- Proud Montrealer with a passion for beauty in all its fabulous diversity. "Beauty begins the moment you choose to be yourself" - Coco Chanel
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Filed In: Estée Lauder
Viper — the very name bears a certain seductively sinister sex appeal, and while I don’t indulge in many Estée Lauder products, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was a shade I had to acquire. Easier said than done, however, as this shade was not only sold out at all US counters I went to this past summer, but upon arriving back home, all sales agents I asked here looked at me like I was speaking gibberish when I inquired. I was even assured by one pseudo-genius that this shade was a US exclusive ONLY and that I would NEVER find it here. Until I walked into Holt’s 2 minutes later … and picked it up. Whatever … the end result is that I did managed to get it, right?
Viper (CAD $25.00 limited edition) – is sumptuous, luxurious, malevolent, decadent, and totally oozes a brooding sensuality. Yes, a bottle of nail polish can do all that – trust me on this. The first coat applied somewhat sheer(ish), showing a charcoal-esque pine green base, with the second coat bringing forth this beauty’s true colour: a blackened forest/viridian green hue filled with ultra-fine emerald shimmer, although it does tend to look more ebony indoors. The formula is in that jelly/crème hybrid format that I’m really coming to love – the flow of a crème but with the high gloss and elasticity of a jelly, as it applies in a completely self-levelling way and ends with a ridiculously glassy finish. The square-shaped heavy glass bottle might look a little chunky, but actually serves to line up amazingly well for storage purposes, although it’s visually so beautiful that you will definitely want this to be out & admired. Bonus: absolutely no staining upon removal. Coats applied: 3 (thin)
Viper (shaded light)
Even though I have a few deep green shades in my collection that I could have compared ‘Viper’ to, something about its application and deep green tone completely reminded me of another legendary shade: the unicorn-elusive and limited edition ‘Zulu’ from NARS, which I was very happy to have picked up when it was re-released in the fall of 2010. Here’s how ‘Zulu’ compared to ‘Viper’ (both fabulous names, by the way):
- required 3 coats to reach the same opacity
- a thinner and sheerer formula
- first coat shows a much brighter green tone
- no shimmer
- slight translucency and more jelly-like qualities
- exceptionally glossy (a glass like finish) – makes application of top coat almost redundant
- non-staining as well
Overall, I’d say the two while bearing an almost identical base tone, are also quite different from each other due to ‘Viper’s’ shimmer, and worth owning both.
Viper vs Zulu (sunlight)
Viper vs Zulu (indirect light)
Viper vs Zulu (flash)
Final thoughts: When attempting to track down cosmetic products, perseverance pays off, as well as having some basic knowledge of the item you’re trying to find. Case in point, not always taking a sales agent’s word on something – very happy I didn’t. With the amount of nail varnish choices one faces today, it might be hard to make a case for one shade over another, so it comes down to personal preferences; I love how sophisticated yet totally “dark” and edgy ‘Viper’ is and its deep green tone helps it stand out from other trendy colours. That, and a formula that’s to die for. And the name … makes me feel so dangerous …
I admit that before seeing Estée Lauder’s ‘Topaz Chameleon Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée’ (what a mouthful!) from the spring 2012 collection, I had no idea that a product like this even existed, nor the fact that the previously released version, ‘Modern Mercury’, had immediately sold out – but not before achieving near-cult status. Personally, I absolutely could not pass up anything that had such a spectacular pattern embossed on its surface, not to mention my new-found weakness for highlighters.
I love the simple gold case, especially the large embossed “E”!
What makes ‘Topaz Chameleon’ unique is its innovative tri-brid formula, a combination creme-gel-powder that literally feels like it glides across your skin. The test swatch I did at the counter was scarily pigmented – enough so, that I initially passed this up. Giving it a second chance, I realized that not only can this formula be blended with incredible ease, but that its warm hue compliments a vast range of skin tones – it’s all in the application. You should be warned that a little goes a long way, and that you need a light hand in order that you don’t come off looking “gilded” (although it can also be worn wet, or as eyeshadow if you desire a deeper look). There are gorgeous coppery undertones in the base that seem to really give off that “faux glow” when dusted lightly along the cheeks, and while it is pigment-rich, it imparts more of a sheen than a frost at the finish. The lasting power was impressive as well, lingering easily up to 8 hours before I noticed any fading.
The following are all on foundation primed skin, and swatched: heavily in the middle, blended partially on the right, blended out on the left.
side angle, showing the raised embossed pattern
Final thoughts: I am so glad that I gave ‘Topaz Chameleon’ another shot at winning my heart, as it has turned out to be quite unique in my highlighter arsenal, being that perfect golden blend shade. The formula, as well, is like nothing I have come across, applying feather-light across the skin, never feeling cake-y or too heavy. Care needs to be taken to not overdo it, as this product is exceptionally pigmented, but as it can be blended out so smoothly, mistakes are easily avoided. I know that ‘Topaz Chameleon’ is a limited edition highlighter and while online it is showing as sold out, there may be some Estée Lauder counters that are carrying it still … my advice would be that if this beauty calls to you, do NOT wait too long in tracking it down!