Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Roundup- Royal Wedding Weekend

Have you watched the wedding? What did you enjoy most? I loved every moment, but then again I've been a big fan from the day I learned to say Queen. I was thrilled with Kate's fashion choices and with everything, really- it was a joy to watch (and I've kept the TV on BBC America all day long, so I also watched the repeats. And, yes, the princesses of York, Beatrice and Eugenie were still horribly dressed and made up, each one in her own unique way. Poor girls).

Surprisingly, there's still a whole world of unrelated beauty out there. Here's what my blogging friends have to show us this week:

Charlsongirl from  Best Things in Beauty shows us  the Ombré Fusion Creme Eyeshadow from Guerlain's Terra Inca Collection. If you're closer to my coloring than to hers, Havana is your friend.

Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book has some Dior magic for us:  Electric Tropics Catwalk Nail Duos.

 Diva Debbi shows us Youth Corridor's Skin Brightener and is giving two away. Have a look.

Kari from Fab Over Forty shows us how to make the brow a perfect shape with the proper tools.

Another giveaway: at Gouldylox Reviews you will see the Jan Marini Instant Refining Exfoliator.

Jane at Daly Beauty shows us how to make a classic, simple bun style hairdo.

Amy from Café Makeup shares with us the latest Chanel bronzer, Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Rose.

This week Product Girl interviews Nonie Creme, Founding Creative Director of Butter London nail polishes. See what she keeps in her makeup bag.

BeautyXposé shares with us some great floral accessories that are all under $20.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Photo of Robin Wright and Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride, 1987, from

Kate & William, Official Portrait

Are you staying up or setting your alarm to an obscenely early time? Or perhaps you don't care at all. I'll be up and probably tweeting, as much as my sleep deprived mind would allow. In any case, above you see the just released portrait of Prince William and Kate Middleton, taken by Mario Testino (most likely on the same occasion as the other already famous engagement photos). This picture appears on the official wedding program. I think it's lovely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Leonard- Balahé

Balahé, a 1983 perfume from the fashion house of Leonard, is yet another proof that once upon a time you didn't have to go to great length to find interesting and  creative quality perfumes. They used to be everywhere. Balahé is a big and somewhat cluttered oriental, the kind that includes just about any note one would want. It's not as assertive and big shouldered as the most memorable classics from that decade, thus it's far less dated or difficult to wear on a daily basis. Still, it has all the markings of a signature perfume for a fashionable yet quirky person from back then.

The opening of Balahe is green and herbal with a very pronounced clary sage and anise battle-axe (years ago I used to think there was lavender, but it's all anise now). It feels quite gender neutral before the warm and round fruity notes (lots and lots of rich sweet plum) join the fun. It's still not too femme or frilly in my opinion, but what do I know? I do think that men who enjoy a little powdery woods and a good oriental base should give this Leonard perfume a try, because even with the nice serving of vanilla and a somewhat creamy floral heart (I get more orris and ylang ylang than anything else from the listed notes), Balahe is not too sweet and has a fine woody backbone with a hint of creamy sandalwood.

Back in the 1980s, as a teenager, Balahe would have been what I considered a grownup womanly perfume. While I was clueless and misguided regarding just about anything and everything (I certainly have the ex boyfriends and  to prove it, and also some equally cringe-worthy old diaries), I did have a reasonably good nose for perfume and I would have been spot-on about this one. It is sexy, rich and velvety, way more sophisticated than my tapered ankle acid wash jeans would have been able to handle. My 40 year old self with a formidable perfume collection thinks it's a beautiful perfume and I'm delighted to have it.

Notes (via Fragrantica): Top notes are aldehydes, pineapple, coriander, plum, mandarin orange, clary sage, anise and bergamot; middle notes are tuberose, orris, orchid, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose and orange blossom; base notes are sandalwood, opoponax, musk, civet, vanilla and vetiver.

Checking the Leonard Paris website I see Balahé is no longer in production (Tamango, surprisingly, is still with us, but I can tell you from testing it's not the same) . Bottles of the EDT are widely available online and usually for very reasonable prices.

Old Balahe ads from



Francois Nars- Makeup Your Mind (2001). I loved the newly released one so much I had to get the original. Review soon.

Heather Nova & Benjamin Biolay- Let's Not Talk About Love

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla. It's distractingly sexy.

Anything Rouge Bunny Rouge.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Vintage scarves. At least eBay is still good for something.

Not quite ripe bananas. I love bananas but can't stand the smell when they're at their peak.

Bane of my existence
Apparently I'm allergic to chocolate milk.

The new laptop is arriving today.

The royal wedding, of course. I'll be up and tweeting.

Wish List
A full set of all the Suqqu makeup brushes.

Random Thought
I wish I could just do away with Facebook.

How are you doing? Please share your current loves, banes and thoughts!

Photo: Magnolia tree by the husband (tree is on the neighbor's property. Its mess is on ours).

Edward Bess Mystery Eye Shadow

We haven't had an Edward Bess morning in a while, and there are still a few of his marvelous Ultra Luminous Eye Shadows that I haven't shown or discussed here, so let's have a look at Mystery. Once again, Edward Bess takes an unassuming neutral brownish shade and infuses it with his magic. It's usually hard to be excited about a simple cool brown color- haven't we all been wearing them from the very beginning of our love affair with makeup? But as some of you already know, it's all in the way these eye shadows look on your lids.

Between the silky smooth finely-milled texture, the way it melds with the skin and Edward Bess' way of selecting pigments that bring out the best in one's skin and eyes, the Ultra Luminous eye shadows have become one of my favorite go-to no-brainer items. I wear them alone, combined or as a backdrop for a bold hint of color on the lid or lash line and know I can always trust them to look polished and just right. It's one less thing to stress about when doing my makeup- if I don't have the time or inclination to experiment I wear Edward Bess. However, as Edward himself has shown me a couple of times, the eye shadows can also be used more heavily to create some of the more dramatic and sultry looks. Smoky eyes, big dark lids- a look out of an old black and white movie with the same products you use for a clean everyday look.

Mystery is cooler and darker than Escape but more brown than Intimate and Dusk. It looks more shimmery in the pan than it is on my eyes- it truly is Luminous, not sparkly. It adds dimension and focus to the most simple eye looks, and works beautifully under the lower lashes without ever spreading all over the place or making me into a sleepless brown raccoon. The eye shadow can be applied with a pencil-type brush, packed on with a flat sable one or sheered and diffused with a fluffy crease/blending brush such as Edward Bess eye brush.

Bottom Line: essential and versatile.

Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Eye Shadows ($30) are available from Bergdorf Goodman, select Neiman Marcus location (as well as online) and

All photos are mine.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Prada Infusion de Tubéreuse

Those familiar with Turin-Sanchez Perfumes (The A-Z Guide) know the quippy little labels they use at the top of their reviews. They write things like "cheap iris", "fruity barbershop" or "not gardenia" and it helps you place the perfume on an imaginary spectrum of good vs. dreck.  Were I to do the same thing, this review would have been  titled "hardly tuberose". Unoriginal yet true.

While Prada's first Infusion, Infusion d'Iris had a certain charm in its quiet woody watercolor paleness with just enough iris to not make most of us cranky, other Infusions didn't fare so well. Week, meek, as synthetic as they come and composed in a way that made it painfully obvious they were catering to the kind of consumer who like the name Prada a lot more than he or she like to wear real perfume. And speaking of painful, murdering the idea of a tuberose is criminal, and not in a Tubéreuse Criminelle way (lame pun, I know).

Infusion de Tubéreuse is exactly the opposite of everything I think of the style and aesthetics of Prada. I remember the first time I ever saw some ready-to-wear Prada in person and touched the clothes. None of the items were actually my style, but I could not deny the inspired concepts and colors. I was captivated. Don't bother looking for it in this perfume. The notes (via Perfume Shrine) are Indian tuberose, petitgrain bigararde, Italian blood orange and dynamone (a faintly ambery aromachemical). But, seriously, they could have put whatever they want in that list. Infusion de Tubéreuse smells like a pale and watery floral nothing with a vaguely musky base and a hint of greenish fruit.

As one would expect, Prada Infusion de Tubéreuse has a very limited sillage. It is surprisingly tenacious, though. Just like the case with Infusion d'Iris, you think it's long gone but if you pay attention, even 8 hours after application you realize that the annoying slimy thing that has been following you all day making you borderline cranky is this pale and supposedly humble perfume (why am I thinking about Uriah Heep?). It just won't go away. It's interesting to note that my skin there's barely-to none tuberose, but if I spray some on my clothes or linens I can actually smell a faraway ghostly trace of the flower. Not very satisfying, I assure you.

Prada Infusion de Tubéreuse ($100, 3.4 oz EDP) is available from most department stores. The bottle I have was part of a gift bag at the FiFi Award breakfast.

Art: Ghost Flower by Kristina Layton.

Dior Addict Androgyne 626 Lipstick

We're taking a break from Chanel Rouge Coco Shine for another new sheer lipstick range, the newly reformulated and repackaged Dior Addict. Easy summer lipsticks are all the rage these days, and I like this trend for daytime because it allows me to touch-up without fussing, toss a couple of the new lipsticks in every purse and not think to much about color coordinating, since the sheer formulas are quite forgiving.

Dior Addict The Next Generation is more moisturizing than Chanel RCS, a little less glossy but maintains its finish longer. I find that they do not leave much pigment behind, though, so reapplying is necessary after the first cup of tea.

Androgyne 626 is a natural my lips but a bit redder shade. It's a neutral color, at least on my lips and goes with just about everything and anything else I wear. I've had it for about six weeks now and have already made a serious dent in it, so obviously it's a big success for me.

The one annoying thing about Dior is the way they spread their exclusive shades among different stores. You can't always get all the colors you want at one place. Several Dior Addict lipsticks are Sephora exclusive, others are Saks or Nordstrom only. Androgyne, for example seems to be available anywhere other than Sephora. Go figure.

Dior Addict Androgyne 626 Lipstick ($28) is available from Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Dillard. I received this shade for consideration directly from Dior, together with two others that I will give away next week (stay tuned for that and follow me on Twitter for additional details). I also bought a couple of other shades that I will review with photos and swatches.

All photos are mine.

Karl Lagerfeld would love a bottle of Montale Chocolate Greedy

...or PG Musc Maori or any of the Payard perfumes. In an interview to W Magazine, Karl Lagerfeld says:
Do you crave sugar?
No. Gone. But I like chocolate. I don’t eat it, but I like the smell of it. People can drink with their eyes; I can eat with my nose. I would love to have a perfume based on chocolate.

Eau de Cocoa.
I love the idea.

Photo of the Karl Lagerfeld cupcake:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hermès Eau des Merveilles

There are several Hermes Merveilles perfumes on the market, including a new(ish) version/flanker whatever you want to call it. Tonight I'm talking about the original Eau de Merveilles EDT from 2004. I have and love all three concentrations (Elixir des Merveilles EDP and Parfum de Merveilles) for different reasons. Eau is the least gourmand of the three- there's no chocolate there and the orange is bitter, mineralized and inedible- very much like the way the same note works in Terre d'Hermes. Surprisingly, Eau des Merveilles was composed by Ralf Schwieger and Nathalie Feisthauer, not a Jean-Claude Ellena (unlike the other Merveilles or Terre). It certainly smells like a sibling not only to Terre but also to Ellena's Voyage d'Hermès.

But don't let the whole roster of Merveilles and Merveilles-like perfumes fool you. Eau has a very distinct personality. It smells like a perfect, not too hot summer day spent on a clean and remote beach. You lie there in the sun, your fingers spread to enhance the sensation of the grainy, shiny yellow-white sand. You play with it a little, soaking up the heat, paying attention to the way the tiny particles settle as you pour them across your body. There's some stickiness involved, from the juice of the orange you peeled  and ate a bit messily. The orange dripped a little, making more sand stick to your hand , but you don't really mind. . The scent mingles naturally with the salty breeze coming from the ocean. It's cool and warm at the same time, making you hyper-aware of every nuance- including the old tattered leather of the bag you placed under your head. There are white round and smooth pebbles scattered by. You pick one up and put in your bag. A souvenir from a perfect day. Every time you hold it in your palm you feel some of that hypnotizing warmth and recall the way the air smelled.

Eau de Merveilles is quite strong- maybe not the 24+ hours of Terre d'Hermes, but two careful sprays keep me scented from morning to night, even (or especially, I'm never quite certain) on hot days when it's quite volatile. Eau de Merveilles blooms and spreads in the heat, but the salty air (supposedly there's some real ambergris in there, from an old batch kept in the Hermes vaults or something) keeps it from being too heavy. The stickiness is all in my mind.

Notes: lemon, orange, pink pepper, ambergris, violet, cedar, oakmoss, fir.

Hermès Eau des Merveilles ($95,  1.6oz) is available from Hermes boutiques, Sephora, many department stores and A quick online search would reveal much lower prices from reliable online retailers.

Photo by Frank Horvat, 1987 for Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazine.

Lush Honey Beehave Dusting Powder

We're entering body powder season and even my dry skin needs some anti-sweating help on occasion. And it better also smell nice. I actually bought Lush Honey Beehave Dusting Powder last summer, so I have no idea why it took me so long reviewing it, especially since it looks like I'll have to buy a backup before this summer is over.

Two things attracted me to this specific Lush product. First, Lush Silky Underwear body powder has been a constant in my arsenal for years (long before I started blogging). It's a brilliant powder because it's based on cocoa butter (don't ask me how), and while the powder is devoid of grease and stickiness it's also moisturizing and nourishing. Then there was the honey scent. I love the smell of honey in any shape and form, so I had to try Honey Beehave.

Now, Lush Honey Beehave Dusting Powder is a very different product than Silky Underwear. It can't be used in the same way and I completely avoid it during the winter. Honey Beehave is a traditional body powder based on sodium bicarbonate (that's baking soda to you and me) and kaolin. This means Honey  Beehave is an absorbent- it dries the skin and calms it. Important if one is prone to heat rashes and the like, but not a good idea on croc skin days. I use the powder on hot, humid and sweaty days or when I'm wearing a dress that has a built-in synthetic slip, as I can be sensitive to such fabrics and the kaolin is a great help.

The scent is more honey-soap than pure honey, so don't worry about getting the Miel de Bois treatment. It's surprisingly clean, very pleasant and doesn't linger or clash with my perfume.

Bottom Line: I'd be thrilled to have a Honey Beehave scented version of Silky Underwear

Lush Honey Beehave Dusting Powder ($11.95, 3.5 oz) is available from Lush stores and thankfully also online, so one can skip the stinky boutique.

Photo: Rafi Ben-Aharon via

Le Metier de Beaute Angled Foundation Brush

I only have a couple of flat paddle-shaped foundation brushes and I don't use them for foundation- only to apply and blend concealer. It's a personal preference, of course, and has a lot more to do with the formulas I prefer and my application technique than with the brushes themselves. I like to buff my foundation (and sometimes stipple) rather than do a thin even coat. That said, I like the angled foundation brush from Le Metier de Beaute and find it indispensable, because no other brush has its flexibility and precision when it comes to narrow and hard-to-reach areas (mainly along the nose).

Le Metier de Beaute Angled Foundation Brush is flat, synthetic, super-soft and has a lot of give, to the point of floppiness. That's why I prefer not to use it on areas like my forehead,  but love the way it curves and adjusts to apply foundation around the nose and chin. The brush works best with liquid foundations and tinted moisturizers. The angled bristles are also good for fixing and blending is you have a patchy heavier area and is great for mixing two or more formulas.

Like all Le Metier de Beaute brushes, the foundation brush has a shortish handle that makes it travel friendly. It feels sturdy in the hand and has yet to shed even one hair on my face. It's obviously well-made and quite original, so those who're past the basic stage of brush collecting would most likely find it unique and useful.

Bottom Line: good brush, very nice to have.

Le Metier de Beaute Angled Foundation Brush ($50) is available from Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom (online only, but currently out of stock).

All photos are mine.

Monday, April 25, 2011

L'Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant

Safran Troublant by Olivia Giacobetti for L'Artisan Parfumeur was launched in 2002, the same year as another saffron-rose perfume, Donna Karan's Black Cashmere. They don't have much in common, though. Black Cashmere comes from the heart of darkness. It lures you in and hypnotizes with its incense, and is so dark you can almost start humming the Imperial March and feel Darth Vader's black cloak swooshing by. Safran Troublant is the exact opposite. It's all pudding.

I love both, but for some reason only have a full bottle of Black Cashmere. Maybe because it took me a while to get behind my pudding-loving ways. There's no doubt that L'Artisan's Safran Troublant is easier to wear and friendlier for one's elevator and cubicle neighbors with its delicate milky aroma (sandalwood galore) and vanilla embrace. The rose in Safran Troublant is sweet and almost candied- I don't get any of the sourness that often accompanies roses on my skin. It's the same kind of rosewater that scents Turkish Delight. Safran Troublant has none of the spices that pierce Black Cashmere- no nutmeg, cinnamon or clove. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't have objected to some cardamom, or maybe a steamed rice accord. Then again, that might have taken it fully into the kitchen, and this is a L'Artisan perfume, after all, and people should be able to wear it without obsessively googling the nearest Turkish restaurant that can satisfy the all-consuming craving for a Zerde pudding.

L'Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant ($135, 100 ml EDT) is available from L'Artisan boutiques around the world, Aedes, MiN New York, Barneys, Henri Bendel, Beauty Habit and Luckyscent.


Chanel Fetiche Rouge Coco Shine

Fetiche. Seriously. I don't know who in Chanel is responsible for naming their products, but there's nothing fetishistic about Rouge Coco Shine lipstick in Fetiche (52). It's medium almost-mauve pink that I wear as a my lips but better color on days I'm indulging in more prominent eye makeup and would look equally wearable and nice on just about everyone (though the intensity would change, of course, according to your skin tone and level of natural lip pigmentation). On me it's a very simple and uncomplicated color.

Like the rest of the Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks I've tried (no idea how the really light colors behave), the shine disappears quickly but the actual color stain is nicely long-wearing. Once the finish wears off I top the lipstick with lip gloss, because I don't need to reapply the color for several more hours. Good matches for Fetiche are Chanel Glossimer in Summer Plum or Wild Rose (depending on the undertones I want to bring out), or even Smashbox Limitless gloss in Endless. I've also been experimenting by mixing some gloss and Chanel Coco rouge Shine on the back of my hand and applying with a brush. It makes for a very polished look that's also long-lasting.

Bottom Line: Summer love.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipstick ($32) is available from department store Chanel counters as well as

All photos are mine.

Burberry Sheer Luminous Foundation- Compact and Fluid

I bought these Burberry Sheer Luminous Foundation months before discovering Guerlain Lingerie de Peau. To be honest, had I already gotten my Guerlain I wouldn't have bothered or invested in Burberry, because I feel that between Lingerie de Peau, Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge tinted moisturizer, Edward Bess Satin Cream Compact and my Chanel foundations, Vitalumiere and Teint Innocent Compact (thankfully the compact was not discontinued with the regular Teing Innocence) I'm more than covered (pun sort-of intended). But I had a very pleasant experience at my local Nordstrom and liked the end result very much, so Burberry foundations- the fluid in 5 and compact in 7- went home with me.

Matching was not an easy task, hence ending up with both. The makeup artist and I were new to each other which meant the usual trial and error to get the right shade. It happens every time an artist who isn't familiar with my skin starts to work on my face and picks what seems to be a shade for medium olive skin tone. I need a sticker that says "face in the mirror is lighter than it seems", because medium shades more often than not are too dark and too yellow for me (of course, the first couple of light shades are way too pale and often too pink), so there's a need to go at least one level down. The makeup artist was quite certain I would be a 7, but ended up using the fluid 5 on most of my face and blending it with 7 for certain areas, especially where more coverage is needed.

Both formulas have a beautiful silky texture. Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid is on par with Chanel Vitalumiere (the classic, not Aqua which I haven't tried). It's a little more yellow than Cameo, my regular shade, but far less so than Beige which I used to wear in tanner days (looks utterly ridiculous on me since I've gotten rid of all traces of sun exposure). The cream in the compact is lovely and far less dry than I expected from a cream-to-powder formula. I only use very little of it for some color correcting, so I expect the compact to last me until the end of days. since I blend both the exact shade and coverage can be adjust and built. This morning I had to add some Peau Vierge and a liquid highlighter because I woke up extra pale and something looked too yellow. Other days everything is perfect.

Like all Burberry beauty products, the packaging of both foundations is heavy and luxurious. Burberry check pattern is on the compact, bottle cap and the velveteen pouch. I keep all my makeup in drawers, but this is something I would have loved to display. The modern style is very attractive.

Bottom Line: Not as perfect as Guerlain, but worth trying if you're on a foundation quest.

Burberry Sheer Luminous Foundation Fluid ($52) and Compact ($55) is a Nordstrom exclusive- online and in select locations.

All photos are mine.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Etro Heliotrope

Heliotrope smells a little out of place in Etro perfume line. Etro fragrances tend to have somewhat of an edge or quirkiness to them. Heliotrope is very romantic and soft, has a dreamy quality and would be right at home in an antique bottle. As a matter of fact, I have a very vintage half-full bottle of Guerlain Heliotrope Blanc that smells a little more wicked than the innocent Etro Heliotrope.

Just as the name hints, Heliotrope is a floral-almond blend, powdery and puffy, like a pastry covered in vanilla-scented confectioners' sugar. There's a very strong gourmand facet to this Etro creation, but not completely. A bitter green streak runs from the top notes all the way down, even when the vanilla takes over. The green jasmine bothers me, actually. I like my soft powdery perfumes as soft as possible, Loukhoum and Louve-like. Heliotrope would appeal to those who like a big dose of white flowers in their sugar.

The overall impression I get from Heliotrope is very nostalgic, feminine but not utterly dainty. In the end, it's very pretty even if not my thing and doesn't sit on my skin as well as I would have liked.

From Top notes are orange blossom, almond, petit grain and bergamot; middle notes are orris, jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang and rose; base notes are tolu balsam, tonka bean, musk, vanilla and peru balsam.

Art: Joseph DeCamp, The Heliotrope Gown.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Roundup April 22nd

Looking out of my window, it's all pink, yellow and  bright green outside. Utterly gorgeous and quite inspiring to play with color and make myself feel just as spring-like. As always, reading and watching what my blogging friends are enjoying is a good place to start:

Sabrina met Edward Bess:  The Beauty Look Book.

Charlestongirl is enjoying her Giorgio Armani summer palettes:  Best Things in Beauty

Amy has some gorgeous Guerlain to show us:  CafeMakeup.

LORAC’s Summer 2011 TANTalEYES Palette on  BeautyXposé.

Kari helps us get rid of sun damage: Fab over Forty.

Debbi found a miraculous hair product byTRESemme:  DivaDebbi.

More hair magic: Batiste Dry Shampoo on Daly Beauty.

Product Girl's Beauty VIP of the Week was Dr. Dennis Gross.

Kelly has a suggestion for fabulous lushes by Mally Beauty:  Gouldylox Reviews .

Happy Easter, Passover and all things spring!

Photo of Doris Day and a friend from

Chanel Monte Carlo Rouge Coco Shine

What's behind the hype (and some of the subsequent disappointment reports) of Chanel's newest lipstick formula, Rouge Coco Shine?

Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks are interesting little things. I got a few in the most saturated/darkest shades and I like them. They're a sort of hybrid product, but not quite what I expected- they're not a balmy lipstick, despite the high shine finish they have when first applied. It's more like a high quality lip tint with a glossy top coat. Despite what one would expect from a product named "Shine", this glossy finish fades quite quickly and the main strength of these Chanel lipsticks is in the stain that's left behind and stays on for several hours (at least in the six dark colors I have).

Monte Carlo is a summery bright very warm (bordering on orange-red) pink. I would never wear this color in an opaque formula, but since Rouge Coco Shines are sheer, I have more wiggle room with the shades- my natural color neutralizes the orange and I get a lovely, happy color that cheers me up. As I said, the shiny gloss finish fades, but the color itself stays behind even after my second cup of tea, and still coats the lips very evenly- a great surprise. Monte Carlo is the perfect partner for Chanel Summer 2011 Glossimer in Pensee- they're quite similar in color, so since I don't need to reapply the lipstick for pigment (you can, and it's buildable), I simply add the gloss as needed or desired.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine ($32) is available from most decent department stores and

All photos were taken by me with Sophie's help.

Sue Devitt Kolinsky Sable Eye Base Brush

It's a good thing that Sue Devitt's brush handle are such a distinct baby blue color, because most days this Kolinsky Sable Eye Base brush is the first one I reach for as I start my eye makeup (as does Josephine, above, though her motives are somewhat different). Sue Devitt's eye base brush is wide, soft and covers the lid and/or brow bone with an even coat of eye shadow. It feels luxurious and pampering against the delicate skin, and knowing the hair was collected without harming the Kolinsky sables (all Sue Devitt brushes are cruelty-free) makes it a guiltless pleasure.

The Kolinsky Sable Eye Base brush is thicker than most eye brushes in my collection, except for the Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep brush which is used for a similar purpose. I use these two interchangeably, though I'd say I prefer Bobbi's for a sheer base and Sue's when I want a little more coverage. The flat shape of the eye base brush also lends itself for lay-down application and packing more color, something the Bobbi Brown brush was not designed to do.

For comparison, Sephora Professional Large Shadow #12 (mine is older than the current Professional Platinum incarnation, but it's the same brush) is the closest in terms of size and width. It's not as soft (made of goat and pony mix, and yes, it sounds very very wrong) and has less give, but it's a decent brush for the price ($18). Hakuhodo S121G is even softer than Sue Devitt but thinner and tapered at the edge, making it pretty versatile. It's not so much an all-over lid brush, but can still perform this task with most eye shadow textures and is probably the best eye shadow brush I own (a full review to come). It's only a few dollars more than the Sue Devitt brush, so if you're considering only adding one brush to your collection this might be the one. Paula Dorf Eye Glimmer brush (discontinued but still widely available) is close in size and shape but much denser and is only for packing color on the lid. The Armani Shader Brush is narrower than Sue Devitt but just as thick. It's not soft enough for my liking but is still a good performer as a lay-down brush or an all-over lid brush for smaller eyes/lids.

Bottom Line: a favorite.

Sue Devitt Kolinsky Sable Eye Base Brush ($35) is available from Barneys, Dermstore and

All photos are mine with the help of Miss Josephine.