great from the facial. I didn't want to bring my skin back down to earth, so to speak, with my regular old products, so I returned to TATCHA. I followed all the steps, going with the Gentle version of the Polishing Powder, then applied my regular tinted moisturizer which has that all-important SPF. The result was flawless skin. The Silk Cream is meant to double as primer for makeup, so it anchored my tinted moisturizer perfectly. My face looked lighter and brighter, due to the serum, and I could find no bumps or pores anywhere except for my nose. TATCHA preserved, and enhanced, the results of my facial. This is the game-changer I was looking for. I need the entire line now. I'm going to cry when my samples run out.

TATCHA skincare delivers on what it promises, and the clean yet luxurious simplicity of its ritual makes for a transformative experience, day and night. I thought my skin was soft, until I tried TATCHA! The line is currently available on the company's website and at Barneys.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

From TATCHA Skincare, with Love

Best Things in Beauty is currently hosting a forum on beauty samples and their usefulness or lack thereof; one point that hit me was that single-serving skin care packets give a user nearly no information on a product's performance or suitability, since our skin requires a regimen. As things would have it, I've just opened my box of samples from TATCHA, and I think the company has solved the sample issue brilliantly.

Recently I featured TATCHA's new skincare line, and pointed out that they offer a deluxe sample set for $49. When they say deluxe, they mean deluxe.

Unwrapping purple paper, you find a sachet made from elegant rice paper and a beautiful booklet.

Inside the sachet is a surfeit of goodies. The packet of blotting papers alone normally costs $12. And the containers are so generously sized.

Really, these are travel-sized. If I decide to get the full-sized containers, I still would order extra sample sets for traveling with. Speaking of full-sized, the package also arrived with a beautiful rice-paper envelope containing a personalized letter with all the information I could need, including a customer service number.

At the bottom of the letter, the CEO of TATCHA had thoughtfully handwritten a note with a code for 15% off any full-sized item should I choose to purchase one. Now that's service!

Skincare shouldn't be just an obligation, but a luxury. TATCHA has this down cold. More high-end beauty companies could afford to follow its example.

Update: My review of the line is now up!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

RC Apothecary Grand Opening & Scotch Naturals Vignette

Another bit of local news: tomorrow evening, RC Apothecary is holding its grand opening.

Located inside vintage home and modern apparel shop Silk & Burlap, RC Apothecary consists of a glass counter stuffed with Paul & Joe makeup, and a wall cabinet overflowing with skincare and body products, one brand being Persephenie. There is also the cutest Scotch Naturals display.

I had heard of this non-toxic line, but online photos do the colors no justice. In person, the miniature bottles are like vibrant gems. The design is clean, simple, and smart.

I wanted to take home the entire collection, but contented myself with just three. From left to right, To Hell with Swords & Garter (what a name!), Celtic Mix (a wonderful creamy pistachio), and Stone Fence. I also got the base coat and the top coat; I'm curious to see how this line performs. Very well, I hope, because I really could fall in love with each and every color.

Tomorrow evening, I plan on checking out RC Apothecary in more detail. There's also going to be wine. I don't need further convincing.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NARS Dolce Vita Lipstick

Scores of women have declared NARS Dolce Vita their MLBB (My Lips But Better) shade, and I'm one of them.

As a lipstick, Dolce Vita is such a simple concept. It's a sheer dusty rose that instantly pulls together any look.

For comparison, below are my bare lips.

My lips naturally contain very little pigment, and I can't leave the house without putting a bit of color on them first. Dolce Vita is perfect for when I want to look warm and polished without being too obvious about wearing lipstick.

Another comparison, the first one bare and the second one with Dolce Vita. A big difference, isn't it?

I have a very large lipstick wardrobe, and this shade sees the most use. It's always in my bag.

NARS Dolce Vita is like a classic neutral cashmere sweater: lovely and timeless.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Smooch! Studio Two for Tuesday

I know what's in my forecast for tomorrow: new lipstick.

Smooch! Studio is a tiny boutique in downtown Frederick that does custom, green makeup; and it's running a two for one promo on lipstick and lipliner, valid only until 6 PM Tuesday. This is a good time for me to check out the place. I'll let you know which colors I get.

And for you out-of-towners? They ship.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Face, with Le Metier de Beaute Cherry Blossom Eye Kaleidoscope

Spring is in the air, and Le Metier de Beaute Cherry Blossom Eye Kaleidoscope is the perfect accompaniment. Just look at this face.

Michael Reinhardt has designed a kaleidoscope of subtle, fresh, and exquisite eye colors. I must repeat the last adjective. Exquisite.

Best Things in Beauty has gorgeous swatches, so my goal here is to present one way to wear them. I followed the simple directions written out by Michael:

Could it be any easier? When I washed the peach-sand shade over my eyelid, my breath caught in my throat. The color blends in completely with my skin, but it leaves behind the most beautiful shimmer. The green went over this, lending the slightest mint-green brightness. The pink looks bold in the pan, but it is extremely sheer; I had to build it up a bit to see any effect on my lid. I also swept it along the brow bone, per Charlestongirl's suggestion. The bottom shade is a soft chocolate, and with it I loosely lined my top lash line. I then applied the same color to my crease, in the process probably overdoing it. I like a dramatic eye. The overall effect is still gentle enough for a bright spring day.

I also really like how this eye looks with my glasses on. I wonder if Michael took them into account when writing down my directions!

I would not put anything past Michael. The man is a genius in both color and application. Just look at his Capitol Kaleidoscope. The Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope is vibrant in the pan, and translates to a soft shimmer of sheer color on the eyes.

I defined and lengthened my top lashes with Dior DiorShow Mascara in Mitzah, a sparkling tawny brown -- perfect for springtime. My cheeks received a flush of pink from By Terry Rose De Rose Sheer Liquid Blush in 1 Fresh Rose, and for my lips I layered Le Metier de Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss in Dubai over NARS Sheer Lipstick in Dolce Vita. This is the first time I've tried this lip combination, and I'm particularly pleased by it. (My base was simply Tarte Smooth Operator SPF 20 Tinted Moisturizer in 04 Agent over Rodin Olio Lusso.) 

Missed NARS Dolce Vita in this photo, but a blog feature is coming soon.
This face was a wonderful discovery for me; all the elements worked together perfectly. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the rest of this limited-edition set, a brown eyeliner and two lip glosses. Michael was quite clear with me on this point, and he says the glosses are pink and peach, respectively. These should arrive around the beginning of April.

Le Metier de Beaute Cherry Blossom Eye Kaleidoscope may be limited edition, but it feels like the perfect choice for spring.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Spotlight on TATCHA Skincare

The article in Vogue caught my eye. Just one page, it heralded the debut of TATCHA's new skincare line. Their Aburatorigami gold-pressed blotting papers are sheer perfection, so I was intrigued despite the semi-mystical copy text about skincare formulated from ancient geisha beauty secrets.

What convinced me that the line had potential was its use of rice bran, with which I have had an excellent experience via Komenuka Bijin. Could TATCHA's formula stand on its own? Here's what's in its HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex:

Green Tea Complete DNA Extract—extremely rich in EGCG, 14 times more potent than traditional green tea extracts and 5 times more potent than Vitamin C in protecting against UV-induced oxidative damage, which is a leading contributor to premature skin aging.
Okinawa Red Algae Extract—a vital source of Beterhelin, a natural polysaccharide proven to enhance the skin’s barrier function for long lasting moisture retention and texture improvement.
Japanese Rice Bran Extract—prized for centuries as a rich source of inositol, a multitasking active which is at once a powerful anti-oxidant and nourishing moisturizer.

In case the reader is not sufficiently impressed, TATCHA provides a helpful diagram on its website.

The line itself is streamlined, however, with a few curated products. There is a cleanser, three varieties of an exfoliator, a serum, and a cream. The jars and bottles are designed with an elegant Zen simplicity.

TATCHA skincare is currently available only at Barneys. The complete four-piece set costs $440, and I imagined I would have to admire this line from afar. Then I discovered the line is also sold directly through the TATCHA website; and they are offering a generously sized sampler set for $49. I have one on its way to me right now.

I don't know for how long this special offer is going to run, so if you're at all interested, then I suggest taking advantage of it now. The line is beautiful, luxurious, and sexy. I look forward to testing it. The geisha, after all, knew what they were about.

Update: I have now tried the sampler set, and here is my review. Does this line live up to the hype?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nails: Rescue Beauty Lounge Purple Haze

Rescue Beauty Lounge Purple Haze is a sexy, greyed-out purple.

Direct sunlight.

This is a medium purple creme that manages to be simultaneously pastel and neon. It plays tricks on your eyes. I can't decide whether to call it lavender or violet. Either way, Purple Haze is a strong color and will grab attention (and compliments).

At an angle to sunlight.
Application was wonderful initially, but five minutes later I discovered that the polish had bubbled badly. None of my other RBL polishes have given me this problem, so it may have been a fluke. I still love the indefinable color.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Purple Haze is a twist on purple nails for spring.


Monday, March 12, 2012

John Galliano Fall 2012

Now that the play is ended, I have all this free time back to myself. I've been catching up on the runway collections. John Galliano Fall 2012 caught my eye for its opulent schoolgirl fantasy. There's nothing revolutionary about the collection -- some of the girls look like they stepped straight out of a magical boarding school anime series -- but I appreciate how Bill Gaytten always swathes the female form in beautiful and precise textures.

Needless to say, I love the feather caps.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lips: NARS Niagara

I despise Daylight Savings Time, but I must admit today does feel like the first day of spring. The sun was out, the air was mild and fresh, and I was able to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. To mark the occasion, I tried out NARS Niagara. It's definitely a spring/summer color.

A bright, deep pink with a dash of coral, Niagara makes your lips pop. It's a bit too warm for me, actually, at least right after my winter hibernation. I imagine it would look gorgeous with a summer tan and a bit of bronzer.

Direct sunlight.

The formula is one of the smoothest and most emollient from NARS that I've tried: it is a delight to swipe across the lips. Lasting power is good, and it fades to a strong stain. Despite its boldness, Niagara is a low-maintenance color. Again, perfect for those summer days at the beach.

In the shade, because I kept squinting in the sunlight..

NARS Niagara is an easy, happy lip color.

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