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!!!! :)

17. 02. 2013

One of the things that really alerted me to the presence of beauty blogs a few years ago was my intense google search(ing) for swatches, and more importantly, comparisons. I have amassed several swatch comparison posts in my time as a blogger, many of which end up being quite labor intensive. It’s worth it, though, because I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten emails/tweets/comments thanking me for comparing X to Y and how helpful it was in deciding on a purchase. Not only that, but it benefits your truly as well. When I see things side-by-side my mind creates a little photo repository and the next time someone asks me or the general masses if A compares to B, I can generally recall how close they were or what major differences I saw.

Having said that, I have once again compiled a small archive of comparison swatches over the last few months which I probably would have done individual posts on but thought it might be more fun to just collage a few of them together for a neat little post. Enjoy!

Blue Aqua Liner Comparison Swatches

L-R: MAC Undercurrent, Urban Decay LSD, Stila Peacock, Sephora 12 Hour Peacock Blue Shimmer

Sephora had released a new shade of their 12 Hour Jumbo Pencils in Peacock Blue Shimmer some time last fall and I picked it up. I wanted to see how it compared to other shades I had in my collection. It ended up being fairly unique.

Remember that beautiful Lancome holiday shadow with the interlocking pattern (Fil d’Argent)?

Lancome Fil D'Argent

I never did a full post on it, but she is an incredibly gorgeous shadow. Comparisons below!

Lancome Fil D' Argent Swatch Comparisons

L-R: Chanel Fauve, Burberry Rosewood, Lancome Fil D’Argent, Le Metier de Beaute Corinthian

Dolce & Gabbana Caramel Blush Swatches Cooler

L-R: NARS Madly, MAC Gingerly, Tarte Exposed, Dolce & Gabbana Caramel, Burberry Russet

Of these I’d say Caramel is hands down my favorite! Thanks to two wonderful girls (Jessica of Don’t Call Me Jessie for introducing it to me and J. of Lil Lady’s Life for picking it up for me) this has happily been my most used blush of 2013 thus far. The lasting power is amazing…all freakin’ day!

MAC Betty Bright Lipstick

A long time Archie fan (I  still read the comics, Team Betty ftw) I had to indulge in some of the MAC Archie’s Girls collection. I picked up two blushes and two lipsticks, my favorite being Betty Bright. I knew it would be a popular color, as all coral/peach shades MAC releases tend to be. I also knew a comparison swatch fest would be in order….

MAC Betty Bright Comparison Swatches

L-R (all MAC): Watch Me Simmer^, Sunny Seoul, Vegas Volt, Costa Chic, Betty Bright^, Ever Hip^, Cut A Caper^, Fresh Salmon^, Flamingo^, Reel Sexy^, Pleasureseeker^, Ravishing

The lipsticks marked with ‘^’ are all sadly limited edition. I included because I know many of you may own one or more of those shades and would perhaps be curious as to how they compared. The closest is Flamingo but they are different formulas. Costa Chic is also somewhat close but unfortunately not an exact dupe.

IMG_1657

Taupe cream shadows and liners! I know Taupe is really a general term as it applies to colors that are both warm or cool, brown toned or purple toned, matte or shimmer…you get the idea. I have several that I picked that I believe fall into the “generic” taupe category (though I wouldn’t describe any of these shadows as ordinary)!

Taupe Cream Shadows Liners Comparisons

L-R: MAC Electric Cool in Superwatt, Loreal Bronzed Taupe, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill #4, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill #27, MAC Dangerous Cuvee, Buxom Pug, Bobbi Brown Galaxy, Loreal Liquid Diamond, Chanel Illusoire, Tarte SmolderEyes Gunmetal*, Sephora 12 Hour Dark Taupe Shimmer, Mally Dusk*, Mally Rosy Taupe*, Sephora 12 Hour Taupe, Lancome Taupe Brilliant, Annabelle Armour, Urban Decay Mushroom, Urban Decay Stray Dog

Of the above (I know… !!!!) the shade that comes to mine first when I hear the word taupe is Chanel Illusoire. Not this specific brand but just a shade type in general. It’s the perfect mix of purple-grey-brown, flecked with iridescent shimmer. There isn’t a shade in the bunch not worth owning.

IMG_1654

Enter the beige/champagne cream shadows. I should do regular eyeliners too  but I didn’t really think of those at the time, and frankly I didn’t have space on my arm for them all! This type of shadow is my most used. They are the one-swipe wonders of the beauty world. One swipe and you can instantly brighten your eyes and face. They are great as bases or to add a touch of shimmer to any look.

Champagne Shadow Comparison Swatches

L-R: MAC Electric Cool Pure Flash, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill #8, Loreal Blinged and Brilliant, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill #9, MAC Vintage Selection, Loreal Iced Latte, Maybelline Barely Beige, MAC Bare Study, Sephora 12 Hour Beige, Tarte SmolderEyes Champagne*, Tarte Clay Shadow Stick (unnamed)*, Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy, Milani Champagne Toast, Mally Champagne*, Chanel Emerveille

Again, Champagne and Beige shadows take on different forms, some leaning cooler and others leaning warmer. Of the shades above, Giorgio Armani #9 is definitely my most used. I am also very happy to finally have MAC Vintage Selection in my collection. I missed out on it when it was first released in 2010 (I think) but MAC has recently brought it back in their permanent collection.

I hope you enjoyed the comparisons! If you have any comparison requests feel free to leave a suggestion below…I’m always looking for new ideas!

Items marked with a ‘*‘ were provided by PR for review purposes only
28. 10. 2012

In my last post I said I was planning a recent favorites entry and here we are. I wanted to share some of the products that have really been staples for me over the past two (or more) months. During the move and my early visits to Chicago before the transition I was relegated to using makeup out of a makeup bag so I learned to pick my choices wisely. Natural and versatile are two words I would choose to describe the items I ended up falling in love with all over again, and some for the first time.

Face

I stuck with products that would work with anything and were versatile enough to change up my eyes & lips when I wanted to.

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury- For powder highlight this has been my go-to. I’m sad that this was limited edition because it’s absolutely fabulous and works great as a brightening eyeshadow as well

Benefit Watt’s Up- When I wasn’t using Modern Mercury I was using this. I think it’s the only one I’ve been using for the last two weeks for sure. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until now. I have Becca Moonstone shimmering skin perfector on the way so I’m interested to see how the two compare.

NARS Madly- This was the blush I used for most of August and early September. It’s one of my all time favorites in general, but probably my most used from NARS.

Chanel Rose Ecrin- This was my first Chanel blush and I keep going back to it. It gives the perfect rosy/nude flush to cheeks. If I could suggest any Chanel blush of the ones I have tried/own it would be this one. Darker skin tones may have a harder time pulling it off though, because it is a bit lighter.

Mark Pro Bronze- This is the only bronzer I have used (I may have used others a mere handful of times) since May. It is barely showing a dent and I use it every day. The next bronzer on my list is from Edward Bess, but I haven’t taken the plunge and ordered it just yet because I love this one so much. I would like to see Daydream in person (or if you have tried it, what your thoughts are).

Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Roller- I started using this again recently after switching from my Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (I use a combo if light and medium to get my perfect shade match) just to freshen up my routine a bit. I like this a lot for under the eyes and I believe this is my second or third rollerball.

Swatches L-R: Mark Pro Bronze, NARS Madly, Chanel Rose Ecrin, Estee Lauder Modern Mercury, Benefit Watt’s Up

Lips

For lips I stuck with neutrals for the most part. I spent a lot of time in meetings so I needed things that looked polished and professional and didn’t really distract anyone.

Buxom White Russian- I saw this on Michele1218′s Youtube Channel awhile back and I think I purchased it sometime in July. I think it’s a great nude gloss and the formula is really enjoyable. It does have that minty tingle, but it’s not overpowering. I am sensitive about products with the “tingle factor” in them because they usually irritate my lips but the Buxom product don’t.

NARS Greek Holiday- For going out this gloss is one of my favorites. I wear it alone of layered over a lipstick. It has the most gorgeous sparkle to it (though not at all gritty) and the NARS lipgloss formula ranks in my top favorites for sure.

NARS Lip Pencil Sex Machine- This is a great neutral color. It adds just enough pop to the lips without being overly noticeable or showy. I use it when I want to brighten my face a little bit but don’t want anything loud. The lasting power is great and of all the shades I own I think I use this one the most.

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick Rose*- This has to be my favorite liquid lipstick to date. They are incredibly creamy and pigmented. You only need a small amount and the lasting power is almost unbelievable. This color is a nice rosy neutral. I also have Empress which is a deep berry shade perfect for fall. I have my eye on Canvas and Muse next. Go figure that I’d pick the coral. ;)

Dior Addict Extreme Incognito- I fell in love with the Addict Extreme formula when I purchased Saint Tropez much earlier this year (May?) and knew I wanted a shade that could carry me into the fall. I chose a nude because I wanted something I could just pull out of my bag and apply without a mirror. This did the trick. I love it!

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color Plum Rose- I had first seen Plum Rose what seems like forever ago on Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog here. I fell in love with the shade but we were headed into spring at the time so I didn’t give it much more thought as I knew it would be a great fall color. This past summer I started looking at a new plum or berry shade of lipstick that was a little less bold and a little more neutral and came back to this. It was out of stock for several weeks on the Bobbi Brown website, but once I got the email notification that it was available again I pounced. I love the shade and the formula wears comfortably.

Blistex Medicated Balm- An old favorite. Tried and true, I always have several of these in my bag and around the house. It heals my lips and keeps them moisturized better then anything else I have ever tried.

Swatches L-R: Dior Incognito, Bobbi Brown Plum Rose, NARS Sex Machine, NARS Greek Holiday, Buxom White Russian, Hourglass Rose

Eyes

I will start with mascara. I have been having lots of fun trying new types and brands of mascara lately. I have gotten some really nice sample mascaras: Diorshow New Look, Lancome Hypnose Star, Chantecaille Faux Cils. All three are lovely and I’m still deciding if I will purchase full sizes. I still have a full size of my all time favorite Lancome Hypnose Drama waiting in the wings, so we’ll see. I also tried the Marykay lash love waterproof mascara* and lash primer* and was thoroughly impressed. I have used the waterproof mascara the most the last two months. I discovered that sometimes when I thought my eyeliner was smudging it was really my mascara. I used to be against waterproof mascara unless you knew you were going to get wet or going to cry because they are such a pain to remove. It still is more difficult then regular mascara but I definitely prefer the staying power.

Again, with eyes I stuck to more neutral colors with little pops of bling and black.

Noir Eyeliner in Forever Noir- I have almost exclusively worn black eyeliner for the past several weeks. I have been testing different application methods and a few different formulas and found a favorite in the Noir eyeliner that was included in a Birchbox a few months ago. It is quite black and stays put all day. Most black liners I have tried smudge after 6-8 hours. This goes strong until I remove it.

Urban Decay 24-7 liners in LSD, Mushroom and Midnight Cowboy- I love the UD 24-7 liner formula. I picked up the Ocho Loco set a few weeks ago with LSD and Mushroom being the two shades I wanted most. It is a good deal if you like the formula so I recommend checking it out. Midnight Cowboy was from the set they released last year and it’s a nice eye-brightening shimmery beige.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill in shades 9 and 26- I have long sung the praises of these shadows and they will always be in my top favorites for formula and shade range. 9 is a peachy-champagne and 26 is a light brown/gold. They last all day even with a primer and just brighten the eyes like no other.

Sephora 12 Hour Pencil in Beige- This is a great all-over lid color when you just want to swipe and go. I use it frequently during the work week.

Tarte EmphasEyes Clay Shadow Stick- This doesn’t have a shade name but it’s a nice bronzey-brown that doesn’t turn orange on me. It lasts all day and is easy to blend.

Dior Earth Reflection Quint- Dior makes one of my favorite eyeshadow formulas. Not all of the Dior quints are equal in terms of formula and color payoff. I have been disappointed by some in the past, but that’s not true here. Earth Reflection gets a lot of use from me because it’s easy to create something lighter or darker and the shadows are incredibly buttery and iridescent. I have some more of the quints to show you soon (Fairy Golds, Night Golds and Golden Savannah) so be on the look out for those.

Swatches L-R: Earth Reflection Quint, Giorgio Armani 26, Giorgio Armani 9, Tarte EmphasEyes, Sephora Begie, Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy, Mushroom, LSD, Noir Forever Noir

That’s all I have for now. I forgot to include nails in here but if I think back I really wore Chanel Delight, Butter London All Hail the Queen and Zoya FeiFei the most.

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek in my makeup bag. What have you been using lately? Any rediscovered loves or new finds I should know about? Dish!

 *items marked with a ‘*’ were provided by PR for review purposes only