Friday, October 24, 2014

beautyblender sponges - my new favorite beauty tool


Beautyblenders are one of the most raved-about makeup tools I've read about. I've looked at them in Sephora stores numerous times but couldn't bring myself to spend nearly $20 on a sponge that I would have to end up throwing away within a couple of months. I finally caved and decided to give beautyblenders a try during the Sephora VIB Summer Surge event back in August. I purchased the Original Beautyblender version ($19.95) and have been really impressed. If you're late to the game with these (like me), Beautyblenders are an egg-shaped sponge with what they call "an open cell structure." It's a porous sponge that fills with small amounts of water and expands to about 1.5x in size when damp. The sponge provides amazingly flawless foundation application that I've found to be streak-free. You can use it with primers, foundations, powders, cream blushes, concealers and any other complexion product. I can't believe it took me so long to try these.


The sponge comes in a small plastic case with easy to use instructions. It works best when slightly damp. I run it through water entirely and then squeeze out the excess. The texture of the sponge is very cushy with a bouncy feel. I usually pour foundation onto the back of my hand first and then tap the sponge into the product before applying onto the face. Just tap and bounce and it blends in foundation perfectly. It also works wonders to blend out concealer.




dry Beautyblender Pro vs. damp Beautyblender Original

After featuring some of the sponges on the blog, several of my readers have asked what I use to clean the sponges. I can usually get 2-3 uses before I need to clean by using different areas of the sponge. I read reviews online at numerous message boards and customer reviews on retailer websites and decided to try the Beautycleanser Solid and Beautycleanser Liquid. I expected to like the liquid version better but the Solid does a much better job at cleaning the sponge all the way through. I'll use the liquid one up, it works ok, but won't be repurchasing. The solid is something I'll keep repurchasing though. It's like a solid soap - just get the beauty blender wet and rub it into the soap to lather up the cleanser. Rinse and repeat.


There are a number of different beautyblender options. I also checked out the Pure and Pro versions. Bottom line is the Original one performs the best for me. A quick rundown of the differences and my thoughts:
  • Original beautyblender (pink) is the smallest in size when dry although they are all pretty similar in size once damp and expanded. This one gives the best even coverage with liquids and has the most cushiony bounce, the first time you wash it, you will see pink dye run through the water. I've never had pink transfer from the sponge onto my skin though and it doesn't seem to stain white countertops.
  • Pure beautyblender (white) is designed for super sensitive skins. It's dye-free and colorless so those who might have a reaction to the pink dye in the original might want to opt for this one. I didn't have any reaction to the pink one and the white sponge performs almost as well, it has a very similar texture but not quite as much bounce, it blends foundation smoothly, but for some reason the original still does a blending job the best.
  • Pro beautyblender (black) is designed for darker products that might stain the pink or white sponges. I noticed a visible difference in texture and the first couple times I used it, tiny bits of sponge went all over my face and countertop. It's more porous compared to the others and the while the material is still soft, it seems a bit rougher in texture. It made about 1/2 of the foundations I've tried with it go on streaky although it did work nicely for powder foundation. I probably won't be repurchasing this one.



I've used the MAC Blending Sponge for years (even back when their older version was a pale beige color). I also really like smaller ones from my local Japanese supermarket. None of the ones I've tested compare to the beautyblenders in way they blend liquid foundations or concealers on the skin. Since August I've used up and thrown away 1 beautyblender. You do have to be somewhat delicate when washing them or else you might see parts of the sponge tear in areas.


I give these a huge thumbs up. I will definitely keep repurchasing the original version. It applies foundation really well without soaking up too much product. I love how it helps blend concealer too (especially on the under eye area). If you are new to beautyblenders or need to replace one, you might want to consider their sets like this Sponge + Solid Cleanser duo (you get a slight price break). 

I've purchased my beautyblenders at Sephora and Nordstrom. Have you tried these sponges? If so what did you think? Do you have any other favorite foundation/concealer tools?





Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday Link Love



Happy Thursday everyone! I hope you have been having a great week. I can't believe it's almost the end of October, time is literally flying in front of my eyes. Thank you everyone for your kind words and sending sweet notes via e-mail and comments over the past few weeks. My husband and I recently moved and the whole process is kicking me in the ***. We are starting from scratch for most of our furniture with the new place and we had no idea everything would take so long to make and ship - even items that don't seem like they are custom pieces of furniture. Luckily we found some pieces that work for now and are slowly getting everything put together. In a way, it's a bit like a blank canvas which makes it fun.

A few links I'm loving this week:
  • Brunch and Art from Egg Canvas is perfection (and her photos are amazing too)
  • Loving Lipstick With Some Sunshine's Autumn Makeup Bag picks
  • This Bite Beauty Best Bite Remix set on Temptalia is adorable
  • Lucky girl Beauty Professor met Lipstick Queen founder Poppy King (check out her interview)
  • The Non-Blonde's secret beauty weapon is Vincent Longo Flamenco (and I need it)
  • Amelia Liana shares her special event contouring and highlighting tips
  • Emoji talk on Garance Doré (happy I'm not the only one who likes to talk in emoji)
  • Tatcha has launched their Personal Skincare Consultation online that provides personalized recommendations if you're not sure where to start
  • Many thanks to Elle Quebec for featuring me in their October Issue! I'm beyond thrilled :)
 Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss Picks | Sensuel, Affriolant, Sensible, Séduction and Distinction


Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses have finally arrived in the US in ten different colors ($34 each for 6 ml/0.20 fl oz). The newly released lipglosses are a color and shine lip product packaged in a long clickable tube similar to the Rouge Allure Lipsticks. I've been a huge fan of Chanel glosses in general and the new Rouge Allure Gloss does not disappoint. (These are replacing the Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss formulas). I picked out five different shades:

  • Sensuel 11 is a perfect medium beige nude
  • Affriolant 13 is a hot warm pink
  • Sensible 15 is a softer warm baby pink
  • Séduction 18 is a stunning soft red
  • Distinction 21 is a gorgeous deep plum


The Rouge Allure Glosses are truly phenomenal. The formula is thick but smooth. There is a slight tacky feeling when you apply which makes them adhere to the lips well but at the same time they aren't sticky. The new Rouge Allure Glosses come with a sponge tip applicator which is almost identical the  older Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss formula. The difference is that the new ones have slightly better pigment. The Rouge Allure Gloss has a really nice feel on the lips - it helps smooth them, plump them and add just the right amount of shine and color. They also stay put well (as in they don't bleed around the edges of the lip and don't disappear after 10 minutes).

Truffle Clutch in Blush, Bracelets by Celine and Tiffany

The colors I tested are easy to apply and blend. A couple swipes is all you need for medium coverage but they are definitely layerable for more color. The sponge tip applies to the lips perfectly - no lip brush or finger blending needed. The tip has a slight point at the tip so you can get precise application around the edges while the wider base allows you to glide across larger areas of your lip.

A closer look at the packaging shows that Chanel once again was able to revamp one of their classic products with an updated modern look while still retaining the classic Chanel feel, old Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss vs new Rouge Allure Gloss:


Packaging of the new Rouge Allure Glosses have a clickable cap/applicator tip:


All the glosses at the Chanel Boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills:



Close up and swatches:





Swatched on the lips, most of these shown below are with two swipes. You can definitely add one more swipe to layer each shade for more coverage and color.






It's pure love for these. In my mind these glosses have everything I want in a lip gloss: smooth coverage, soothing hydrating feel, medium shine, layerable color with good pigment. They just feel incredible on the lips. I give these a huge thumbs up. I'm sad to see the older Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss formula go, but the new Rouge Allure Glosses are really amazing. There's a slight hint of shimmer in each color I have but it doesn't really show up on the lips. I love that the colors are classics with a modern feel and that they also have depth. For me these fall into the "need" and I think you really need to try at least one. They are a luxurious splurge but worth every penny.

The Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss retails for $34 each. You can find them now at all Chanel stores and counters. Online now at Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdales and Chanel.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


A few new items on my beauty radar this week:

Jo Malone has released the Cologne Intense Mini Collection (1) in a set for the first time this holiday. It has Tuberose Angelica, Velvet Rose and Oud, Saffron, Dark Amber and Ginger Lily and Oud and Bergamot. I was almost ready purchase but have never smelled Saffron before. Have you? What do you think?

Edward Bess has released four new shades of Lasting Kiss Lip Stain (2). I will have swatches to share with you very soon but first impressions are they are to die for.

Tom Ford Beauty has re-released two of the Cream Color for Eyes (3) in Platinum and Spice. Those who missed out before will be happy to know you can purchase them now with the holiday collection (but take note they are limited-edition again).

L'Occitane never fails to get me with their Shea Butter Hand Cream releases (4). With the holiday season approaching, I'm excited to see what sets they will release this year. Three new ones on my radar are the Rose Heart, Vanilla Bouquet and Whipped Shea Butter.

NARS has several holiday gifting sets out this year. This Virtual Domination Cheek Palette (5) looks like it could be the perfect compact size to slip into your purse for touchups or application on-the-go.

I've been getting lots of e-mails about the new Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss (6). Chanel.com released three shades as a preview, but all the colors have finally arrived at Nordstrom in case you have been looking. I have five I'll be swatching and reviewing.

Diptyque has some amazing holiday offerings this year. The packaging on their holiday candles are breathtakingly beautiful. There will be candle sets available as well. For the first time they will have one of their photophores available for purchase outside of Diptyque Boutiques in a Limited Edition Set with a Candle Holder + Feu de Bois, 6.5 oz. (7).

Dior Holiday is also stunning. There are two limited-edition quints in Golden Shock and Golden Reflection (8). (P.S. for a limited time, Nordstrom.com has these on sale with 10% off for their price matching, check out the Sale Section on their website under Beauty to see what else is on a discount.)

What's on your beauty radar this week?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Burberry Beauty A/W 2014 Nail Polishes | Elderberry, Antique Gold, Ink Blue, Dark Bottle Green and Teal Blue


Burberry Beauty has five new shades of nail polish for the fall 2014 beauty collection. The shades are rich and dramatic colors and I'm completely obsessed. These have amazing pigment and rich hues that I think are perfect for right now and for the upcoming winter months (although it still feels like summer in Southern California). The new shades for fall ($22 each) include: Elderberry, Ink Blue, Dark Bottle Green, Teal Blue and Antique Gold.


If you've read reviews on other Burberry polishes, such as Oxblood, Pink Azalea, Pink Peony and Orange Poppy you know I'm smitten with the Burberry Nail Polish colors but have mixed feelings about the formula and brush. The brushes on these polishes remain the same, they are wide and flat which makes it easy to get a precise application along the side edges of the nail, but if you have small fingers like me, you need to take extra care near the cuticles with application. The formula of Oxblood needed three coats for full coverage, but so far it's the only shade I've needed an extra coat for. The new shades for fall have a better and more opaque formula making them full coverage polishes with two coats. I did find Teal Blue to be slightly sheerer with a slight jelly-like finish, but the color went on smoothly.

Swatches of each color with two coats below. I had my top coat out to cover each nail, but the Burberry polishes ended up having a nice glossy finish on their own, so I didn't add it on three of the shades I swatched:

Elderberry is a dark plum. It's a vampy shade with perfect coverage. My nail wheels and most of my polishes are buried somewhere in one of our many packed boxes (my husband and I are still unpacking) so I wasn't able to do comparison swatches. It has a similar vibe to Tom Ford Black Cherry, but the Burberry isn't quite as dark.


Dark Bottle Green is a rich deep green color. This one surprised me because I'm normally not a fan of green nail colors on me but this one blew me away. It's really lovely and the application is perfect. It's one of my top three picks for the fall collection.


Ink Blue is a deep blue. The formula on this one is also perfect. It went on the nails smoothly with two coats. The first coat was enough to cover the entire nail but the second one smoothed it out perfectly. Love this one.



Antique Gold is a unique brassy gold shade. It's a metallic color and I was really happy that the brush strokes are subtle on this one. I think with any metallic you'll see some brush strokes but this one isn't noticeable. The coverage on the Burberry shimmers/metallics that I've tried are really good. This one included.


Teal Blue is just that, a teal blue color. This one is such a pretty shade of blue, even my husband commented on how pretty it was and he usually doesn't have much of an opinion about what I put on my nails. Teal Blue has a slight transparent quality, even with two coats it has a slight jelly finish. I could have added a third for full coverage, but I liked it with two.




I'm really happy with all of these, they are edgy classics. My top three picks include Dark Bottle Green, Teal Blue and Ink Blue. If I didn't have more polishes to review and swatch right now I would have Dark Bottle Green on my nails for the next week.

The Burberry Nail Polishes retail for $22 each. You can find the fall shades now online and in select stores at Burberry, Nordstrom and Saks.

Now that fall is officially here, what have you been wearing on your nails this fall?

The polishes were provided by Burberry for review consideration.

Burberry Beauty Fall 2014 - Sneak Peek


I have some beautiful items from Burberry Beauty to share soon. The design of the fall beauty collection is a reflection on the artistic themes of the A/W14 runway looks, features pigmented tones and hand-painted effects in a colour palette of bottle green, elderberry and ink blue. For the fall beauty look, the collection's new releases include:
You can find the items now at Burberry, Nordstrom and Saks. Stay tuned for nail polish swatches to be posted shortly. I hope to have the quads reviewed later this week, but I'll say right now I'm 100% in love with the rich colors of the nail polishes.




Many thanks to Burberry for sending these items for review consideration.

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serum | Apricot Glow and Sunny Flash


I'm always a fan of liquid highlighters that give a nice luminous glow, especially ones that have just the right consistency to mix in with foundations. Finding ones that are warm enough in color with just the right amount of shimmer for my medium olive skin isn't easy. There are a number of liquid highlighters on the market that are perfect for highlighting that are very shimmery or pale in color. Finding the right one to mix product in with foundation or use as an all over primer is tricky for me because I prefer ones that are beige, golden, yellow or darker in color. I had been eyeing the By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums ($89 for 30 ml/1 fl oz) for quite some time and finally splurged over the summer on Apricot Glow No. 3 and Sunny Flash No. 4. I've been very pleased with both.

The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serum is a color correcting fluid. It has a nice smooth texture that blends in nicely with the skin. By Terry calls these "color control radiance elixirs." The reps that have helped me at Space NK and Barneys explained that these are called serums because of the ingredients inside these that help smooth and nourish skin while brightening dark spots. I'm not sure if the serum actually helps lighten dark spots or just lightens the look of dark spots. I haven't used this long enough to see results of dark spots fading. Over the past four months that I've been using these, I haven't noticed dark spots fade, although this does really help to even the look of the skin and creates a lovely glow.

There are four different shades, I tested a sample packet of all four and prefer the options 3 and 4 because they work best with my skin tone. You can use these individually or mix them together to get different effects. Due to the high price of these I haven't splurged on the other two.



Swatches with different lighting shows how soft these liquids are, they have a subtle luminous glow that is visible but not too shimmery, these have a soft rose scent that is really soothing and not overpowering. However if you have an extra sensitive nose, you may want to test in person before splurging:



Out of the four shade options, I picked out Apricot Glow which is their universally flattering shade for fair to medium skin tones and Sunny Flash which is the bronzed version. I really like how Apricot Glow has a yellow-peach undertone which flatters my medium olive skin. There is a subtle pearlescent quality in it that flashes slight hints of pink, but it's predominantly golden and peach which I find adds that perfect glow when used all over the face. I like this as a primer to give a healthy looking radiant effect. If you add foundation and powder on top, you won't see the glow as much but I do see a visible difference in the overall look. I like this one mixed in with foundation as well.

Sunny Flash is a shade darker than my skintone but I like this mixed in with foundations to warm them up. I also like this layered on top of the cheeks or eyes to add a bit of depth and warmth. If you add powder or foundation on top, you won't see as much of the glow but I really like how this looks to smooth out the skin and cheek area. It has enough color to give a very slight contour. It has visible shimmer in it so it makes the skin glow, but not too much.


The serums come with an easy to use pump dispenser:


Some comparisons to other highlighters and illuminators. All of these have beautiful shimmery particles which make them look different depending on how the light interacts with the highlighters. I've taken three different swatch shots to show the base color along with the luminescent quality:

NARS Hot Sand Illuminator (discontinued)
MAC Strobe Liquid in Golden Elixir (discontinued)




I'm really pleased with both. Many highlighters look good for a few hours if I use them all over the face or mixed in with foundations but end up looking too dewy by early afternoon. The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums have a thinner texture that isn't quite as emollient as others which I find makes them last longer on the skin. You get the nice glow without looking greasy in a few hours. I found them both suitable for my super sensitive skin, neither clogged or emphasized pores, although I did find they looked best when used over well-moisturized skin. At $89 each these are quite expensive. I haven't found anything quite like Apricot Glow though, it's a very unique golden apricot color which I've been looking for what seems like forever. I highly recommend both.

Ingredients:


The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serums come in four shades. They retail for $89 each, available at Space NK and Barneys New York.

PS If you have been waiting to splurge, you may want to take advantage of Space NK's Discover Promotion which ends on 10/21 for $20 off a $75 purchase with code DISCOVER20.

Are you a By Terry fan? What are your favorites?
 
 

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