Showing posts with label Blush. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blush. Show all posts

Monday, May 9, 2016

NARS Summer 2016 Color Collection - My Picks


The NARS Summer Collection for 2016 launched a few weeks ago and it features some of the prettiest soft natural colors for a summer theme and the neutral-beauty lover in me is beyond thrilled. I received a few press samples and also purchased a couple items to review. The colors I picked out for the most part are very different from the traditional bright, bold or bronze shades we see for summer collections, but they are shades you can wear year round. The colors are easy to wear and can be mixed with bolder brighter shades. Colors featured above include:
  • Dual Intensity Blush in Sexual Content $45 (c/o) has a soft peach and light mauve pink shimmer, I feel like I've been searching for a blush combo like this for my whole life, it has a very natural looking shimmer and I am a bit bummed it's limited-edition, I will be buying a backup of this one, it's a nude pink/peach on the cheeks that shows up on my medium skin, pigment is really rich but in a natural way
  • Dual Intensity Blush in Liberation $45 (c/o) is a shimmering light pink and medium rose with warm tones, the shimmer is a bit more visible on this one compared to the lighter summer option, but it's not overly frosted, this one pulls a bit warmer on my skin but doesn't turn orangey, finish is smooth and doesn't emphasize pores
  • Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Topless $29 (c/o) is a light seashell pink with a very natural sheen, it has smooth pigment and is easy to blend, I would say pigment is medium but can be sheered out, shimmer is visible but it has a natural looking shimmer
  • Lip Cover in Get Dirty $28 is a new formula which is like a liquid lipstick, these are full coverage creamy lip colors that have a soft sheen in the finish, but have a velvety feel, Get Dirty is a medium warm rose, it almost looks peachy on me
  • Lip Cover in Overheated $28 is a full coverage dusty rose, it's cooler-toned than Get Dirty, the color looks darker swatched on the arm compared to the way it looks once on my lips, but it's still a medium toned neutral

A closer look at the shades plus swatch comparisons:


Comparison Set 1:




Comparison Set 2:

NARS Velvet Shadow Stick in Goddess (review here
NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows in Andromeda and Europa (review here)





Comparison Set 3:

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara (lip swatch here)
MAC Lipglass in Lust


A quick look per request with the warmer shades, Becca Aqualuminous in Beige is on the skin, for color it's NARS Topless Dual Intensity Eyeshadow, Urban Decay Naked2 Palette (mix of colors), NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Liberation both shades mixed and blended, NARS Lip Cover in Get Dirty.


All the colors are shades I want to wear everyday. I think the Dual Intensity Blush in Sexual Content is one of the prettiest neutrals for blush that I've ever seen. I am thrilled it's on the nude side but still shows up on the skin. Liberation is also a very pretty combination that is wearable. It has a softer feel compared to Fervor. For those new to the Dual Intensity formula - they are really very unique, it's like a hybrid powder and cream with a smooth texture that adheres well to the skin. They glide on like creams but aren't really like traditional emollient creams. Most of the items for eyes and cheeks are all shimmery - but there are varying degrees of shimmer. The colors in the summer collection have a softer shimmer compared to some other shades. Lasting power is excellent for my normal/combination skin and the shades don't emphasize pores.

For the Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Topless, I though it would be almost identical to Andromeda or Europa, but it has enough shimmer and a different base to justify owning if you already have the other two. Tom Ford Opale by comparison is similar, but NARS Topless has a bit more pink.

For the lips I really like the new Lip Cover formula but it is extremely opaque so if your lips have any dry flakes or patches they will show up with this one, but it would be the case with any full coverage opaque lipstick. The colors are full coverage but not heavy feeling and they stayed with impressive lasting power. I would have preferred a clear packaging for the base like the Lip Gloss formulas so I can see the color inside rather than having to look at the labels but it's not a deal breaker. I love both colors but if I had to pick just one, I would say I have a slight preference for Overheated.

I am really happy with all the items I've tried. I feel both blushes are back-up worthy because I haven't found colors with the same color, quality and shimmer - to me they are both very unique and absolutely perfect.

You can find the NARS Summer Collection now at all NARS counters and stores. The entire collection is limited-edition so I do recommend ordering sooner than later. Available online at NARS, Nordstrom, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and all other NARS retailers.

Press samples include the Dual Intensity color items. Lip products purchased by me.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush


Becca's latest is the new Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush ($34 each for 6 g / 0.2 oz). There are six bright colorful shades - all with impressive pigment, smooth blendable textures and the most beautiful luminous glow that I have ever seen. Blush is one of my favorite beauty products because I think it's the one thing that can really give the face life by adding a bit of color - the Luminous Blushes from Becca are extremely unique in formula. They are almost creamy even though they are clearly powders. One swipe gives impressive pigment which usually would scare me but even if you accidentally pop on too much with the first swipe, the color is super easy to blend out or buff out for a smooth glow. With so many pigmented blushes you have to apply with a very light hand because the pigment adheres to the skin upon impact. I would say the same thing applies with the Becca - apply with a lighter hand and layer for the desired intensity, but I was really impressed with how easy to blend they are, but even after you blend the blushes still maintain their color and pigment without fading away.


Some of the blushes themselves appear to have a fine mist of overspray which makes them look very glowy in the pan brand new. The overspray is very fine - almost transparent because once it's removed you still see the same color of blush underneath, just not as much sparkle. I noticed it with Camellia - the lightest option. At first glance it's a gasp-worthy baby pink, but the sparkle had me worried that it would emphasize pores, make me look like a disco ball, and just be a pale frosty pink. I was relieved to find it was simply an overspray and underneath was a soft luminous baby pink.

The blushes seem to be a hybrid of blush and highlighter. You can easily wear them alone as a blush because they all have enough color and pigment (how I've been playing with them for the most part). But the texture and shimmer make them have that highlighter feel where you can layer them on top of other products. I tried layering a few over bronzer and regular blush - but I found them so pigmented that layering almost covers the underneath product entirely. I think layering lighter shades over bronzer in general works to add color because I do that with most blushes anyways (bronzer adds warmth to my skin as a soft contour). The darker ones like Dahlia and Blushed Copper seemed to just take over whatever was underneath.

Lasting power is very good - they stay put from morning to late afternoon. They have a soft almost creamy feel but are clearly powders. As long as you don't apply too much they don't darken on the skin. Even though these are all shimmery they did not emphasize pores or emphasize imperfections.

A closer look at all the colors plus two looks:


All swatched with an eyeshadow brush:


Camellia is a shimmering soft ballerina pink with fine gold shimmer. It's almost a baby pink in the compact but on the skin it adds more color and life in a soft brightening way.

Swatched heavy and then blended, you can still blend out the color more for a sheerer look:


Foxglove is an orchid pink color with cool tones. It has a cool-toned shimmer so on my face/olive complexion it pulls very cool but is still very wearable. It goes well with lip colors like MAC So Select, Brave or Mehr or any mauvey tones.


Tigerlily is a bright orange gold shimmer. I was worried this might be very orange on the skin but I'm always surprised by bright orangey blushes. They add life to the complexion in unexpected ways that is actually very wearable - especially when layered with other shades like pink or bronze.


Blushed Copper is one of the most shimmer shades. I would say it's borderline a frost color. It's a stunning shimmering coppery bronze kind of shade that is medium to deep and extremely pigmented. The color is easy to blend though and out of all six colors I think this is the most unique.


Dahlia is another medium-deep color. It's a shimmering reddish plum with slightly warm tones. I usually stay far far away from colors like these. They often look harsh on my skin and give me that almost punched face look or sunburn look. On the face I have to apply this with a light and and blend a lot - a tiny little bit goes a very long way. I'm still experimenting with this one but for my comfort level this is bolder and deeper than I usually go for the cheeks.


Snapdragon is a bright coral pink with gold shimmer. This is easily my favorite because the color is so bright and cheerful. It's like spring in a blush compact. The texture is very smooth but it's on the extremely pigmented side so for this one I recommend applying with a light hand. It pulls warm but I suspect it will work well with a wide range of skin tones to add life to the face.


In both photos for the base I'm wearing:

One last look:


Bottom line is believe the hype - they are really that good. I think these are really phenomenal in terms of color selection, pigment, luminosity and blendability. The colors have enough pigment to show up on a wide range of skin tones, including deeper ones. A quick search on Instagram with #luminousblush or the @beccacosmetics tag will show a number of swatches others have done. These show up on light, medium and deep tones - although of course they will look different depending on your skin tone, I think it's impressive how pigmented these are.

I think all the colors are wearable. For me the only color I can't see myself wearing on a regular basis is Dahlia because it's out of my comfort zone and a bit deeper thank what I'm used to. I really like this formula of blush so I hope they expand the color selection in the future. I would personally die to see these in a shimmering beige or nude color (or variations of nudes like their Ombre Nudes Eyeshadow Palettes but for the cheeks instead). If I were pressed to pick my favorites, they would be Camellia, Tigerlily, Snapdragon and Blushed Copper.

You can find the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous at Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Becca Cosmetics. They retail for $34 each.

Have you tried these yet? If not, what's your favorite blush of the moment?

Many thanks to Becca for sending these for review. I'm in blush heaven right now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Look at the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, Pure Powder Glow + Celestial Powder


I've been slowly getting more into items from the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line. I've been a huge fan of the Celestial Powder in Starlight and the Lip Gloss in Starlight (reviewed here and here). The Pure Powder Glow Blushes are something that have been on my radar for ages and I was really excited to finally play with a few of the shades. As mentioned in a few previous posts I had high hopes for the Sculpting Powder in Medium as it's one of the most raved about contouring/sculpting powders in the beauty market. It did not work for my skintone but there have been two color additions to the formula in Light and Deep. Light works perfectly for my medium-olive toned skin.

I have a quick look at six shades from Kevyn Aucoin in the Sculpting Powder, Pure Powder Glow + Celestial Powder. If you're shopping online for any of these, don't forget to take advantage of the special promo code Space NK US created for Beauty Look Book readers. Use code BEAUTYLB16 at checkout to save $20 off online orders of $100 or more (through May 1st). All the details in this post here.


The Celestial Powders ($44 each) are finely milled ultra smooth highlighters. Candlelight is one of those products that has reached cult-status and is extremely popular. I think I'm one of the few people who find it turns white on my face - it looks amazing in the pan, swatched on the arm or applied on the eyes. On my cheeks it almost looks chalky but note that I am in the minority with this one. My preference is for Starlight which is a soft champagne pink. I find Starlight to be more shimmery than Candlelight, but it's not too shimmery. The pink/peach undertones make it much softer on my olive skin. If you prefer liquids, they have these colors in the Celestial Liquid formula, both swatched in this post here.

The Sculpting Powders ($44 each) are matte shaping/sculpting/contour powders. Medium was the first shade launched and for many years it was the only option. It's a soft cool-toned matte that didn't work on my skin because it was too cool-toned and slightly too dark creating a muddy look on me. Light and Deep are the newest additions. I tried out Light which in the swatch above is similar in undertone but the slight variation and lightness of color works so much better on my skintone. It creates a more natural looking shadow on areas I want to add depth whether it's the eyes, nose or cheeks. If you need contouring powders with warmth I would recommend skipping any in the Kevyn Aucoin line as they are all very cool-toned.

The Pure Powder Glow ($37 each) is a powder blush. The formula is very soft in texture which makes it easy to apply, blend and build. There are shimmers and mattes, both formulas look incredibly natural and meld with the skin beautifully so it doesn't look powdery. I've been so impressed with the three that I've tried. Ariana is the perfect neutral coral that adds natural warmth. Shadore is a powder pink that brightens the face. Natural is a really great neutral pinky-brown that won't look muddy or darken on the skin. They look very simple in the pan and if you swatch them with your fingers I have to admit they look pretty standard - you can probably find dupes in other lines like MAC, Bobbi Brown or even Urban Decay, so color-wise I wouldn't say that I find them unique. That being said the formula works really well and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. (I found that some blushes like Bobbi Brown cause tiny little bumps to form on my cheeks.) If you're looking for a good everyday kind of color that's easy to use and requires little thinking on how to coordinate, you can't go wrong with any of the ones swatched above.


There are quite a few options on the market for all three types of powders. I think the ones from Kevyn Aucoin are great everyday shades that are very wearable for the conservative makeup-wearer who wants no-fuss kind of makeup. They apply on the skin smoothly, don't oxidize on the face and they last all day without budging. A few thoughts on other ones I've tested and how they compare to other brands/formulas.

Celestial Powders

Sculpting Powders

Pure Powder Glow
  • If you like matte blushes that won't darken, I think the ones from Kevyn Aucoin are really among the best I've tried.
  • If you want more unique and interesting colors that are still natural, opt for the Urban Decay UD x Gwen Blush Palette.
  • If you want contour + blush in a single palette for convenience, go for the By Terry Sun Designer Palettes.
  • If you want similar colors to the ones featured but want them at a cheaper price, MAC Pink Swoon will give you a similar look to Shadore, MAC Prism will give you a similar look to Natura (but without the shimmer), Ariana is quite unique compared to what I have, MAC Peaches is the closest one I have but the MAC is slightly brighter.
I hope you found this review helpful if you were wondering about the Kevyn Aucoin face powders. They do come with a fairly steep price tag but the quality is on point and I think they are products anyone will get regular use out of. Have you tried any blushes, highlighters or contour powders from Kevyn Aucoin yet? If so which ones? If you have recommendations for anything else in the line please share in the comments!

Ariana, Natura, Shadore and Light provided courtesy of Space NK for the Explore Promotion. Starlight, Candlelight and Medium purchased by me.


Friday, April 15, 2016

By Terry Sun Designer Palettes for Spring - Tan and Flash Cruise + Light and Tan Vibes


By Terry recently launched two new face palettes with bronzer, blush and highlighters cased in a single mirrored compact called the Sun Designer Palette ($82 for 15 g/0.53 oz). There are two options in this launch Tan and Flash Cruise 1 and Light and Tan Vibes 2. Both are simply glorious and well worth the splurge. I ordered both of mine sight unseen last month and the swatches on Beauty Professor's blog confirmed I made the right choice to splurge. When they arrived in the mail I literally gasped - they took my breath away. Each palette comes cased in a slim mirrored compact with 6 shades of powders for the face (but I've also been using them on the eyes). The product description on the box:

"This exceptional palette creates an all-over radiant and sun-kissed look on both fair and tanned complexions. It features six elegant and sparkling shades playing the roles of bronzers, blushes and highlighters that enhance the skin's appearance. Delicate, soft and airy textures in both matte and satin finishes allow to sculpt contours, brighten features, correct or intensify the complexion, all the while revealing the full splendor of the tan."


Both palettes have beautifully pigmented powders that have a very soft almost velvety texture. The colors blend flawlessly on the skin in an effortless kind of way. Lasting power is excellent and does not fade. They meld nicely with the surface of the skin and adhere well to last all day long. There's no chalky finish, no streaking and the colors stay true to what you apply on the face.

#1 Tan and Flash Cruise offers the perfect mix for a colorful summery look while #2 Light and Tan Vibes is the perfect your complexion but better kind of palette. It is hard for me to pick a favorite but #2 offers the most amazing mix of colors to give my complexion the kind of naturally glowy tan highlight and contour that I've been looking for for ages.



The only possible downside I find to these is the actual design and layout of the colors. They come in a beautiful embossed zigzag pattern which makes it virtually impossible to dip a cheek brush into just one color - but I suspect this was designed with the purpose of being able to mix and swirl colors together to be able to achieve a look with more dimension, color and glow. When I first put these to the test I thought the mixing of colors was going to be problematic. I've been able to dip a brush into 2 colors at a time or take a smaller detail brush to pick up a single color and apply to the eyes or face. I suspect making the palette bigger would have made the price more expensive - part of me wishes the pans were at least 2x taller to make picking up a single color easier. After playing with these for several weeks now I really don't mind swirling colors together.

A quick look at some brushes next to the pans for size reference:



A closer look at each palette. Up first is #1 Tan and Flash Cruise which has:

Satiny raspberry pink
Coral peach with a slight sheen
Cool pink with a very soft shimmer
Pale nude matte
Medium warm tan
Soft muted peach




A closer look at #2 Light and Tan Vibes which has:

The most perfect golden nude shimmer
Iridescent peach gold shimmer
Pale champagne shimmer frost
Pale vanilla matte cream
Soft light peach pink
Soft nude tan matte




Bottom line both winners. I personally would have preferred larger pans that would allow for me to not mix the colors but I've found blending the shades to have a really nice effect on the skin. Sometimes swirling darker shades can result in a muddy mess but these blend beautifully together and the quality of the powder texture and pigment is literally to die for.

Finish of the brighter option Tan and Flash Cruise is more on the satiny matte side. There is a sheen in each of the colors but it's in a natural luminous way that melds with the skin. Light and Tan Vibes has a more shimmery finish for the left side but it's not overly frosty and layers beautifully on the cheeks over other colors or even on the eyes.

If I were pressed to pick just one, I would say the lighter one Light and Tan Vibes is my favorite. It has colors that are probably easy to dupe but the colors in this one are simply flawless and work without any extra effort required. It's pure love.

I highly recommend both palettes. I've been told they are limited-edition but am not 100% sure. You can find them online at Space NK, Barneys New York, Beautylish and Saks Fifth Avenue. If you're shopping at Space NK (US) don't forget to take advantage of the savings offer code available through May 1, 2016 (all the details in this post here).

Have you checked out these palettes yet? 


Monday, April 11, 2016

Urban Decay UD x Gwen Blush Palette, Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters and Beached Bronzers


Today I have a roundup of several cheek products from Urban Decay including the UD x Gwen Blush Palette ($45), Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters ($26 each) and Beached Bronzers ($28). All the items are very pretty and give the complexion some life and color in a natural way. The UD x Gwen Blush Palette in my opinion is one of the best blush palettes I've ever tried. It has a good mix of cool and warm and also matte and shimmer finishes to give you a lot of options. The colors layer nicely and application is smooth. I do find some similarities between the colors in the palette and the new highlighters/bronzers. You may want to shop your stash too as some of these will probably be duplicates or similar to what you own but more thoughts on each one below.

First a quick look at the cheek, highlighter and bronze items from Urban Decay side by side. I'm trying out a new interactive tool so you can shop the images by clicking on the icons. Let me know what you think!


Swatches on bare skin:


Up first is the UD x Gwen Blush Palette. This comes in a medium-sized mirrored compact similar in style to the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette. The packaging is very sturdy and well made. The colors have medium but buildable pigment and the texture is very soft and smooth. There is quite a bit of powder kick-up when I dip my brush into the powders but it's easy to clean up and once the product is on the face there isn't any fall out. Cherry is a soft cool matte pink, Easy is a medium rose with gold shimmer, Angel is a soft champagne gold, Lo-Fi is a medium tan, Hush is a shimmering peachy champagne, OC is an iridescent soft peach that flashes pink.




As you can see from the swatches above near the top of the post, Angel has a similar effect to the Afterglow Highlighter in Sin, Lo-Fi is a more yellow toned version of the bronzers, OC has a similar pinky sheen to the Afterglow Highlighter in Fireball. I would say by comparison the Blush Palette has a softer more natural look on the skin compared to the others. I love this palette because it's so versatile and goes well with a wide range of looks. That being said the colors are fairly standard and I suspect you can find similar shades from MAC, NARS or other brands. I do really like that Easy Blush is a rose gold that is medium in undertone but doesn't darken on my skin. So many rose blushes end up darkening and look muddy on my skin while Easy stays true to color. Angel has that pretty warm golden champagne undertone which makes it look soft and diffused on my olive skin. Hush is borderline a highlighter so I mix it with Lo-Fi to add more color on my skin.

Next up are the Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighters. These are designed to be long-lasting and the claim is they last 8 hours. On my normal combination skin I found they did not last on my cheeks for the full 8 hours. I would say color stayed true from morning around 8 am until 2 pm (so for around 6 hours). After that the color faded a bit. It was still visible but there was noticeable fading, at least on me. The colors are very pigmented and intense but are easy to blend and buff out. I've swatched them heavy and blended to try and show the difference. The heavier you swatch these the more intense the shimmer and with a heavy hand the colors are lighter in color.

Sin is a pale champagne gold, on my skin it looks very pale, almost like a pale cream. Fireball is an iridescent peach that flashes pink. Aura is a pale pink that flashes slight pink and blue tones.



Shimmer-frost wise I think these are definitely on the more shimmery side but they blend out smoothly on the skin. Sin is the most frosted on me since it has a sharper contrast to my olive skintone. I expected Aura to look really frosty but on the face it gives the skin a pretty glimmer. Fireball has a smooth shimmer that isn't overly frosted. I didn't have time to reswatch comparisons, but Fireball is similar to the Anastasia Hard Candy Highlighter reviewed here and Aura compared to the Laura Mercier Highlighters in this post here. Sin is one of the more unique shades I own for highlighters but it has a similar effect to that of MAC Nylon Eyeshadow.

A quick look from the weekend with Lo-Fi and Fireball Highlighter on one side vs just Lo-Fi on the other so you can see how the highlighter adds a bit of a glow and more dimension:


Last up are the two Beached Bronzers. These are matte bronzers that come in round mirrored compacts. I love the packaging - the palm trees add a fun twist with the summer theme. Sun-Kissed is the lighter and warmer option of the two, it has a pinkish undertone which makes it more wearable and natural on my skin. Bronzed is the deeper option and gives my skin a more bronzed brown look. For my medium skin I prefer Sun-Kissed right now - it just looks more natural while Bronzed borderline makes my skin look a bit weathered as it's more brownish and deep. I love a good bronze but these days try to go a bit easy on it since I'm not as tan as I am in the summer time. They are different enough to justify owning both - I think fairer skins will prefer Sun-Kissed. Deeper skins will probably find Bronzed better for their skin tones. Neither turns orangey and I was relieved to find they did not darken on the skin. The texture is very smooth and the blend nicely on the skin without any streaks. If you're super fair I'd recommend you opt for either Gold Dust or Terra from Tom Ford instead as those will look more natural on the skin.


In terms of performance all the cheek products work very well. The quality is excellent and I really didn't know what to expect before hand since the Naked Flushed palettes did not work for my skin type at all (they look super chalky and emphasize pores on me). I think the UD x Gwen Blush palette is the winner and if you're trying to narrow down your picks, I'd say opt for the palette since it will give you the most options packaged in a single convenient compact. If you like more visible pigment or color for the cheeks you may find the Blush Palette too sheer or natural looking. In that case I'd recommend you opt for the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette which has more pigment and more color but will also give you a wide range of options.

The highlighters are really pretty but I can't say any of them are absolute musts. If I were to pick one favorite it would be Fireball - the mix of peach and pink is really pretty although it's nearly identical to one of the shades in the Anastasia Gleam Glow Kit, the UD one performs exceptionally well.

The Bronzers are nice to have but not musts. That being said I find it rare to find good matte bronzers that are smooth in finish and application that don't darken. The ones from Urban Decay perform really well - I like Sun-Kissed the best and the packaging is fun for the upcoming warmer weather months. Even though I can probably find similar shades in my collection to all the cheek items featured, I don't have any regrets purchasing them - the formula works really well to add color or highlight without emphasizing pores.

You can find the Urban Decay cheek palette, bronzer and highlighters at all Urban Decay counters now. Online at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy's, Ulta Beauty and Urban Decay.

Have you checked out any of the items yet? What did you think?


 

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