Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chantecaille 'Tiger in the Wild' Eye and Cheek Palette

Chantecaille's Tiger in the Wild Palette ($78 for 13.2g// is probably one my favorite makeup items in my collection. I had originally bought it because I collect makeup items with South Asian symbols (tigers, elephants, peacocks etc) but I didn't realize how gorgeous it would look in person. I got this palette a few months ago and didn't even swatch it until a few days ago for this post. The novelty didn't wear off because it was still sitting on my vanity with its blue satin pouch, but after being forced to swatch it (blogging really does make you break into your makeup) I present to you the glorious...TIGERS!

This limited edition palette was created with a very good cause in mind:
"To celebrate and raise awareness for the wild tiger, Chantecaille has created a limited edition palette with a selection of easy to wear cheek and eyeshades with an elegant Tiger embossing that is easy to wear and attractive on everyone. While the world celebrates the Year of the Tiger, the plight of this majestic animal continues. With this palette, Chantecaille supports TRAFFIC (with 5% proceeds going to TRAFFIC), an international wildlife trade monitoring organization to help save the last tigers in the wild. It is a world-wide concern, which needs attention and focus."

As for the quad palette, it comes in a beautiful metal-esque compact and contains three eye colors and and one blush. And of course, the beautiful laser-etched image of the Royal Bengal Tiger on each shade. I love that the Tigers' heads actually "protrude" out. 


Each shade has a gorgeous multidimensional shimmer to it but I was a bit disappointed to discover after swatching that this was just an overspray. That in no way changes my opinion about this palette because the real important bit, the formula, is superb. All four shades are extremely pigmented while maintaining a luxurious refined texture; something not easy to find nowadays when the definition of pigmented has become extreme buttery-smoothness. Basically, these will not indent when pressed with a brush but pack on with the lightest touch, yet still are very delicate on the skin and blend flawlessly


Starting from the eyeshadows, first up in the top-left corner is the base color in Cream (soft brown-grey cream):

Eye color in Pewter (steel grey with brown/light taupe):

Eye Definer in Indigo (blackened-blue):

Cheek color in Persimmon (coral):

As mentioned above, the shimmer isn't laced in the entire formula of each shade, rather, it's an overspray and disappears after a bit of dusting with a brush/finger.

Pictured below are swatches with flash:


And swatches in natural light and done on paper:

All these shades work well with each other and even the cheek color would make for an amazing pop of color in a smokey eye done using these three colors. The only complaint I have is that this is limited edition so once these tigers go, they'll be gone. As for the shades, similar colors can be purchased as singles from Chantecaille's site so your palette can be refilled with those. But for those looking to indulge in a gorgeous versatile eye and cheek "luxe" palette should definitely look into this.

This palette retails for $78 and is available for a limited time on Chantecaille so if you're interested, I suggest picking one up right away since it's already gone from Nordstrom and soon will be gone from Chantecaille's site as well.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tag: 7 Deadly Sins of Beauty

There's a fun little tag going around on YouTube with 7 questions regarding beauty/makeup and I thought it would be fun to do a blog version of it with pictures and a little description for each answer!

GREED: What is your most inexpensive beauty item? What is your most expensive?

The most inexpensive-but-well-loved items in my stash would be Wet 'n' Wild Eyeshadows ($1.99-$4.99) // I have 4 palettes depotted into a Z Palette: a trio: 'I'm Getting Sunburned' ($1.99); 6-pan: 'Vanity' ($3.99); and two 4-pans: 'Comfort Zone' ($4.99) and 'Blue Had Me at Hello' ($4.99). I LOVELOVELOVE these. The color pay off is amazing and 'Comfort Zone' is a MUST have. I will be doing a separate posts on these eventually.

The single most I've dished out would be for Chantecaille's 'Tiger in the Wild' palette ($78)// A separate post and review (along with closeups/swatches) on this will be posted shortly but it's one of the most gorgeous quads in my collection, too bad it was a limited edition.

WRATH: What beauty products do you have a love/hate relationship with? What product has been the hardest to get?

Love/Hate relationship would be with Chanel Joues Contraste blush in 'Pink Explosion' ($43). I find that 'Pink Explosion' just doesn't seem have much color pay off. Maybe I got a dud? Although it's a GORGEOUS color, I don't find the formula very great. Keep in mind, this is the "baked" version which is sold in Europe so it may have something to do with that because I hear the North American versions are wonderful. Right next to it is another love/hate product: Rouge Allure Laque in 'Dragon' ($32) and this is one of the most gorgeous reds I have ever seen and flatters pretty much everyone I see it on (love). However, this line of lip products was discontinued by Chanel late 2011 (hate).

Products I had the hardest time getting would probably be stuff from the 2008 MAC Hello Kitty collection ($14.50-$38). Being a huge Hello Kitty fan, I was kiiiind of kicking myself for having missed that collection. Well, 4-5 years later in 2011 and early 2012 I managed to collect all the cheek stuff released stuff from that collection, as well as a quad and a lipstick. I did have to pay way more than retail on some of these but now I find myself just not interested in this collection any more. I guess the novelty wore off pretty quick, heh.

Featured here are all four of the cheek products released from that collection; blushes in 'Tippy' and 'Fun & Games', beauty powders in 'Tahitian Sand' and 'Pretty Baby', a lipstick in 'Big Bow' and a quad in 'Lucky Tom'. The packaging is cute but doesn't appeal to me the way it once did. I'll probably keep these for sentimental value, though.

GLUTTONY: What are your most delicious beauty products? 

I immediately thought of my Bath & Body Work's Liplicious Gloss in the flavor 'Toffee'. It smells like vanilla, French vanilla coffee and just pure deliciousness. This doesn't last more than 10 seconds on my lips because I ALWAYS end up licking it off.

SLOTH: What beauty product do you neglect, due to laziness? 

This would be lip liner. And yes, I know it's important, especially when you wear darker lip colors but generally I like to be delusional and think I'll get lucky and it won't feather... That being said, the two pencils pictured above are some of my favorites. On top is a duo-ended lip pencil in 'Dizzy Blonde' by Tarte which has a great brown and a muted pink and next to it is another favorite by Kevyn Aucoin in 'Minimal'. Lip liners are definitely one aspect of my makeup collection I don't seem to have much variety of. I think I'll definitely pick up 3-4 basic colors next.

PRIDE: What beauty product gives you the most self confidence? 

This would be lining the waterline (weird, I know). I just find it makes me look more awake and less like a zombie. I also love using liner to line my upper lashline. For the waterline, I love Hashmi Kajal ($3) and this a brand very popular in Pakistan/India and sells for only a few rupees. I love this because it lines both top and bottom waterlines at once and you don't even need a mirror. If anyone is familiar with Guerlain's Kohl Kajal ($33), then they know where Guerlain got the idea from since this form of kajal in the South Asian Subcontinent has been popular for centuries. Another favorite for the waterline is Milani's Liquif'eye liner in 'Black'. This is AMAZING and better than any other liner I've tried from any price point because it's extremely smooth/soft and SUPER-black but sets and lasts all day. And for flicks and cat lines I always love gel liner and pictured above is MAC's Fluidline in 'Blacktrack'. 

LUST: What are your current lemmings or lusts? 

I did change the question for obvious reasons but current lemmings/lusts are Hakuhodo brushes which are, for those that don't know, hand-made brushes from a Japan-based company. I've been doing a lot of research and asking around so I already have a cart of 3-4 face brushes I need and will be pulling the trigger on that order shortly. Additionally, you can find more about Hakuhodo brushes here.

ENVY: What items would you most like to receive as a gift? 

I can't think of anything beauty-wise so...Toblerone. Always.


And since we're on the topic of the 7 Deadly Sins, I leave you with this superb music video 'Chal Bulleya' by the Lahore-based Mekaal Hasan Band. This video is actually based on the 7 Deadly Sins and is extremely visually appealing and thought-provoking-- even if you don't understand Urdu or South Asian culture. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Highlighters

I had originally done a quick sneak-peek of my top five favorite highlighters here.

First thing, I keep a small-ish stash so each new addition is well-researched prior to purchase. A highlighter, like makeup, isn't rocket science nor all that serious (ahem) but I have to keep in mind things like storage and clutter. That being said, I have (and prefer!) highlighters in three different finishes: loose, liquid and pressed. I like pressed finishes for their ease and fool-proofness but nothing packs on a highlighted-punch like loose or liquid highlighters. Pressed powders generally diffuse and blend flawlessly, especially when they are milled and packed with just the right amount of "tightness". Even amongst my pressed highlighters I have different finishes which tends to go by how softly or tightly packed they are. The tighter a powder is packed, the less pigment it picks up which, for me, translates to "subtle". I'll get into this as I get to each individual product. And of course, swatches will be at the end! 

Starting off with pressed finishes and working from tight to loosely packed, we have...

Basking in the sun

...Amber Diamond ($44) by Dior.

Amber Diamond (bronze-beige with slight pearl) is a beautiful pressed powder with intricate detailing on the powder. The formula is what I would call subtle because even when I swirl my MAC #109 brush onto this, I find it never packs on a ton of powder which I LOVE. It may look a bit frosty from the close up but because of how tight it is packed, this frost translates to sheen on the skin once applied. And because there are 4 different strips within the powder, each strip gives a different color but I generally like to swirl my brush in the whole pan to get the collective color. Amazing for the summer or all year round.

Gana ($18.50) by MAC is up next.  I have a soft spot for this because it was a gift from the Mr. was from the Mickey Contractor collection with the names being all in Urdu/Hindi,  with Gana meaning 'song'. It was limited edition and although the color is beautiful, it still is very easily dupeable. 

Gana is described as a "bright white gold". Personally, I find it to be a champagne color with the finish being a frost. On the scale of "tightness" it is not as tightly packed like Amber Diamond but still requires a swirling of the brush to get some punch. Because this is on the subtle end, I find this great to tone down harsh blushes or to add a slight sheen on top of really flat or matte ones. The only downside is that because of the weird formula of MAC, it isn't as smooth as I wished it was. It also gets the awkward bumpiness apparent from the picture below. 

And the last of the pressed bunch is Kevyn Aucoin's Candlelight ($42) which is described as an "ultrasoft shimmer with a soft, golden-apricot hue" and is probably one of the best pressed highlighters on the market. 

Candlelight is the most softly milled of the three because I could never imagine swirling a brush in this. You literally need the lightest tap of the brush to get enough for both cheeks. I find that for more control, I tend to dab my finger and pat it on instead. It also comes with a brush but I find it way too scratchy for a delicate powder like this. The finish is extremely sophisticated but still adds a very dramatic sheen. I imagine this would look amazing in photography and could work for most skin tones, especially warm-toned ones. I just love the candlelight-like, soft and delicate glow this gives! One of my favorites. THE END. 

Rouge Bunny Rouge's Sea of Clouds ($72) is my favorite [liquid] highlighter. I have tried Benefit's High Beam as well but I found the finish to be extremely stark and no way near as blendable and luxurious as the finish of Sea of Clouds. This is reviewed here

Vanilla ($20) by MAC is up last. MAC describes this loose pigment as a "soft ivory white" with a frost finish. 

Vanilla is a beautiful dimensional white and I would definitely call it a duochrome and for that very reason it looks AH-mazing in flash photography. Because it's a loose pigment it can go on VERY strong if the correct brush is not used. I prefer a small fan brush for this like the Laura Mercier Mini Fan brush. I have this in the 7.5g jar (which I had to hunt down with backbreaking dedication since this larger size was long discontinued by MAC) but MAC sells this in the 4.5g size for the same price (?!) and I would highly recommend having this in your collection. I find this amazing on the eyes, especially in the inner-corners, and I imagine this would look amazing as a brow highlight as well. Also, the tiniest amount could be added to foundation to give it a dewy finish. Another way to use this is in a DIY spray which would be sprayed after your foundation + powder to add dewyness all over. This is probably one of my favorite MAC products which I would buy over and over again if I was to ever run out (no chance). 

Now for some swatches! 

Keep in mind, highlighters are extremely hard to photograph, especially when your skin is around NC20-25 (I imagine it would be a lot harder with much paler skin) but here is an attempt: 

Top: Flash // Bottom: No flash 
L > R: Candlelight, Amber Diamond, Sea of Clouds, Gana and Vanilla  

Under a strong orange-based light (to pick out undertones):

Top: Flash // Bottom: No flash 
L > R: Candlelight, Amber Diamond, Sea of Clouds, Gana and Vanilla  

Highlighters= love. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sneak-Peek: Chanel Summer 2012

I was forwarded these by the PR of Chanel and I also found some more press releases. I'll be posting more pictures if I spot these at a counter. I'm really wanting to swatch those glosses and polishes.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Sneak-Peek: Top 5 Go-To Highlighters

Top 5 highlighters (in no particular order): 
1) MAC 'Gana' ($20//Limited Edition// 
2) Dior 'Amber Diamond' ($44//
3) Rouge Bunny Rouge 'Sea of Clouds' ($72//
4) Kevyn Aucoin 'Candlelight' ($42// 
5) MAC 'Vanilla' pigment ($20//

More pictures, details, swatches and individual reviews to follow!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sleek Blush By 3 in 'Flame'

Sleek recently released five blush trios ("Blush By 3") featuring brand new blush shades, although dupeable even within the Sleek range, named: Lace, Flame (pictured), Pink Sprint, Sugar and Pumpkin. These palettes currently are exclusive to Superdrug, and it's rumored that these will eventually make it to the permanent collection sometime this year. 
That being said, Sleek makes some of the best blush from any price point and the quality of the trio is just as stellar. Originally, I fell in love with just Flame because of that bright red (I'm on a red blush kick at the moment) and felt the other trios were just not wearable or would pull too ruddy on my cheeks. And because Sleek is not sold in North America, I couldn't swatch or test these in person. Flame, however, looked extremely unique and Nicole of the blog Beauty-Free was kind enough to pick up one up for me. I am so glad I finally have this because... gorgeous are those colors?! 

Upon seeing the palette in person, it was a bit smaller than expected.  Here is a comparison w/ a NARS Blush:

The content inside, however, exceeded my expectations because they are nothing short of fantastic; the texture completely spot-on to Sleek's signature buttery-but-pure-pigment quality and like with most of Sleek's blushes, being light-handed when applying these is a must. If you can't be light-handed, then using a duo-fibre or uber-soft blue squirrel brush will suffice. 

Getting back to Flame, each shade is appropriately named to play off the theme of flame. Starting from the far right, Furnace (a shimmery bronze-coral):

Bon Fire (a matte fire engine red. Also reminds me of a particular dog):

Molten (matte-ish dusty coral rose) :

They all apply and blend beautifully and although Molten and Furnace look quite similar in the pan, they swatch completely different on the skin. My photography couldn't do the beautiful color and pigmentation any justice but here's my attempt: 
Paper Swatches

And dupe alert! The middle shade, Bon Fire, is a close dupe of NARS Exhibit A:

A bit close up:

Exhibit A is more of a tomato red and leans a bit more orange whereas Bon Fire is a pure fiery bright red. They essentially look identical once applied:

These palettes retail for £9.99/$15 and are currently exclusive to Superdrug. There are some available on eBay (w/ hiked prices, of course) but these will also be available on Sleek's Official Site some time late Spring from what I'm told. I'm waiting for 'Sugar' and 'Pink Sprint' in the mail, but I'll end up getting 'Lace' as well as "Pumpkin" because I am so impressed with the quality and bold color choices which are so unique for any brand, let alone a drugstore one. Sleek continues to get it right.