Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


Some new items on my radar this week, top left clockwise:

As fall collections and new skin/haircare items start trickling in, I'd love to hear what's on your beauty radar!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set | Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive


I ordered the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set ($110) last week online. It's a duo that includes the Filmstar Bronze and Glow along with the Powder and Sculpt Brush. It's currently a Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive in the US and has been released as an early preview for the Charlotte Tilbury Beauty line. According to a Nordstrom Beauty Livechat I had earlier this morning, the entire line will launch online at Nordstrom.com around August 10th.

On the nails - Aventure


The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow (16 g/0.56 oz, made in Italy) comes in a luxurious rose gold colored compact. It has a warm bronze with a soft satiny shimmer glow. On my skin it acts like the perfect contouring powder. When it comes to contouring the face, I am a super minimalist. I have a roundish face without high cheekbones so any kind of contouring is me brushing on product in areas to create a fake one. I do like a good bronzer to sculpt the face and add warmth in a 3 shape motion around the edges of my face, but that's typically the most I'll do for contouring.

I find traditional matte/taupe contouring looks good in photos but in real life can look fake and too sharp on me (this is when artists do it on me or when I attempt it). The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow however makes contouring goof-proof and super easy. The Sculpt/Bronzer side has enough warmth and color that it doesn't make the skin look ashy and also isn't too warm that it turns orangey. It has a soft satiny sheen that gives depth.


The Highlight/Glow side is a yellowish/gold pale champagne highlighter. Based on what it looks like in the pan and how it swatches on the arm, I was worried it would be overly frosty and sharp on my skin. On the face it glows. There is visible shimmer but on me it doesn't look frosted and it doesn't emphasize pores. Huge plus! If you have dewy skin, you may need to apply with a light hand. It's very pigmented and adheres well to the skin. I like to dip the brush into the highlighter and then tap it to dust off excess. On the skin it's a light golden color but not too yellow for my olive skin.


The Powder and Sculpt Brush is the full size version made of goat hair. It's a smaller brush than what I'm typically used to for the face but it's tapered for perfect contouring on the face. It's well-made and the bristles pick up the product and blend well, but I don't think it's a must-have since I have so many other brushes and find that a regular blush brush can do the same. I do like the way it's shaped for easy application. It places the product right along the cheeks in the right shape for a perfect contour.


Swatches, don't let the frost/shimmer deter you, they apply much softer on the face:



I pulled a few comparisons:


Edward Bess Daydream Bronzer (original version shown, newer version here)


Chanel Les Beiges Multi-Colour 02 (summer stripe version)


Overall a huge thumbs up. I had high expectations for this because of raves about Charlotte Tilbury's line but was worried it might be just another standard bronzer/highlighter/contour duo. After playing with this for several days I can say that I have found my perfect contouring duo. On my medium/tan skin it's not quite bronzer level, but I suspect on fair to medium skins it will be suitable as a contour or bronzer depending how you apply and how much you layer on.

I love the soft silky texture of the powder. Brushes pick up just the right amount of product so you don't have to swirl the brush in the pan a lot. It's powdery but not too powdery. It blends very smoothly on the face and layers nicely. It's on par with Edward Bess Daydream Bronzer (my holy grail) in the sense that it's impossible to mess up because it's super easy to apply and it's very flattering on the skin.


I am really pleased with the set even though it seemed a bit pricey. However you do get a full sized bronzer-highlighter duo and the brush is the full size version that is well made. It's a very high quality set that makes the price tag worth it for me. If you have a lot of brushes you may want to wait for the entire line to launch in August and just get the Filmstar Bronze and Glow. That being said the brush does make contouring easy for those who aren't good at contouring (like myself). Even though this is designed for the face, I've found it wears well on the eyes as well.

Many have asked whether I think the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set or Chanel Dentelle Precieuse powder is the better buy. I can't choose between them, they are both phenomenal products, my thoughts:
  • The Chanel powder is limited-edition and gives a more glowy finish with a pinkish, peach and bronze champagne glow on me. For my skintone it's definitely a highlighter while fair skinned readers have commented it appears darker and more bronzey on their skins.
  • The items in the Charlotte Tilbury will both be available for purchase in the US at a later date when the line officially launches. It's also more of a contouring duo rather than a highlighter. The bronze/sculpt powder is beautifully warm and satiny with a natural glow, but you can probably skip the brush if you already own a good detail brush.
If you can get both eventually but only want to purchase one now, I would recommend getting the Chanel since it's limited-edition and I've found there's nothing really like it. If you don't need a contouring brush then I'd say wait for the line to launch later this fall, skip the brush and just opt for the Bronzer/Highlighter duo.
The Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set is currently a Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive and retails for $110. Online it looks like it's on backorder. I can't wait until the entire Charlotte Tilbury line launches in the US later this fall.

Have you tried this Filmstar Killer Cheekbones set or anything else from Charlotte Tilbury? What were your thoughts?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Loves & Reads + Giveaway Winner Announced


I hope everyone has been enjoying the weekend, I've been enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Some weekend loves include:
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set for perfectly contoured cheeks and eyes (review soon, looks like it just sold out online but is still available on backorder)
  • Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana (review) for something fresh, light and super feminine
  • Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch Mascara (favs here) for long-lasting mascara
  • Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in New Moon (swatches) for added sparkle and shimmer
  • Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Rose Tricheuse (swatches here) for a bright summery lip
  • Oribe Anti-Humidity Spray (mini) because I love the superfine mist it dispenses and also love the smell (I actually love the smell of all Oribe items)
Not beauty-related but I need to give a quick rave about two Nordstrom-Anniversary Sale items:
  • These Nike Legend Capris are amazing, they are super flattering for workout bottoms, they hold everything in but aren't too tight, I might get a second pair because the price is so good
  • I live for Paige Denim (one of the few brands that fit me), I splurged on these Skyline Ankle Peg Skinny Jeans and am obsessed with them
  • I passed on all other clothing items even though there are some amazing items, I tend to get overwhelmed by all the options, if you have any raves or good finds I would greatly appreciate your suggestions
Some online beauty reads I've been loving this weekend:
  • Hourglass will open it's first store this fall - Forbes
  • Christian Louboutin Beauté will launch new nail colors - Café Makeup
  • Bite Beauty Champagne Agave Lip Mask has a pretty pearly finish - Temptalia
  • Tatcha Ritual Discovery Kit looks like a great starter set - Cute and Mundane
  • More love for NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows in Dione and Himalia - The Non-Blonde
  • Sephora's Matte Lip Cream looks amazing - Amelia Liana
Thanks to everyone who entered my Fresh Sugar Tulip Giveaway, the winner was randomly selected via the Rafflecopter widget. Lisa B. at email lbuller@p*****.com, check your inbox!

What have you been loving this weekend?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dior Addict Fluid Stick Rose Tricheuse #669 (Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive)


There are two Dior Addict Fluid Sticks that are Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives for their anniversary sale in Rose Tricheuse #669 and Mona Lisette #872 ($35 each). I picked up the lighter option Rose Tricheuse #669 which is a medium-bright coral with pink tones. I've been really happy with the Fluid Stick formula (see thoughts here and swatches here). These are highly pigmented lip colors that have a lipgloss formula that act more like a full-coverage lipstick.

The Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive shades are on the bright side for me but I've been trying more color for the lips, especially this summer. Rose Tricheuse #669 is a bright color but not fluorescent. Coverage is full like the other shades in the Fluid Stick formula but melds well with the lip. They have a slightly glossy sheen with a nice feel. I like that they don't dry out the lips like some liquid lipsticks can.






On the lips:


Comparisons to:

Tom Ford Paradiso Lip Sheer (swatched here)
Chanel Misia Rouge Coco Shine (Neiman Marcus exclusive)


Dior Rose Tricheuse #669 ($35) is a Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive for their 2014 Anniversary sale in the US but you can also find it at the Dior Beauty Boutique in Las Vegas, you can reach them at (702)-734-1102 (while their stock lasts).



Hourglass 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner - Obsidian


New this fall from Hourglass is their 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner in Obsidian ($45 for pack of 3 or $16 each). It's their thinnest and softest waterproof eyeliner that comes in a twist up pencil. The product description:
  • The precision 1.5mm tip ensures effortless control, and allows for lining in between lashes
  • The unique formula, poured into a slim mechanical component, has the malleability, intensity and staying power of a traditional gel; no pot, no brush, no clean-up required
  • The waterproof, transfer-proof and long-lasting formula delivers extended wear
  • The supple, moisturizing formula glides on smoothly and dries quickly
  • Two clicks is all you need to line the eye, each advanced mechanical pencil lasts for approximately 17 to 20 uses
  • Only dispense product as needed – mechanical pencil does not retract
  • Free of phthalates, sulfates, talc and gluten, no animal testing
  • Ophthalmologist tested
I've been testing the new eyeliner this week in warm humid weather in Southern California and have been impressed with the lasting power. It holds up quite well throughout the day. I tested it on a few nights out and it didn't bleed, smudge or fade. The tip is super tiny for precise application - the 2 click claim is true. You only need 2 clicks to dispense enough liner for each eye. I'm rarely able to apply eyeliner in a single stroke. The same applies with this one. I prefer to feather it along the lash line. I like that it doesn't tug or pull. The formula is soft but not too soft. Some eyeliners can tug on the eye irritating my sensitive eyes. This one from Hourglass is gentle and I had no irritation.



The 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner comes in one color right now, Obsidian, which is an intense black. It's not quite as intense a color as you can get with some liquid liners, but for a pencil and gel formula, it's still a true black. Many black eyeliners turn greyish on my skin or look ashy so I typically opt for colors like plum, brown or bronze. Hourglass Obsidian is a true rich black without looking harsh.


I'm still working on taking face photos, it's harder than it looks. I've found it pretty difficult to get eye photos. Here's a close up I took of my eye although the flash washes out everything:


A few comparisons here to some other black eyeliners. You can see how the Hourglass 1.5 mm tip is small compared to other eyeliners so it offers a truly precise line:





Thumbs up. I'm often skeptical of black eyeliners because I'm picky with the color and pigment. I can't always pull of the color because it often looks harsh or ashy on my skin. The Hourglass 1.5 mm in Obsidian is good in color and the formula is very good. I find it well priced for a higher-end liner. I'll have a round up post next week of my favorite black eyeliners.

The packaging is really well designed. It twists up easily and I love that there is no sharpening required to keep that super fine precise tip. It glides on easily, stays put and doesn't smudge. It's all I could want in an eyeliner. I hope Hourglass will expand the shade selection.

Hourglass 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner in Obsidian launched on Hourglasscosmetics.com* this week. It will be available for purchase at Sephora* next week starting July 29 and available at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter.com, Space NK starting August 15.

Note that select retailers* will have this available as a single eyeliner for $16, all others will have it available in the trio at $45.

This post contains items that were sent courtesy of Hourglass for review consideration.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Instagrammers I'm Loving Right Now





I love discovering new bloggers and fashion experts via Instagram. It's one of my favorite places for inspiration, sneak peeks on what's coming out soon, or to see a snapshot of other people's lives. I love the stylized flat lays, outfit inspiration and learning about new places. Ten Instagrams I'm loving right now:


@frontrowbeautyblog for her keen eye for all things pretty, love her fashion sense
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@parisinfourmonths is a long-time favorite, this is the best account for dreamy pictures of Paris and all the beautiful places she travels to, love her fashion shoots too
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@innocentsummer is another Paris favorite, love her
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@ashleux has stunning simple monochomatic photos, chic and classic fashion
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@sarahlovsmakeup love her fun makeup picks
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@eggcanvas finds the best food places and also has amazing style
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@lipstickwithsomesunshine has a distinct beautiful style with her photographs, love her clean fresh layouts
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@grace_jayde also has stunning photos
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@atelierlumira one of my new discoveries, love this one for home decor inspiration
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@bishopandholland love this mom, daughter & daughter-in-law trio
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Hope everyone is having a great week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clarisonic Aria - The Beauty Look Book 6 Week Update


I've been using the Clarisonic Aria for about 6 weeks now (first thoughts at 3 week mark here) and I am happy to report that it really works. In six weeks time with regular use my skin has visibly improved. I've been using it every other day one time per day in the evenings although these are designed with brushes gentle enough for 2x per day usage. Improvements I've seen:
  • Deep recurring pimples along the temple area and chin have disappeared
  • Acne scars have started to fade (they are still visible but I'm hopeful with the results so far)
  • Overall skin texture has improved, with smoother skin
  • Tiny bumps along the face that aren't acne, red or pimples, but those small bumps that are clogged pores have started to disappear
I've tested with a variety of different cleansers. The Clarisonic cleanser minis I've tested proved to be too strong for my skin. After several days of consecutive use I started to develop tiny allergic bumps all over the face. I immediately stopped use and switched back to my go-to's SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser and Dior Purifying Foam Cleanser (the Dior is the only one my husband likes).


After evaluating all the different Clarisonic options (comparison chart) and using the Aria for several weeks I'm really happy with my decision. There are three speeds with the Aria. I started with the slowest speed but have been alternating between the default speed 2 and slower speed 1 (you can control the speed with the arrow buttons). I alternate depending on how sensitive my skin feels. There is a battery indicator that changes color to let you know when you need to recharge. I just recharged at the end of the 5 week mark (the light was red).

I like that it's super easy to use, just wet the brush with warm water, apply cleanser straight to the brush and then start using it on the face.




I'm really thrilled with the way this has cleared up my skin. Last week though I made the big mistake of working out a couple times without taking my makeup off before hand so I have several break outs on spots that are healing. The skin isn't broken so I can still use my Clarisonic without having it tear the skin or aggravate sensitive/tender areas. I've still been using the Sensitive Brush that this comes with and find it gentle enough for my sensitive skin. You can definitely feel the bristles though and while they are soft, they aren't super soft. I suspect those with super sensitive skin will need a softer brush. My husband has tested the Clarisonic and really likes it. In a couple weeks I'm going to try a different brush. Based on recommendations from my original post, I want to try either the Deep Pore Brush Heads or Luxury Brush Heads.


Some overall thoughts based on my experience:
  • Even though this is a cleansing tool, you do need to start with makeup-free skin, if you use this with makeup on, you'll get the brush dirty and it will be spreading your makeup around, start your routine by either removing makeup with a Cleansing Water (I like Caudalie or Koh Gen Do) or Cleansing Oil (I like MAC or Tatcha)
  • As with any skincare routine, if you have sensitive skin you shouldn't do anything drastic, for this tool I was super nervous about how it would work with my skin, I eased into it by using it only a few times first and then increased usage according to my comfort level, I also started using it with my go-to cleansers
  • It will take time to see a difference, for the first 2 weeks I felt an improvement in texture but didn't see any visible results, by Week 3 and now Week 6, I've seen a visible improvement, but depending on your skin conditions, it might take longer
  • Don't use this on broken, raw or tender skin areas, I like that you can spot clean if you have specific areas you want to avoid
I purchased mine from Nordstrom for $199 (now in a new Radiance Brightening Solutions Set for $249). Also at Sephora, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Net-a-Porter and Selfridges.

I'll mark my calendar for a 3 month update. Have you tried Clarisonic? Which ones? Do you have any favorite brush heads or cleansers?
 
 

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