Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tom Ford Autumn 2014 Collection
Nude Dip quad and Stroked contouring cheek color duo

Tom Ford limited edition collections set off the inner hoarder in me. Sure, half of the time, they sell out before they even grace the counters across the states, but doesn't that just add to the thrill?

Taupe eyeshadow? Check.

Beigey highlight? Check.

Coral-orange blush? Check.

Really, Tommy. You know the way to my heart... and wallet.

The star of the collection is -- without a doubt -- the quad in Nude Dip ($79.) Not to sound too overly-dramatic or anything, but there is a national Nude Dip crisis at the moment. However, word on the street is it will be available at department stores' websites early September, so keep your eyes peeled. Thankfully, I was gifted this as a birthday gift, and I couldn't thank the person enough! I was saved from calling every TF counter from coast to coast trying to track down this baby.

Let's just say that if this wasn't sold out nearly everywhere, I'd be submitting an order for a back-up. That's how much I love this quad. However, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's take a look at the gorgeousness.

Shimmery, metallic, smooth, pigmented, and long-lasting... just how I like my eyeshadows to be. Neutrals, too, of course. There's usually one shadow that under-performs in most quads, but not with Nude Dip. All four shades translates beautifully to leave a metallic sheen on the eyes that is never over the top. One can tell from the swatches that they are highly pigmented (with practically no fallout!), even when applied dry. I haven't tested nor worn them wet, but I would assume that they boast an even bigger punch. I'm usually not the biggest fan of wet/dry shadows, but these are nothing short of amazing.

Whether or not you're a fan of neutrals shadows, I really do think this is one limited edition product from Tom Ford you don't want to miss. Despite Nude Dip looking like a cool-toned quad, it actually leans neutral, thus, complimenting any blusher harmoniously. It's a simple palette, but one can create several eye looks while supplementing a transition shade (and possibly a browbone highlight) with it.

My favorite [quick and easy] look using all four shades in Nude Dip is:
  • ivory gold in the inner coner
  • taupe all over the lid and outer 2/3 of the lower lash line
  • dark chocolate brown in the outer V (blended out with Urban Decay Naked in the crease)
  • champagne on the inner 1/3 of the lower lash line
  • Urban Decay Skimp as brow bone highlight
No liner, just mascara. Simple as that.

Blush duos (or contouring cheek color duos, as he likes to call them) are new to Tom Ford's makeup line. In fact, so are powdered highlighters, not taking into account the highlighter from the Unabashed palette. I initially held off on purchasing Stroked ($77), because I thought the blush looked similar to Love Lust. Long story short, the highlighter beckoned, and I responded.

Now that I have Stroked, I couldn't be any happier with my decision. Tom Ford's blushes usually run $57 each, so paying nearly 1.5 of a blush for two pans of product is quite the deal. Sometimes, the quality of a product is compromised when in a "palette", but I'm happy to say that the quality of both the blush and highlighter is what I would have expected his cheek products to be -- pigmented, finely-milled, easy to blend, and with great lasting power. I really cannot rave about this duo enough!

The highlighter was a pleasant surprise, and I wish he would release highlighters as part of his permanent range. It is a beige highlighter with just the hint of peach undertones to make it suitable and flattering for both warm and cool toned folks. It reminds me a lot of Chanel's highlighters, since it is more glowy and subtle than it is frosty and metallic.

Just for comparison purposes, I have Love Lust, Savage, and the blush from Unabashed to compare the blush from Stroked to. As you can tell, there are no dupes in the bunch. The blush in Stroked applies more coral on my cheeks, even though it seems more terracotta in the pan.

There was another contouring cheek color duo released along with this collection in Softcore ($77) which I passed on, because the highlighter is quite similar to the one from Stroked, so I couldn't justify owning both blush duos. The blush in Softcore is also darker and berry-toned, so if you typically gravitate towards such a color family of blushers, you might fancy Softcore over Stroked.

All in all, another winner of a collection from Tom Ford. My picks would have to obviously be the quad and Stroked blush/highlight duo, but then again, I'm partial to my brown eyeshadows and peachy-coral blushers. He also released two lipsticks, Negligee and Twist of Fate, a polish in Black Cherry, and an extreme mascara in Mocha Rush -- all limited edition -- along with this collection that might pique your interest if you are in the market for something other than an eyeshadow palette or cheek products.
Friday, August 22, 2014

Jill Stuart Velvet Crystal Eyes 01 Nudy Venus

There was a time when I felt the need to own every single Jill Stuart quad she has ever released. Now that I'm older (and, hopefully, wiser), I find it an impractical goal. I can't pull off shadows chock full of glitter on a daily basis, and her shadows are known to pack quite the shimmer and glitter particles, while still being slightly on the sheer side at times. Don't get me wrong, they're still gorgeous and perfect for nights out -- not so much for an everyday conservative work place.

That said, Jill Stuart recently launched a Velvet Crystal Eyes line, which is such a nice departure from her former Jewel Crystal Eyes and Illuminance Eyes quads. The shadows are more pigmented (compared to other Japanese eyeshadows) and just overall smoother in texture. The best part of it all? She's finally incorporated satin finish shadows in the midst of shimmery shades in these, as opposed to her older quads, where all four shades contained glitter. It's still difficult to achieve a full look look with the current layout, methinks, but it's doable if need be.

Wanting to play it safe, I stuck to my comfort zone of neutrals and opted for 01 Nudy Venus. The colors are straightforward with one satin brow bone highlight/all over base shade, two shimmery lid shade options, and one shimmery shade perfect for lining or the outer-V. The eye looks one can come up with with this palette alone is limited, but it has all the shades I need for an everyday, quick, and fuss-free look. I previously used the included applicators to apply the shadows as they ran more sheerly, but with the new formula, the applicators are rather useless.

(From top to bottom):
-Shade 1: Shimmery dark chocolate brown with a handful of glitter particles that do not translate when applied
-Shade 2: Shimmery, metallic beige-champagne that is probably the smoothest shade of the four
-Shade 3: Shimmery, slightly metallic pink-champagne
-Shade 4: Satin ivory white that -- more or less -- disappears on my NC20ish skin

With the new quads come a couple of changes. The first and most noticeable is the design of the palette. I personally find it more simple in design, though bulkier and certainly heavier than her other quads. Now, Jill Stuart listed her new quad as containing 8 grams of product, as opposed to the former 6 grams. The size of the pans look the same to me, and the new palettes seem to actually contain less product to me, so I'm not sure where exactly the weight discrepancy comes from.

Quality and performance-wise, I'm happy to say that these stack up to Jill Stuart's past offerings. With primer, these stay put for at least a good ten hours. Without primer, I suspect they still run on the sheer side. The shadows themselves do have the traditional floral scent that is common in her products, so do make note of that if you are one who are sensitive to fragrances (in eyeshadows, especially.)

I couldn't be any happier with the launch of the Velvet Crystal Eyes line, and I do intend on picking up her limited edition palettes, as the color schemes are more unique than the current permanent range. The price of a palette ranges anywhere from $55-$70, depending on the website you order from.
Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cle De Peau Eye Color Quad in #305 Satin Moon

Cle De Peau's newly reformulated line of eyeshadow quads has got to be one of the most highly anticipated launches for fall 2014. I mean, how could it not be? Just look at those shades!

CDP released eight palettes that will be part of the permanent range to replace the former quads, and I couldn't be any happier. The older quads, while creamy in texture, was a bit ho hum in the color selections. None of the color combinations really called out to me, and the shadows themselves were more on the sheer side as well.

The new formula, however, is amazing -- to say the least. The quads, dare I say, easily rival Tom Ford's quads. Yes, you read that right. Tom Ford shadows translate much, much better on the eyes than they swatch at times. These CDP shadows swatch beautifully and they wear just as nicely. In terms of texture, I do find them smoother than some of TF's shadows. However, they both blend effortlessly and with great lasting power -- easily 10 hours with no fading nor creasing when applied over eyeshadow primer!

From the eight new quads, #305 Satin Moon was the one that really caught my attention. "Satin Moon" is a bit of a misnomer if you ask me, because all of the shades are anything but satin in finish. In fact, all four shades are shimmery in nature.

I cannot fault this palette in any way. If I were to nitpick, I'd say that Shade 4 is a bit on the drier side. It's also the only shade that's chock full of noticeable (yet finely finely milled) multi-colored glitter. Shades 1-3, however, are just phenomenal -- a dream to work with! I cannot say that the other quads are of the same caliber, as I didn't get the chance to swatch all eight of them, but the ones I did swatch, I loved. In fact, #303 Baby Universe is conveniently sitting in my cart as we speak.

My biggest gripe with CDP (and the main reason why I don't own any other CDP products aside from this quad) is that the palette ($55) and the compact ($25) are sold separately. It's a concept I could never fully wrap my head around, aside from profit-making from the company's standpoint. The refill might fit inside a Z-palette, but if you're already taking the CDP route, you might as well go all the way and just bite the bullet on an empty compact. That said, the older compacts are not compatible with these new quads.

I'm one of those folks who likes to use all of the colors in a palette for eye looks. To be honest, this palette is not complete on its own. It lacks a matte transition color and a solid brow bone highlight. However, for the sake of this review and my wanting to incorporate all four shades in one look, this is my favorite way to wear this palette. To make it more cohesive, I did reach for two additional Urban Decay shadows (both of which are easily dupable.)
  • Urban Decay Skimp as brow bone highlight (Any preferred highlight shade will do.)
  • Benefit B-day suit as a base all over the lid (optional)
  • Shade 1 on the inner 1/3 of upper lid and inner corner
  • Shade 2 on the outer 2/3 of upper lid
  • Shade 4 on the outer V and along the top lash line
  • Urban Decay Naked in the crease (MAC Kid or Wedge are good alternatives)
  • Shade 3 along the bottom lash line
  • Too Faced Perfect Eyes black liner to tightline
  • Givenchy Noir Couture Waterproof mascara on top and bottom lashes
 There's bound to be a quad for everyone with Cle De Peau's fall line-up. It will be hard resisting all the gorgeous color schemes, but thankfully, these are not limited edition. It's just a matter of time, really.

All eight quads are now available everywhere Cle De Peau color cosmetics is sold. I strongly suggest running to your closest counter for a swatch-fest. You can thank me later when you come home with a quad or two, although I'm not responsible for your thinning wallet.