Saturday, December 31, 2011

Eleven of 'eleven

        It's the 11th hour here in the U.S. and I'm posting my top eleven of 2011 before the clock strikes twelve! So without further ado, here are eleven beauty products that merit recognition. I've included links to my past posts for your reference.

1. Dior Aurora bronzer was my favorite cheek product of the year. It gives just the perfect amount of glow and functions as a blush and bronzer. I use cheek products sparingly since I found out this year that they cause my skin to react. However, when I do, Dior Aurora is something that I will reach for.

2. NARS multiple in Luxor is my favorite highlighter. I like it slightly more than Copacabana because I favored cooler tones this year.

3. NARS nail polish in Vestale is the pale ballerina pink that led me down a pale pink road this year. The finish of Vestale is so glossy that you don't need a top coat. I think there was in improvement made when compared to previous NARS nail polish formulations.

4. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is my favorite foundation. I love the naturally glowy finish that occurs over time. I also like that it has good oil control and looks great in photographs. It's my favorite because it's the best all-around.

5. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation is another great foundation. It's what I like to use in lieu of tinted moisturizers. Vitalumiere aqua is so weightless and comfortable.

6. Chanel Rouge Coco in Peregrina was the object of my obsession ever since the promotional photos emerged. This was very well loved.

7. Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Bare Pink was my most-used lipstick this year. It's a very wearable pinky nude. If you read Cute and Mundane regularly, you know this is my kind of color! The Rich lip color formulation is so creamy, pigmented, and comfortable.

8. NARS Larger than Life eyeliner in Via Veneto convinced me that there are awesome pencil eyeliners out there. This stays really black and barely smudges (over primer). I was gel eyeliner only girl until this came along. Recently I've reached for this almost every day!

9.  My custom MAC quad (Soot, Yogurt, Scene, and Vex) was my first foray into MAC eyeshadows. I used this quad so often. Scene (light blue-grey) is my most worn grey this year. I love combining it with Vex (beige sheen).

10. NARS Dogon eyeshadow duo is my vote for the best NARS duo this year. I think that says a lot!

11. NARS Coconut Grove is such a versatile color. It's such a rich cool brown that's great for deepening any look. I used it every day to shade in my brows as well.

          Thanks for reading my last post of the year! I'm off to watch the Time's square countdown in a few minutes. See you in the New Year!

Love, Dovey.

Friday, December 30, 2011

On my mind: pint-size trinkets

         Tonight I was supposed to have makeup on the mind and work on my New Year's related blog posts. Somehow, whenever I'm supposed to do something, the opposite happens. So today, I'm sharing a quick non-makeup post.

          For Christmas, I received these two pint-size trinkets from two very dear friends. They were so incredibly cute that I had to share them. The miniature knit owl is from Etsy. He is made of the warmest, fuzziest, and softest wool possible. He has delicate angora-like wisps that add to the baby bird like character. If you remove him from the nest, he also has the cutest little feet. The orange mini 'alarm' clock reminds me of a little cartoon. I've attached it to one of my bags as a fun element.

         Thanks for taking a peek at my new trinkets! And... a big thank you and lots of love to you-know-who-you-are!

Love, Dovey

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OPI Tickle My France-y manicure

          Lately I've been all about nude and light pink nails. I've added several to my collection over the past month. It seems like I just can't get enough! One color that I consider a real standout is OPI Tickle My France-y. This is a color that was first released in 2008, but can be found in the 'permanent collection' OPI display. I'd heard about tickle my France-y several times; however after seeing it compared to Chanel Rose Cache on Beauty Look Book, I decided to check it out in person. I'm very glad I did!

         Above is my typical nail painting routine. I apply a Sephora by OPI base coat followed by two coats of OPI Tickle My France-y and finish with OPI Top coat. The top coat was a recent acquisition from one of the awesome Ulta buy 2 get 1 top/base coat free deals. I find both the top and base coat to function well for me because I'm not too concerned with lasting power. I like to change or remove colors often! They do dry fast enough for my liking, which is more important. The one thing is worth mentioning is that I definitely prefer OPI's classic wide brush to the small SOPI brush for application. It's applies more evenly and efficiently.

          Finally, you can see my finger swatches of OPI Tickle My France-y. It's a light-medium slightly greiged pink sheer with a creme finish. It is really flattering towards my skin tone since it doesn't pull out the red my hands. It has medium opacity at two coats, so you can see the nail line, however I keep my nails short so this is not an issue for me. The formula is so smooth and even that I could do a one coater for a sheerer effect. There are so many swatches of OPI Tickle My France-y available online that is difficult to gauge what it really looks like in person. After seeing online pictures I was quite shocked when I saw the real bottle in-store. It was considerably darker and more pink in-store than I had imagined it to be. Flash and sunlight tend to wash out the color, so in most online photographs Tickle My France-y looks more pale, greige, and beige. My pictures are more pink because they're representative of indoor lighting.

         Overall, I love this color. It's so easy to wear, chic, and applies like a dream. I think I might be an OPI re-convert, especially when it comes to sheers and pinks. I recently purchased a bottle of OPI Bubble Bath, another awesome OPI. What are your favorite OPI pinks?

Thanks for reading!

Love, Dovey.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chanel Levres Scintillantes Glossimer in Spark 04

         With the new year's eve fast approaching, I thought it would be fit to post a review on a festive red lippie. Today I'm sharing photos and swatches of Chanel Levres Scintillantes Glossimer in Spark 04.

          Chanel Spark is very fitting holiday color. In the tube it is definitely a red, however it is a subdued red. It's not a very blue red or an orange red, or a fire engine red. It leans a little twoards garnet or brick red. In person, Spark has a golden sheen (in the tube) which adds a hint of warmth.

          When you open the glossimer, you can see that the residue on the wand has a slight fuschia tone to it. This is interesting, since I didn't detect fuschia tones from the bottle itself.
          Finally, you can see from my swatch of Chanel glossimer in Spark 04 that the color is a nice modest red with the slightest hint of golden warmth. I've swatched it at the thickness that I think would be reasonable for normal wear. You can see that it's not overly opaque like a lacquer. It's medium intensity and shows up well on the lips. It applies evenly (as you'd expect of a glossimer) and it's sticky enough so that it doesn't move around. I like the glossimer formula in general. The texture is fairly smooth and not too tacky. It does feel a little tighter over time once it gets dry, but it doesn't bother me as much as many other glosses.

          I think Chanel Spark would be a wearable red gloss for most people (and most ages too). It's definitely not a statement red, which for me is a good thing! It's also a comfortable red to wear since I don't have to check to see if it's ended up outside my lips or on my teeth. To be honest, I don't get a lot of wear out of this even though I think it's really nice. I'm not a big red person. I own this one red gloss and one dramatic red lipstick! I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing this around New Year's though and maybe somewhat in January. It's peak red season so I should do my best to incorporate reds!

         Thanks for reading! Are you wearing red for New Years? If so, what color?

Love, Dovey.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Star light, star bright

         Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season! Mr. Lovey, Baby Bird (the poodle), and I spent a wonderful Christmas in. We bought our first real tree this year. We perused the selections of seven-foot pines, but ended up settling on a bushy tabletop tree that stands with a little tilt. It was perfect!

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chanel Perfection Lumiere (B20) review and swatches

          Hello! Today I'm posting my review and swatches of Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation in the shade Beige 20 (B20). I've had Perfection Lumiere for a few weeks at least. To be honest, it was not love at first swipe. I had a small struggle trying to find the right color and felt unsure about the matte finish. However, lately I've been finding myself reaching for Perfection Lumiere quite frequently.

          I'll start with some general observations. Chanel Perfection Lumiere is packaged in a frosty glass bottle with a pump. I definitely appreciate the pump, after using the shake and squirt version of Vitalumiere Aqua. The glass bottle is pretty is aesthetically appealing on my counter, however it's quite impractical for travel.

          I like to apply Chanel Perfection Lumiere with my fingers. Usually I use 2-3 pumps. Like Vitalumiere Aqua, it is a relatively quick drying foundation, so I find that using fingers can apply a quicker and thinner layer. I've also tried a kabuki brush and it also works well to cover large areas quickly. A sales associate I spoke with recommended a paddle type foundation brush, however I did not have much success with that technique. It layered it on quite thickly and I did end up with a few brush lines. I think the foundation is too quick drying for good blending with a foundation brush. That said, I am not a big fan of paddle-type foundation brushes in general. The coverage is good, and most discolorations on my skin are well hidden.

        The finish of the foundation is matte and a little drying. Even with moisturizer beneath, I find that Perfection Lumiere can dry my skin and accentuate small flakes. I don't bother with powder. Over the course of the day, the finish improves as some oil is absorbed into the foundation. I have combination skin, not dry skin, so this was surprising to me. Perfection Lumiere might work well for ladies with very oily skin. I will have to re-evaluate this foundation in summertime when my skin produces significantly more oil. The plus side to the matte finish / dry nature is that at the end of the day my skin looks good (if not better) than the initial application. Also, the foundation feels lightweight (as should be expected of a high end foundation).

          Another important note is the smell. I think the smell is supposed to be some sort of green pear/peach sort of smell. It is definitely different from the smell of Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. Initially I did get a pleasant fruity smell, however the smell would fade into something quite unpleasant. The best comparison I can provide is the smell of a dentist's office. Over more time, I find that I rarely smell the pleasant smell, and the only smell I have during application is the dentist's office smell. It initially made me gag, but I've gotten used to it (sort of) after multiple uses.

          As someone who reacts to chemical sunscreens, I am happy that Chanel Perfection Lumiere has sunscreen in the form of Titanium Dioxide which is a physical sunscreen. It's difficult to find a foundation with SPF that does not contain chemical sunscreen. There is a downside to physical sunscreen blockers; they do not photograph well and may give the subject a whitish cast. I've noticed that Perfection Lumiere is NOT a good foundation for use with photographs. It's not horrible, I just think there are better alternatives, namely NARS Sheer Glow and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation (both do not have any sunscreen). I did do a small experiment photographing myself with the aforementioned foundations. Perfection Lumiere does not work as well to cover flaws in photographs, though it does look nice in 'reality'.

         On a side note, I noticed that Perfection Lumiere was featured in the makeup section of a well known Bridal magazine. It irks me because it's well known among makeup enthusiasts that sunscreen containing foundations don't photograph well. The day of your wedding is probably the most important day to be photograph ready!

          The consistency of Chanel Perfection Lumiere is a smooth liquid. It's not runny. It's not clumpy like Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. It dries reasonably quickly and does not transfer very much onto clothes. In fact, it is quite difficult to wash off. I found this out when I unsuccessfully attempted to wash the swatches off my arm with soap and water. Even makeup removing face cleansers I tried (Philosophy and Lancome) were unsuccessful. Make sure you cleanse well with a cleansing oil or makeup wipe to get everything off!

         Below, I'm made comparison swatches of Chanel Perfection Lumiere and Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in shades Beige (B10) and Beige 20 (B20). The swatches are thick applications of foundations. I allowed them to dry for 10-15 minutes before photographing so that you could see the dry and oxidized color. You can see from my swatches that the comparable colors of Vitalumiere Aqua (VA) and Perfection Lumiere (PL) do not correspond. It's not really a difference in lightness or darkness; it's a difference in undertone. The differences in undertone aren't necessarily consistent in each range. Chanel PL in B20 has an orange undertone while VA in B20 has a more beige undertone. The lighter shades in B10 have almost an opposite distribution of tones. Chanel VA is more peachy, while PL has a more yellow-beige undertone. I find that while both beige and orange/peach undertones look fine on my skin, I prefer more orange/peach colors. They are more brightening. For that reason, in the shade B20 I prefer Perfection Lumiere, while in B10 I prefer Vitalumiere Aqua.

        I also tried Perfection Lumiere in Beige Rose 20, since I was scared by initial reviews of the Beige tones being too "yellow". However, I find that BR20 looked almost fluorescent orange on me. The Chanel SA I spoke with told me she was wearing a BR foundation, and it looked a bit unnaturally orange on her as well (that is my personal opinion, of course). For this reason, I would recommend exercising caution when choosing between the Beige and Beige Rose ranges. From the small selection of reviews I've seen on the internet, it seems that most people end up in the Beige range.

        There are a number of great reviews of Chanel Perfection Lumiere out there. I've sorted the ones I've seen below by shade:

      Overall, I'm pleased with Chanel Perfection Lumiere. I find myself reaching for this foundation very often for everyday use. It's easy to use, has good coverage, and PL B20 is a good match for me at the moment. The fact that it doesn't transfer to easily onto clothes is good during winter when I'm all bundled up with sweaters, hats, and scarves potentially touching my face. I wouldn't call it an all-around holy grail type foundation because of weaknesses in smell, photography, and ability to accentuate dryness. I don't think this is the foundation for a one-foundation type of gal, especially considering the price. However, if you are a foundation connoisseur, it is worth a try.

         Thanks for reading! Have you also tried Perfection Lumiere? How are the different shades working for you?

Love, Dovey.

Currently working on...

          Happy Saturday! Today Mr. Lovey and I will be going out to a late lunch, some last-minute Christmas shopping, and some touristy picture taking around town. Here's a sneak peek of a long-overdue post I'll be working on this weekend now that I have internet again. I'll also get a chance to make some overdue responses to comments. After a week of on and off service, our internet service finally got fixed this weekend. Phew. How are you guys?



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NARS Jungle Red nail polish review

         'Tis the season to wear red and NARS Jungle Red nail polish is perfect for occasion. (Actually, it's perfect for any occasion, really). I've found myself particularly attracted to NARS Jungle Red because it's holiday season. However, it's also a really great workhorse type of red that can be worn year round. I hope you enjoy my photos and review!

          Jungle red comes in the typical NARS squared polish shape. For those who are not familiar with NARS nail polishes, the whole square rubberized cap is attached to the applicator, unlike Chanel and Dior where the cap is just for show and comes off to reveal a nubbin sized applicator underneath. Application can be tricky with such a large handle, but I find it to be a big problem. In fact, I might prefer it to the tiny applicator handles.

          NARS Jungle Red has a creme finish. I like to wear it with topcoat to keep it shiny. I find that it is more prone to scuffing and less shiny than the more recently released colors NARS Matto Grosso and NARS Vestale. I suspect there may have been a recent improvement in the NARS formula. In terms of opacity, one coat is almost opaque however I like to use two for good measure. The formula is pretty standard for a red creme and I have no complaints.

           Here are some comparison swatches with NARS Jungle Red nail polish. Red is a color that begs for comparison swatches, since the nuances and undertones may not be as apparent in a stand-alone photograph.

Swatches photographed in bright sunlight
          I would describe NARS Jungle Red nail polish as a very standard red. It's not too dark, light, or candy colored. It had fairly neutral undertones which do not lean orange or blue. The other red polishes I've swatched help illustrate this. I've photographed my nails in sunlight (above) and indoors (below). I think the indoors swatches are better suited for discerning undertone. In shadowed situations, Jungle Red can appear to be a bit darker.  Essie Really Red is considerably brighter and more primary colored. It's similar to stop sign red. Revlon Vixen is darker and more burgundy. Essie Bordeaux seems similar in sunlight, however indoors you can appreciate that it has more berry and wine tones. When compared to these three nail polishes, NARS Jungle Red appears to be a very standard red. Because of this, it can easily be worn across seasons and situations.

Swatches photographed indoors with flash
         I asked Mr. Lovey which swatch he liked best of the four (it was a blinded experiment), and he picked out NARS Jungle Red nail polish. If anything, that's an encouraging result! I haven't built up a large collection of red nail polish because I don't wear it that often. I'm glad to have NARS Jungle Red in my collection, since it can work in a variety of situations, unlike more niche reds. It's worth noting that NARS has a small series of Jungle Red makeup. It's not as large as the NARS O collection, but in addition to Jungle Red nail polish, there is also a Jungle Red lip liner and lipstick.

          Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed today's post. What are your favorite holiday reds or year round reds?

Love, Dovey. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two nudes: MAC Creme d'Nude and NARS Belle de Jour lipstick review

          Today I have a bread-and-butter type review of two nude lipsticks: MAC Creme d'Nude lipstick and NARS Belle de Jour lipstick. (I've been eating muffins lately, so I have bread on the mind). Last month I must have had a craving for nude lipsticks. I bought NARS Belle de Jour during a Sephora sale and chose MAC Creme d'Nude as a prize from a giveaway on Kelly's Makeup Bag. Both colors are well loved by beauty enthusiasts. Creme d'Nude is a MAC bestseller, while Belle de Jour has some celebrity-associated fame.

          I figured this was a good time to highlight the packaging differences between MAC and NARS. I love the modern minimalism of both. Aside from that, have you ever noticed that they are polar opposites? MAC is rounded, shiny, smooth, and has a small logo. NARS is square, matte, rubberized, and has the NARS logo blown up to be as large as possible.

          When I lined up both tubes side by side, I was quite concerned that I'd gotten two colors that were almost the same. Both appeared to be peachy / orange nudes. Fortunately, you can see from my swatches below that this was not the case. As you can see from the bullets below, MAC Creme d'Nude has more sheen in the tube. NARS Belle de Jour is a tad darker and is leans more orange than peach.

          In terms of formula: MAC Creme d'Nude is a slightly thicker and tackier in texture and is vanilla scented while NARS Belle d'Jour is mostly unscented, feels less creamy, and feels more weightless when worn. I think this is consistent with my previous experiences with these lipstick brands (keeping in mind each brand has a few different formulas).


          Here are comparison swatches of NARS Belle de Jour with MAC Creme d'Nude. Both have a  sheer finish. This certainly makes them more wearable than they appear in the tube. This is consistent with their formulations, as Belle de Jour is a sheer finish NARS lipstick and Creme d'Nude is a MAC Cremesheen finish. Both colors are light nudes. NARS Belle de Jour is darker and appears more orange. MAC Creme d'Nude is more peach toned. I've compared them to Bobbi Brown Beige lipstick, which was my previous go-to nude. I was surprised to see how dark Bobbi Brown Beige was compared to the others. This had me worried since Beige is already a nude color on me. I imagined that Belle de Jour and Creme d'Nude might be way too light. However, when I compared Bobbi Brown Beige with NARS Belle de Jour, I found they were of comparable lightness when worn on the lips, though the undertones are different. The reason is that Beige is more opaque, while Belle de Jour allows my lip color to contribute. I was initially scared of how orange NARS Belle de Jour looked when swatched; however, when worn it looks quite natural. MAC Creme d'Nude is significantly lighter than the other two when worn. Because it's peach, I think it has white tones mixed in, which make it more difficult to wear. I find that choosing amongst MAC "nude-out" type colors can be tricky. The colors can be more extreme (which is a part of the brand character).

           Overall I'm pleased with my new nude lip acquisitions. I find that the colors do not overlap, despite the similarities in tube and both being of sheer formulas. NARS Belle de jour will be an easy natural light nude for me that can be worn on a more everyday basis. MAC Creme d'Nude is a pale nude that will be a little more situational.

          Thanks for reading! Have you tried these colors? What are your favorite nude lip colors?

Love, Dovey.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November Favorites + new baubles

         November was an action packed month. I should have realized this, considering Thanksgiving is thrown in! Because of this, a concise set of favorites came to mind:

1. NARS Turkish Delight lip gloss- This is a new acquisition from the Sephora VIB sale (which reminds me, I haven't posted my haul yet). Recently, I have a new appreciation for NARS lip glosses. I generally don't like lip glosses since most cause my lips to dry or, worse, peel. I find that NARS glosses seem to be comfortable for my lips and don't cause these unwanted effects. It is true that there is an initially unpleasant chemical smell, however I'm willing to deal with that if my lips stay in good condition. Turkish delight is pale milky pink. It's a nice counterpart to Greek Holiday lip gloss (below) when I want a gloss without sparkle.
2. NARS Greek Holiday lip gloss- I've had this for a while now. Greek Holiday is such a versatile gloss. It works well with most lighter lipsticks I have. It's a gloss with sparkle in a sandy-pink base.
3. Bobbi Brown Pale Mauve lipstick- This is a pretty pale pink that goes with so many looks. It was a nice counterpart to the navy in my eyeshadow duo. More photos here.
4. Butter London Toff nail polish- more photos and review here.
5. L'Oreal Owl's Night nail polish- more photos and review here
6. Chanel Graphite nail polish- more photos and review here
7. NARS Mandchourie eyeshadow duo- I used this almost every day. I thought the colors would be difficult to use, however they can be sheered out nicely for daytime. More photos and review here.

         During my Thanksgiving visit to my parent's home, I did a little accessory shopping. Above are some earrings I bought. I like shopping in more suburban stores for fun earrings. There are always good finds, often at a discount. The Mediterranean blue earrings are a find from Talbots. I'm quite enamored with them. The hoops are Liz Claiborne and the bronze clustered baubles with chain tassels are MIXIT.

        That's all for November! I can already tell that December is going to be a different sort of makeup month for me. I've been favoring darker lip products and more natural eyes. I hope I get use out of my new accessories. I think they're very pretty! I've already had the chance to wear my blue earrings to one occaision. I hope everyone's having a good December so far. I'm getting caught up into the holiday spirit already. Mr. Lovey and I purchased and decorated a little tree today! Thanks for reading.

Love, Dovey.