Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancers #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige Review, Swatches and Photos

One of my favorite places to shop, window or otherwise, in NYC is Bergdorf Goodman. There's something about the intimate and highly ornate store that transports me to the Beaux-Arts era and makes me dream of old money...not to mention it's a great place to people watch!

On a recent trip there I picked up two of the new but permanent Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancers. These powder highlighters are available in compacts and separately as refills. The compact, which you can see here is a stunning faceted reflective compact which retails for $95.00 US. the refill itself is $55.00 US. There are four shades of which I purchased two, the white iridescent #11 Pastel and the beige-gold #13 Sand Beige.

Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancers #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige

As you can see I opted for buying just the refills as they can easily be popped into a Z Palette or any magnetized palette system. The refills boast an impressive 10 grams of product, which in comparison to other brands highlighters is equivalent in weight to a MAC Mineralize Skin Finish ($37.00 CA) and two grams more than a Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector ($46.00 CA) which comes in at 8 grams. 

The texture of the Luminizing Face Enhancers is super finely milled, light and not powdery. Where these differ from most highlighters is that they give a very luminous glow without any hint of frostiness. These are so refined that they would be impossible to overdo as the pigments and particles are so fine they do not emphasize pores or unevenness. These would be an excellent choice for people with older skin with fine lines, large pores, or people who generally find powder highlighters too metallic or frosty. 

Photos take on NC 40 skin, direct natural light.

Sheer application of #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige.

Heavy application of #11 Pastel and #13 Sand Beige.

#11 Pastel - A mix of white, lilac, pale blue and yellow powders with super fine white pearl. The mix of shades in this highlighter and it's superfine, sheer texture keeps this highlighter from looking too stark, ashy or metallic on my medium dark skin.

#13 Sand Beige - Although this mix of peach beige, gold beige and bronze powders looks quite dark in the pan, it goes on the skin sheerly, giving the skin a warm glow. This is a natural shade for anyone with yellow toned skin, but because the beige-gold pearl is so fine and not excessively yellow, this shade could work for anyone. I actually think this would be a beautiful substitute for bronzer for super pale skinned beauties.

As you can see from the swatches, even a heavy application of this product does not look heavy, frosty or emphasizes pores or skin texture. Yes it's expensive, but you do get what you pay for - this is a high quality product that is going to look flawless, sophisticated and be fool proof in application. I own highlighters from almost all the major brands out there and I can't think of one that is a dupe for these in terms of texture, formula and finish. Highly recommended.

Clé de Peau Beauté is available at select Holt Renfrew locations in Canada. If your local Holt's does not carry the brand, you can purchase items and have them transferred to your local branch at no extra charge.

Grade: A+


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tokyo Milk Marque Deposee Dark Salted Caramel Bee Balm and Jasmine Lip Balm Review and Photos

Tokyo Milk is a line created by perfumer and designer Margot Elena. I've seen their perfumes, soaps and lip products over the years here and there, and admired the packaging and scents. But I've never bought anything. But recently, while in line at Sephora, I was tempted by the Tokyo Milk Dark lip balms. I chose the Salted Caramel one because, are you kidding? It smells unbelievable.

The lip balms, part of the Femme Fatale Collection are conditioning lip balms, made with bee balm and jasmine. From the Tokyo Milk website: 

Sweet temptation is beckoning. Remarkably uncommon essences infused in to a smooth, luscious balm. Elicit a kiss with lips tamed by a lush, silky blend of sweet Jasmine & Bee Balm laced with crushed extracts of hydrating Aloe Leaf & Vitamin E. Femme fatale incarnate. A supple seduction.

Not for the faint of heart: An unexpected mixture of fragrance & flavor. A remarkable lip elixir for a remarkably uncommon experience.

Flavor Notes: Sweet Cream, Sea Salt, Caramelized Sugar, Toasted Vanilla Bean

That's right. Not only does this lip balm smell divine, it tastes good too. 

This balm is thick, meaning you will have trouble applying it too heavily. It softens under the heat of your fingers and lips while you apply it. It stays well once applied since it's thick and let me tell you, it smells delicious.

If you're not into strong fragrances this is probably not the product line for you. I've applied this and had people ask "What smells so good?" not knowing it was my lip balm. It's that strong. 

There is a sweetness to it as well, but it's not so much so that I want to eat it off my lips. 

And it does an excellent job of keeping my lips smooth and soft since it stays on so well. It's also well-priced for the amount of product you get. I paid $8 for 0.7 oz. To compare, an EOS lip balm is .25 oz and costs $6. 

I would definitely buy it again. 

If Salted Caramel doesn't do it for you, you can also get the Dark lip balms in:
  • Clove Cigarette (crushed clove, lavender rose, Saigon cinnamon, vanilla bean)
  • La Vie En Rose (rosewater, sweet orange, peach, Tahitian vanilla)
  • Coco Noir (dark rum, maraschino cherry, sweet milk, cacao bean)
  • Absinthe (anise, mineral salt, citrus peel, crushed herbs)
  • Cherry Bourbon (cherry brandy, whiskey, aged wood, clove)
  • Dead Sexy (ebony wood, warm vanilla, citrus peel, rosewater)
  • Smoked Salt (smoked sea salt, burnt sugar, molasses, vanilla bean)
For more information on Tokyo Milk, the Femme Fatale collection, and the Toyko Milk Dark lip balms, visit: http://www.tokyo-milk.com/t/femme-fatale

You can also buy them on Sephora.com here.  

Grade: A


Monday, August 25, 2014

NARS x Phillip Lim 3.1 Nail Polish in Shutter Review, Swatches and Photos

While on vacation recently in New York I dropped by the NARS boutique on Prince Street in Soho. NARS only has six boutiques in the world and four are in New York. There is a whole colour collection exclusive to the boutiques, the NARS 413 BLKR collection which alludes to the original boutique located on Bleeker Street.

The first item I have for review is not exclusive to boutiques, but is limited edition for fall and is currently available online at the Bay.  This is the second nail polish collaboration between NARS and fashion designer Phillip Lim, and my pick from the 9 polish collection is Shutter.

Shutter is described as a "creamy dark green" and it's a stunner. An intense cream finish bottle green that is so dark it looks almost black after two coats. Shutter is well pigmented but needs two coats for full opacity. It flows smoothly on the nail, has a naturally shiny finish and wears 3-4 days without chipping (with top coat.) Photos with flash on NC 40 skin with one layer of Seche Vite base and top coat.

As a dark polish and green colour lover, I am in nail polish heaven with Shutter. It's a great neutral, with an edgy sophistication. This one is going on my all time favourite polish list. Even better is that NARS has greatly improved their bottle design by widening and flattening the brush and replacing the old conjoined brush/cap with a removable cap.

Grade: A+

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up for August 24, 2014

Hello lovelies!

Happy Sunday. 

  • Kandee Johnson reviews the new Urban Decay Naked Basics 2 palette
  • Do you have curly hair? This post is for you. 
  • A step-by-step guide for applying false eyelashes
  • I love this elegant ruby twist on the French manicure done by Rita Remark for Essie Canada.  
  • Anna Sui has revamped her line of lipsticks. You've never seen a lipstick like this before. 
  • Makeup bag essentials for beginner, intermediate and professional makeup wearers. 
  • An absolutely stunning lavender smokey eye look by Lisa Eldridge done on Sophie Dahl. (Look for an upcoming Beauty Squared post where Catherine recreates this!)
  • Laverne Levinson writes about why she uses Photoshop on photos of her face. It's perhaps food for thought.
  • Related: here's XOVain's Alle with tips on becoming more photogenic (it's a learned skill!).
  • Is a younger face more of a blank canvas than an older face? The Guardian's Invisible Woman talks about her experience with makeup now that she's nearing 60. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beauty Squared Round-Up - August 17, 2014

Hi lovelies!
We hope you're having a great weekend! Ready for some beauty bits and tricks? Let's go!

  • Rae of The Notice reviews all natural sunscreens from Marie Veronique.
  • A simplistic but rock & roll manicure. Love this!
  • A photographer talks photo retouching in regards to highlighting and contouring. 
  • Do you have eczema, psoriasis or sensitive skin? Five ingredients to avoid when you're shopping for cosmetics and the brands you should look for. 
  • Christa of Perilously Pale shares her 10 favourite drugstore picks. 
  • Last year, MAC's Ruby Woo was the best-selling lipstick in America. 
  • An interview with the inimitable Francois Nars.
  • If you ever need eyeliner inspiration, you shouldn't have to look anywhere other than at these iconic beauties and their iconic cat eyes
  • Speaking of iconic, Audrey Hepburn's granddaughter Emma Ferrer is on the cover of the subscriber's issue of Harper's Bazaar, looking not unlike her famous grandmother. 
  • Speaking as well of iconic, this week saw the passing of the legendary Lauren Bacall. Here's a gallery of images highlighting her incomparable style and glamour. 
  • In India darker complexions are considered less attractive than lighter skin and Screenivasan Iyer writes that what we consider beautiful changes with time, just like what body type is currently considered attractive and hairy chests vs hairless chests. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MAC Viva Glam Rihanna II Preview

Rihanna brings a bold look to her new Viva Glam campaign, accenting her fearless, confident style with shades of frosted metallic mauve lipstick and lipglass, in velvety soft packaging featuring her signature. Also available, the modern red hues of Rihanna original Viva Glam collection. Every cent of the selling price of Viva Glam Rihanna goes toward helping women, men and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Available September 11, 2014 at all MAC locations in North America.
Available September 2014 internationally. 

Viva Glam Rihanna II Lipstick
Warm mauve with silver frost
$19 CDN/$16 US

Viva Glam Rihanna II Lipgloss
Cool mauve with red frost
$18 CDN/$15 US

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ciaté Flower Manicure Review, Swatches and Photos

I finally did it. I finally picked up a Ciaté manicure set at Winners. I look at them every time I'm in there, but I just cannot get my head around why you'd want feathers or beads on your nails. Sure they might look cool but I cannot understand getting a manicure that'll snag in your fair, or make it impossible to scratch an itch, or start to fall off after a few hours. 

But this one, the Flower Manicure, looked two dimensional and was only $12.99 CDN, so I went for it.

Here's what the Ciaté website has to say about the Flower Manicure set.

"Step into Spring’s floral trend with the Ciaté London Flower Manicure. With Flower Power prints adorning every catwalk at Fashion Week, this colour-packed trend is a wardrobe staple and now a manicure must-have thanks to Ciaté Creative Director Charlotte Knight. Using natural dried pressed flowers, a posy of colour can be applied and sealed directly onto the nail to create a beautifully blossoming effect. Scatter across your manicure or sprinkle onto a feature nail for a floral hit."

The packaging is very pretty, covered in flowers. The pale blue polish provided and on the packaging hit on Spring's pastel themes.

Included in the kit are:

5ml - Ferris Wheel Nail Polish
13.5ml - Speed Coat Pro
2x Pots of Flowers
Mini Nail File

There are four different types of flowers included, a bright red, a bright turquoise, and two purple flowers, one with a bit of white on it. They come in these little pots.

The instructions (in a booklet included, on the back of the box, and online) are pretty simple. Apply two coats of Ferris Wheel (pastel blue), then a coat of the Speed Coat Pro, arrange the flowers on top, pressing to get them to stick, and seal them in with another coat of the top coat.

I didn't use a base coat, since the instructions didn't call for one. These were my nails after two coats of Ferris Wheel. I needed three to get mostly opaque coverage. The spots where you could still see my nail through the polish I figured would get covered by flowers. Also the Ferris Wheel polish provided is a small bottle and I like to get the most out of what I buy. 

Here are the four types of flowers. I didn't realize until I took them out of their cases that they were real flowers. I thought they'd just be plastic or something. 

It helps to have your flower designs planned out, since the top coat provided is quick dry. Some of the flowers may need to be trimmed as well, especially if your nails are shorter like mine, so a pair of manicure scissors are helpful to have on hand. 

And here is one hand, finished.

This was more of a high maintenance manicure than I anticipated. The flowers, while thin and small do not entirely lie flat against the nail. I went over my nails a few times with the top coat and still there were some parts of some of the flowers that would not lie flat. 

This wasn't an overly easy look to achieve, but with practice it'll be easier to place the flowers, trim them, file them down and get them to lie flatter.

Visually this was a dramatic, cool nail look. I couldn't stop looking at my nails. So pretty, especially the purple flowers. 

Close-up of my thumb.

Close-up of my pinky.
But, in the end, I ended up removing the manicure after less than 24 hours. The loose edges of the flowers got caught in my hair when I was washing it, snagged on my bath towel and clothes and tore lose when I scratched an itch. I guess this would be a good look for a special occasion if you have the hour or so to sit and do your nails just before. I don't think it's something that could last more than a day.

It wasn't as challenging to remove as I anticipated, though the flowers broke apart under the cotton ball I was using and I did have to work to remove it.

While I like that they were real flowers and their texture showed through, stickers or plastic flowers would work better. Less tearing, longer wear, easier to apply and easier to remove. But that doesn't seem to be Ciaté's thing. I see that they have crushed shell manicure kits, using real crushed shells. 

Perhaps I'll do this for a special occasion in the future, or perhaps try an accent nail (like my pinky) rather than a full manicure.

In summary, super pretty and neat looking but time-consuming to apply and remove. Not long-wearing at all for all that work. 

Grade: C