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making faces :: party on with burberry, armani and chanel

place this in the "no, really, you can still find this even though the season is over" category. i meant to get to it before new year's eve, at least, but things [i'm not going to be specific, there were several of them] got in the way. that said, i do continue to see these goodies available, especially online, so i don't see any reason why i shouldn't share my thoughts.

first up, let's look at the holiday collection. since burberry beauty is now available at sephora, this is my first real access to the products. however, some of you may already have had access to these particular items, because, for reasons, burberry decided to release the same holiday collection that they did last year. i sort of understand that having one time a year when certain popular products are available is a good idea. and i suspect that part of the decision is based on the fact that they added sephora to their distribution. it's still a little strange and possibly daring as a strategy.

but this is me, not complaining. in fact, if they choose to release the collection again next holiday season, i can claim that i'm not late with my review, but incredibly early.

i sprung for two items: the gold "my burberry" scented highlighter and the gold shadow palette [no. 25]. both are very holiday party appropriate, but they're equally appropriate for any party and one of them is appropriate for just about anything.

first up, the highlighter. you can see in the pan that it;s not your typical warm gold. it's actually quite cool looking a little dirtier than the usual gold, because it's quite greyed. the colour payoff is moderate, when swatched, but it shows up very well on the face [where you're not looking for a block of colour anyway], so keep that in mind looking at the swatch.

my burberry scented highlight powder
when applied, it's a little warmer than it looks, although i imagine that on very cool skin it's going to read more as platinum than gold. it has a pretty intense shine to it, so a little goes a long way and it is likely you'll feel more comfortable wearing this in lower light. if you want a really gleaming look, you can easily achieve this by buffing it after you've applied. there's really no reason to use a lot of the powder, no matter what your skin tone. unfortunately, it can emphasize pores, something that becomes more of an issue the more you buff and which i didn't find was alleviated with the use of a primer [hourglass mineral veil]. i get around that by applying a finishing powder [guerlain pressed meteorites] over it, or, for an even more subtle effect, applying powder blush over it. it has a strong enough presence that it still highlights from within, although the effect is not as strong.



they're up front about the fact that this is a scented powder, so you might want to make sure that you like the scent of "my burberry" perfume before investing. i don't find that the scent lingers on my skin, however, and i don't find it more scented than a lot of guerlain powders. those sensitive to scents, however, will want to avoid it. for what it's worth, i don't like "my burberry" very much, although i don't hate it, and it doesn't stop me from wearing the powder, since i can't notice the scent after about ten minutes. your mileage may vary, as i've heard others say they find the scent clings. i suspect it might be more noticeable on drier complexions, where you have less oil to bond with and neutralize the scent.

the pore-emphasis is an issue for me [not just with this highlighter, but with many of them], but i find that the uniqueness of the colour and the ability to achieve that 'lit from within" glow by layering it under blush makes up for that. so i do recommend this product, although it might take you a little extra effort, depending on your skin type.

next is the gold palette. this is a softer group of colours, a bit softer than it looks in the pan, so it's certainly not something you'll reach for if you want a dramatic smoky eye or cut crease look [unless you reach for some other things as well]. on the skin, the colours are more of a gradient ranging from light, cool gold to medium neutral brown.

burberry gold palette no. 25
the lightest shade is a bit brighter and warmer than the highlight powder, but it does have a hint of that same tarnished look, which makes it quite distinct among gold shades. second is a warm taupe with a similar "dirty" undertone. it's the most sparkly shade in the palette, but it still looks more like a satin-finish in use. the third shade is a rich copper, the warmest of the bunch, although it's not as bright as it appears in the swatches. again, while this looks quite metallic in the swatch, and it does have the highest shine of any of the colours, the finish is more subdued on the eye. and finally you have a medium-deep brown that, as mentioned, runs neutral to cool. so all in all, for a gold-themed palette, this is one that's probably appropriate for a wider range of skin tones than most others.

i find that burberry's distinctive "slanted" pans are a little difficult to work with, especially if you're using a larger brush for all over coverage. despite that, i've found myself reaching for this easy-to-wear palette a lot since i bought it. the satiny finish means that it's not too "blingy" for daytime wear, and its neutral tone means you have a broad choice of colours to combine with it. definitely the most versatile item in the collection.

here's a look that uses both of these products. this incorporates my technique of blush-over-highlighter [burberry "peony" blush], but you can definitely still see the highlighting effect on my cheeks. the lipstick is bite beauty "mauvember", which really isn't available anymore as far as i know. you could probably substitute mac "up the amp".




the next collection i dived into was armani. i was late getting to this one and as a result, i was only able to track down one of the three available eye tints. woe is me, because, based on what i saw online, i would have bought them all. all three are still available through armani's online store, so if you live in the united states, you can still buy them.

the one that i did manage to nab was shade no. 18 "silver mirage". it's not exactly a secret that these liquid shadows have been hero products for me this year and this one isn't an exception. it's very shimmery, but i find that the base colour is a little stronger, so it doesn't require the build-up that some of the other shimmery tints do in order to be opaque, although it's not quite as effortless as the best of the them. i found that it definitely looked more sparkly as it wore, although it kept its colour well and didn't crease, so it's something i'd keep as an evening out type of product. i experienced some minor migration of sparkle. it was less than i would have expected given the heavy shimmer factor, but it was still there. another argument for keeping this as a nighttime thing.

i didn't experience any eye irritation, which is one of the reasons i love these shadows so much. cream and liquid shadows are often a bit of a nightmare for me, especially if they're very shimmery. thus far, i've only had an adverse reaction to one shade [summer's "zenith"] and even then, it was only if i placed the product in the inner corners of my eye. by contrast, the more sparkly shades of benefit creaseless cream, dior fusion mono, mac paint pots and chanel ombre are entirely off-limits for me.

armani no. 18, silver mirage
the colour is stunning! it's a soft, cool taupe with an intense light silver shimmer and just a hint of pink, so that it doesn't read as a pure silver. that's a godsend for me, because true silver shades tend to read as harsh against my skin. the taupe undertone here makes it a little softer and more forgiving.

i also picked up one of the limited edition [but still available at both of my counters and online from armani] lip maestro liquid lipstick in "ruby nude". although it seems to be a massive trend right now, i don't like liquid lipsticks. or rather, armani's is the only liquid lipstick that i do like and even then, it's my least favourite of their formulas.

i suspect that liquid lipstick fans are not going to go for the maestro formula, because it never dries down entirely. it does transfer throughout wear and it will require reapplication during the day. you'll want to make sure that, when you do need to refresh, you take the time to remove the colour entirely and reapply to clean lips, because it can tend to feather.

it has a luminous velvet finish rather than pure matte, which, depending on your preference, can be a good or bad thing.

the softer, more pliable texture is the only reason i can even wear these things. every other liquid lipstick i've tried [with the exception of mac's limited edition formula] has been horrifically drying, cracked through wear, was downright painful to wear and remove and left my lips irritated for days afterward. the lip maestro formula isn't moisturizing, but it feels a hell of a lot better than others.

my one quibble with the maestros is with the applicator. it's the same one that's used in their glosses and while it's appropriate for a softer, sheerer product, it lacks the necessary precision for something as pigmented as this formula. it's difficult to correct mistakes along the edges, because the lipsticks are very pigmented and can leave a stain, unless you're very quick to clean it off. chances are, a mistake means cleaning off your entire mouth and starting from scratch, which wastes time and product. yes, a lip liner would help with this, but, it's adding another step. you could also put some product on your hand or a clean surface and apply with a lip brush, but again, complication. a high end product like this shouldn't require helpers, in my opinion.

ruby nude in thrilling portrait orientation
"ruby nude" is a bright, cool-leaning red with a fine gold shimmer. on first application it looks more like a straight red, unless you choose to apply it very lightly. i do think that the shimmer makes it especially smooth looking and makes my lips look a little fuller. as it fades, the base colour remains pretty bright, but the shimmer comes to the fore. like magic. there isn't a great deal of fading, just enough to show off the colour's sexy gold lingerie. [even with the visible gold, it remains a cool-toned shade.] i couldn't get a decent photo of this transformation, but trust me, it's real and it's spectacular.

here's both products applied. although i'm clearly wearing them in daylight, this is more of a night look. applied lightly, i think that you could get away with "ruby nude" during the day, but you'd have to feel fairly comfortable with a bright lipstick, because it isn't ever going to be understated.




on the eyes, i've combined "silver mirage" with "sunset" and used rouge bunny rouge "bohemian waxwing" to blend them. because i wanted the darker shade to be a bit soft, i find that "sunset" loses its eggplant tone and looks more grey. both colours, however, lasted more than ten hours with minimal change [other than what i noted previously]. [i also have colour pop "exit" liner on my lower water lines. another thing i have to get to.] the blush is armani "eccentrico". i'd also like to clarify that these photos are a good illustration of what i meant about the guerlain pressed meteorites looking powdery on my skin. i swear i did not apply as much as it looks like i did.

finally, in the holiday collection round-up, we have chanel. i only bought one item from the collection, which was dubbed "rouge noir absoluement", but i already had the lipstick for which it is named.

the item i did plump for is the joues contraste lumière highlighter/ blush [always the centrepiece of chanel's holiday collection] "coups de minuit". this might be a little trickier to find, but i'll say off the top: it is completely worth your search.

chanel always does nice highlighters, and charges a nice premium for them. this one is a little more straightforward [and less expensive] than many and it is one of their best. the formula is pretty similar to their regular joues contraste blushes, although i find it lasts a little better on my skin. [although i like the joues contrastes, they fade too quickly on me to justify their price much of the time.] it's soft and kicks up some powder, but the colour payoff is very good for a light product and it doesn't emphasize pores at all.

coups de nuit
the real kicker here is the actual colour, because it is out of this world. i find that it's pigmented enough to work as a blush and highlighter on my skin, but anyone paler than me [likely a lot of you] will probably find it best as a highlighter only.

the base shade is a warm rosy beige, but there is a cool white-silver-pink sheen to it that makes it look pinker on the skin. because of the contrast between the base and the overtone, it really does look like a blush and a highlighter at once, or at least like two colours perfectly layered. the sheen on this one is softer, which makes it appropriate for day or night and it imparts a really healthy tone to the skin. if you want to see more of the highlight, build up the blush and/ or buff it into the skin a little. if you prefer to see the base colour, pat it in place. i don't have anything like this in my collection.

as mentioned, the collection is named for one of their existing rouge allure lipsticks, "rouge noir". i bought this deep burgundy when the rouge allure line was revamped a couple of years ago and it's the reason i haven't bought anymore since. i generally found the old rouge allures drying and while the new formula is an improvement on that front, it's sacrificed a lot to get there. the coverage on this shade is quite uneven. that's not uncommon for darker colours, but armani does it much better and the formula is more comfortable. so does yves st. laurent. but the real issue i have is with the longevity of the product. there isn't any. the colour fades a lot within the first hour of wear, and what's left clings to every tiny little flaw in your lips like that's its sole purpose in life.

the look below features both "rouge noir" and "coups de minuit" and i think that the flaws of the lipstick are pretty obvious. i'm wearing it with a lip liner [mac "currant"] and this is what it's freshly applied in these photos. however, i do think, however, that you can see the nice, subtle flush of "coups de minuit".




the eyes are done with chanel "complice", "beige lamé" and "hasard", because chanel can do a mighty fine eye shadow.

congratulations! you made it to the end of the holiday collection megapost! again, my sincerest apologies for the lateness of these posts, but like i said, it still seems possible to grab these items before they're gone. all are limited edition [except "rouge noir" lipstick, if you want to take your chances], so if you do want them, you won't want to delay.

as i look out on the vast snowy wasteland that is montreal [well, not all that snowy...], i know that it means one thing: spring collections are about to arrive. and i promise that if/ when i buy from them, i will review the items on a more timely basis. there are a couple of more items i have in the review pipeline that i want to take care of, but i am also aiming to have the ever-popular shrunken head awards up by mid-month. 

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