Friday, August 30, 2013

GA Rouge Ecstasy #504 Flesh...Review and Video!

Above: Retailing for $34, Rouge Ecstasy is a new release for Fall 2013.
At the end of my evening at the Neiman Marcus Fall 2013 Trend Event last week, I gleefully picked up a brand new release for Fall 2013 from Giorgio Armani.  Retailing for $34, the Rouge Ecstasy formula features 36 vibrant shades of lipstick that boasts a perfect harmony of color and care.  Proudly claiming to be the first "CC" lip color on the market, Rouge Ecstasy offers intense moisture, rich color and lasting comfort that treats the lips in a luxurious manner.
Above: #504 Flesh is a true light warm pink.
Upon quickly surveying the myriad of options, I found myself instantly drawn to shade #504 Flesh.  This warm baby pink shade felt like the lipstick version of one of my favorite glosses in existence, Le Metier de Beaute Lip Creme in Two Lips and, once swatched, I knew this gem was going home with
Above: The red case is visually breathtaking, no?!
Rouge Ecstasy visually stands apart from its contemporaries in the line due to its pure red case.  As far as I am concerned, it is sleek and unmitigated luxury incarnate!  The magnetic closure guarantees a smooth separation when the cap is removed and a satisfying click when the top is returned to its rightful place on the bullet.  Furthermore, locating it in my purse amongst a veritable sea of lip color is much easier due to the bold color!
Above: #504 Flesh in natural daylight.
#504 Flesh is utterly enchanting.  I've come to discover that it is not as peachy pink as Two Lips; in fact, despite being a warm pink (in stark contrast to say, the cool violet pink of Le Metier de Beaute Palm Springs), it doesn't pull peach or coral, but instead maintains the fidelity of a true warm pink over the course of hours of wear.  This quality makes Flesh completely unique in my collection.
Above: Two passes of #504 Flesh builds medium coverage opacity.
As I've already alluded to, the lasting power of the Rouge Ecstasy formula is remarkable.  I find myself getting four hours of extremely comfortable wear with a single application (which, in my case, is a couple of swipes).  The finish is semi-glossy, but the formula is stalwart enough to avoid migration and wear evenly.  Also, my lips (which, if not handled with kid gloves, constantly battle with dryness) remain lusciously balanced, comfortable and hydrated...stunning color plus moisture?  I'm all in! in HD by clicking the gear icon and selecting 720p HD!

Below: Images of Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy #504 Flesh on the lips in natural sunlight...

Bottom Line: The Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy formula is phenomenal. The emollient and buildable color is saturated with pigment and, upon application, my lips stay moisturized for hours.  I am not usually one for the color red, but the red lipstick tube is gorgeous...the way it stands out in my bag, like a crimson beacon of luxury, is undeniable.  As I mentioned in my video, I am pleased that I selected #504 Flesh first, as it is a truly unique pink that instantly brightens up the face without getting fluorescent.  I cannot wait to try other shades in this formula and have a sneaking suspicion that the bright red presence in my purse will continue to increase in the months ahead ; ) 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Neiman Marcus Fall 2013 Trend Event + Online Beauty Announcement!

Above: It may still be August, but I am ready for Fall 2013 at Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills.
Last week, I attended the Neiman Marcus Fall 2013 Trend Event at Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills.  From delightful edibles to a gorgeous fashion show featuring the finest in fall attire, this evening was a marvelous mix of perusing and mingling as well as a catalyst for inspiration for the cooler months to come!

Scroll on for images from the evening and a special beauty announcement at the end of this post...

Above: Fall 2013 at Neiman Marcus.
Above: Rich fuchsia for the cool weather.
Above: Basic browns and patterned pants for a novel take on the schoolboy look.
Above: Nothing like a statement coat to update your wardrobe for fall!
Above: This violet gray number compels me to wish for the immediate arrival of brisk air.
Above: The closing outfit from the show featured slim black cigarette pants (LOVE) and a strapless knit top with an intensely unique take on the peplum trend.  
Above: Directly after the show...enjoying my Andy Warhol Perrier ; ) 
Above: Lush jewel tones from the show.
Above: Lace and beading offers a refreshingly unusual take on basic black.
Above: The dynamic DJ from the show.
Above (from L-R): The Beauty Professor and the lovely Greta Kuper from NMBH PR.
Above (from L-R): Fall is in the air...Erin Shaffer (NMBH Head of PR), the Beauty Professor and Greta Kuper (NMBH PR).
Above: Spending some quality time with LMdB Specialist and dear friend, Scott Reyes...he's absolutely splendid!

The end of summer also means that the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event is just around the corner...with that in mind, I am excited to announce that Neiman Marcus has recently launched its online Beauty Product Specialist Program, which offers online customers the personalized experience they would receive in a Neiman Marcus store!

“Through this program, our customers can expect to receive guidance on skincare regimes, makeup application, and choosing a personal scent,” said Kelly St. John, Neiman Marcus Direct Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Beauty. “The Neiman Marcus Online Product Specialist is here to take the mystery and question out of the equation for the customer when it comes to her Cosmetic and Fragrance needs.” 

This is a wonderful option for beauty lovers who want to order a product from my blog aims to do through swatches and reviews, this program aims to simplify the online experience, ultimately helping you to find your way to the best products on the market!

Customers have the ability to contact their Product Specialist of choice via email directly from the Neiman Marcus website. 

Currently the program has specialists representing the following brands:

Armani Beauty
Beauty by Clinica Ivo Pitanguy
Cle de Peau Beaute
Dior Beauty
Hanae Mori
La Prairie
Laura Mercier
Yves Saint Laurent 

Bottom Line: Neiman Marcus embraces seasonal change in the most exciting of ways...from vibrant events to spectacular beauty bags, this iconic shopping destination has single-handedly made me excited for the fall, even if the coming months guarantee a spike in my insane work schedule.  Additionally, the integration of the NM Beauty Product Specialist Program is a stroke of genius, making it much easier for those without a NM nearby to procure products that perfectly fit their interests and needs!

Early next week, I'll be previewing the gorgeous bag for the Beauty Event, along with sharing all the details of my very first Beauty Professor/Neiman Marcus collaboration (also hosted by InStyle magazine) the meanwhile, Southern California locals: kindly put 9/18/13 from 11-1PM on the calendar! 


--The Beauty Professor

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NARS Radiant Cream Foundation Review and Video

Above: The NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation.
Upon hearing the news last month that NARS would be releasing a cream foundation in August, my curiosity was immediate piqued.  Couple my insane love for foundation with an ultimate preference for portable cream versions and my local Sephora couldn't get this formula in stock soon enough!  I was able to pick it up, right before departing for my road trip to Wyoming and began the testing period immediately.

Scroll on for product description and images, my experience, a VIDEO review and images of the foundation on my face in various lighting situations...

Above: The contents of the compact and foundation, pre-assembly.
In order to get the full and complete experience, one must procure the foundation ($38) and compact ($10) separately.  This arrangement, while a bit unorthodox for NARS base products, allows the compact to have future utility since it can refilled in perpetuity (each foundation unit comes with a fresh sponge).
Above: The compact features a generous mirror and separate ventilated sponge compartment.
I was pleased with the generous, yet stremlined size and shape of the compact...the mirror is substantial and the compact opens easily and closes securely.  The foundation unit snaps easily into place and doesn't require any adhesive to stay turn, the compact is well-crafted, truly reusable and definitely worth the extra $10.
Above: The sponge that accompanies the foundation refill comes in an hygienically sealed packet.
As aforementioned, each foundation unit includes a sealed sponge that fits perfectly in the separate ventilated compartment in the compact...although I like having a sponge with my foundation (for touchups and application on the go), I found foundation application with the sponge to be uneven and patchy...I much prefer a dampened Beauty Blender to ensure the most seamless application process!
Above: Each foundation refill holds .42 ounces of product, totaling much less than the 1 ounce amount typical for most foundations.
I selected the shade Fiji, which is an excellent match for my NC 25 skin fact, it is as superbly matched to my face as my beloved Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Foundation in Natural Beige (although I prefer the KS CP's formula much more overall!).  It doesn't oxidize and remains colorfast throughout the day.
Above:  A closeup of Fji...a yellow-based beige for light to light-medium skin tones with neutral and yellow undertones.
The texture of the foundation is inordinately creamy and emollient.  It glides on effortlessly and, when applied with a dampened Beauty Blender, I can achieve a skin-like finish that is simultaneously perfected and glowing.  The good skin honeymoon, however, is rather short-lived for me.  Because this formula is rather sheer, it can only be built to medium coverage before the foundation begins to look obvious on the skin. Certainly, this is fine for those not requiring full opacity, however, individuals seeking a more powerful coverage situation will want to pursue other options.  Also, touchups are are a bit of a challenge...adding more product later on in the day disrupts the seamless finish and demands intense blending to keep it looking natural.  In contrast, I don't experience the same touch up trepidation with the Kanebo Sensai CP or Hourglass Immaculate Foundation!

The lasting power is acceptable but not noteworthy. If it is not humid, I find that I can get about six hours of wear without needing to touch it up, especially if I set it with a light dusting of powder.  If there is indeed excess moisture in the air, I begin getting excessively glowy and a bit uneven in three to four hours.  Consequently, I will likely prefer this formula more in the cool, dry winter than the warm and humid end of summer season of which I'm currently in the midst.  From a sensitive skin standpoint, this foundation is does not contain fragrance and hasn't irritated my skin or resulted in any clogged pores.
Above: The full ingredients list.  This has not irritated my sensitive skin in any way whatsoever!  It is also does not contain fragrance. 
VIDEO Review (watch in HD!)

Below: The following images reflect the NARS Radiant Cream Foundation on my face in various lighting situations and times of day...
Above: Freshly applied (in indoor lighting).
Above: Freshly applied (in indoor lighting).
Above:  A few hours into application.
Above: Freshly applied (in direct sunlight).
Above: Freshly applied (in direct sunlight).
Above: Freshly applied (in direct sunlight).
Above: Eight hours after application in natural lighting.  The glow is fairly serious at this point. 
Bottom Line: The NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation is lovely when initially applied, however, in my experience, the radiance increases exponentially, transforming from an etherial glow to potentially unflattering sheen over the course of wear.  The formula is emollient and hydrating but offers only sheer to medium buildable coverage.  Upon trial, I discovered that it cannot be built up to full coverage without appearing incredibly conspicuous.  Additionally, touch ups are not seamless and can disrupt the smoothness and harmony of the makeup.  In turn, the formula is beautiful and glowing (and friendly to sensitive skin), however, the aforementioned caveats make this an occasional choice in my foundation rotation rather than a daily necessity.  

Have YOU tried the NARS Radiant Cream Foundation?  Thoughts? 

** This post contains affiliate links; my disclosure policy contains additional details on how these work.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Skylark Memoir Fragrance Collection Review

Above: The Skylark Memoir Collection is a Dermstore/ exclusive.
My taste in fragrance runs the gamut...from the "love it or hate it" Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille to the  ultra mainstream Prada Candy, I tend to gravitate towards sweet, musky skin scents.   I often purchase the smallest bottle of perfume as much as possible, since the fragrance in my collection goes through regular rotation and I rarely finish an entire flacon!  My latest foray into scent came compliments of and features a darling trio of rollerball vials with distinct personalities.  Created by YouTube luminaries, Elle and Blair Fowler, the Skylark Memoir Collection offers three purse-sized scents perfect for someone who enjoys switching their fragrances frequently.
Above: All three scents, safely nesting in their box.
Retailing for $59.99, the rollerballs come securely housed in a compact box that makes for excellent storage when not in use.
Above: Each rollerball is large enough to contain an ample amount of product but small enough to toss into your bag without creating bulk.
Each rollerball contains a very reasonable .18 fluid ounces...while some might fear running through this amount of perfume quickly, the significant lasting power of these fragrances allows me to apply only once or twice in the day for full impact.
Above: The rollerball is the perfect way to control the application of the fragrance.

I found that the rollerballs released an appropriate amount of product with each pass on the skin...not too much and not too little.  I personally prefer a rollerball to an atomizer because I feel like there is more direct contact between the fragrance and skin, I can better control the amount of scent I apply and overall, there is less waste!

Above: Official descriptions of each of the three scents.
Designed to be worn alone or layered together for a signature scent, this trio offers endless possibilities. I most prefer Scent III because it most closely resonates with my sweet and musky skin scent aesthetic...additionally, it contains anise (which, incidentally, is my middle name) and I always embrace fragrance with this note! 

An extra interesting element spawned by this  trio is that those who purchase the collection will be sent an invitation to vote for the fragrance that they like best; the winning scent will be produced in a full-sized bottle later on this year.  

Bottom Line:  The Skylark fragrance trio is a perfect investment for scent lovers who appreciate some olfactory diversity in their life.  Whether you decide to keep all three for mixing and layering or choose to pick your favorite and share the other two options with those you love, the collection offers something for everyone!

**PR samples provided for review, however, as always, all of my opinions are expressly and unequivocally my own. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation...Swatches of Every Shade!

Above: The YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation is housed in a lovely ombre chic!

During the Neiman Marcus Fall 2013 Trend Event last week (full recap soon!), I was delighted to discover that the YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation testers had just arrived, enabling me to swatch all 10 color offerings!  Although I left with samples of three shades (B30, BR40 and BD50), I haven't experimented with the foundation long enough to offer a cogent assessment.  However, I am happy to share my swatches and hope they are helpful to those striving to find a perfect match in this brand new formula.  The shades are separated into three categories: B (for skin with neutral to warm/yellow undertones), BR (for skin with neutral to cool/rosy undertones) and BD (for skin with olive/golden undertones).  

I would like to note, however, that I found the BR shades were not inordinately rosy/pink...two of the three (BR20 and BR40) are actually are a very nice neutral beige.  In fact, I think I preferred the BR40 as my closest shade match (over the B30, which looked a little flat on my face and oxidized a tad orangy on my wrist and BD50, which was a bit too dark for my NC25 skin).  It is also imperative to mention that the currently available shade range favors light and medium skin tones with only B60, BR60 and B70 at the darker (though not particularly dark) end of the range.  If this foundation is as good as its description makes it sound, then I hope they introduce darker shades to the spectrum so everyone can enjoy it!

This formula is currently available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Barney's NYBloomingdale's, Saks and Lord & Taylor.

Kindly scroll on for swatches, shade descriptions and images of the foundation on a human face...

YSL Youth Liberator foundation swatches
Above: Dots of the YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation before blending out in semi-outdoor lighting.
YSL Youth Liberator foundation swatches
Above: Swatches in as natural daylight as I could get at 6:30 PM...please note that BR60 is labeled incorrectly and should be BR50 like it is in all other swatch images.

Shade Descriptions (based on my observations and experience only):

1. B10: Very light neutral beige for skin in the N/NW/NC 10-15 range
2. B20: Light neutral beige for skin in the N/NC 15-20 range
3. B30: Light beige with strong yellow undertones for skin in the NC 23-27 range
4. B40: Medium warm beige for skin in the N/NC 30-35 range
5. B60: Medium-dark warm beige for skin in the N/NC 35-40 range
6. B70: Dark warm beige for skin in the N/NW/NC 42-50 range
7. BR20: Light neutral beige for skin in the N/NW/NC 20 range (this is slightly darker than B20)
8. BR40: Light/light-medium beige for skin in the N/NW/NC 25-27 range (this is slightly darker than B30 but slightly lighter than B40)
9. BR50: Medium neutral beige for skin in N/NW 30-35 range (this is slightly lighter and rosier than B60)
10. BD50: Medium golden beige for yellow/olive skin in the NC 30-35 range (this is lighter and more yellow than BR50 and B60)

YSL Youth Liberator foundation swatches
Above: Swatches in semi-outdoor lighting.
YSL Youth Liberator foundation swatches
Above: Close up swatches of the "B Range" in indoor lighting.
YSL Youth Liberator foundation swatches
Above: Close up swatches of the darkest B shade as well as shades in the BR and BD range in indoor lighting.
Above and below: A mixture of equal parts B30, BR40 with a touch of BD50 on my face, in direct sunlight.  The formula does seem to create a seamless, skin-like finish.

--Shop the Post--

Bottom Line: The YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation (which retails for $69) is sold at YSL counters everywhere, including Neiman MarcusNordstromBarney's NYBloomingdale'sSaks and Lord & Taylor....I haven't yet seen it on the Sephora website, but I am guessing it will be making an appearance there soon.  My first impressions of this formula are as follows: It has a silky texture, offers buildable medium coverage, has a hydrating and dewy finish, wears comfortably, is lightly scented (typical YSL base product scent) and, when applied with a Beauty Blender, seamlessly blends in, becoming one with the skin.  During my initial trial, I didn't set it with powder to get the most accurate sense of its lasting power and found that it didn't start getting overtly glowy (thereby requiring a touch up) until my 6th or 7th hour of wear.  Additionally, the inclusion of the YSL Youth Liberator Serum within the foundation (for brighter, plumper skin) and SPF 20 protection make this a formula with noteworthy skincare benefits.  Although I enjoyed my first experience with it, I will withhold official judgement until I've used it a few more times.

Have YOU tried the YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation?  Thoughts?

* This post contains affiliate links; my disclosure policy contains additional details on how these work.