Friday, September 4, 2015

Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ in Tan Gold

I've been interested in cushion compacts for quite some time but never took the jump to test one until recently. I was researching and shopping for sunscreens in Sephora a few months ago and one of the associates recommended the Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compacts ($60 for 0.52 oz/15 g, plus one full-sized refill) because it had a high SPF, natural coverage and was also one of their best sellers in store. She tried two shades on me, Tan Gold 204 and Amber Gold 208. It was hard to tell with in store lighting which color was best because they both seemed to adjust to the skin and it was early summer so I wasn't sure how much of a tan I would get. I decided to wait and luckily the Amore Pacific team reached out and offered to send one for me to test. Based on my skintone description they sent Tan Gold 204 for me to try. I've been playing with it for a month and am really pleased with it.

One reason why I've been hesitant to try cushion compacts for so long is most seem to be pink in undertone. I have distinct olive/yellow undertones so I've avoided them for a long time. Amore Pacific's Color Control Cushion Compact has a limited shade selection but they have two with pink undertones and two with yellow undertones. In testing the four shades at Sephora in store, it was easy to see the difference in undertone.

Tan Gold 204 applies to a perfect match for my skin. It has very natural coverage but manages to conceal uneven areas and redness on the face. The sponge is very thin and absorbs the perfect amount of product to apply to the skin. You have to test it really see how beautifully it performs - you press it into the skin and then blend with the sponge. The finish looks like your skin but so much better. It isn't like tinted moisturizers or like other CC or BB creams (I find most disappear into my skin). The one from Amore Pacific covers completely but still manages to look natural.

The color starts out a bit light on my skin but it oxidizes to match my skin. It only darkens within the first few minutes but stays the same color throughout the day. I was really impressed with how well it holds up to the humidity and heat (it lasts all day when set with powder through 90 degree weather). When I use it pores disappear and fine lines no longer look like they are visible. There is a noticeable floral scent but it's not overpowering or irritating on the skin (for reference, it has the same strength as By Terry Rose products but is more powdery smelling compared to a straight rose).

The compact is very well designed. It comes with a mirror and a spot for the sponge. The insert is easy to pop out to replace with the extra refill. The product is in a cushion form, the foundation is soaked in a cushiony sponge. To apply, simply press the sponge into the compact and then apply to your face.

Here's a look at the compact with the insert removed:


Swatches to a few other Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact shades (I had a sample pack of the pink tones from a previous GWP) and NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland and St. Moritz (right now I'm a perfect match to St. Moritz):


-Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate: 7%
-Titanium Dioxide: 4.15% 
-Zinc Oxide: 9.8% 

Phyllostachis Bambusoides Juice, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Alcohol, Arbutin, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Aluminium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Isostearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Acrylates/Stearyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Disodium Edta, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylhexyglycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Water, Silica, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Camillia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides (Ci 77492, Ci 77491, Ci77499).

Given the limited shade selection I'm surprised but really happy to have found a good color match. I'm thoroughly impressed with how natural it looks - it's like your skin but so so much better. After testing it for about a month now I am pleased to report it evens out the skin, gives the skin a natural glow, is easy to build and lasts all day. Aside from the initial darkening/adjusting which occurs within the first 5 minutes, the color stays put and doesn't darken with sweat or heat. I love how it feels weightless and like skin on the face. I do set with a powder to make it stay put better - but I set everything with powder. I have sensitive skin but this one did not irritate my face or cause any breakouts. The price of $60 is on point and seems very reasonable especially since it comes with a full-sized refill.

Have you tried anything from Amore Pacific before? Based on the reviews online, most everything in the line seems to be very well received by beauty lovers. I'm new to the line - would love recommendations if you have any favorites! If not - do you have any favorite cushion compacts?

You can find the Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact online at Amore Pacific, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Sephora and Neiman Marcus.

The Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact was provided courtesy of Amore Pacific for review consideration. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Christian Louboutin Lip Colours: Rouge Louboutin

Today Christian Louboutin launches 38 shades of Louboutin Lip Colour in three distinct formulas ($90 each). The Lip Colours come cased in the most ornate packaging I've ever seen for the lipstick. The design is inspired by Babylonian architecture - it resembles an elixir vial and is capped with a stunning crown. The three different textures include a multitude of colors. Each formula has the red classic Louboutin Rouge color. I have swatches of the three reds to share today. They come with a hefty price tag and I am pleased to report Louboutin has taken lipstick to another level, not just with the packaging, but also with an incredible formula. According to Louboutin these are made in the USA, paraben-ree, mineral oil-free, DEA-free and Phthalate-free. First a look at each of the three formulas and color selection.

Louboutin Rouge Nail Color featured on the nails in all photos, reviewed + swatched here:

Silky Satin Lip Colour - 20 shades including Rouge Louboutin 3.8 gr /0.134 Oz
  • Glides on lips with an opulent and sensual feel.
  • A unique blend of ultra-fine colour pigments expresses deep and generous colour with a silky satin finish and soft shine.
  • Medium to full coverage delivered in one stroke with a supple and soft feel on lips.
  • A complex of natural oils and seed butters enhances moisturization for up to 4 hours and creates a protective effect against dryness.
  • Maintains an excellent appearance on lips up to 4 hours without bleeding and with durable comfort.
  • Available in a universal shade palette, ranging from light to deep tones, across mid-tonal and bright hues of pinks to berries, reds and corals, nudes and browns.

Velvet Matte Lip Colour - 9 shades including Rouge Louboutin 3.8 gr /0.134 Oz
  • Glides on lips with smooth precision. 
  • Intensely rich color goes on with full coverage and sets with a soft touch matte finish. 
  • Medium to full coverage delivered in one stroke with a supple and soft feel on lips. 
  • A complex of natural oils and seed butters enhances moisturization for up to 4 hours and creates a protective effect against dryness. 
  • Maintains an excellent appearance on lips up to 4 hours without bleeding and with durable comfort. 

Sheer Voile Lip Color - 9 shades including Rouge Louboutin 3.5 gr / 0.123 Oz
  • Glides on lips with a creamy smooth nourishing sensation. 
  • Impactful colour accents lips natural radiance with a wet luminous shine. 
  • A complex of natural oils and seed butters enhances moisturization and creates a protective effect against dryness.


The Louboutin Beaute team was kind enough to send the three Rouge Louboutin colors. I've been playing with these for the last month - it was so hard to touch the actual product. They are almost too pretty to use. Each lipstick comes in a hefty case with a cap that has a small loop opening so it can double as a charm. Each color comes individually packaged (search #LouboutinCharme for more photos and uploads from others). Mine came in a stunning black and red box as part of the press sample. The three formulas each have a distinct design for the packaging. The Velvet Mattes have a brushed matte finish on the case, Silky Satins have a glossy finish to the tubes, Sheer Voiles have a patterned weave to the outside.

Swatches below, you can see the difference in texture. For the color in Rouge Louboutin, all three reds are very similar, if not almost identical in color.

Closeup to see the texture differences:


Thoughts and swatches on my lips from sheer to full coverage. First up in Sheer Voile. I haven't tried or seen the other colors but the pigment of Rouge Louboutin is very very good. It has a super lush glossy finish that has a slightly transparent look. It is very pigmented on my lips and glides on like a dream. It has a very soft scent that's hard to describe - it's like fresh and clean with a very slight powdery touch. The scent is very subtle. I found it extremely hydrating. The product is supposed to last four hours without fading. I was able to test it for 3 hours without having it budge before I had to eat something, it stayed put relatively well through snacks and it did not bleed around the edges. For a red, this is the best sheer red I've tried. It's not too cool, it's not too warm, and it doesn't turn fuchsia. My wallet is going to be so broke when this one is used up because I will have to repurchase it.


Silky Satin is the classic formula, it comes in 20 different shades. At $90 a tube the lipstick costs an arm and a leg. I already cry everytime Tom Ford launches new lipsticks because they break the bank. I'm of the mindset that no matter how good a lipstick is, a lipstick is still just a lipstick. Still I will splurge on Tom Ford and after testing Louboutin I am beyond amazed that they have truly taken lipstick to another level. The Silky Satin is out of this world. It lasted a full five hours on me without bleeding, fading or budging. It did transfer to a soda can, but the color lasted through 2 Diet Dr. Pepper cans and a 4 Oreos without fading at all. The color is super hydrating and lush. It has full opaque coverage with a very slightly glossy sheen. It makes the lips look lush because the pigment is so rich.


Last but not least is Velvet Matte. I try to stay away from matte finish lipsticks because they often leave my lips looking dry and emphasize lip lines. There are few exceptions (Tom Ford Lip Color Matte is one formula I really like). The Louboutin Rouge Velvet Matte is amazingly exceptional. It offers full opaque coverage. It does have a slightly drier texture compared to the other two formulas. It sticks to the lips and stays put without budging. As with most rich reds this requires precise application. I usually like sheers or glossy formulas because they are more forgiving - for mattes like this one if you don't cover the entire lip evenly it shows. This one takes more care to apply, but it's the same as with any dark or bright lip color. Even though it's matte it's non drying. It has a distinct matte finish but still manages to have a glow to it.


After playing these for a few weeks now I am surprised to report that I am truly impressed. I still think lipstick is simply lipstick and I thought there was no way lipstick could get better than it already is. The $90 price tag is really hard to swallow, but somehow Christian Louboutin has managed to take lip colors to another level with the formula. If you can budget for one it's totally worth splurging on. It is a luxurious item that is very nice to have. I've already started budgeting to splurge on a few colors I have my eye on and my wallet is crying a flood of tears right now because these will break the bank.

All 38 colors officially launched at stores and online today. I can't wait to see the entire range in person soon. You can find them online at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Sephora and Christian Louboutin. (There are also new Lip Liners that have launched with the collection.)

Have you checked out the Louboutin Lip Colours yet? If yes what did you think? If not yet have you ordered any yet! Let me know so I can live vicariously through you!

Many thanks to Louboutin for sending the Rouge Louboutin Lip Colours for review.

Monday, August 31, 2015

August Favorites

I have a monthly favorites roundup today featuring both beauty and grooming products for him and her. My husband had so much fun pulling his favorite things last month he wanted to participate again. We've both been experimenting with new products - for me it's a regular thing since I'm a beauty blogger and constantly trying new things. For him, he's found out trying new products takes quite a bit of time to figure out how they really perform. There are some things he wanted to toss after one use, but in the interest of giving things a thorough test drive he's opened up to giving items more than 1-2 uses before writing things off. Our August beauty and grooming favorites this month:
  1. Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here) is the must-have highlighter duo this season. It gives the skin the most stunning glow. There seems to be mixed information about whether or not it's limited-edition. I received an e-mail from the team at Tom Ford confirming that it's limited-edition. Others report it is permanent. To be safe I bought 2 backups. It's that good.
  2. R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo Spray (Travel Size) is something I picked up a month ago. I'm the type of person who washes her hair daily so I don't use dry shampoos a lot. There are days though where it's so hot my hair needs a quick refresh. Many are white in color and leave my black-brown hair looking dusty and grey (even if I brush it out). This one is colorless and smells amazing. A few spritzes absorbs oil and gives the hair texture. I give it a huge thumbs up.
  3. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay has been a long time favorite. I've used this on and off for a year now (I like to switch up my cleansers). I think I've gone through 4 tubes. It's amazing in this hot humid weather at cleaning the skin, unclogs pores and is gentle but really effective.
  4. YSL Pop Water Glossy Stains have been in regular rotation (previously swatched/reviewed here). The colors are summer-perfect. It's so easy to swipe on the lips and the stain makes the color last long. My two favorites for the last month have been Pink Rain and Wet Nude.
  5. Surratt Beauty Lip Lustre in Soigne is one of the prettiest shimmering rose pinks. It looks very metallic in the tube and when swatched on the hands but on the lips it's not as frosty. It's the perfect soft rosy pink shimmer. See it on my lips here.
  6. I acquired a few minis of the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and it's heavenly. I have been rationing three tiny bottles for months now (since around May) and I've fallen head over heels. I don't want to splurge on the full size but there are some deal/value sets. I need to buy soon. It will be one of my biggest skincare splurges but it's amazing on my skin. It hydrates, feels smooth, doesn't get greasy and makes my face glow.
  7. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow in Medium to Dark is my go-to bronzer this month. You can see the full review + swatches here. I'm completely obsessed.
  8. Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow is something I've been mixing in with foundation to add a subtle glow. I like that it has a yellowish golden undertone which I find rare in liquid illuminators which are often pinkish/opal.
  9. La Mer Illuminating Eye Gel is something I've been using since the spring. It's a good lightweight product for day and in this hot summer weather it's just what I need. For a real deep treatment my go-to is still Chanel Sublimage but it's a bit heavy for day in this super hot weather.
  10. This hakuho-do x Sephora Kusuriyubi Angled Concealer Brush is amazing. I did a full review earlier in the month which you can see here, but this is my favorite concealer brush of all time now.
  11. For the longest time my husband has been a loyal Jack Black user, but he opened up to trying some items I brought home from Kiehl's. He really likes the Facial Fuel Energizing Facewash for Men. It lathers up well and really cleans the skin making it feel refreshed without leaving any film or stripping the face. The entire Facial Fuel line has a good masculine look to the packaging which he finds appealing. I tried this one and have to say it's pretty darn good. For him, it helps prepare his skin for shaving by making it feel smooth.
  12. Kiehl's Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Eye Repair is what he uses under his eyes to try and treat wrinkles and dry skin. This year he's been keen on researching products and changing his lifestyle to prevent aging (or at least try to delay it). He's on his second jar of this. He likes it because it hydrates and really helps with his wrinkles.
  13. Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men has been in regular rotation for skincare. He likes this because it softens the skin without feeling greasy. It absorbs quickly and makes the skin feel invigorated. He actually got this one in Men's Starter Kit because he likes bottles with smaller packaging.
  14. Clarisonic Alpha Fit Cleansing System for Men is a new device designed specifically for men. My husband had tried my Aria with his own brush heads. He liked the concept but didn't like the design (he said it looked too girly and felt bulky). I bought this one for him - the video sold it for me. It has a good masculine look and fits in the hands easily. He uses his in the shower daily and finds it gives his skin a deep clean and has made a noticeable difference in texture and preventing blackheads/clogged pores. He has super thick facial hair and this Clarisonic has softened the ends of his hair so when he shaves it feels softer. It's on the pricey side but he's really happy with it. It fits on the shelf in our shower without taking up a lot of space.
  15. Nuxe Men Multi-Use Shower Gel is his favorite right now. He likes the way it smells and how it lathers (for him the lather is important). It leaves the skin feeling clean and moisturized. I'm a fan of the way it smells on him too. Review here.
  16. Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet Deodorant is something he bought because he was researching Penhaligon's shaving products. He decided to give this one a try based on online reviews he read. He likes it because it has a good fresh manly scent and doesn't make his skin peel.
That wraps it up for our beauty and grooming favorites for the month!
What were your favorites for August?

Chanel Fall 2015 Rouge Allure and Rouge Coco Shines

For fall Chanel has four new lipsticks in their Collection Les Automnales release. I picked up two of the Rouge Coco Shines ($36 each) in Mélancolie and Téméraire along with one Rouge Allure ($36) in Pensive. I'm usually super excited about the new lip releases from Chanel. Their lipstick formulas usually perform really well for me and I love the colors. This fall, the items fall a bit short of my expectations.

The three colors I picked out at the counter:

  • Rouge Coco Shine in Mélancolie is a sheer glossy warm brownish nude with shimmer, this goes on beautifully if swatched on the hands, on my pigmented lips it looks very nude and natural, it almost disappears because of the way it matches my lip tone, it's so so pretty in the tube, on me it's almost invisible, I suspect if you have less pigment in your lips it will show up better
  • Rouge Coco Shine in Téméraire is a pigmented deeper red with shimmer, this one has phenomenal coverage and pigment, if you're like me, most reddish lip colors can turn orange or fuchsia on the lips no matter what the base color is, this one surprisingly does not turn fuchsia and stays true to what you see in the tube
  • Rouge Allure in Pensive is a sheer nude that is applies unevenly and blotchy, it's almost identical in color to the Reveuse Rouge Coco Shine, but the Rouge Coco Shine has a much better formula and coverage, it photographs well, but in real life it looks really uneven, I've tried desperately to make it work because it swatches so pretty on the arm and looks like nude perfection in the tubes, but it's really not worth the price given the sheerness

Swatches below:

Some swatched comparisons:

One last shot:

Overall beautiful in the tubes, but they aren't must-haves for me. I do like the way Téméraire looks and how pigmented it is although it has a lot more color in it than I'm used to. It's definitely not an everyday kind of lip color unless you are used to wearing reds. Mélancolie is such a stunning shade in the tube and on my hand, on my me it seems to have decent coverage but it disappears on my pigmented lips. Pensive is something I would say skip - there are much better nudes out there from other lines that have better pigment, coverage and texture. If you're in the market for new lipsticks to splurge on I would say save for Louboutin, Tom Ford or the Burberry Kisses. Or wait for Chanel Holiday.

Did you check out the fall selection for lips? What did you think?

All the new lip colors in the fall collection are listed as permanent. They are available at counters now. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and all other Chanel retailers.


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