Sunday, February 26, 2012

NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow single review

         When I think of New York City and makeup destinations, the NARS flagship store on 413 Bleecker Street immediately comes to mind. NARS recently released a line of three exclusive items available only at the store or online. The NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow single is a cool, crisp, city lavender that immediately captured my imagination and my heart. For sentimental reasons, I wanted mine to be from the store itself so I asked Mr. Lovey to pick one up for me while he was in the neighborhood. I hope you enjoy my review and photos of my new NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow!

          NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow and  NARS Lhasa single eyeshadow (see my review here) share a similar purple base. However, while Lhasa had me thinking old world mystery, NARS 413 BLKR puts me in an empire state of mind. The cool lavender evokes the purple haze of city glass on a cloudy day. To aid in imagination, I have a recent picture of the One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) rising above the site of tragedy in somber magnificence. I love this photo and can't help but feel a little emotional every time I see it. At completion the skyscraper will measure 1776 ft. at the pinnacle, which is symbolic of the year of American independence.

Photo credit: Mr. Lovey

            I would describe NARS 413 BLKR as a cool lavender with minute grey taupe tones. I'd say it fits the 'lavender grey' description of NARS Lhasa better than Lhasa itself. The application is light at first swipe; it's smooth and layers well. I like this kind of formulation since I can easily blend out or change the intensity of color. The color is lighter than Lhasa, so I can't achieve the same kind of varied depth and intensity with one shadow alone. That said, I will most likely wear this on my eyes as a standalone color for a brightening light grey effect. It compliments my favorite light grey shirts and sweaters nicely, while not feeling like a heavy winter grey. It's such a pretty and delicate color that I would be hesitant to blend in other shadows. If drama is desired, I might add a medium taupe or purple on the crease or outer V.

           Here are my comparison swatches for NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow. Compared with NARS Lhasa and NARS Grand Palais, 413 BLKR is also significantly more purple and less taupe. It's also lighter in shade than Lhasa. Of course one should consider that the color that will swatch differently on every skin tone (check out The Beauty Look Book's swatches). Both NARS Lhasa and NARS 413 BLKR appear more taupe and less purple on my skin. In general my undertones tend to warm up colors, which is why I prefer colors that lean slightly cool.

          Finally, this begs the question: which one do I prefer? It's a difficult question as both are beautiful and will be well loved. Despite their similarities in the pan, they have very different characters when applied. NARS 413 BLKR is clean, city, and cool, while Lhasa is more sultry, earthy, and mysterious. If I had to choose one, it would be Lhasa. It is more versatile and suitable for different skin tones. Lhasa is also a better standalone shadow since it can be layered on itself for depth. Lhasa can also be blended on top of 413 BLKR for a beautiful effect as well!

          Overall, I'm so happy to add the NARS 413 BLKR to my shadow collection. It's a welcome cool infusion into the NARS single shadow lineup. It's shadowy yet spring-appropriate, which means I can expect to use it a lot in the coming months! Have you tried 413 BLKR eyeshadow or any of the other NARS exclusive products? Thoughts? Have you seen the new World Trade Center in person? Thanks for reading!

Love, Dovey.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New York City drugstore haul

        You know you're in New York City when you see a duane reade pharmacy on every block. On Mr. Lovey's last trip to Manhattan, I asked him to pick up a couple French skincare products. Avene and La Roche Posay might be commonplace on New York shelves, but they're largely absent elsewhere in the U.S. I decided to start with Avene Eu Thermale Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser and La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne treatment. I'll share some initial impressions below.

           Avene's products are based on a thermal spring water. The silicates and trace elements are thought to benefit the skin. According to their site, the thermal water is directly connected to the manufacturing center; the first time the water 'sees the light is when it touches your skin'. So far I'm enjoying my Avene Cleanance Soapless gel cleanser. It's not sudsy, but a small drop can be spread easily over my face. My face feels quite clean afterwards. The cleanser is scented lightly with what I imagine to be a thermal spring smell. If you've visited Yellowstone or other springs you might be familiar with the warm sulfur scent these pools emit. Incidentally, sulfur has antibacterial properties which I surmise could be a mechanism behind Avene's effects on skin.

The Black Pool: a thermal spring in Yellowstone
          La Roche Posay is a part of L'Oreal's portfolio. La Roche Posay Effaclar duo is a benzoyl peroxide based acne treatment (as opposed to salicylic acid or retinoids). I've saw such good reviews that I had to try it for myself. After eating too much chocolate recently, I've had to battle with some breakouts. I'm hoping the effaclar duo can help. I've used it for a few days and it hasn't had a magical skin clearing effect yet. It may have gotten rid of larger breakouts, but I still have really tiny bumps on my skin; I can't tell whether they're a reaction to the product or whether they're blemishes that have been shrunken in their tracks. I'll report back when I know more!

           It's too early to declare whether my new skincare goodies work, but I'm excited to use them. I particularly love the scent, feel, and packaging of my new Avene cleanser. If these warm feelings continue, I'm sure I'll find myself back at the display to pick up a few more things.

          Thanks for reading! Have you tried Avene or La Roche Posay? Does your drugstore stock them? Are there any brands that are exclusive to your region or city?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. Drugstore and drugstore display photo credit: Mr. Lovey

Note for cruelty-free beauty lovers: It is worth noting that L'Oreal  is not cruelty free (what a shame). If it weren't for that, I'd be singing their praises. I really hope that one day this will change.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sitting, waiting, wishing

          Here's what I've been up to lately...


Wishing for some quality blog time and missing you guys! 

Chocolates for mom, cookies for me.
        Traveling has kept me away for a bit, but I want to let you know that regular posting will commence shortly. In addition to the Jacques Torres sweets above from Mr. Lovey, I have a few New York City beauty buys that I'll share in the coming days!

Love, Dovey.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chanel Chance eau de toilette review

          Chanel Chance is my newest perfume love. I was first introduced to Chance in lotion form, through a gift from my mother. The scent was so entrancing that I knew I would have to try it in fragrance form as well.

          The circular bottle is small, but charming. There's a reflective metal strip around the bottle. The lucite cap with the Chanel imprint needs to be pulled off (somewhat forcibly) to access the spray nozzle inside. I bought the 1.2 oz size. I'm trying to make it a habit of buying the small bottles of perfume. It's tempting to buy larger bottles, however I've only ever made it completely through one bottle of fragrance so far. I've also noticed that fragrances with fresh or delicate top notes can lose their character over time if not stored well. So smaller bottles it is!

           Chanel Chance is a a smooth and warm floral without bright top notes. I can't say for sure whether my nose knows, however there may be hints of vanilla, citrus, and pepper. There is a patchouli base note that gives it character. Patchouli is not normally my cup of tea, however it's growing on me. It makes for a well balanced scent.

          Overall Chance imparts a feeling of relaxed chic; it's cozy with a hint of mystery. I could wear it at home in sweats and a fuzzy sweater or with a more polished outfit out on the town. My little bottle is going to get a lot of love. I'm looking forward to trying the Eau Tendre and Eau Fraiche version of Chance, when I get the chance.

          Thanks for reading my review! Have you tried the Chanel Chance family? What notes can you discern? What are your current favorite scents?

Love, Dovey.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Keeping things spicy

          If you're looking to add some spice to your beauty blogroll, take a peek at the following blogs I've found recently. Enjoy!

          I hope you're having a good weekend! I'm still working on my Burn Notice marathon; there's something so pleasing about imagining mojitos and Miami heat. How have you been lately? What TV shows are you watching? Any new blogs that you're loving?

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Revlon colorburst lip butters, round two

          I'm back with more Revlon colorburst lip butters! The first time around I went for four light butters. This time I've rounded out my collection with a few more festive colors. Since I've already written a post on lip butters (see here), I will try to address other ideas in this entry and take the opportunity to revel in the beautiful candy colored packaging.

         I love the colorful packaging. It's pretty and useful when you want to grab the right color and go. You can also see below that the top of the tube is clear so you can see what's color is inside! The lip butter colors I got this time around were Peach Parfait, Cotton Candy, Sweet Tart, Raspberry Pie, Berry Smoothie, Lollipop, and Candy Apple.

          The lip butters fit my 'beauty bill' for a few reasons. First, I don't have a very comprehensive lip color collection, and I can experiment with bright pink, raspberry, and fuschia lip butters. Second, the sheerness makes the brighter colors easier to wear. The comfortable balmy feeling makes them perfect to wear at home too, when I don't have any other makeup on. Third, I can toss the lip butters into my bag without having to fret about possible damage, loss, or going bad due to warm conditions. This will be good when I go on vacation.

          Here are my swatches of Revlon colorburst lip butters in Peach Parfait, Cotton Candy, Sweet Tart, Raspberry Pie, Berry Smoothie, Lollipop, and Candy Apple. Peach Parfait is a sheer peach with some glitter. Cotton candy is a sheer light pink. I think it's cool, but not as cool as Cupcake. Sweet Tart is a very pretty bright pink. Raspberry Pie is a pigmented raspberry pink. Berry smoothie is a mauve pink. Lollipop is a pigmented fuschia pink. Candy apple is a red that leans a little orange on me.

           Now my collection numbers eleven lip butters total. Admittedly it's a bit overboard, but I'm happy since I've been using them quite often. My favorites of the most recent bunch have been Peach Parfait, Cotton Candy, and Sweet Tart. Generally I stay shy of red, brown, and orange tones and I've collected most of the pinks, so I think I'm good for now!

          Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying a good weekend! Do you have a favorite lip butter color? Are there products that you've gone nuts over? As an aside, I'm hooked on Burn Notice. I just finished Season 1 on Netflix!

Love, Dovey.

Monday, February 6, 2012

NARS Lhasa eyeshadow review

         In its own quiet way, NARS Lhasa eyeshadow single has become a standout color in spring 2012. Cloudy, rocky, and overcast colors are my modus operandi, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally get my hands on NARS Lhasa. To add to the ambiance, I've taken my photos on an appropriately cloudy day!

           The real life Lhasa is the capitol of Tibet. I've heard that in Tibet the air is so clear and clean that you can see color like never before. I can't help but wonder if the color of NARS Lhasa was inspired by a greyed purple cast of the Himalayas, 'where earth meets sky.' I've never been to Tibet, however I dug up a photo from my trip to Yellowstone last summer. I think this picture of shaggy bison grazing among smoky purple hills evokes a similar, though lower in altitude, imagery.

           Lhasa is officially described as a lavender grey. I'd say it's more of a taupe with grey-purple leanings. It seems to be the cooler sister of NARS' Ashes to ashes (as confirmed by J of Lil lady's life). In fact, Lhasa is what I hoped that Ashes to ashes would be. The application seems a bit sheer at first swipe, however it layers on quickly for depth. I do find myself swirling my brush in the pan, as opposed to taking a simple swipe. I don't mind the initial sheerness. It makes it easy to blend for a natural looking slightly smoked eye and I can layer where necessary.

           Below you can click on the packaging if you would like to read the ingredients in NARS Lhasa single eyeshadow. Ingredient information is often difficult to find online, which can be frustrating for people with sensitivities like myself. I will try to include this kind of information in future product posts as well.

           I have comparison swatches of NARS Lhasa with other colors to demonstrate the nature of its color. Compared to the blue-purple of Bobbi Brown Plum Steel you can see that NARS Lhasa is more of a taupe as opposed to a purple. Compared to the silver taupe side of NARS Grand Palais, you can see that Lhasa has cooler purple tones. Compared to MAC Scene, which is a heather grey, you can see that Lhasa is definitely more of a taupe than a grey. I suspect that Lhasa is a color that will swatch differently on every skintone because it is a taupe. I think it pulls a little more brown and less purple on me. You can see NARS Lhasa worn on Getting Cheeky and Makeup Magpie and more comparison swatches on Bloomin' Beauty and Beauty Reflections.

          Overall, it's love. I'll likely end up using Lhasa as a solo color on my lids every day for the near future. It melds so well with skin that using other colors to blend out is not necessary. Dimension can be added by simple layering. I am hard pressed to think of a color that could be more perfect. NARS Lhasa adds a hint of old world mystery like its namesake, as if you were seeing shadows belonging to a distant yet still present past.

         Thanks for reading! Are you boarding the Lhasa train? Or do you prefer warmer counterparts like NARS Ashes to ashes or MAC satin taupe? What are your favorite taupes?

Love, Dovey.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New year, new favorites

          When the clock struck twelve on New Year's eve, my my mind hit a makeup reset button. I found myself reaching for natural and fresh tones. Here is what I used the most during January:

1. Urban Decay Naked 2 palette - I've used this palette almost every single day since I purchased it in early January. My most used colors include Bootycall, Tease, Pistol, Chopper, Snakebite, and Busted. (See my NAKED2 review and swatches here)
2. OPI Tickle my France-y (review and swatch here)
3. OPI Bubble Bath - Bubble bath gives my nail a sheer and polished finish.
4. Revlon Sugar Frosting lip butter -This was my first lip butter love and it did not disappoint.
5. Revlon Strawberry Shortcake lip butter is a fresh and cool pink (review and swatches here)
6. Maybelline Dream Bouncy blush in Orchid Hush - I love the slight lavender tones (review and swatches here)

7. NARS Concealer in Vanilla - I like to carry this around in my purse to cover up blemishes during the day. I like that it's not reflective and can be used for purposes other than under-eye concealing.
8. NARS Mayflower lipstick - a sheer strawberry pink
9. NARS Belle de Jour lipstick - a sheer peachy nude
10. Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Smoke - I'm experimenting with this as an eyebrow color.

          The colors remind me of multicolored pebbles bathed in cold water of a New England beach. I think they'd look great with a striped nautical shirt, don't you think? I guess my imagination is in the mood for traveling lately. What sort of color palette do you find yourself reaching for in the new year? Have you been traveling at all this winter? Thanks for reading!

Love, Dovey.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Foundation swatches - NARS, Chanel, and MUFE

         I decided to post a set of liquid foundation comparison swatches and brief reviews using the foundations and samples I currently have in my collection. I hope that this will be helpful for someone looking for comparison swatches for NARS, Chanel, or Make Up Forever foundations. Keep in mind that the finish of each is different, so even if the swatch may appear similar, the wear may different. I've used fairly thick layers of each and given each time to become mostly dry.

NARS Sheer Glow foundation
Notes: The finish is medium-full and absorbs oil pretty well. The NARS range foundations all have a yellow base.. The finish is glowy and looks good in photographs. There is no sunscreen. See my past review here.
04 Deauville -peach undertones
05 Fiji - orange-yellow undertones
06 Ceylan - yellow undertones

Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation
Notes: The coverage is medium-full and the finish is more matte. See my review here. Note that the colors don't match up well with the corresponding shades in Vitalumiere Aqua.
B10 - clean yellow undertones
B20 - orange undertones
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation
Notes: This has slightly more coverage than a tinted moisturizer. I don't like to wear this when my skin is blemished since it doesn't hide much. It's very comfortable and lightweight. See my past review here.
B10 - peach undertones
B20 - beige undertones

Make Up Forever HD foundation
Notes: This is full coverage. It can accentuate dry skin. It does look good in photographs, as promised. The trick is finding the right shade. Flesh (118) is quite beige. The next shade down 117 Marble was a significantly lighter clean yellow when I swatched it in-store.
118 Flesh  - beige undertones

Thanks for reading!

Love, Dovey.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Man Stuff

            As a beauty enthusiast, I'm in no shortage of lotions and potions and products. However, it can be a struggle to get Mr. Lovey to adhere to even a simple skincare routine. Men. To be honest, it would be a bit weird if the man in my life was equally zealous about beauty and skincare so I shouldn't complain. That said, I would prefer that my prince charming kept my charming looks for years to come. In this post I'll share how I've attempted to incorporate some simple skincare into his routine.

           First, I've found that Mr. Lovey also appreciates nice and matching packaging. Even if he could care less about skincare, I know he secretly likes things that look nice too. Packaging that says 'for men' doesn't hurt either. Secondly, it doesn't have to be expensive. I think the St. Ives products here look quite nice and work well. I don't want to flip out if he takes two big pumps of the cleanser every time and it disappears within a month! Third, I'll choose things that smell fresh or are unscented. I'm pretty sure the last thing a man wants to smell like is old-lady creams. He could care less if there were expensive anti-aging amino-peptide-hyaluronic-supposedly-scientific ingredients in it. Right now Mr. Lovey is using Clinique's dramatically different moisturizing gel. Technically he's just helping me use it up since I'm allergic to it. It's light in texture and unscented so he doesn't complain. Fourth, I've chosen more moisturizing face cleansers. This is partially because he has dry skin. It is also because I know he'll skip moisturizer often and I don't want his skin to dry out quickly after using stripping washes. Finally, I try to figure out what he likes. I was surprised to see that he used up a sample size of Anthony logistics exfoliator. I made sure to purchase a milder version: the St. Ives moisturizing Olive scrub for him.

         This brings me to another point. Whenever I order beauty products online, I try to throw in samples for Mr. Lovey. That way I can figure out what he likes and who doesn't like getting little luxe samples? I can't go wrong with woody fragrance samples. I'd like to note that he actually owns more bottles of fragrance than I do. Below you can see a few little samples that are currently on his counter-top. The Eshu shave gel and Art of shaving pre-shave oil were deluxe samples during promotions. The current fragrance samples he has are from Prada and John Varvatos.

           Finally I made sure to get him his own set of nail tools. I'm sure he had his own set before we lived together, however, recently I caught him using mine because they were better and sharper! Of course I made sure to get him his own after that.

          Thanks for reading! Do you have any tips or tricks that you've used for the men in your life? (It's not just Mr. Lovey. I have a brother that could care less about skincare too.)

Love, Dovey.

Back to the fuchsia

          For me, February is going to be filled with fuchsia nail polish. Towards the end of January, that was all I was looking for. Can you believe that I had no fuchsia colors in my collection? I think I fell out of love with fuchsias and berry tones for quite a while. The situation was remedied by a trip to Ulta. The two colors I pulled off the nail polish racks were: OPI Koala Bear-y and OPI You're a Pisa work. I was tickled pink with the names! In this post I'll show my review and swatches of these two colors.

           Both OPI Koala Bear-y and OPI You're a Pisa work are fuchsia cremes. They look quite similar in the bottle too, as you can see. OPI Koala Bear-y is a slightly cooler and more berry toned. OPI You're a Pisa work is closer to pink. You can see from my swatch below that it seems ever so slightly warmer than Koala Bear-y. However, these differences are minute and in certain lights I can't tell the difference! Both have opaque formulas. One coat can be enough if I'm feeling impatient. Normally I still do two coats for good measure. The formula of OPI Koala Bear-y was amazing. It's what OPIs are supposed to be like. It spreads well and levels well. OPI You're a Pisa work was good, but not as stellar as its counterpart. The formula was a little thicker and drags a little more. However, it is just a minor issue.

          Can you tell which is which?

OPI Koala Bear-y (left two) and OPI You're a Pisa work (right two)
          I'm 'new' to fuchsia, but I really like how it works with my skin tone. I think it's a more flattering bright than hot pink or candy pink of a similar intensity. Overall, I'm glad to have both of Koala Bear-y and You're a Pisa work. They're  similar in color, but I have no problem with my decision to get both. I think that instead of having a balanced collection, focusing on shades you love is better because 1) you will wear them and 2) the nuances are meaningful to you. My current favorite of the two is Koala Bear-y. I'm favoring berry-blue tones at the moment! Finally, I may like fuchsia nails, but I haven't made the leap to lips yet. While the color is so optimistic and happy on the nails, I think it is intimidating on the face!

          Thanks for reading! How do you feel about fuchsia colors? What kind of pinks flatter your skin-tone? What is your nail color trend for this month? Let me know!

Love, Dovey.