Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Once I got my skin to calm down and settle with the miracle of Secret de Vie, I could start testing something less active. I'm still using Vie at night, so it can perform its magic while I'm asleep. But, Besame Cosmetic's Delightful Rose moisturizer is a decent winter lotion. It's very moisturizing while absorbing quickly and leaving the skin soft and comfortable. It's just a little heavy, which makes it an ideal product for me during the cold months, but probably too much for humid summer days. Still, it isn't greasy and so far ( a week of daily use), I haven't had any breakouts.

The lotion has a wonderful rose smell. I'm mostly over skin care products in medical looking packages and no fragrance, so I'm loving the luxury feel that one gets from this kind of products. Like everything made by Besame, the tube and its box are pretty and very retro. Placing the lotion next to the lipstick and powder, it looks like something that belongs on a dresser of a movie star from a bygone era.

**Edit: After using it for a while longer, it looks like this lotion is, indeed, too heavy on my pores and is causing the occasional break out. I checked and double checked to make sure that it was the only part in my skin care routine that can be responsible for it, and sadly it is so.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lancome: Shades of Shadows

The infamous GWP incident I had with my most recent Lancome order has given me the opportunity to test a bunch of their eye shadows. I received two compacts- one of 4 Color Focus shadows and the other had two Color Focus and two Color Design. The colors were mostly neutrals, all very wearable and the quality pretty satisfactory. The shadows were easy to apply whatever method I used: brush, finger and even the sponge applicator worked. Still, I prefer to use bushes for the darker colors and apply the highlighters with my finger. It gives the most even coverage without the powdery effect.
All shadows had pretty decent staying power even without a primer and didn't migrate to places they didn't belong.

Honeymoon (Color Focus): This one appeared in both compacts and is a very versatile highlighter. It's a cool toned, very soft shimmer ivory. I wasn't expecting much from a color so light, but while indeed not very pigmented, it has enough presence to actually do some highlighting of my darker-than-average skin. The shimmer is light and subtle, suitable for day, and the color works well as a base. It's much better than Bobbi Brown's invisible Bone.

Gaze (Color Design, Shimmer): Warmer than Honeymoon, it's a light champagne color. I think it's more pearl than shimmer. Very pretty and blends well with browns and bronze. The shimmer effect is still not over the top and can definitely be used during the day.

Suntouched (Color Focus): A light, bronze-touched gold. A warm tone that's probably more suitable for the warmer, tanner months. It has the same kind of light shimmer as Honeymoon, but with this darker color, its presence is more pronounced and I'd advice a lighter hand in applying it. I'd probably avoid it altogether unless I was going for a very bronzed, mid-summer look. But someone with a warmer skin tone might find it more wearable.

Mocacchino (Color Focus): The color swatch from Lancome's website is a bit misleading here. Mocacchino is actually a cool shade, very neutral, and probably more taupe than brown. It's comparable in color to the taupish one from Bobbi Brown's Chocolate Palette, though I much prefer Bobbi's creamier texture and darker pigment.

(Color Focus): This one is probably my favorite. It's a cool, slightly heathered khaki, with just enough green to bring my eyes to life, but it's muted enough to be perfectly suitable for casual day wearing. It also works great as an eyeliner: I used it with Paula Dorf's Transformer and liked the result (though the green was less pronounced this way).

Lezard (Color Focus): A deep, dark brown color. Very pigmented, works great for darker skin tones. It's good for lining, contouring and adding some drama to the crease. It has some very tiny glitter flecks, that aren't over-the-top, but I'd still advise a light hand, especially if you have a lighter skin tone. This shadow reminds me a little of the darkest one on my Snake Charmer Lorac palette. But Lezard is a tamer one reptile.

Couture (Color Design, Intense); This is a dark, matte chocolate brown, very pigmented and intense. It's very much like the darkest shadow from Bobbi's palette, and since most Color Design shadows have a better texture than Color Focus, it's trully comparable . It's great for a smoky eye look, perfect for lining, and applied sparingly, also very wearable for day.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

More Mascara

Despite the trend of mascaras that make you look like you're wearing falsies, I prefer less drama around my eyes. I still want length, curl and definition, though. I've been using both Lancome Hypnose and Clinique's High Impact with great satisfaction, and now I can add another mascara to this list of really good ones.
Estee Lauder's More Than Mascara (I have it in More Black) gives similar results. It doesn't boast any special superpowers, yet it delivers beautifully defined lashes, adds some length (not exaggerated) and holds a curl. No clumps or flakes yet, and I've been using it for three weeks now. Also no dots and smears, and it dissolves relatively quickly in Lancome's Bi-Facil cleanser.

I think it's too rich for my naturally thick lower lashes, so I haven't tested it on them. And, speaking of rich, I have no idea what's the difference between the two blacks they offer: More than Black vs, Rich Black. Has anyone ever tried to compare?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


This is something that I've briefly mentioned before, because I did it a couple of time in the summer, but it's worth talking about again. I love Annick Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien and wear it often when I need something crisp and citrusy. My only complaint has always been the staying power. This is a fragrance that was always meant to be layered with other Goutals. But my choice is Serge Lutens' Un Bois Vanille.

During the summer, I liked this combo because it grounded the flighty Hadrien and gave it some sweet depth. But now, I'm discovering that it's even better, because I'm using a little more of the Vanille and using the Hadrian to uplift it and give it some spark. The combination of the sweet woods and lemony cypress is heady and addicting. My husband describes it as intoxicating and I find myself wearing it a couple of times a week. In a season that offers such competition as Bond's New Haarlem, Serge's Miel and Cedre, Donna Karan's Black Cashmere and the ever-so-lovely Jill Sander no. 4, this is a good testament to the seduction of these two together.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Blue Smoke

I've mentioned before how all the effort to keep one's eyes look young and bright doesn't necessary go well with the smoky eye look, especially if you're trying to use black as the base color. This is why I save the black liner for the cleaner brighter look of natural and brown shadows, and look for alternatives for creating a smoky look.

One that works really well for me is combining Lancome Artliner in Smoke with their Color Design eye shadow in Garment.

Smoke, despite its name has way more blue in it than grey. It's pretty much navy color (something that's been missing from this line in a while. Their blueberry color, while very pretty, is way too light and bright for non-blondes. It looks garish on my skin and does nothing for my dark brown eyes), less dramatic than black, but still dark enough to define the lid nicely.

Garment is one of their Intense series. Strongly pigmented color that isn't shy about it. It is surprisingly wearable, though. It's not shimmery and the blue, while unmistakable is elegant and lady-like. It's not screaming 80s, that's for sure. The texture is soft, blends well with other shadows, responds nicely to different brushes and can play a part in many looks, depending on the brush and the amount of color you're using. The only complaint I might have is regarding it's staying power- though it didn't crease on my lid, it faded significantly when I didn't use a primer underneath.

I created a lovely evening look by combining these shadow and liner with just a touch of Bourjois' silver eye shadow (applied with a soft, thick eye contour brush).

Still in the Dark

So, how many people were at the Chanel counter today to pick up their Black Satin polish? I wasn't there, because I'm quite happy with my little less goth look, which this week is courtesy of Estee Lauder. I got my Dark Chocolate polish, and have been wearing it since Thursday.

It's a red based brown, less chocolatey than I had hoped for, but dark and on the vamp side. It required three layers to get the depth of color that can be seen in the color swatch from their web site, and in applying it felt thinner than the Essie polishes I've been wearing lately. But it might be because of the base coat I'm using (OPI's Start to Finish)

The other problem with this polish is its lack of sheen. It absolutely requires a top coat, because it gets dull in a matter of hours. I'm still wishing for a polish that has a milk chocolate look, but it would do for now. It does look pretty, even if my husband couldn't see the difference between this one and Essie's Wicked.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Two Glosses

I coveted YSL's Golden Gloss for quite some time, but somehow I've always managed to get some other gloss instead. But, a couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to get my Golden Praline. It's a lovely neutral rose shade with a bit of beige in it. The color is almost nude on me, but it has a lot of sparkle. So much, actually, that I wouldn't wear it during the day. It looks great for a more glamorous night time face, with some heavy duty eye makeup. This pairing is a classic, because it keeps things balanced while not letting my lips look washed out.

The texture is very similar to Chanel's Glossimer. Not too sticky, but a bit gritty because of the sparkles. It doesn't bother me, unlike the way it smells. This is something I don't get. Golden Gloss is a luxury product. It's on the pricey side, has a beautiful packaging and it's supposed to make me feel glamorous. But it smells medicinal-herbal, and probably worse than any Juicy Tube I've ever came across. The scent lingers for about 15 minutes before it stops bothering me.

Unlike the YSL that ended up being a bit disappointing, I didn't have too many expectation from the long and narrow plastic tube of Urban Decay's Ultraglide. How wrong I was! It has become my favorite gloss over the last week. The color I'm wearing is Hustle, which is a plummish brown. It's pretty dark, so if you're fair-skinned I'd be somewhat careful with that, but looks very natural on me. It's shiny but no shimmer or sparkle, perfect for daytime and feels wonderful on the lips- not sticky or gooey.

It's lasting power is impressive for a gloss, and the smell is rich vanilla. It reminds me of a good-quality vanilla extract.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lancome Secret de Vie

My feud with Lancome is over. After two unanswered emails I used the "contact us" form on their web site, and that did the trick. I got a quick reply, an apology and today: a small package containing the promised gift and some extras. It's good to be back on good terms with the company that provides quite a few of my staples. Not to mention my recent discovery.

Among the samples in the bag I received was Lancome's Secret de Vie. I put it aside to be tested at a later date. However, the change in weather has made my skin very unhappy. My trusted Mario Badescu has all of a sudden stopped being effective, and the delightful tube of Besame Cosmetics' Delightful Rose moisturizer wasn't cutting it either, except for smelling very very good. This is one I'll have to retest later, when my skin isn't screaming bloody murder.

So I picked up the little tin of Vie, not expecting much and without even looking that up online. I applied it at night and it felt great. I could tell that something was working. The next morning I could hardly believe my eyes. Something indeed worked. The dry patches were gone and my skin looked happy, well-rested and full of life. I was definitely not expecting such dramatic results. I'm not sure what it does or how, but all of a sudden my skin is exactly the way I would have wanted it to be. And it glows.

So I went online to find out more, and holly diamond and platinum batman! This cream costs $225 for 1.7oz. Am I already at that age that you spend this much on a face cream? Apparently so. Worth.Every.Penny.

Both images by Patrick Stefanski via behance.com

Friday, October 06, 2006

Into the Dark

October is nail polish month at Blogdorf Goodman. We all seem to be going darker and darker, though I'm still not caving in for anything black. It looks like I'm not the only one who was seduced by the powers of Essie's Wicked. I've blogged about it last week and have been sporting it since, just like the Beauty Addict. It's the darkest color I've ever worn on my nails, and I absolutely love it. It's definitely more elegant than goth, which is a very good thing once you're of a certain age. I second Kristen's advice about keeping nails short. The color has more than enough personality by itself, no need for milage.

The other color I bought last week was Essie's Double Dip. I was hoping for a chocolate, but the color sample on the site was misleading. It's a pretty metalic medium red, that today looks very nice on my toes. But it's definitely not what I was looking for. So in my quest for that perfect brown, I'll be trying next Estee Lauder's Dark Chocolate.


I can't claim this as my discovery, because I found Anna Sofia's Designs through the lovely GreenEyes from Sweet Diva, who in turn discovered her through Modish, my favorite obsession right now. But I already own the lovely hand-crafted necklace in the picture and I just bought two others. The concept is original: Jewelry made of vintage paper (laminated, of course). It doesn't look like anything else, and the colors are adorable.