Friday, February 26, 2010

Jean Patou- Amour Amour (Vintage Perfume)

When naming a perfume "Amour Amour" you're making a very clear statement. Jean Patou, or rather his in-house perfumer Henri Almeras, took it seriously. This 1925 composition together with Que Sais-Je? and Adieu Sagesse is part of a romantic trilogy that tells the story of a love affair- The exhilarating infatuation, the worry and doubt and the total surrender of body and soul.

It's easy to be a cynic and dismiss Patou's concept (and also the fact that each perfume was supposed to target women of different hair colors- Amour Amour is for the blondes, who apparently have more fun), and I do, but you can't ignore the fact that Amour Amour smells hopelessly romantic. More than anything it's a very feminine floral. Jasmine and rose give the perfume its elegant French feel, a lot of carnation, especially in the EDT concentration, and some dirty ylang-ylang. The eau de toilette drys down into a salty vetiver that smells surprisingly sensual, while the extrait de parfum is more animalic but takes its time getting there. Some sources don't list heliotrope among the notes, but when wearing the parfum I can clearly smell its creamy almond presence. As a matter of fact, somewhere around Amour Amour's heart it reminds me of a light-hearted and optimistic L'Heure Bleue.

Notes: bergamot, lemon, strawberry, rose, lilac, ylang-ylang, carnation, orris, vetiver, civet, honey, heliotrope, musk.

Amour Amour, like the entire Ma Collection, was discontinued in the early 1990s but the EDT can still be found at various online sources. The extrait is harder to get, but bottles pop up on eBay.

Amour Amour ad from 1946-
Vintage fashion illustration of Jean Patou and Yvonne Carette dresses from 1933-

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chanel's Revamped Website Still Leaves A Lot To Be Desired

I was eagerly awaiting for the US launch of Chanel's new Rouge Coco lipstick, a hydrating creme formula. The email newsletter came today and the lipsticks are finally here. Considering the weather (10" of snow already on the ground and it keeps going strong), there's no visit to Saks in my immediate future. But is only a click away, right? has recently gone through a redesign. You'd think they'd use the opportunity for some serious upgrades and improvements, especially in the color swatch department that has always been their weakest point. No such luck. I don't know about you, but I can't shop when what you see above is all the information I'm given.

KarlaSugar already has swatches of four Rouge Coco colors. We'll see which one of us gets to a Chanel counter first...

Imju Fiberwig Mascara

I'm going to file this one under "stuff I just don't get". Imju is a Japanese brand I've never encountered before and is now a Sephora exclusive. It was launched here with some fanfare and the email newsletter intrigued me enough to include a Fiberwig mascara in one of my recent orders. After all, what's not to love about "dramatic length" and "false eyelash-like" results?

Just the part where it doesn't deliver.

The thing about mascara is that performance varies based on the shape and texture of one's lashes. Certain formulas adhere differently to people's lashes because of length, thickness and level of curl. That's why one person gets phenomenal results from a mascara that does nothing for their friend. And speaking of diddly squat, that's exactly what I see whenever I test Fiberwig. While you can clearly see that the mascara contains tiny fibers that are supposed to stick to your lashes and make them look much longer, they simply do not adhere to my lashes, so I can't see any added length. As the photos reveal, there's also no volume or any other defining action.

Bottom line: Utterly useless for me.

Imju Fiberwig Mascara ($24) is available from Sephora online and in store.

Photos and bloodshot eyes are all mine. For reference- In these pictures I'm not wearing any other eye makeup except the Fiberwig mascara and a dab of YSL Touche Eclat so you don't drown in my dark circles.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Le Labo Ambrette 9

I have two issues with Le Labo's Ambrette 9: First, the concept of a perfume for babies. Why? Who needs that? I'm not a baby person and don't go nuts for "baby smell", but I also have no intention to scent my two adorable nieces until they are old enough to spell "Bergdorf Goodman". The second problem is that to actually smell Ambrette 9 for more than 20 minutes, even in the grown up version (the one actually for babies comes in a water base), requires bathing and marinating in this stuff.

The first few times I've tested Ambrette 9 I thought I was completely anosmic to everything past the chemical fruit opening. Eventually I received a much bigger sample at the Le Labo counter in Barneys and one day accidentally spilled half of it down my arm and into my sleeve. Finally I could smell it.

Ambrette seeds are the source for a natural vegetal musk. In this Le Labo interpretation of this raw material it's definitely a soft skin musk with a fruity undertone. The problem is that Ambrette 9 smells like the pale, drowned ghost of CB Musk Reinvention. Where Christopher Brosius has created a warm, robust musk, Ambrette 9 is washed out and watery. The scent itself is pleasant enough in the sense that it smells nice if you press your nose against a skin that has soaked it, but it doesn't give me the thrill of wearing a beautiful perfume.

Le Labo perfumes ($52 for 15 ml, there are also larger sizes available) can be found at Le Labo Boutiques at several major cities around the world and also at Barnyes. In the case of NYC I actually prefer the latter to the Elizabeth Street boutique because the chairs are more comfortable and the customer service is excellent.

Freaky image from

Sensai by Kanebo- Cellular Performance Intensive Hand Treatment

It's becoming pretty clear that if one is looking for good anti-aging hand lotions, the place to find them is at companies and brands that specialize in serious skin care and produce the best treatments for your face. it makes sense, after all. While greasy creams and petroleum gel-based products have their place when you need a buffer between harsh conditions and your skin, they don't nourish or restore your hands, and definitely have no anti-aging properties.

I've been going through sample tubes of Cellular Performance Intensive Hand Treatment by Kanebo Sensai and have nothing but praise for it. It actually plumps the skin and makes my hand not just feel better but also look smoother. The best part is how the cream sink right in leaving no residue on the surface. It's not greasy at all- I can thoroughly slather my hands and then pet the fluffiest of my cats and no hair would stick to me (I have creative testing methods).

I'm often asked about age spots, but I don't have any on my hands so I can't tell you if this Kanebo cream would make a significant difference. What I definitely see is that it keeps my skin very soft and nicely textured even in this weather. Considering I'm prone to scary parching, I'm very happy with it. Not seeing a dry cuticle in weeks has also been a very nice bonus.

Bottom line: Worth the price.

Sensai by Kanebo Cellular Performance Intensive Hand Treatment ($90 for 3.4 oz) is exclusive to Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. I've received several samples as GWP and from the company's PR team.

Photo by Rene Zuber, 1930

Rescue Beauty Lounge- Three Red Nail Polish Colors

I've been on a serious red kick- red lipstick, red nails, red shoes (If you ask my mother she'd say nothing has changed since I first learned to identify colors. I refused to wear any shoes that weren't red). My latest discovery is some of the reds from Rescue Beauty Lounge, a NYC-based niche brand that offers extraordinary quality and  colors that make me want them all.

 Killa Red is blue based creme and all glam. It made my husband say: "that's ummm... really red, isn't it?" which I consider a good thing. It's not the color for a job interview or anywhere that "really red" would be considered distracting. They might as well name it "Man Eater" .

Moulin Rouge is a more introverted color. Black cherries? Dried blood? It's very dark and looks surprisingly elegant, especially on shorter nails.

Black Russian looks scary in the bottle. It's a sheer black with dark red glitter. Buying it felt almost like a dare, but I fell in love. It's not your Jersey mall glitter, that's for sure, and doesn't look like a Halloween reject, either. On the nail it's a lot smoother than you'd expect, and while there's definitely a vampish vibe, it's also sexy and sophisticated. Worthy of a special date and of the time and effort it takes to remove all the glittery flecks once you're done with the color.

As I said above, the quality is wonderful. The Rescue Beauty polishes are easy to apply and go on smoothly. The brush is comfortable to hold and use, and even a klutz like me can achieve impressive results. I use the Zoya base and top coats and the polish stays intact for over a week. You need to do some serious damage before the first chip arrives.

Bottom line: I'm planning my next purchase.

Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polish colors ($18 each) are available from the company's website, which is how I bought these bottles.

All photos are mine.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Van Cleef & Arpels- Oriens

The good news is that Oriens, the latest Van Cleef & Arpels release in their main perfume line, smells better on skin than it did on a paper strip. The first sniff I got from it was so fruity and vile I didn't look forward to actually testing it. But the bottle was sitting there and mocking me for days upon days and I have to live up to my tag line "I try things so you don't have to", so I unwrapped the thing and cautiously sprayed Oriens on my wrist. I survived. Further tests took more skin space, finally getting brave enough for a full wearing, which while not blow me away, didn't make me scrub myself Silkwood-style.

Had Oriens come from Juicy Couture or any of those fashion houses that aim towards the young I'd be happy to tell you that good taste might still prevail. It's pleasant, not screechy or vulgar and seems to have had enough thought put into the composition that one doesn't feel insulted when wearing it. The problem is that this is a Van Cleef & Arpels perfume, and this prestigious jewelry line deserve a better representation in perfume. So do we.

Oriens is neither an oriental nor is it a chypre as the press material claims. It's a fruity-patchouli perfume just like eleventy eight other releases from recent years. It doesn't stand out among its peers and cousins that are all Angel-The Next Generation, except from being a bit rounder and well-mannered, maybe because it's airier or even more watery than Angel and its first clones. What we have here is a generic berry opening, juicy but not pulpy, that smells better on a warmer skin: running around, drinking hot tea or working out makes it bloom just enough to feel more lush than sticky. I guess it makes sense as a spring launch. There's a floral heart in which no specific note stands out but is quite pleasant, and that familiar patchouli drydown that is unavoidable these days.

Since Oriens seems to have been composed with some care, it's not as heavy and sweet as you'd fear. There's enough lightness here that would appeal to many and makes the fragrance less intrusive for your nearest and dearest, they they might still prefer not to be stuck with you in an elevator on an August day. The part that annoys me most here is that Oriens tries too hard to appear and smell young. Maybe it's geared towards a certain potential customer who knows better than to wear her daughter's Juicy Couture hoodie or perfume but wishes she could. I understand this from a marketing point of view, but considering I wore real, big chypres at 19, I'm not that person .

Unlike Féerie, a previous Van Cleef & Arpels perfume in an ambitious bottle, Oriens actually looks better in person than in the press material. The flacon designer, Joël Desgrippes, based his creation on a tourmaline ring design from jewelry collection. All I can say is that if I can't have the ring, I'd still like to put a giant factice on my dresser.

Oriens by Van Cleef & Arpels ($110 for 50 ml) is currently exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and VC&A boutiques. I received a free bottle at a Bergdorf press event.

YSL Spring 2010 Y-Mail Palette Blush Harmony Silky Finish

Aside from the cute packaging, the two face/complexion Y-Mail palettes in the Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2010 collection are very low-key. The face highlighter didn't entice me at all in its pink glory, and the blush is nothing we haven't seen before, except that it's actually very pretty and has a luxurious low-shimmer and very silky finish. The palette is made of three colors and with a little practice you can control how much your brush collects from each one of them.

The colors are on the lighter side and my complexion in all its winter pallor is probably the darkest one that can wear them (I suspect this holds true for the entire YSL spring collection). If I were tan the Y-Mail blush probably would have been impossible to detect on my face. I tested several brushes and found that such a light blush- both in color and in texture- benefits from using as dense a brush as you can find, be it angled or even a kabuki-style. A fanned brush is utterly useless here. The silky finish is pretty and the very low shimmer makes it office friendly and very natural looking.

Bottom line: Nice but too pricey for what it is.

YSL Y-Mail Palette Blush Harmony Silky Finish ($65) is available from most decent department stores and online. I bought it directly from the company's website.

All photos by me.

Eau d'Italie- Sienne l´Hiver

I'm pretty fed up with winter. I'm over heavy coats, boots, layers of cashmere, freezing eyeballs and the disgusting slush banks. Winter smells quite good, though, with wafts from wood stoves, evergreens, roasted chestnuts from street vendors in the city and mandarin oranges from Florida and Spain. but just like everything else, winter smells and looks better in Siena.

Sienne l'Hiver (Siena in Winter), a Bertrand Duchaufour creation for Eau d'Italie, intends to evokes the atmosphere of the old Tuscan city during this season. This is not the first time Duchaufour composes the scent of chilly stones- I feel the same thing in his Dzonkha (L'Artisan).

Sienne l'Hiver opens up earthy and rooty. You can almost touch the dampness of the Tuscan landscape. It's very much an iris scent up until the briny drydown. At times I think of it as the love child of Dzonkha and Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's Iris Bleu Gris. It retains the cool sensation and crispness thanks to the violet leaf note and just a hint of something smoky stirs the air- someone opened the door in the early morning, letting the smells from  a kitchen with a wood burning stove mix with the chill.

That's usually the part where I ask myself why i don't yet own a full bottle of this Eau d'Italie perfume. The answer comes to me about an hour later, when olive oil and brine make themselves known. I like it a lot and find the concept both pleasing and intriguing, but does it work as a personal scent? I love the smell of our local Italian deli (Cosmo makes the best fresh Mozzarella in New Jersey), but is it perfume? So I go through another sample, still undecided.

Sienne l´Hiver ($120, 100 ml) and the rest of the Eau d'Italie line can be found at Luckyscent (Scent Bar) in Los Angeles as well as from Aedes  and Lafco in NYC. The latter is very generous with samples, which is what allowed me to give the scent a thorough testing.

Photos of Siena in the snow (and my personal favorite, Fonte Gaia in Piazza del Campo) by Virri on Flickr.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss (Bali)

Bali was a love at first sight, even before I actually tried it. I just looked at this shimmery red and knew we were meant to be. I originally thought that such a rich red would be an evening color, but this Le Metier de Beaute lip gloss from their Sheer Brilliance range is, indeed, very sheer. It's quite pigmented, don't get me wrong, and if your lips are pale it would look much more dramatic. But my lips are naturally on the dark rose side, so the Sheer Brilliance glosses look very tame on me. The shimmer is much more subdued outside of the tube and should not scare anyone. The gloss is shiny and luminous but not metallic or glittery.

The last photo was taken under direct artificial light, so you see how red it can look. But once again- it depends on your coloring more than anything- they weren't kidding when they names the product "Sheer Gloss".

Like other Le Metier de Beaute lip products, this gloss wears very (Very!) comfortably. It actually feels almost like a balm even on dry lip days. It restores lost moisture to pruny lips and makes them look fuller. Another perk is the non-sticky texture that keeps the gloss where it needs to be and not on my hair (kissing cats though would transfer some color, as I quickly discovered).

As I said, I can wear Bali during the day and it adds just the right amount of perky color without looking all diva-like. It pairs well with neutral winter face as well as with a more intense eye makeup look. you can

Bottom line: Big love.

Le Metier de Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss ($30) is available from Bergdorf Goodman, where I bought it, as well as from Neiman Marcus both online and in store.

All photos by me and I get super cranky when I find them on other web sites that don't give me credit.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lancome Color Design Eye Shadow (Luring)

Some of the most interesting eye shadow palettes are the ones featuring one stunning bright color among a bunch of perfect neutrals that enhance it. Last season we've seen some gorgeous greens and rich blue colors and they are still going strong. Many spring and summer collections (Summer? What summer? My back yard still has about 10" of snow on the ground) this year offer a lighter version- some version of baby blue, pale aqua or a porcelain blue. Originally I was interested in one of the new Giorgio Armani Nude Contrasts plaettes, but after testing at Saks (and getting annoyed by the SA) I wasn't too impressed- it was too light and the effect on my skin was a bit chalky. It'd be much better on a redhead.

But I was still interested to find that perfect shimmery almost-blue color, so when I received a Lancome GWP compact (which means I have several new Lancome items to talk about this week) and found Luring as one of the eye shadows there I was thrilled. This was exactly what I wanted.

Luring, despite the color swatch on Lancome's website, is more blue than gray. It has a pearl-like sheen that catches the light very nicely and looks very pretty against olive skin and brown eyes. The way I apply it is almost like an eyeliner- a medium width swipe on the lid, just above the lashes (I use a dark eyeliner and draw a very thin line). I don't extend the blue color- not towards the brow bone and not to the outer corner- to avoid a retro look (see Jean Shrimpton in the 1960-something photo above). I just want a pop of color that has this promise of warmer days to come.

Texture-wise, Color Design is not the softest or most luxurious thing ever. You can see it even in the photo I took. Luring is of decent quality, it stays on over a primer from morning to night and looks pretty. It's just not as rich and silky as I'd have liked. Then again what do they say about horses, teeth and gifts?

Bottom line: It satisfied a craving. What more can I ask?

Lancome Color Design single eye shadows ($17) are available from every department store under the sun ans

Product pictures by me, vintage photo of Jean Shrimpton from

And just for fun, here's Cary Brothers on stage singing Blue Eyes during the Hotel Cafe world tour in 2005. I saw him and the others that year at Maxwell's in Hoboken and it was a fabulous show. Joshua Radin was pretty anonymous (and very cute) back then and Tom McRae was his usual drunken but talented self. I wish they'd come back.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jean Patou- Moment Supreme (Vintage Perfume)

Would it be an unforgivable cliché to say that Jean Patou's 1929 Moment Supreme smells very French? It's the lavender, of course, and that "real perfume" base that goes from a rich amber (tonka bean maybe? a pungent ylang-ylang?) to an almost animalic. The very old bottle of vintage Moment Supreme makes me think it was created as Patou's answer to Guerlain's Jicky. The lavender over an oriental base is a similar theme, as is the unisex vibe.

The bottle of vintage parfum I have has lost all the bergamot it was supposed to have in its top notes, even though I bought it sealed (it was such a thrill to open the pristine packaging). The lavender is very sharp and spicy, though, and smells very much alive. The story is in the base notes- a gorgeous sweet and dirty musk that lurks behind the soft ambery notes. It lasts for several hours, warming up and softening even more on the skin.

I also have a mini Moment Supreme in EDT as a part of the Ma Collection boxed set. It's much newer and smells very fresh. The bergamot is fully there and the opening is a little like a men's cologne. The base is cleaner, much more polite and it retains some of that sheer, cool clarity of the opening. It doesn't last long, at least in the moderate application that a small mini splash bottle requires. But it's still very pleasant. I would have been very happy to see it resurrected so I could give the husband a full bottle and instruct him to spray with abandon.

Moment Supreme, together with the other Patou Ma Collection scents has been discontinued years ago. Bottles can still be found here and there, especially of the eau de toilette.

Elena of Perfume Shrine has written in great depth about the Ma Collection. You can find it here.

Vintage Moment Supreme ads (1947 and 1965):

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chantecaille Le Stylo Liquid Eye Liner (Brown)

You will never catch me not wearing an eyeliner. Never ever, not in a million years. It's my absolute must-have makeup item, even more than mascara. I try everything and have quite a collection of liners in every shape and form, but the felt tip pens might be my favorites- they're easy to apply and tote around with no need for an extra brush. The quality of stylo pens varies greatly between brands. I was sorely disappointed with the one Nars launched last season and delightfully surprised with Smashbox.

Chantecaille Le Stylo joins the ranks of the greatest eyeliner pens. The felt tip is excellent- thin enough to draw the most precise line and stay as close to the lashes as possible. You can also tilt it a little for a thicker look. It feels gentle, doesn't pull or tug and dries instantly. The color stays put from the early AM until late at night with no smudging, creasing or flaking, and at least in the case of Brown, the color's integrity is never compromised.

I have enough black eyeliners at the moment so I went for brown. This is a medium shade, a bit sheer and at least on my skin it has an almost khaki quality. It's not dramatic enough for evening, but makes an excellent daytime look that doesn't steal the show from my lashes or any other part I want to enhance. I like it and wear it often because it's so easy and neutral, but I'm pretty sure this brown would look better on a lighter skin tone and be really stunning on blondes.

Bottom line: Next time I'm buying this Chantecaille eyeliner in black.

Chantecaille Le Stylo Liquid Eye Line ($26) is available from top department stores. I bought mine at Bergdorf Goodman.

All photos by me with the assistance of Kosh.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Méchant Loup by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Méchant Loup by L'Artisan is a seducer. It lures you in with sweet promises of honey and hazelnuts toasted just enough. It doesn't have any of the popular mainstream opening notes- nothing fresh, green or citrusy here. It's all heart.

While a hazelnut, honey and wood perfume could have easily turn into the land of praline and become another one of those "eat me" mall scents, this isn't the case. In fact, Méchant Loup is generally regarded as a masculine scent. And indeed, once the initial notes calm down and retreat, you are left with a very woody and quite dark fragrance. It's very smooth though not quite creamy, and surprisingly chilly- like touching the bark of a tree in an old forest, so thick that sunshine doesn't reach through the thick intertwined treetops.

Does evil lurk in that ancient forest? After all, Méchant Loup means 'bad wolf'. It's the temptation, I think, to get closer and closer to the source of the sweetness and discover its true face. A man wearing it is quite irresistible. I wear it for that smooth honeyed core as well as for the coolness of the wood. I spray it liberally so the EDT lasts for at least ten hours on my skin, and while it doesn't make me feel like a she-wolf I can't help but sniff myself often.

Méchant Loup ($95, 1.7 oz) is available from Henri Bendel,  L'Artisan Parfumeur boutiques (where they still exist. The freestanding ones in NYC have all closed), Barneys and Aedes in NYC and Blue Mercury stores. Most of them also sell online. I bought my bottle a few years ago, probably from Aedes.

Image: Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf by Richard Hermann Eschke.

Edward Bess Luxury Face Brush and Makeup For Ever Kabuki Brush

My oldest and most reliable face brush is dying. I bought it 15 years ago at an upscale makeup studio/school. It was big, fluffy and could be used to apply all kinds of powders and bronzers. I remember the price tag was scary, but as the makeup artist who sold it had promised, with love and proper care it has served me for a very long time. The brand name has long faded from my memory and from the long and graceful handle which now only says "Made In France". The hair is natural and what still remains of it is as soft as ever, but I can no longer ignore the rapid shading that has made my brush much less dense and effective. It's time to find new loves.

The Luxury Face Brush from Edward Bess fits the name. From its sleek black box (that holds the brush Dracula-style) to the weight and the way it fits in my hand. The brush is soft and dense, made from natural bristles. The rounded head picks up the right amount of bronzer (a review of the Edward Bess Bronzer is coming soon) and other color products (Edward might cringe but I've tried it with Smashbox Soft Lights and Laura Geller Balance'N'Bronze with great results. Much better than the brushes produced by both these brands). Powder blushes look more natural when applied with this brush and blending is a breeze.

My other go-to face brush these days is the very hyped Makeup For Ever HD Kabuki Brush. It's definitely worthy of the buzz. This is a synthetic brush, thus less porous and dries more quickly when I wash it. It's great with powders, pressed and loose, mineral products (I actually started testing a few, details soon) and I've used it to give the face a quick flush of color with a bronzer, though you need to be careful not to overdo it.

Both the Edward Bess Luxury Face Brush and Makeup For Ever HD Kabuki Brush might be the best face brushes I've tried.

Bottom line: I no longer mourn the demise of my old brush.

Edward Bess Luxury Face Brush ($56) is available from Bergdorf Goodman and
Makeup For Ever HD Kabuki Brush ($39) is a Sephora exclusive and can be found online and in store.

All photos by me.

Les Regards de Chanel Eye Palette Les Bruns

A great palette needs to answer two major needs: 1) the colors must go perfectly with each other, 2) it should be small enough to fit in a small purse or a clutch. Chanel took it up another notch in Les Regards de Chanel Eye Palette Les Bruns by also providing two eyebrow colors, though I'm not sure who needs two of those- you can either wear one or the other for that purpose, so the concept is somewhat flawed.

The plastic insert states the purpose of every pan in the palette, thus trying to claim these are several different products (an eyeliner, a highlighter, eye shadows and brow fillers). This is somewhat misleading because while definitely suitable for these tasks, all six colors are eye shadows in pressed powder form. Some are matte, thus making them great for brows, some are shimmery so the lightest one is a great highlighting eye shadow, but the texture is almost the same throughout the palette.

These neutral browns are the best ones I've seen since the long gone Bobbi Brown Chocolate eye palette. Since I'm about to hitting pan in a couple of the colors there, Les Regards de Chanel Les Bruns was a welcome addition to my arsenal. It's my weapon on choice when I have to get ready in an ungodly morning hour, when the husband is impatiently waiting for me so we can go out or when I'm wearing a colorful scarf or a busy print. It's easy, the soft eye shadows blend quickly and seamlessly and the look is more sophisticated and polished than I could achieve otherwise when half asleep.

The eyeliner is better when applied wet or with a fixative solution (I use Paula Dorf's Transformer), so if one is really in a hurry a pencil would be better (I wish they'd included a mini one in the palette). The brow color on the right side is far too light and warm for me- it would probably suit blondes- but I've used it successfully as an eye shadow. It's quite pretty, actually. All these colors need a primer to last from morning to night, but they don't lose intensity, so that's very good.

Bottom line: A reliable workhorse.

Les Regards de Chanel Eye Palette Les Bruns ($70) is a limited edition, exclusive to Chanel boutiques around the world. I bought it when it was available from (currently out of stock).

All photos by me.