Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Nordstrom eGift Card Giveaway


Happy Wednesday everyone! Many of you seem to get excited about giveaways and they are my little way of giving back and saying thank you. This week I'm giving away 5 $100 eGift Cards to Nordstrom. All you have to do to enter is use the widget below.

Details:
  • Runs today through 10/3/2016 11:45 PM PST
  • Open internationally
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Full terms and conditions in widget below
  • Winners will be selected at random within 72 hours after giveaway ends and contacted by me via email, note the email you use to enter is the only one I will be emailing the eGift cards to if you are the selected winner
  • 5 distinct winners will be selected to receive a $100 eGift Card to Nordstrom (you can use online or instore)
Good luck! Quick disclaimer that this isn't affiliated or sponsored.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'll be doing more giveaways in the upcoming weeks as well. I have a few ideas I think could be fun!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Kevyn Aucoin The Making Eyes Kit x Space NK


Every once in a while I'll try a product and wonder what took me so long to try it. Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadows fall into that category (along with some of the blushes reviewed here). For the longest time I've avoided many items from the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line simply because of the price points. So many of his products have been widely raved about, and rightly so due to their good quality and solid performance. Kevyn Aucoin recently launched a set exclusive to Space NK called The Making Eyes Kit ($125, a $160 value if you purchase items separately). This kit includes:
  • The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 (0.04 oz)
  • The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette (0.03 oz)
  • The Expert Mascara Black (0.4 oz)
  • The Eyelash Curler
  • The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black (0.04 oz) 
Space NK kindly sent the set for me to try and part of me was really excited to try things I've always been curious about. The other part of me wondered if this would live up to the hype as the items look incredibly basic. I love beauty basics and classics but sometimes there are products that just simply seem a bit too basic to justify the splurge when less expensive options will work just as well. I was really impressed with the Eye Shadow Palette, Brow Pencil and Eye Pencil. More thoughts on each item below.

Quick look at the box. The set comes cased in a large black box with a mirror. I like that everything has it's own individually molded compartment so if you have this shipped to you, items stay in place. I'm not sure what I'll do with the box at the moment. I suppose I could use it for travel by taking out the insert. The larger mirror is nice to have when you're on the go. However the box is made of cardboard so I don't  know how well it will hold up traveling.

First a look at the items swatched:


For me the winner of this set is The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 which has a mix of cool tones. The set comes with a little instruction card on how to apply the colors but I took one look and decided to apply them my own way. I have no crease in the lids so most of the time I need to apply shadows differently from most other women anyways in a gradient. Since I have no fold or crease I don't usually do the outer corner or v-shape blending.

Colors in this palette include a shimmering soft but pigmented black, lavender purple shimmer, beige satin, white frost, bone satin. All of the colors have some degree of shimmer but it is very soft on the skin. If you're a no-shimmer kind of person for eyeshadows I think this will still work for you as the finish is VERY very soft.


The pigment is medium but buildable. Texture is very soft and looks natural on the eyes. As one who does not really like cool tones (especially white frosts) because they often look sharp or contrast with my olive skin I was surprised to find this one worked really well with my skintone for a cool-toned smoky eye with a hint of purple. The black looks like it could be chalky if you swatch it on the hand or arm. With a brush it's intense and very pigmented but not too sharp. It's a very good one to apply along the lash line and easy to blend and smoke out. Below shows all the items in the kit applied including the mascara, liner and brow pencil.

The only other added product was the Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold all over the lids used as a base.


Next are The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette and The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black. The Precision Brow Pencil is very easy to use and Brunette is a good neutral to cool toned brown that works for my dark hair. For me I like that there is no red undertone which I find some brow pencils have, yet there's not too much grey which can sometimes cause my brows to look ashy. I like that if you twist product up you can also twist it back down.

The Eye Pencil in Basic Black is one of the deepest black pencils I've tried. It has a smooth and super creamy texture. In terms of lasting power it stayed put on my eyes all day without any smudging or budging. I used it along upper lashes and waterline. That being said, I will usually also see how it holds up on the arm. When I test liners, let it sit for about 30 minutes on the arm, then take my finger and swipe it across the arm swatch to see how much it smudges. On the arm it smudged while some other liners set and don't budge. That being said I tried this on a few different days and on my eyes it lasted all day without any budging so for me it's a winner.

Last but not least are The Expert Mascara Black and The Eyelash Curler. Both of these have been raved about by many people. To date I have only tried the mascara in mini forms that usually come with the Space NK gwps and had not really been that impressed. The full size does perform better but my heart still belongs to the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascaras for volume, curl-holding and lasting power. The one from Kevyn Aucoin is a deep black, doesn't clump or smudge. It does a good job at coating each lash but for me it simply does not hold the curl and doesn't give me the volume the other two do. Do note that I have incredibly skimpy straight lashes so I need a miracle mascara to make it look like I have any.

The eyelash curler works well too. I was relieved to find there was no pinching (for me the Shiseido one everyone raves about just doesn't work for me at all). It has a very lightweight feel which makes it easy to use but I prefer something with a bit more weight to it. That being said it performs well and I am happy to own it.

Bottom line a solid set of good eye basics. I am already plotting another eyeshadow palette purchase because this one is just so good. If you have any recommendations for the palettes or duos let me know! You can find all the items in this set individually if you prefer to pick and choose items on your own. However the Kevyn Aucoin The Making Eyes Kit as a set is a Space NK exclusive.

Have you tried any of these yet? What did you think?

The Making Eyes Kit was provided courtesy of Space NK for review.


Monday, September 26, 2016

On My Radar / New in Beauty


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7  /  8  /  9  /  10  /  11  /  12

Hope you all had a great weekend! Just when I started to get in the fall state of mind the weather decided to take a turn after a week of clouds and rain. We had a bit of a heat wave over the weekend and this week's forecast looks like it's going to be hot all week. Even though it's going to feel like summer this week, fall is in full swing with pumpkin-flavored drinks and treats everywhere I look. Holiday collections and sets are starting to trickle in and it's not even October yet but it's fun to see what's coming out in the next few weeks.

First, Bobbi Brown has some lovely sets and gifts for holiday. This faux-patent leather Beauty Case (1) just popped up and it appears to be the same size as the black leather one I've had for years. Many of you asked me to let you know if I ever saw something similar from her line pop up. It appears this season there is! Bobbi Brown also has some beautiful cases that house multiple products. The Golden Eye Shadow and Mascara Palette (2) looks like it could be clutch-sized. As does this Glow to Go Duo (3).

I've been looking for a new leather jacket. Many of you were kind to recommend some for petite frames on Instagram. I've checked out some from All Saints, Joie and Club Monaco which are all gorgeous but I'm still trying to find the one. I have my eye on this Motorcycle Jacket (4) from Madewell which also comes recommended from a number of you. The search continues and I'll let you know which one ends up working out :)

Chanel launched an online preview of their Collection Libre 2016. It's scheduled to launch in stores late October. I'm not sure if this is their holiday collection or if a separate launch will follow. The only items that are calling my name are the nail polishes. There are two Le Vernis shades in Liquid Mirror and Hyperrose Glass (5) and one Velvet Nail Color in Pink Rubber (6).

Armani launched a travel size of their Crema Nuda Tinted Cream (7) in a smaller version with a pump. Thanks to the recommendation from another beauty lover, I decided to check it out and I'm glad I did. My local counter gave me a small sample to try at home and I have never been so impressed or blown away by a foundation before. I'm Shade #3 for reference.

Armani also launched a new lip treatment product called Him and Her Lip Care (8). There is one clear shade and four tinted options. I picked up three to test out and will let you know the verdict. It's been a while since I ventured to the Armani counter and these caught my eye. If you've tried them already let me know what you think. The colors are very sheer.

Kevyn Aucoin and Space NK have an exclusive set called The Making Eyes Set (9). They kindly sent one for me to try and I'll be reviewing it tomorrow. This is the first time I've tried Kevyn Aucoin powder shadows even though they have been widely raved about for like forever. Apparently I've been missing out for many years because the quality is excellent.

Jo Malone launched their Basil and Neroli Cologne (10). It's a stunning green, basil, pepper mixed with floral and a bit of musk. I adore the Candle which I purchased and have been burning this past weekend. The perfume smells fresh, modern and very pretty. It's on my wishlist.

Oribe finally launched a dry shampoo called the Gold Lust Dry Shampoo (11). I ordered the small travel size and it's good. If you're a dry shampoo lover I think you should try it. There is no white film or cast, it smells amazing and absorbs excess oil for a quick touch up.

Last but not least this year's holiday Guerlain Météorites Perles de Légende Light-Revealing Pearls of Powder (12) looks stunning. I cannot resist. It was in my online shopping cart and I'm about to hit submit. They usually sell out every year fast so if you have this on your wishlist I suggest you act soon.

P.S. There are some individual GWPs up at Nordstrom (I think it was for Triple Points) and also at Saks Fifth Avenue (for beauty week) right now. I took advantage of a few including the Armani one from Saks and Jo Malone one from Nordstrom. Be sure to check for codes listed on each GWP option, sometimes there are codes you need to enter. 

Hope you have a great start to the week! Stay tuned for the Kevyn Aucoin review tomorrow and some more fragrance reviews in the following days. 


Friday, September 23, 2016

MAC Liptensity Lipsticks


MAC's latest is the Liptensity Lipstick ($21 each for 3.6 g/0.12 oz) which is an intensely pigmented lipstick with a satin finish. The pigment in these lipsticks is so good they are what I'd consider one-swipe wonders. If you're like me and love the rich pigment and saturated color of matte lipsticks or liquid lipsticks but hate that dried out matte look, the Liptensity lip colors will give you that full coverage without looking fake or dry. There are 24 shades total, all with a satin finish and no shimmer. The range is quite impressive and they seem to have covered a large number of colors from neutrals, corals, plums, reds, pinks and some bold edgy colors. I lip swatched the ones I could see myself wearing and every single color performs well.

Texture is smooth and creamy. They have a full coverage without feeling thick although they aren't necessarily weightless. There's no hydrating feel but they did not dry out my lips and feel comfortable once on. Lasting power is among the best I've tried and they stay put for a long time without fading as long as you don't touch your lips.


I split the colors by color group for swatches. All except the last category have also been lip swatched (I just couldn't bring myself to put on blue lipstick lol). In the photos I'm wearing the Prolongwear Foundation in NC35. (Still testing the formula to see if my skin can handle it.)

Neutrals include:
  • Driftwood which is a pale mauve nude pink
  • Doe is a light medium neutral beige brown
  • Toast & Butter is a medium brown
  • Medium Rare is a soft creamy pink
  • Smoked Almond is a medium peachy rose



By request I've brought back larger lip swatches but will also have side by sides at the bottom. Not sure that I will keep doing the individual lip swatch photos as they take up the entire page! I also feel self conscious that enlarging the photos allows you to see every imperfection on my skin :(






Next up are the reds and oranges. They're similar with slight variations in undertone:
  • Lobster is an orange red
  • Habanero is an orange
  • Fireworks is a bright red
  • Life's Blood is a blue-based red
  • Mulling Spices is a a deeper red








Next up are the browns and plums. These surprised me the most because they go on the lips different from what you see in the tube. These have a vamp feel.
  • Dionysus is a plum red
  • Cordovan is a reddish plum
  • Double Fudge is an intense brown
  • Burnt Violet is a deep vamp plum


 









Up next are the pinks and mauves. Even though I'm a neutral lip lover at heart I really have a soft spot for Claretcast and Marsala.

  • Gumball is a bubblegum pink
  • Eros is a cool-toned bright pink
  • Post Modern is a warm bright pink
  • Claretcast is a fuchsia mauve 
  • Marsala is a mauve plum













Last but not least are the bold edgy colors. These are shades I could never feel comfortable wearing but arm swatched for reference.

  • Ambrosial is a vibrant fuchsia plum pink
  • Galaxy Grey is a grey lilac
  • Hellebore is a purple
  • Blue Beat is a navy
  • Stallion is a deep black




One last roundup and lip swatches side by side:


An impressive lipstick launch. The formula performs well and I love the sleek colorful packaging. The caps match the lipstick color and the lip product is one that fills the entire tube. I love that the tips are beveled which makes application easier than the flat top ones you see from some other brands. Most MAC lipsticks make my lips peel by the next day as they are a bit drying. I lip swatched all the colors in a single day and by the next day my lips were fully in tact without any peeling or dry patches. So while they aren't necessarily moisturizing I do think they have a non-drying formula. If you have dry lips with patches you might want to consider using the MAC Prep + Prime Lip or Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade as a base first. Both will smooth out the lip without making them too emollient where the lipstick will slide off.

Out of the ones I lip swatched I'm really hard pressed to pick a favorite because they are all good. If I had to narrow down my picks to 5 it would be: Doe, Postmodern, Claretcast, Smoked Almond and Burnt Violet.

Bottom line definitely worth checking out. You can find them now online at MAC and Nordstrom. (I spotted them yesterday at my local Nordstrom counter.) At this time I do believe they are limited-edition.

Have you checked these out yet? What colors did you end up getting if you bought these?

Many thanks to MAC for sending me all the shades to play with!


 

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