Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tom Ford Beauty Face Collection: Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Tom Ford has added more items to their face product lineup and as usual everything is on point. Items have been introduced "to perfect, highlight and define the face’s natural features for a balanced and flawless finish." There have been quite a few new foundation launches this season and the one from Tom Ford is one that I was most anxious to try out. The collection includes the following new launches:

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Up first are the Fiber Brow Gels. I received two to try out in Espresso and Chestnut. It has tiny fibers to help fill in the brows and as a low-maintenance brow girl I find it perfect. It fills in brows, grooms and tints them all in one product. Espresso is my best match although I usually go lighter. At the counter the reps said Espresso is my shade. I did try Chestnut since the Tom Ford Beauty team was kind enough to send one, it can work for me since my hair color has a natural reddish undertone. My brows however do not have any red so sometimes reddish powders or pencils colors can look off. Since this coats the hairs I find it gives it a natural tint and looks good.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel Chestnut Espresso

I haven't tried too many other tinted brow gels, but by comparison the Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel is larger in packaging and brush size which makes it easier to use compared to the Glossier Boy Brow. I know many of you love the Boy Brow. I think it's good especially for the price, but the size makes it hard for me to hold sometimes even though I have very small hands and fingers. The Tom Ford brush is slightly larger and has a more angled shape which makes application a lot easier. Compared to By Terry's Brow Mascara I find the fibers in the Tom Ford to have more substance. I would say it has a chunkier texture/consistency which sounds odd and almost unappealing, but it fills in brows more while the By Terry grooms and tints but doesn't fill in the brows like the Tom Ford one does.

I give the Fiber Brow Gel a thumbs up. I have bought and used the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor which is an excellent product. I prefer skinny fine-tipped brow pencils so this one hasn't been used as much as my Diorshow Brow Styler Pencil.

Next are the Shimmer Shots which I think are genius. Sometimes names are everything and whoever named the product and colors for this launch deserves a bonus because they are both just perfect. I've loved every highlighter I've tried from Tom Ford and the Shimmer Shots are gorgeous additions to their line. Spin Spin Sugar is a champagne color with a slight gold sheen and Lust for Life is coppery bronze. Both blend in beautifully for a natural glow where you apply. I've tried it under foundation, on top of powder/foundation to highlight, and on the eyes.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots swatched

By comparison to a few other Tom Ford highlighters, the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here) is more frosty in finish. Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust (reviewed here) is more peachy and also sheerer in finish with a more dewy finish.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Moodlight, Shimmer Shots and Fire Lust

More comparisons because so many of you have asked. I think the Tom Ford Shimmer Shots are must-haves, even though I have a lot of liquid highlighters. They have the perfect amount of shimmer and the finish is visible but natural. 

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shot comparisons

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (review here)
NARS Illuminator in 413 BLKR (review here)
Estee Edit Beam Team Bronze (review here)
Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed
Estee Edit Flash Illuminator in Sun Light and Night Light (review here)
Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Candlelight (review here)

Last but not least is the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. When I heard this was launching my first concern that it might be too thick. I've had good experiences with Tom Ford foundations in the past. I am usually either Bisque or Natural but at the counter I found the next shade up Sable to be a good match for me (although the girls at the counter disagreed and said it would be too olive for my skin). Note the numbers for the names have changed and I was told this happened across all formulas. The shades with the corresponding names are still the same, so if you usually wear Natural, you're still Natural - just the number underneath has changed. I bought Sable at the counter because I found it more olive. Samples of Bisque and Natural arrived as those are my usual colors.

Formula wise this is one of the best full coverage cream foundations I've tried. As one who is olive/golden/yellow I appreciate that Tom Ford consistently launches colors that are not pink in undertone. Formula is highly concentrated and opaque but doesn't look fake or flat like many full coverage foundations can. It has a slight matte finish but manages to look fresh and radiant at the same time. When I use this I find that I do not need concealer under the eyes. Lasting power is excellent and stays put all day. No irritation from this, no oxidizing, no budging. I do think that you need to prep the skin properly though - if you have dry skin with any dry patches or flakes any full coverage foundation can emphasize dry areas. I make sure I have a well moisturized base, but a tiny spot on my forehead, one on each cheek and one dab on my chin, then use a damp beauty blender to work the foundation into the skin.

There's no detectable scent and it photographs well with a flash.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Review

The colors I have now are Bisque 5.5 (which used to be 4), Natural 6.0 (which used to be 5) and Sable 6.5 (which used to be 6). Swatches below straight from the tube and then blended.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable
The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable

Both Bisque and Sable work for me. Natural is warmer and too dark for my skin right now. They do adjust slightly and warm up to the skin once on but they don't oxidize too much. I asked my husband what he thought about Bisque and Sable. I had one on each side and he couldn't tell the difference from the front. I turned my head to each side and he said that Bisque was a better match.

Below are swatch comparisons to the Traceless Foundation Stick in Bisque and Natural along with the Traceless Perfecting Foundation formulas I have. For those who aren't familiar with Tom Ford Foundations wondering about the colors, Natural in the stick is lighter than Bisque stick (as mentioned in this post too).

By comparison, the Traceless Perfecting Foundation is lighter in texture but can feel heavier on the face. Some have commented it looks flat on the skin - I often mix in a bit of shimmer luminizer in it. Coverage is full but not as full as the Waterproof formula.

The Stick Foundation is full coverage and one I cannot wear all over the face because of how opaque and thick it is so I often use it to layer on top of other foundations if I need more coverage. The Waterproof formula offers more natural looking coverage.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches

Swatch comparisons to the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz (I mix the shades) and also the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundations in NC25, NC30, NC35 and NC37 (my best matches are NC25 or NC37). I'm forever in between shades.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches vs NARS and MAC

Some thoughts on other foundation formulas by comparison that I have tried:
  • Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil-Free Photo Foundation (reviewed here) is one I used to have but no longer own. Formula wise the Laura Mercier was more opaque and slightly thicker in finish. I find in her line I am often in between shades and the dry down of this one darkened a bit and had a tendency to look flat if I used too much.
  • Cle de Peau Radiant Cream Foundation was one I tested at the counter. I went to the store fully intending to purchase this but sometimes a bad store experience can ruin the fun. Rant aside, I tried both O30 (too pink) and O40 (too dark) on my face and as I could not find a good match I decided to pass. Formula-wise it's excellent but at the $100+ price tag I need an exact match in order to buy.
  • Cle de Peau Silk Cream Foundation is one I used to use in O30 and was told it's been discontinued. This was one of the best formulas I've ever tried but the texture was more moisturizing and is slightly heavier than the Tom Ford. The formula while not hydrating, gave me a more dewy finish.
  • La Mer Soft Fluid Foundation is also a new formula that I had high hopes for. I acquired a small sample at the counter and found my best shade to be Beige. This one is more fluid and lighter in coverage. It also has the Miracle Broth skincare element included. I absolutely love this formula but Beige pulls slightly pink on my skin so since I cannot find a yellow/golden enough match this will be a pass for me unless I get a lot lighter this winter and can find another color.
  • Armani Crema Nuda is one I don't think I can really compare because the finish and concept is completely different in the sense that it's sheerer and more like a BB/CC cream rather than a foundation/concealer like the Tom Ford one is.
  • If you try the Tom Ford and find it too thick or heavy I would suggest you maybe try the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD instead which offers sheerer coverage by comparison but still medium to full coverage.
Bottom line lots to love with these new launches. I highly recommend the foundation if you're in the market for a good full-coverage but natural looking foundation. Many can look flat if you use all over the face but this one does not. If you own a lot of highlighters you may find the Shimmer Shots similar to what you already own. I think both are winners and the shimmer is very pretty but not overly frosty.

By now you can find the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel at all Tom Ford Beauty counters. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Tom Ford.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Press samples of The Face Collection Waterproof Foundation in Bisque + Natural, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel provided courtesy of Tom Ford.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Body Care Staples for Soft and Smooth Skin

The Beauty Look Book - Body Care Routine for Soft Skin

As the weather has started to shift to cooler and dryer temperatures I've felt the need for some extra skincare boosts when it comes to body care. I have extremely sensitive skin so I usually stick to a few select brands for body lotions, scrubs and shower gels. There are some lines that cause an allergic reaction for me (scent or fragrance isn't always the issue) so I always try to do a patch test first. Today I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some tried-and-true body care staples I use to keep my skin smooth, itch-free, and hydrated.

I usually prefer light weight lotions or dry oils because I don't like things that feel thick or heavy. Three I swear by include the L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body, Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver, and L'Occitane Foot Cream. You can click on the icons in the images below to shop the products directly from Nordstrom.

My most repurchased lotion is the L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Lotion for Hands and Body because it's truly gentle but still effective. I love the Shea Butter line from L'Occitane for the soft soothing scent it has that's truly comforting. It absorbs into the skin well, leaves skin feeling soft, and I can wear this at night while I sleep without sticking to my sheets or blankets.

Kate Somerville previously had their Eczema Cream which has been renamed Dry Skin Saver. This has a slightly thicker texture compared to the L'Occitane Lotion but is unscented and helps give instant relief for dry skin. It's suitable for face, body and lips. I gave one of these to my brother who is in his early 20's, has dry skin that is probably more sensitive than mine and he really likes this one.

I tend to neglect my feet as I find that my 2x a month pedicures are usually enough to keep them looking decent. There are a number of foot creams I've tried but they usually feel greasy or smell horrible. I tried the L'Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream from a small travel size I received from a gift with purchase years ago and was immediately hooked because it's not thick, it absorbs quickly, instantly soothes any dry spots and has a slight lavender oil scent which is really relaxing.

Next are a few bath products and scrubs. I almost could say that I'm one who lives for bubble baths. There are few things that I enjoy as much as a long bath. It really does help melt away stress and helps me relax.

Fresh Bath and Shower Gels are one of the few shower gels where the scent actually lasts bath the shower or bath. There are a wide range of options and my current favorite is the Fresh Life which is a bright sweet citrus kind of scent. It lathers up really well with a wash cloth or loofa and leaves the skin clean.

In one of my previous shower gel posts a few of you told me to try the Le Labo Santal 33 Shower Gel. I'm all for trying new luxury products but the $50 price tag prevented me from buying for a long time. I eventually did and was instantly hooked. This is a truly luxurious splurge - but I'm one who loves sandalwood scents that aren't too woody or earthy and this one is just perfect. I'm on my third bottle and the price is indeed very steep so I will be using this sparingly.

For scrubs, my favorite body scrub formulas have all been discontinued (from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Kiehl's). They've either brought new formulas out or discontinued the items completely which has made me very sad. The one favorite that I've found hasn't changed is the Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub which leaves the skin revitalized and super smooth. It has an emollient base which makes it easy to move over areas of the body in the shower but doesn't leave the skin with a greasy film.

Bath and shower oils are items I try every now and then. I know many of my readers love them because they leave the skin feeling super hydrated and soft. I'm still more of a shower gel kind of person but the ones from Jo Malone are very good. They come in a number of scent options and they have both bath oils and shower oil options. I bought the Blackberry and Bay Bath Oil and it's amazing. It also comes in the smaller travel size and also the shower gel format.

One more shower gel that deserves a mention is the Diptyque Revitalizing Shower Gel for Body and Hair. This is probably my favorite one of all time but I go through it so quickly I've tried to find cheaper alternatives because it gets spendy. I have yet to find one I like as much as I like this one though.

Last but not least two items I think we usually associate with summer beauty routines but I still find suitable for year round use.

The Soleil de La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan Lotion is the only one I've liked enough to use on a regular basis. The formula is gentle so it doesn't cause an allergic reaction on my skin (many other formulas do). The scent is pleasant and doesn't have that strong chemical odor you find in self tanners. It also doesn't turn my skin orangey or yellow which is a huge plus. I see a tan start to develop by the second day of use. There's no streaking or transfer to clothing. It's expensive but worth the splurge.

I alternate between body oils and find I gravitate towards different ones depending on season. The Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil is one I found too heavy during the summer but I love it for right now. It has that signature Moroccanoil scent which I find natural, earthy and soothing all at the same time. I love that this comes with a spray dispenser - I think all body oils should come with one. It absorbs quickly into the skin. The scent has a warm and cozy feel which was probably why I didn't really use it a lot over the summer time but now that it's cooler, it's perfect.

For those who like body care products I hope you found this post helpful in case you're looking for items to soothe dry skin that are also suitable for sensitive skin (and noses). As always I'd love to hear your favorites! Many of you have asked for a roundup on face moisturizers and serums I use since I have sensitive skin. I'm in the process of testing a few brands but will have a post up in the next few weeks.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. As always all opinions my own.

Monday, October 17, 2016

NARS Velvet Lip Glide, 413 BLKR Cheek and Lip Palette and NARSissist Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette

The Beauty Look Book - NARS Velvet Lip Glide, 413 BLKR Cheek and Lip Palette and NARSissist Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette

I've had some NARS bits that I've accumulated that I had not yet swatched or reviewed for you. By now their Sarah Moon Holiday collection has already launched so much of this post contains items that are old news. Today I'm reviewing:
Up first are the Velvet Lip Glides. These are described as comfortable high-pigment products that glide on as a gloss but have the lipstick finish. They have a slight semi-matte finish but on my lips the colors I picked out still have a slight sheen. There's an almost weightless airy feel but they will cover the lips all the way with a few strokes. When I bought mine I ordered them sight unseen and went with the safe colors.

The Beauty Look Book NARS Velvet Lip Glide Stripped, Unlaced, Playpen, Bound

The Beauty Look Book NARS Velvet Lip Glide swatch Stripped, Unlaced, Playpen, Bound

The colors I bought:
  • Stripped is a beige nude which I found to be a very good neutral nude that doesn't wash me out or look streaky on the lips, huge thumbs up for this one!
  • Unlaced is a light pink beige which unfortunately doesn't work well with my lip or skintone by itself, it's too light and pale, finish is a bit streaky because of the contrast it has with my natural lip color but you can smooth it out with some blending
  • Playpen is a warm peachy coral which should work for me because I love these colors, but there's something about the undertone that makes it pull orangey and makes my skin look a bit yellow when I wear this one, I found this odd because it's almost identical to a few from Chanel and Tarte (swatched below) but there must be something about the drydown that turns the NARS a bit orangey on me
  • Bound is a perfect mauve neutral, I feel like I've been looking for a color like this for a long time and I've finally found the one
The Beauty Look Book NARS Velvet Lip Glide swatch Stripped, Unlaced, Playpen, Bound

Swatch comparisons:

The Beauty Look Book NARS Velvet Lip Glide swatch comparisons

Swatched above:

Next is the 413 BLKR Cheek and Lip Palette which is exclusive to NARS boutiques and NARS online. I also bought this sight unseen in part because NARS palettes excite me and also because the pink shades looked just perfect.

The Beauty Look Book NARS 413 BLKR Cheek and Lip Palette

The Beauty Look Book NARS 413 BLKR Cheek and Lip Palette

The Beauty Look Book - NARS 413 BLKR Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

It contains, 3 blushes in a satin pale pink, a neutral rose blush, a deeper raspberry blush, Laguna Bronzer and a bright electric fuchsia lip pencil. This palette did not work for me. The colors for the cheeks ended up looking muddy on my complexion and darkened quite a bit giving me a burnt look. The lip color pulls too bright and too cool-toned on my lips. This is one I should have gone by my palette rule of not buying because I knew there might be a chance I would not like at least one of the colors. Quality-wise the powders are soft and easy to blend. The lip pencil went on the lips smooth but I couldn't get over how garish the color was against my olive skintone, I literally wiped it off immediately. They just don't work with my skintone.

The Beauty Look Book - NARSissist Dual-Intensity Blush Palette

Last but not least is the NARSissist Dual-Intensity Cheek Palette which I've featured a few times before but never posted swatches. I liked this one so much I bought a backup although given the holiday palette launches I probably should have skipped the backup. I'm a huge fan of the Dual-Intensity Blush formula (also for the eyeshadows) because they're the perfect hybrid of powder and cream. They meld beautifully with the skin and last all day on me. The shimmer is just perfect in each color as well. After swatching the palette next to individual colors I did find a lot of almost-dupes. If you haven't bought it yet and were still debating whether or not to get it, I think it's a great option, especially for travel. However if you already own a lot of the others (I own all of them and yes they were all splurge-worthy) you may want to skip and opt for the holiday palettes instead.

Colors include a soft opal with a pink sheen, shimmering peach, shimmering pink and warm bronzey tan shimmer. They all have some degree of shimmer but aren't frosty.

The Beauty Look Book - NARSissist Dual-Intensity Blush Palette Swatches

Swatch comparisons below to four of the other Dual-Intensity Blushes (Liberation reviewed here):

The Beauty Look Book - NARSissist Dual-Intensity Blush Palette vs Individual Swatches

A quick side by side rundown of the palettes in this review lined up by the Holiday 2016 offerings. I just ordered the Sephora exclusive  which just popped up online over the weekend and have high hopes for it. Most of the rest are available at NARS stores and right now and will launch at other stores/counters on November 1st. I'm trying to wait and see in person before splurging.

NARS Palettes

Bottom line, love the Velvet Lip Glides in Stripped and Bound along with the NARSissist Dual-Intensity Blush Palette. The rest aren't bad - the colors just didn't work out for me but it's bound to happen from time to time when ordering items sight unseen.

NARS Velvet Lip Glides and NARSissist Dual-Intensity Blush Palette are available at all NARS stores and counters. Note the blush palette is limited-edition. The 413 BLKR Cheek and Lip Palette is exclusive to NARS stores and their website.

Have you picked up or tried any of the NARS items I reviewed today? Or have you checked out the holiday collection? Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, October 14, 2016

On My Radar

TGIF everyone! I have a roundup of some items on my radar - some are new, others are just simply new to me. Several of you have kept asking for a foundation roundup - I hope to have it go up next week as I just finished testing a few more formulas. I ordered a few shades of MAC foundation even though my skin can't handle it to swatch for you as a reference point so stay tuned!

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /  7  /  8  /  9  /  10  /  11  /  12

Laura Mercier launched new additions to her Candleglow Collection with the Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter (1) and Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder (2). Both look promising and I will be testing them out next week. I have yet to see the colors in person but I am hoping I will have a good match. Will keep you posted!

Le Metier de Beaute just launched a new Breast Cancer Kaleidoscope 2016 Edition (3) for the eyes. I have high hopes for this one as well as I just ordered sight unseen. I will review it as soon as I receive it.

It's been a while since I've shopped at Coach for myself but I stopped by the store to pick up a little anniversary present for my husband (this wallet). We decided on no presents this year but I still wanted to pick him up something small and practical. The Coach 1941 Collection Clutches (4) immediately caught my eye with the simple classic sleek look and soft leather. I'm the biggest sucker for flat pouches and these are calling my name. I haven't bought one yet as some of the crossbody bags look like a great no-fuss option for weekends. If you're a Coach fan let me know if you've had experiences with either!

Tom Ford Beauty launches are always exciting. There's a new Waterproof Foundation and Concealer (5), Shimmer Shots (6) and Fiber Brow Gel (7). I just started testing and will have reviews soon but I will say now the Shimmer Shots are pure love.

Shopbop is having a mega sale that ends tonight (October 14th, 11:59 PM PST). Use code MAINEVENT16 at checkout for 25% off orders up to $500 and 30% off orders over $500. I need a pair of leather camel ankle boots and the ones from Madewell (8) look perfect. I'm still trying to pick out a pair. If you have any favorite camel/tan colored ankle booties or styles to recommend let me know.

A couple weeks ago I went to a Shu Uemura Art of Hair Event where they showed us a few new launches. The Urban Moisture Collection is new and designed specifically for dry hair. I was able to test in the salon and it wasn't heavy at all. My favorite item is the Urban Moisture Hydro Nourishing Double Serum (9) which is a bi-phase spray. It helps add moisture to ends and prepare for heat styling. The stylist also used it in conjunction with the Wonder Worker and Ample Angora (both of which I love). My hair was surprisingly volumized, hydrated and soft all at the same time. There were no tangles and when it was being styled no tugging happened when the stylist worked the round brush through my hair (which rarely happens in salons for me).

In my last hair care styling roundup a number of you recommended the Oribe Signature Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray (10) so even though I have blow out products to last me months I bought it to try it. It is indeed amazing. Also new from Oribe is the Cote d'Azure Replenishing Body Wash (not shown) which is one of the most comforting and hydrating body washes I have ever tried. I still need to do more testing but it's really really good. I'm really not happy about the price though.

By Terry has some gorgeous items for holiday that has my wallet crying a flood of tears. The Impearlious Baume De Rose Deluxe (11) comes with roses!

The holiday season is the season of sets. There are going to be a lot of tempting options whether you're gifting yourself or others. Three on my radar include the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil Trio (12), La Mer Discovery Collection Radiance Set and also the L'Occitane 2016 Advent Calendar (which sold out last year really fast).

What's on your radar right now?


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