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making faces :: the creme de les cremes with chanel and dior

cream products and i have a rocky relationship. well, not exactly. more often than not we have no relationship. despite my love of rich, unctuous products for the lips, i really hesitate when it comes to cream colour products anywhere else. i just haven't had good results.

when it comes to the eyes, the problem is that i've had allergic reactions to the majority of formulas i've tried, which makes it a little risky to keep trying new ones. mac paint pots are agreeable enough and i've managed to use some cream-gel eyeliners as shadow bases, but a lot of other types just haven't worked for me. i can wear benefit's creaseless cream shadows occasionally, but if more than once a week and they start to make me itch. mac's ill-fated "big bounce" shadows made my eyes swell nearly shut. the one time a makeup artist tried the illusion d'ombre formula from chanel on me, i ended up nearly scratching my eyes out to get rid of it a couple of hours later.

cream blushes can cause me some problems, particularly if i wear them frequently, but the greater issue i have with them is that i usually can't make them last until i leave the house, much less throughout the day, so it just never seems worth the investment.

last summer, as you might recall, i had a bit of a revelatory experience with dior's new [and sadly limited] cream blush formula. it was much drier than i was used to, but still very pigmented. it felt strangely spongy, different than anything i had ever encountered and i was sold on the spot. before the sales associate even had the chance to greet me, i was hopping up and down and hollering "this! want this!" well, that's how i remember it at least.

as the spring 2014 collections start to appear [mocking the misery that we feel, as it's currently -26 outside], i noticed that cream products are playing an increasingly prominent role. and when i passed the counter of dior's typically refined pastels, i noticed one thing that caught my eye: celeste.

CARRY ON...



"celeste" is a shade of dior's new matte cream formula. she's an icy lavender but without a hint of shimmer. too often, ultra-light, cool shades are sodden with shimmer, but it's perfectly possible for them to have a matte finish as well. when i spotted "celeste" at a counter during my lunch hour one day, i was delighted to discover a pristine, completely untouched tester at my disposal. i very carefully smoothed a little bit on the inner part of my eyes to see what happened. it was just such a lovely, fresh colour and after all, i'd had luck with dior cream products before.

a few hours later i bought the full-size product.

the matte 'mono fusion' formula is incredibly smooth and easy to use, which is supposed to be the appeal of a cream product- you swipe, you go. applied with the fingers, it gives a very soft wash of colour. applied with the little brush that's included in the box, it's brighter, more opaque, but not heavy-looking. i don't get any irritation whatsoever from using it, even though i experimented by using it in looks for three days in a row. it's actually rather soothing, because my lids feel very silky, at least when i'm conscious of what my eyelids feel like, which admittedly isn't all that often. it would for 9-10 hours with only a little fading late in the day and absolutely no creasing. fading was even less apparently if i wore it over a primer.

celeste
there is so much white in the base of the colour that i suspect this will work only for pale complexions. on darker skin, i have the feeling that it would start to look chalky. however, for those who can wear it, i can certainly see it becoming a staple. for anyone who has been colour analyzed in the winter season [or as a cool-leaning bright spring], this will be a godsend. it's a crisp, cool shade that has a sharp edge- it is not softened with grey the way a lot of lighter makeup colours tend to be. as a result, rather than giving a softer look, it has a brightening effect on the eye. the colour is very saturated, it's just also very pale, which is a combination that you don't see very often.

feeling emboldened, i approached the new chanel spring display. it's really hard to miss, because where dior when for colours that seem like they are being viewed through a layer of ice, chanel decided to turn up the heat. their spring collection looks like a riot of tropical hibiscus with shades of fuchsia, bright coral, hot pink and tangerine gilded with softer pinks, mulled berry purples and ivory. it's very difficult not to look at the collection and feel happy. [and you thought "retail therapy" was just an expression.]

diapason
diapason, ready for her close-up
despite my earlier experience with the chanel illusion d'ombre formula, i immediately fell under the spell of one of the two new and limited shades offered for spring, "diapason". this is the kind of shade that makes even a cosmetically jaded soul like me catch her breath. it's a brownish-red-purple base, like the shade of stewed fruits, overlaid with a shocking blue sheen that catches the light with remarkable ease. its very complexity makes it fascinating to watch and also allows it to work with a number of different colour combinations. the base colour is decidedly warm, but the overtones are cool, so it will look equally beautiful alongside peachy shades or something like "celeste" [it's coming].

i was a little nervous about shelling out for a pricey little pot that might end up having to go back, but my dior experience had made me wonder if my cream shadow problem wasn't, in fact, a problem more with the larger shimmer particles that are often found in cream shadows. "diapason" has a much finer shimmer than any of the other illusion d'ombre shades i'd seen, certainly far more refined than the shade that had caused me problems long before.

having now worn it a few times within a week, i'm happy to report that it does not cause me any undue irritation, despite the fact that my left eye was already dry, swollen and irritated after being exposed to a lot of dust at the office when our ventilation system was being repaired. so it looks like my shimmer-theory might have been correct.

the formula of the illusion d'ombres actually reminds me a little of the dior cream blushes. they're like little sponges with a very springy texture. they can be applied with a brush or with the fingers and either way seem to go on fairly muted and then build. the more of the colour you add, the more of the blue sheen you will see. they blend exceptionally well, so you can get a beautiful gradient using just the one product and the lasting time is excellent. i normally find that plum, purple and blue shades are more prone to fading, but this one held its own for a full day. i experienced absolutely no creasing, even when the wind made my eyes water a bit. 

and, because i'd obviously gone just cream-crazy, i also picked up one of the two new cream blushes that came out with chanel's spring collection, a vibrant deep rose pink called "chamade". the colour is a nice combination of pink, red and a hint of coral that lends warmth and it can be very bold if that's what you want. i tried applying it with fingers at first and was shocked at how much colour came out from even the slightest smudge. since then, i've been using my mac 188 stippling brush to apply it, which is a much better idea on my skin tone. those who have darker skin won't have an issue using fingers or a brush, depending on preference.

chamade, visible from space
the formula it's exceptionally creamy and has a silicone-like slip to it on the skin. it blends well and sets in place after a few minutes, becoming more like a silky powder. you'll have time to blend it in, but once that's done, the colour is pretty budge proof. "chamade" lasting about five hours on me, which is what i get from a vibrant powder blush and much better than i get from other cream blushes [other than dior, which is likewise comparable to a good powder]. the finish is satiny- not quite matte, but not frosted at all.

in colour, chamade is comparable to mac "salsarose", which is a bit deeper and redder. rouge bunny rouge "florita" looks almost browned or muted next to "chamade", which is kind of hard to believe.

l to r :: rbr florita, chamade, mac salsarose
if you like a healthy hit of colour in your blush, with a nice mix of cool and warm tones, this is a great place to start. personally, this sort of colour is a favourite of mine during the winter, because it creates a fresh, vital-looking contrast to skin that's been dulled from too much time inside.

as i mentioned above, i really like the look of these two spring eye shades used together. there's a nice duality between the power of chanel's hothouse hues and the chilled tones in dior. here's what i managed to come up with using all three products reviewed here, plus a lipstick from guerlain's holiday collection that seemed to fit within the general palette.





products used

the base ::
marcelle cc beauty balm "light/ medium"
dior firming concealer "010"
nars smudgeproof e/s primer
urban decay naked skin foundation "1.0"

the eyes ::
dior matte mono fusion e/s "celeste" [icy matte lavender]
chanel illusion d/ombre e/s "diapason" [red purple with blue sheen]
armani eyes to kill e/s "violet scarab" [icy violet]
inglot e/s "351" [matte light ivory]
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt" [black]
hourglass film noir mascara

the cheeks ::
chanel creme de blush "chamade" [spicy rose red]
hourglass ambient lighting powder "diffused light" [barely yellowed winter white]

the lips ::
guerlain rouge automatique l/s "reflex" [bright pink coral]*

*suggested alternates :: reflex = guerlain girly [brighter, pinker, deeper] but honestly "melodieuse" from chanel's spring collection looks closer, although more muted.

the sad truth is, it's going to be a long time before it starts to feel like spring in montreal, but in the meantime, these creamy comforts will help me get through.

the image at the top of this post is of hibiscus popsicles, the recipe for which [and the source of the photo] can be found right here.

Comments

Bellyhead said…
Ohhh, I keep falling under the spell of cream products which don't work out as well for me, especially blushes. Chamade is totally right up my alley, but I won't buy it. NOOOO!
Kate MacDonald said…
But it's so pretty, Belly... so very pretty and happy for these long dark days...

Have you found a cream blush that you do like? Not that I need another lemming, but you're going to create them for me anyway, so I might as well ask.
Bellyhead said…
All cream blushes are ok, some better than others. I think Chanel is among the better on me because of the dry way it sets. I've not found any standouts yet. But driveller's Face Stockholm reviews are killing me softly though. I reFUSE to go look at them in person incase of accidental money spendage.

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