Luxebeaute's Blog

October 29, 2008

Noir Nails: Doing Dark Nails Right

Filed under: Avant Garde Couture,Cosmetics — luxebeaute @ 4:52 am

In ancient China, most dynasties reserved black and red for nail polish for royalty. And black nails never really came into playin the U.S.  until  until the 1960’s, when London boutique Biba makes black nail varnish for it’s the elite hipster clientele. Somewhere in the past 50 years, we all sort of reserved it for avant garde runway fashion shows, rebels and rock stars, Halloween or the Gothically inclined. This is no longer the case of course and anyone and everyone has been wearing it since the frenzied release of the first designer black from Chanel in 2006.

Shades of black: Yes, there are indeed variations of shade and texture- many in fact. There’s high shine lacquer or matte as well as a myriad of black base colors with varied undertones or hues and hints of grey/silver, purple, red, etc. For a high shine gloss go with Chanel Black Satin ($23), OPI’s nail lacquer in Black Onyx. For a jet black Lipman Collection Fade to Black ($14),Noctournelle by MAC ($11), Essie Licorice Nail Lacquer ($8), Creative Nail Color in Voodoo ($5). While there are claims and raves for one over the other, any of these will work well so let your budget guide you. I have learned from trial and error that while the pricier ones last longer and are more chip resistant, all shades mentioned will work. If the ultra latex look is what you are going for, I HIGHLY suggest you pick up a bottle of China Glaze Patent Leather Top Coat; this stuff is amazing and only costs $3. If matte is more up your alley, I am in love with Flatte Black by Knockout, a deep dark charcoal black. There is also Death Tar by Japanese based Man Glaze, which is a more shimmery matte made for men (to’ it is unisex).

Noir Nails:  If you are still a bit weary, there are some great dark alternatives to black. Of course there’s the original, Chanel’s Vamp which is the closest red black mix I have ever come across (according to chanel it is the color of deoxygenated blood); Even darker and more vampy in my opinion is Siberian Nights by OPI.  Two deep chocolate reds I am loving right now are are Creative Nail Color in Noir ($5), Midnight in Moscow by OPI and Essie Nail Polish in Wicked (a Dr. Pepper like shade). My fave purple black shade hands down is Linkin Park after Dark. And while I am not a proponent of wearing blue nailpolish if you’re over the age of 15, Light my Sapphire by OPI is another one a deep purple/blue shade which can be pulled off very in an incredibly chic way.

Still think you can’t do black? That’s ok, go with a French manicure replacing the usual white with black or do black nails with an entirely different tip.  The key is how to do it correctly. Dark polishes look best on shorter, well manicured square shaped nails. Think vampy not trampy!

October 19, 2008

The Wonderful World of Mascara

Filed under: Cosmetics,Tips, Tricks and Advice — luxebeaute @ 7:29 pm

Every girl seems to be on that never ending quest to find their holy grail mascara- I know I am! But which is truly the best? Unfortunately there is no answer considering that not everyone is looking for the same result from mascara.  Some want curl, length, thickness, volume, natural look or wet, water or smudge proof, conditioning, botanically based or high tech additives, and let’s not forget brush type.  Being that this is the case, I have done a ton of research on brands which are constantly popping up as the best of the best and have decided to list them (in no particular order) divided into three categories: High end, Drugstore and my personal favorites.

Department Store Mascaras: The top makeup artists as well as Allure, Glamour, and Style magazines all give Lancôme Definicils the top spot for the best lengthening mascara- as do I. Lancôme Définicils mascara provides the ultimate in shaping and separation for lavishly long, perfectly defined lashes. Phenomen’Eyes Effet Extension by Givenchy  is touted as a magnificent lengthening formula with an amazing and innovative brush which captures all lashes. I personally give Lancôme Definicils a million thumbs up (if I had that many) but the Phenomen’Eyes Effet just did not deliver as promised. Please keep in mind these two mascaras are lengthening formulas only; they will not curl or volumize. Four of the top 10 high end mascaras which claim to thicken, lengthen and curl are Diorshow, Le 2 de Guerlain, Chanel Inimitable Mascara and Clinique High Impact. In my opinion I have found the Diorshow easily clumps while Chanel mascaras tend to easily smudge; I have not yet tried the Clinique nor Le 2 de Guerlain. If you are lucky enough to have plenty of length yet need a boost of color and thickness, Bad Gal by Benefit is said to be amazing. Also winning rave reviews are MAC fibre rich lash and Fiberwig, both of which contain micro-fine interconnecting fiber.  Kiss Me by Blinc has also become a cult favorite; Kiss Me coats lashes to form water-resistant “tubes” for maximum amplification and hold, rather than painting them like conventional mascaras. While I give both the MAC and Fiberwig 4 out of 5 stars for both length and thickness with minimal clumps, the Kiss me mascara gave me major spider eyes which seemed to never fully dry and certainly does not lengthen.

Drugtore Brand Mascaras: Voted #1 time and time again is Maybelline Great Lash mascara. It is said to condition while it thickens and never clump. I must say I have made quite a few attempts to love this product but it does not work for me; its another one of those products in which never seems to full dry and it does nothing at all for length which is what I personally want out of a mascara. But to be fair, it is not advertised as a lengthening formula now is it?  I have friends who swear by GL and indeed their lashes are amazing when wearing this. Again, my gal pals who use this and look amazing doing so have naturally long but thin light colored lashes while I have thick black lashes naturally- so I think GL is just not a fit for me personally but must indeed be a great product, esp. considering the price. Other top thickening formulas are CoverGirl Lash Blast,  Maybelline Define-A-Lash, Max Factor Volume Couture, Max Factor 2000 Calorie, and L’Oreal Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara. As for length, Illegal Lengths Mascara and Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length (both by Maybelline),  and Telescopic Mascara and  Bare Naturale Luminous Lengthening Mascara ( both by L’Oreal) are getting rave reviews. Beauty tubes (mascara and primer combos) are now becoming a big hit in the drug store mascara isle, driving down the  price and upping availability which is great. Two which are winning the most praise are Maybelline XXL Volume and  L’Oreal Double Extend and Revlon Lash Fantasy Total Definition Mascara.

While I do not use any of these brands commonly found in my local drug store or supermarket, I certainly do not believe one has to purchase mascara from a dept or specialty store to get a great mascara. It is just that I have tried all of these brands in one formula or another and they just did not work for me personally- I am certain the reason for this is wholey due to not being able to try it on before purchase, having nothing to do with quality of product overall.

My Personal Recommendations: Without question, I am a Lancôme lady. I love every single mascara made by them. The trick with Lancôme (and likely many other brands as well) is to pair up different formulas because they tend to make singularly specific formulas (which may have something to do with why they work so darn well actually). Virtuôse Black Carat is my everyday main staple, tho’ I do rotate between that and Définicils (or both together). I am also a sucker for Japanese mascaras. Because Asian women are in constant search of both volume and length and the blackest of black shades, these unknown brands work wonderfully for me. Top faves are Sana (which contains 15 denier fiber that keeps volume and curl all day long and vitamin E), Lash Code in shiny black (w/curl keep polymer and pantenol), Cosmagic, and Fairydrops. When it comes to day eyes- not too much volume but plenty of length and curl, or when I need to give my lashes a break from all that va va voom, I use every Latina’s best kept secret: Apple Mascara. Virtually unheard of in mascara maven circles, this stuff is amazing. At less than 3 bucks and no frills packaging, I suppose you could call it our version of Great Lash. Apple comes in quite a few shades (including various blacks) and each formula has a mega conditioning base; Jajoba, Almond and Alvarado to name a few. I try to use these 2-4 times a week… Application is also very important to me, and I tend to wash out all brushes from old empty mascaras and reuse them. As for my other eye staples, I cannot go without my trusty Shiseido eyelash curler, Cils Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base by Lancôme, Rubiglo eyelash comb (I have injured myself far to many times with a metal one!), and a variety of disposable mascara wands.

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