12 Jun

Me voilà cher readers – I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been in transit (considering the time of my last post, one might think I had come to Europe by slow boat), but I am back in the city of beauty and light and eager as ever to bring you looks, reviews, and ideas.

In the meantime, while flipping through my favorite guilty pleasure metro magazine, Grazia, I happened upon this little gem:

Le Bain de Wharton

This lovely bottle that looks like it came straight from the shelves of an ancient apothecary, these bath salts were inspired by the wonderfully luxurious world of Edith Wharton and her biting take on late XIXè century high society in New York. Made with salts from the Guérande marshes on the western coast of France and floral honey, this seems like an extravagant way to unwind after a long flight, or a long day. I can imagine myself inhaling the divine aroma in my bath whilst reading “The Custom of the Country”…..

Edith Wharton

The company, Jardins D’écrivains (the gardens of writers) has a number of products, each one inspired by the gardens of iconic writers in far flung locations – from Casanova in Venice to Kipling in Bombay. The range, manufactured artisanally in Paris, includes candles as well as bath products.

Le Bain de Wharton, 40 Euros: Jardins D’écrivains

A Quirky Take on Half Moon Nails

18 May

Half Moon Nails – alternately retro fabulous, alternately refreshingly modern. I’ve tried them in dozens of color combinations, from pale pink/fuchsia to gold/red, but what I LOVE right now?

MINT paired with RED! While this look is more spring than summer, until we’re in June, I’ll be maximizing my springtime looks. I used Wet n’ Wild’sI Need a Refreshment‘ as a base coat, topped off with Butter London‘s ‘Saucy Jack‘ on the upper part of my nail.

How did I achieve my perfect half-moon nails? You’ll never believe this, but I’ll let you in on my secret. Psst…. you there, come closer : I used circular paper reinforcers. Yes, those rounded stickers that go around the holes for 3 ring binders – and they work a charm. I’ll post a tutorial in the upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, feel free to leave your favorite color combinations in the comments section !

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush

18 May

Oh yes, I’ve managed to obtain it. I’ll let you sigh over the photos for a while before you come back and read my post.

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush – in Natural Light

Done? Moving on…  For Guerlain’s Summer 2012 collaboration with Pucci, the star of the collection has to be this Bronzer / Blush duo. Everything about it is stunning – the packaging, the colors, even the fragrance. As with the Terracotta gloss and the Perles d’Azur, the Terra Azzurra compact is housed in a smokey, tortoiseshell box, that when opened reveals Pucci‘s ‘Winter Capri’ print. What makes this all the more delightful is that the compact comes wrapped snugly, like a delightful present, in a silken pouch bearing the same print, marked on the inside with “Guerlain by Emilio Pucci“. The pouch is one of the factors in making this compact an instant collector’s item – who hasn’t secretly dreamed of owning a fabulously retro Pucci silk dress? This compact makes that just a little bit attainable, and isn’t that the point of owning luxury makeup in the first place – a touch of couture in our everyday routine?

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush

A Gorgeous Riva Aquarama, circa 1960s

The compact itself simply floored me, however – encased in varnished ebony wood, it is described as having been inspired by the luxury of the Riva Aquarama, a legendary wooden yacht used by the St Tropez Jet Set for decades. The case of the compact, engraved again with “Guerlain by Emilio Pucci” does not open or twist off, rather, it is attached by three small magnets that ensure the lid is always securely on – an ingenious idea I have yet to see in another compact. The wood is heavy and sturdy, but incredibly smooth to the touch, and the compact is larger than my palm. It almost feels as though the product inside is just a bonus in possessing this gorgeous collector’s item.

Taking the lid of the compact off, one finds a large mirror on one side, and of course, the bronzing powder and blush on the other – half bronzer, with three streaks of vibrant blush in increasingly bright colors. Though the four colors can be mixed together, I have found that they are gorgeous used separately as a bronzer, and a blush.

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush Swatched in Direct Sunlight

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush Swatched in Indirect Sunlight

The bronzer, a light, slightly orange based shade with a golden micro-shimmer, is very finely milled and incredibly smooth. There is no product that blows away when attacked with a brush, and it covers the face in a fine, natural, easy to blend veil. The powder is best described as silky, with an incredibly appealing texture both to the eye and to the touch. Guerlain are known as the masters in the domain of bronzing powders, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint, suiting nearly everyone. Whilst some bloggers have complained that the bronzer is orange based, I actually find that its light color makes it look peach, and therefore more natural on my pale, pink toned skin – it doesn’t look tangerine like certain other bronzers, nor does it make my skin look dirty and brown. I do think that the bronzer itself would be perfectly suited to those with medium skin tones, as it is too light of a color to work effectively on those with dark skin (though the blush, bright and cheery, appears to be universally flattering). The bronzing portion takes up slightly more than half of the compact.

The blush side is of an even finer texture, and divided into three “stripes” of color – a pale iridescent pink for highlighting, a bright cool toned candy pink, and finally an oranged coral. All three shades are filled with shimmer – while I’ve swatched them alone, practically speaking they would be used together, as each strip is too narrow to get a proper dose of powder onto a blush brush. The colors, swirled together, create a fresh looking pink-coral that seems to glow more than it does glitter. As with all of Guerlain’s powder products, there is more than what meets the eye – visibly sparkly in the pan, this blush does not deposit the obvious glitter that other similar shades do (I’m looking at you, NARS Orgasm) but rather a slight shimmer that keeps color looking bright and natural.  The powders are heavily fragranced, so those with sensitive noses will be displeased to be hit with a wave of  frangipani, lilies, and summer sweetness – absolute heaven for me, total hell for others.

On Cheeks – Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Bronzer, Blush. On Lips – Guerlain x Pucci TerraCotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro

On Cheeks – Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Bronzer, Blush. On Lips – Guerlain x Pucci TerraCotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro

I have found this product to be most effective when the blush and bronzer are used separately – swirled together, they created a bronzed peach shade, but it tends to look muddy on my skin. I have worn this over the last several days with the bronzer on my temples, cheekbones, and chin, with the blush on the apples of my cheeks only. As you can see in the photos (taken in appropriately summery sunlight, and paired with the TerraCotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro), this duo, despite the orangey undertones, looks subtle and pretty on my NW20 skin, with the appropriate blending – I’ve been using the NARS Bronzing Powder Brush and buffing it into the skin, taking advantage of the powder’s nearly creamy texture.

On Cheeks – Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Bronzer, Blush. On Lips – Guerlain x Pucci TerraCotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro

On Cheeks – Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Bronzer, Blush. On Lips – Guerlain x Pucci TerraCotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro

The Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush is priced at $75 and is decidedly a luxury item. With that being said, this item is not only covetible and highly collectible, it is also incredibly useful, combining the need for both a summer bronzer and blush (which, purchased seperately from a comparable brand, would cost easily $75+ up total) and is therefore an investment piece. The only problem I have with this product? It’s just too damn pretty to use !

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzing Powder & Blush available on counters now for approximately $75 USD / 63 Euros.

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss

16 May

I’ve secretly wanted to buy blue lip gloss for ages. It brightens the teeth! It cools down warm lipsticks! It makes you look like a smurf! One of the above statements is false, by the way, and especially in the case of Guerlain’s Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro (no 12), from the Summer 2012 Pucci collaboration.

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro

While this gloss isn’t the star of the collection, I couldn’t resist buying it – on display in its curvy tube, it looked like an aquatic dream. As with the other products in this collection, it’s tortoiseshell box opens up to reveal Emilio Pucci’s bright ‘Winter Capri’ print, a startling contrast that promises for the products Riviera vibe. Inside is a contoured tube of plastic housing the gloss, with an elaborately engraved  cap. The Terracotta glosses are part of Guerlain’s traditional summer range and the Summer 2012 version’s cap has received a makeover in a deep, smokey bronze. While the tube is lightweight and plastic, the attention to detail make it feel baroque and luxurious with Guerlain’s signature engraved above spiralling scrolls. The cap twists off to reveal a soft, doe footed applicator which makes for easy application.

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro

The color, however, is the attention getter for this gloss, and in my opinion the most beautiful of the collection. Named after an iconic Pucci scarf, it is a deep blue that looks alternately ultramarine or violet, with a jelly-like consistency in the tube that gives it a playful feel. On swatching the gloss on my arm, it is visibly blue, and though Guerlain described this as transparent on the lips, I find there is a slight blue tint when applied to the mouth alone. What is strange, however, is that the effect is really attractive – it doesn’t look corpse-like or transform me into a smurf. It simply gives the slightest blue tint to my mouth. Applied over lipstick, it cools down warm shades and does, in fact, make the teeth appear slightly brighter. The shade is original in that it would easily cool down a summer look, when so many of us assault our faces with golds, bronzes, and corals – it provides a nice balance to an otherwise warm summer look.

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro Swatched in Direct Sunlight

The formula is lovely – the gloss is thick but not sticky in the least. It makes my lips feel hydrated and smooth, and doesn’t bleed or feather from the lip line. Described as a “moisturizing gloss”, I believe that Guerlain intended this to be used along with their other summer products, and therefore counteract the effects summer sun can have on delicate lips. The effect is very shiny yet still understated – lips look more kissable than they do slick, like with a MAC lipglass. There is no shimmer in this formula (the bane of my existence) so no gritty feeling, though the gloss doesn’t last as long as I’d like for the price point. My major drawback with this gloss is the amount of product – the tube contains .17oz, comparable to most glosses, but because of the length of the tube, it feels somehow empty (this could also be my impression because of the lightweight packaging). Additionally, due to the lack of longevity of this product, I am certain I will see myself finishing it by summer’s end – a sore disappointment for such a lovely gloss.

Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss in Porto Azzurro… Summer Essentials !

Despite my misgivings about the Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss, I am overall pleased with my purchase – as an eyeshadow and skin care fanatic, it’s nice to stray with a playful gloss once in a while, particularly one so original – I can’t think of many major, traditional, luxury brands that have gone so adventurously out of the box with a summer lip color, and can only thank Peter Dundas of Pucci for his whimsical influence in this lovely collection.

The Guerlain x Pucci Terra Azzura Terracotta Lip Gloss is available on most department store counters (and at Sephora), for approximately $32USD.

Guerlain x Emilio Pucci Perles d’Azur Meteorites

16 May

So as mentioned last night, the product of my cosmetic fantasies is finally in my hands – the Meteorites from Guerlain‘s Summer 2012 collaboration with Emilio Pucci were the item I was lusting after the most in this incredible collection.

Guerlain x Pucci Perles d’Azur for Summer 2012

Opening up the relatively sombre black box, I was immediately hit with a visual assault of cool blues and psychedelic Pucci print – as always, Guerlain’s attention to detail is striking. The Meteorites are housed in a deep navy blue, ridged tin. The lid of the container, however, is printed with Pucci’s lavish ‘Winter Capri’ print, a harmony of white, midnight blue and turquoise that makes me dream of swimming in the Mediterranean.

Guerlain x Pucci Perles d’Azur for Summer 2012

Guerlain x Pucci Perles d’Azur for Summer 2012

Inside are housed .30 grams of the Meteorites perles – some have complained that the tin was only “half full”, but I’ve found with every Meteorites product that I’ve purchased, this is the case. Nonetheless, there is more than enough product to last for ages. Sitting snugly on top of the perles is a latex sponge, a sore disappointment for those that are used to the retro puff that used to come with this product. The perles themselves, however, are a delight –  while the Holiday 2011 Perles de Nuit Meteorites were perfect for subliming porcelain skin, these do wonders for those with a bit of bronze. In short, they are a perfect alternative for those that find that the Perles de Nuit  are too stark and frosty on  skin with a summer tint.

Guerlain x Pucci Perles d’Azur for Summer 2012 – in Natural Light

The matte pink, shimmering white and soft gold of Meteorites past are there, but are joined by a sparkling tangerine and bold Riviera blue – the orange to warm up sun-kissed summer skin, and the blue to reduce redness and perfect the complexion. While I didn’t notice any particular warming effect from the tangerine perles, the blue did seem to do an excellent job of evening my skin tone and masking redness. When I swatched the perles individually I was surprised to see how pigmented the blue and orange were but fortunately they look natural on skin when applied correctly. My skin has yet to see the sun this year (didn’t you know? I’m a vampire) but these didn’t look muddy or clownish on my alabaster tint. As always, the Meteorites impart a subtle glow to all skin tones – a highlighter without being a highlighter, and an overall skin perfecter. These products are absolutely essential in my beauty arsenal, giving me a subtle glow, making my skin look refreshed and awake without leaving behind obvious shimmer or glitter. I do find that these are more subtle than the Perles de Nuit but this, being a product from a summer collection, is logical.

Guerlain x Pucci Perles d’Azur for Summer 2012 – Swatched individually in Natural Light

I’ve been applying these Meteorites (both the Perles d’Azur and the Perles de Nuit) with a NARS Ita Kabuki brush, which works perfectly and (sadly) eliminates the need for the Guerlain x Pucci Meteorites brush sold as a partner product.  While some apply the Meteorites to the entire face, I find that they are most effective when used as a subtle highlighter, on cheekbones, the bridge of the nose and the temples. When I originally read the description of this product I imagined they might be a luminous alternative to bronzer, but these are too subtle to impart much more than a fresh glow to skin. They are, however,well suited to both lighter and darker skin tones, and I’m eager to see the effect after a month in the sun pour les vacances. As always, these volatile little balls of magic have a lovely, subtle violet scent both in the tin and when applied to skin, but for those with sensitive noses, this fades after a few minutes. Unfortunately Guerlain’s Meteorites do not travel well (they have a tendency to get crushed in their tin when transported) but the lid of the Perles d’Azur feels more secure than the lids of other limited edition Meteorites.

Guerlain x Pucci Perles d’Azur for Summer 2012

While this is a fabulous product, if you own any of the other Meteorites, this product may not be worth the purchase (contrary to some of the other items in the collection). It is, however, highly collectible and limited edition – the SA at Neiman Marcus was nearly sold out of them by the time I picked up this collection.

Guerlain x Pucci Summer 2012 Perles d’Azur  in stores now for a limited time, for about $59 USD/ 44,50 Euros.

Coming Up Next…

15 May

I mentioned on my blog that I couldn’t live without it……

 

ta-da! Guerlain’s Summer 2012 collection – coming to a blog near you soon.

Poppy King x Boots

14 May

There is little that can make me feel so feminine as a fabulous lipstick. The gesture of uncapping a tube of color is just so wonderfully retro, the sort of thing that makes me want to shout “Put on your pearls, girls!”.

Poppy King x Boots in No. 5 Intrigue

Poppy King x Boots in No. 5 Intrigue

When a lipstick queen collaborates with a British drugstore giant, you know the results are going to be perfection – and so is the case with the Poppy King for Boots collaboration. I recently picked up a tube in “Intrigue“, as much for the wearable color as for the polka-dotted yellow packaging (and we all know how I feel about adorable packaging). If you don’t know Poppy King, she is the Australian, New York based self-proclaimed ‘Lipstick Queen‘ who has created some of the most unique shades on the market. Her products are highly coveted and she has collaborated with giants of style such as J. Crew. Boots, on the other hand, is a British drugstore chain known for its excellent selection and formidable, affordable in-house brand No. 7 – I have personally witnessed foreigners at Boots stores in Central London clearing off entire shelves –  it’s a spectacle to be witnessed. It should come as no surprise, then,  that their collaboration is nothing less than a hit.

Poppy King x Boots in No. 5 Intrigue, Swatched in Natural Light

Inside the box is a surprisingly small tube of lipstick, housed in a brushed lavender tin emblazoned with No7 and Poppy King, but fortunately, the formula did not disappoint. This lippie is moisturizing, pigmented but without being over the top bold with color – the effect is simply perfect. The formula wears more like a lip balm than it does a drying lipstick, and so my lips looked lush and hydrated. I was able to choose one coat for sheer color, or more for a bolder look. The color itself, Intrigue (No. 5), is incredibly wearable and natural. A nude, slightly warm pink, this color creates a perfect ‘lady’ look for daytime, all while feeling slick and pleasant on my mouth. The wear time is not exceptional – I got perhaps 3 hours of wear – however the adorable tube makes reapplication a pleasure. As you can see in my photos, this lippie pears well with pearls, but also a multitude of makeup looks. Here, a swipe of bold eyeliner, a bit of bronzer and the Poppy King x Boots lipstick in Intrigue were all I needed to pull together a polished look.

Poppy King x Boots… and Pearls !

Poppy King x Boots… and Pearls !

Poppy King x Boots is available at Boots in the UK, and at selection Target stores in the US, for about $9.99 USD / 12 GBP. There are complimentary products in the range including lip crayons and glosses, though the lipstick is genuinely the standout in this collaboration.

Benefit Cosmetics x Snow White and the Huntsmen Rare Beauty Set

14 May

Benefit Cosmetics recently released a Snow White and the Huntsmen inspired set, to celebrate the film’s US release on June 1. I genuinely did not intend to buy this, but I can rarely resist a good collaboration, particularly one that promises the perfect visage of Snow White all housed in the lovliest of packaging.

Benefit x Snow White and the Huntsmen Rare Beauty Set

Benefit x Snow White and the Huntsmen Rare Beauty Set

All of the products contained in the kit are part of Benefit‘s permanent range of makeup, however, exclusive to the kit is a beautiful makeup case with a baroque silver and lavender print. This soft train case feels substantial and luxurious – and products or no, I would have shelled out  for the case alone. I can imagine myself now pulling it out at airport security and feeling like the fairest of them all – that is to say, it is perfect (and perfectly girly) for travelling in style this summer.

Benefit x Snow White and the Huntsmen Train Case

What you’ll find inside the Benefit x Snow White and the Huntsmen Rare Beauty Set

Inside are found two full sized items and two deluxe samples. The full sized items include the POREfessional primer, a silicone based primer that promises a poreless and perfect canvas for foundation (.75oz) and a BADgal Lash Mascara (.3oz), a deep black mascara with an oversized brush for false eyelash results. The smaller sized items are an adorably petite Benetint, a rose red lip and cheek tint (.13oz) as well as  High Beam, a shimmering pink liquid highlighter (.08oz). If you’re not familiar with these items, they are amongst Benefit‘s best sellers, and while I would have hoped for a larger size of the Benetint (a cult product, with reason), the kit sells for about the price of the primer and the mascara alone. While the products are not enough to create a full look on their own, they are excellent basics (the primer is fantastic, and though the mascara is not my favorite, it’s certainly a fair one to have in my arsenal.) The Rare Beauty Set also includes a small tutorial book like many included in Benefit‘s cosmetic sets, as well as a card allowing a sneak peek at the film.

Benefit x Snow White and the Huntsmen Rare Beauty Set

mini High Beam, mini Benetint, BADgal lash Mascara, The POREfessional Primer

Benefit x Snow White and the Huntsmen Rare Beauty Set

If you already own either the primer or the mascara, this kit may not be worth your time. However, it is a lovely case filled with incredibly useful products. I would have hoped for a more exotic collaboration for Snow White (an eyeshadow palette? a unique Snow White red lipstick?), though if you’re jonesing for a fabulously original collaboration from Benefit, check out their collaboration with Coca Light:

Benefit Cosmetics x Coca Cola Light

Benefit designed three new cans in collaboration with Diet Coke Belgium, and to celebrate their release, created a kit with a multitude of their best products. The Benefit x Coca Light collaboration is available exclusively through Colette, the aforementioned Parisian mecca of hypitude .

Benefit x Snow White and the Huntsmen Rare Beauty Kit is available at Sephora, for $45 USD.

My Multitasking Homegrown Hero – Smith’s Rosebud Salve

9 May

Have you ever tried this tiny miracle in a tin? If not, you’re missing out. I first discovered rosebud salve from the immaculately groomed-yet-natural looking preppy princesses who I grew up with. These girls obviously put a lot of effort into their looks all whilst looking completely effortless, and always toted around a tin of rosebud salve in their Longchamp schoolbags. Now, I’m clearly more off-kilter glamourpuss than East Coast Wasp , but I do love products that keep me looking effortlessly fresh and pretty.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

Smith’s Rosebud Salve is one of those cult products that is found in the makeup bags of not only beauty editors, but regular girls across America. I used to get tins of it sent to me in Paris when it was unavailable to buy there, such is my fidelity to this simple and wonderful balm.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

But what is it? A 100 year old family recipe, housed in this charmingly retro tin, is a balm that looks lovely on lips, but also nourishes cuticles, relieves chapped skin and minor burns, and even diaper burn. I’ve seen this used slicked on eyebrows to keep them shiny and in place, to add a bit of glossy glow to cheeks and eyes for photo shoots, and to tame stray hairs in a strict chignon. This is legitimately a $6 tin of MIRACLE.  It now comes in a variety of flavors (including mocha rose and menthol), but the original, with a faint fragrance of rose and no flavor, is a classic for a reason.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

The reason I love the rosebud salve desperately  is that it feels wonderful on lips. Light and slick, it leaves lips looking shiny (without a sticky gloss effect) in the most natural way possible, with only the slightest hint of healthy pink. It looks fantastic when used to soften lip color but I often skip even that step and use the rosebud salve to balance out a smokey eye, as well as pairing it with a natural makeup look. It’s tiny size means it is eminently portable, and though dipping into a tin with a finger isn’t the most hygienic, it is now available in germaphobic (and hands free) tubes as well.

I rarely tell readers that they absolutely need a product in their kit, but I’m doing so now – SNAP THIS UP!

Rosebud salve is available widely, though prices range from $6 to $8 in the US.  Buy it for the lesser price at sephora.com

In France, rosebud salve is available at American Apparel for about 9 euros, and at Urban Outfitters in the UK.

Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée Summer 2012

3 May

Their first collaboration with Japanese makeup brand Albion proved to be a huge success with it’s delicately gorgeous packaging and feminine aesthetic.

Now, Ladurée has launched their Summer 2012 collection, with a range of eyeshadow palettes in “picnic in a garden” inspired shades, eyebrow palettes, and lip balms.

Laduree Summer 2012 Collection

Laduree Summer 2012 Collection – Eyeshadow

Laduree Summer 2012 Collection – Eyebrows

Laduree Summer 2012 Collection – Lip Balms

 

While the collection is technically only available in Japan, us unfortunate souls in the rest of the world can order the collection on ichibankao …. for a 30% markup.

My wallet will loathe me, but how could I ever possibly resist such gorgeousness? And before you ask, yes, I am a glutton for pretty packaging.

 

images via: http://www.chasingelixir.com/les-merveilleuses-de-laduree-summer-2012-collection/

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