The first nail-focused beauty blog

NY Fashion Week S/S 10

CND Monday – Layering at Diego Binetti

alu-cnd-monday-copper-chrome-electric-orange Welcome to CND Monday, a regular series here on ALU. Each week I’ll be sharing a new layering combination from CND Colour & Effects to show you the versatility and creativity of the line.

As New York Fashion Week draws near I wanted to share with you the nail looks from my favorite show from the Spring 2010 season, Diego Binetti.  As CND’s Jan Arnold told me, Diego gets nails and really understands the importance of incorporating them into the overall look.

Now in season’s past, the CND team has used a lot of custom blends but with the launch of Colour & Effects they challenged themselves to use layering as much as possible to create the exact shade each designer wanted.  For Diego Binetti, they took on the task of translating his Thailand inspiration onto the models’ nails using various combinations of CND Copper Chrome, Electric Orange, Brilliant White, Buff, Inkwell, Ice Blue Shimmer and Gold Pearl with some very intricate nail art.

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CND Monday – Muddy Rose Colour & Raspberry Sparkle Effect

Welcome to CND Monday, a new feature here on ALU. Each week I’ll be sharing a new layering combination from CND Colour & Effects to show you the versatility and creativity of the line.

When I first saw the Colour & Effects line I naturally gravitated towards the primary and secondary hues. You know, “me” colors. It wasn’t until I had some time to play with the line at home that I’ve begun discover all this line has to offer. Muddy Rose is one of those discoveries.

I’ve been on a mauve kick for fall ever since I saw the Reem Acra dress that inspired Get Mauve-ing from the Barielle All Lacquered Up collection. Now I’m on a full fledged dusty pink/rose/purple spree and Muddy Rose fits the bill. See it on its own and paired with Raspberry Sparkle after the jump!

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Essie Winter 2009 Sweet Time of The Year Swatches & Review

In case you were wondering, the mint green train isn’t stopping anytime soon. I know some of you feel it’s too light for Fall/Winter but I’m so all over it, I can’t stand it! In fact, Essie is introducing her twist on the minty nail trend in her candy-themed Winter 2009 collection.

I had the privilege of meeting Essie backstage at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. In fact, I saw her two days in a row. How crazy is that? A friend introduced me in the backstage area and we chatted for a few and then the next day she hosted a press event for the limited edition Capri Blue polish she created for MBFW. That’s when I first laid eyes on the Winter colors and you KNOW I fixated on that green. Get all the details and see the colors, after the jump!


First of all, let me say that Essie is a doll to chat with. I was uber-intimidated to meet such a giant in the polish industry and her statuesque figure only adds to her presence. She’s one tall drink of water. But my butterflies were unwarranted because Essie is very down-to-earth, extremely inviting and so in love with color.

When asked what colors she loves to wear, Essie admitted that while she’s normally a Bordeaux girl when it comes to her toes, she wore Lacquered Up all summer. And because she spends a lot of her time in meetings, she prefers to keep her fingernails pretty and safe. She wears combinations of sheers and pales, changing her look each week. Some fave combos include Ballet Slippers with Mademoiselle and Fed Up with Blushing Bride though she’s currently loving Mademoiselle with Blushing Bride.

For Fashion Week she collaborated with Mercedes-Benz to create a polish to match their Capri Blue metallic paint. Essie Capri Blue was available exclusively in the Mercedes-Benz backstage lounge but you can get a similar look wearing Midnight Cami from the Fall Cuddle With Color collection.

For Winter, Essie wanted something whimsical, fun and refreshing. She created these confections with that in mind.

Rock Candy is your typical Essie pink sheer. It’s a bit milky and I ended up using three coats to get it even. You know I’m not one for sheers so it’s not really my style.
Lollipop is unique in that it applied like a glaze. Not jelly-ish and not creamy more like a lip gloss. Though in spite of its texture the color is opaque in two coats. Very unusual and candy-like for such a traditional red hue.
Mint Candy Apple is the pièce de résistance. You know how I’ve swooned over the other mint greens to date and this one is in a class all its own. This really does look like pastel after dinner mints. Oh how I love those. So delicious and melty in your mouth. This beauty is creamy, slightly blue and unfortunately for your wallets, utterly unique. Even though it took three coats for a completely even, opaque finish, I. Don’t. Care. It’s gorgeous!

I swatched it next to every mint green I own and not a one comes close. Lined up against its predecessors it totally stands out.

MAC Peppermint Patti, Barry M Mint Green, Essie Mint Candy Apple, OPI Damone Roberts 1968, Chanel Jade

The Essie Winter 2009 collection launches in November though I’ve heard rumors that it will go on sale on Essie.com tomorrow October 15th.

What do we think Fanatics? Who’s up for mint green-a-palooza this winter?

Chris Benz Backstage Access with Lancome and Redken

By on September 23, 2009
in Lancome, NY Fashion Week S/S 10 with 3 Comments
Known for his love of color, Chris Benz’s Spring 2010 show did not disappoint. His collection included bright pops of yellow, pink, purple and blue in shapes both feminine and strong. To compliment the clothes the teams from Lancome and Redken were on hand to create the makeup, hair and nail looks.

Find out how it all came together and get a real life look at the next Lancome Pout-A-Porter lipstick after the jump!


Lancome Makeup Artist Daniel Martin created the doll-like face on the models. He likened it to Raggedy Ann minus the flaming red hair. He wanted to create a neutral palette to balance against Chris’s colorful collection. Pale, hydrated skin paired with pumped up lashes and a single pop of color on the lips are the essentials to this doll-face.

The key products to creating the look are Shu Uemura Nobara Foundation, Lancome Ageless Minerale Translucent Powder, Lancome Pop ‘N Cheeks in Coral Flirt (launching Spring 2010), Lancome Hypnose Mascara and Lancome L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in Chris & Tell.

John Ruidant for Redken is a man that knows how to wield a curling iron and as a curl challenged girl, I LOVE that about him. John said that because Chris’s collection has a lot of texture and color, he played off that idea creating a very textured hairstyle.

He began by spraying Fabricate 03 and power drying it into the hair. After creating a side part he curled the entire head with a 1 1/4 inch iron, spraying each section with Hot Sets 22 and slightly backcombing the piece to set in some roughness. John said it wasn’t about creating a perfect, smooth curl. That he wanted disheveled, haphazard sporadic waves with no brushes or combs involved. Finally, he mixed Outshine 01 & Glass 01 together and ran his fingers through the hair. On the girls wearing low-cut tops he added a side twist to show off the shape of the clothes. He noted that it’s a very user friendly style that we can all replicate at home.

On the nail front, Editorial Manicurist Sheril Bailey tended to the models tips and toes. She created a flattering round nail shape which follows the theory from her book, The Sheril Bailey Complete Manicuring and Nail Care Handbook, of mimicking the cuticle line. She feels that a rounded nail is more feminine than a flat square.

In terms of polish, instead of a matchy-matchy look, which I rarely do, she opted for a coordinated color combo with a lighter bright hue on the hands and a deeper, bold shade on the feet. The lacquers, launching this November, are called Bon Bon Strawberry (fingers) and Mademoiselle Grape (toes). They are part of a very special Lancome project that I can’t wait to tell you about.

The biggest beauty news of the day was the unveiling of Chris & Tell, the 5th lipstick in Lancome’s Pout-A-Porter series. Chris & Tell is a collaboration between Chris and Daniel that came about after many hours of brainstorming in Chris’s studio. Daniel told me, “we initially wanted to do something that was beige but being that we are both from Seattle, we wanted color. We were drawn to this orange, this coral and it just manifested itself.”

The year before, Chris designed Elettra Rossellini-Wiedemann’s dress for The Met’s “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” gala and Daniel custom mixed a lipstick for her that ended up becoming the springboard for Chris & Tell.

According to Daniel, even though the shade is bold, it has a pink undertone that makes it very wearable. And the L’Absolu Rouge formula allows you to wear it as a stain or a full color lipstick. I put my sample of Chris & Tell to the test the very next day and received many compliments. Here are my swatches of the shade.

FYI, the waiting list for Chris & Tell is now open so if you want a tube of this limited edition lipstick when it launches next Spring, I suggest you call the Lancome Boutique at (212) 362-4858.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the lipstick and the overall look. I’m definitely going to try to replicate the hair. I’m obsessed with how beautifully messy it is. What about you?

Rocker Chic at Julie Haus with Stila and Deborah Lippmann

For the Julie Haus Spring 2010 show, Beauty.com assembled quite the rocking glam squad when they brought in Stila, Deborah Lippmann, Oscar Blandi and ARCONA to prep the models. Messy bedhead hair, smudgy eyes and deconstructed nails were combined to create a slightly punky complement to Julie’s edgy yet feminine designs. See how the look came together and check out who I saw backstage, after the jump!


Sarah Lucero from Stila wanted to focus on the eyes for this look. The skin was clean with muted lips and natural brushed-up brows. It’s her philosophy that when there is a sheen on one part of the face, like the eyes, the rest should have a healthy, matte finish. She noted that while the coming season is all about pretty glamour, the techniques should be simple. Your makeup should take you 5 minutes, not 25. Using a double sided brush, Sarah packed on shades of pomegranate and berry that she then applied wet as liner before piling on the mascara.

Recreate the look using Boqueticon (as base) and Pigalle eye shadow pans and the Montmartre quad.

ARCONA was on hand to prep the models’ skin. Bethany Wojtech for ARCONA explained that because the makeup look was so clean, the skin had to be perfect. Since ARCONA has no chemicals, fragrance or dyes, the skin stays calm, fresh and dewy. It was then that she introduced me to my new bedtime BFF, the Triad Padsicon. An all-in-one cleanser/toner/hydrator, makeup artists keeps these pads in their kit to remove any traces of makeup from a model, even waterproof mascara. With claims that bold I had to put them to the test and I can tell you, these babies are no joke. Just one pad removed ALL my makeup without sucking the moisture from my skin. Color me impressed!

Now on to my fave part of being backstage, talking nails with Deborah Lippmann. I’ll never pass up a chance to see Deb so when I heard she was doing the nails for Julie Haus, I grabbed my pal Christine from 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic and ran right over.

To complete the rocker chic look, Deb applied Hit Me With Your Best Shot, the shade she created with Pat Benatar, but she didn’t stop there. Instead of giving the models her typical flawless manicure, she went for a deconstructed smudged look by messing up their nails 20 or 30 minutes later. As Deb so cheekily put it, “so she maybe got back into bed before her nails were dry.” I think we know where she’s going with that.



Christine from 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic, Jamie from The Beauty of Life, Deborah Lippmann and me!

What do you think of the punky, messed up nails? We’ve talked about intentionally chipped manicures in the past, are they making a comeback or should they stay on the runways?

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