01. 02. 2015

Up until today, we had not really had a winter here in Chicago. A little snow, a few really cold days…but compared to last year it was like spring. Of course, it was too good to be true and we have gotten about 15 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. It’s definitely a blizzard out here! Keeping in the spirit of the weather, I thought it was a good time to share my picks for icy winter looks. I was inspired by Sam’s video here on her favorites for this time of year.

Winter Highlighters

My choice for winter highlighters are lighter versions, almost all cool toned or leaning that way. Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl is great this time of year for adding dewiness. MAC Lightscapade is the most muted, but adds just a hint of glow to the skin without being obvious. Chanel’s Camelia de Plumes is a full-on highlighter (one that doubles as an eyeshadow) that has a gorgeous finish but is definitely not for those who are timid around sparkle. Edward Bess’ South of France is one of those unique, multi-taskers that manages to add definition to the cheeks like a bronzer, but also a glow like a highlighter. It’s very light, and may not work for everyone. On my pale skin, it’s perfect this time of year.

Winter Blushes

Another thing most makeup enthusiasts agree on is getting that perfect “Snow White” or “in from the cold” look. It’s easy to achieve with shades like the ones I have above. Tarte’s Natural Beauty is a very popular choice for good reason, the formula is impeccable and the tone is spot on. MAC’s Frankly Scarlet (top) and Salsarose (right) are both variations of the same shade. Salsarose has a slight sheen and is a bit more pink, while Frankly Scarlet is very matte and more red. Of the three, Natural Beauty is my favorite. Frankly Scarlet is bit dry in texture and a little harder to work with.

Winter Eyes

In terms of colors on the eyes, it’s a bit of a mix. Cool purples, icier blues and mints and shimmery taupes are all good picks for this time of year. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill in #24 Madre Perla (top right) is a pearly white with a hidden mint/pink flash that is gorgeous (you can see it in action here). Bare Minerals shadow in Skyline (middle right) is a cooler, slightly greyed blue that pairs nicely with the Bare Minerals duo in Showstopper (bottom middle) (which I’ve also used here). MAC’s Aqua shadow (bottom right) is the perfect mint that is slightly blue that gives it a bit more of an icy flavor, but still so brightening on the eyes. NARS Heart of Glass (top middle) is one of my all time favorites. Michele1218 on Youtube once suggested it over NYX Jumbo Eye Shadow in Milk and the pairing is great during the winter. It gives a hint of blue without being Miss Piggy. It’s very chic. It’s probably the most reached for blue eyeshadow in my collection. Laura Mercier released a limited edition shadow in winter 2013 called Pearl Fantasy (top left) which was too pretty to pass up. It’s one of the lightest taupes I own, but the sheen it gives on the eyes is quite stunning. The formula and texture is interesting, kind of creamy. Similarly, NARS Dual Intensity shadow in Callisto is creamy, but more intense. The sparkle here is amazing and I really enjoy these shadows. I do have to say, I experience fallout during application so while I like them, they aren’t perfect in my book.

Winter Lips

It so happens that all of my choices here are from MAC. As much as the brand may frustrate me at times, they make some really unique colors and I fall for them frequently. The lipglass in Clear Water is icy and sparkly in a way that is beautiful and not obnoxious. The lipstick in Summer Shower looks scary in the tube, but goes on very sheer, adding a hint of minty sparkle to the lips that brightens my smile and lifts my complexion. MAC’s Gone Romancin’ dazzle glass is a pretty, sparkle lavender shade that is probably the most wearable in that category. The formula is creamy and not sticky.

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. Let’s enjoy our icy winter makeup and secretly wish for an early spring! ;)

Happy first day of fall! The nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter; is there anything more comforting than the change of season?

A few days ago I shared my favorite blushes for this time of year. Now I’ve gone through my collection and picked the eyeshadow shades that I gravitate to as the leaves start to change.

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Shown (from bottom left): Burberry Chestnut, Burberry Mulberry, Dior Golden Savannah, NARS Galapagos, Chanel Fauve, Paul & Joe 076

You will notice a theme as you look at the products I selected. Warm tones, burgundy, brown and taupe. I really enjoy khaki tones and browns that lean warm/orange. They are effortlessly appropriate for the season. I believe the Dior and Paul & Joe palettes were limited edition but the rest of the shades are readily available. You can never go wrong with Burberry shadows and these two colors paired together or used alone are stunning.

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Swatches L-R: Dior Golden Savannah, Paul & Joe palette, NARS Galapagos, Burberry Chestnut, Burberry Mulberry, Chanel Fauve

You can see just how perfect any or all of these shades are!

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Shown (clockwise from bottom): MAC Fluidline in Rich Ground, Chanel New Moon, Giorgio Armani #28

One of my all time favorite gel liners is Rich Ground from MAC. It’s a perfect coppery-bronze shade that has a slight red undertone to it. Chanel’s New Moon is not for the faint of heart. It’s extremely glittery and shimmery. It’s a night time shade for me but the effect is gorgeous. Armani’s eyes to kill shadow in #28 is a blend between rose gold and copper. It’s wearable for daytime looks for me.

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Swatches L-R: Chanel New Moon, Giorgio Armani #28, MAC Rich Ground

You can see that the Giorgio Armani shade has more pigment and a sheen where New Moon is quite glittery and more sheer. Rich Ground has amazing payoff and a shine to it that just makes my eyes pop.

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Shown (clockwise from bottom) MAC Outre, MAC Saddle, MAC Cranberry, MAC Sable

Finding an eyeshadow palette to use throughout the fall can be difficult, especially if you have something very specific in mind. I would recommend putting together some of your shades from MAC or Inglot (or any brand with single shadows) and making something that’s all your own. That’s one of the reasons I love Z palettes. I love having the ability to switch and swap colors as my mood or season dictates. I picked a few colors from my MAC palettes that I reach for this time of year.

I hope you enjoyed my selections and got some new ideas for shades to try. I have two more Autumn picks posts left- lips and nails, so watch out for those in the next few days. Let me know some of your favorite eyeshadows for fall; I’m always on the hunt for a gem!

If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that I am absolutely obsessed with the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Shadows. I own them in almost two dozen shades. They are gorgeous, shimmery, pigmented and silky. They blend well alone or together and last all day on my lids. Earlier this summer I posted swatches of my entire collection here.

There were 6 new shades released in this collection, but I opted for the three that I thought I would get the most use out of.

Giorgio Armani Rose Papillon

#30 Rose Papillon

Giorgio Armani Gold Hercule

#32 Gold Hercule

Giorgio Armani Blue Beetle

#34 Blue Beetle

The new shades are duo-chromes! All three of the ones I have are shade-shifters depending on what light is hitting them at the time. They are not as intensely shimmery as the regular line so if that’s something that caused you to stay away from these you may want to check the new shades out. They are very soft and easy to apply. They are buildable- you can wear them as a wash of color or make them as intense as you dare to wear. I picked mine up from Nordstrom and they retail for $33.00/each. I’m not saying they are cheap- but they are definitely worth it!

In order to demonstrate how they change their shades I’ve taken several different swatch photos- all of these were taken on the same day with the same camera settings (dry, without primer):

Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Eyes to Kill Swatches 3

Indoor Light, L-R: Blue Beetle, Rose Papillon, Gold Hercule

Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Eyes to Kill Swatches 2

Direct Sunlight, L-R: Blue Beetle, Rose Papillon, Gold Hercule

Giorgio Armani Scarabeo Eyes to Kill Swatches 1

Indirect Sunlight, L-R: Blue Beetle, Rose Papillon, Gold Hercule

As you can see, these shades are complex. Blue Beetle changes from blue to purple. Rose Papillon reminds me of MAC Vex- albeit a much, much more intense version. It has pink and green shimmers that change with the angle and the light. Gold Hercule is that curious green-gold. Sometimes it is much more apparently green and others it’s purely cool gold.

Here are some swatch comparisons with other Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill shades (all of them were done dry, without primer):

Giorgio Armani Blue Beetle and Rose Papillon Comparisons

Swatches L-R: #20 Obsidian Black, #34 Blue Beetle, #22 Ecailles, #8 Champagne, #9 Rock Sand, #30 Rose Papillon, #28 Red Platine

As you can see above, I don’t have anything like Blue Beetle or Rose Papillon. Blue Beetle is the perfect middle shade to Ecailles and Obsidian Black (and note the purple along the outside of the swatch). Rose Papillon has an amazing duo-chrome quality that my other shades don’t have.

Giorgio Armani Gold Hercule Comparisons

L-R: #24 Smokey Copper, #25 Rusted Gold, #14 Gold Spirit, #32 Gold Hercule, #18 Gold, #26 Carat Gold, #15 Copper/Black Grey

When I first read the description for Gold Hercule I thought it might be something like the limited edition and hard-to-find #14 Gold Spirit. However, upon first view and swatch I noticed it was much lighter- in both the gold and the green components. In Gold Spirit the gold and green don’t appear separately- they blend as one antique looking gold. Gold Hercule changes from green to gold depending on angle and light. It is quite a unique shade indeed and unlike anything I currently own from any brand.

I’d rate these all an ‘A.’ They tick all the boxes for me: unique shades, long-lasting formula and incredibly silky. The price is high and so are my expectations. I would highly recommend you check these out while you can- I hear they are limited edition!

If you’ve visited my site for any length of the time over the past few years you won’t be surprised at this entry. Next up in my Collection Confections series is a very treasured portion of my makeup arsenal- my Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense shadows. Expensive? Totally. Worth it? Absolutely. Every. Single. One.

Cream Eyeshadows 1

I’ve picked up quite a few of these magical pots of sparkling goodness since their release (in 2011 I believe). They haven’t launched any new shades for some time, but when they do you can rest assured I will be watching and waiting with anticipation.

(also, you will note the sneak peek at my next entry situated to the left of the Eyes to Kill shades :))

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Swatches 1

Swatches L-R: #3 Purpura, #4 Pulp Fiction, #6 Khaki Pulse, #8 Champagne, #9 Rock Sand, #14 Gold Spirit (LE), #15 Copper/Black Grey, #18 Gold (LE), #19 Gold/Silver (LE)

If you are unfamiliar with these shadows, they are a cream, cream-to-powder formula. They are incredibly sparkly (though I experience little to no fall out) and dimensional shadows that stay put all day on me, even without primer. They retail for $33/each and can be found on the Giorgio Armani website as well as online and in store at Nordstrom. Nordstrom does not carry the entire permanent range on their website, at least not as of the writing of this post. The counters seem to carry most of the range. The Giorgio Armani website (here) carries shades #1-#16 which seems to be the permanent color selection. I have a number of shades that were limited edition, unfortunately, but you may still be able to find them at select counters. The drugstore equivalent is Loreal’s Infallible shadows. I have a post comparing some of the shades here.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Swatches 2

Swatches L-R: #20 Obsidian Black (LE), #21 Obsidian Grey (LE), #22 Ecailles (LE), #23 Madre Perla (LE), #24 Smokey Copper (LE), #25 Rusted Gold (LE), #26 Carat Gold (LE), #27 Oxidised Silver (LE), #28 Red Platine(LE)

Now, some of these I have listed as limited edition, but I’m not entirely sure that they are. #24-#28 are still showing as available on the Giorgio Armani and Nordstrom websites but they are not listed within the permanent range and I don’t think they are available at the counters. It’s good to know some of them are still available even a year after being released! As a side note, the shade #22 Ecailles is still showing as available on the Giorgio Armani site only.

The color range is superb, the quality of the shadows is unrivaled in terms of their reflective properties and staying power (at least on my lids). I prefer these to Chanel’s offering of cream shadows. I have several shades that have noticeable dips in the pots because of how much I use them. My favorites: #9 Rock Sand, #14 Gold Spirit, #19 Gold/Silver, #26 Carat Gold. Although I think I’d be happy owning every shade they offer. ;)

I posted a small cry for help on twitter the other day regarding bronzers. I took a break from buying new ones last summer because… well… here is a portion of the ones I own:

Bronzer Mania

Included in this group: Dior Aurora, Estee Lauder Sea Star Bronzing Blush, Too Face Chocolate Soleil, Too Faced Aqua Bunny, Chanel Soleil tan de Chanel, Giorgio Armani Bronze Mania #1, MAC Give Me Sun, MAC So Ceylon, Tarte Park Ave Princess, Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzing Powder, Physician’s Formula Cashmere, Sonia Kashuk Illuminating Bronzer, Givenchy Bonne Mine, Mark Pro Bronze, Bourjois Delice de Poudre in #52 and #14

As you can see, I have tried numerous formulations, brands, textures and colors. Below is a swatch of a few selected shades featured above:

Bronzer Swatches

Swatches L-R: MAC Give Me Sun, Giorgio Armani #1, Mark Pro Bronze, Bourjois #52, Bourjois #14, Benefit Hoola, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil

Of the above, my favorites are definitely Give Me Sun, Mark Pro Bronze and the Giorgio Armani. All three have a great texture, give a slightly different tone to the skin (depending on the season) and have excellent lasting power. The Mark Pro Bronze has given me the most mileage with hardly a dent and it was literally the only bronzer I used from May to December last year. I started getting bored with it recently and was looking through my stash for something different. But, nothing is really popping out at me in terms of my next go-to shade. Also worth mentioning is that I loathe Benefit Hoola. It looks way too ashy on me and actually makes me look quite dirty in the face as opposed to glowing. Yeah, yuck.

Which brings me to this post. What bronzer do you use the most? Are there any you highly recommend I try? My wishlist at the moment looks something like this:

Bronzer Wishlist

Guerlain Terracotta Four Seasons Bronzer, Clarins Splendours Summer Bronzing Compact, Edward Bess Daydream, Dior Nude Tan Healthy Glow, Dolce & Gabbana The Bronzer

I have heard so many people rave about the Edward Bess Bronzer, and I am admittedly smitten with the two face products I have already purchased from his line (Quad Royale in Monte Carlo and South of France). The Clarins bronzer looks amazing but I am uncertain of two things: the color and if it will be released in the U.S. The reviews I have seen never show swatches and have been exclusively UK blogs. What gives??? I have also heard plenty of good things about the Guerlain and Dior offerings and have recently fallen in love with Dolce & Gabbana makeup.

So the big question is…what bronzer do I need next? I am actually looking for drugstore/mid range and  high end recommendations as I’d like to get two new shades. I’m looking for a powder formula and something mostly matte or completely matte.

Thank you for your help!!!! :)