Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Read It On The Internet - June 30th

Before we proceed with this week's reading list (I first typed "shopping list". Wonder why), there's still time (until midnight) to enter the Dark Passage giveaway. Don't miss this chance to own this rare perfume gem.

Dain from Ars Aromatica writes about Laura Mercier. Read it.

We're all excited about the new Edward Bess lip colors. Best Things In Beauty reviews Night Jasmine and Naked Truth (I showed you Roulette Rouge and Night Jasmine while Jessica of Tinsel Creation chose Midnight Hour).

Amy discusses sun blocks on Cafe Makeup. Read it. Save it. Print it. 

Sabrina from The Beauty Look Book gives some good perspective on Chanel's fall eyeliners. Money saved.

My dear scent twin, Tom, talks about C by Clive Christian on Perfume Posse. He's right, of course.

Dovey has a fun post about Illamasqua cream blushes on Cute and Mundane.

Jane bathes in champagne on Daly Beauty.

Kate discusses minimalism on Drivel About Frivol. Also have a look at her Colors post.

Danielle from Bloomin' Beauty shows us two of the new Ellis Faas Creamy Eyes shades.

Two words: Chantecaille Elephants. See them on British Beauty Blogger.

Everyday Beauty is wonderfully organized.

Front Row Beauty has more photos and second thoughts about Chanel Bombay Express collection.

Get Lippy reviews a perfume: Plum by Mary Greenwell.

Liana mixes mascaras during her quest for the perfect lashes.

A review of Malin +Goetz face cleanser on Lola's Secret Beauty Blog.

Messy Wands shows some colors from the Georgia On My Mind collection by Rescue Beauty Lounge.

See Laura Mercier's teal cake eyeliner (from the Cinema Noir collection) on Pondering Beauty.

Stay in the shade and enjoy your weekend!

Photo via

Friday, June 29, 2012

Edward Bess Roulette Rouge & Night Jasmine Lipsticks

There are some changes in Edward Bess' lipstick range. Some colors were discontinued and others were added. Night Jasmine and Roulette Rouge were the obvious choices for me (my friend Jessica of Tinsel Creation reviews Midnight Hour).  Night Jasmine is a berry mauve shade, exactly what I consider as "my lips but much much better". The lipstick is creamy, gives a full coverage and dries into a velvet satin finish. I find Night Jasmine slightly dry compared to other Edward Bess lipsticks-- not drying, but not moisturizing either. I judge that based on the appearance of the scar on my bottom lip. Topping the lipstick with a gloss (the new Edward Bess Wild Passion. Swatches and review next week) corrects the issue completely.

Roulette Rouge is a perfect true red. It's warmer than the previous red from Edward Bess (Midnight Bloom, now discontinued) and looks as classic as they come. Again, the coverage is full, the finish is satin-like and the lipstick feels quite light. Roulette Rouge speaks directly to my red-loving heart.

Edward Bess lipsticks and glosses are intensely scented. The fragrance is fruity (they call it wold fig, but I have yet to eat a fig that smells like this) and assertive, but thankfully fades before I get annoyed. If you're sensitive or allergic please take this into consideration. There's something a bit retro about a perfumed lipstick, so I don't mind too much, even if I'd prefer a vanilla scent.

As many of you know, Edward Bess changed manufacturers a couple of time throughout his career. As a long time customer I have lipsticks from different phases. The newest products are made in Taiwan, while older lipsticks and glosses were made in Italy and in the US. I can't tell if the formula is different (other than the relative dryness of Night Jasmine), but looking at the ingredients as printed on the boxes shows they are not 100% the same. Since my last organic chemistry class was in 1988, I can't decipher much (or any) of this. If you have a professional insight, please chime in. I can tell you that the caps on both these new lipsticks  don't sit as tight as they should. It's especially evident in Roulette Rouge, so this one will not make it into my purse. From what I hear from friends this is not a universal issue, so some have caps that click firmly into place. I do miss the old Italian packaging, that's for sure.

Bottom Line: still as beautiful as they come.

Edward Bess Roulette Rouge & Night Jasmine Lipsticks ($32) each are available at Bergdorf Goodman, select Neiman Marcus locations and also online from Sephora.

Dermelect Nail Lacquers

My interest in Dermelect nail lacquers was born because the active ingredient they contain is a protein peptide. Peptides are highly desirable in skincare and anti-aging products, and recently my nails seem to be suffering from a serious midlife crisis.

At the moment there are only six shades in the Dermelect collections (more are coming). They all have a cream finish and a medium amount of shine (not really glossy). The formula's consistency seems exactly right: not too runny but not gloopy, either. I found it very easy to apply without messing it up. The polishes are surprisingly quick drying for a cream, which also contributed to the no mess factor (until a cat got involved, but I doubt the skincare experts of Dermelect can help with that).

The rich tangerine color is called Head Turner. I like it because it has more red than yellow and has a somewhat retro feel. It reminds me of the old Le Crueset orange shade from the 60s. Head Turner required two coats for an even coverage and I think it'll make a fabulous beach pedicure.

Power Trip is the watermelon red. It's intense enough to be forgiving if you only have time for one coat, but a second one is still better. The color is a bit too flat for my liking, so I experimented with applying a coat of Head Turner over Power Trip. The result (below) is a bit more sophisticated and very summery.

While it's too early for me to say if the Dermelect formula is going to save my nails, I do like the fact that it doesn't stink up my dressing room, and that it's 3 free (also cruelty free, though not technically vegan: the protein peptide is extracted from sheep wool).

There's a bonus photo of Cedric helping me set up for taking photos on my Facebook group. Please consider joining us so you can comment. It's all about color, good smellies and cats.

Dermelect nail lacquers ($14 each) are available from C.O. Bigelow in NYC and The products for this review were sent for my consideration by the company's PR.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Givenchy- Organza

It's interesting to compare what author Jan Moran has to say about the semi-classic Organza by Givenchy (1996) with Luca Turin's snippet in The Guide. According to Moran, Organza is "A tasteful combination of fragrance and presentation, Organza oozes style". Meanwhile, Dr. Turin calls it "A fine instance of vulgarity done exactly right". My take? Both of them are right.

I own a small bottle of Organza extrait de parfum circa 2000. This thing is golden, and I don't just mean the bottle. Organza is a classic floriental: rich, bold, sweet, and as Luca Turin noted, irresistible even to the cranky perfume critic. It's not a Givenchy circa Audrey's era, and in fact could have just as easily be born out of the Big 1980s; but the magic of opulent white flowers with the heavy-lidded eyes of an ambery vanilla base is the stuff of a good perfume fantasy.

There's nothing subtle or understated about Organza. The fragrance doesn't even try to conceal what it's all about. It starts with bold tuberose and ylang-ylang that seem to feel already hot and slightly humid, and as it sashays closer and closer there's some spice thrown in to make one undo another button to deal with how heady this perfume feels. Organza is almost cartoonishly femme, but who can resist Jessica Rabbit? Who would even want to? The whole thing gives skin a slightly honeyed quality, and as the dry-down approaches with all its vanillic goodness there's nothing one can do but let go and enjoy it to the very last whiff.

Is Organza really vulgar? It depends. I don't think it smells cheap (Givenchy didn't start going there until the last decade), quite the opposite, really. Consider Organza in the same realm as a sequined and Swarovskied vintage Nolan Miller dress, exquisitely cut, perfectly fitted and showing off just the right amount of cleavage.I'd kill to a) own one, and b) have the opportunity to wear it. So in the meantime I apply a drop of Givenchy Organza parfum and go about my day.

Notes (via Jan Moran): honeysuckle, peony, rosewood, tuberose, gardenia, ylang-ylang, amber, nutmeg, mace, vanilla, cedarwood.

Images: ads for Organza perfume 1997-2006 (the oldest ones feature gorgeous supermodel Yasmeen Ghauri) via, detail from a 1990s Givenchy couture ad appeared in a random online auction.

Le Métier de Beauté Precision Liquid Liner- Aqua

The last time I repurchased my trusty black Le Métier de Beauté Precision Liquid Liner I decided to also get one in Aqua. I go through several of these black felt tip pens every year, but I'm also a fan of colorful eyeliners, so the intense turquoise with the satin gleam was very tempting.  Besides, Le Métier de Beauté's pen liners are wonderful performers, both in longevity (they don't budge until I remove them) and application. I find the pen perfect for drawing my signature thin line that thickens considerably in the outer corner.

Le Métier de Beauté's Aqua is a rich and bright color. It compliments brown eyes and brightens them. I tend to pair Aqua with an otherwise neutral/nude tone-on-tone natural eye look (I'll show you a perfect palette for this next week); if you're more adventurous, I'm sure you can come up with something more creative.

Bottom Line: a gorgeous summer staple.

Le Métier de Beauté Precision Liquid Liner ($42) is available from Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, in store as well as online.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hermès- Santal Massoïa (Hermèssence)

There's a little blurb about Santal Massoia on Hermès website where perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena talks about a
"...perfume of milky woods, with its unusual, pungent hints of resin and dried fruit, and familiar smells of dulce de leche and flowers."
I don't trust Jean-Claude. A few years ago he promised me vanilla and instead I got a giant bouquet of poisonous lilies (Vanille Gallant). I had every reason to be afraid.

I'm still searching for that dulce de leche note, but in doing so I managed to fall in love with Santal Massoia, use most of the generous sample given to me at the local Hermes boutique, and put a bottle of this fragrance pretty high on my wishlist. You see, Santal Massoia turns into a woody milky coconut fig thing, thickened with a starchy edible substance (almost like chestnut flour), and have I mentioned FIG?

Robin, who reviewed Santal Massoia on Now Smell This, mentions a common thread with Ellena's Bois Farine (L'artisan). I think of this newish Hermèssence fragrance as the lovechild born after Bois Farine and Premier Figuier Extreme made sweet sweet love. Thickened milk, coconut and green figs on a strangely woody raw pastry dough. I find Santal Massoia more attractive than Bois Farine as it's slightly more perfumy. There are swirls of green floating in a cloudy white glass: a perfume friend (thank you, Jarvis) compared it to the fresh coconut water you can buy from street vendors in India.

The pull of the East keeps Santal Massoia from turning into a glass of warm milk with a Fig Newton. It's too mysterious for that and has a sensuality I rarely find in Ellena's Hermèssence fragrances. I'm not complaining, though, other than about the lasting power: one needs to really go to town with the sprayer to achieve some longevity.

Notes: sandalwood, massoia, coconut

Other reviews: Bois de Jasmin, Perfume Shrine.

Image: 'Magniloquent’by photographer Thanassis Krikis with  model Laragh McCann for Schön! Magazine.

Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow (Stone)

The good news is that Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow in Stone is a beautiful product. The texture is creamy and blendable, it can be applied heavily or lightly, sheered into a delicate wash of color or used as a strong accent (see swatch: I blended  outwards from the center). Stone is a complex neutral shade (Smashbox described it as a "deep olive grey"), the shimmer is tasteful, and it goes well with many colors and looks. The eye shadow doesn't crease or flake, and once set, it doesn't smudge, making it great for use under the bottom lashes for a smoky effect.

The bad news is that there's no way Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow will hold for 15 hours, even with a primer. It has to be set into place with a powder eye shadow, though when applied as a smoky liner on the bottom lashes it has enough ground to hold and stay put for longer. As I said, the cream shadow doesn't crease, but it fades quite a bit, leaving only a faint trace on the lid. Used as a base for a powder eye shadow things hold nicely, but I would say more in the range of 8-10 hours than the promised 15.

I posted a makeup look using Stone earlier today.

Bottom Line: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow ($19) is available at Ulta, Sephora, Nordstrom and

FOTD: Makeup Look Featuring Claudio Riaz Eye Shade 15 (and more)

First, just in case you missed yesterday's posts, I have a fabulous perfume giveaway and a sneak peek of new Edward Bess lip colors.

Today's look features the striking Claudio Riaz green eye shadow, Eye Shade 15 (reviewed here) and a Smashbox cream shadow that I'll post about later today. It's a medium-heavy eye look, at least for my standards, because I smudged quite a bit of the cream shadow under and between my lower lashes. Here's what I used:

Base: Smashbox green primer, Chanel Teint Innocence cream foundation in Soft Bisque (discontinued. Sorry), Chanel Eclat Lumiere highlighter pen (35 /medium) and a tiny drop of Kevyn Aucoin SSE in SX10.
Eyes: Paula Dorf Eye Primer, Smashbox Cream Shadow 15 Hour Wear in Stone on the lid, crease and bottom lashes, Claudio Riaz Eye Shade 15on the outer 2/3ds of the lid. A touch of LMdB Naked eye shadow (matte) under the brow and for blending. Hourglass Film Noir black mascara over a Lancome lash primer.
Eyebrows: Natural Born Cosmetics Brush On Brow in Smoke.
Cheeks: Estee Lauder Pure Color blush in Alluring Rose (13).
Lips: Laura Mercier Plumberry lip liner and La Prairie Quiet Berry lipstick
A touch of Dior Diorskin Forever pressed powder in 002.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Precious: A Giveaway Of Dark Passage by Tableau de Parfums/ Andy Tauer

Today we have a wonderful giveaway of a perfume that I consider nothing less than soul stirring. Andy Tauer  is giving away a purse spray bottle (7ml) of his very limited edition Dark Passage from the Tableau de Parfums line. It's not a perfume you can buy anywhere, so if you missed on pledging a donation the first time around here's your chance to win Dark Passage in this giveaway.

All you have to do in order to win is leave a comment telling us about your Precious: which perfume in your collection is the most dear to you? Not necessarily the most expensive or impossible to find (though that certainly is good enough), but that bottle that has a special story and you're so very thrilled/proud to have for any reason at all.

I've been trying to answer this question myself. I have several perfumes that has a special meaning to me for various reasons. Orris by Andy Tauer that I bought unsniffed because the bottles were selling out and I knew there will be no more. It ended up being a huge success for me and I love and cherish every drop. There's the amazing Jacques Fath coffret I found, still sealed, with a mini bottle of Iris Gris. This one trumps all my other vintage finds, and I do have a few. Then there's my first bottle of Cartier So Pretty with just a little juice left (I have since purchased a few, including a lifetime supply of backups); this bottle means the world to me because it was the first perfume the husband chose and bought for me by himself.

Now, since I'm the one who will be mailing the perfume, I have to limit this giveaway to US residents only. I'm really sorry for this, but I'm already getting the stinkeye at several post office units in my area. The giveaway will remain open until 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on June 30th, and the winner will be announced  on Sunday, July 1st.
 The other legal stuff that I have to post here: No purchase necessary. Ever. Because I don't sell anything◆participants must be 18 or older◆void where prohibited◆regulated by the State of NJ◆ Are we having fun yet?

Image: Glass perfume bottle for holding precious attars by Christopher McMahon and Manoj Avasthi. Nothing to do with Andy's perfume, just something I thought was beautiful and fitting.

Nora Ephron 1941-2012

Nora Ephron quotes:

"I don't care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you're also writing your Oscar acceptance speech."

"I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are."

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."

"There's a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don't look the way they used to, and it's not because of feminism, or better living through exercise. It's because of hair dye. In the 1950's only 7 percent of American women dyed their hair; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all."

"Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. ... Reading is bliss."

"One of the reasons for blogging was to start the conversation and to create the community that comes together briefly to talk about things they might not be talking about if you hadn't written your blog."

"I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” ― Nora Ephron, Heartburn

Photos: People Magazine, ,

New Lip Colors From Edward Bess- A Sneak Peek

Edward Bess has revamped his lipstick and lip gloss lines, discontinued some and added a bunch of brand new shades. Here's my pick from the new colors: Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lipsticks in Night Jasmine (21) and Roulette Rouge (22, the only red lipstick in the current line!), and Deep Dhine Lip Gloss in Wild Passion (19). Reviews, swatches and comparisons coming very soon!

aDesign Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush

My Trish McEvoy The Point brush sees so much action that it's hard to catch it on a clean day. That's why I was so delighted to find its big sibling, the Pointed Faoundation Kabuki brush by aDesign. It's almost the same brush, only big Big BIG: synthetic, tapered to a point, dense but not too stiff to move and bend.

aDesign Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush was created to be used with cream and liquid products. You apply the foundation with the tip of the brush and buff it in as gently or as firmly as desired. The point allows for reaching into narrower areas and makes it easy if you only want to apply foundation to certain parts of the face. aDesign's Kabuki blends the products seamlessly with little effort (even thicker creams), so there are no visible patches (well, as long as you choose the colors wisely, that is).

Another wonderful use for the aDesign Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush is contouring with cream products such as Hourglass Cream-To-Powder Bronzer or Sue Devitt Gel Bronzer. I've used it with both and got great results with minimal effort, so this is certainly a multitasker. The company also claims that this brush is good for powder products, but I say "meh". There's no need to push it for a brush that is absolutely excellent at what it does.

Bottom Line: Excellent.

aDesign Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush ($23. Yes, so much cheaper than the excruciatingly marked-up Trish) is available from

Kryolan Toffee High Gloss

This is so far out of my comfort zone I need a GPS to find my way around. Seriously, Kryolan is a professional and stage makeup brand, so while I've heard about their products quite a bit, I never encountered them until I was sent Kryolan High Gloss as part of a promotional Glossybox (a monthly subscription box of assorted beauty products). The color that arrived, Toffee, is not exactly something I'd choose on my own: it's a warm beige with just a hint of an almost-pink. You can see below that it's rosier than the Naked Princess lip gloss in Barely Naked.

Kryolan High Gloss is actually almost as opaque as a liquid lipstick. It's all pigment, thus giving a full coverage. Th gloss is thick and I prefer to apply it with a regular lip brush instead of the built-in brush applicator, because it gives me a more precise and polished look. This Kryolan gloss is not sticky and has a light fruity scent. It's comfortable enough to wear, though I find that my lips need to be well-moisturized as it's just like any highly pigmented lip product.

The color of Kryolan Toffee High Gloss is rather flat (no complexity) and has a glossy cream finish. I have to mix in a little extra red or plum color because Toffee is too beige for my lips and face. It can be used as is to conceal the natural pigment of one's lips, but I look horrendous with beige lips that are about 8 shades lighter than my naked lips. My preferred "naked" color from Kryolan range would probably be Butterfly. I might have to go and search for it, because I am impressed with the quality and wear of the gloss, even if Toffee is not my friend.

Bottom Line: worth exploring.

Kryolan High Gloss (around $18) can be found in stage makeup stores and online from The product reviewed here was sent to me free of charge as part of a Glossybox preview.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Giorgio Armani- Armani Privé Figuier Eden

I was giddy with excitement when I first heard that Giorgio Armani was releasing a new fig perfume, Armani Privé Figuier Eden. Regular readers may have noticed that I love my fig in perfume as well as eating fresh figs  until I make myself sick. And then I have another fig because I can't help it.  The promise of the press release  was alluring:
In the warm serenity of summer nights, Giorgio Armani collects the perfumed secrets of the fig tree. This tree of paradise reveals the raw freshness of its leaves, the creamy languor of its sap and the silvery satin of its bark.
Ok, I had to stop imagining Mr. Armani in his favorite speedo collecting anything from trees if I were to take any of this seriously. But, yes, the press release has all the magic words: fig tree, leaves, creamy and sap. That's exactly want I want from my fig perfumes. Instead, I got a lovely (really, it smells great) fruity fig tea, perfect for summer and utterly delightful, but not necessarily the fig to end all figs for which I hoped.

People who dislike the popular pairing of coconut milk note with fig will rejoice at the Armani Privé interpretation. It also doesn't have even a hint of creamy woods, or much wood at all. This is not the olfactory representation of the lush Mediterranean tree or the wonderful aroma of its leaves, green and sappy, giving much needed shade and relief on a hot summer day. Instead, Figuier Eden focuses on the ripeness of the fruit, sweet and juicy, paired with mandarin orange and what smells like peach tea. The tea is very dominant to my nose, and I kind of like it- tea is a good way to do "fresh" in perfume without going aquatic.

Armani Privé Figuier Eden is wearable, sunshiny and immensely pleasing, it's just not fig enough, and I have to say that its main advantage on the lovely Fig Tea by Parfums de Nicolai. I adore Patricia di Nicolai's creation, but it's an eau fraiche and my skin eats it within minutes. Armani Privé Figuier Eden has a more assertive present (the husband says he can smell it from across the room) and it stays on for hours if I spray enough. I'd be thrilled if a bottle suddenly materialized on my doorstep, but given the price point and exclusiveness I expect (a lot) more.

Notes:  bergamot, mandarin, pink pepper, tea accord, green fig accord, iris and amber

Armani Privé Figuier Eden ($115) comes in a pretty bottle of 100ml EDT and available from select Armani boutiques.

Art: Peaches and Figs by Horacio Cardozo, 2011.

Breaking News: Parfumerie Generale To Open NYC Store

The nice people of Parfumerie Generale confirmed via Facebook the opening of a NYC store this August. The boutique will be located on West Broadway (ie SoHo area). I don't know if it's going to be quite as opulent as the new one in Kuwait, but I'm just giddy with excitement at the news. No word about a possible visit by Pierre Guillaume himself (but we can hope).

Edit, Update, Correction: Apparently we're not getting a full-on boutique,  but Parfumerie Generale fragrances will finally be available in NYC through the new store, Osswald:
311 West Broadway, Soho, New York, NY
Phone: 212.625.3111    email: [email protected]

Still, happy!

Photo credit: for Parfumerie Generale.

Claudio Riaz Eye Shade 15

Earlier this year I started getting acquainted with Claudio Riaz makeup. The counter at Barneys NY is a fun playground, incredibly tempting with its colors and textures, not to mention the brush display. Last month I went back there with my friend Charlestongirl of Best Things In Beauty. You should have seen the two of us swatching and squeeing with delight at every new Claudio Riaz discovery. It took some serious restraint not to leave the counter with one of everything. You can see the gorgeous highlighter my friend picked here. There's more of that in our futures.

Eye Shade No. 15, a rich almost blackened hunter green, won me over immediately. It has a bluish undertone, making it quite unique among other deep green eye shadows. The texture is phenomenal: smoother and easier to blend than Shu Uemura 595. The finish of this Claudio Riaz eye shadow has more sheen than the bottom tier shade of Le Metier de Beaute's Penelope Kaleidoscope Eye Kit (and it's also a bit more blue. Quality is very similar). Since the latter was a limited edition, if you're kicking yourself on missing that gorgeous green,  Claudio Riaz is giving you a suitable substitute. The other LMdB eye shadow in the swatch photo above is Black Jade; I put it here merely to show how much bluer and darker is Eye Shade No. 15.

Bottom Line: big, huge, giant love.

Claudio Riaz Eye Shade 15 ($28) is avilavle from Barneys in store and online, as well as directly from