Monday, November 30, 2009

Manicure of the Week (featuring Rococo Nail Apparel)

Rococo Nail Apparel is a "professional" polish range at "ladies who lunch" prices. Regular lacquers are $16.50, while their most publicized item, the Gold Leaf Lacquer, will set you back a whopping $16.50. The only US brick and mortar retail location I've seen for the London-based line thus far is Space NK. You won't find a huge range of colors, and in my opinion the existing shades offer a good balance of wearable everyday hues as well as on-trend, fun colors. I purchased Dollar, which is now on my tips and toes! Dollar looks like mercury--molten dark silver with a strong metallic sheen. The nail polish went on completely opaque with one coat, and was akin to liquid metal with two. A very fun look, especially for the holidays! In my experience, silver polishes tend to go on sheer, dull, or just look cheap and juvenile. There is no Tinkerbell with this color! It's a grown up festive shade that's whole lot more sophisticated than a reindeer sweater! :)

The sales associate at Space NK praised the longevity of her manicure with the polish. I guess time and my dishpan hands will tell!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

And I'm Back!

I wasn't exactly on vacation--I had sinus surgery and silly me thought that recovery would be just a few days and I'd using the remainder of the two weeks of vacation time I took from work to shop, visit old friends and relax. Wrong. Very wrong. At first I felt liked I'd been hit by a Mack truck; now 12 days later I feel as though I've been run over by a Prius, and while this is a huge improvement, I now need a vacation from my vacation. I did muster some strength on Black Friday to do a little bit of shopping as a reward/exercise of self-pity, and I have seven orders on their way to me! Vicodin+cabin fever+internet access=a whole lot of spending! I also plan on tracking down the new By Terry Ombre Blackstar Eye Shadow Stick London Makeup Girl mentions on her blog. Space NK had the testers but couldn't find the actual products to sell. Hopefully tomorrow.

I did purchase the Chantecaille Holiday Lumiere de Rose Highlighter at Neiman Marcus ($36). I've heard mixed reviews of this product---some saying it's too dark to be a highlighter and some saying it's a very pale shade. Turns out they're both right. The product has a shimmery overspray akin to a darker version of Stila Kitten with more pink in it. Once you get past this layer you'll discover a pearly light shell colored powder perfect for accenting brow and cheek bones. The pictures below capture the overspray--once I get past it I'll follow up with more on the product underneath. Several swatches and brush swipes later and I still have the darker color though the well-used tester revealed true hue of the bulk of the product

This offering is considerably less expensive than Chantecaille's usual fare, but I have to say you'll understand why as soon as you pick up the compact (of this or of their other Holiday powder). They're very small (eye shadow sized) and made of very lighweight cheapy plastic. I have Clinique compacts with more heft. Sometimes you just want to treat your self to a small luxe goody and Chantecaille usually fits the bill, though in this case the item just doesn't feel as special. It's still a nice highlighter and if you're a Chantecaille collector, this season should prove easier on your wallet.

More information on new purchases to come as I feel better and my packages start arriving! I'm hoping to also be up for a Manicure of the Week tomorrow!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

En Vacance!

Hello to all of my readers! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your "listening" to my cosmetic ramblings! I'm going to be on vacation for the next two weeks and unfortunately I'll only have my work computer with me (yes, I know, I'm bringing my work computer with me on vacation. But things come up and in this economy I'm trying to be extra "present" on the work front yet I have vacation days I have to take or I'll lose them) which means no blogging. :( I'll be back after Thanksgiving, hopefully with tons of new products to review (hello Black Friday!) and information to share. Don't forget about me in the meantime please! :)

New Clarins

Clarins has some new products out just in time for the holiday season and I have to admit, I experienced some major sticker shock when I discovered the prices! Has anyone tried these? Are they worth the price?
  • Gold Attraction Eye Quartet and Liner Palette ($66) contains four shimmering eye shadows in pink, gold, burgundy and gold-brown along with a dark chocolate powder eye liner.
  • The Gold Attraction Face Palette ($57) is a soft beige shimmer powder with golden sparkle. Dust it on your face and decollete before a party!
  • Lastly is the Gold Reflections Lipstick from Clarins' existing Joli Rouge line ($23.50). A golden shimmer to wear alone or over top of other lipsticks to add a touch of festiveness!
Images courtesy of

Manicure of the Week

Another Zoya this week! I used Pru, a metallic plum with a gold sheen and metallic sparkles (not glitter). The first coat goes on sheer but it builds nicely and I was satisfied with the opacity after two coats. The shimmer and sheen is beautiful! Unfortunately the sun has already set here in NYC so I couldn't get a picture of it in the sunlight. The flash made this shade appear a bit more pink/violet than it is is real life.
Getting closer...
Extreme Close Up!

Weekend Haul

Origins Friends and Family is currently underway through November 19th and that means 25% off everything both online and in Origins boutiques. The brand has never achieved the popularity of some of the other Estee Lauder lines (such as MAC and Bobbi Brown) or the cache (of say, Armani) but it's always resonated with me and been near and dear to my heart. In college it was one of the few cosmetic lines readily available and I am obsessed with the Peace of Mind On the Spot Relief (it's very calming and brilliant for tension headaches) and the Ginger bath, body and fragrance products.

Today I picked up the Ginger Burst Savory Body wash ($22), GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream ($29.50), and Liquid Lip Color in Caramel Candy ($14).

The Body Wash has the signature Origins Ginger smell of warm, comforting ginger brightened by subtle crisp citrus. It's soothing and yummy without being foody at all.

The eye cream promises to brighten and de-puff tired eyes with caffeine, coffee bean, ginseng, and magnolia. It has a very pale pink color and subtle pearlescense to reflect light and optically brighten.
I need another lip gloss like I need a whole in my head, but I happen to love the formula of the Liquid Lip Colors and between the coupon and the pretty color, I succumbed. Caramel Candy is a sheer shimmery peachy beige color with a moisturizing, non-sticky texture and tingly mint scent.
I was initially concerned that it would be too similar to my beloved Hourglass gloss in Ignite (though not enough to deter me from purchasing it) and was pleased to come home and discover that they are not too close at all. The Hourglass has a good deal more pink and more pigment.
I love the look of this gloss on the lips! Very natural but the shimmer and sheen coupled with the peachy beige are stunning! This color would pair equally well with smokey eyes and an LBD as with an almost-bare face (heaven forbid I leave the house without mascara and under eye concealer) and jeans.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New for Holiday: From the Bloomingdales Catalog

The enormous Bloomingdales holiday catalog arrived and it features some new holiday makeup collections (just in case you need to make a wishlist)! Here are some of the highlights:
  • Chanel Collection Essentielle de Chanel "Paris-New York" Multi-Use Makeup Palette: Face-Lips-Eyes ($85): that's quite a name, isn't it! This sleek black palette contains exclusive shades of two lip glosses, one cream lip color, three powder eye shadows, two cream concealers, one cream blush, along with mini applicators. The quality of the photo in the catalog isn't great so this is one to check out in person.
  • Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Velvet Plum Eye Palette ($40)- back by popular demand
  • Bobbi Brown Earth Metal Palette ($60)- contains 6 eye shadows and 4 lip colors
  • Bobbi Brown Goldstone Long-Wear Eye Palette ($40)- this appears silver and charcoal in the catalog for some reason so check it out in person before purchasing
  • Sonia Kashuk Faubourg Honore 5-Piece Silver Brush Travel Set ($150)- yes, you read that right. $150 for a Sonia Kashuk brush set in a purple leather case. This contains a domed powder brush, foundation brush, large eye shadow brush, crease brush and smudge brush.
  • Estee Lauder Ultimate Red Collection ($18-$35)- features Opulent Shimmer Powder, Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick in Simply Red, Opulent Shimmer Gloss in Cranberry, Signature Eyeshadow Quad in Gold Opulence and TurboLash YM All Effects Motion Mscara in Gold Effects.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lip Liners: In Praise of an Unsung Hero

Lip Liners are like underwear. For most they're a daily essential that goes unheralded, an indispensable item working in the shadows. Some are barely there, while others offer shape and support without being obvious. Oh, and if you've chosen the wrong one, boy does it ruin your look.

I don't have a vast lip liner collection, but I use each one I have. Whether it's to extend the life of a lipstick, provide some color beneath a gloss or just to define and shape my lips, I have a few trusty go-tos.

From left to right:
  • Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Natural ($28)- Chanel's lip liner in Nude garners accolades, but I prefer the soft peachy pinky nude of Natural. This pencil is creamy enough to be used all over the lips in place of lipstick, though I always top it with a bit of gloss.
  • Lancome Lip Contour in Caramel ($22)- this is a self-sharpening liner in a deeper mauvey brown. It gets used more in the fall and winter to anchor bronze and berry shades.
  • MAC Cremestick Pearl Liner in Gingeroot ($14)- a pearly natural pink that's great with nude shades.
  • Wet and Wild 666 ($1)- the cult favorite. A light berry bronze frost at an unbeatable price. One of the few magazine raves that lives up to the hype. It really is flattering on everyone
  • True Cosmetics Lip Definer 1 ($18)- True Cosmetics is a mineral line sold at spas. This is a shimmer-free buff pink a few shades deeper than Gingerroot.
  • LORAC 06 ($16)- a pinky plum with a hint of taupe. My go-to with any plummy lip.
  • Prescriptives Lipcoling Pencil in Guava ($15.50)- the smoothest formula of any lip liner I've tried, yet the color lasts. Guava is a muted rose that seems to adapt to accommodate warm and cool tones.
  • Face Stockholm Lip Liner in Lavish ($17)- the ultimate, perfect red. I wear this on its own blotted down to a stain. It lasts all night and manages to avoid looking garish, a problem I have with most red lipsticks.
Top to bottom: Chanel Natural, Lancome Caramel, MAC Gingerroot, W&W 666, True 1, LORAC 06, Px Guava, Face Stockholm Lavish

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Manicure of the Week

After wearing this season's vampy berries and glittery charcoals for the last few weeks, I was ready for a change and opted for a breath-of-fresh-air creamy, non-shimmery mauve. Zoya Zanna applies opaque with one coat, but I went with two mostly out of habit. Zoya updated the classic mauve by adding a dose of lavender, making the shade modern but easy to wear.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Julie Hewett Redux

Last week I wrote about one of my favorite lesser-known beauty brands, Julie Hewett. I had ordered their newest Cheekie, Destiny, and received instead the lovely Cheekie palette (along with some fabulous samples for good measure). Julie Hewett's customer service was wonderful, allowing me to keep the palette and sending Destiny right out to me, along with additional samples.

One of the samples I received is Edie lipstick from the Bijou Collection and I'll be darned if it isn't the best pinky beige nude lipstick ever! The perfect nude lip feels ever-elusive. Most colors yield corpse-lips, while others are too white, too pink, or too dull. For some women the search for the perfect nude lip is a lifelong quest akin to searching for the holy grail. This shade is perfect--a beige that's not too warm and has just enough pink to keep the lips looking human. The lipsticks in the Bijou collection are akin to tinted balms with a very soft orange blossom scent.
Here is Edie in the sample pot:

On the lips in neutral light:
On the lips in warm light:
Swatches of various Julie Hewett products:
Top: Pixie Shimmy
Left to Right: Rosie Cheekie, Jami Cheekie, Natural Cheekie, Destiny Cheekie, Peachie Cheekie, Edie Lipstick
And this is how Pixie looks patted gently on the eye lid. Notice how it gives a sheer, faint, ethereal, lilac glow?

Henri Bendel Friends and Family Event!

Bendels have long been one of my favorite stores for cosmetics and accessories. Growing up right outside of NYC, in high school my friends and I would often take the bus in to the city and while they were shopping for chunky shoes on 8th Street, I'd head to midtown for Bendels. (Of course back then one high end lipstick nearly blew my budget, but it was well-worth it to emerge with the signature Henri Bendel brown and white strip bag). When I moved to the city after college, I'd wait excitedly for their yearly 80% off sale where a poor law student could score designed duds for a mere fraction of their retail cost.

While Bendels has sadly stopped carrying clothing, they are still home to a fabulous collection of cosmetics and accessories, including a MAC store, Jouer counter (the only one in the country people! See my review of Jouer here), L'Artisan fragrance alcove, Mario Badescu skincare and more. Now through Sunday, you can save 25% on your purchase with no mentioned exclusion for cosmetics or certain brands! Click on the image above and print it out. Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Zoya Nail Polish

I've heard a lot of hype surrounding the Zoya brand. All of their polishes ($7) are formaldehyde, toluene and DBP free and there are raves about how long the polish lasts without chipping. I was eager to try the brand but I couldn't find it locally and didn't want to order online without seeing the colors first. As luck would have it, Zoya has since twice offered 3 bottles free (just pay $6.95 shipping) and I now have a little Zoya collection of my own!

Nail polish does not last on me. At all. I've tried every magazine and manicurist trick--wipe nails down with polish remover immediately before polishing, use cuticle oil nightly, wear gloves when doing the dishes, use OPI Chip Skip, don't use OPI Chip Skip, avoid quick-drying top coats, etc--but my apartment has no dishwasher, I spend half my life on the subway so I am constantly washing my hands trying to avoid whatever communicable disease half the subway riders seem to have at any given time, and I type all day for work. I average about 24 hours before my polish starts chipping and I was eager to see if Zoya would be as miraculous as its devotees claim, but the truth is, it last just like any other polish on my nails. I am hoping one day to be independently wealthy with nothing to do but eat bon bons and watch General Hospital (at which point I'll do a proper study compairing how long various brands of polish last) but until hat happens, even with Zoya, I'll have to repolish every few days.

Even though I wasn't blown away by the brand's lasting ability, I have to say that they have a vast color selection (over 300 in all), many of the shades unique. The come out with new color stories each season so your nails can always be on trend!

Mischa is a sheerish mauve with gold shimmer and tiny silver sparkles
Erika is a sheer coton candy pink with heavy gold shimmer
Lola is an iridescent fuschia with light blue pearl and a matte finishZanna is an opaque mauve with no sparkle and shimmer
Pru is a purple wine frost wit heavy gold shimmer and iridescence
Roxy is a deep berry magenta with magenta glitter

Pru and Roxy in the sun.

Zoya is sold at (typing in redirects you to this site).

Overall, I would definitely purchase Zoya nail polish but would not do so expecting miracles.

Sunday, November 1, 2009 Friends and Family is Here!

Hot on the heels of Sephora's Friends and Family discount, is offering 20% off this coming Wednesday through Friday. carries several brands not available at Sephora, such as Amazing Cosmetics, Jemma Kidd, Blow hair care, Sue Devitt and more.


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