Saturday, June 18, 2011
After toasting myself in the summer sun on my little porch, I've retreated to the nice cool indoors. There's something about sun, then AC that feels so good. Don't worry... I had my sun hat on; I'm not a proponent of tanning for the sake of tanning. I just love being outdoors when the weather is nice. In fact, I'd prefer to stay the same color year round, however I tan so easily that this is not possible! Today I have a review and photos of my NARS Copacabana multiple that I got as part of the Nordstrom Exclusive NARS Cheek Kit reviewed previously.
NARS multiples are touted as being wearable on eyes, lips, and cheeks, although most of us agree that this is a bit fanciful thinking. However, there is a legend as to how the multiple was conceived which you can read on the NARS website. In a 1996 Harper's Bazaar feature, six top makeup artists each showcased one look. Francois NARS used only one product, Tangier lipstick on eyes, lips, and cheeks. It was titled "NARS Brown Out." Customers started trying to recreate this look, however lipstick is not the best texture for all those situations, hence Nars created the multiple. I thought this background story put the multiple in perspective.
NARS Copacabana is the lightest of the multiples. It's a cream-product that comes in a twist up tube. Despite being a cream, I find that when applied it gives a cream-to-powder type finish which does not feel oily at all on my skin. I like to use my fingers to apply it on my cheekbones, nose bridge, and underneath my eyebrow arch. I can't imagine applying this directly to my face, it would be too much.
I know people complain about the lasting power. I think it will last a shorter period of time than a comparable powder highlighter, however I have noticed that some is present by the end of the day. The lasting power is likely depending on what type of skin you have and how much foundation or powder you have underneath. I have combination skin, hence my cheeks aren't terribly oily, so it seems to last long enough for me. I also wear foundation underneath, but not powder, which definitely helps. If I apply the multiple or NARS illuminators without foundation, the lasting time is significantly less. I've heard some people set the multiple with powder, but this seems like overkill to me. Sometimes I think adding powder on top of cream might make it heavier, hold more oil from your skin, and become more prone to sliding. But that's just my opinion.
On to pictures.
When seen in stick form, Copacabana has a light golden-taupey base with some silvery glow. I think my pictures are fairly accurate, although those of you that have seen it in person would say it is lighter. The reason it looks lighter in person is because the shimmer reflects the light, hence giving it a lighter appearance.
When swatched, the base color sheers out. It is barely perceptible as you can see below. However the presence of a little golden-taupe makes the silvery sheen very wearable. Bravo! This gives me a really nice glow when I apply with my fingers. This product would look most natural on lighter skin regardless of tone. I've found that as I tan more, it becomes more evident (obviously), though it still looks very pretty. The effect is just different: glow vs. highlight for lighter and darker, respectively.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the Copacabana multiple, and it's a finishing part of my everyday summer face routine. I think the stick will last me a really long time, as I use my fingers to apply. If you're applying the stick directly to the face (which I don't recommend) then yes, it will not last very long. I do think that around $40 it's a bit much, but not completely unreasonable since it's more product than their pan cream blushes. I plan on purchasing NARS Luxor multiple, which is a light iridescent pink, the next time Sephora has a sale.
So, that's that. I have to go to an office party with Mr. Lovey later tonight, so I think I'll drink some water, take a nap, and hope that my outdoor shenanigans didn't tan me darker than my foundation! Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any favorite multiples, or love/hate stories with cream blushes and highlighters. Or whatever! I hope you're enjoying your weekends, wherever you may be.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
MAC Vegas Volt is a color I've been eyeing for a while, partially because the name brings back Las Vegas memories and partially because it's an awesome bright pink-coral. In fact, it's a lot brighter and pinker and orange-er in person. I've tried to capture it best I could in the following photos and swatch.
|MAC Vegas Volt, outdoors with no flash|
I figured with the colors this season trending towards orange, this might be a good pick for me. Not to mention, with the yellow tones in my skin, corals should look good. However, no matter how much I wanted to love Vegas Volt, I can't really get it to work for me. The reasons are complex:
1. Partially, it's my skin tone. Although I have some yellow tones in my skin, I also have strong pink and sometimes cooler cast as well. The swatches on my arm comes across as slightly more orange than they should, which indicates the pink undertones are predominating and pulling out some of the pink character from the lipstick. I may be a little too cool to wear this "warm" lipstick.
2. I have very flushed lips. This makes whatever color you wear on top that more intense. I found this out when my friend visited recently, and she has paler lips. Even dark colors looked pretty wearable on her. On me, dark or bright colors are much more intense. That's also why beiges and boring colors look pretty on me. The brightness of MAC Vegas Volt plus my lips was too much.
3. My face structure meshes better with a more classic color palette.
|MAC Vegas Volt lipstick swatch, indoor with flash|
Thanks for reading! Are you a bright-lippie Vegas Volt type person? Any veterans of the what-happens-in-Vegas...... mantra? =P
Monday, June 13, 2011
|Left to Right: Chanel Glossimer in Nakkar, Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Rosy, Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Petal, NARS Lip Gloss in Greek Holiday, Estee Lauder High Gloss in Rose, Buxom Lip Gloss in Amber|
|Swatches outdoor in sunlight.|
1. Chanel Glossimer in Nakkar - My favorite gloss formula of the bunch. No odor, and not too shiny. The gloss is slippery enough and doesn't leave too much residue. I love the warm pink color.
2. Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Rosy- A really pretty bright pink. Bobbi Brown formula isn't sticky, but it is thick and the applicator is with a brush. Bobbi Brown glosses are the most pigmented out of those I have; the color is noticeable. The smell is vanilla, which is nice. My only issue is that the thick gloss dries down to a thicker residue.
3. Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Petal- This isn't as bright in real life. On my lips it's a nice nude pink that matches my lips well. See above for notes on formula
4. NARS Lip Gloss in Greek Holiday- A sheer champagne gloss with gold sparkles. I thought this would be way to shiny for my lips, however I was pleasantly surprised. The major downside is the strong plastic smell when you initially put it on!
5. Estee Lauder High Gloss in Rose- This color reminds me of NARS O. I haven't worn it a lot since I don't like the fruity smells of EL.
6. Buxom Lip Gloss in Amber- This light peachy gloss was my favorite last summer, as you can tell by the emptiness of the tube. I love most things about Buxom glosses, including smell (vanilla), the smooth non-sticky texture, and the fresh tingly minty feeling. The one thing I don't like is the super shine, since I don't want my already full lips to look enormous!
Overall, my favorites are the Chanel and the Buxom. I would love the Buxom most if the shine were toned down a bit, because I love the minty feeling. Hopefully I'll get a lot of use out of these glosses this summer, because the colors are really pretty and I'd hate for them to go to waste!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post! Do any of you feel the same way about gloss? Or are you year-round gloss fiends? Any favorite formulas?
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Before delving into LUSH, I thought I'd show a Matisse I saw a few weeks back. I was blown away by the size (the people in it are larger than me), colors, and balanced beauty of this painting. Bathers are a theme found throughout art history, dating back to ancient times. This painting is a nod to that theme, but done in a modern way. Apparently X-ray data shows that Matisse painted and repainted this work over several years, each time reworking it to become progressively more modular and modern. Really cool. I'm not an expert or even knowledgeable in the basics of art or art history, but it's something I enjoy and would like to learn more about. As part of finding my "blog voice", I'll include tidbits of art and other inspirations in Cute and Mundane.
A while after snapping the photo, I realized the blues and greens in the painting were reminiscent of my own bathing products! Completely unplanned. I figured I should do a post on my current favorite shower products. LUSH is one of my brands. It originates from the UK and is full of colorful, fun, and naturally fragrant bath and body products. What I like most is their socially and environmentally conscious message. None of their products, not even their ingredients from suppliers, have been tested on animals. They're one of the most rigorously adherent companies to this mantra, which I really appreciate. They also espouse other important causes as well. The products are a little pricey, but to me, they're worth it because of the focus on natural ingredients and social awareness (both of which make ingredients more expensive).
1. LUSH Seanik shampoo bar- By using solid shampoo bars, as opposed to liquid, so much energy is saved on both shipping (since liquids are really heavy) and packaging (no plastic bottle required). Isn't it such a great "duh" type idea? I've used liquid shampoos all my life, but I'm never going back. This bar is the best thing that's happened to my hair. It lasts 3-4 months for me, and I'm currently on my second bar. LUSH has several different kinds of shampoo bars for different hair types (colored, dry, oily, etc.) Seanik is good for volumizing thin hair like mine. If you're familiar with LUSH's Big shampoo, this is the closest solid version to Big. Seanik cleans off all oils and residues which might weigh hair down and adds salt, which causes hair follicles to stand up and add volume. There's seaweed extract for softening. My hair is very oily so this is perfect for me, and I feel like my scalp can breathe now. However, if you have a normal or dry scalp, everyday use could be a bit too drying. The salt does work a little, kind of like beach hair from a salty ocean, but thin-haired folks like me aren't expecting miraculous Blake Lively type hair! My hair is wavy too, so I find the salt brings out a the waves a little more which is nice. The bar is really sudsy (a few swipes make a lot more foam than regular shampoo) and smells really fresh and sea-like. Overall: A+++++. I highly recommend trying a LUSH shampoo bar. They don't have all the crazy chemical or silicone additives which only give the appearance of healthy hair. My hair actually is clean, soft, and healthy now.
2. LUSH Jungle Conditioner- This is a more recent purchase, and it's a conditioner in bar form. I was skeptical at first, but I really love it now. I wanted to get away from the heavier chemically conditioners, so I gave it a try. It took a little getting used to, because it's not as slippery as regular conditioners that coat your hair with silicone. The conditioning agents are shea butter and other moisturizing agents (I believe). Over time I found that my hair soft and happy. The lack of silicone and other coating agents is good for my face as well, since my skin is sensitive and hair does often come into contact with one's face! The only downside is that this bar is softer and will use up faster than the shampoo bars. However it is cheaper at ~$6. I anticipate this lasting around 2 months. I've tried LUSH's American Cream (liquid) conditioner before, and also had good results. I'm not sure if Jungle is my favorite, but I definitely will continue to purchase LUSH conditioners.
3. LUSH Noubar soap- This is a really creamy soap that's great for the winter months, but also good in summer too. The smell is kind of like an almond-y soy-milk-y smell. I really like the smell, but I don't think it's one of LUSH's most popular soaps. One of the coolest things about the soap is its variegated appearance. The main color is a pistachio green. It has dark nut(?) chunks and also chunks of non-creamy soap mixed in to give it a nutty appearance. Along from being cool looking, these chunks provide a texture to the soap which is massaging once a little of the cream soap has melted away. It feels really really good.
Overall, you can tell I really love LUSH products. They're known mostly for their fun and fragrant soaps, but I think the shampoos and conditioners are really high quality and my favorite products in the store. They do take some getting used to, since the texture is a bit different from the traditional slippery shampoos and conditioners, but I think in the long run it's probably makes for better healthier hair. One thing worth mentioning is that LUSH products are a bit more high maintenance than you standard plastic bottled soaps and shampoos; they need to be kept out of the water stream, else your goodies will melt away! It's not a problem for me, because I keep them at the end of my tub or behind the shower curtain.
Phew. Hope you enjoyed my review of LUSH Seanik shampoo, Jungle Conditioner, and Noubar soap! Do you have any LUSH or other bath favorites?
Friday, June 10, 2011
Finally, I'm getting around to reviewing the Dior Aurora Bronzer that's been flying off shelves everywhere. Somehow I had the foresight to order this early on, which is surprising for me, since I like to mull over things too long before buying them! I'll refer to this as Dior Aurora bronzer because the official name Dior DiorSkin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder in Aurora is just too much to handle. What is it with Dior and ridiculously long unmemorable names?
I'll try to keep this short, since I plan on catching some Z's.
Dior Aurora's been getting lots of love on the net, unsurprisingly, because of the beautiful basket-weave pattern. The bronzer comes with a dark blue velvet pouch and a flat soft brush for application (see above). The brush is actually quite nice, and I've used it exclusively for my application. However Aurora's beauty is more than skin-deep. It also applies beautifully, which I'll discuss later. It's the lighter of two bronzers, the other shade being Sunset (for darker skin).
The casing is a reflective silver. It matches the summer theme, although I secretly was wishing for Dior's holographic blue packaging.
And the bottom.
And more gratuitous shots of the beautiful pan.
When I first saw photos circulating online, I was concerned that Aurora might be a little too peachy and look odd on my skin. I was imagining what I'd look like with NARS Deep Throat applied all over! Not good. I must have been delusional, and took the plunge anyway. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. I applied it, brushing downwards in locations that the sun would normally hit the skin, such as cheek bones, forehead, bridge of nose, chin, etc. The effect is a just-come-from-the-sun glow as opposed to a deeper golden bronze glow which would suggest a tan that's already settled in.
You can see the swatches of Dior Aurora bronzer below. I've swatched the individual colors, as well as all of them blended together. There's no way you'll ever use the colors individually, unlike Chanel's bronzer, since they're too small, so this is for interest only. The colors are swatched over UDPP, however they're still quite light on my NC20 (?) skin. I suppose that's why this is named a "Summer Powder" as opposed to a bronzer. It's quite subtle, but buildable for sure. The pigment is very smooth and finely milled and doesn't look or feel powdery at all. There are micro-sparkles mixed in so your skin does shimmer if you look really really up close. However you don't notice any shine from afar.
Overall, a definite thumbs up. The idea is different from your typical golden bronzer, perhaps more along the lines of a terracotta bronzer such as NARS Irresistiblement. It can be used as an all over bronzer to tan skin, or it can be used to contour. One plus is that Aurora also works as a stand-in for blush.
I hope you enjoyed the review! I have more bronzers than I can handle, so now I'm on an official no-bronzer-buy for the rest of the year. I wasn't planning on posting tonight, but I found out about a personal issue today which put me off kilter. Doing something artistic or creative (blogging included) always helps me feel better when I'm feeling a little down!
Thanks for reading, and hope all is well with you guys!
Monday, June 6, 2011
|Dior Electric Tropics Catwalk Duo Vernis and Top Coat in Aloha|
This duo is my first foray into the world of high end polish. I love nail polish, and I first started this blog with the idea of this being a nail blog. However up til now, I've never paid more than $10 for a bottle. Even $10 makes me cringe, because there are so many good colors and formulas available at budget prices. It's a lot easier to make a good polish than it is to make good makeup! And, I'm still not convinced there's a formula out there that can consistently top OPI's. So, how did I end up with this duo? I think it insidiously crept into my mind through all the beautiful promo pics, and other blogs raving about its super-bright nearly fluorescent qualities. I loved the idea of a bright red-orange, and the color was unique yet still classy.
When I first got the bottle in the mail, early May, I of course rushed to try it on. I liked it, but it wasn't love. The color seemed more orange, and I couldn't detect any of the red I'd read about on blogs, and it was definitely not fluorescent. Bright, sure, but not even the brightest I've ever seen. Perhaps for those accustomed to only demure high-end colors, this might be the brightest out there, but it doesn't hold a candle to, for example, a China Glaze summer collection (real fluorescents). In addition, upon first application, I found the shortness of the handle to be irksome, and the brush shape to be a bit difficult (I still prefer OPI wide), and the formula to be not as smooth as I liked. Inside I was crying from disappointment that I paid $26 for just another orange polish. Fortunately, impressions can change over time. After a few weeks of sitting on my dresser, the days grew warmer, summer exploded onto the scene, and I found myself reaching for it again. I gave myself a pedicure, and haven't taken it off for at least a week now. It's the perfect summerized alternative to a classy red. When I started preparing this review, I painted just a few nails on my hand for swatching purposes. However, after taking the photos, I decided I really liked the color and manicured the rest of my fingers as well! I think this polish was made for summer, and it took summer's arrival to warm me up to this set. I'm quite happy now.
Enough story. On to the review...
|Dior Vernis Aloha, uncapped!|
There is also a clear topcoat, which you may have noticed. I actually like the topcoat a lot. It's smooth and dries quickly to a very glossy clear finish. Two manicured thumbs up for the topcoat!
|Dior Vernis in Aloha in strong sunlight|
|Dior Vernis in Aloha and a tasty basil plant|
I hope you enjoyed my review. This polish was unexpectedly thought provoking. I'm still not completely sold on high end polish, but I've noticed that I didn't feel the need to pick up any other nail polishes this season. Hm. So, what do you think of Aloha? Still no? Are high end polishes worth it? What future colors are you anticipating (Chanel Graphite, anyone?)
P.S. I planted my first "garden" this year. Right now it only has the basil plants and some mint (that I almost killed), but I'm hoping to add some peppers or other veggies soon. I'm hoping the mint grows faster so I can make mojitos =P
Sunday, June 5, 2011
|Dior summer 2011 picks: Aurora bronzer and Vernis in Aloha|
This weekend was so busy, as is typical of summer. Some dear friends came to town, and I had to attend a beautiful wedding. I did, however sneak in some Sephora and Nordstrom time. I'm on the hunt for a new foundation since I'm tanning a bit faster than expected. Right now I'm trying out NARS sheer glow, and keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't react with my super-sensitive skin. If that doesn't work, I'll try Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B20 next. I hope you all had fabulous weekends! Stay tuned...
Friday, June 3, 2011
|Cute and Mundane May 2011 Favorites|
1. Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Expresso - I'm preferring this to my usual color, black ink. It gives a softer look than pure black.
2. Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara (not pictured) - My favorite mascara of those I've tried so far. It keeps my lashes pliable even after numerous coats, without getting clumpy.
3. NARS Single Eyeshadow in Coconut Grove - My new HG shadow. It's a dark slightly blackened matte brown that's smooth and pigmented. I found it's the perfect shade for my brows, and also great for darkening any shadow blended with it. I like combining it with both Dogon and Exotic Dance.
4. NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Dogon - A really special green-flashing taupe and blue charcoal reviewed here.
5. NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Exotic Dance - An interesting combination of white and gold I've used for a more natural eye. More here.
6. Dior Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder in Aurora - A lovely peachy flush. You can see a couple more pictures and thoughts here.
7. NARS Multiple in Copacabana - I got this as a part of my NARS cheek set. It gives a glowy highlight wherever its applied. I like to warm it with a finger then brush on in my cheekbones, nose, and chin as a finishing step to my makeup.
8. NARS Blush in Deep Throat - This month I've been feeling peachy, so I've been favoring this over NARS O. Peach gives a prettier blush (and not too much flush) when used with bronzer.
9. NARS Bronzer in Laguna - Also a part of the NARS cheek set (see swatch here). It's a tad darker than my other bronzers, which will be good for contouring in the summer months. It's huge and I have no idea how people use up an entire pan!
10. NARS Illuminator in Orgasm - Well, I just can't stay away from NARS O, even though I ditched the powder blush this month. The illuminator is such a different color. It's not really much of a color actually, it blends right into my skin, leaving only a really subtle sheen. I see why $30 for barely any color seems a bit much (I got mine as a GWP), however I wouldn't dismiss it right away. It's a long-lasting natural sheen that would look great when you're not in the mood to wear foundation or other makeup. I've also found that layering blush like Deep Throat over it can both enhance the color and life of the blush. This is a recent finding, so I still need to experiment. I bet Laguna would be the same for darker skinned gals.
11. Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Bare Pink - My favorite lipstick as of late. I just tote it around in my purse all the time. It's pale beige pink that goes well with a stronger eye. My lips flush a lot so this is nice to tone down the color. I haven't written about these lipsticks yet, but the formula is love. I think the color selection leaves a little to be desired, but I'm sure it will grow over time.
The loser this month, for me, is my Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder (previously reviewed here). It's only received light use (as you can tell I've acquired a couple other bronzers), however it broke, when I pushed the button to open it. As in the button mechanism broke, so that it no longer closes. I'm keeping it shut with a rubber band. Not very glamorous, as you can imagine. I emailed Bobbi Brown Customer Service a few days ago. I'll let you know what happens!
I watched Roman Polanski's Chinatown tonight, which is a film noir from 1974. I need to see more old movies; I think I'm just in a classical mood lately. If you have any favorites, let me know! I haven't seen Gone with the Wind (gasp, I know) so that's probably a place I should start. Hope you enjoyed this month's favorites, thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!
P.S. I love reading other people's favorites, as much as I enjoy writing about them. If you need your May favorites fix, be sure to check out: Hopelessly Devoted to Makeup, Miss Diorista