Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Favorites


I haven't done a monthly favorites roundup in a while since I find my favorites rotate quite frequently. I like to mix things up and change things around. This month I narrowed down a favorites list to some items I've been enjoying thoroughly. As always I'd love to hear from you about your favorites for the past month. (The items below include links to previous reviews where applicable.)

This month feels like it's been all about new lip releases. I'm still working on reviews for the new Rouge Dior Brilliant Lipshine but will say right now these new Dior  glosses are phenomenal. I've been loving them a lot - they have the perfect mix of color and shine. I have all the swatches and review finished but still need to pull colors for comparison swatches.

Other lip staples this month include Charlotte Tilbury Confession, Marc Jacobs Beauty Infamous and Tom Ford Lips & Boys in Peter. I've also been reaching for the Chanel Hydrabeauty Lip Balm. Initially I thought this was just an average lip treatment. The more I use it the more I like this as a lightweight lip balm that doesn't feel heavy on the lips and adds a nice veil of moisture.

For the skin I've been going through a lot of masks. My favorite is the Aesop Parsley Seed Mask. It's the best clarifying face mask I've tried that is good for sensitive skin. It will draw out impurities and is gentle enough to use multiple times a week. I like it because it smells like a spa and it doesn't irritate the skin. My favorite new cleanser discovery is the Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser. It's a bit too strong for daily use but I do use it multiple times per week.

For eyeshadow palettes, the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con in The Dreamer has a beautiful mix of warm neutrals. There are golds, corals, champagnes and tan shimmers with a really good matte brown. This one is what I wanted Lolita to be. Let me know if you want a full review of this one.

My current foundation routine includes a mix of Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow + NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. This combo gives the perfect glow with medium to full coverage.

For fragrance, I've become smitten with the Byredo Bibliothèque, Cotton Poplin and Fleur Fantôme set from Net-A-Porter. These are so cute although pricey, it's a nice way to try the candles at a cheaper price than buying the full size. My favorite is still Fleur Fantôme (which I have the full size of). Full review to come soon.

Last but not least, I've still been loving the Lumira Paradisium perfume. It's the perfect mix of florals with a hint of fig.

What have your favorites been this month?


Friday, February 27, 2015

Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum


Hourglass Cosmetics launched their first skincare products in January of this year with two items in a line they call Equilibrium. There are two items both are available in limited quantites at the Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store) and Liberty (London, in store).

Equilibrium Day Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($115 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a daytime treatment that is designed to give radiant, supple and healthy-looking skin created from within. From Hourglass:
  • This is designed to complement the evening treatment, and shield skin from the sun with SPF 30. It contains a plant-derived phosphatidylglycerol, which improves skin’s texture and tone. The light, luxurious fluid also contains a blend of four organic chemical compounds providing broad spectrum SPF 30 to shield the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum ($350 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a rebalancing product intended for night time use only. Description per Hourglass:
  • This revolutionary nighttime re-balancing treatment contains a powerful family of ingredients designed to counteract the visible signs of aging - resulting in radiant, healthy-looking skin created from within. The serum is created using an ultrasonication process, producing microscopic oil droplets which deliver the ingredients into the skin at the most optimal level.

Equilibrium at the Abbot Kinney store opening last September, more on the beautiful store here

Hourglass kindly sent me a sample of the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum for review back at the beginning of the year and I've been putting it to the test for 50+ nights. This is a resurfacing and rebalancing night time treatment that comes in a black pump bottle. The bottle is made of Miron violet glass to protect the contents from harmful light. The product description recommends use of the product for 40-56 days (after a full cellular turnover cycle) to see full results. I wanted to give this a thorough test drive in order to provide as detailed a review as possible on using this.


In testing the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum I saw results in two weeks. If you've followed my skincare posts, you know that ver the past year and a half I've had fluctuations with skin issues. I've discovered a number of products that have helped to rebalance the skin and bring it back to it's normal state. Testing skincare is usually touch and go - you have to really test things over a long period of time to see if they end up working as you hoped. The biggest issue I've had with my skin included texture issues all over the face, breakouts on the chin area and scarring. The items I've tried and tested from Ole Henriksen, Tatcha, SK-II and regular go-to's have helped with the texture and breakouts.



The Hourglass Equilibrium Serum has helped keep my skin clear and removed my chin breakouts and has worked remarkably well in fading scars. This is a fluid type of product that is very gentle on the skin and has a moisturizing feel without any detectable scent. It absorbs nicely into the skin so it doesn't feel like there is product that is just sitting on your face that will slide off once your head hits the pillow. It feels very soothing on the skin which is a huge plus for my sensitive face. The results have been incredibly good. My skin has noticeably (and dramatically) improved in texture and clarity. 


There are three other night time treatments that I've used over the past couple of years that I will offer a comparison to.

1) Chanel La Nuit de Chanel is part of the Resynchronizing line. I bought this and used it up entirely. I found consistent use helped keep my skin clear but wasn't strong enough to help with serious scars or texture issues. I used it up and really liked it, I will probably go back to this once my skin returns to it's normal state. If you have normal sensitive skin that needs basic and simple hydration at night, I highly recommend this.

2) The SK-II Skin Refining Treatment is something I used and love. It improved my skin's texture significantly after several months of use. This one is gentle on the face and after using this I noticed better skin texture, clearer complexion and a glow. The Hourglass by comparison exceeds the SK-II in terms of giving you results faster more dramatic improvement in skin. Both are good and over time they will give you a similar result (better complexion and texture), the SK-II will take a bit longer to give you the same results.

3) I've also written about and used the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment (reviewed here). This one also improved my skin's texture and reduced breakouts on the chin area. This one isn't the best for those with sensitive noses because it is fragranced. If you have super delicate skin you find this one tingles too much. I found the scent to be ok, but many have commented they found it too strong.

So out of the four night-time treatments I've tested, my top two picks include the Hourglass and SK-II. I didn't want to fall in love with the Hourglass one due to the hefty price tag but it truly delivers results and performs exceptionally well. My husband has commented on how much my skin has improved after I used this and asked "what are you doing differently?" It's gentle enough for nightly use - in testing this, I would recommend using this almost every night to get the best results (skipping this for 3+ nights resulted in breakouts coming back after testing some other products). I give this a super huge thumbs up.


The Equilibrium line is available at select locations: Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store), Liberty (London, in store). More online at Hourglass Cosmetics. Have you tried any of the Hourglass Equilibrium products? If not, what do you currently use at night?  

The Equilibrium serum was provided courtesy of Hourglass for review consideration.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Burberry Beauty Wet & Dry Glow Shadows


Burberry has replaced all of their single eyeshadows with two new formulas. The original powder shadows have been replaced with a Wet & Dry Silk Shadow ($29 each for 2.7g/0.09 oz) formula which is a powder shadow that has a texture you can apply wet or dry. I have several of these I'll be testing in the next week or so. In addition to this reformulation, there is another formula called the Wet & Dry Glow Shadow ($29 each for 1.8g/0.06 oz). These are metallic shadows with a unique gel-like texture similar to the NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadows but not quite as sharp in the shimmer. I have the Wet & Dry Glow shadows to share with you today.

There are four colors in the Wet & Dry Glow Formula:
  • Optic White No. 000 is a soft silvery white pearl shimmer
  • Gold Pearl No. 001 is a pale neutral gold shimmer
  • Nude No. 002 is a taupey-tan nude shimmer
  • Shell No. 003 is a soft champagne pink nude shimmer
The shimmer in these colors is stunning. The pigment is almost creamy but has a powder feel. You can apply these dry with a brush or fingers much like you would apply a cream shadow. If you dampen the brush it will intensify the colors and change it slightly to look more dramatic on the skin. The texture is very smooth and the shimmer is finely milled making these a softer less intense version of the NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows or other gelee/cream to powder metallics. The shimmer is still very noticeable but these are really quite lovely on the eyes. Alone or layered or combined with other colors.

These are multi-dimensional colors which makes them glow. The colors look different in the pan depending on how the light hits them. Here they are in full sunlight:

Indoors with artificial light to show how they glimmer:

Swatched with the sponge tip applicator and blended with the fingers:


Applied dry:


Applied wet:


Close ups of each color:





My personal two favorites are Nude and Shell. Nude is deep enough to wear on its own by layering it on the eyes. Shell is also a lovely neutral that works as an all over easy wash. On my skin Optic White and Gold Pearl are so pale they have a very similar effect on my skin, I have a slight preference for the Gold Pearl color, although Optic White is a stunning white color.

Some comparisons swatches (you can click for larger viewing):


Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop Shadows in Volver + Au Revoir (review)


Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold (also seen here)
MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque
Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Starlight (also swatched here)

I'm really pleased with all four shades. The formula is consistent among all colors and the texture is easy to layer which allows you to control the level of shimmer/color on your lids. The wet/dry formula is quite beautiful in the way it transforms when you apply with a damp brush. Lasting power with these was all day for me. It didn't budge, fade or slide off from morning well until late evening.

You can find these Wet & Dry Glow Shadows at select Saks, Nordstrom and Burberry Boutiques. Online now at Saks and Nordstrom (some on backorder).

Optic White and Shell were provided for review consideration.
Gold Pearl and Nude purchased by me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Marc Jacobs Beauty New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel


Marc Jacobs released seven shades of a new lipstick formula called the New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel ($30 each for 3.6 g/0.12 oz). These have replaced the original Lip Gels but some of the colors have been re-promoted. Being a huge fan of the original lipstick my heart broke a little when I discovered it was being discontinued because it was so so good. I have two of the original colors to compare with the new ones in Role Play and Have We Met?. The colors are identical but the new formula is slightly sheerer in texture and color payoff. That being said, the New Nudes Sheer Lip Gels aren't really all that sheer. I would say compared to the Le Marc Lip Cremes these new Lip Gels are sheer, but in terms of how they rank compared to all the lipsticks on the market I would say they are sheer to medium in coverage.

The Sheer Lip Gels come in a twist up beige tube with a magnetic cap. The size and design is identical to the original ones that came in the black tubes. There is a very soft vanilla scent to the lipsticks but it's not overpowering. The texture is creamy and glides onto the lips and feels very moisturizing. Based on my testing I will say these are a no if you have super dry lips. Having a smooth lip surface is essential for these lipsticks, so I'd recommend adding a primer or lip balm first before applying. The texture and pigment ranges from slightly shimmery to full on creams and the pigment combined with the lightness of the colors can emphasize lip lines. Adding a lipliner by lining and filling or mixing a liner with these lipsticks solves any patchiness that might result by the contrast. Do note that I have pigmented lips so wearing nudes is a challenge for me, there tends to be a sharp contrast between my natural lip color and the lipsticks.


Above L to R: Sheer Lip Gels in Strange Magic, Moody Margot, Have We Met?, Role Play, Understudy, Anais, Eat Cake, (P)outliners in Prim(rose), Honey(bun), Nude(ist)


The colors are gorgeous but ease of wear varies depending on the color. This is the case with most nudes across all brands (for example Tom Ford Blush Nude takes a lot of tweaking for me to wear without looking like a ghost, on some of my other friends, it is an easy swipe and go color).




Strange Magic is a super pale pink. On the lips it resembles concealer and if you have any pigment in the lips this will look streaky and patchy if you wear it alone. It's a layering or mixing color that can add a sheen to liners or darker lipsticks. Below it's shown alone on the lips and then transformed into the perfect nude with the (P)Outliner in Nude(ist) added:



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Moody Margot is a pale beige that has enough color to not wash out the face. It's still on the pale side so if you have pigmented lips this one will perform best over a neutral liner.


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Have We Met? is a bright hot warm pink that is ultra sheer so on the lips it's more of a healthy subtle pink tint. The new formula is identical in color to the original formula, but the pigment is sheerer making this one look lighter on my lips.


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Role Play is a medium neutral rose pink. The new formula performs the same as the original in terms of color, pigment and level of sheen. If there's one I had to pick as my favorite this would be it.


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Understudy is a warm peachy nude with a hint of coral. It's a full opaque cream that has medium to full coverage. It has a smooth finish but looks a tiny bit streaky in the swatch photo because I was in a bit of a rush to get all 7 lipsticks lip swatches.


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Anais is a sheer nude beige tan cream. This one has a bit more color than Moody Margot making it easier to wear. If you have pigmented lips this will contrast with your natural lip color so adding a liner will help smooth out the color.


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Eat Cake is the darkest of the New Nudes and is a rosy terra-cotta peachy rose. It pulls very warm on me which and has just enough brightness to add life to the face. This is a medium to full coverage pigmented cream.


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Here are some swatch comparisons of the original vs new formula of shades I have:


I am still trying to get over the fact that the original lip gels were discontinued, but the new ones proved to be just as good in terms of formula, wear and finish. Lasting power isn't quite as long as the Le Marc Lip Cremes but lasts like the average medium-wear lipstick. Adding any of the (P)Outliner Long Wear Lipliners helps to extend the wear by a long shot. My favorite colors are the darker ones, mainly because I am nude-lip challenged due to the pigment in my natural lip tone. Fav picks include Role Play, Anais, Eat Cake and Understudy. The only shade I would say skip on is Strange Magic because it's so pale and chalky by itself making it a super high maintenance nude.

The New Nudes Sheer Lip Gels retail for $30 each. Available now at Marc Jacobs Beauty and Sephora. Have you tried or bought any of these yet? Which colors did you try? (PS the www.marcjacobsbeauty.com code LOVEMJB still works and gets you 3 minis with any order.)

The Marc Jacobs Sheer Lip Gels were provided courtesy of MJ for review consideration.

 

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