“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” -Gwyneth Paltrow

Laura Geller Spackle Under-Makeup Primer

Okay, admittedly, primer reviews aren't the most exciting out there. However, primers are extremely important to your overall makeup routine, and with all the options out there, I feel it's necessary to test and review at least the ones that interest me. That's why today is about Laura Geller's Spackle Under-Makeup Primer.

Chanel Sophisticated Eyes Review: The Vanites Quad + EOTD

So I've been hearing a lot about the Sophisticated Eye Collection from Chanel, but I haven't actually seen many reviews. I've been dying to see what's up with the collection, and it arrived last week at my local Chanel counter. There are two quads in the collection, one being Lagon (a blue-based quad), the other Vanites, a lovely array of purples and pinks. As many of you know, I LOVE purples for my brown eyes, so I just couldn't resist giving Vanites a try!!

On first glance, Vanites doesn't look all that amazing. However, when you take the time to really look at the colors, it becomes apparent that they are much more complex than they seem, and are some of the loveliest colors available. 

Above, clockwise from top left, you have a deep purple-plum, a white with a soft pink overlay, a bronzed pink, and a pale lilac. 

In indirect light, the colors appear much more blue, but in reality they are much more neutral, leaning toward warm. 

This shot shows the colors pretty accurately, with the exception of the dark purple at the top. On the skin, it is very matte, very neutral, and very dark. 

This shot shows the dark purple a little more accurately. 

Unlike with many Chanel quads, the colors in Vanites are very pigmented and smooth. The white and the pale lilac are very soft and subtle. I could see both being used lightly on the brow bone, and the lilac is a gorgeous lid color. The bronzed pink is a perfect lid color, with just enough pigment and color to give the eyes depth without being smokey. It could also be used in the crease, paired with lilac on the lid. The deep purple is wonderful for creating a smokey purple eye, or it can be used in the crease or as a liner. 

Here's a fairly understated look I did the other day: 

For this look, I used the bronzed pink on the lids and under the eyes, with the lilac on the inside corners of the eye. I used the deep purple in the crease and as the upper liner. 

Bottom Line: The Vanites quad is a gorgeous collection of colors, perfect for brown eyes. The shades are well-pigmented and blend easily, and work so well together that they can be worn a variety of ways. As Chanel advertises it, the quad can easily be worn as a subtle, understated look or a dramatic, bold one. I'm truly loving this one--it's my favorite Chanel quad in quite some time. 

Lovely Lipstick Review: Hourglass Icon

As you all know, I'm a red lipstick fiend. I've abstained for the last few months due to summer, but I can't hold out any longer. Even though the temperatures are still in the 90's, even though Fall is technically a full month away, school has started (and therefore I'm back at work), and the days for vibrant reds, vivid fuschias, and deep plums and berries has returned! 

Beauty Spotlight Team 8/27/11: What's In Your Bag?

This week at The Beauty Spotlight Team, we're taking a look inside the makeup bag Visionary Beauty keeps in her handbag. A post featuring sweet goodies (albeit with strange faces and little legs) and makeup, now what could be better.........lets take a look inside!

Indie Spotlight: Linnaeus Cosmetics+FOTD

Myth, Aberrant, Anomaly

A few weeks ago I decided to give a little makeup company called Linnaeus Cosmetics a try. I'd read several good reviews, and I love mineral eye shadows, so I figured it was time to jump into the fray. I'm really glad I did, because my transaction with Linnaeus and owner Marin was one of the best I've ever had. 

Eye Shadow Review of Laura Mercier's Topaz + EOTD

Oh, Laura Mercier, how do I love thee? Your cheek glows are divine, your color selections impeccable, and your eye shadows? Well, one word will suffice: Perfection. 

I've recently entered the world of Laura Mercier, and I honestly can't believe I made it this far in life without becoming a fan. First there was her Bonne Mine Palette, which has given me the perfect bronzy, rosy glow for summer. Then there was Chocolate Eye Luster, followed shortly by African Violet. And now, there's Topaz, the perfect color for a natural, understated, sophisticated eye. 

Topaz is a gorgeous deep brown with topaz shimmer. It's a true neutral, leaning neither warm or cool on me. It's mid-toned, so it can be built somewhat, but remains always sophisticated and rather subtle, simply adding dimension to the eye. It's perfect for crease work if you want something understated, but can be used on the lid with a darker color in the crease (Chocolate would be lovely with this) if you want something darker, more dramatic, or smokier. 

It's a multifaceted color and looks different in each lighting situation and at each angle. 

Inside, taken with flash

Outside in natural light, taken without flash

Taken at a different angle outside, showing off the Topaz shimmer. 

Swatched outdoors in natural light

Swatched indoors with flash

I'm truly head-over-heels in love with this color. It's perfect in so many ways. It's finely-milled and feels light and creamy on application. It blends incredibly easily, making for a goof-proof eye, even at 6:00 am. It gives a polished finish to the eyes without overwhelming them...it's wonderful as a no-makeup makeup. 

Here are some shots of my eyes wearing Laura Mercier Buttercream as a base with Topaz in the crease:

I finished the look with Chanel's Automatic Eye Lining Pen and Benefit's "They're Real!" mascara. It took me only moments to complete the look, start to finish. 

For those of you who are wondering what the differences between Topaz and Chocolate are, here's a quick shot of Chocolate: 
Chocolate, taken inside with flash

As you can see, Chocolate is much darker and has a cooler, plummy base with bronze shimmer. It's also a wonderful neutral, but is deeper and more dramatic. It also takes a bit more attention to blend Chocolate since it's darker. While Topaz is perfect for a nude or natural look, Chocolate is perfect for a more dramatic or smokier eye. Both are amazing colors...you choose which look you want, then choose which color you need. 

If you've been looking for a wonderful and subdued shadow for daytime, Topaz is the one!

Old Favorites Review: EOTD with Chanel Reflets d'Ombre Quad

I've been trying very hard in recent weeks to edit my makeup and skin care collections, which has required me to go through the overwhelming amount of "stuff" I have and cull the items that aren't working for me. It's been a tough process because I hate to let go of anything--on the basis that maybe one day, it "might" work for me better than it does today. I've had to be pretty ruthless as I go through the process, and when I head back to work next week there are going to be some very happy women when the goody bag opens for them!

The good news about clearing out my stash is that I've found quite a few items that I'd forgotten about. These are items that I used a few times, loved, and then somehow they got shuffled to the bottom of the heap and never used again. Tragedy! Today's Eye of the Day is an example of this phenomenon. I bought it months and months ago, used it a few times, then moved on to newer pretties. I found it the other day when I was going through a bag of "old" makeup, and I've been having a great time working with it again!

FOTD featuring Laura Mercier Luster Eye Shadow in Chocolate

A week or so ago, I reviewed Laura Mercier's Luster Eye Shadow in Chocolate, one of the most gorgeous brown shades I've ever seen. I've been wearing it nearly every day since then. It's so versatile and so gorgeous, plus so easy to use, I just can't help but reach for it every morning. It works with everything and can be subtle or dramatic depending on where and how much you apply.

Today's Face of the Day was built around Chocolate. I was going for something very natural, but at the last minute I decided to up the ante a bit by adding a thick swipe of MAC's Superslick Liquid Eye Liner in "Treat Me Nice", a brilliant shimmery olive green.

Here's how things went down:

Here's a shot of the eyes:

And, for the big reveal, my entire look: 

I'm really loving this look for summer. It's very neutral, but the "Treat Me Nice" olive eye liner coupled with the Fleur de Feu lipstick add a couple of good punches of color. "Chocolate" is applied just heavily enough to create a little dimension in the crease, and "Soleil Tan de Chanel" is dusted just heavily enough to give me a slight glow rather than being used as a bronzer.

Let me know what you think!

Primed and Pumped: Stila Prime Pot Eye Shadow Base

I'm a huge proponent of eye shadow bases. They are truly indispensable if you want to get the most from your shadow. With the proper base, your shadows will apply more smoothly, look more vibrant, blend more readily, and last all day without fading or creasing. On the rare occasion that I forget the priming step and apply my eye makeup without it, the difference is striking. The shadows appear faded, sheer, and wear off within just a few hours. Simply put, if you're going to bother wearing eye shadow, you need to take the extra 15 seconds it takes to apply a primer. 

I've tried several eye shadow primers in the past, among them Benefit's "Stay Don't Stray", Urban Decay's "Primer Potion" and the Too Faced "Shadow Insurance". I've liked aspects of each of these and disliked others. With "Stay Don't Stray", the problem was the truly terrible pump dispenser. With "Primer Potion," the packaging was also terrible, leaving tons of product inside yet impossible to access. And with "TFSI", the primer and packaging were excellent, but I like to get some coverage from my primers and TFSI was virtually invisible. 

Luckily, I read a review of Stila's "Prime Pot" a few weeks ago, and since I was almost out of TFSI, I decided to take the plunge and give it a try. I have to say, people, this is one badass primer!

Beauty Spotlight Team 8/20/11

This week, the Beauty Spotlight Team has every angle covered, from lips to nails to brushes to home fragrance. We've also got a giveaway or two! Read on to find out more!

Have you ever pined for longer, thicker, curlier lashes? Then Shannon at Lipstick Musings has a treat for you! Check out what happened when she tried Rapidlash for a month! You'll never want to turn back.

Beauty comes in many forms, Skeem proves that. Enter Beauty Info Zone's giveaway for a Skeem Half Pint candle of your choice.

Visionary Beauty gives us a round-up of all the Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-lasting Cream Eye Shadows SILK AETHER. Such beautiful, effortless shades these are really not to be missed.

It's true! Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed DOES have the sparkliest nails in the universe! Check out her swatches of OPI's newest editions to their Designer Series!

Everyday Beauty raised a glass to Laura Mercier Shimmer Lip Colour in Amaretto.

Over at Pretty in Dayton, Styrch's had a rough couple of weeks but she did manage to post some swatches of her first ever Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar purchase and finds that they live up to their stellar reputation.

Modesty Brown shares un petit peu de French shopping.

How would you like to make the dreaded task of washing your makeup brushes less of a chore? Perilously Pale shows you how with her review of the BECCA Professional Makeup Brush Soap.

It's time for Monthly Favorites! See what made Pammy Blogs Beauty's list of July Star Products!

Does NARS new lip gloss Larger Than Life live up to it's name? Is Cindy really a giant? Find out at Prime Beauty!

Don't forget to enter the Mega Beauty Bloggers Giveaway and win a $100 Sephora Gift Card and more!

Over at Makeup Merriment, Jeanie believes she has discovered handbag heaven with her new Purse to Go organizer.

On the Cheap: Femme Couture Mineral Effects Eye Shadow Quad in Lovin' Lilac

This week's On the Cheap features a great little quad from Femme Couture, which can be found at Sally's Beauty Supply. I've been very impressed with this line. Pretty much everything I've tried (with the exception of a defective lip gloss) has been very high-quality, easy to use, and the price point is amazing. I believe this quad cost me about $10.99. It's large, has generously-sized shadows, and the colors are outstanding. 

From top, you have a bronzy-topaz, a pale lavender, a vivid lilac (forgive the nick...I dropped it), and a deep neutral purple. 

This particular quad is called Lovin' Lilac, and it's a beauty. As you all know by now, I love my purple eye shadows, and this one didn't disappoint. The colors are fairly finely-milled and blend easily. Although the pigmentation isn't as dense as you might get with some of the department store lines, it's definitely workable. The shadows apply and blend well and don't crease or fade when worn on top of a primer. This particular quad reminds me a lot of Estee Lauder's Surreal Violet palette. The purples are very similar, particularly the violet shade at the bottom of the quad. However, Lovin' Lilac adds the warmth of the topaz to the look, and it works quite well. 

Here's a swatch of the colors taken in daylight: 

 As you can see, the colors are vivid and shimmery and show up well on the skin. The only minor complaint I have with any part of this quad is that the pale lavender (second from bottom) has glitter in it. It's not a lot of glitter, so it isn't too over-the-top, but it's there and apparent, especially in sunlight, and I think they could have done without it. 

Here are a couple of shots of the eye look I did with Lovin' Lilac:

In the top picture, you can see a bit of the glitter. However, on the bottom shot, it's not apparent at all. 

To achieve this look, I used the lilac color on my mobile lid, with the topaz in the crease. I used the dark purple in the "V" at the outside corners of my eyes, and used the pale lavender as a highlighter. I finished with Bobbi Brown Denim Ink Gel Eye Liner and Diorshow Iconic Mascara. 

Bottom Line: This is a very wearable palette, and I intend to use it frequently. Although I could do without the minor amount of glitter in the highlighter color, it isn't too distracting and certainly won't keep me from getting a lot of use out of this quad. I did find the dark purple to be slightly less pigmented than the other colors, but it was easily built and wasn't difficult to work with--if anything, its sheerness made it easier to blend. I recommend you give it a shot!

FOTD with MAC LE Nordstrom Exclusive: Double Feature #8

The Double Feature #8 duo is one of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale exclusives that I picked up a few weeks ago. It consists of a bright, true orange (much brighter than in the picture above) and a deep navy that leans toward charcoal. On the skin, the color is more grey than blue. 

To be honest, after the "oooooohhhh, aren't these gorgeous?"-ness wore off, I wasn't sure I would be able to find a way to wear it. I mean, it is orange and navy, and I tend to do deeper colors rather than brights. But hey, I got it anyway, and I was determined to make it work.

NOTD featuring Orly "Bubbly Bombshell" Lacquer

This summer Orly introduced its "Pin-Up Girl" collection, a variety of bright, glittery colors designed to make you smile. Smile I did! I found two of the colors especially fun, the grass-green glitter "Here Comes Trouble" and today's Nail of the Day, the bright and sparkly "Bubbly Bombshell."

On the Cheap: Femme Couture Mineral Effects Blush

As you regular readers know by now, when it comes to inexpensive makeup, I'm a fan of Femme Couture. Sold at Sally Beauty Supply, the products are high-quality and low-priced, and there are plenty of them from which to choose. Today's post is going to focus on a new blush from Femme Couture's Mineral Effects line, the Soft Spoken Pink Floral Blush.

Want Long, Lush Lashes? RapidLash Review

Unless you are one of the lucky few who somehow hit the genetic lottery and were born with a long, thick, curly, dark fringe around your eyes, you probably long for better eyelashes. We spend an enormous amount of time, energy and money on various mascaras that promise to lengthen, thicken and darken our peepers, and for good reason. Good lashes can do wonders for adding drama and definition to your eyes and complete your look. They open the eye and make it look larger. I know in my case, my "desert island" makeup bag would have at least one formula of mascara in it (notice I said bag, not item...I mean, who are we kidding here?) However, what if you could find a product that, rather than coating your lashes to make them look better, could actually make the lashes themselves improve in length and thickness? How awesome would that be? Well, in the past few years they've started to develop products that can do just that, and RapidLash is one of them. 

Nordstrom Beauty GWP with $125 Purchase!!

Today's post is a Public Service Announcement courtesy of your favorite Lipstick Diva:

If you're the type to never pass up a deal, I've got one for you! Currently, Nordstrom is having a GWP department-wide in Cosmetics with any $125 purchase. Wow, is it a goodie!

Included, from left to right in back row, are

  • Kate Somerville 360 Tanning Towelettes for Face and Body
  • Clarins High Definition Body Lift
  • Anastasia Lash Lifting Mascara
  • Xen-Tan Face Tanner Luxe Daily Self Tanner
  • Lancome Renergie Eye Step One Cream
Second Row: 
  • Philosopy Hope in a Jar Original Formula Moisturizer
  • DKNY Pure Eau de Parfum
  • Ahava Deadsea Water Mineral Body Lotion
And Front Row: 
  • Nordstrom Mini Foundation Brush
  • Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream
  • Laura Mercier Lipstick in Sandcastle
  • Trish McEvoy Black Rose Oud Eau de Parfum
All of these are deluxe samples, and all are packaged in adorable little containers. I especially love the teensy tiny Laura Mercier lipstick!

If you're a sucker for Gifts with Purchase, you need to hurry your little fanny over to Nordstrom, or check out Nordstrom.com. This gift is good with any $125 purchase in Fragrance or Beauty. Good while supplies last, so get moving, people!!

My Magical Mystery Bag--See what's inside!

So, have you ever wondered what other women carry around in their makeup bags? I always do. I'm always amazed when I see a high-maintenance type who carries only one lipstick around, versus the "natural" beauty who carries her entire trunk case with her when she runs about town. I love to see what women consider "essentials", what their favorite items are, and how they organize things. 

That being said, I'm a criminal makeup hoarder. I got the above Dior Beauty bag a few months ago as a Gift With Purchase. It's really not that big, but it's very roomy inside, and I've been dumping various items into it ever since I got it. I thought seriously about editing half (or more) of it out before I did this post, but I figured that was cheating, so here you have it: my "must-have" daily essentials. Trust me, this isn't going to be pretty. 

On the Cheap: L'Oreal Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover

A couple of weeks ago I did a review on Lancome's Bifacil Eye Makeup Remover, a bi-phase makeup remover that is wonderfully quick, easy and effective. While at CVS the other day I saw L'Oreal's version of a bi-phase remover and decided to give it a try, seeing that L'Oreal is Lancome's parent company. Did it pass the test?

FOTD featuring MAC Semi Precious and Guerlain Rouge Automatique

For today's Face of the Day, I decided to go with a warm, peachy, natural look based on the new MAC Semi Precious marbleized shadows and my current favorite lipstick, Guerlain's Rouge Automatique in Fleur de Feu. This summer I've been doing a lot of smokey eyes because I like them and I don't care what the season is and nobody can tell me what to do now that I'm a 41-year-old mom of three...so there! Anyhow, for this one I decided to lighten things up a bit in honor of the fact that it's 93 degrees with about 85% humidity.

Here's what I used:

  • Foundation: Chanel Lift Lumiere
  • Blush: Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel in Bronze Corail
  • Eyes: Benefit Velvet Eye Shadow in Leggy all across the lid, lash to brow (this has become one of my all-time favorite eye shadows. Pale ladies, take note: it's a perfect base for just about anything!). I also applied MAC's Faux Gold shadow in the crease and lined my eyes with Smoked Ruby. Both of these shadows are part of MAC's Semi Precious collection. I completed the look with Diorshow Maximizer lash primer and Diorshow Extase mascara. 
  • Lips were courtesy of a coat of Fleur de Feu topped by a Chanel Glossimer in Pink Peony
Here's a closer shot at my eyes. Try not to die of shock that they aren't dark and smokey!

I'm really loving this look and will be using it a lot, especially when I go back to work when the school year starts. The eyes are warm and golden and understated, and Fleur de Feu has become my all-time favorite summer lipstick. Hope you enjoyed it, too!

The Eyes Have It: Bobbi Brown Denim Ink Gel Eyeliner and Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush

Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners are widely regarded to be the best in the business. They come in a well-edited array of colors, are easy to apply, and last the entire day. While shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a few weeks ago, while I should have been shopping inside the magical tent, I got distracted by the Bobbi Brown counter and discovered several new liners, including the new Denim Ink. At the same time, I was persuaded by the SA to purchase Bobbi's Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush. I haven't looked back since. 

Skin Care Review: Reviva Labs DMAE Firming Fluid

About a month ago I was contacted by a rep from Reviva Labs asking if I'd like to try a few of their products.  Having heard a lot of good things about Reviva, I jumped at the chance! One of the products I received was the DMAE Firming Fluid, and I couldn't wait to try it. While I don't have a lot of facial sagging (yet), I do lack firmness in my neck, particularly under my chin. I was really looking forward to trying out the DMAE fluid to see if it could help me.

Laura Mercier Review: African Violet Lustre Eye Color + FOTD

I've only recently discovered the wonderful world of Laura Mercier. It all started with a chance impulse purchase of her Bonne Mine Palette, followed by her gorgeous Chocolate Eye Lustre shadow. After that success, I was hooked, and I'm now gleefully adding more items to my collection.

My most recent pick was the incredibly unique African Violet Eye Lustre. I apologize in advance for the photos in this post---they truly don't do this amazing color justice. Described on the Mercier site as a "violet copper shimmer", I have to say that the description doesn't really do it justice, either. It's much more than just a shimmery violet. To me, it's quite neutral, despite the violet undertones, perhaps due to the coppery shimmers throughout. The color is truly stunning.

NOTD featuring Orly "Here Comes Trouble"

Late last Spring, Orly released it's Pin-Up Girl collection. I'm pretty sure the shades are supposed to be at least somewhat sexy, but "Here Comes Trouble", to me, is simply a happy, brilliant green. I'm not getting sex appeal off this one. However, the color and glitter make me smile, so I'm not complaining!

Beauty Spotlight Team 8/6/11

The Beauty Spotlight Team is here to delight you again with upcoming glamour, oldies but goodies, health & fashion and even 2 giveaways. Enjoy.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed thinks serum for your lips is an excellent idea - check out her swatches of Dior Rouge Serum and see if you agree!

Marcia and Lisa of Beauty Info Zone spent time looking at the newest treasures in the Neiman Marcus beauty department. You will be drooling over what Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Le Metier de Beaute, Guerlain and Chantecaille have to tempt us.

Zuzu's Petals at Everyday Beauty got glazed and enthused with
Ellis Faas Lip Glaze in L303, a deep, sheer roseberry. If you haven't taken the Ellis Faas plunge yet, read some of Zuzu's reviews and be swayed.

Over at Lipstick Musings, Shannon's looking for hydrated, firmer skin (aren't we all?). See whether Reviva Labs' Peptides and More Cream does the trick!

Have you been wanting to try Josie Maran's Argan Oil infused cosmetics? Makeup Merriment's latest giveaway is for a trio of these lovely natural products - have you entered yet?

Modesty Brown gave us a look at the Delphes and Grande Palais eyeshadow palettes from the new NARS Fall collection. There's also a mini NARS duo taupe off!

Paula, from Older Girl Beauty talks about being a walking beauty casualty with her Vitamin D deficiency and the changes she's making in her lifestyle.

Its giveaway time again on Pammy Blogs Beauty! Be sure to enter Pammy's DeVine Lip Shimmers Giveaway!

Perilously Pale wants to let you in on the discovery of her new favourite lip gloss formula!

Styrch from Pretty in Dayton plays around in Send the Trend's new My Style room and realizes she has a thing for spikes! Best of all, most of her criticisms have already been addressed by the development team!

Cindy says buh-bye to forehead wrinkles with the Biobliss patch--see the before and after pics at Prime Beauty!

Visionary beauty looks at one of the newly introduced palettes from the Estee Lauder pure colour eye shadow range; Surreal Skies could be that everyday neutral palette you have been looking for.

On the Cheap: Pond's Deep Cleanser & Makeup Remover

Today's On the Cheap is an oldie but a goodie. I'm going with Pond's Cold Cream, the standby makeup remover for many a woman for decades now. I found it at Wal-Mart recently and when I realized they now have a cucumber version, I just had to give it a try...I'm a fool for cucumber! Plus, mom couldn't have been THAT wrong, right? Right? 

Nail of the Day: Finger Paints Guggen I'm Lime

I've always been a sucker for bright greens. Back in the 80's, it was that godawful neon green that was always paired with neon pink and black...ahhhh, those were the days! These days, we have plenty of greens to choose from, from olive and duochrome antiqued green (see Chanel's Peridot) to grass green glitters (which I'll be doing soon) to brilliant lime green. Today, it's the latter that I chose to go with in the form of Finger Paints Guggen I'm Lime.

Take it off, Baby!! Lancome Bifacil Eye Makeup Remover and Creme Radiance Clarifying Cleanser

With all the makeup I wear, one of my most important skin care items is a good cleanser. Actually, it's not that I wear a LOT of makeup, it's more that what I wear tends to be difficult to remove. I like to use waterproof bases under my eyeshadow and I use sunscreen every day, which is notoriously difficult to remove. After living with "raccoon eyes" for years due to my stubborn refusal to use a separate eye makeup remover, I finally bit the bullet a couple of years ago and went on a quest for a product that would remove even the most stubborn mascara with ease. At the same time, I began searching for a good, gentle foaming cleanser with which I could follow my oil cleanser each night. Well, as of two months ago, my search for these two items has officially ended. 

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