Thursday, July 31, 2014

Today's Summer Details

A few summer details today: 1) Banana Republic Striped Timeless Tee (similar here and here) has been a weekly go-to, it's versatile enough to wear with a number of different outfits. It goes with casual jeans, shorts and capris, you can also dress it up with a pencil skirt and pumps, or layer a blazer.

2) Nude pink sunglasses are one of my weaknesses, these are some old ones by Chanel that come with small frames (rare find). Continuing the nude-pink theme,  3) Tom Ford Tawny Pink Lipgloss and 4) Spanish Pink Lipstick are staples for the perfect nude pink pout. I love that there's a hint of nude and peach in these but they don't wash out my complexion. The lightness contrasts with a tan but it's not too sharp. (Tawny Pink looks like it's sold out online, Rose Crush is very similar.)

For the perfect glow 5) Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders are my favorite powder highlighters, I keep reaching for them and they seem to last forever (even with regular use I have barely made a dent). Luminous Light is shown above. Radiant Light is another favorite. Or if you want more options check out the Ambient Lighting Palette. They give the perfect candlelit glow.

6) Chanel Holiday Le Vernis is an oldie but goodie. I'm surprised it's still available since it was released quite a while ago. I rarely match tips and toes with the same colors but for this one I'll make an exception. See it compared to Chanel Mirabella.

I'm a minimalist when it comes to jewelry. I love the looks my friends can create with creative layering but I always feel like I can't pull it off. For me, some simple layering includes stacking simple detailed pieces. I've been loving my 7) Celine Rose Gold knot cuff stacked with 8) Gorjana Mila Hexagon Cuff (c/o) and any 9) Hermes Enamel Bracelet for some color. Gorjana has great visuals for bracelet layering ideas that are easy to pull off. I've been very inspired from browsing their site - be sure to check out the Gorjana x Happily Grey collaboration with curated picks.

I'm obsessed with open toe sandals, these 10) Banana Republic tan sandals fit perfectly and didn't break the bank. It sold out online months ago but I've spotted them instore.

Last but not least, I've fallen head over heels with 11) Tom Ford Mandarino di Almafi which is an extension of the Neroli Portofino line. I'm not typically a fan of citrus orange scents on me (I adore them on others). The ones by Tom Ford are the only citrus scents I feel like I can wear. It's a refreshing summery fruity scent. My local Neiman Marcus sold out of it but they were able to order it for me. More detailed review to come soon.


Left arm, Hermes Enamel Bracelet + Gorjana cuff // Right arm, Celine cuff



Nude pink lips combo of Tom Ford Spanish Pink with Tawny Pink layered together:


Layering color together with orange, navy and gold:

Summer citrus with Tom Ford Mandrino di Amalfi, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Radiant Light and Luminous Light:


Hope everyone is having a great week!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

NARS Dolce Vita Lip & Nail Set | Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive


I picked up the NARS Dolce Vita Lip and Nail Set from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a couple weeks ago. It retails for $52 for a Dolce Vita Lipstick, Lipgloss and Nail Lacquer (all full sized) cased in a chic black lacquered box. Online it says the set is a $66 value, but if I add up the individual items ($26 for the lipstick, $26 for the gloss and $20 for the nail polish) it totals $72. It's basically like buying the lip items and getting the box and nail lacquer thrown in.

I've owned several tubes of Dolce Vita Lipstick and also owned the older version of the Dolce Vita Lipgloss - but this was many years ago. Dolce Vita is probably one of NARS's most famous classic colors for lips. It's a universally flattering rosy pink shade with a slight hint of brown. On my lips and complexion it's always pulled quite a bit more rosy than it does on others.

I don't have the original tube of lipstick to compare, but I do believe NARS has reformulated their lipsticks at least once since the 2000's (which I first got into the line back in my early college days). Each time I've checked it out at the counters, the Dolce Vita seems to be a bit lighter and less brown than the original but since I don't have old tubes, I can't compare.

I've been testing this for several days and am pleased with my purchase. I was worried I would have meh feelings about it since the colors are repeats, but they are good classics that are both office-appropriate but not boring. On me the colors are neutral rosy shades that feel quite grown up. If you're new to NARS this is a good entry set to the brand.

The lipstick is on the sheer side with a glossy sheen but still gives enough color to show up on the lips. The lipgloss is very pigmented and smooth without any detectable scent. The nail polish is in the older packaging (the cap doesn't remove) and has a shorter brush which I find makes it super easy to apply smoothly without any issues. Two coats gives full coverage.



Do note that these swatch rosy on me, on you these will probably look more neutral. My lips tend to pick up a lot of pink and red tones. More photos and swatches:








Out of the three, my favorite item is the Dolce Vita Lip Gloss (which you can purchase individually), but I'm also smitten with the black lacquered box. I wish I could find larger ones for my desk to put stationary and photos in. Bottom line the set has timeless classics - you really can't go wrong with them.

The NARS Dolce Vita Lip & Nail Set is exclusive to the Nordstrom for the Anniversary Sale in the US (ends August 3rd). You can also find it at in the UK at Selfridges.



Did you pick up any of the NARS items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year? I was hoping for another 6 pan palette like they've had in past years but perhaps they will release some in the winter.

Cleansing Oil Testing | Tatcha, MAC, Shu Uemura, Josie Maran, Chanel and Dior


I've used cleansing oils for years but just recently started using them on a regular basis. I have been really impressed with the long-wear formulas brands have been releasing in foundation, powder, blush and concealer. Who doesn't want their makeup to last all day without touching up or fading? For me, the long-wear factor has had one downside: it doesn't come all the way off with a regular cleanser and leads to clogged pores and breakouts. Using stronger cleansers tend to irritate my skin.

I have my local Chanel artists to thank for recommending that I add a cleansing oil to my daily skincare routine. I did quite a bit of research, pulled out some samples, looked for online promo codes for minis with purchases and bought a few small trial/travel sized oils to do some extensive testing.

This year I've explored more in skincare than I have previous years and have found it's all a slow learning process for me. I am not an expert with skincare ingredients - I know many of you are passionate about skincare and know much more than I do about specific ingredients, formulas and what to avoid. I rely on the product specialists I talk to with various brands, online reviews and personal testing to determine what works for me. As always, I share what I've experienced personally - due to different skin types, your mileage may vary.


You might be wondering if you really need a cleansing oil. If you wear long-wear makeup like me and find yourself with small areas of clogged pores, I will say yes. To see how effective your current cleanser is, take a cotton pad soaked with cleansing water or a wipe and swipe your face after your normal process. You might be shocked to see remnants of product transfer to the cotton after you wipe your face down which means you didn't clean it enough. I've found Cleansing Oils and Cleansing Waters help break down long-wearing makeup for cleaner skin. I've found the best way to use these is to apply them to a dry face with dry hands and massage all over. Rinse with warm water to activate the foaming quality and emulsify to cleanse the skin. Some are designed to cleanse the skin fully and claim to have no film leftover so you don't need to double cleanse. I still prefer to use the two step method of a Cleansing Oil + Foaming Cleanser.

I've put 9 different cleansing oils to the test with various minis, samples and travel-sized options. I wish more brands would offer sampler/trial sets for skincare. I would be more likely to try new products and brands if sampler sizes were offered.

I've tested each oil for a minimum of 6 uses each over the past few months. With all of these, the best way to use them is to apply to a dry face with dry hands right on top of the makeup and massage it in circular motions all over the face.
  • Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil ($12 for 1.9 oz) I purchased the small travel size online based on the 4.2 out of 5 star rating on Sephora. I found this one to be my least favorite of all the oils even though I had high hopes. It has a very thick texture that feels goopy on the skin. It does a very effective job at cleaning and removing makeup, but I couldn't get past the texture. The scent is also too sweet for my taste and the flip open cap of the mini leaked product all over the place. It also made my skin feel a bit too tight after application.
  • Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($12 for .08 fl oz or $48 for 5.1 fl oz) I was really pleased to find out large the trial size was after ordering it online from the Travel Sized beauty category. I was also happy to see the small version come with a good pump and also with good packaging. Sometimes minis are cased in cheap containers but the Tatcha is very well designed. This turned out to be one of my favorites. It has a medium-thin texture which applies well to the face. Massaging the product emulsifies on the skin. It cleanses well with water and gave the skin a moisturizing feel without any residue feeling. It has the signature Tatcha Camellia scent which is soothing and gentle.
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) has been a long-time favorite of mine. I like to keep the mini bottle and refill it for travel although it comes in the mini size. The $10 price seemed very affordable for a trial (when I first tried it many years ago). This is the best one for removing all trace of waterproof eye makeup without stinging the eyes.
  • MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) was a purchase I made after reading so many rave reviews, I liked the texture and soft scent, but found it less effective compared to the regular version. If you have super sensitive skin or want something more gentle this is a good option for you.
  • Chanel Le Blanc Immediate Brightening Oil-Gel Makeup Remover (mini sample shown, $60 for 5 oz) is something that has been used on my at several Chanel events. It's a clear gel that turns into an oil as you work it into the skin. It's lightly scented which might bother some of you, but it is extremely effective. It's the only one that will remove all traces of mascara and eyeliner. The upside of the gel texture is that it's slightly thick so it doesn't run into the eyes if you work it on the eye area. Even though it's thicker, it's not goopy and is very emollient once massaged but not greasy. This is the most unique formula I've tried.
  • Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Oil (green sample gwp shown, $37-$77 for full size) has had so many raves online. It cleansed well and I found it emulsified nicely too. I couldn't get over the scent. It smells like green tea with an emphasis on the herbal side. I liked that it left no residue on the skin but it left my skin feeling a bit tight.
  • Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil (brown sample gwp shown, $42-$90 for full size) is most like a traditional cleansing oil. It reminds me of the older versions Shu Uemura used to have. It's gentle yet very efficient leaving skin feeling clean.
  • Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Cleansing Oil (blue sample gwp shown, $38-$81 for full size) is a brightening oil, this one has the best scent out of all the ones I've tried, it's a refreshing clean scent, kinda like dryer sheets, but not quite as sharp. This one emulsified really well and is more gentle compared to the Ultime8.
  • Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil (mini gwp shown, $36 for 6.7 fl oz) is one I had high hopes for. So many have raved about this one too. I did not like this one. It has a slightly sticky feel making it a bit hard to massage over the face. It didn't tug or pull, but didn't emulsify quite as well as the other more fluid options. After cleansing with water the skin felt sticky.
Here are how the minis size up next to each other and compare in packaging design, some of these were samples, some purchased. The packaging of the full size versions are usually better in quality and typically come with a pump.

Samples I purchased below: Tatcha, Josie Maran, MAC. Online samples with codes: Shu Uemura. Samples at the counter: Dior and Chanel.


To summarize my thoughts:
Best at removing all traces of makeup 
Tatcha One-Step, Chanel Le Blanc Oil Gel and MAC Cleanse Off Oil

Most gentle 
 Shu Uemura Whitefficient and MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off
Most moisturizing 
Tatcha and Ultime8
Best scent 
Tatcha and Shu Uemura Whitefficient

Top picks
1) MAC Cleanse-Off Oil
2) Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
3) Shu Uemura Whitefficient

I hope you found this roundup helpful. I've found that adding a cleansing oil to my routine has helped clean my skin better and has significantly decreased the amount of clogged pores and tiny bumps on the face. Do note that your mileage may vary depending on your skin type. I have normal but sensitive skin. If you are oily or dry you might find different oils work better for you.

What are your experiences with cleansing oils? Do you have any favorites or stories you'd like to share on what worked for you or what didn't work out so well? 

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).



 

design + development by fabulous k | COPYRIGHT © 2009-2014 THE BEAUTY LOOK BOOK