Dior Vernis in Waterlilly: The Rundown

Scented nail polish?  Say what?!?  The beauty side of my brain just told the geeky side of my brain to stop trying to figure out the chemistry formula involved and just buy the damned color because it’s ‘cool’. So yeah, I bought it.

DISCLOSURE ALERT > I own stock in Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy (LVMH) group which is the parent company of Dior couture.

For Spring 2012,  as part of its Garden Party collection, Dior presents us with two scented nail polishes.  The first is a purple pastel called Forget-Me Not (aptly titled as the polish is the same color of said flower) while the other is a murky mint green aptly called Waterlilly.  As I already own tons of purple nail polish, and the price of this polish is pretty steep at $23 for .30 ounces, I opted for Waterlilly.

20120109-172030.jpg

Dior Vernis in Waterlilly--gorgeous pastel green shimmer polish

Packaged in a stunning silver box and contained it a beautiful glass bottle with ‘Vernis’ etched into it, Waterlilly smells pretty much like any other high-end nail polish out of the bottle.  The green is a mid-tone pastel with flashes of pink iridescence which are more apparent in the bottle than on the nail.   It comes with a wide brush I’ve seen in my Sally Hansen quick-dry polishes and I am not a fan of it.  The brush felt awkward in my hand and the polish seemed to want to stick to the brush more than my nails.  I worked my way around it and the color payoff is gorgeous to say the least. Against my cool skin it screamed ‘spring is coming!’ in a classy fashionable way.

20120109-172103.jpg

Dior Vernis in Waterlilly. 2 coats, no flash (HDR)

Compared to Illamasqua’s Milf, Dior Waterlilly is a darker green and not a cream polish.  Illamasqua Radium is more yellow-toned with shimmer.  The only thing I have close to the color of Waterlilly is Essie’s Mint Candy Apple with Pure Pearlfection over the top to add shimmer.  Even still, it isn’t as vivid a green as Dior Waterlilly but it’s close enough for a good color hack. If you have cool undertones, this color will definitely pop on you.  Warmer skin tones could also wear this color but as it leans more cool (think Illamasqua Milf) than warm (think Illamasqua Radium).  No matter your skin tone, this is a very ‘bleeding edge’ fashionable shade of green for spring that very few people will be rocking.

20120117-203520.jpg

From top: Illamasqua Milf, Dior Waterlilly, Illamasqua Radium (2 coats each with indoor flash)

20120117-203529.jpg

From top: Illamasqua Milf, Dior Waterlilly, Illamasqua Radium (2 coats each without flash)

Drying time wasn’t measured as i used Illamasqua top coat (quick drying) and Nicole by Opi Drying Drops to speed things up as I am beyond impatient about drying nail polish.  When dry, I did notice a faint violet smell but nothing that made me want to continuously sniff my nails.  It’s a nice touch but pretty forgettable as i noticed no smell after the first day of wear.  After two days of 120 wpm tying/coding, I noticed no discernable tip wear at all.  Like with other luxury nail polishes I own (Rescue Beauty Lounge, Chanel) I get no chipping of the polish on the nail and only slight wear on the tips.  Because of the etching (and this is just me), I find this bottle to be highly collectable and definitely worth having in your nail color wardrobe.  The price is steep for how much you get but considering this is a haute couture design house and not MAC for Gareth Pugh, and there are no existing true dupes for it, plus the outstanding wear makes it a worthy beauty investment.

Dior Vernis in Waterlilly is available from upscale retailers such as Nordtrom and Neiman Marcus and of course Dior.com and retails for $23/bottle.

20120117-203507.jpg

How cool is the etching of 'Vernis' on the bottle? So luxe.

Advertisements

Moxie and Killa Red by Rescue Beauty Lounge: The Rundown

By now most of you know of my undying devotion to Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes. Yep, I’m a crazy RBL and want everyone to know it. I got into the RBL polish collecting game late so I missed out on two nail polish shades so cool, so amazing, so stunning I was soo dissapointed…until the Vintage BIB voting brought them back.

So for your consideration and evaluation, I present to you, from the Vintage Bring it Back voting, the two ‘Terror Twins’ of RBL, Moxie and Killa Red! :::cue me putting on Don King hair and yelling ‘Only in America’:::

20120104-192527.jpg

Rescue Beauty Lounge (RBL) Moxie and Killa Red from the Vintage BIB collection

20120104-192518.jpg

Can you handle these? Of course you can!

Moxie

Candlelight in a bottle—that is what Moxie is in a nutshell. This is a beautiful white gold frost that I believe would look subtle on warm skintones but on cool skintones like mine it commands attention. On both skin tones your nails look like glowing orbs. Weird, I know but the effect is hella sexy. Moxie is somewhat sheer in one coat, opaque in two coats and richer with three coats. As this is a frost finish there can be some visible ‘brushstrokes’ if you look really close but I usually attribute that to me being impatient and not letting each coat dry completely before adding another one. When I wore this color out I got a lot of compliments—especially from women of color.

20120104-192550.jpg

RBL Moxie: It is truly candlelight in a bottle.

 

RBL Moxie. 3 coats. God how I LOVE this color. Glows like an angel.

The only color I have similar to Moxie is NARS Versailles.  Versailles has yellow-gold shimmer which doesn’t look all that hot against my cool skintone.  It’s even more pronounced next to Moxie and you can see how much more white-gold it is.

20120107-093415.jpg

From top: RBL Moxie, NARS Versailles, RBL Moxie (w/ flash)

Killa Red

I am usually not a fan of red nail polishes. Not because of the color (I love red) but because of the undertones. With this color, Ji has come up with the best, most awesome, most-kick ass blue-red cream nail polish that trumps even Chinoise (my other favorite blue red). Where Chinoise seems more trendy, Killa Red is ‘grown and sexy’. It also has a rich translucence that borders on gothic. The color is rich and is opaque in one coat, even more stunning with two coats. I would double-up on the top coat simply to further enhance the shine and dimension of this color.

20120104-192542.jpg

RBL Killa Red: the most perfect blue-red cream

RBL Killa Red. 2 coats. WERK!

End of Line Recommendation

As with all RBL polishes I own so far, I get a little over a week of wear with this and only minimal tip wear. As I work in IT I type a LOT (over 120wpm) so while I do expect my nail polish to wear at the tips, shattering and sending dangerous shards of nail polish isn’t something that happens with RBL. In other words, no chipping. Cost per bottle is $18 and free domestic shipping is offered for orders over $100 ($200 for international orders) at RescueBeauty.com. Remember, Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes are 5-Free and Made in the USA. So are you seriously itching to get these? You should. But don’t wait to long as they are only available for a limited time and once the supply is gone, it’s gone until Ji decides it’s time to bring it back.

If you’re a edgy yet classy dame, I’d suggest wearing a Killa Red pedi with a Moxi mani. If you don’t think you fit this bill, check out the video below by one of my favorite music icons, Dame Shirley Bassey. You know she’d rock this combo and rock it hard.

Sneek Peek: NARS Sheer Matte Foundation

Happy New Year to you all! May 2012 bring you peace, prosperity and more blessings than you deserve and can stand.

Here is a little peek at two shades of NARS Sheer Matte foundation that I will be reviewing within the next week or so. These are samples I got from Sephora but it is enough to give you an idea of shades that are lighter and darker for women of color.

Enjoy!

20120102-092138.jpg

From left: Macao, Trinidad NARS Sheer Matte Foundation Swatches

MAC Tour de Fabulous Lip Pencils: The Rundown

20111226-224625.jpg

Oh snap! It's The MAC Cosmetics Collection Formerly Known As Glamglass!

Once upon a time in MAC Cosmetics-land there was an upcoming collection known as GlamGlass. It promised a reinterpreted formula for the standard Lipglass I knew and loved. There was to be a new range of colors to fill the void in the current Lipglass lineup. But wait, there’s more! There was to be an extended range of new lip pencils as well. Colors sorely lacking in MAC’s current offerings. It was a bright range of colors that a brown girl like me rejoiced over.

And then the news came that due to supply/manufacturing/angry birds the Glamglass collection had been put on hold.

And then a few days ago we got news that the collection was indeed coming but not called GlamGlass. Regular bog-standard lip glasses but in a bright range of colors were coming along with their lip pencil counterparts. So, dear reader, here are some lip swatches from MAC’s Tour De Fabulous: AKA The Collection Formerly Known As Glamglass.

20111226-224636.jpg

In-store swatches. Top row: Lasting Sensation, Entertain Me, Embrace Me, Just Wonderful. Bottom row: Tour de Fabulous, StylePacked, Real Posh

There are eight (8) pencils and eleven (11) new lip glasses. Out of these, I swatched four of the pencils and three of the lip glasses that appealed to me. The four pencils I purchased are Lasting Sensation, Just Wonderful, Entertain Me and Embrace Me. The three lip glasses I swatched are Tour De Fabulous, StylePacked and Real Posh. I went for colors I felt were not already in my stash and which I felt suited my skin tone and would work for Spring/Resort 2012.

20111226-224708.jpg

MAC Tour de Fabulous lip pencil swatches (no flash)

Lasting Sensation is a coral-pink color. Just Wonderful is a berry pink. Entertain Me is a bright citrus-orange while Embrace Me is a strong blue-fuschia color. Like with 95% of MAC’s lip pencils, they are fairly dry when applying them directly to bare lips. They are long-lasting and pair well with lip glasses and lipsticks to promote longevity. My only gripe with MAC lip pencils is how rough they are when applying them. So much tugging that it is very annoying. I find rubbing a new point on a paper towel helps with the roughness a little. While I prefer the softness of Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip pencils, I’ve had no performance issues with MAC lip pencils. They are $3 less than MUFE lip pencils and frankly the difference in wear is negligible.

Of the three lip glasses I swatched, all of them were quite opaque in color which is a major quality I look for as a woman of color. Tour De Fabulous is a gorgeous pink-coral that is more cream than the pearl in the comparable Strange Potion from Venomous Villains collection. StylePacked is a crazy, amped-up bright blue-based pink that is the crazy cream neon cousin to the pearly Pink Poodle. I have nothing in my stash that looks like the berry-colored Real Posh. The closest I have is Illamasqua’s intense lipgloss in Hermetic and that is more on the red side than berry. Due to the craziness in my MAC store I barely made it out alive with the lip pencils so I did not pick up the glosses. As soon as they arrive from Nordstrom this weekend I will be able to swatch them alone, with the new lip pencils and compared with other lip glasses I have in my stash.

The lip pencils from this collection retail for $14.00 USD while the lip glasses retail for $14.50 USD. They are Limited Edition (of course) and are available at all MAC counters and freestanding stores, and also at MacCosmetics.com and online retailers like Nordstrom.com.

20111226-224658.jpg

MAC Tour de Fabulous lip pencils unboxed.

20111226-224716.jpg

MAC Tour de Fabulous lip pencil swatches (flash)

20111226-224748.jpg

From left: MUFE Aqua Lip Pencil #16C, MAC Embrace Me, MAC Process Magenta Chromagraphic pencil, MAC Magenta lip pencil, MAC Embrace Me (with flash)

20111226-224732.jpg

From left: MAC Lasting Sensation lip pencil, MUFE Aqua Lip pencil in 18C

Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil Stash: The Rundown

I’ve never been a fan of Urban Decay’s 24/7 eye liner pencils.  There, I said it.  So it’s very wierd that I have become hopelessly addicted to their 24/7 eye shadow pencils.  I had always swatched them in-store and thought they were appeared in Sephora, I snapped it up using my 20% VIB discount.

20111229-191711.jpg

Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Shadow Pencil Stash. I can't lie--the bright blue is what made me buy it.

The set consists of five (5) travel-sized versions of the full sized 24/7 shadow pencils. I would say they are about 2/3rds the size of the full-sized ones. Packaged in a cardboard compartmentalized box in a plastic sleeve, the set consist of three (3) neutral shades and two (2) bright shades. As these are pencils and not classified as a liquid, cream or gel, this flat box it comes in is very handy to toss into your carry-on.  Take that, TSA!

The Neutrals

The darkest neutral shade in the set, Rehab is a semi-matte taupe color.  Very nice to use as an eyeliner or to ‘smoke out’ the edges of a neutral smokey eye.  Juju is the second-darkest shade in this set and is a set-exclusive shade.  It is a frosty taupe that looks very nice on the lid alone, blended with Rehab for a neutral smokey eye or lined with Clash for an intense pop of color. Sin has to be my favorite neutral of this whole bunch. It is a bright, shimmery beige color that is the most perfect thing to highlight the inner corners and browbone of your eyes. The color is shimmery as compared to the glittery annoyance that is Midnight Cowboy, and you can buff it out with either UD’s Good Karma brush or another synthetic fiber blending brush (like e.l.f’s contouring blush from the Studio line) to blend out and tone down the shimmer to your liking.

The Brights

Let’s start with the obvious star of the bunch, Clash.  Clash is a bright turquoise blue that reminds me of those pictures you see in travel magazines of the Caribbean Sea.  It is a very shimmery color and while it packs a punch, if you use a light hand or a blending brush, it can provide a lovely cool wash of color to your eye look.  If you have brown eyes like I do, blues and greens are your BFFs.  Not daring to compete with brightness but instead with an intense dark sparkle, Delinquent is not for the faint of heart.  You can use it for an intense smoky eye look, or a not-quite-black eyeliner.

20111229-191832.jpg

From top: Clash, Sin, Juju, Rehab, Delinquent (w/ flash)

20111229-192145.jpg

Thick and thin swatches from top: Clash, Juju, Sin, Rehab, Delinquent (w/ flash)

20111229-192231.jpg

Without flash from top: Clash, Juju, Sin, Rehab, Delinquent

Color Hack

For comparison I’ve done swatches against some of the 12 hr waterproof eye shadow pencils Sephora has come out with. While the neutral shades appear to look very similar to the 24/7 shadow pencils and cover very well, they just  aren’t as vibrant. UrbanDecay also bests the turquoise and violet Sephora pencils in vibrancy and opacity. Considering Urban Decay’s shadow pencils retail for $19 and Sephora’s retails for $12, if budget is an issue and you couldn’t get your hands on this set you can pull off a good color hack with Sephora eye shadow pencils.

As compared to the Sephora neutral shades, Urban Decay’s 24/7 shadow pencils go on smoother and offer more opaque coverage in fewer passes than the Sephora ones do. My only gripe is that this set doesn’t include the crazy gorgeous green Clinic or the reminiscent of the 80’s Morphine. If I had my druthers I would have gotten rid of Juju (it’s too close to Rehab in my opinion).

20111229-192318.jpg

From top: UD Sin, Sephora Beige, UD Juju, Sephora Brown (w/ flash)

20111229-192333.jpg

From top: Sephora Turquoise, UD Clash, Sephora Violet, UD Delinquent (no flash)

Brown Girl Notes

Another quality I look for is opacity when it comes to shadow pencils. It is easy for a shadow to cover fair to medium skin. It isn’t as easy when it comes to dark skin because the pigmentation needs to be heavier and that usually translates into a higher price. All five (5) of the 24/7 shadow pencils built up opacity very quickly with very few passes. Even when blended out the color still retains its vibrancy on my lids.

20111229-192408.jpg

Smokey look w/ UD's 24/7 shadow pencils in Sin (inner lid & highlight), Juju (whole lid) and Rehab (blended in outer lid). Lipstick is Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Rose Bengale

20111229-192421.jpg

Eyes lined with UD 24/7 shadow pencil in Clash. Lipstick is Chanel Rouge Allure Satin in 'Enviree' w/ Chanel Bagatelle glossimer (Spring 2012)

End-of-Line Recommendation

While the set is definitely a better deal than the single pencils ($7 compared to $12.56 for 2/3rds of the full sized price), the real value comes from the neutral shaded ones (Juju, Rehab, Clinic). While I believe these colors look best on cooler-toned skins, they are gorgeous enough to enhance all skin tones. Toss in the pretty violet purple and turquoise pencils and you have a set that is very versatile and ready to go jet-setting when you are. As of this writing, these sets are available at UrbanDecay.com, Sephora.com and Beauty.com.

20111229-192445.jpg

Eyes 'smoked' with UD 24/7 shadow pencil in Rehab, lined with Delinquent. Lips in Chanel Rouge Allure Satin in Famous & Rouge Allure Laqcque in Triomphal (Christmas 2011)

Essie Luxeffects: The Rundown

Essie Luxeffects are a series of high-shine & glitter topcoats. Usually glitter and sparkle aren’t something I think of when I hear Essie so I was anxious to try these out. At $8 a bottle they are definitely cheaper than the Deborah Lippmann glitter polishes I own so I figured why not try them out?

20111226-174455.jpg

The store display in Ulta. So shiny and pretty!

I skipped the gold colors as they were too ‘yellow’ and on my cool-toned skin they would look like poo. Instead I opted to purchase Set In Stones (varying sizes of round and hex silver glitter), A Cut Above (a warm pink variegated glitter) and Pure Pearlfection (a gorgeous white shimmer).

20111226-174521.jpg

From left: Pure Pearlfection, A Cut Above, Set In Stones

Unlike with my higher-end glitter polishes like Deborah Lippmann and Rescue Beauty Lounge, Both A Cut Above and Set In Stones have that annoying habit of the glitter not going on smoothly. You have to do some maneuvering of the glitter on the brush to get it to go and stay here you want it to go. It’s more of a brush and ‘push to position’ rather than one swipe and done so make sure your nail color is dry before putting on this glitter. Once it dries, the glitter looks very pretty and is very eye-catching.

For me personally, A Cut Above was too warm of a pink so no matter what I wore under it the glitter looked great but the color looked absolutely awful against my skin. Performance-wise I had no issues with it.

20111226-174605.jpg

Essie Luxefffects: A Cut Above over SpaRitual Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

Set In Stones didn’t have that problem as it is a very cool-toned flashy silver and looked great against my skin. The various shapes of glitter in this polish reminds me of Deborah Lippmann’s Today Was A Fairytale. I don’t own it myself but going by pictures I’ve seen it looks very familiar. The darker the base polish coat you use the more it pops out against it for a stunning effect. I used Esssie School of Hard Rocks (Winter 2011 collection), Trophy Wife and Dive Bar (permanent, Christmas 2011 repromote) as bases in the swatches below.

20111226-174719.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Trophy Wife

20111226-174816.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Sexy Divide (flash)

20111226-174839.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Sexy Divide (no flash)

20111226-174937.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: A Cut Above over Dive Bar (flash), my favorite!

Pure Pearlfection has to be my absolute favorite out of the entire collection. Best suited for use with light colors, Pure Pearlfection gives a ‘fresh fallen snow’ effect across the nail color. The closest thing to this that I own (but haven’t swatched as of yet) would be Deborah Lippman’s Bring On The Bling. I would definitely wear this in conservative office settings, and I also think it would look amazing on the nails of winter brides.

20111226-182920.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: Pure Pearlfection over butterLONDON's Lady Muck

20111226-182955.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: Pure Pearlfection over Cocktail Bling

20111226-183226.jpg

Essie Luxeffects: Pure Pearlfection over School of Hard Rocks

These are nice topcoats but they’ve been done before by various other nail polish companies. If I had to recommend one to purchase, it would be Pure Pearlfection. It is extremely versatile and well worth the price. When I first purchased these they were only available at Ulta. Now they are starting to show up in Target alongside of the Resort 2012 colors.

Hervana Blush by Benefit: The Rundown

In general I’m a big fan of Benefit’s blushes. Bella Bamba and Coralista are among my favorites.  I figured the case would be the same with Hervana but I was sadly mistaken.  This is the first product I have ever returned to Sephora because I was truly dissatisfied with it.

20111218-081527.jpg

Hervana blush by Benefit. You are too pretty to require so much effort.

What should have set my ‘do not buy’ radar was the large amounts of white pigment in this blush.  Swirled together all of the colors looked a powdery orange-pink.  Press photos seem to hint this color leans towards a cool pink.  Swatches I’ve seen on fairer-skinned ladies seems to show the same thing.  So I have no idea if it is because of my undertones this color went on the orange side or what.

The color itself wasn’t bad but it seemed I had to get a lot of product on the brush for it to even show up a hint on my skin. I hadn’t had this problem with other Benefit blushes so I was very disappointed to have it happen with this one. There is no discernable shimmer in this blush but it is very powdery and ‘dusty’ which translates to ashy on dark skin unless you use a cream blush base. And even with that it seems to take a lot of product for it to even show up. In terms of value this is a deal breaker. Why should you go through a $28 blush so quickly just because you have dark skin and the pigmentation is light so you have to use more product? I have NARS blushes that are matte (my beloved Gilda) and the pigmentation is amazing with no ashiness.

Overall I’m very disappointed with this product. I wouldn’t recommend it to dark-skinned folks who are say, deeper than NC/NW30. But even if you are fair to medium skinned, I don’t think the quality is as up to par with Benefit’s other blushes. Definitely swatch in-store to see if it is for you.

20111218-081550.jpg

Unlike other Benefit blushes, this box is hinged. An absolute pain in the butt.

20111218-081638.jpg

From bottom: Hervana heavily swatched alone, over NARS Lokuom cream blush, over MAC Shine Mixing Medium

20111218-081619.jpg

Wearing Hervana without anything beneath. Can you see it?

20111218-081629.jpg

A closer look. Can you see HerPurgatory, I mean Hervana?

20111218-081749.jpg

Let's try Hervana again this time over NARS Lokoum cream blush

20111218-081727.jpg

To paraphrase Dolly Parton, it takes a lot of work to make Hervana look good.