Sunday, November 29, 2015

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eye Shadow Palette

When I first heard that Gwen Stefani was collaborating with Urban Decay on a palette I knew it would be something I would want to add to my collection, regardless of the shades included! But after receiving it I was so pleased that the colors in this palette turned out to be shades that I will be happy to use on a daily basis.

There is a majority of pale shades, which could be disappointing to some, but overall this is quite a versatile palette. It has many lovely neutrals as well as a few colorful shades, and has a nice balance of mattes and shimmers. Included are highlight, transition, and defining shades so that a complete, cohesive look can be achieved by using this one palette alone. 

Gwen Stefani is said to have participated closely in the design process to ensure that the finished product would reflect her personal style. The packaging is made of sturdy plastic and includes a generously-sized mirror. It is perhaps not lightweight enough to be ideal for travel, but is nevertheless a fun, unique and eye-catching piece with elements of modern art.  

Row 1: Blonde, Bathwater, Skimp, Steady, Punk
  • Blonde (pale beige w/pink iridescent shift)
  • Bathwater (pale beige w/gold pearl)
  • Skimp (pale nude satin)
  • Steady (medium rose w/metallic gold shift)
  • Punk (reddish brown matte)
Row 2: Baby, Anaheim, Stark, Zone, Serious
  • Baby (cool metallic rose)
  • Anaheim (light taupe-brown matte)
  • Stark (nude-pink matte)
  • Zone (medium brown matte)
  • Serious (smoky gray w/iridescent floating pearl)
Row 3: Pop, Harajuku, Danger, 1987, Blackout
  • Pop (pale coral w/iridescent sparkle)
  • Harajuku (metallic blue-pink w/iridescent micro-shimmer)
  • Danger (deep metallic royal blue w/blue micro-sparkle)
  • 1987 (bright metallic yellow-gold) 
  • Blackout (blackest black matte)

I can't wait to start putting this palette to use! I would recommend it to anyone, though the general consensus seems to be that it will appeal more to those with pale or light skin tones. I do think that it could work well for anyone really, especially if you already own many dark or vibrant shades and could use a few more highlight shades to supplement your existing collection. 

As of this writing it is out of stock at Urban Decay, but it will be available at Sephora, both online and in stores, beginning on December 1st. 

Glitter reindeer from Target and candles from Bath & Body Works 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Look of the Day: Gold, Peach and Plum

After a hectic week at the office, I'm so glad the weekend is finally here. How about you? Although chances are that by the time you're reading this it may already be over! For today's post I thought I would share a simple look I wore while making a Saturday morning visit to the mall and taking care of errands. 

I decided to "shop my stash" and make use of some items I haven't touched in a long while. The Bare Minerals eye shadow palette shown here was a limited edition and seems to be no longer available except on eBay, but at the end of the post I'll show some easier to find shades from MAC that can be used to achieve a similar result.  


Bare Minerals palette - The Next Big Thing
Stila Smudge Pot - Black
MAC Eye Kohl - Powersurge 
MAC False Lashes Mascara 


MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil - Revved Up
Boots No. 7 Line & Define Lip Pencil - 20 Nude


Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi-Use - 217 Charm 
Estee Lauder Double Wear Powder Makeup - 2N1 Desert Beige
RMS Beauty - "Un" Cover-Up - 11

For the eyes I used all of the shades in The Next Big Thing palette, beginning with the pale gold (Rising Star) on the inner half of the lid and then added the warm bronze (Hoopla) on the outer half of the lid. I used the satin peach (Smash Hit) in the crease and the dark plum (Ensemble) on the outer corner. I lined the top lash line with Stila's Smudge Pot in the shade Black and on the bottom lash line I used MAC's Powersurge Eye Kohl, a lovely antique bronze shade.

Above, left, are four MAC shades that can be used for a similar effect. All of these shades are currently available for purchase on MAC's website. From left to right: Sketch (Velvet), Free to Be (Matte), Amber Lights (Frost), and Gorgeous Gold (Veluxe Pearl) 

On the right are the four shades in Bare Minerals' The Next Big Thing palette, from left to right: 
Ensemble, Smash Hit, Hoopla, and Rising Star

I ended up preferring MAC's matte shade Free to Be over the warm peach shade included in the palette, but liked the other shades equally as well. The dark plum shade in the palette is more richly pigmented than MAC's Sketch, but Sketch can be built up to a comparable intensity.

The quality of the Bare Minerals Ready shadows is great--especially the shimmery shades, which are so smooth and pigmented. They also offer some pretty duos with neutral shades that are worth a look if you've never tried them before. 

Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Guerlain Holiday Météorites 2015: Flocons Enchantés

The single holiday collection I look forward to most each year is Guerlain's. Their packaging is consistently lovely and their holiday palettes rarely disappoint, and they usually contain just the sort of colors I enjoy using. 

This year's collection, released back in mid-October, is entitled Neiges et Merveilles and has a winter fairy tale theme. The limited-edition Météorites, Flocons Enchantés (also referred to as Perles de Neiges) are a bit different than those we've seen lately. Rather than being enclosed in the traditional metal tin, these are contained in a pearly sphere made of plastic, reminiscent of a snow globe. An intricate golden snowflake design along with the iconic Guerlain logo can be seen through the transparent top.

As a makeup lover from a very young age, I had been curious about Météorites for as long as I can remember, but it would be many years before I actually purchased any. I had always thought of them as the sort of product that is a luxurious indulgence rather than a practical "necessity." But after acquiring a small number of them in recent years I can say that few items in my collection are as beautiful to look at, or as fun to use! 

Even the interior of the box is beautifully designed.

There is a handy mirror provided inside the top half of the container and a cute white powder puff with a golden bow. I prefer to use a brush rather than the puff that Guerlain includes, but it is convenient for a quick dusting of powder and it also helps to keep the pearls from moving around freely in the container and becoming damaged.  

I think what has excited everyone most about these, aside from the unique packaging, is that this year we have not only the usual pretty shimmering pearls, but we get stars too! (Well, actually they're meant to be snowflakes but I'm going to call them stars.) How can a Guerlain fan resist?
According to Guerlain the shades included are beige, to even out the skin tone; champagne for illumination; and golden, for a sun-kissed effect. Below is a closeup taken in sunlight to better capture the shimmery glow. Aren't they gorgeous?

To apply Météorites I swirl a powder brush around in the pearls making a point to get the bristles as far as possible toward the bottom of the jar to catch some of the loose powder residue. I use Guerlain's Météorites brush, which is made of goat hair. It has received mixed reviews and is not as soft to the touch as some of my other powder brushes, but its firm bristles do a better job of picking up the powder than a softer, fluffier brush would. I have read that the Hakuhodo J104 brush is a nice option to use with Météorites

Flocons Enchantés provides a refined pearly sheen to the skin that seems to slightly diffuse imperfections. When you look closely you can make out the shimmer but it is not overly apparent. If you are after a dramatic highlighting effect you'll probably want to look elsewhere, as this product functions primarily as a finishing powder and the results are quite subtle, at least on my light (MAC NC20) skin tone. 

Below is a look at my entire Météorites collection. It all started with the limited-edition Perles du Dragon (2012) followed by Perles d'Etoiles (2014). Then during last year's Sephora VIB sale I splurged on the Météorites brush as well as  #4 Dore, the darkest shade offered in the permanent range, which I use as a blush. 

Flocons Enchantés


Flocons Enchantés looks a bit out of place next to the others above, but wouldn't it look magical all on its own as a centerpiece on one of those fancy mirrored vanities? (Unfortunately, I don't have a fancy mirrored vanity!)

Clockwise: Perles d'Etoile, Doré, Flocons Enchantés, and Perles du Dragon 
Left to right: Doré (#4), Perles d'Etoile, Perles du Dragon, and Flocons Enchantés
Left to right: Doré (#4), Perles d'Etoile, Perles du Dragon, and Flocons Enchantés

Above, you can see the differences in tone and it is apparent just how light Flocons Enchantés is in comparison to the other Météorites in my collection. Despite being so pale, I think its sheerness will allow it to be suitable across a wide range of skin tones.

Flocons Enchantés is a lovely addition to my small but growing Météorites collection--but is it a must-have? Probably not. However, if you are in the market for an elegant, violet-scented finishing powder, then this could be a nice (albeit pricey) gift to yourself this holiday! As of this writing it is mostly sold out online, but you may still be able to find one at your local counter.