June 25, 2012

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Capri Summer 2012 - Bronze Sands Pure Color Cyber Metallic Palette

With the Fall collection from Estée Lauder looming on the horizon (preview pics at Smartologie), I feel extra bad that I slacked on getting this post up earlier. You know, when it was still available to purchase. This palette is pretty much sold out everywhere, but if you do come across it in a retail location, JUMP ON IT. It is a) beautiful, b) fetching extortionist prices on ebay and amazon, and c) the perfect palette to complement this fantastic summer weather. I debated whether to even put this review up, but I figured the high collectible status might merit some extra swatches circulating out there in the wilds of the web.

So, without further ado, the Bronze Sands palette from the Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Capri Collection for Summer 2012:

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Capri Summer 2012 Bronze Sands Pure Color Cyber Metallic Palette

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Capri Summer 2012 Bronze Sands Pure Color Cyber Metallic Palette

Yeah. It's pretty damn gorgeous. I wasn't sure if I loved the rippled sand effect when I saw the pictures online, but in person, it works.

The texture and finish is exactly the same as that of the Cyber eyeshadow singles I've reviewed before - that tribrid finish that can be used wet or dry. The cream is the sheerest of the five when used dry, the brown the richest. All of the shades become more opaque and more metallic when used wet. They all do best applied over a primer to prevent fading, and I would add that you need to be careful when blending. The texture is so incredibly silky that they can easily blend into a muddy mess if you're overly vigorous.

But...is this a palette that is worth hunting down, or paying exorbitant prices for on ebay?

For the quality and aesthetic appeal, it might be. However, if you have been keeping on top of the recent releases from EL, then chances are you probably already own a couple of these shades in a different format.

The cream, brown and gold shades are the three that don't have any dupes in the past or current line-up of Cyber shadows. The brown is very similar to Cyber Copper, but richer and warmer in tone.

If you already own Topaz Chameleon and Cyber Teal, then you will find these shades to be a repeat.

What I love about the finish on these is how strongly metallic they read, regardless of the light. In the swatches below you can see differences, but that strong gleam and shimmer shows up even in murky indoors lighting. In soft, incandescent light, they are STUNNING.

In indirect natural light.

Indirect natural light, different angle.

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Capri Summer 2012 Bronze Sands Pure Color Cyber Metallic Palette
Full sunlight.
Artificial light.
I can't do my usual review breakdown, as this is not an item that is currently available. I will say that I do love the tribrid finish, and find this palette to be perfect for this time of year, when a higher level of gleam works beautifully with tanned, dewy skin. It's not strictly speaking a versatile palette, since the finish on all the shades is identical, but it's one that rounds out a collection nicely.

June 15, 2012

Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani Friends and Family Sales

Yves Saint Laurent has amended their Friends and Family sale:

Also, Giorgio Armani Beauty is ALSO running a Friends and Family sale. I think it's time to stock up on some Eyes to Kill. Yup.

June 13, 2012

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

Be still my heart.

I am going to be upfront with y'all that I cannot be objective about this collection. I'm a nut for vintage styling, and I freakin' LOVE Mad Men - the simultaneously sympathetic and loathsome characters, the exquisite period detailing, the precise balance of pathos and humor, and, of course, the pure masculine glory that is Don Draper.

When Estée Lauder came out with this collection, it was love at first sight. The packaging is just sublime, and I am going to conserve the boxes to store along with the actual product.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

They really outdid themselves with the period-authentic details, while keeping the overall feel fresh and modern. The outer packaging has that mix of pale blue/aqua and gold that calls to mind Palm Springs or Palm Beach, circa 1962, without being too precious.

The Creme Rouge in Evening Rose is a gorgeous, heavy and very, very blingy, with a blue stone on the push-clasp. The kind of thing that inspires any excuse to use in public.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection
Mad Men Limited Edition Creme Rouge in Evening Rose

The lipstick in Cherry is a smaller size, which for the price might seem outrageous, but it is accurate for the period.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection lipstick cherry
Mad Men Limited Edition Lipstick in Cherry

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection lipstick cherry
Size comparison: Cherry below,
a standard GWP-packaged Estée Lauder lipstick above.

Both items are actually a lot less red than I was expecting, with the lipstick being a very clear red with a strong pink undertone, almost rasberry-ish, while the Creme Rouge is beautiful bright rose. I think very warm complexions might have a hard time pulling these off, but they are worth a try if a counter near you has any testers.

With my coloring (light skin, dark eyes, brownish-blond hair), they're pretty damn perfect. The kind of makeup that looks crisp, clean and pretty with just a touch of mascara.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

The lipstick is an opaque, satin finish cream that applies with a lot of pigmentation on the first swipe. It doesn't have any detectable shimmer, but retains a certain glossiness. I wouldn't call it hydrating, but it is very comfortable on the lips, and wears very well. Like all reds, it stains and therefore lasts longer than the average - up to lunch with no problem. And then you can just whip out the Creme Rouge compact to reapply, and be wonderfully chic about it. ;)

The Creme Rouge is not the usual cream-to-powder concoction. Evoking its ancestry, this rouge is wonderfully creamy and dewy, and retains a soft glow even after it's worked into the skin. It also has a very fine shimmer that is barely apparent, but there. If you are concerned about aggravating the look of oily skin, or just don't enjoy a glowier finish, then this is probably not going to rock you boat. I do think it can be a very beautiful, fresh and vibrant look though, and in the summer, over tanned skin - I think it's just stunning.

It can be applied as is from the pan with the fingers, and blended in for a more dense application. However, I do prefer doing a more sheered out version using the Real Techniques contour brush (probably my favorite brush for cream blushes).

And it can also be used as a lip product. With the creamier finish, it actually feels very nice on the lips, and dries to a satin finish. (Actually, I think it might be a very similar formulation to the one featured in the MAC Casual Colour Collection.)

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatchesEstée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatches

In each picture: Creme Rouge on the left, Lipstick on the right. Indirect natural light for both, at different angles.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatches

Picture on the left is under artificial light, the one on the right is in full sunlight.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatchesEstée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatches

The Creme Rouge blended out, in indirect natural light on the left, full sunlight on the right. 
You can see more of the shimmer in the sunlit picture.

Availability: Available on the Bloomingdale's site, on the Estée Lauder site, and perhaps at some counters. Unfortunately it's not available in Canada, however the US site will ship to here. The lipstick is 25$ USD, the Creme Rouge is 40$ USD.

Pros: Incredible vintage packaging. Beautiful colors that are both period-appropriate and modern-use friendly. Creamy, blendable and pigmented textures on both items. The Mad Men tie-in, if that's your thing. 

Cons: Difficult to locate and acquire, small size of the lipstick is incongruous with the price. May be difficult for warmer complexions to carry off.

(I purchased both these items from the Estée Lauder website.)

June 11, 2012

Clarins Warehouse Sale

In the post previous to this I mentioned the Clarins warehouse sale that just passed. This was my first time going to this event, and my general impressions are mixed. I would consider it comparable to the l'Oréal sale versus the Lise Watier sale, in that the selection is very hit-and-miss - they seem to have mostly skincare and perfumes, especially sets, and very little makeup aside from recently discontinued products and past limited editions (and very, very few of the latter). I went on the FnF day before the general public days, so I imagine the selection just got worse, as the employees told me they did not restock. The lines were long but not unbearable - about 30 minutes or so.

That said, there were a few nice finds, and the prices were generally very good, between 50% to 75% off retail. I will definitely go next time, mostly because a Clarins SA recently told me that the mono eyeshadows are being discontinued this fall (SOB!) and I want to load up if they end up at the sale.

I'm putting up some pictures of my haul with price points, as well as a few quick and dirty swatches for some of the items, to give you an idea if this might be worth your time.

So. The makeup selection was paltry, but they did have all of their glosses in the old packaging. They're terrific, so I grabbed a few. Their current in-store versions are 20$ CAD, and these were 8$.

Left to right: Colour Quench Lip Balm in #15, #13, #2, #17

They only had a couple of LE palettes, including the Smoky Passion quartet that Rae from the Notice has blogged about. (I haven't had the time to swatch these yet.) Their palettes are usually around 42$ CAD. This was 13$.

Smokey Passion Eye Quartet Mineral Palette #07

They didn't have much in the way of staples, but they did have the Instant Smooth Line Correcting Concentrate, which was recently featured in a Pixiwoo video, so I pounced on that. As far as I can figure, it seems to be a line-and-pore filling wonder product. I'm very curious to try it.

A powder came along for the ride. Both are normally 32$ CAD, and were 13$ at the sale.

Poudre Douceur in 20 Natural beige, Instant Smooth Line Correcting Concentrate.

Then there was the Anna Sui makeup! I was not expecting that, so I was quite excited. I only walked out with a small sampling though. I have no idea what the retail prices for these items are, but the gloss and eyeshadow were 8$, while the polish was 5$.

Lip Gloss #603, Eye Accent #103, Nail Color N #305

And my surprise love from the sale, the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire perfume in Lys Carmin. This is GORGEOUS. An intensely pretty lily/carnation, and I really regret not getting her Iris and Gardenia sisters. Retails for 185$ USD. It was 70$ CAD at the sale. 

Yeah, that's right. WIN.

So do did any of my fellow Montrealers attend the sale? If so, what did you snag?

June 09, 2012

Weekend Sales

A small round-up of sales and promo codes for weekend shopping...

Beautyhabit: Offering 20% off all of their British brands with code JUBILEE. Good until Tuesday, June 12th. A list of all the brands this includes (Rouge Bunny Rouge!) is here.

Smashbox: Friends and Family promo - 20% off everything except final call when you spend 25$, plus samples and free shipping. Good until Sunday, June 10th. Use code FRIENDS20.

Bare Minerals: Offering 20% off everything in the store, plus free shipping, with code SHARELOVE. Good until Sunday, June 10th.

Also, if you are in the Montreal area, Saturday the 9th is the last day for the Clarins warehouse sale. It runs from 9am until 5pm, and the location is 815 Desserte East, Highway 13, Laval.

I just went to the Clarins sale, and makeup-wise it was a little 'eh', but they had a TON of skincare and perfume, and the prices were excellent. They also had some Anna Sui makeup, which was exciting.

June 08, 2012

La Couleur Infallible - Sahara Treasure

I reeeeeally want the Armani Eyes to Kill shadows. I almost succumbed at Holt's, but couldn't quite resign myself to the outrageous US/Canadian price difference (32$ versus 42$).

As it happends, I dropped by my local Jean Coutu and got a bunch of the l'Oréal La Couleur Infallible eyeshadows instead, including the Sahara Treasure featured below. I can't compare the formula with any kind of scientific exactitude, since I don't own any of the Armani versions, but seeing as they are sister companies, I can't imagine the difference in quality being that stupendous, especially considering the specific nature of the product. (Though the Armani colors are by far more complex and intriguing, without a doubt.)

I just need to say that I am FASCINATED by the texture on these things. It's just so bizarre. Creamy, but crumbly? Kinda slick, but feels like a powder, sort of? I just want to moosh my fingers into it (and have, as you can see in the bottom picture). Honestly, I think half the appeal of these is the unusual texture.

Though they also get good marks in the performance department. I really dig how these can be applied very sheer, like a fine glimmery wash, or can be layered up for some intense metallic glitz. I have a feeling these missed their calling as the Disco era's most versatile product - fairy AND fierce glamazon.

I don't find these quite hold up to the 24-hour claim. There is a small but noticeable bit of fading after 8-10 hours when worn alone. Over primer though, they get a full day with no problems. I didn't get any creasing from them either way, which is certainly an achievement for anything trying to get one up on my eyelids.

In natural light they look more neutral and champagne-y.

In sunlight and under artificial light, both the gold tones and the metallic finish comes out more.

This is probably one of the more user-friendly of the shades currently available, a neutral gold/champagne beige. One of those shades that is the answer to a lazy (or late-running!) morning. Smooth a little on the lid for a brightening effect, slap on some mascara and you're out the door looking chic and cheery. If your office is very conservative, it can still be used to highlight the inner corner of the eye. It can even be used as a base, to add some peekaboo shimmer under a staid taupe.

Availability: Most drugstores, like Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix/SDM and Walmart. (From what I can tell, the colors seem to have different names in the US, and may possibly be altogether different shades. I could only find this shade on the Canadian site, and it was not listed either on drugstore.com or Target.) Price is anywhere between 6$ and 12$ CAD.

Pros: Build-able, versatile texture. Can be worn alone or as a base, or blended with other Infallible shadows. Super-easy to apply and use, perfect for rushed mornings. This color in particular has a good balance of warm and cool to be easily flattering.

Cons: May require a primer for added longevity. Does not live up to the 24-hour claim for me, though it does feel very comfortable.

(I purchased this item at Jean Coutu.)

June 05, 2012

Lise Watier Blush-On Powder - Libertine

I have a crazy infatuation with blush, bordering on the unseemly. Though I don't have the mental fortitude to go on a five month blush ban as Tracy over at Beauty Reflections did, I have tried to limit my blush buying lately. So let's pretend that the blush I got at the Lise Watier warehouse sale counts as an example of my blush thrift, since it was 50% off. Ok? Ok.

This is my first experience with the Blush-On Powders, and I thought I would start with a color that generally works very well on me - the soft peachy-pink, Nars Orgasm-type shade, in this case called "Libertine". (What is it about that kind of color that seems to evoke sexual innuendo?)

The packaging is fairly sleek and simple, with a good-sized mirror. The inclusion of a brush underneath the pan is not really necessary, even if it is relatively soft and will do in a pinch.

Lise Watier Blush-On Powder - Libertine

Lise Watier Blush-On Powder - Libertine

In some lighting Libertine looks like a warm, medium pink, in others the peachy undertones come out more clearly. Though it's not super obvious in the pan, the blush does have a fine golden shimmer throughout, which reads more on the skin. I find it less shimmery than Orgasm though. It's the kind of shade that tends to enliven light-to-medium skin, and looks particularly nice in the summer.

The texture is silky, smooth and just a smidge dry - not powdery, but it feels light as opposed to buttery and dense. This makes application easy, and longevity a bit more difficult. Libertine can be kept sheer or built up, and looks lovely and natural either way due to the airiness of the powder. However, this also means that it is best applied over a foundation or primer of some sort. With its light texture, it can wear away more quickly than you might like.

Indirect natural light.

Artificial light.

Lise Watier Blush-On Powder - Libertine
Direct sunlight.

Availability: Part of the permanent collection, Libertine is available at most Pharmaprix/SDM locations, as well as The Bay. It can also be purchased from Lise Watier, and from Naimie's in the US. Price is 25$ CAD.

Pros: Very flattering color, brightening without being too warm or too much. Smooth, airy texture makes for a silky finish and natural application. Goes from sheer to intense easily.

Cons: Tends to fly away unless applied over a foundation or primer, compromising length of wear.

(I purchased this item from Lise Watier.)

June 04, 2012

Beautyhabit Promo Code

If you've been dying to try Rouge Bunny Rouge, now is a great time. Beautyhabit is offering a wonderful, if unexpected promotion in celebration of the Queen's Jubilee:

If you're curious about Rouge Bunny Rouge, I did review some of their eyeshadows in this post.

I think I'm going to take advantage and pick up some of the blushes from RBR, and maybe finally try one of the Steam Creams

What about you guys?