Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Dior 5-color Eyeshadow Quint Stylish Move 970

Dior Stylish Move ($59 for 0.21 oz) is my first Dior purchase. It stepped in my beauty world at the right moment - I just gave up on drugstore makeup especially their eyeshadows completely. Stylish Move also marked the point I started turning to designer cosmetics that I stick with until present. A few dozens of eyeshadow palettes later Stylish Move is still the best eyeshadow I own.
Stylish Move  contains a pearly white, a pearly pink, a silvery mauve, a satin plum and a matte eggplant color.  The variation in finish and colors make it an ultimately versatile eyeshadow palette. It does have a plumy theme but nor purely monochromatic. The pearly pink and the silvery mauve while subtle really make Stylish Move stand out among millions of plum/purple palettes from almost every brand. You can go from work to cocktail party to red carpet to the beach with this one single quad. I feel like my description doesn't do the justice.
Stylish Move is housed in a chic sturdy case with 2 sponge-tipped applicators and a mirror. Before Dior Rosy Nude came out, Stylish Move used to be the only quad I tagged along.

Dior Stylish Move flatters all skintone from warm to cool from fair to tan. It compliments brown eyes best. This is a MUST-HAVE I tell you. You won't be disappointed.

Lancôme! I’d love to love you

My motivation behind this planed love affair is Lancome’s awesome gift with purchase programs. Their GWPs are really good though varying in values. All GWPs are deluxe samples. If you like me, i.e. signing up for the mailing lists of major department stores’,, online beauty retailers and the likes, you might have also received GWP offers daily.  

My mom is a long-time Lancome’s devotee and many of my friends adore the brand. I myself find several great products, Lancome Arliner for example. Lancome and I just need that X-factor. For some mysterious reasons, I’ve found majority of Lancome makeup line no mediocre but no amazing either. The colors are so common. The texture is good but not great. I’ve tried foundations, mascaras, eyeshadows, lipsticks, lipglosses, blushes, etc.. and am not impressed, not hooked. 

I need help to appreciate the brand. Do you have the same problem – not loving a well loved brand? Am I completely blind or is there a certain foundation for my (very likely) lonely opinion?

Review: Giorgio Armani Rouge Lipstick - Beige, Pink, Rouge

I've been curious about Armani Rouge Lipstick ever since I dwelled into their Eyes to Kill eyeshadows. Fortunately I received some samples from a recent Armani splurge. The colors featured include Beige 100, Rouge 400 and Pink 500. Though looked tiny, each lip sample last for good 5 days. They come with a mini lipbrush that I'm not a fan of. It's too pointy to cover larger areas or allow even application.
All three lipcolors have matte finish. The texture is creamy but not moisturizing. Among these samples, Beige 100 has the driest formula. It makes my lips peel. Rouge 400 and Pink 500 don't moisturize my lips but didn't dry them out either. They are not as creamy as Lancome Matte Lipsticks. Based on these samples Lancome Matte Lipcolors beat Rouge Armani texture-wise.

Rouge Armani lipsticks, on the other hand, are light-weight in the way that very much resembles the rest of Armani Beauty. They wear comfortably like a second skin. I don't feel like I'm wearing a lipstick.

Swatched indoors next to the windows
I was so excited about Beige 100 for I'm current in a beige-nude-taupe-neutral obsession. It turns out to be a big fat disappointment - sheer, dry, chalky, quickly fading. Pink 400 is a mauve deep pink that almost looks plum on my lips. When applied with light hands, it is a pretty natural pink that blends into my natural lipcolor. It's work-appropriate for this reason. Rouge 500 is the most pigmented of the bunch. It's a pinky blue-based red that can work for both warm and cool undertone. It's bright and bold in a non-neon kind of way. 

Would I purchase the full-sizes? Probably not these particular shades but given the comfy wearing I will definitely dwell into Rouge Armani world, and hopefully be able to find better shades. But hey, isn't that the purpose of these samples - intriguing beauty addicts into a more profound search?

One more swatch outdoors... 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara

When it comes to mascara I declare myself a conservative. It's nothing worse than a unsuitable mascara - besides weird look lashes are irritation and eye tiredness. Over the time I became skeptical with all the hypes on any new claimed-to-be-magical mascaras even from Dior whose Dior Iconic is the only mascara I use. That is to say I'm so thrilled to be able to fall in love again with Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill.  It offers everything I can dream of a great mascara - dry formula (best for thin lashes like mine), clump-free, long wearing, lengthening, and possibly curling with a little extra help. I've only tried a sample and already love it so much.

The formula is very similar to Dior Iconic. Since I'm not seeking for volumizing and more leaning toward lengthening and curling my lashes, I'm satisfied after 2 good coats of Eyes to Kill. And it stays on all day, no raccoon-eyed detected after 8-hour wearing.
While the brush design doesn't aim for curling Eyes to Kill can holds the curl without an eyelash curler. How does it happen? Well I use the handle of my eyeshadow brush to lift my lashes after application for 3 seconds. And voila! The result is also very similar to that of Dior Iconic that is one of the best curling mascaras in the market. The curled lashes also stay put after 8 hours. It is CONVENIENT, isn't it?

All in all Eyes to Kill is even better than Dior Iconic thanks to the lengthening effect that the latter never succeed to create. I love to condition and curl my lashes using Dior Iconic first followed by Armani Eyes to Kill for lengthening. I can live without an eyelash curler.

Armani Eyes to Kill is priced at $30 claiming to create weightless volume and length. Volumizing effect is not noticeable, which thrills me. So if you want to plum your lashes you might feel disappointed. You'll love it if you want length and curl. Highly recommended.

Pack for one professional week

I'm on yet another trip. This time I planed ahead for this is a business trip and I decided to test quite a few gift samples from my recent beauty purchases. It always helps to allow myself sometime to think about what to wear. My makeup bag is considerably lighter than the last trip.

  • Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (review here)
  • Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach (review here)
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder
  • Dior Aurora bronzer (review here)
  • TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer (review here)
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion (travel size)
  • Dior Rosy Nude 5-color quint (review here)
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill in Khaki Pulse (review here)
  • Chanel Stylo Yeux Long Lasting eyeliner Espresso (review here)
  • Lancome Artliner in black
  • Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner duo in Zero and Whiskey (review here)
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara in black (sample) (review here)
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Mademoiselle (featured here)
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Biarritz (review here)
  • Giorgio Armani Lipcolor Beige, Rouge, Pink (samples) (review here)

The real challenge is to fit in all of my skincare products. Fortunately I have samples.

  • Kiehl's Avocado Eyecream
  • Kiehl's Abyssine + serum
  • Kiehl's Super Fluid SPF 50
  • Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream (sample)
  • Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer (sample)
  • Fresh Soya Cleanser/Makeup Remover
  • Neutrogena makeup remover pad (not pictured)
  • Prada L'eau Ambree (sample)
  • Tocca Giuletta (sample)
  • Versace Versus (sample)
I've been testing Kiehl's facial moisturizers, Giorgio Armani rouge lipsticks and Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill mascara. Reviews of these are coming up soon. Armani Eyes to Kill mascara has won my heart. Love it! Armani Rouge lipsticks and Kiehl's facial moisturizers are so so. Oh and my new HG foundation is Armani Luminous Silk. I'm working on several posts featuring my favorite foundations. Hopefully, I will be able to post them in October.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The first to be finished off - Dior Addict Casual Beige

The signature characteristic of beauty addicts - barely finish a product and when one does, she "yays". Though my makeup stash is quite controllable, i.e. I remember every single item I own, I feel still quite awesome to use up Dior Casual Beige. The only other exception is mascaras as we need to throw them out for hygiene reason.

See how much I used...
Dior Casual Beige (was $26 for 0.12 oz), recently revamped as Beige Casual ($28 for 0.12 oz), is lovely pinky beige. It's moisturizing and natural. When applied heavily it turns slightly pinky mauve on my warm skin tone. I pair it with smokey eyes or just for everyday look. The downside is it wears off very quickly, one hour in my case, which requires constant re-application. It compliments both warm and cool colors very well thanks to the pink-tinted on top of beige base.
And a few more hopeful "to-be-finished" are Guerlain Orange Euphorique, Laura Mercier Audrey, and Dior Aurora

Friday, September 16, 2011

Highlighter - Round-up and Application

Highlighting is my favorite technique to add a touch of healthy glow and define my face features. I especially love using matte natural foundation and highlighting only areas I want to bring forward - cheekbones, center of forehead, bridge of the nose, chin, and cupid’s bow. Naturally, smaller brushes will do the jobs. I love two types of highlighting brushes -a dense and nearly flat top and a stippling duo fiber brush. 
The dense nearly flat top brush (e.g. MAC 109) will pick up quite a bit of products hence intensifying the pigmentation. It's ideal to color-block highlighters like Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks or Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc. 

The stippling duo fiber brush (e.g. MAC 188) either small or large depending how large you’d like to apply the highlighter is perfect for mosaic or pigmented highlighters that requires lighter hands. 
Bobbi Brown blender brush recommended for shimmer bricks herself but I find it more suitable for blush than highlighters due to its fan-out shape. 

Now that I shared my thoughts, let's take another look at all of the highlighters I love.
What is your favorite highlighter? What brush do you use? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Highlighter - Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Nectar

One of the star products of the Bobbi Brown makeup empire is definitely her shimmer bricks. And Bobbi Brown Nectar ($38 for 0.4 oz) is an outstanding creation of the bunch. It is a peachy/coral sheen that can be a blush on lighter skintones and a highlighter on darker skintones. It's the least shimmery among the shimmer bricks, which I love. I can wear it alone (NC 30 to 35) or paired with blonzers. The results are always absolutely natural and gorgeous. The texture is buttery smooth, though the shimmer is not as fine and delicate as Dior Shimmer Star. It's THE perfect spring/summer highlighter/blush.
Nectar is the least shimmery compared to Pink Oyster, Rose Diamond and Gilded Garden. Also, it's very pigmented so a little goes a long way and it'd be ages till you hit the pan. Strongly recommend it!

For swatches of Nectar under brighter  lighting please check my IMATS LA haul

Review: Highlighter - Dior Shimmer Star Rose Diamond & Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc Gilded Garden

Dior Rose Diamond ($44 for 0.35 oz) and Laura Mercier Gilded Garden ($38 for 0.28 oz) are almost identical that I decided to write a back-to-back review rather than individual ones. They represent perfectly the very popular and common rosy pink that nearly all brands offer (Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose anyone?). A standard rosy pink I must say.
They're both cool-toned highlighter, Dior Rose Diamond is paler pink and Laura Mercier Gilded Garden leans slightly more champagne. They both contain several color blocks that can be mixed differently for various results. Both works better with cool blush colors. I've tried to pair them with MAC Melba, Benefit Coralista and NARS Orgasm and didn't like the result. I love them with pink blushes like Smashbox Radiant, Paul and Joe Love or Bobbi Brown Pale Pink.

Dior Rose Diamond, like Dior Amber Diamond, is more finely milled than Laura Mercier Gilded Garden. Gilded Garden also has more metallic finish.

Here is how they look compared to some other highlighters. Bobbi Brown Pink Oyster has more beige and ivory while Bobbi Brown Nectar is a coral peach.
I think they're equally beautiful. Had I have to choose one my vote would go to Dior Rose Diamond as it's more wearable. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: Highlighter - Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Pink Oyster

Pink Oyster ($34 for 0.4 oz) is an Asia-exclusive. The Beauty Look Book featured it a while back. I was thrilled to grab it duty-freely aboard. It is very pretty pinky beige with a touch of cream. The texture is smooth and glides on easily. I wish it's less shimmery for it would be more wearable for everyday looks. But it's named shimmer brick for a reason, isn't it?
A few swatches that I'm not fully satisfied with but hope it helps you to have an idea of the complexity of Pink Oyster.
I found Pink Oyster work really well with an array of blush color from brown to peach to bright pink. I especially to pair it with MAC Melba. It would compliment cool-toned and neutral blushes too thanks to its beige-, pink- and ivory-based.

It's neither pink like Dior Rose Diamond nor completely beige like TheBalm Manizer. It has more metallic finish than Laura Mercier Gilded Garden, Dior Rose Diamond and Bobbi Brown Nectar.
I also did a comparison of Pink Oyster with the rest of the highlighter I own here, here and here. Last but not least, it will last for a long time. With 0.4 oz of products and just one or two applications on each cheek, I will never finish it.

I think Pink Oyster belongs to permanent line in Asia but I'm not positive where you can get it except for Asian Airports.

Review: Highlighter - Dior Shimmer Star Amber Diamond

I should admit when it comes to my holy grail products, my reviews are sort of biased. My fingers trembled a little while typing this particular post on Dior Amber Diamond. I was afraid my words wouldn't do the justice of THE truly must-have product. Please bare with me when I run away with my emotions...
Dior Amber Diamond ($44 for 0.35 oz) is a gorgeous copper-tinted slash golden sheen. It's extremely flattering on warm skintone although it looks beautiful on cooler skintone as well. I tried Amber Diamond grudgingly. I was mainly curious about the natural from-within glow that it's been well-received for. And I understand why many people swear by this wonderful highlighter. Amber Diamond has the outstanding combination of color (coppery instead of purely ivory that might wash you out in daylight) and micro-finely milled shimmer (the shimmer is so fine that it blends instantly into your skin). If used at just the right amount depending the depth of your skintone, it truly delivers a healthy natural glow as if you owned it. Amber Diamond looks most natural when blent well.
You can also create different shades and intensity using different color combinations, which makes Amber Diamond even more versatile. I also find it compliment both cool and warm blush colors.

Here is a quick comparison with other highlighters....
Amber Diamond has the deeper tone and the most natural compared to the others. It doesn't look metallic when swatched heavily, meaning it's foolproof. Hardly can you go wrong with it.

Well, you can see I'm biased but for a very good reason. It's certainly pricey but when would you finish 0.35 oz of the shimmer powder that only requires two swipes on each cheek? If you've never had good luck with Dior (really? have you tried their 5-color eyeshadows and Dior Skin Nude foundation and their mascaras?) you might be converted with Amber Diamond. A MUST-HAVE. Period.

Classic & Classical

My bed time book - Making faces by Kevyn Aucoin. His emphasis on personality in makeup has inspired and started a new era in how women feel and define beauty. We no longer suffer unmatched foundation shades!

This week Michelle Phan, one of my favorite youtube's beauty gurus, made the second appearance at Sephora Fashion Night Out in New York City. Again, she's Lancome ambassador. I'm so happy for her. Unique, innovative, initiative, creative, natural and talented, Miss Phan fully deserves where she has reached. A little tribute to her, here is Michelle's most-watched video - Lady Gaga Poker Face tutorial.

Preston Bailey's blog is my biggest entertainment this week. He possesses a super power to magically transform a dull-looking place into wonderlands. 

Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River. She is the most beautiful woman that ever graces on Earth. Period. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: Highlighter - TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

Mary -Lou Manizer ($24 for 0.3 oz) is a beautiful beige ivory sheen. As true as its packaging, Manizer is a fund product. You can use it as a face highlighter or an eyeshadow. It gives a wearable glamorous glow on my cheeks especially if you have neutral undertone and light to medium skintone. The neutral undertone of this highlighter can match any skin tone beautifully. I think it's the most versatile highlighter - color-wise- that I own or know of.
The texture is buttery smooth and easy to go opaque. A light hand would do the wonder. It's less shimmery than Nars Albatros but still rather prominently frosty for daytime looks. Manizer is housed in a sturdy case that's also attached with a large mirror. It's the kind of mirror that I can actually look at while doing makeup rather than a decoration piece. This highlighter slash eyeshadow in a durable sleek case is a perfect travel companion.
 If you want a nice easy-to-use highlighter that lasts a long time without breaking your wallet, Mary-Lou Manizer is for you.

For reviews on my other favorite highlighters, please click on the highlighter label of this post.

Review: Highlighter - NARS Albatros

Nars Albatros ($27 for 0.16) is described as sheer light golden sheen, which I half-agree with. The golden sheen is very visible and opaque. When applied, the light cream base lies under the golden shimmer layer regardless how I blend it. I'm OK with separate color finish but the golden shimmer is too obvious for my taste even with evening looks. The texture is buttery smooth. It glides on easily and stays put. I love to apply Albatros lightly on top of my blushes rather than my bare checkbones. For the sake of pictures, I swatched all highlighters heavily. When blended out, Albatros looks much softer and wearable.
Albtros is the second most shimmery (Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity wins the title) among the hightlighters I own. Here is a quick comparison with other highlighters of the same family color. TheBalm Manizer has beige undertone. Dior Amber Diamond is a golden copper. Bobbi Brown Pink Oyster has pinky beige base.
If you're medium to dark skin, you might want to test Albatros in person before purchasing. Lighter-skin ladies would love this daring highlighter, particularly if you love shimmer. I like NARS packaging the best for traveling - slim, sleek, effective and durable.
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