NARS Trouville Nail Lacquer: The Rundown

For Spring 2012 NARS offers a pretty seashell pink nail polish named ‘Trouville’ for fishing village in France. The name goes along nicely with this interestingly edited collection. I can’t say this isn’t a color that is easily dupeable (because it is) but it is a beautiful color that is muted enough to go well with everything yet provides enough of a pop of color to make itself known when seen.

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NARS Trouville nail polish for Spring 2012 (w/ HDR)

I knew this was a dupeable color but I purchased it (with a 20% off code) because it was a creme finish and I wanted to test the formula. It streaks pretty badly at one (1) coat, evens out at two (2) coats but looks the most flawless with three (3) coats.  Performance-wise it held up as well as I have come to expect from NARS polishes.  I wore it for only three days but within that time there was some tipwear (I was typing like crazy during that time) but no chipping.  I would highly recommend using a ridge filler and waiting at least 5 minutes between coats to allow the polish to dry.

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NARS Trouville — two coats with a very streaky start

Because the color is so easily copied by other (and cheaper) brands, this isn’t what I would call a ‘must buy’.  But if you’re into collecting NARS polishes, this is a very pretty color that is work-safe and conservative office safe.

NARS Trouville comes in the standard 0.4oz bottle and currently retails for $18 USD. It is available for purchase at NARSCosmetics.com, Sephora.com and Nordstrom.com as well as other upscale beauty retailers.

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Various coat levels of NARS Trouville nail polish

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NARS Trouville with flash — two coats and you can see some streaks

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NARS Trouville nail polish for Spring 2012 (no flash/HDR)

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Father’s Day Shopping Guide: Fragrance Gifting

Think fast! Have you purchased your Father’s Day gift(s) yet?

“Fifty Shades Of Grey is Every-damn-where!”

If you are anything like me, you put off purchasing any gift at the last possible minute.  Unfortunately it makes you run around like a headless chicken. But not to fret–I’ve got you covered.  Unlike a tie (which is a lame loser gift anyway) fragrance is something that not only enhances the attractiveness of the wearer, but makes the wearer nice to be around.  It’s a gift that gives way past the recipient and giving it suggests you took time to consider what they would like as opposed to just shoving something in a box that you wouldn’t gift to your worst enemy.

For your consideration and last-minute shopping, I have culled together an assortment of men’s fragrances that are fresh, classic, edgy and downright awesome for gift-giving.  I realize fragrance is a very personal thing but given the testing I’ve done over the past several weeks, talking with lonely but very helpful men’s fragrance counter sales associates, reading industry articles, talking to friends and getting the scoop from the 2012 Fragrance Industry (FiFi) awards, I feel this is a safe assortment of scents that won’t recall fragrance memories of Brut, Hai Karate or even worse, Axe body spray.

Gucci Guilty

Gucci Guilty for Men — The 2012 Fifi Mens’ Fragrance of the Year

I’m not even going to mince words.  Gucci Guilty, the brainchild of the ever-so-sexy Tom Ford, is a kick-ass sexy fragrance in a bottle so masculine yet elegant, James Bond would sport it without shame.

The industry says:

Made for the man who knows what he wants, this fragrance is a powerful mix of excitement, allure, and sensuality. It awakens the senses with a burst of zesty lemon, cool lavender, and spicy pink pepper. The subtle heart notes then reinforce the fragrance’s clean freshness, creating a bridge to the sensual and provocative woodiness in the base. As it dries down, the scent focuses the hallmark of all Gucci fragrances, patchouli, and mingles alluringly with cedar, sandalwood, and amber. The overall effect is young, stylish, and sexy—a bold and uncompromising fragrance that captures the essence of Gucci.

I say:

Blows back your nose hairs from the pure, raw sensuality of the fragrance then softens to a sexy, alluring mix of fresh woods and spices.  It won the 2012 FiFi Award for Best Men’s Fragrance.  In other words, the people for whom fragrance is their business have anointed this men’s fragrance as ‘The Business’.  Make this the FIRST mens fragrance you smell while shopping.

Aqua di Gio

Aqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani — 2012 Fifi Awards ‘Hall Of Fame’ Winner

Back in the day (and I know I’m dating myself) the clasically timeless fragrances were the likes of Polo by Ralph Lauren and Drakkar by Guy Laroche.  Fast forward to today and Aqua Di Gio has earned its way into this prestigious club.  Don’t think so? I dare you to walk into anywhere mens fragrance is sold and not see this prominently displayed.  Even Target has it on hand.

The industry says:

A resolutely masculine fragrance born from the sea, the sun, the earth, and the breeze of a Mediterranean island. Transparent, aromatic, and woody in nature Aqua Di Gio Pour Homme is a contemporary expression of masculinity, in an aura of marine notes, fruits, herbs, and wood.

I say:

Classically sexy.  If you’re shopping for a man who takes risks within reason and loves to be the best dressed in the room with his own edge, this is an excellent choice.  This year it won the 2012 FiFi Hall Of Fame award so those who have a paid ‘nose’ have known for years how hot this fragrance is and how many man consistently flock to it and women are drawn to the smell of it.

Hanae Mori HM for Men

Hanae Mori HM For Men

My affinity for this fragrance is completely Neiman Marcus’ fault.  At first sniff you are captivated by the strength and complexity of this fragrance.  It takes a certain masculine strength to wear this fragrance or else it will wear you.  Frankly, this is my first choice for gifting to anyone in the military for Father’s Day.

The Industry says:

A subtle blend of 50 exquisite essences harmonize with the warmth of the skin to produce a woodsy Asian scent unlike any other. Lemon, lavender and black currants float over a mossy vanilla and sandalwood base. The cap’s design is inspired by the Tsuka, the piece found at the extremity of antique samurai swords. HM by Hanae Mori —an enduring classic.

I say:

This fragrance contains oakmoss which adds to the strength of this woodsy fragrance and makes it stand out in contrast with other woodsy fragrances like Ralph Lauren’s Polo.  If the man you are shopping for is into finely-crafted goods whether they be watches, swords or my favorite, firearms, this is an excellent choice.  Hanae Mori fragrances are mainly found in upscale retailers so while it is possible it may be in the prestige fragrance section at Target, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Guerlain Homme

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Guerlain Homme by Guerlain

Fresh from my favorite luxury brand comes a new men’s fragrance that is so fresh, so clean I consider it a must-have for men who live in the tropics and sub-tropics.  I had the great fortune of smelling this fragrance at the Guerlain boutique in the France pavillion at EPCOT.  Not sure if it was the amazing sexy smell or the Cuban Disney Cast Member trying to sell me on it but it definitely made an impression on me.

The Industry says:

Introducing Guerlain Homme, a magnetic new fragrance for him, inspired by the famous “mojito” cocktail. A splash of citrus and fresh floral notes atop aromatic, woodsy accords blend into an addictive, subtly faceted mélange that is both astonishing and familiar. This scent is the ultimate stimulation for the senses—the essence of luxury for the sophisticated man.

I say:

The use of lime, sugarcane, rum, vetiver and rum in this fragrance makes it an excellent choice for men who love their cigars.  Even if your man isn’t a cigar afficionado (and why isn’t he?), this scent has a lighter, sweeter smell with musky grassy notes from Vetiver and Pelargonium.  Fresh, surprising and unmistakeably masculine.

Bleu de Chanel

Bleu de Chanel–fresh, crisp and masculine

If you remember Davidoff’s Cool Water, Bleu de Chanel is more sophisticated but still retains that ‘ocean’ freshness.  This is a fragrance I believe is more suited to younger men (remember, NO Axe!) but if your man is young at heart it is still an excellent choice.

The Industry Says:

A woody aromatic fragrance for the man who defies convention, and resists the ordinary every day, finding satisfaction in the unexpected. His fragrance, a provocative blend of citrus and woods, liberates the senses — fresh, clean, profoundly sensual — a signature statement of determination and desire. Be unexpected.

I say:

Men who love luxury but are not into showing it off all the time, or young men making their first real foray into the land of men’s fragrance should find this scent appealing.  This is a pretty safe choice for gifting.

Chrome by Azzaro

Chrome by Azzaro

Azzaro’s Chrome is a fresh light smell very similar to Bleu de Chanel but a touch fresher.  Chrome has lingering orange-citrus notes while Bleu de Chanel leans slightly more woodsy.

The Industry says:

Inspired by the dreams of a new generation and the reflections of those who came before, Chrome is a contemporary, yet traditional masculine fragrance that speaks to men of all ages. Created in 1997 by world-renowned couturier Loris Azzaro, Chrome’s fresh citrus notes are an authentic expression of man and his infinite tenderness.

I say:

The industry description may sound ‘flowery’ but this fragrance is anything but.  It is a ‘fresh from the shower’ type of smell.  Still masculine, this is a softer and more contemporary scent.

Finalizing Your Decision

So have you decided yet?  What I’ve presented is a mere fraction of what is available in the world of Men’s fragrance but what I consider to be the ‘cream of the crop’.

Still not sure what to get?  Not sure which scent your man would like for Father’s Day? Just like with my Art of Shaving article, Sephora has you covered.  Behold, the Deluxe Fragrance Sampler for Him by Sephora:

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The Deluxe Fragrance Sampler for Him by Sephora. Get all of these for a great price to sample for Father Day and redeem the enclosed certificate for a full size of his favorite!

Granted Sephora does have other sets but the Deluxe set includes three (3) of my absolute favorite scents for men: Gucci Guilty, Hanae Mori HM and Aqua di Gio.  The other scents are quite nice and the small sizes make them perfect to put into a carry-on without having TSA confiscate it.  The best part is, while only priced at $50 (it’s almost a $100 total value), your man can decide which fragrance he likes out of of the group and using the certificate inside can redeem it for a full-sized bottle that he (or you) like the most.

So let me know–what men’s fragrances are your favorites?  Remember, we get to do this all over again for Christmas/Hanukkah!

Guerlain Terracotta Sun In The City Illuminator: The Rundown

Florida is known as the ‘Sunshine State’.  Little did I know Guerlain had managed to press it into a compact and have it waiting for me on my trip to Disney World this past Easter.

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Guerlain’s Terracotta Sun In The City Golden Illuminating powder–sun in a compact

I had no intention of buying this product.  That all changed with the MUA at the Guerlain boutique in the France pavilion at EPCOT swiped it on my skin once and raved at how it looked on me.  I was about to tell her she was blowing smoke up my skirt but one look in the mirror and I was floored.

And so I bought it.

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Close up–the imprinting on this compact is insanely detailed.

Part of Guerlain’s Summer 2012 collection, the Sun In The City golden glimmer powder is a shiny addition to the Terracotta bronzing line this luxury brand is famous for. Weighing in at a hefty 15 grams (.52 oz) it comes in a plastic mirrored compact imprinted with the words ‘Terracotta’ on top and is about the size of an adult’s palm.  As with other memorable Guerlain pressed powders it has an imprint on it designed to impress.  Sun In The City has a gorgeous wavy imprint that makes it look like gold weaving in the wind.  It almost makes you not want to use the highlighter so you don’t mess up the pattern but trust me, you’ll get over it.  You need very little to get a rich brush of gold on your skin.

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Closer shot of Sun In The City highlighter on my cheeks and nose bridge. Brings warmth and definition to dark skin.

The reason I love highlighters so much is because you can use them so many ways.  I like to use them to highlight the bridge of my nose, under my browbone and to emphasize my cheekbones before applying blush.  And of course there is the most common and alluring way to use a highlighter—to emphasize the tops of ones cleavage/décolleté.

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Sun In The City highlighter on my cheeks (under Chanel Joues Rouge Contraste blush in Malice) and on the bridge of my nose.

As compared to two of my other favorite highlighters, Guerlain’s Sun In The City highlighter is more golden than theBalm’s Mary LouManizer and not at all pink and iridescent like Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia released this past Spring.  I don’t own the Bobbi Brown Gold Shimmer Cheek Glow but it does look similiar to Sun In The City.  According to Temptalia.com, Guerlain’s highlighter is more opaque which is good for olive to dark skin. If you are fair to medium-skinned and price is an issue, I think you could use the Bobbi Brown gold shimmer cheek glow as a suitable dupe.

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Highlighter comparison swatches from top: Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia, Guerlain Sun In The City, theBalm Mary LouManizer (with Flash)

For those with deep to dark skin you need to be careful to choose a highlighter that is translucent enough to give you a glow and not look ashy.  Guerlain’s new highlighter, as with all of their highlighters I’ve tried, does this and more.  Try blending it with their Terracotta bronzer in #3 (yellow undertones), #4 (red undertones like mine) or #8 (all ebony skintones) to deepen the gorgeous warmth of dark skin.  The effect is similar to combining theBalm’s Mary LouManizer and Betty LouManizer but more opaque and richer color.

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Guerlain’s Terracotta Sun In The City highlighting powder is great on dark skin!

At $70 the price for Guerlain’s Sun In The City  is steep however, there is more product than in Cruel Gardenia or Meteorites perles.  Because of its pigmentation and neutral coloring, and it’s manufacture in Italy (the best pressed powders seem to come from there) there is definitely value in this luxury product.  Unlike with Cruel Gardenia and Meteorites I didn’t notice the trademark violet scent.  This was somewhat dissappointing to me as I love the smell of violets synonymous with Guerlain products.

Sun in the City Illuminator is a limited edition item and is available at Nordstrom.comSephora.com and in freestanding Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus stores.

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Another shot of Guerlain’s Sun In The City highlighter (w/ flash

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Guerlain Sun In The City Higlighter–heavily swatched and sheered out (w/ flash)

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Highlighter comparison swatches from top: Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia, Guerlain Sun In The City, theBalm Mary LouManizer (without flash)

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HIghlighter comparisons from left: Without flash, with flash.

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Gorgeous Guerlain Golden Goodness

Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Capri Eye Shadow Quad: The Rundown

Finally! I have gotten around to reviewing the Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Terra Azzura Capri eye shadow quad from the delightful Summer 2012 collection. I’ve had a few weeks to road test this product and see how versatile it is and how the shadow formula behaves.

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Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Eye Shadow Quad in Capri–French Riviera memories!

The Product Details

There are four (4) colors in this quad chosen to replicate a feeling of being in the French Riviera at summertime are as follow:

  • A shimmering ecru
  • A smokey brown
  • A satin pink
  • A semi-frosty peach coral

At first glance if you think you’ve seen a quad like this you probably have. MAC’s Call Me Bubbles quad that came out for Spring 2012 for Shop MAC/Cook MAC is almost identical at first glance. But unlike with MAC’s quad, I found all four colors in the Guerlain palette to be buttery smooth with amazing color payoff. More often than not I got too much product on the application with less effort than with my MAC shadows. For darker-skinned beauties NC/NW40+, these colors will definitely work for you however I would suggest using either a white eyeshadow on the lid, or a light color eyeshadow pencil such as Make Up For Ever’s Shadow Pencil in Pearly Peach (26E) or Urban Decay’s 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Sin.

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Guerlain’s new eye shadow palette by Emilio Pucci–Great for everyday!

The palette seems like it is all warm colors but there is enough neutrality for it to look nice on all skintones. Even with my screaming red undertones all of colors complimented me very well and I found myself reaching for this palette more often than not. Out of all of the colors, the cool dusty brown and peachy orange are my favorites for a surprisingly wearable summer smokey eye. The pink color is nice but as I have the Les Roses palette and this one is more matte, I use to enhance the peachy orange shade moreso than on its own. The beige color is fabulous as a highlighter or a light wash of shimmery ercu across the lids.

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Guerlain by Emilio Pucci swatches from bottom: Kohl Kajal, Eye shadow palette (no flash/HDR)

I would highly suggest using the included custom applicator to apply the shadow. My MAC brushes didn’t seem to play very well with this. And if you have oily eyelids as I do, definitely use an eyeshadow primer like Too Faced Shadow Insurance and a cream shadow as a base such as MAC’s Quite Natural or Painterly paint pots, or Maybelline’s Color Tattoo 24hr cream shadow in Tough as Taupe or Pomegranate Punk. Total weight by volume of all four shadows is .24 oz which is a very healthy amount compared to MAC’s usual .17 oz total weight for a quad.

Final Recommendation

While the price point is quite high ($59), the different finish of the case and quality of the eyeshadows (and big mirror in it) more than qualify the price. For women of color, the shadows do not turn ‘ashy’ but to make them pop I would suggest using a cream shadow underneath either a few shades lighter than your coloring or use a white shadow pencil. All colors are easily blendable and while this pallete is showcased for Summer, it is a lovely one to have year-round for olive to dark-skinned beauties.

The Guerlain by Emillio Pucci Capri eye shadow palette is a limited edition item and is available at Nordstrom, Sephora.com and NeimanMarcus.com

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Back of Capri eyeshadow palette by Guerlain by Emilio Pucci

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The velvet sleeve for the eye shadow palette–a true identifier of luxury cosmetics

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Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Eye shadow quad – Flash

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Guerlain by Emilio Pucci swatches from bottom: Kohl Kajal, Eye shadow palette (flash)

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