Une Vie de Luxe

Style, Beauty, and Luxe Living

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Mascara Madness: Lancôme ‘Grandiôse’ Wide-Angle Fan Effect Mascara

Lancôme ‘Grandiôse’ Mascara 

In my extended absence from posting I have learned to be very selective about my cosmetic purchases and have chosen to be even more discerning , which basically means I am on my way to reforming my makeup junkie fixes….it was fun while it lasted!  So, given my newer and even more rigorous approach to my luxury cosmetic purchases, I thought I would give the new Lancôme ‘Grandiôse’ mascara a shot given its relatively new swan-neck brush and self-proclaimed innovative and unique ‘quick-drying’ formula.

At first glance and after initial use, this mascara is worth the hype. However, like many mascaras out there today, it does dry out far too quickly in my opinion, although this is supposedly a selling point and even in the product description. Given this drawback and the estimated shelf life of the average mascara, roughly 3 months, I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a special event or evening mascara as it absolutely enhances your lashes giving them an extended, butterfly effect with a beautiful gloss and defined, separated lashes. With a price tag of $32 (USD), it is in line with the other mascara offerings from Lancôme. The mascara tube is beautifully designed and is lovely on any vanity with the brush specially angled in order to better reach corner eyelashes, thereby extending them for the full ‘wide-angle fan effect.’ The before and after of your eyelashes is remarkable with the lashes wide and fluttery.

In my experience, the mascara performs to the level advertised with the only drawback being, in my case, the mascara drying up much too quickly and affecting the quality of the product and consequently the application on lashes leaving them crispy and more glued together—the absolute worst combination. I had to pull out my lash comb in order to salvage the look of the mascara, which is far too much work for a pricy mascara after about a month of use. The L’Oréal ‘Butterfly Effect’ mascara is an unbelievably elegant and effective mascara that performs just as well with the only difference being the Lancôme formula is a bit more glossy and higher end with its scented formulation and better quality brush, two things that can be overlooked though for the price and results. Final word: Worth the purchase if you are looking for a special, effective evening mascara as it does enhance your lashes but is not necessary for daily wear-to-work look.

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom:Lancôme ‘Grandiôse’ Wide-Angle Fan Effect Mascara | Nordstrom.

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Luxury Handbags: Trends

Hello! It’s been a while since my last post but I am back with an interesting read to share among those of you interested in the luxury business landscape or those with a luxury handbag obsession…either way, here is an article recently published in the NY Times discussing the latest trends and hits and misses in the luxury to affordable luxury handbag market. If you have time, feel free to take this poll and we can see what bloggers here think as well! Enjoy!



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Friday’s Frugal Finds: Neutrogena’s ‘Rapid Tone Repair’ vs. Lancôme’s ‘Dreamtone’

TGIF fellow luxury and beauty enthusiasts! Back again for what I hope will be a steady stream of regular ‘Frugal Friday Finds.’ If you have been following ‘Une Vie de Luxe’ for some time now, you have probably noticed that I am perhaps helplessly attracted to luxury beauty products and fall into the trap of empty promises of what they claim to achieve from flawless skin to luscious lashes….and so on. Hopefully, I am not the only one, after all there is a whole new genre of  internet reviews borne out of this trap: ah yes, a warm welcome to the beloved dupes! For my contribution, I would like to suggest a dupe for anyone looking to minimize dark spots (due to acne or other damage) and obtain generally more even toned skin.   Today’s showdown is between the prestige luxury line Lancôme’s ‘DreamTone’ and the local pharmacy favorite Nutrogrena’s ‘Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector.’


$98 (USD)


$20-22 (USD)

 The Facts:

  Lancôme DreamTone  vs. Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 

 ‘DreamTone’ is marketed as a miracle in a bottle solution to uneven skin tone due to dark spots, acne scars and everything in between. For those looking for an all-in-one skin savior, this seems perfect. Offered in three ‘tones’ for various skin complexions, I tested DreamTone 1 (Fair Skin) for about a month and alas for me, it proved too perfect. Due to the cream’s tremendously rich texture, it created more spots, in the form of milia (tiny, white bumps that differ from traditional white heads-you can read more about it here), rather than correcting any uneven skintone issues or healing post-acne marks.

Given this issue, I had to unfortunately return this remarkably pricey skin treatment because at more than $100 a bottle, neither my skin nor my wallet could risk any more ‘richness.’ It has received generally positive reviews however and should be considered a potential dream product for those with less sensitive skin, however for those  looking for a decent, and considerably more pocket-friendly alternative, check out the Neutrogena’s ‘Rapid Tone Repair’ treatment for a mere $20, give or take depending on your locale. I purchased this product at ULTA on a whim and have been using it nightly for about two weeks and have not experienced any breakouts or milia but instead have noticed brighter skin and faded acne scars in addition to softer skin. The Rapid Tone Repair resembles the consistency of the DreamTone as well as Estée Lauder’s ‘Idealist’ (which I didn’t find too effective either). It is rich and melts easily into the skin without the greasiness of similar products.

While the DreamTone certainly has beautiful packaging and a very lovely fragrance to the cream, the Nutrogena product is efficiently packaged in a tube with a significant amount of product (at least a two month supply with regular use) including Accelerated Retinol and Vitamin C, two essential ingredients that combined help to spur on reinvigorated and more even, healthy looking skin….indeed Nutrogena’s tagline! Hopefully, you have found this latest post useful and let me know what your experience has been with these products and if there are any other similar products that you could recommend. Until next time then!

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Friday’s Frugal Finds: L’Oréal Voluminous ‘Butterfly’ Mascara vs. Dior’s ‘Iconic Overcurl’ Mascara

Mascara. It’s definitely one of my weaknesses, especially luxury mascara: Guerlain, Lancôme, YSL, Chanel, Dior…you name it, I have probably tried it and am continually on the hunt for the ‘next best thing’ when it comes to mascara.

Unfortunately, the last few luxury mascara purchases have proved disappointing and thus the reason for today’s blog post (hopefully the first in a future series of ‘Friday’s Frugal Finds.’)

L’Oréal ‘Butterfly’ Mascara vs. Dior’s ‘Iconic Overcurl ‘ Mascara

While most women and beauty experts will agree that drugstore brand mascaras are equally effective as luxury mascaras, I have tended to disagree with very few exceptions, such as L’Oréal’s new ‘Butterfly‘ mascara. This mascara is absolutely amazing and less than $10, a good 50-60% less than a basic luxury mascara. Unlike many of the drugstore brand mascaras I have tried however, this particular formulation and wand especially are giving many of my favorite mascaras a run for their money! In comparison with the Dior ‘Iconic Overcurl ‘ mascara, a recent purchase that I have been sorely disappointed with, ‘Butterfly’ delivers the promised results of the ‘Overcurl‘ at half the price and with more ease of use and dramatic lash length and curl.

  • Sleek packaging and presentation
  • $28.50 (USD)
  • Light fragrance
  • Doesn’t separate lashes as easily as Dior’s other mascara’s, like ‘Diorshow Blackout’ 
  • Doesn’t deliver promised volume or curl and is not long-lasting, especially compared to other Dior mascaras

Unfortunately, while the wand looks like it would be able to capture the inner eyelashes and outer eyelashes to give you a wide-eyed, dramatic lash effect, the wand bristles are too wide to grip the lashes easily and achieve the desired curl effect that the mascara promises. Additionally, the formula itself is simply too viscous and gluey for the wand and application becomes messy and frustrating, instead of a luxurious moment in your daily beauty routine.

Dior’s ‘Blackout‘ is by far one of my favorite mascaras and definitely surpasses the ‘Butterfly‘ in comparison, but only barely if I am truly critical. However, in comparison with the ‘Overcurl,’ the ‘Butterfly‘ is above and beyond in quality and results.

  • undefined - Eyes - L'Oreal ParisSuper sleek packaging and durable and flexible wand that is easy to handle and apply formula to lashes
  • $8.99-10.00 (USD), perhaps even less expensive in some markets
  • No fragrance
  • Significant lash lengthening and dramatic, lush, separated lashes that surpasses many of the mascaras, drugstore brands especially, in my experience
  • Lasts for most of the day (8hrs at least)

This mascara promises to ‘stretch’ lashes and it delivers, as the name suggests, lashes spread out and flair out and flutter like butterfly wings. The flexible wand with a significant number of plastic and strategically placed bristles is able to capture the tiny, hard to grip inner and outer eyelashes giving your eyes a winged out, extended lash effect.

Not much more you could really ask for a mascara and delivers a clump-free, natural and clean full lash effect! : ) Happy customer here and didn’t have to empty out my wallet for these results either!

As always, I look forward to hearing what you think about these products and any other comments: ) Happy Friday!

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My ‘Musings’ on Estée Lauder’s ‘Modern Muse’

Estée Lauder ‘Modern Muse’

Although I purchased this latest release from Estée Lauder soon after it’s launch in late 2013, I did not have much of a chance to blog about it until now. If you have not yet had a chance to check out this new fragrance and are a perfume maniac/enthusiast, don’t miss out!

I first noticed the sleek, elegant advertisement in Harper’s Bazaar and was instantly intrigued (good marketing on the company’s end) and checked it out at the Estée Lauder counter soon after. I tried it out and thought it was nice but was not instantly enamored. I let it settle on my wrist for the rest of the afternoon but didn’t go back to purchase it. Once I got home though, I realized it was a keeper and purchased it on my next shopping trip.

‘Modern Muse’ is a truly wearable fragrance perfect for the winter months and elegant enough to wear daily to work and business meetings as well as fancy occasions and dinners out. The perfume bottle itself is fairly simply yet super chic and looks great on your dresser. I purchased the 1.0fl oz ($58) and carry it with me in my purse, and it’s the perfect size to tote around. To me, the scent is reminiscent of Bvlgari ‘Jasmin Noir’ but lighter and carries softer notes of the jasmine and woody elements. I am generally not a fan of Estée Lauder fragrances since they don’t seem extraordinarily fragrant, which for a fragrance, is pretty important…but this new release is an exception, in my opinion.  I would love to hear what you think about this new fragrance so please feel free to leave comments: )

Three sizes available:

1.0 fl. oz: $58 (USD)

 1.7 fl. oz: $78 (USD)

 3.4 fl. oz: $98 (USD)