Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The MAC Store in Grand Central is now open!

To all my fellow beauty junkies who pass through Grand Central, the MAC freestanding store is open! Now, in addition to checking out L'Occitane, Aveda, and Origins, you can get your MAC fix while waiting for the subway or MetroNorth! The store isn't huge but right now it's clean, well-stocked, and the SAs are attentive and helpful. A late train is the perfect excuse for checking out Style Black!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

LaLicious Body Care

In general, my vice of choice is cosmetics. I like buying new hair and body care products, but don't "collect" them the same way I do makeup, and am rarely completely wowed by a line. That all changed when I discovered LaLicious Bath and Body products on a business trip to Las Vegas. LaLicious, carried in spas and at specialty stores (as well as their own online boutique) uses mostly natural ingredients and are paraben and sulfate free. The products that I've tried come in delectable scents and the formulas are elegant, effective, and unique.

The line's most extraordinary product is their Sugar Souffle Scrub ($34). These scrubs are all-natural, contain vitamins and minerals, and combine cane sugar and moisturizing oils whipped together. The texture is completely unlike most body scrubs--it's not oily (no layer of oil floats atop the sugar and no mixing is required) but moisturizes. They don't foam or scratch yet effectively exfoliate. Sugar Souffle Scrubs are like a fluffy sugar cloud! Be careful--they are addictive!
I have this product in Island Guava (tropical and gorgeous but not cloyingly sweet or overwhelming), Coconut Cream (rich and warm and not too foody), and Coffee Bean (not at all artificial. A perfect morning wake up call that smells just like a cup of java). Brown Sugar and Vanilla is next on my list. The divine Coffee Bean scrub even contains real ground coffee beans in addition to sugar to smooth the skin.
LaLicious' Body Butter ($24) is also fabulous. The texture is plush like a whipped cream yet the product absorbs right into my skin. Packed with hydrating ingredients like shea butter and safflower oil and soothing agents such as chamomile, aloe vera, and cucumber extract, the salve leaves my skin very soft and fabulously scented without any stickiness or greasiness. Despite being fragranced, the product doesn't irritate, even when applied right after shaving.

I also have their Body Oil ($24) in Coconut Cream, a blend of all natural moisturizing oils that can be used on damp skin to moisturize, to shave, to smooth flyaway hair or poured into a bath. It's a great multi-purpose product that I anticipating using more come cooler weather.

I highly recommend trying the line and plan to try their remaining product, the Whipped Body Soap ($16), a non-foaming body cleanser. Their website also offers travel sets and samplers that would make great gifts or pick-me-ups and features coupons and specials.

The full range of scents include:
  • Island Guava
  • Coconut Cream
  • Brown Sugar and Vanilla
  • Lily Mango
  • Passionfruit Lime
  • Peppermint
  • Tahitian Flower
  • Coffee Bean
  • Sugar Kiss (a blend of citrus, rose and vanilla)

Using It All Up

Every now and then, I look at my vast makeup collection and suddenly have the urge to start using products up! It generally stems from either being all-of-a-sudden overwhelmed by the sheer number of products that I have, or realizing that I've been using a product so frequently I'm making a dent in it. So far this year I've managed to use up 2 lipsticks (Clinique Buttershine in Adore U and Lorac Stylin), thanks to concentrated effort, and currently have a few products on my "use up" list. Since I'm convinced that product quantities multiply in my sleep :) using a product up can take a very long time (even forcing myself to use the product near daily) and I usually only manage to achieve the feat with cream products and pressed powder. I've never used up an eye shadow and can't imagine doing so! I'm currently trying to use up:
  • Laura Mercier Praline Creme Cheek Color
  • Lancome Rouge Attraction in Seismic, a color I've previously purchased (and subsequently sold) back ups of. This is why I no longer buy back ups! I ultimately get sick of a color or move on to a new favorite!
  • Chantecaille Pegasus Super Lip Sheer
  • Besame Champagne Lipstick

I'm slowly making progress! Granted I'll still have too many products after these are gone, but at least it's a temporary sense of accomplishment! Are you trying to use anything up?

Lipstick Queen Is All Fired Up! New Product Coming!

Lipstick Queen is a lip-focused line created by makeup industry veteran Poppy King--her resume includes a stint at Prescriptives and a previous eponymous line--known for her signature bright red lips. Poppy's current line includes lipsticks in Saint (sheer) and Sinner (pigment-dense opaque) formulas, demi-matte lip and cheek tints called Oxymoron, lip liners and a variety of glosses (in pots, wands, click pens, and pencil form) as well as a tinted lip treatment. The new, coming-soon product is called Fired Up, a sheer fire-engine red gloss in a super cute squeeze tube with brush, similar to the Illasmasqua glosses. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds are being donated to charity! It's very nice to see a cosmetics company giving back. You can click here to be added to the waitlist on Poppy's site for the product. The woman knows her reds! I bet this will be a great one.

Image courtesy of lipstickqueen.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Favorite Mistake

Whenever a beauty magazine publishes a 'don't' list, one of the items is invariably "don't match your eye shadow to your eye color." The makeup powers-that-be have decreed that contrasting colors (plum if you have green eyes, amber if blue, etc) are the most flattering, but I happen to love green eye shadows and eye liners on my green eyes! To me, green is less harsh than black, more interesting than brown and really does showcase my eyes! I'm not always looking for contrast. Sometimes a soft smoulder or subtle definition is what I'm after, and I turn to my greens. Do you wear shadows and liners that match your eye color? What other makeup 'rules' do you break?

Here are some of my favorite green liners (click to enlarge):
  1. Laura Geller Baked Cakes Eye Liner in Dark Green Apple (part of the Key Lime/Dark Green Apple Duo)
  2. Laura Geller Baked Cakes Eye Liner in Key Lime (part of the Key Lime/Dark Green Apple Duo)
  3. Bobbi Brown Forest Shimmer Ink
  4. Redpoint Optic Effects Pencil (swirls of pearl, light and dark greens)
  5. Lancome Artliner in Star Shower
  6. Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Stash
  7. Jouer Pencil Eye Liner in Vert
As far as green shadows go, my favorite shadow is the ever-elusive Lancome Erika F. Lancome does not distribute this shade in the states, but it is available to Americans via Strawberrynet.com, which is where I purchased both my Erika F single and the Lancome Colour Focus Palette in Escapade Champetre, which contains the shade as well.
In addition to the glorious grayed green taupey sprakle of Erika F (bottom left corner), there is a very pale greenish white, a gorgeous shimmered emerald and a murky bronze green. The shades all work beautifully together or on their own. The Erika F single seems to go in and out of stock often and is well-worth looking out for. It is truly unique.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Best Goody Bag Event of the Year!

The Barneys New York Beauty Event is this week! The minimum price is high ($175) but the past goody bags have been fabulous, featuring many full and deluxe size cosmetics, skin care and body care and fragrances! We're not talking about those puny little perfume vials *ahem* other stores seem to be offering up! I'l post more details once they become available.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

UPDATE: Bergdorf Goodman Beauty Event

So I went back the next day because the Prescriptives concealer was just unworkable. It must have been the powder added to the product because it did not spread at all, caked, and could not be layered. It's a shame because the color was just perfect. I was also so excited about my new candle, but it went from smelling divine unlit to overwhelmingly strong when burned. This would be great if I lived in a large space or wanted to scent my whole house, but living in a tiny New York City apartment, it was too intense and instant migraine. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the brand to someone looking for a candle with a very strong scent and throw though. Just not for a studio apartment!

When I went back I again tried the La Mer concealer as I so wanted it to work fo me due to the amazing texture and coverage. I also tried a concealer called the Anti-Aging Mineral Mystique by La Bella Donna , a mineral line you really never hear much about. I believe it's carried at several spas and a few online retailers, but I've yet to see it in a department store other than Bergdorfs. The concealer is in a click pen but the product is quite thick and has great coverage (pigmented with minerals) and a good deal of light reflectors, ideal for someone with undereye darkness not only from pigment but shadowing as well. After walking around like a crazy person looking at every single mirror in every light on the floor (the store has the absolute worst lighting of any cosmetic department I've been in), I opted for the La Bella Donna. Not cheap at $44 (I've seen visited their website and all of the items are pricey) and it smells a bit waxy, kinda of like an old lipstick. I think that may just be because the line is fragrance free. Today was Day 2 and I like it! I also went back to Px for a lip liner in Ginger, a soft pink, but the sales associate gave me Guava, a deeper rose shade. I'm going to keep it though since I don't have a similar shade and it deepens the new gloss nicely and turns it into an evening shade. So all in all I ended up with:
  • La Bella Donna Anti-Aging Mineral Mystique
  • Prescriptives Custom Gloss
  • Prescriptives Guava Lip Liner
  • Prescriptives False Eyelashes Mascara
A nice ode to Prescriptives since unfortuntely the line is to be discontinued January of this year. Here is the liner/gloss combo:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bergdorf Goodman Beauty Event

September 16th through 20th, Bergdorfs is having one of their Beauty Events, held several times a year, where you save $25 off a purchase of $100 on the Beauty Level. I had a very difficult time deciding what to buy. I originally wanted the new La Mer concealer, but the shades did not work out for me. The coverage and texture are divine, but the light looked too white under my eyes and the medium was very dark and very orange. Edward Bess has some new lipsticks shades and I contemplated them as well, but none grabbed me. I decided that in honor of the Prescriptives lines being discontinued as of the end of January 2010, I'd try show support and purchase some products from the line.

I wanted a custom concealer, custom lip gloss and mascara. The artist I worked with was Neptune. I told him that I wanted a concealer with a lot of coverage and light reflectors for my horrifically dark, recessed circles. He got to work mixing, adding pigments to create the perfect shade, light reflectors to bounce shadows and darkness, and a white powder for opacity. The end result is a dead on match. I took off my makeup and tried it on at home on clean, moisturized skin waiting to see the miracle and hmmm...it seems to ball up when I try to layer it. I'm not sure if it's the powder that was added or the overall formula, but I'll have to play with this one some more. No angels singing. Bergdorf Goodman has the worst lighting of any department store and so what looks okay there may not fare so well in real life. I'll try it again tomorrow. The custom concealer is $34.

For the lips I asked for a liquid lipstick type product--not too sheer, not sticky, and heaven fobid I branch away from my usual peachy pinks. Neptune created a lovely sheerish natural peachy pink with a beige pearl and Bellini scent. There are several shades to choose from including Latte, Cocoa, Tropical, Mint and Berry. You can also select a doe foot want of slant tip applicator. The custom glosses are $34. Here is my gloss:

I needed a new mascara since my beloved Korres has dried up and am trying Prescriptives False Eyelashes since it is now paraben-free ($19.50).

I had to spend a bit more to qualify for the discount (sounds kind of ridiculous, doesn't it?) and I purchased a Nest Candle in Freesia Kiwi. Nest Candles are by Laura Slatkin. Many of the scents are reminiscent of the famed Slatkin & Co fragrances. The are soy wax and packaged in lovely stiped clear and frosted glass jars. Freesia Kiwi is a blend of freesia, jasmine, muguet, Asian Pear, kiwi and cassis. I had a hard time deciding between this one and Wasabi Pear, which turned out to be out of stock, making the decision for me.

Overall it was a fun night having products custom blended and and coming home with a pretty purple bag of goodies. I hope the concealer works better tomorrow than it did tonight! Have you ever had Px custom blend products for you? How did they work out?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sigh...Another QVC Purchase

What is it about watching makeup on television at 2 in the morning that can strip an otherwise rational person of their willpower? Somehow this little goody made it into my cart and through the checkout process. I think the words glow, natural, and peachy pink were involved!
Meet Laura Geller's Baked Blush and Highlight in Como/Portofino. For those who haven't heard Laura's schpiel, these baked products begin with several shades in liquid form, swirled together, and are baked on a little terracotta pan until they achieve this light, smooth powder consistency. This product has a small triangle shaped highlighter in a soft golden shade, and the rest of the product is a delicate light warm pink that yields a radiant flush on the cheek. The the shade is on the lighter side so it's best for the fairer complected. Laura herself says that this is the most natural of the Blush and Brighten franchise. If you've found her previous shades too deep, give this one a try.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Peachy Pinks and Pearly Champagne Courtesy of Bobbi Brown

If you go through my vast makeup collection, you'll notice a theme pretty quickly! As hard as a try to have a well-rounded collection and purchase a good variety of products, the vast majority of my blushes, lipsticks and glosses are some shade of peachy pinks! Two of my current favorites are from Bobbi Brown: Maui Illuminating Bronzing Powder and Baby Creamy Lip Color.

The Illuminating Bronzing Powder ($33) is a pearly powder in a coral pink color that I apply with Bobbi's Face Blender Brush ($40). While I wouldn't use this shade as a bronzer, it does give a gorgeous happy, 'sunburned' look, like you just got back from, well...Maui! I don't find the shimmer to be over the top on my fair skin.
Bobbi Brown's Creamy Lip Color ($22) is designed to be a smooth, conditioning lipstick with a soft, creamy shine. The formula is not my favorite--I find it to be slightly too think and it seems to evaporate rather quickly--but I love the shade so much I'll use up and repurchase this shade which is quite a feat for me! Bobbi describes Baby as "an icy nude pink." When I see the word "icy" I automatically think "cool" and this shade is definitively warm toned. It is the perfect sheer, natural, warm peachy pink shade that I've found myself reaching for over and over. The shade is so easy to wear and looks polished but not over the top. I have very full lips and darker shades can prove overwhelming, but this one is right on. I've heard that Bobbi Brown's regular Lip Color ($22) in Gilded Pink is similar in color so that one is on my wishlist!

Just as I collect peachy pink lip and cheek products, I have an array of champagne shimmery shadows as well, and Bobbi Brown's Champagne Quartz Metallic Eye Shadow ($20) is one I wear very often. The texture of these shadows is so creamy and pigmented. The color you see in the pot is what you see on the lids, and while I normally use brushes to apply my shadows, I find that if I use my finger with this one it maintains that metallic look on the lid. Champagne Quartz is a golden ever so slightly pink champagne that is neither too warm nor too cool. It works as a daytime shade for work and an evening out glam look. A pretty and versatile product!

Rock and Republic Cosmetics-Eye Shadows Part 2

One of my favorite lines, Rock & Republic, was recently featured on online "sample sale" site Hautelook.com, and products were available for roughly 45% off. Of course I couldn't resist but tried to be restrained. I picked up 3 more shadows and a duplicate of one of my favorite brushes from the line, the 202. The shadows came out to $16 a piece and given that they are very large and contain more than double the product of most brands, they are a fabulous value at that price. See my previous review of Rock & Republic Shadows where I extol all of their virtues and my post on the line's blushes and glosses to learn about them! Now on to the new shades!
I picked up Veil, Affair and Difused. Veil is a very pretty creamy base shade. It is less white and more ecru than Bare Escentuals Soul and brighter than MAC Blanc Type so it has more of an uplifting effect on the eye than the MAC. I am a base shade guru and really like this one! Next up is Affair which is a gorgeous champagne shimmer, along the lines of Stila Kitten but less frosty and a touch less pink and more peach. It glistens on the eye and would make a gorgeous brow bone highlight. Lastly is Diffused, a cool shimmery taupey brown. This shade is very pretty and perfect for the crease! I love the contrast of the cool shade against my warm complexion and green eyes to really make my eyes pop. Click on the image above the make the picture larger so you can view all of the details of the shades!

Lastly I purchased another 202 eye shadow brush. The 202 is wider than a traditional crease brush and slightly smaller than a large eye shadow brush for all over color (like the Stila #5, another favorite). This is the perfect size to apply shadow to the lid and crease area for a pretty wash. The bristles are densely packed so it lays down pigment beautifully and brings out the duochrome nature of certain shadows, like Rock & Republic Brink. This brush makes the heavy gold really show up.

And here is my current collection of Rock & Republic shadows!
These are truly some spectacular shades of fabulous quality and I hope the line introduces new products and sticks around. I also hope they appear on Hautelook again! If you need a Hautelook invite, feel free to click here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Current Skincare Routine

When it comes to skincare, I'm pretty fickle and pretty picky. If a product doesn't work or upsets my normal to dry, sensitive skin, I toss it rather than try to make it work. The products I use have to be (synthetic) fragrance-free, keep my city-weary skin clear and smooth, not contain parabens, and comprised of mostly natural (preferably organic) ingredients. I know, I know. The FDA has said parabens are safe. And the concentration purportedly used in most sincare products falls far beneath the accepted threshold. And natural is not always better--after all poison ivy is natural. And chemical ingredients can be powerfully effective and gentle on the skin. I can't help it though. For some visceral reason I can't get around this preference and feel like my skin looks its best when I stick with products of this ilk. To that end, here is what I've been using lately and my thoughts.

Clinique Take the Day Off Balm ($27)- this solid cleanser in a pretty purple pot emulsifies when you smooth it over your face, breaking down even the toughest eye makeup. I use it all over and then rinse. The directions indicate that a separate cleanser isn't necessary, but I always follow up with one as I am a fan of double cleansing (using one product to simply remove makeup and another to cleanse the skin).
Nude Skincare Cleansing Facial Wash ($34)- Nude uses organic ingredients when possible and the packaging is recyclable. This cleanser smells of bitter orange water and gently foams to cleanse my skin without over drying. I wouldn't call it moisturizing, but because it doesn't strip my skin, in the heat of summer I do not even need a separate moisturizer. I also credit this for keeping my skin breakout free. The price may seem steep but just one little pump is needed and I anticipate it lasting several months.
Kate Somerville Total Vitamin Antioxidant Face Serum ($65)- I've been diligent about sun protection since my early teens so I don't have any age spots or real discoloration to contend with, but I live in NYC where the smog, pollution, exhaust, and general icky grime can really take a toll on skin. Couple this with the amount of time I spend outdoors walking around, and I need a serious preventative antioxidant. This light serum is Vitamin C based, sinks right in, and doesn't irritate my skin or clog my pores. Since I'm using it for prevention it's difficult to tell if it's working, but that is true of all products used for this purpose I suppose.
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle ($65)- As much as I love it, NYC is really tough on skin for the reasons mentioned above. Your pores fill with all of the muck and some serious degunkification is required! I tried the regular ExfoliKate and it was way to harsh for my sensitive skin, but this is perfect. In 2-3 minutes the product has dissolved the dead cells and cleaned out my pores. You get some manual exfoliation from the little granules it contains and are left with clear glowing skin.
Aveeno Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Lotion SPF 60+ ($11)- this contains all physical sun blocks (I won't use chemical sunscreens) and while it's not featherlight, it hasn't clogged my pores either. It is chock full of chemicals so I have Devita on my list to try next.
Jurlique Balancing Day Cream ($40)- This is indicated for combination skin, but I think it would be too heavy for anyone leaning towards the oily side. It's a bit thick but does absorb, and has a distinct floral smell (though the fragrance is of natural origin). I love using this after the Kate Somerville enzyme treatment. I warm a tiny bit between my fingertips and pat in on to my skin, leaving it moisturized and smooth. It's not a miracle--you won't suddenly look 18--but it's a great basic moisturizer with antioxidant plant oils that creates a good base for makeup.
Stem Organics Hydrating Face Fluid ($58)- I use this in the winter when I need something more hydrating than the Jurlique. Despite its more fluid texture, this is a highly moisturizing product with macadamia oil, shea butter, vitamin E and a host of nourishing extracts and oils. This is definitely indicated for dry skin, though the brand makes a version for normal and a version for oily skin and they come packaged in dark glass bottles with air tight pumps to preserve the antioxidants. You never hear about this line but it is absolutely fantastic!
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen with Biospheric Complex ($20)- I suffer from the world's worse undereye circles (so bad that I've had makeup artists tell me there's simply nothing they can do for them when I've sought concealer advice) and even though I logically know better, I'll still try any eye cream that claims to help with my shiners. This one not only claims to do that, but says it combats wrinkles and puffiness and contains optical brighteners. Plus it comes in a hygienic, travel friendly pen and the price is right! This eye cream is fine. Just fine. I've been using it consistently for several months now and have noticed no change in the darkness under my eyes and I haven't seen any of the claimed brightness. Concealer does go on smoothly over this but that's about it. I'll finish it up and move on the next eye cream with lofty claims!

Here is my routine:
Kate Somerville Total Vitamin Antioxidant Face Serum
Aveeno Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Lotion SPF 60+
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen with Biospheric Complex

Remove makeup with Clinique Take the Day Off Balm
Nude Skincare Cleansing Facial Wash
Moisturize if needed either with the Jurlique Balancing Day Cream or Stem Organics Hydrating Facial Fluid
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen with Biospheric Complex

Twice a week:
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle

That's it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some Hot Fall Products (courtesy of the new Bloomingdales Catalog)

I received my Bloomingdales Lights*Camera*Fashion catalog in the mail today and it features some interesting new fall makeup.

Trish McEvoy Instant Pick-Me-Up Lips ($28)- according to the description this is supposed to give "sheer, complexion complementing lips." It's touted as long lasting and the color looks to be a sheer vivid pink.
Prescriptives Limited Edition Well-Suited Eye Color Compact ($40)- a limited edition palette with 5 colors in 3 shade families: Cool, Neutral or Warm
Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color in VI399 Amesthyst ($25)- this limited edition shade created by Dick Page is exclusive to Bloomingdales. It is a vibrant wisteria color.

The catalog also features Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows ($22 each). The shades look like Goldstone, Mercury and Starry Purple to me but it's tricky to tell. These are absolutely stunning in in the pots. They glisten and glimmer and are almost mesmerizing! I was prepared to purchase several but I'm glad I decided to try them first and I ended up leaving empty handed. I found the base colors of these shadows to be very, very sheer, with a pronounced chunky glitter. The glitter wasn't so much the deal-breaker--it was the barely-there pigment. Even layering didn't do the trick since that just seemed to add more glitter without kicking up the base shade. Layering Cream Shadows over another pigmented powder or cream shadow did the trick and made the underlying color shade of the Cream Shadows show up more, but I'm admittedly lazy with my makeup and want the product to appear on my lids the way it does in the pot. That being said, I can see these being perfect to keep in your makeup bag during holiday season to quickly take your work look to a party! Head to Bloomingdales to see these for yourself!

Images are photographs of images in the Bloomingdales catalog. Click to enlarge.

Glass Half Full?

For fall, J.CREW (which I adore) is carrying two shades of Essie nail polish ($8) at select stores (the J.CREW website says that they are a catalog/jcrew.com only item but my local store on 45th and Madison is carrying them). I picked up the shade called Eternal Optimist (both because I liked the color and I appreciate the irony of me, a decidedly glass half empty type, owning a polish with that name). Eternal Optimist is a perfect fall shade--it's a nude color which is very on-trend, but it isn't a taupey nude that can prove so unflattering in real life as opposed to in glossy magazines. There is a good dose of warm pink with a bit of putty that makes this both a wearable and a fashionable shade. (The other shade is called One of a Kind and is an orangey red).

A Surprising Rave!

Earlier this week I picked up my pre-ordered Clinique Gift with Purchase at Bloomingdales and one of the extra samples included for pre-ordering was Clinique Quick Eyes Cream Shadow in Rock Violet ($15 for full size). These shadows come in lipgloss-style tubes with wand applicators and are designed to last up to 10 hours. I normally just toss these samples aside to give to my mother or friends, but I decided to try the shadow this morning and am very pleasantly surprised!

Rock Violet is a gorgeous pearly lavender on the cool side. I find that warm purples can make my eyes look tired and so I always choose one with a cool undertone despite having a warm-toned complexion. I had only two hours of sleep last night and boy did I look it this morning, but this shadow managed to brighten my face and make me look wide awake! I applied it with my fingers, layering on two thin coats to achieve my desired depth of color, added some liner and off I went. When I got home, I discovered that while some of my liner had faded, the Quick Eyes Cream Shadow still looks perfect--no fading, creasing or smearing! What a great surprise from a free sample! Have you received any samples that turned out to be favorites?

Click images to enlarge.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Designer Fragrance and Cosmetic Company Outlet

Tucked away in some outlet malls and in the Loreal Building in New York City you might find true gems--Designer Fragrance and Cosmetic Company Outlets. The Estee Lauder owned Cosmetic Company Outlets receive a good deal of attention on various message boards for the 30% off retail, limited edition and discontinued products and undistributed gifts with purchase available for sale, but I always make sure to check out the Designer Fragrance and Cosmetic Company Outlets (DF&CCOs) for some amazing deals. DF&CCOs carry high end Loreal brand products (from Lancome to Giorgio Armani to Kiehls) and while the typical discount makes the shops worth a trip, their frequent blow outs draw me in. I picked up the following during one of their "4 for $40 sales."
They also frequently have prepackaged kits at unbelievable deals. I scored all of these brand new, perfect condition Shu Uemura products (4 shadows and 2 blushes) plus the palette for under $40. At retail, these would have cost me nearly $150!
You can Google for outlets in other areas of the country, but for NYCers, you'll find one at 575 5th.

Click images to enlarge.

Jouer Cosmetics

click on the images to enlarge

This is the second incarnation of Jouer Cosmetics. The first version was available at Sephora and featured a variety of cream-based products in small, white, rectangular, windowed compacts that could connect to one another along their sides. That version disappeared, and the current Jouer line emerged, available so far exclusively at Henri Bendel and at jouercosmetics.com.

Jouer has a variety of cosmetic items from concealers to foundations, blushes, tube glosses, shadows and more, many of which click together not only along the sides, but front to back so that you can create your own personalized travel stack.

I currently have two powder eye shadows ($20 each). Caramel is a soft warm brownish gold with a tiny hint of copper. It creates a lovely natural but defined eye look, but I find it prone to getting that hard "layer" on the surface of the shadow that I often have to scrape away. It is also not particularly pigmented and needs to be applied with a stiff, dense brush for color payoff.

Amaretto, on the other hand, is smooth an pigmented and glides on and blends wonderfully. It is a very complex pewter taupe with gold shimmer and a hint of bronze and plum. It's perfect for a soft smokey look or in the crease, with Caramel or another base shadow, for a subtle defined smolder. This is a unique shade and a favorite.

The Tint in Petal is another product that I like. The Tints ($20) are designed to be creamy multi-use lip and cheek colors. Jouer describes Petal as a "soft rose pink" but there is definitely a warm, almost hint of coral undertone to my eye. These blend onto cheeks with fingertips and have no sticky afterfeel.

I use the Age Repairing Brightener ($32) and Age Repairing Concealer ($24) under my eyes, the Brightener followed by the concealer. The Brightener has a thinner consistency with more slip and comes in a swivel up tube. It is designed to illuminate and fight free radicals. I don't notice an illuminating effect, but the emollient ingredients keeps the concealer, which is heavily pigmented but has a very dry texture, from caking under my eyes. These aren't holy grail products, but do a fine job. I'm not a huge fan of either alone, but they work synergistically.

I bought the Eye Definer ($20) in Olive after reading that it was used on Frieda Pinto for an awards show where her eye makeup was particularly gorgeous. It's a pretty gold-shimmered olive and glides on, but isn't pigmented enough to create a real definition or me. The color is lovely though, especially when layered over a black liner.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Feature Focus: Unsung Heros

I wanted to highlight some unsung heroes--tried and true never-fail products that seem to fly under the radar. Products that you never see in magazines, rarely hear raved about. I'm sure that everyone has some of these unsung heroes in their arsenal--please post about them in the comments!
Darphin Blush Sensation in Soleil Sublime:

This is bar none the most beautiful, natural looking bronzer I've ever used. I'm quite fair and on the pinker side, and this has absolutely no orange in it. It features a gentle color gradation so you can customize your look depending on how much 'sun' you want that day! The shimmer is super-subtle and doesn't accentuate lines and wrinkles, just lends itself to a gentle glow. It costs $40 and is available at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

MAC Lilicent Blushcreme:

This cream blush has a unique love it or hate it texture. It's almost akin to a potted lipstick in that it's somewhat thick and remains dewy on the cheeks. This helps you look 'fresh' all day but if you're used to a cream to powder formula, this may take a bit of getting used to. The color is a real face brightener, and never fails to brighten my complexion with its warm, peachy rose hue. It is $18.50 and available on maccosmetics.com and at MAC counters nationwide.

Lancome Artliners:

Colors left to right are: Socialite, Brown, IceBlack, IceCarob and Star Shower
In my opinion, these little wonders stand alone in the liquid liner category. They are the easiest liquid liner and you can easily create a thin line right at the base of the lashes or thicker cat eye due to the unique flexible applicator that allows you to control the product. Unlike felt tip dispensers where the product may flow through inconsistently or only with pressure, these unique wands dip into the product and just enough comes out to create a perfect line every single time. The shades are gorgeous, although many of the unique ones are available on a limited edition basis. These are $28.50 and available wherever Lancome is sold.

Eye Necessities:

-Bare Escentuals Eye Shadow in Soul- the perfect vanilla base, this shadow is shimmer free (you can see the faintest glimmer in the pot which prevents lids from looking crepey but doesn't add a sparkle).
-Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Linen- the palest pink that brightens lids, creates the perfect base so your shadow lasts and the pigment appears true, and even works on its own for a natural eye look.
-Laura Mercier Baked Cakes Eye Liner in Key Lime/Dark Green Apple with Brush- gorgeous, baked, shimmery greens and a perfect brush for application. Use these wet or dry for a look less harsh than black but still achieve ample definition. I use the dark shadow on my upper lid and the light shadow to line underneath.
-Benefit Kohl Pencil Eye Liner in Sable- the only product I use on my inner rim. It lasts and lasts without iritation and glides on smoothly. The shade of brown is spot on--not too light or too dark.


-MAC 208 brush- a very thin synthetic angle brush for precise gel eye liner application.
-Chanel Brush 3- a great brush for applying shadow to the outer corner. The bristles are densely packed and the thicker handle is weighted for easy application.
-Fresh Eye Definer Brush 20- the BEST crease brush, this is soft and perfectly shaped for the perfect placement and depth of color.
-Sephora Brand Professionnel Flat Blush Brush #42- perfect for small faces and the tapered point places the blush exactly where you want it to go.
-Tarte Eyelash Curler- this has never pinched my lids the way other highly-touted brands have and the lilac is so cute!


Related Posts with Thumbnails