Sneek Peek: Essie LuxeEffects

I dropped by Ulta this past weekend and picked up a few of the new LuxeEffects polishes from Essie. These are the limited edition special effect topcoats that have come out for Christmas this year.

In the below picture from the left: Pure Pearlfection, A Cut Above and Set In Stones.


Lust Must: Tom Ford lipstick

Tom Ford knows how to seduce a girl.

The beauty world is abuzz about Tom Ford‘s very exclusive, very expensive beauty collection. His lipsticks, priced at $48 each go on so smooth and seductive, it will have you digging through your purse for the money or plotting how to beg, borrow or steal to get one. I haven’t bought yet but had the fortune of swatching a few at Neiman Marcus last week.


From top on NW43 skin: Black Orchid, Violet Fatale, True Coral

Jam packed with murumuru butter, these lipsticks are VERY moisturizing. I daresay that even with the lighter color offerings you would get a ‘my lips but better’ look alone or w/ lip liner for more emphasis, than the dreaded Tyrone Biggums look.

Are these lipsticks worth the price? Tom Ford is a couture label with the associated high quality inference so worth isn’t the issue here. Is it worthy of its price. Definitely yes! But I feel Guerlain’s Rouge Automatique offers just as pigmented a range for only $35 and you get the cool Bond Girl single hand opening mechanism that seduces geek girls like me.

My faves? Definitely Violet Fatale and True Coral. Black Orchid is nice but Guerlain’s Rouge Automatique in ‘Nuit d’Amour’ is about the same shade and lasts longer.


Black Orchid


Black Orchid lipstick by Tom Ford with Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #23 (grass green)

Cyber Monday deal: You Down with OCC?

Hell, you know me!!!

Obsessive-Compulsive Cosmetics is an indie brand with a killer color palette.  And in honor of Cyber Monday they are offering 20% off all cosmetics!  This is the 3rd most coolest Black Friday offering (behind TheBalm and Sugarpill) so definitely jump on it.

You want lip tars.  Seriously.  I highly recommend Anime, Narcissus and Hootchie.

Here are the deetz about how to get the discount: via


1. Before adding any items to your shopping cart, go
2. At this login page, use guest as the Username, and cyber as the Password. Both are case-sensitive!

3. Shop away as usual! Remember, the price will not change in the product descriptions, but will be reflected while you’re adding your selected product to your cart!

Rescue Beauty Lounge ‘Anne’: The Rundown

She is the most infamous of Henry VIII’s wives and as such, requires an equivalent nail polish.


'Anne' by Rescue Beauty Lounge: As rich and bewitching as Henry VIII's second wife.

Originally from the ‘The Real Tudor Housewives’ collection, brilliantly concieved and brought to fruition by Ji Baek’s Rescue Beauty Lounge luxury brand, Anne is an olive frost finish with pink shimmers. Ji describes this polish as, “Rumored to be a sorceress, Henry’s second wife lends her short-lived name to this bewitching olive green with a pink-gold metallic iridescence.” Another dimension to this polish is that it gives off a complex ‘brocade’ effect in low light and a rich shimmer effect in outdoor light.


The closer you look, the more interesting the shade becomes. Truly a seductress.

As is my experience with most of the RBL polishes, this goes on smoothly, is opaque in one coat and there is very little difference between how the color looks in the bottle and how it looks on my nails. Even after a week with intense 120 wpm typing, I get minimal tip wear and absolutely no incidental chipping (knocking my nails against the microwave doesn’t count). The best presentation of Anne is to use it with a high-end glossy topcoat like RBL’s own brand or MAC Overlacquer. I do NOT recommend using Seche Vite to quick-dry RBL polishes.

Dont 'cha wish your nail polish color was hawt like me?

If you are one who does not like to blend in but make an elegant statement when you stand out, this polish is an excellent candidate for you. Because of the intense pigmentation, this polish looks amazing on women of color. With the balance of pink iridescence against olive I feel this color will work with both cool and warm skintones. For reference in the swatches, I have a very cool skintone with red undertones.

RBL polishes retail for $18 a bottle , are ‘Five Free’ and are available only at As Anne is a limited edition, once the supply is gone, it’s gone. My suggestion is to haul this as much as your wallet will allow. Ji graciously gives free shipping to all US orders over $100 USD and International orders over $200 USD.

MAC for Gareth Pugh: The Rundown

As some of my current readers know, I’ve given MAC a lot of static about this collection ever since the price points and official information was made available to the public. I really like to see items in person I’m not too keen on just to say I’ve ‘seen it for myself’. And so for folks here in the US who do not have a MAC store easily within visiting range and have to rely on swatches posted online and ordering from, I decided to call in a few favors and see what the hype is about.


Photo of MAC store Gareth Pugh display. The lenticular photo makes it 'Not Just Another Makeup Display'. Very chic!

According to my favorite MAC store MUA, Gareth Pugh is a huge cutting-edge designer over in the UK. On first impression I think his work is a cross between Tron and Dr. Who but that’s just me. I appreciate the fashion vision most definitely but it doesn’t trigger my ‘must buy’ instinct like say, Tom Ford.

The packaging is very unique and screams ‘high end’. You can tell a lot of thought (and probably a lot of discarded prototypes) went into designing it. The black ‘webbing’ makes it look edgier than Chanel and definitely not as minimalist as NARS. Unfortunately all that fancy packaging that hasn’t, to use an economics term, taken advantage of Economies of Scale and you’ve got a hefty markup on price for the haute couture name attached.

But enough about my personal objections. On to the swatches! I only swatched items I was interested in as I was pressed for time.

First up there are two lipsticks. A nude color called Restrict (Creamsheen) and Fervent (Satin). Neither formulas are my favorites for performance reasons. I skipped swatching Restrict because on my dark skintone it would definitely give me a Tyrone Biggums look. Fervent, on the other hand, is very nicely pigmented, swatches beautifully and would definitely make me think twice about MAC’s satin lipstick formula. At $22 USD + tax it honestly didn’t want me to think twice about it that hard.

Tyrone Biggums. Restrict lipstick on Women of Color = this look. Not good.

Next are two very nice duo-chrome lipglasses. Vacant, a lovely lavender duo-chrome and Outrage, a deeper berry color with a greenish duo-chrome. Both of these lipglasses, when used alone or applied over the two lipsticks from this collection, provide a very unique look that is not for folks who wish to stay in the background. Like with the lipsticks, these are also priced at $22 USD. Considering these are lipglasses and can be used alone or with other lipsticks, I perceive these to be the greater value items from this collection. Both are equally gorgeous and provide a different duo-chrome effect. I don’t think you can go wrong with either.


Top row on NW43 skintone: Restrict lipstick alone. Clockwise from top: Outrage over Restrict, Outrage, Vacant over Restrict, Vacant alone.

Two pigments are offered in this collection. Guise, a very nice pewter frost and Deceit, a pretty plum semi-frost. Both are finely-milled as all MAC limited edition pigments seem to be, but both are in my opinion, easily dupeable. At a $32 price point I’d start looking at other alternatives.

Lastly we have the very impressive-looking nail polishes. There are three (3) in the MAC for Gareth Pugh collection. Inert, a creamy pale beige, Ascension, a pretty purple-grey duo-chrome, and Hyper, a gorgeous electric blue frost. All three are nice but dupeable enough to confuse the judges. Ascension goes on very streaky (a big pain with pale colored polishes). Ascension looks very impressive but can be easily duped with OPI’s Not Like The Movies (From the Katy Perry collection) or with Deborah Lippmann’s Wicked Game. Again, the packaging is amazing but at $22 and containing almost -0.2 ounces less than MAC’s regular polishes, not to mention nothing technically remarkable about the formula, I don’t consider this worth the money.


From top: Hyper, Inert, Ascension. 2 coats each. A little 'dinged'.


Dupe time! From top: China Glaze 'Blue Year's Eve', MAC Hyper, Deborah Lippmann's 'Wicked Game', MAC Ascension.

My recommendation(s)? Considering the nature of this collection either you are so in love with the designer that this collection is a must (as I mentioned earlier I totally understand given my obsession with Tom Ford) or you’re willing to hunt for some pretty good dupes to ‘fake it’. If you really want something from MAC for Gareth Pugh, I highly recommend the lipglasses. Very unique, nice color payoff, great pigmentation and will add value to your makeup wardrobe should you be confident enough to rock the fierceness.