Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chanel Les 4 Ombres "Raffinement," #39, Spring 2013

The pink/mauve/brown tones in Raffinement fill a gap in my makeup wardrobe, which I discovered when I added new cobalt blue and magenta clothes to my wardrobe last spring. While I don't match my clothing and makeup, it was evident that I needed something cooler than the shades I already owned.  The texture is creamy, silky, easily blended, and a dream to apply.  The wearing time is excellent - eight hours without fading - even without a primer.  I lined with Chanel's reddish brown Grenat waterproof pencil and tightlined with a black liner.  Le Metier de Beaute's Tamarak liner also looks good, particularly if it's tightlined on the bottom lid.  My only issue with the quad is the lightest color which doesn't look as pink as it does in the pan when applied.  It looks OK when applied to the inner corners of the eye, but it's a bit much as an under-the-brow highlighter. A very light hand helps.  Emerveille Illusion D'Ombre looks much better.  Emerveille also makes an excellent base for a slightly different look.

 Raffinement is allegedly the replacement for the discontinued Kaska Beige, and though both are lovely, they are quite different as you can see in the photos below.

Sorry that I can't enlarge the swatch photos - Blogger is at it again. 

Kaska Beige works well with the other warm-hued products (and clothes) I use regularly, and the palest color, a warm yellow, is richly pigmented enough to look yellow.  While all the shadows in Raffinement are shimmery, Kaska Beige had one matte shade that I find useful if my lids are puffy.  The quality of the shadows were just as silky and smooth as Raffinement, in my opinion,  and just a tad deeper in hue. I will miss Kaska Beige. I'm on my second quad, having gone to pan on all four colors in the first. Needless to say, I bought backups. I hope Chanel will reconsider discontinuing this versatile quad. 

I bought my Chanel quad at Nordstom Pentagon City.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nordstrom Eye Shadows, "Natural Palette"

I discovered Nordstrom's Exclusive Label cosmetics during this month's special holiday event.  I couldn't resist the Natural Palette, which contains 16 eye shadows for $15.

The shadows come in a black, magnetized, cardboard palette.  The glamorous cover is designed to approximate sequins.  It's already beginning to wear a bit from taking in and out of the box. There is a generously sized mirror inside and two double-tipped sponge applicators.
With the exception of numbers 4, 10, and 16 above, the shadows are saturated enough to produce a nice, subtle natural look as the palette title indicates.  Numbers 4, 10 and 16 look white on my medium skin tone; I won't be getting much use out of these.    Numbers 1, 2, and10 are matte. Numbers 7, a dark peach, and 11, a charcoal black, contain a bit of glitter.  The rest are shimmery.
I created a nice look using #3 as a base from lash to brow, it has beautiful golden sheen that keeps it from looking flat; #14, shimmery taupe, on the lid below the crease; #7, a shimmery dark peach, dotted in the center of the lid; #5 in the crease and along the lower lash line.  Oh, and I used #5 to fill my eyebrows.  There was a bit of glitter fall out below my eyes from #7, but the particles are so small that they were only apparent in my magnifying mirror. 
 Shadows 1, 2, 3, and 4 swatched above, without primer.

Nordstrom Natural Palette Swatches  III
Shadows 5 through 16 swatched without primer.

The darker colors begin to fade after 6 hours or so without primer,  but easily lasted 8 hours using NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base.  While most of the colors worked for my NC45 skin tone, particularly the darker ones, I would welcome deeper saturation of some of the lighter colors.   Still, these shadows are a steal at this price point.  I'm looking forward to trying the other Nordstrom exclusive beauty products.

Sorry the photo sizes are mismatched.  Blogger has not been cooperative lately.


Friday, December 14, 2012

This and That

Woman with black lipstick

 Photograph: Alamy in The Guardian.

I was delighted to discover that beauty columnist Anita Bhagwandas writes about the latest beauty trends for black and Asian skin every month in The Guardian.  She has written interesting and useful articles about foundations, damaged hair, among others, and most recently, how to sport a gothic look.  Not what she calls the "full-pelt" Gothic look, but modified a one in which one facet - eyes or lips - gets the Goth treatment.  In her last column of the year, she will feature her picks for best products of the year. 

Staff at Into the Gloss recently interviewed Iman in which she talks about how she started modeling, makeup, aging, and being a muse for YSL (essentially a live, naked mannequin).  She looks fabulous at 57.  Absolutely inspiring. 

Knitting!  I finally decided how to finish a sweater I designed over a year ago.  Actually, it's a redesign.  The neckline and bodice turned out well, but the bottom is messy.  I learned the hard way that cotton yarn does not rib.  I knew that actually, but was so intent on getting the top right that I ignored the bottom.  So.  I decided to cut off the ribbing and knit straight down in stockinette.  An i-cord belt will cinch the waist.  I would have preferred an obi, but I can't find one in the right color.  I'm going to Vogue Knitting Live New York in January and hope to have it finished by then.  It may not be wearable, but it will be finished.  In any case, I can't wait to go to VK Live again.  It will be three days of yarn and makeup!

How was your week?


Monday, December 10, 2012

Claudio Riaz Instant Brow

I've been wanting this eyebrow brush for a couple of years after seeing it at Barneys in San Francisco.  I just couldn't pay $95 for it.  Thanks to Product Doctor I bought it for $39 at All Cosmetics Wholesale on Cyber Monday (I got 20% off the sale price).  I can't believe I'm so pumped about an eyebrow brush.

It's huge, as you can see in the comparison photos below.  It's a little over a half inch wide, while the Paula Dorf and Shu Uemura are 1/4 and 1/8 inches respectively.

The Claudio Riaz site instructs users to "pick up primer or color, press firmly at the inner corner of the brow, and follow the natural shape to groom and fill with one consistent stroke." The Barneys SA who did my brows filled in each brow in one stroke, but I'm not quite there yet.  I can do it two.  The badger hair picks up product quickly and in one stroke I can almost fill in an entire brow.  I have a couple of bald areas that are difficult to fill, so a second application to those areas with the tiny Shu does the trick. 

It's not a multi-tasker. The bristles are as stiff as those found in a hairbrush, and it feels that way too.  It's not uncomfortable - it feels like your scalp does when you brush your hair.  But damn!  My eyebrows look good!

Instant Brow sells for $49 at All Cosmetics Wholesale, and for $95 at and   The site doesn't indicate how long this sale will last.  They seem to have most of the other brushes as well as the makeup products.  I love my concealer and complexion highlighter pictured here

Pictured with Chanel's "Notorius" Sculpting Veil, which I also use on my brows.


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