Saturday, July 19, 2014

Les Merveilleuses Laduree
Face Color Rose Laduree 02

If I could own every single product ever released from one Japanese brand, it would have to be from the brand Laduree. It goes without saying that they know packaging -- very well at that! Along with fancy packaging, sometimes, comes compromised quality, but I must say that Laduree shines in the quality department too.

I had been lusting over the famous rose petal blushers for as long as I can remember, but being from the states, the full set (blush and pot) runs anywhere from $136 to $170 -- depending on whether or not there's a sale going on. Still, it's a price that I can't stomach, so I couldn't be more grateful to have received this as an early birthday gift all the way from France!

Laduree had released many limited edition colors of these blushers, but I stuck to one of the three colors from the permanent range: 02 (brighter warm pink.) 01 is a lighter baby pink, which I know will barely show up on my NC25-NC30 skin tone, whereas 03 is a warm brown -- I couldn't think of anything less attractive than brown rose petals sitting on my vanity.

The blush is a DIY in of itself. The rose petals/blush itself comes in a refill form in a plastic case and wrapped in a silk drawstring bag. The plastic pot with the Marie Antoinette-ish locket must be purchased separately. Laduree advised to only transfer half of the petals into the pot, but let's face it, ain't nobody got time for that. Besides, I like seeing my pot filled to the brim with petals than seeing it half empty.

What exactly are these petals? In short, they are blush-coated sheets of paper, which had been cut in the shape of flower petals. Now why didn't I think of that? Some petals have pale yellow to yellow centers which give the blusher the glowy and slightly highlighted effect. It is next to impossible to solely pick up said center shade to use strictly as a highlighter though; I've tried on many occasions only to give up in frustration each time.

Delicate? Indeed! However, I was surprised to see that it is very easy to pick up product with a natural-haired brush with just a few swipes across the petals. Laduree specifically designed a goat-haired, plastic handled cheek brush to use with this product, but I wasn't in the market for another $100+ brush.

Instead, I found that my Kose Addiction Natural Veil brush works just as well in grabbing the right amount of pigment, as you can see from the product on the bristles. Again, any natural hair, pointed, densely packed bristles of a brush in your collection will do, since the pigment isn't pressed too tightly onto the petals.

On my cheeks, it gives a healthy subtle warm pink glow. I can continue to build the color intensity to give a more flushed look if I really wanted to, but I prefer my blush to be on the more subtle side. 02 is a shade I can see light to medium (and possibly tan) folks wearing as a blush. Any darker, and the color may not show up too much.

I have worn the blusher for more than twelve hours before, and the color held up quite nicely in the humidity without any signs of oxidation nor fading! That alone has me looking into the other rose petals that Laduree offers. Ehm... the mini versions of the blushers, that is. The petals also have the distinct Laduree scent, which I can only describe as a "mature woman" scent: think powder meets floral (rose.) If you are sensitive to heavily fragranced products, do note that the scent lingers longer than usual on the cheeks. In fact, I can still detect it after I had removed the swatch from my hand!

The question that many are probably wondering is whether or not the product itself warrants the exorbitant price tag. It all depends really. If you want a blush that performs just as beautifully as it looks sitting on the vanity, then yes, you do need one of these blushers in your life. If you are one who could care less about the aesthetics, then no, this is not a must-have, as you will find other blushers that are just as good of a quality. In fact, this shade is easily dupable, in my humble opinion.

The prices of these blushers are over-inflated here in the states, and often times, the sites that do carry them (such as Imomoko) usually have limited stock. Thus, I highly suggest checking out Ichibankao, Mihokoshop, and BeautiesHK instead if you want to snatch one of these beauties without having to pay the marked up prices.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

By Terry Cellularose Blush Glace
01 Rose Melba and 02 Flower Sorbet

Terry de Gunzburg, the mastermind behind By Terry, knows luxury quality... and prices. Some products are more worthy of the hefty price tag than others.

I have a love-hate relationship with cream blushers. I like how they give a more glowy and natural finish, but I dislike the fact that a lot of them tend to disrupt the foundation beneath. But when a company like By Terry releases such delicious-looking blushers, resistance is futile really. Quite honestly, after having given these Cellularose Blush Glace a fair shot and with different ways of application, I'm still on the fence.

These blushers come in three flavors: 01 Rose Melba, 02 Flower Sorbet, and 03 Frozen Petal, but I only have Rose Melba and Flower Sorbet to show.

01 Rose Melba is the quintessential baby doll pink that leans neither too cool nor too warm but can pull coral at times. This is best suited for light to light-medium folks.

02 Flower Sorbet is the perfect coral-orange shade that compliments all skin tones. I can see light to medium skintones pulling off this shade.

Touted as blushers that "flush the cheeks with a cool burst of watercolor for a long-wearing healthy glow", I can see why they are very appealing to many (including yours truly) during the hot summer months. A gel form cheek stain -- more or less -- in a pot with a cooling sensation upon application all sounds too good to be true. I mean, it even claims to "smooth the complexion, protect the skin, and delicately flush the cheeks with color for a plumped, preened finish."

Flush the cheeks, they do, albeit with a slight learning curve. I can't apply cream blushers as well as Lisa Eldridge can with my fingers, so my preferred way of applying cream products is still with makeup brushes. With a duo-fiber stippling brush, I find that these blushers blend to nothing, no matter how many layers I apply. However, they do fare better when I use my fingers to tap the product onto my cheeks, and I find that I also use less product that way.

Smooth the complexion? Not so much. If I don't exfoliate well prior to wearing these blushers, they apply very unevenly and splotchily. The same goes for dry patches or any blemishes I may have. They just seem to accentuate such imperfections even more. However, I am glad to report that these do not alter my foundation whatsoever. I did try them on after I had set my makeup, and let's just say, these do not go well over powder at all.

Lastly, and quite possibly, my biggest gripe with these Blush Glace is the fact that they never fully dry down and remain somewhat tacky throughout the day. On days when I opt for all cream products, I only like to lightly powder down my T-zone while leaving the rest of my face powder-free. When I first wore Rose Melba in such a manner, all I could think of was to not have my Nth strand of hair stick to my cheeks. In short, it felt just as uncomfortable as hair being stuck to lip gloss. Thankfully, a light dusting of translucent powder over my cheeks took care of that issue, although it did take away some of the glow.

(Size comparison to a mini Baume De Rose)

That said, these blushes wore extremely well, true to its claims. While they do stain the cheeks for at least ten hours with minimal fading, they were also easy to remove by the end of the day (unlike other cream blushers which stained my cheeks for days.) Like all By Terry products, the Blush Glace smells like roses, ie pure luxury. I'm sensitive to fragrances in my makeup but I have yet to break out from any of her products. *knocks on wood*

These blushers retail for $58 each wherever By Terry is sold. For 0.25 oz, there isn't a lot of product in a jar, but do keep in mind that you also don't need a lot of product (if applied properly.) I believe these are limited edition, but all three are still in stock from sites like and BeautyBar, as well as at Space NK.
Saturday, July 5, 2014

Marc Jacobs The Siren
(Summer 2014)

Despite being a neutrals gal at heart, I'm always on the lookout for that one perfect colorful palette. You know, the only palette that will satisfy all of my colorful shades needs. Supposedly. I passed on the Urban Decay Electric, because to be honest, the fact that not all of the colors are safe around the eye area scared me a bit. Okay, a lot.

So when I saw that Marc Jacobs had released The Siren palette, I couldn't help but place an order. Sleek packaging with seven beautiful colors? Sold.

First things first, the goods. I have always been a fan of Marc Jacobs' packaging, especially with his 7-pan eyeshadow palettes. This was no exception, and the glossy white packaging really complemented my glossy black Starlet palette -- quite possibly the only palette from his permanent line that I can wholeheartedly recommend. They are super slim and compact in nature, and they don't attract fingerprints in the same manner as NARS. I had heard that The Siren was designed to mimic the keys to a piano, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

Onto the not-so-goods: the shadows themselves, with swatches to prove.

1. Slightly shimmery white: Easily my least favorite shadow, this not only swatches chalkily but applies patchily too.
2. Slightly shimmery burgundy red: Like the white, this is on the drier side as far as shadows go but applies slightly better.
3. Shimmery, metallic copper bronze: My favorite shade of the seven, this is beautiful and a dream to work with. Highly pigmented and very blendable!
4. Shimmery, metallic gold: My second least favorite shade, this reminds me a lot of MAC lustre formula eyeshadows (translate: glitter-laden with poor pigmentation.)
5. Shimmery aquamarine: Another disappointment of a shade, this needed a white base in order for it to show up true to color on the eyes.
6. Slightly shimmery blue: Very dry in nature and nowhere as vibrant as the color seen in the pan.
7. Shimmery dark teal: One of the better performers, this actually applies well and blends effortlessly.

As you can tell, chalky and dry seems to be the common theme when it comes to the shadows of this palette. With only two stand out, note-worthy shades, I cannot recommend snatching The Siren -- which is a shame, since it is pretty to look at. For the luxury brand and price tag of Marc Jacobs, the performance should not be questionable.

On the topic of luxury, might I also add that the included sponge tip applicator is absolutely flimsy and useless? If Dior includes two sponge tip double-ended(!!) applicators with its quints, the least MJ could do is make it double-ended, right? Or not include it at all, because quite frankly, it's insulting for those of us who actually reach for such applicators from time to time.

I had high hopes for (and wanted to like) this palette, but truth be told, it fell short of my expectations. A friend and I were just talking about how there might possibly be different batches of The Siren, since some palettes actually swatch better than others. That might be the case, and if you're one who's willing to take the risk, you might be able to snatch a better performing septet of a palette. This currently retails for $59 at Sephora -- in stores and online. Despite it being dubbed as "Limited Edition", I really cannot see this palette selling out. If anything, I'm half expecting it to show up under Sephora's sale section within the next few weeks.