Monday, April 21, 2014

Tom Ford Lip Shimmer in Solar Gold for Summer 2014

Tom Ford Lip Shimmer ($49) in Moonlight (white) and Solar Gold (above) can be swept onto bare lips for a sultry, glimmering effect, or veiled over Tom Ford Lip Color to add radiant shimmer to a spectrum of nude and vivid shades. Infused with Vitamins C and E and shea butter, this moisturizing lip glaze in a domed bullet is packaged in a limited-edition, ivory- and gold-colored Tom Ford case.
Like the palette for summer, Solar Gold gave me pause when I first saw the press photos. I wondered if it would add any color at all to my lips - or whether it would mimic gold lip glosses. For the most part, it mimics gold lip glosses, adding a slight golden shine to my lips. It's actually more useful as a cream highlighter.
I took photos in full, mid-day sun. I applied Solar Gold to my arm very heavily, trying to build enough pigment to show you some color.

This is about as good as it gets: a sheer golden shine that adds a gleam - not sparkle - to my lips. It's pretty, but not, in my opinion, worth its price. That may be because I own about 10 gold lip glosses.

On my lips, Solar Gold adds a slightly golden gleam when applied without lipstick underneath. I can see it, but I'm not sure anyone else would notice its subtle color. Use it to top a lipstick, and it almost disappears. It offers average wear and does have a taste. It feels marvelously hydrating on my lips.

Would I purchase it again? No. I bought blind. Will I wear it? Sure - maybe not often, but I'll wear it when I want a barely there sheen.

Tom Ford Beauty's Summer Collection can be found at Tom Ford counters and online.

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tom Ford Unabashed Eye and Cheek Compact for Summer 2014

I purchased Tom Ford's Unabashed Eye and Cheek Compact ($95) reluctantly. It appeared to have a few colors I would like, but the cobalt blue in the press photo (above) gave me pause. I was finally able to take photos to show you why my initial reluctance was reinforced by the real thing.

Tom Ford's limited-edition palette imbues a sultry, effortless summer look with a refreshing twist of color. Eyes are enveloped in a blend of soft pearl and satin finish neutrals and a bold accent of cobalt. Cheeks are illuminated with light rose and peach coral shades for a warm and sexy glow. Packaged in a retro-chic, ivory- and gold-colored Tom Ford case.

The case is white with gold trim - and huge. No one could complain about the amount of product in this $95 compact. The colors I was really looking forward to what appeared to be a shimmering taupe in the upper left corner. I knew the blue would be useful only as an eyeliner. The grey looked nice, as did the cheek colors. Unfortunately, the "shimmering taupe" is nothing but shimmering. It offers a glittering light gold - no taupe.

I took my swatch photos in full, mid-day sun. I swatched all of the shades with a sponge-tipped applicator, working in clockwise order. The "shimmering taupe" is at the top of my arm. What a nearly transparent, glitter fest! I was crushed with the disappointment. I have plenty of glitter eye shadows. I'll admit they are useful as toppers, but one doesn't need a wardrobe of them.

That shade was the make-or-break shade for me. Most of the others can be easily duplicated in my huge collection. They are beautiful, but not unique. The glitter shade does have a touch of gold in it, but it bears no resemblance to what I see in the compact. Sob!

The golden shade is supposed to be a bronzer/cheek shade. I don't see myself using it that way. I will use it as an eye shadow. The blush, a gorgeous warm pink, is the star of the compact. Fortunately, there is an ample amount of it. I'm sure I will wear it down to the bottom of the compact.

The cobalt blue would have no use to me except as an eyeliner. Even then, it's flashy - not my style. I will give it an A+ for last. It clings to the skin and lasts all day.

The taupe-grey shade is very pretty and will be a staple in my wardrobe over the next few months. I think it's a perfect daytime shade. Would the blue liner look good with it? Absolutely, as long as you are comfortable wearing flashy makeup. I can see a woman with chocolate skin wearing the blue as an eyeshadow. It could be snazzy. I'd love to find a model. I may ask a friend of Indian heritage, who has darker skin than I do, to give it a try. I want to see how it looks on her.

What did I buy for $95? A large compact with three shades I will wear and two that will look nearly as pristine as the day I pulled the compact from its brown fabric pouch. Translated statistically, it scores a 60%: not great, but not bad. I guess I expect more from Tom Ford.

I also purchased Solar Gold, which I will show you very soon. For more photos, see Sabrina's The Beauty Look Book.

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

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; 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