Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

Whether it's a holy day for you or a holiday opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, I hope you enjoy your day.

I saw my Easter bunny yesterday! He has been scarce lately. My garden used to be populated with darling bunnies. They do a great job munching on weeds - and the occasional herb. I hadn't seen one in months (because I was inside so much this winter? there was too much snow and ice?), but yesterday a big bunny was out and about. I guess someone told him it was Easter. I hope he lays low when the foxes are around.

I wish hats were in style around here. They seem like the perfect accessory for Easter. Fancy hats are still appreciated in the United Kingdom, within the African-American community, and in the deep South. They know how to wear hats! I love seeing the ladies, all decked out in their pastel outfits, wearing coordinating hats to church on Easter Sunday. These days, many of us wear wide-brimmed hats to garden or at the beach to keep the sun off our faces. You can't even find fine, fancy hats in the stores - the kind Kate Middleton has been photographed wearing. Am I alone in my wish for a resurgence of fashionable hats?

Mom finally "gave" and agreed to go out to Easter dinner. Mom, one of my very best friends, and I will be going to an Italian restaurant close to her house. It strikes me as an odd choice, but Mom chose it, so off we will go at the end of what's predicted to be a beautiful afternoon.

Enjoy the day!

Kate Middleton photo courtesy of people.com; other photo sources unknown

Guerlain Maxi Shine Gloss d’Enfer in Nahema Smack for Summer 2014

The tube of Guerlain's Maxi Shine Gloss d'Enfer in Nahema Smack (#940, $30) sings summer. It presents itself as a warm orange or coral shade that might scare anyone who don't gravitate toward orange lip colors because of our coloring. The fascinating thing about Nahema Smack is that it's not really orange on the lips. I'll show you the color; just don't ask me about its name. I have no idea what it means.

I purchased mine blind, relying on Jonathan at the Guerlain Boutique to describe the lip colors that were coming for summer and help me choose those that might work for me. Once again, Jonathan scored a perfect prediction. You are going to love him. I'll give you his phone number at the bottom of the feature. He is my go-to guy for Guerlain.

My first hint that Nahema Smack wasn't a fiery orange was on the applicator. It has much more rose on it than I was expecting. The applicator said "rosy coral."  Sure enough, that's what I saw on my arm and lips. On my lips, it is even more rose and less coral than it appears on my arm - no doubt because of the rose pigment in my lips. I think Nahema Smack may end up vying with #440 (called a coral pink shimmer) for my favorite gloss. I wear #440 every day. I think I have six of them. If Guerlain ever discontinues the shades, I may cry.

I took my photos in mid-day full sun, just as some high clouds started to roll in - perfect conditions for showing color without extra reflection from sunshine. Look at this gorgeous color! It is vibrant, saturated, and subtly shiny. The shine comes from a measured amount of micro-shimmer.

I've included three exposures here - all showing slightly different intensity of Nahema Smack's color and shine. They all came from the same swatch. Oddly, if you check out other blogs, you may find it looks bright orange. I cannot explain the difference.

No matter which photo becomes the focus of your attention, I think you'll agree with me that Nahema Smack is much prettier and more elegant - and certainly more wearable - than it appears in the tube. I love this shade!

Gloss d'Enfer Maxi Shine’s oil composition creates a moisturizing barrier to ensure an intense softness. The ergonomic applicator allows for easy lip definition, more effectively evoking the hint of a smile. Additionally, each shade presents varying degrees of coverage and pigment intensity. The perfect partner for a desirable, appealing smile, Maxi Shine offers tailor-made effects for beautifully enhanced lips.

As advertised,  Gloss d'Enfer offers lovely ladylike shimmer and feels great on the lips. It offers average wear time, with the more pigmented shades lasting longer than the very sheer ones. These glosses have a smooth and non-sticky texture and glide onto the lips like a second skin. Guerlain says we'll forget Maxi Shine is even on. I understood them when I applied the first, with the launch last spring. Composed of mineral and vegetal oils, the texture forms a protective barrier on the lips that prevents moisture from evaporating and keeps the lips soft and hydrated. My lips look extremely shiny, radiant, and even brilliant when I wear Gloss d'Enfer. This is my kind of lip gloss.

Interested? Call Jonathan at the Guerlain Boutique at in Las Vegas at (702) 732-7008. He usually works a later shift, so I find him in the late afternoon or early evening East Coast time. I love our three-hour time difference and phone shopping with him at night! Naturally, the Guerlain Summer 2014 Color Collection will arrive at all Guerlain counters - probably this month. I like shopping in Las Vegas; I save on tax and pay no shipping fees. They treat me well. How much better can it get?

Photo at top courtesy of Guerlain; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Friday Forum - April 18

I love daffodils with pink cups, so they are overrepresented in my garden. Here is one of the first that bloomed - at a time when it was freezing at night and raining every other day.

I have had a crazy-long week. We had a large virtual team gathered in DC, and I worked extended hours every day. I am totally exhausted. Every evening, I came home, fed the cats, drank a beer with some cookies or cake, wrote a blog post, and went to bed so that I could start again in the morning. Oh, and there was the last-minute IRS stuff to do on top of everything else.

I don't have the energy to write up this week's beauty news. I promise I'll do that over the weekend.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guerlain Terracotta Sun Celebration Bronzing Powder & Blush, 30th Anniversary Edition, for Summer 2014

I couldn't wait to get my hands on Guerlain's Terracotta Sun Celebration Bronzing Powder & Blush ($76), the special 30th Anniversary Edition. Now that I have, I'm even more hyped about it than I was when I first saw the press photos. It's magnifique! The compact is absolutely gorgeous, from the magnetic cover to the powder itself, and the look on the skin is as good as it gets (considering my own skin).

Sun Celebration Bronzing Powder & Blush is a limited edition, and I predict it will sell out quickly (I've been wrong in the past about such things, but not often). If you have an interest, purchase or pre-order it immediately. I had pre-ordered mine from the Guerlain Boutique in Las Vegas, so it was shipped to me the moment it arrived at the store.

Twist off the glorious magnetic wooden cover with its own sun design, and you'll see this large, elegant quad of summer colors embossed with a vibrant golden sun. Its appearance is stunning - sure to draw compliments if you pull it out for a touch-up to show it off in public.

I took swatch photos in full, very late-afternoon sunshine. I swatched a "stripe" at the top of my arm with a sponge-tipped applicator, and I used a blush brush to apply a larger swatch below. Both are heavy applications. I blended all four colors and made sure to pick up some metallic "sunshine" too. I did not swatch each individual color - all matte: summer peach, sunset pink, and a brown/tan. Because the compact is large, you can easily use the colors individually. I'll try that later. I wanted to show you this makeup museum piece right away.

You will see some sparkles in my swatches, but I think they result from the central sun. I've read that there is an overspray, but I'm not sure about that. If there is, those sparse sparkles will disappear with use. I know many of you prefer matte or satin bronzers, and I think this one fits the bill.

The powder itself is finely milled and compacted well, so it applies lightly. You have to work at it to over-do an application. It does not leave a powdery mess after you swipe it, no matter what applicator you use.

You can see that the blended color is a beautiful, light, golden tan. It looks natural on my face when applied to the high points. I leaves no mud behind, just a stunning sun-kissed effect. Had I wanted to make the color pinker, I could have used more pink. The same is true for all the colors, giving us ultimte flexibility.

It's too bad I had goosebumps when I snapped these photos. You can see on my arm how cold I was. We had a sudden turn from 86 degrees on Sunday to a sleet storm Tuesday evening. The weather may be telling me that Sun Celebration's time hasn't come, but I'm not buying that. I'll be wearing it the moment I want to look healthy and happy. Tomorrow?

I knew that anything Guerlain would name its 30th Anniversary Terracotta piece - drawing special attention to its golden franchise - would be good. I had no idea it would be magnificent.

Photo at top courtesy of Guerlain; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dior Summer 2014 Transatlantic Collection for Saks Fifth Avenue - Sunrise and Beige Songe

When I was at Saks Fifth Avenue this past weekend, I ran right into Dior's Saks-exclusive Transatlantique Collection for Summer 2014. There were some extremely tempting pieces on the carefully edited display. Nail colors, lip colors, eye colors and a Nude Tan Shimmer Powder - eye-catching colors. Some of the pieces will eventually be available at other stores; others won't. I purchased three pieces. Today, I'll show you the lip colors that captured me.

The Limited Edition Transatlantique Color Collection was inspired by Christian Dior’s love for travel and the brand’s spirit for timeless elegance and playfulness. The collection boasts classic, elegant shades contrasted by bold pops of color.

Rouge Dior Couture Colour & Voluptuous Care Lipstick ($34) in Sunrise is a new, limited-edition shade - a beautiful, warm sunrise pink. It's shown in my photo directly below.

Dior Addict Gloss Mirror Shine Volume & Care ($29.50), shown below in Beige Songe, is also a new, limited-edition shade. The soft, sandy, shimmering beige was designed to complement Sunrise.

I fell in love with these shades at the counter. My love grew when I got home and started playing with them - alone and together. I took swatch photos in full sun, with Sunrise at the top of my arm and Beige  Songe below.

As you can see, they are both deliciously shiny. They offer the same qualities that have kept me in Dior lip colors for many years. They feel good and look good. What more can I expect?

I adore the pink shade of Sunrise. Could you find a dupe out there? I'm sure. Why, though, when Sunrise is so classy for spring. I'll wear it year round, but those who love to change out their colors with the seasons will find Sunrise a beautiful addition for spring and summer.

Beige Songe isn't distinctive, but it's a great neutral. It proves very subtle color when worn alone, but adds a sheer, luminous glow to top any lipstick in any color.

You can purchase these lip colors today at Saks Fifth Avenue at counters and online. I'll show you the stunning, high-wattage shimmer powder tomorrow. I couldn't resist.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, April 14, 2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer Broad Spectrum SPF 15

The perfect complement to Giorgio Armani Beauty's new Maestro Fusion Blush, Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer (#500, $64) creates a 100% natural sun-kissed look with one drop. I had to purchase it. I love everything Giorgio Armani Beauty launches, and I could be called dedicated (devout?) to the company's liquid products.

"Maestro Mediterranea" builds on the revolution led by Maestro Fusion Makeup Complexion Perfector, which launched in 2012. Maestro Color-Fil technology has reinterpreted the alchemy of Maestro Complexion Perfector and adapted it to this new bronzer. Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer benefits from the unique, lightweight texture that fuses naturally with the skin - as promised.

The secret of this iconic Maestro formula is that no water or white powder is used. Instead, it contains five non-comedogenic oils, including white lotus oil (lotus flowers contain linoleic acid, protein, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B and C), which gradually evaporate upon application and leave you with a “no makeup feel,” somewhat like a stain, but without a drying effect. Its name is perfect because it literally fuses with my skin. The suspension of ultra-fine oil pigments enhances the skin and is enriched with finely milled micro-pearls.

"A concentrate of summer in a single drop. [It's] 100% fake, but looks 100% real. Take a Maestro sun break in the city," said Linda Cantello, Giorgio Armani International Makeup Artist. Liquid Summer Bronzer provides beautiful "tan" color, brightens the skin, and applies weightlessly on the skin - all the while providing broad spectrum SPF 15 protection against the sun's rays.

What I like the most about Liquid Summer Bronzer is the sheer color that can be applied to be just about "anything you want it to be. Mix it with your foundation or moisturizer, and it will give you a touch of sunshine on your skin. Brush it lightly on the high points of your face, and you will achieve a sun-kissed glow without looking "tan." Apply it all over your face and neck and appear to have returned from a trip to the beach.

The color is light and sheer if you go easy on the application or darker if you build the color. The choice is yours. Just remember, it dries very quickly and then lasts all day, so make sure to work quickly when applying it.

I applied my swatch with a sponge-tipped applicator (as unnatural as it gets), and I did not attempt to blend the color. I wanted you to see the pure color - without intervention. I took my photos in full, mid-day sun.

I find the golden bronzer shade to be beautiful on my skin - without a trace of mud. It has a glow, but does not shimmer. That's why it looks so natural when applied "properly." Naturally, you can make it lighter or darker with your application technique. I apply it to my fair skin with a light touch.

Liquid Summer Bronzer and the new Fusion Blushes are available at some Giorgio Armani Beauty counters, such as the one at Saks where I purchased mine, as well as the Armani Beauty Web site. Scheduled to launch this month, they should be available at all Armani counters before April ends.

Photo at top courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty Maestro Mediterranea Fusion Blush

Inspired by the intensity of Italian sun, Giorgio Armani Beauty unveils its interpretation of healthy glow makeup. Armani has dedicated all of its expertise in fabrics and face makeup to create a 100% natural sun-kissed look.

For Linda Cantello, Giorgio Armani International Makeup Artist, you need both bronzers and blush to create a beautiful and natural tanned look. Looking sun-kissed doesn't just mean having a warm complexion; it also focuses on highlighting the color of the cheekbones. With Maestro Mediterranea (I have no idea where the "n" went), you can mix, blend, or layer for a custom result.

Maestro Mediterranea builds on the revolution led by Maestro Fusion Makeup Complexion Perfector, which launched in 2012. Maestro Color-Fil technology has reinterpreted the alchemy of Maestro Complexion Perfector and adapted it to blush and bronzer. Maestro Fusion Blush ($52) and Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer benefit from the unique, lightweight texture that fuses naturally with the skin. Naturally, I had to have them both! Today, I'm featuring the blush, and tomorrow I will move on to the bronzer.

The secret of this iconic Maestro formula is that no water or white powder is used. Instead, it contains five non-comedogenic oils, including white lotus oil (lotus flowers contain linoleic acid, protein, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B and C), which gradually evaporate upon application and leave you with a “no makeup feel,” somewhat like a stain, but without a drying effect. Its name is perfect because it literally fuses with my skin. The suspension of ultra-fine oil pigments enhances the skin and is enriched with finely milled micro-pearls for Liquid Summer Bronzer and essential concentrated pigments for Fusion Blush.

The Fusion Blush comes in three shades: #300, #400 (left above), and #500 (right above). I selected my two colors on the phone - even without pictures. I finally got over to Saks Fifth Avenue at Chevy Chase to pick them up early this weekend. The one that didn't come home with me was #300. If I were not feeling a poverty pinch right now, I would have purchased it too. I told Giannina I could only have two, and she ruled out the apricot-toned #300 as being "the least ideal" for me. Now, though, I have something akin to "non-buyer's remorse." I think #300 would be beautiful on me if it were mixed with any of the other blush shades or the bronzer - especially the bronzer. That's the delicious thing about liquids.

I took swatch photos in full, mid-day sun. I applied the Fusion Blushes with a sponge-tipped applicator so I could get even swatches. You would never do that in "real life." Additionally, my swatches are very dark because I did not blend them at all.

I would normally apply Fusion Blush by putting a dot (a little of this highly pigmented formula goes a very long way) from the applicator in my palm, pick it up with a foundation brush, and, working quickly, apply the fluid. It dries very quickly, so you have to work fast. If you are intimidated by that, mix the blush with some moisturizer. That's a good way to soften the color too.

I swatched #400 at the top of my arm, with #500 below. I'll admit they don't look radically different in my photos, but you can see a shade difference in person, particularly when you blend them for a light application. Both are beautiful rose shades; one is described as pink and the other as ruby. I'll assume that #400 is pink and #500 is ruby.

I tried to get photos in different exposures so that you could see the difference on the blog - by the time the photos made their way through several photo "translators."

I wouldn't have missed these new Armani blushes for the world. They are a nice addition to Armani's new Cheek Fabric Sheer Blushes. It's a cheeky season.

These new Fusion Blushes are available at some Giorgio Armani Beauty counters, such as the one at Saks where I purchased mine, as well as the Armani Beauty Web site. Scheduled to launch this month, they should be available at all Armani counters this month.

Photo at top courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty; other photos by Best Things in Beauty