D&G Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation:
Smooth operator

The luxuriously decadent liquid gold packaging of D&G Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation provides a dose of high fashion glamour on the vanity, and that could be fuel enough for our obsession with this product. But in addition, this seriously lush foundation, which has a uniquely sensuous whipped texture and exists in 15 flattering shades, really delivers. The formulation allows layering in order to provide the perfect degree of sheerness or coverage, making possible looks ranging from natural to airbrushed. So it stands to reason that the brand’s color consultant and celebrity makeup artist Pat McGrath used it on the Dolce & Gabbana runway this season.

Jouer Cosmetics: Playful and Flexible
Founded in 2001 by Christina Zilber, Jouer, from the French verb “to play,” is a superbly well-edited cosmetics line. The formulations are high quality, the textures are flawless, but the packaging is the real draw. Every piece slots and clicks together, allowing each user to create a perfectly personalized compact with no extraneous items. Thanks to this innovation, Jouer has quickly become a cult line, particularly amongst neat freaks, party girls and jet-setters, who appreciate its space-saving properties. Two perfectly decadent evening eyeshadow shades to add to the compact: Truffle and Caviar.

Chanel Nail Polish: Plays hard to get
Nothing inspires a makeup counter stampede like the release of the latest Chanel nail polishes. This fall’s must-have varnishes, the Illusion d’Ombres collection, debuted on the A/W 2011 runways. The Limited Edition Peridot was the initial standout. Its golden teal color was instantly identifiable, impossible to duplicate and difficult to wear, which might have been the point, and of course it sold out almost instantly. But then the quieter, more discreet Quartz stealthily became the true standout. Despite what its name suggests, Quartz is not pink, but rather is a neutral silver-brown shade that works with all skin tones. The smooth formula incorporates a grown-up level of shimmer that is right for day or night, for a manicure that is both classic and perfectly of the moment.

MAC Mattene Lipstick: Intense yet soft
Matte lips are one of the biggest beauty trends of the season — a sophisticated, fashion-forward look perfect for makeup mavens searching for an edgier alternative to lipgloss. Enter MAC Mattene. Unlike many other matte formulations, which can be drying or flaky, this slim-line lipstick is creamy, moisturizing and velvety, yet unequivocally and unrepentantly non-shiny. Naked Bliss, a taupe-ish petal pink evocative of Brigitte Bardot’s pout, can read both retro and modern, while Unknown Pleasures, a deep and dense wine color fit for a diva, skews on the more sensual end of the spectrum.

Nars Orgasm blush: Gives that glow
NARS Orgasm blush has been at the top of every beauty editor’s must-have makeup item list for the past decade. Smooth and rich, the best-selling color, a subtly shimmery peachy pink, warms up and illuminates a broad range of skin tones. Of course the saucy name is a big part of the charm. Those on the lookout for something even more brazen can try Illamasqua Cream Blush in Libido. A bright reddish coral in the compact, it makes skin look feverishly flushed. The shade is only available in Europe for now, which of course only serves to secure its cult status.

Bite Beauty Lip Rouge: Intoxicating
Forget the hangover: each one of Bite Beauty’s lipsticks contains a dose of the potent antioxidant resveratrol equivalent to five glasses of red wine, which makes for a glamorous way of getting one’s vitamins. According to the brand, this magic ingredient also reduces fine lines. Formulated from shea butter and other food-grade ingredients, Bite Beauty’s all-natural cosmetics contain no parabens, sulphates or synthetic ingredients and are literally healthy enough to eat. Yet unlike some organic brands relegated to the health food store because of wimpy performance, these products are highly pigmented and long-lasting. Lip Rouge in Blush is a universally flattering multi-tasker that can be used on both lips and cheeks.

Sweet and Addictive: Etat Libre
D’Orange Jasmin et Cigarette perfume

The femme fatale of the perfume world, Jasmin et Cigarette, is exactly what it promises: after an initial shot of over-sweet jasmine, darker and more dangerous notes of honeyed nicotine bleed through and linger. Strangely, the scent begs to be over-applied, as if rejecting moderation. Created by nose Antoine Maisondieu, the provocative juice holds its own with Secretions Magnifiques and Putain des Palaces — still more brazen offerings by young cult brand Etat Libre d’Orange.

Urban Decay Makeup Setting Sprays:
Lasts for hours

When Urban Decay was founded 15 years ago, it was the cosmetic line of choice for the nightclub set. The brand has since grown more mature but has not forgotten its roots. This new product addresses the needs of those planning to stay up all night. All Nighter is an ultra-fine mist formulated for dancers and brides, which ensures that makeup will last for 16 hours. And for other nighttime pursuits, when there’s nothing less sexy than too-perfect, overly powdery makeup, Dew Me Moisturizing Makeup Setting Spray effortlessly achieves the facial equivalent of bedroom hair. In just a few spritzes, the emollient-rich formula delivers a dewy, more natural look to the skin, softening the look of makeup while simultaneously setting it. Genius.

TEXT BY Karena Akhavein