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Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick in Garconne: a worthy replacement for Dragon?

It’s become my life’s mission to try and track down a dupe to Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Dragon. It might seem crazy to some but when you find the perfect red, anything less just won’t do. In my hunt to find a replacement for my ever dwindling tube of Dragon, I came across Guerlian Rouge G lipstick in Garconne.

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Now, dupe or not, this is one lipstick you will never regret adding to your collection! Even if you never apply it, the packaging itself is a work of art. What makes the packaging so cool is the way the lipstick pulls out to reveal a mirror. This is such a genius idea because if there’s one thing you need when wearing such a bold shade, it’s definitely a mirror!

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The great thing is that the mirror is actually functional which you wouldn’t expect since it’s so small. You can really only see enough to reapply your lipstick in it but that’s all you need. The lipstick case is also quite heavy and just feels expensive, which is good because it is expensive! The draw back though is that these lipsticks are a major fingerprint magnet.

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The formula on this lipstick (and all the Rouge G’s that I own) is so creamy and lovely to apply. They’re not moisturising but they don’t dry out your lips so you just need to make sure you exfoliate before applying them. I clearly didn’t exfoliate before applying the lipstick in the picture below!

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Garconne is such a beautiful rich red shade and it really lifts your complexion when you wear it. With my supply of Dragon running low, this has become my new special occasion red. But the real question is, how does it compare to Dragon?…

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I applied Guerlain Garconne on one half of my lips and Dragon on the other so you could decide for yourself. Garconne is definitely a much closer dupe than my last comparison but it’s still not an exact match. Garconne is clearly brighter and lacks the metallic shimmer that Dragon has.

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I also did some swatches below to compare. Dragon is on the left and Garconne on the right. The difference is a lot more noticeable when swatched like this. I still think that it’s just not possible to get the same dimension Dragon has from a non-liquid lipstick but Garconne is gorgeous nonetheless.

5As I mentioned earlier, Garconne will set you back a bit and comes in at the higher range of the lipstick market. at $49.50 US/$63 AU. I think it’s worth the splurge if you want a bit of luxury in your life.

What’s your special occasion lipstick?

A tale of Dragons and Pirates: Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous in Pirate

When Temptalia broke the news more than a year ago that my favourite red lipstick Chanel Dragon was being discontinued, I think I went into some type of denial because the news didn’t actually sink in. It wasn’t until literally a year later that it clicked that this shade was no longer available which caused me to go into a bit of a frenzy trying to track down some backups. Unfortunately this was all to no avail as all the counters I tried had run out of stock or returned what they had.

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What’s a beauty blogger to do? Look for a dupe of course! This started off a somewhat obsessive week of researching and analyzing online swatch after swatch to find something that might compare. I have some contenders in mind but I decided to start with a shade from the newly released Rouge Allure Luminous Intense range ( a reformulated substitute to the original Rouge Allure range). I picked up the shade Pirate and, with a name like that, I really couldn’t resist. The shade is a gorgeous blue based red that works well with my skin tone and I can already tell that it’ll be spending a lot of time on my lips!

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The new Rouge Allures come in the same ‘click click’ packaging as the old (click the double c’s to open and again to shut) and no matter how many times I use it, it never gets old!

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I’ve tried all the various formulas of Rouge Allure’s (original,  extrait de gloss, laque and velvet) and I’ve loved everything I’ve tried because Rouge Allure is synonymous with quality and excellence and the new Luminous Intense range doesn’t disappoint.  The texture of the lipstick is so light that I find myself forgetting that I’m wearing such an intense shade until I catch a glimpse in the mirror. The weightless feel on the lips has not resulted in a comprise in pigmentation with the shade reaching full opacity with very little effort. The finish on this is a lovely satin sheen and, while it’s not a drying formula, it doesn’t moisturise the lips. I find it very comfortable to wear and can get a good few hours without retouching if I’m not eating or drinking.

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I really like the brightening effect blue based reds like Pirate have on my warm toned complexion.

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No matter how gorgeous Pirate is though, it just doesn’t compare to Dragon and you’ll be able to see why very easily by taking a look at the swatches below. Pirate (on the left) just doesn’t have the same intensity and depth (not to mention the gorgeous micro shimmer) that makes Dragon the ultimate special occasion red. Don’t let that put you off Pirate though because it’s still one fantastic red and, unlike Dragon, it’s a red you can actually buy right now without having to pay ridiculous eBay prices!

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In the picture’s below I’m wearing Pirate on the left and Dragon on the right.

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I’m probably being too hard on poor Pirate since I feel like a solid lipstick just doesn’t have the capacity to achieve the result of the liquid Dragon no matter how hard it tries. There’s an impressive array of reds in the Luminous Intense range so I might be able to find a better contended but for now the next shade on my Rouge Allure Luminous Intense hit list is the pretty pink Exaltee.  Every bright lipstick lover knows that a girl can never have too many amazing reds or bright pinks!

What do you think of Pirate? Have you tried any shades from the Rouge Allure Luminous Intense range? Also let me know if you have any dupes to Chanel Dragon!

NARS Artisan brush collection: Yachiyo brush

Hello! I realised that I haven’t posted anything in a month even though I have a few drafts waiting to be finished so I thought I better get cracking! For my first post for this month I thought I’d talk about one of my favourite makeup brands: NARS!

I love NARS blushes and even though there are so many other great brands on the market that produce really great blushes, in terms of quality and pigmentation, NARS blows them all out of the water. If you have any experience with NARS blushes then you’ll know that their intense pigmentation means that you can end up looking crazy if you don’t use a light hand.

This always ends up being a problem for me because I’m always running late and I find it impossible to apply my NARS blushes without having the time to go slow with them. That was of course until I bought the NARS Yachiyo brush. I can see that this brush is going to reach HG status for me because it makes pigmented blush application a no brainer!

It’s one of four brushes from the NARS Kabuki Artisan brush collection which are all based on traditional Japanese brushes that Geisha and Kabuki actors use. I’ve purchased 3 out of the 4 brushes so far and will be reviewing them all in individual posts.

Here’s a great blog post that explains all the brushes and their uses in traditional Japanese culture and compares the traditional versions with the NARS versions of the brushes.
http://femininity.onsugar.com/Kabuki-Brush-7481758

The NARS Yachiyo’s handle is wrapped in black wisteria and you can see from the pictures below that it’s not your run of the mill blush brush. The second picture is a comparison with my MAC 129 blush brush.

Although the shape of the brush and its handle may look awkward, it’s actually really comfortable to use. It’s a very light brush and feels quite fragile and breakable but I think that’s just because I’m used to big sturdy brushes. I’m fairly certain the bristles are made of ‘super’ goat hair like the rest of the brushes in the Artisan range but I’m not 100% sure. Now I don’t know what differentiates normal goat hair and super goat hair but it’s a very soft brush even though it’s probably not the softest I own.

Here are some pictures comparing the shape of the brush head and the density of the brush to the MAC 129 brush blush which has a shape typical of a standard blush brush.

As you can see, the Yachiyo brush is not as dense as the MAC 129 and the brush head is alot more rounded than the MAC brush. I think these two main differences are what makes this brush ideal for the sheer application of pigmented blushes. The lower density means that the brush doesn’t have as many hairs to pick up colour and it also means it diffuses the colour a lot more. The rounded shape also means that a smaller surface area of the brush is actually touching the product.

I can talk about it all I want but you’ll understand it alot more if you see pictures of it in action. For the swatches below I used my NARS Crazed blush which (as the name suggests) can give you a very crazed look if you don’t go easy with applying it!

My flash bleached out the colour a bit in the swatches but you should still be able to tell that the swatch applied with the NARS Yachiyo brush is alot sheerer and more diffused than those applied with either the Sigma SS188 ( a stippling brush) or the MAC 129 brush. Don’t get me wrong, I still like these other brushes but I just use them for my blushes that aren’t so crazy pigmented!

I find that since I purchased this brush, I have been using my NARS blushes quite alot more even when I’m running late. I’ve also found that this brush is just perfect for cream blush application and I even like the way it applies my MUFE HD blush so this is definitely a keeper! I also ordered the brush by Japonesque that looks very similar to this brush and I’ll be doing a comparison post once I receive it.

If you’re looking for a good blush brush and are willing to fork out a quite a bit of cash, I think this brush is definitely worth getting. I would advise going to your closest NARS counter and getting a feel for the brush first if you can but I honestly don’t think this will be a purchase you’ll regret!

UPDATE 18/01/2011:
I finally did a comparison post between the NARS Yachiyo and the Japonesque version. Just CLICK HERE.

Holy Grail Status: Sigma Flat Top Kabuki Brush (F80/SS197)

OK so I know that I said that the MAC 130 was my holy grail brush for liquid and cream foundation a few posts back but I have to take it back now that I’ve found this flat top kabuki from Sigma. It is pure awesomeness in brush form (not to over sell it or anything). I love this brush so much and I think that love will last past the honeymoon stage of new productitis.

It’s like the older, more developed sister of the MAC 130. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the 130 but I now use it very differently and utilise it for concealing large areas rather than for liquid foundation. The main reason for this is mainly to do with size. Just take a look at the comparison pictures below:


The Sigma brush is on the top and the MAC 130 is on the bottom .


In the two pictures above the MAC 130 is on the left and the Sigma one is on the right. On a side note, I’ve noticed that the outside hairs on the MAC 130 never seem to really lie with the rest of the brush regardless of how I dry it which is very annoying! It looks very used and abused already and I’ve only had it for a few weeks!

The Sigma brush is obviously bigger and denser than the MAC 130 which makes foundation application and blending a no-brainer that can be accomplished flawlessly in very little time. I found that I had to really work to blend foundation in with the 130 just because of it’s size and because it had less hairs so even though it got the job done, it wasn’t a quick process. This wasn’t really a problem with foundations such as the MAC Studio Sculpt or the MAC Mineralize SPF cream foundation which stay quite wet and allow blending time but it was a major problem with matte foundations such as my NARS Sheer Matte.

The NARS Sheer Matte has to be blended in very quickly as it is a true matte product so it dries quite fast and because I didn’t have enough time to blend it out properly I was ending up with patches of foundation that looked quite cakey. If this was a different foundation like the Studio Fix fluid I would just spritz it with water and keep blending but I’ve found that the NARS Sheer Matte really does not like water once it dries and it becomes this white chalky mess when you try to apply some on it. Using the Sigma brush means that I now cover a lot more surface area on my face and can blend this foundation out before it dries and the finish is beautiful! Airbrushing eat your heart out!

This brush is every thing I hoped the MAC and Sigma 187 was going to be for liquid foundation but failed to be. Here are some comparison pictures with the Sigma SS187:


The Flat top kabuki is on the left in these pictures above and the SS 187 is on the right.
Even though the Sigma flat top kabuki is quite a bit smaller than the SS 187, because the fibres are more densely packed and there’s more of them, it allows for better control and better blended results.


You can see how much the SS187 splays out when you put pressure on it which means that it tends to layer rather than really sheer out the product like the flat top kabuki.

Here is a shot showing how the brushes perform when used for stippling. These swatches were both made with one touch of the brush on my skin after dipping into the foundation.

The splotch of foundation on the left is what the stipple pattern looks like from the SS 187 and the one on the right shows the stipple pattern of the flat top kabuki. You can clearly see that the coverage the flat top kabuki offers is already so much more even and covers more than the SS 187 does.

So I hope that you can see the difference in application that will result by using this brush over a duo fibre brush such as the MAC 187 or the Sigma SS 187. I don’t think it really matters what brand you buy because it’s more about the type of brush you get but any flat top kabuki that is dense like the Sigma one will probably work wonderfully. I’m reccomending this one because it’s the only one I’ve used plus I only picked it up for like $25 AU once you factor in shipping. The brush is sold individually on the Sigma makeup site (http://www.sigmamakeup.com/) and is named the SS197. The brush itself has ‘Sigma Flat Top Kabuki’ and the number F80 written on the handle as I believe that Sigma is now converting to a labelling system that is different to MAC’s.

All I can say is that this brush is awesome so far but I did only get it a few days ago so I don’t truly know how it performs yet. I found that it didn’t smell when I washed it and there wasn’t any bleeding and I’ve washed it about 4 times so far. It did shed a few hairs the first time but I haven’t noticed much shedding since then but I’ll update if there are any changes in the quality of this brush. I should also note that this brush looks like a duo fibre brush but is purely synthetic and the tips of the brush have simply been dyed to look like a duo fibre.