Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscope Eye Kit Spendid Frost - Holiday 2010 Limited Edition

 Why on earth am I reviewing a holiday 2010 limited edition that was sold out moons ago? Well, I'm new to Le Metier de Beaute and have long desired to try out its Kaleidoscope kit. When Spendid Frost came about 3 years ago, I missed it and subsequently lost the interest to get other kits. I took a mental note to start the journey with LMdB if I could find a decent substitute for Splendid Frost. None came close to the impression with it and I thought it would be forever...

While I was chatting at LMdB counter the other day, the SA pulled Splendid Frost out from the drawer. It wasn't on display and I literally screamed. I had to have it. Although the second tier was slightly touched and the pan came off (which I didn't find out until I got home), I decided to keep it. I wanted to see if Splendid Frost was good enough for a thorough experiment with the brand and if I would regret not to return it.

Splendid Frost is the most expensive single piece of makeup I've ever splurged. The jaw-dropping $95 for 0.44 oz or $23 for 0.11 oz per shade is very comparable to other designer brands like Burberry, Dior, Chanel, Guerlain, etc.. even a little bit less painful. LMdB is priced the same as Tom Ford per ounce; both are about $214/oz. It's the initial investment we need to get through :D.

(Click to enlarge the image)
Now, let's see if Splendid Frost delivers the expensive quality. It offers four gorgeous colors arranged on 4-tier compact. You have a shimmery gold taupe, a matte light grey, a shimmery pink peach and a fabulous blue with purple shimmer. The shimmer looks striking in the pans but very subtle on the lids. Despite the diverse finishes and tones, all colors blend together so well without getting muddy. They also complement each other well. The 3rd tier shade could be a blush if you're fair but it didn't show up much on my light medium skin. It's also the sheerest of the bunch. The other three shades are highly pigmented and go on opaque in just one layer. 

I'm blown away by the texture, silkily smooth and ultra blendable. All for shades melt into the skin, making the blending and layering a piece of cake. Dark shades like tier 4 (Burberry Midnight Blue for example) tend to fall down onto my cheeks when I blend them away but I experienced zero fall-outs with any shade of Splendid Frost. Where you place the colors is where they sit and melt together. Impressive! 

 (Click to enlarge) Swatched under direct sunlight

(Click to enlarge) Contrasting finishes: Matte - Satin - Shimmer - High Shimmer

(Click to enlarge) On my lids: tier 2 and 3 were mixed for the crease. Tier 1 is the main lid color and Tier 4 is the focus of the look. 
The wearing is equally impressive. I used a standard primer and Splendid Frost stayed in place for 12 hours until being removed. I couldn't be happier with the quality of a powder eyeshadow palette, which brings me to the packaging.

Some people really enjoy the gimmicky slide-in-slide-out design of LMdB's kaleidoscope kits. I find the pans fling out too freely, which is OK on the counter rather than in the bag. I'd prefer four shades in the same plane like the regular eyeshadow palette. You wouldn't have to slide out 4 tiers to access the color. A mirror would be nice too. The particular kit I own isn't very sturdy. The pan comes off of tier 2, which has been reported a quite common problem with kaleidoscope kit. I hope LMdB will fix it for the sake of convenience and the hefty price tag.

Is Splendid Frost a must have? Quality-wise I would say Heck Yes!!!! But you'll get this type of quality from their single eyeshadows anyway. The colors of Splendid Frost isn't original. The golden taupe shade from Guerlain Place Vendome is only a slight touch lighter and more golden than tier 1. Burberry Midnight Blue has more grey and purple and deeper than tier 4, while the blue shade of Guerlain Place Vendome has more blue. However,  Splendid Forst delivers way better quality than Guerlain Place Vendome, much smoother and more pigmented.

Tier 3, a pink peach, is closet to Chanel Rose Initial blush. Tom Ford Wicked has more shimmer and pinker. Nars Orgasm and Benefit Coralista are peachier and more golden. Mixing Nars Orgasm and Chanel Rose Initial will be the dupe for Tier 3. However the texture of tier 3 is almost as smooth as Tom Ford Wicked.  
For all those possible alternatives, I don't think Splendid Frost is a must-have for me nor everyone.

Lastly, I'd like to share a few thoughts on Couches de Couleurs (or layering colors literally) that is heavily promoted by LMdB.

I highly recommend you check out Messy Wands' detailed description on this topic. Basically, you can layer LMdB eyeshadows in many ways, including mixing cool and warm colors and contrasting texture to define the eyes. The shades can be broken down into 4 categories, brighten, warmth, focus and depth. Depending on your skin tone (and preferences), no two people's categories resemble exactly.

Now, I think this technique is a neat way for an average makeup user like me to navigate through zillions of eyeshadows all depths and finishes. However, I find it neither innovating nor original. Put aside the fancy terminology, we've seen this technique (although under no label) used by celebrity makeup artists like Mary Greenwell, Lisa Eldridge, Charlotte Tilburry, Pat McGrath, and self-taught makeup artists slash youtubers like Michelle Phan, TiffanyD, Raeviewer to name a few. And even a makeup amateur like me has layered colors and mixed textures that same way.

 (Click to enlarge) The ingredients

More ingredients on the side of the box? Not sure if it's for all kaleidoscope kits

Bottom line. Nice to have! A truly beautiful beginning with Le Metier de Beaute. The quality and the color intrigue me to check out the entire line. However, I believe you can be equally happy with their single eyeshadows or find the dupes in your own collection.

What do you think of Spendid Frost and Le Metier de Beaute? 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Tom Ford Eye Color Quad No 3 Cocoa Mirage

You probably know already that I have a thing for Tom Ford Beauty. I like the master mind behind it and the products speak to me. I trust the brand with its brilliantly executed shimmer/glitter powder products. The promo pictures always features dramatic makeup. It took me by a huge surprise that I would go crazy about a matte neutral understated chic eyeshadow palette by Tom Ford. Cocoa Mirage, in my opinion, is the very best Tom Ford's eye color quad, although it doesn't contain a Ford signature glitter shade nor the high-shine shimmer. By the way, I raved about Tom Ford shimmer and glitter in every post of the brand and why I, a self-diagnosed anti-shimmer-eyeshadow gal, love to wear them. So please don't let the word shimmer worry you!

Tom Ford Eye Color Quad 03 Cocoa Mirage ($78 for 0.35 oz) comes in the signature golden-rimmed brown case with a large mirrors and double-ended applicators which turned out quite good. It offers four stunning neutrals: a matte ivory, a matte medium brown, a matte deep brown and a rich cocoa brown with a hint of plum/bronze shimmer. The shimmer is so fine that you don't actually see it on the lids. What detectable is just the sheen that adds interesting twist to the rather basic color palette. I've found matte eyeshadows tend to have dry texture and look chalky on the skin. The three matte shades of Cocoa Mirage are however incredibly soft and pigmented. The shimmery cocoa brown is less pigmented than the other three yet it's still an opaque shade. 

Capturing the true tone of Cocoa Mirage was a heck of a challenge. Under the direct sunlight, the palette looks rather warm. I took the pictures under different lighting to show you the sophisticated colors.

Warm lighting

Brighter and cooler lighting

Like other Tom Ford powder products, all four shades of Cocoa Mirage are velvet smooth and melt into the skin seamlessly. What I really adore about this particular quad is that all four shades work unbelievably harmoniously that you won't be able to tell where one color ends and another starts. It's a truly fool-proof quad. Cocoa Mirage is therefore ideal for professional settings but you can definitely smoke it up for edgier looks.

Cocoa Mirage will also complement all skin tones. The neutral browns that work for both cool and warm tone without making us look bruised and swollen. I have loads of neutrals brown, taupe, grey, mauve, and the likes but none is as neutral as Cocoa Mirage. For your reference, Tom Ford Cognac Sable is considerably warmer and Golden Mink is slightly cooler. 

Cocoa Mirage stays put for 8 hours straight without a primer and looks fresh past hour 12 with a standard primer. I tested it out during the 115F temperature and 80% humidity weather in Houston. The colors didn't fall out or fade but creased a little after 8 hours on my bare lids. 

(Click to enlarge) Neutral lighting

(Click to enlarge) Warm lighting

(Click to enlarge) Cool lighting

All four shades on my lids. Very subtle yet flattering. 

Tom Ford Beauty comes with huge price tag. I did a calculation on the eyeshadow here. Price per ounce, Tom Ford eyeshadow quad is actually more affordable than Dior and about the same as Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscope Eye Kit. The eyeshadow turns out to be the least overpriced in the line :D. For me, Cocoa Mirage is well worth the investment. I've been wearing it non-stop for the past month. It now sits the top 3 all time favorite eyeshadow palettes besides Dior 5-color Beige Massai and Chanel 4-color Kaska Beige, both were discontinued. 

Last but not least, the ingredients
(Click to enlarge) The ingredients

Bottom line. All around a phenomenal quad! Neutral eyeshadows fanatics, you must check out Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage, I insist. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beauty Blogazons Weekly Roundup 08/18/2013

Friday, August 16, 2013


Life has been full of ups and downs. As I'm battling through the summer schedule and planning for the rest of the year, small little things have lightened up my days and eased my stress. These random happy beats, no matter how trivial, are the highlights lately.

I love everything green tea, ice cream is no exception.

Oh and finally, I found Chanel Affinite on and grabbed it within a blink of an eye before it disappeared again. Also, I managed to convince myself that I needed all the shades of Tom Ford blushes. After Frantic Pink came Wicked! While Wicked is another stellar product, Frantic Pink didn't meet the sky-high standards of the other Tom Ford blushes. Still it's a really good easy-to-use blush.

For all you big cosmetic fanatics, here is an elegant piece of lessons learned by Charleston Girl of Best Things in Beauty. After years shopping online and offline, I have learned them the hard way. One of my grown-up moments is to stop myself from back-ups and seasonal releases. I also really enjoy reading the comments.

This letter of a mother to her 2-year-old daughter after watching Bachelor. May I also put a capital X on Ready for Love? A stupid dating show under the formate of a talent reality competition. You sure do have professional match makers who help you to win the heart of your Prince Charming. Yes, coaches for hair, makeup, lies, tricks, etc.. I feel pathetic for both the guys and their potential soul mates. Of course, it didn't last 2 episodes. Phew!

On a more positive note, my new favorite show is Naked and Afraid on Discovery Channel. I wouldn't last 15 minutes naked, starved, tired and afraid in exotic remote land. Especially no sun screen and bug spray!

How is your summer going? Feel free to chip in your favorite random things lately. xo

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch and Original Mascara Versus L'Oreal Voluminous Full Definition

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch mascara is one of my all time favorites. I love the brush and the dry formula that holds the curl and lengthens my lashes. When I heard about L'Oreal Voluminous Full Definition sharing similar brush with Eyes to Kill Volume mascara, I jumped to test it out. If L'Oreal Full Definition volumizes my lashes, I can skip that the pricey Giorgio Armani mascaras and get some volume for my lashes. Ultimately, they're owned by the same company L'Oreal right?

Let's take a look at the brushes.

From this angle, all three look really similar, even the bristles are spaced the same. 
The formula of all three are rather similar but L'Oreal Full Definition is the wettest and Giorgio Armani Stretch is the driest. 

Giorgio Armani Stretch and L'Oreal Full Definition both lengthen my lashes while Giorgio Armani Orignial adds definition to my lashes but nothing else. The first two stay put throughout the day without flakes or smudging while Giorgio Armani Orignial falls out at mid-day. 

All three mascaras hold curls really well but the most effective must be Giorgio Armani Stretch. 

L'Oreal adds no volume as promise. Also, it feels tired at the end of the day. 

Now, let take a look at the brushes one more time. 

I turned the wands 90 degree to show you the slander shape of Armani Stretch. Armani Stretch is 1/2 full around. Armani Original is 3/4 full around. L'Oreal Full Definition is full all around. 
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascaras are priced at $30 while L'Oreal Voluminous Full Definition mascara is around $7.99. I got mine from Kroger for $5! 

I prefer Giorgio Armani's but L'Oreal is an excellent double. Plus the price is so much friendlier. Have you tried these sisters? Which one is the winner?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Shiseido Facial Cottons Versus Cle de Peau Beaute Le Cotton

How many packs of drugstore cotton pads you ran through per year? I usually do three 80 counts from CVS, Target or HEB. But I don't like them. Harsh and feathery, they aren't sturdy nor gentle enough for my eye areas. So when I received a couple of deluxe samples of Cle de Peau cotton pads, I was over the moon. They're so soft and gentle for my skin. However, they still fail to convince me to splurge. The price just doesn't feel right. Since I've always heard great things about Shiseido cotton pads, I gave it a try and really really love them. I found it very similar to Cle de Peau, even better function-wise and price-wise. My warmest thank you to Gummy of GummyVision and Joyce of Bronzerbunny for introducing Shiseido facial cottons!! 

Today, I bring you the face off of Cle de Peau and Shiseido cotton pads.

Packaging. Cle de Peau comes in a chic paper box while Shiseido is housed in plasic bag.

Size. Shiseido pads are smaller in size. Also, CdP has a fancy logo on both sides of the pads. Me, I don't care for it. 

Softness. About the same yet Cle de Peau is a bit more airy while Shiseido is a bit denser. When swipe them on my face, I don't feel the difference even though I know CdP is fluffier. 

Functions. I found them both gentle and excellent for removing makeup. If you want to use it as cotton mask. Shiseido is less feathery and therefore more sturdy when soaked in toner. I also find the feather of CdP pads easy get into my eyes once I tear them in halves to thin them down. 

Price point. Shiseido is more affordable, $9.5 for 165 counts (6 cents/pad) versus CdP $20 for 120 counts (17 cents/pad) or nearly triple the price per pad of Shiseido. It's not either three times large or three times better than Shiseido.  

Tearing the pads in halves. Cle de Peau is more feathery

Shiseido is even more affordable compared to my drugstore pads. It's $9.5 for 165 counts (double to 330 when torn in halves to thin the pads down) versus $3 for 80 counts of HEB pads that untearable to double the use. I usually use 1 pad of Shiseido (as I tear it into 2 halves) or 2 pads of HEB per makeup removal. So in order to have 165 make removals like 1 pack of Shiseido, I need 4 packs of HEB or $12.

For me it's clear Shiseido is the winner. How about you?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Look: Professional Smiley Makeup

The motivation was very simple. I need a new professional smiley picture for my profile. My goal is to give an impression of happy, positive and confident attitude. So I opted for neutral makeup with a pop of subtle blue red lipstick. It helps brighten the teeth! Now all I need is a good photographer. But in the mean time, here's what I envision the makeup should turn out. Enjoy! As usual, full makeup list is at the end of the post. 

Burberry Luminous Foundation Trench 6 (review of Trench 5)

Nars Pro Prime Eyeshadow Primer
Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad Cocoa Mirage
Dior Extase mascara

Chanel Rouge Allure Byzantine (Fall 2011 Limited Edition)
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