Showing posts with label Bronzer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bronzer. Show all posts

Monday, September 28, 2015

NARS Pro Palettes

Earlier this month, NARS finally launched their first customizable palettes with inserts for eye and cheek products. They are called the NARS Pro Palettes and the palette themselves come in two sizes, Small ($14) and Large ($18). A select number of their colors are available for purchase as inserts in blush, highlighter, bronzer, contour duos, and eyeshadows (prices range from $18 to 30). I've been a long-time NARS fan and I've depotted some of my powders to put into other palettes. The rubberized casing sometimes gets ruined and sticky over time so the only way for me to keep using them is to depot. I've tried a number of methods and about half of the products became ruined (cracked, dented, burned, etc.) I am so so happy that NARS finally has launched these palettes. I have the small one to share today. Prices and options are as follows:
Both palettes come in a magnetic black case (not rubberized like the full-size packaging). The small one measures a little over 7 inches wide and a bit over 5.5 inches tall, depth is about 1/2 an inch.

Each insert comes in a clear sturdy plastic case:

Products are labeled on the back in case you mix them up, you will still be able to see what colors you use if you look on the back:

The base of the pan is magnetized so the pans adhere to the bottom. I tried several variations and found that there is plenty room around the pans which makes it easy to insert or remove without touching the edges. Since everything is magnetic - once they are set in the pan, the pans stay put.

A few variations I tried to show what fits where and in what combinations. Online at on the Build Your Own Pro Palette Section of you can customize your own palette by playing with the different colors to see what fits. The small one fits the powder blushes perfectly. The other items have a lot more room around them which I don't mind - it makes it easy to interchange the colors or move them around.

Swatches of the shades featured above: Miss Liberty, Angelika, Desire, Orgasm, Deep Throat, Torrid, Luster, Lovejoy and Laguna Bronzer

Eyeshadow duos in: All About Eve, Alhambra, Sugarland, Cordura, Kalahari

Here's a quick size comparison of the NARS Pro Palette in Small to that of a couple MAC Pro Palettes (Blush x6 customized by me and Nordstrom's Finest x15):

I'm overall beyond thrilled that NARS has released these palettes. Since they are designed for makeup artists, they're currently exclusive to NARS boutiques and The shade selection is limited but I really hope they will expand the color offerings soon. In the meantime I'm going to be ordering a few more base palettes and attempt to depot some of my current compacts as carefully as I can.

As a quick update, there was a mess-up with one of my NARS orders so I ended up with a few duplicates. Instead of returning them, I've decided to give them away! Entry details below in the widget (must be 18 years or older, USA or Canada residents only). I'm giving away 1 small palette with Orgasm, Torrid, Deep Throat, All About Eve, Kalahari, Alhambra and Cordura (all brand new), entries must be made via the widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you looked into the NARS Pro Palettes yet? Or do you already depot your current compacts?

The NARS Pro Palette was provided courtesy of NARS for review consideration.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Le Métier de Beauté Ken Downing Paris and Full Stream Kaleidoscopes

It's been over a year since I've featured anything from Le Métier de Beauté. Long-time readers know that I used to be a huge fan of the line. Their kaleidoscope kits feature some of the most beautiful colors for eyes and cheeks - over the past 5+ years I accumulated quite a few and loved them (I still do). However I found that many kits contained repeat colors and at $95+ each, I found them too pricey to end up with duplicate colors (as seen in one of my last posts on the line from 2014). Fast forward to this month and I decided to splurge on two for the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event (which ends tomorrow 9/23) - both of which seemed unique enough to justify. One is the Ken Downing Paris Eye Kaleidoscope $125 (which isn't new, but still available for purchase) and the other is a new one called Full Stream Kaleidoscope $95.

The Le Métier de Beauté Ken Downing Paris Eye Kaleidoscope has four eyeshadows. This one is more expensive than most, priced at $125 for 0.49 oz/ 14 g. I was also really drawn to the Ken Downing London Kit, but 2 of the 4 shades seemed very warm. In my experience, Le Métier de Beauté always surprises me with how wearable the reddish/orangey shades are on the eyes, especially when layered with cooler tones, but I decided to opt for the cool version.

The four shades include a soft satiny cool pink shimmer, a warm copper metallic, a cool pale silver dove grey shimmer and a warm brown shimmer. The mix of warm and cool is pure genius, especially when the colors are layered together (although I've shown them swatched separately). Pigment is easy to build. The two lighter shades are sheerer in finish with a soft satiny texture while the darker ones are more metallic, more buttery in texture and more pigmented.

Close ups of each shade:

There are four new Kaleidoscopes exclusive to Neiman Marcus. The four are called Full Stream, Lift Off, Bon Voyage and All Aboard (not available online yet). Each kit has a translucent pressed powder and variations of blush, bronzer, highlighter and eyeshadow. I originally pre-ordered two, but since all have a pressed powder, I remembered my hesitation in getting duplicates and picked Full Stream.

All four photographed in store from Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills:

Full Stream has a translucent powder, one cool pink shimmery blush, a warm tan bronzer and a soft peachy shimmer eyeshadow (also works as a highlighter). The kit is very simple and basic - but it's perfect for on-the-go and touchups. I was worried the powder would look really white on my face because swatching it showed it was really pigmented. On the face, even on my tan skin, it disappears and leaves a matte-looking finish.

Close ups of each color:

I'm happy with both of my purchases. They did make a serious dent in my wallet and although Full Stream is easily dupeable with other colors, sometimes it's nice to have something basic that doesn't require much effort or thought to apply. It brightens the face in a natural polished way and adds color without looking overdone. I can see this going really well with bold lips. Even though these are expensive at $95 and $125 each, if you break it down per pan, it's about $23 to $31 per color which isn't too bad given the product amount. Comparing it to other brands at the per gram or per ounce price, it's reasonable. Still, if you're like me, you probably budget beauty splurges at the bottom line total, so yes, these are still pricey. The only gripe I have about these two is the sticker at the top. I like the fun designs and they are really pretty - however the kits have a slightly rounded top and the stickers are flat so the result is a bubbled sticker that looks uneven. I had one in my purse in my makeup bag (I don't recommend doing this) and the tops are not scratch proof. One of mine wasn't applied on the kit evenly so the edges started to come up. It bothered me enough that I pulled the sticker off which is a shame because the designs are really cute.

In summary, I think the new kits are definitely worth looking into. You can find both the Ken Downing Paris and Full Stream Kaleidoscope exclusively in store and online at Neiman Marcus.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson Collaboration

Charlotte Tilbury has launched a stunning collection in collaboration with the Norman Parkinson Archive. The collection is dedicated to and decorated with the legendary British fashion photographer's iconic images on the packaging for all the products. The limited-edition collection includes two Matte Revolution Lipsticks, Cosmetic Cases and with new products for the Cheeks. Items with this launch include:

Matte Revolution Lipstick in Miss Kensington ($32)
Matte Revolution Lipstick in 1975 Red ($32)
Color of Youth Healthy, Happy Lip & Cheek Glow ($58)
Dreamy Glow Highlighter ($65)
Filmstar Bronze and Glow Sun Tan and Sun Light ($80)
On Call Makeup Bag ($45)
The Bathing Beauty Bag ($80)

The collection does not disappoint. True to Charlotte Tilbury's line, the quality of everything is phenomenal in terms of color, pigment, blendability and performance. I was a bit skeptical when I ordered some of the items as they are all pretty high in price point. I had very high hopes for everything but wasn't sure the items would live up to my expectations given the price points. After testing the collection for a few weeks now, I am pleased to report that all items have far exceeded my expectations.

I reviewed and featured the creamy Sun Tan + Sun Light Filmstar Bronze and Glow in an earlier post comparing it to the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow (renamed Light to Medium) and the new Medium to Dark. The Norman Parkinson version is a cream product with a warm tan brown and a luminous glowy pale gold. As mentioned in my earlier review I found it to be extremely glowy and dewy. Lasting power to be fairly good for a cream product but I prefer the powder version of the Light to Medium. I'm reposting photos here for reference. Swatches of all three side by side and also applied on the face in this post here.

Top is Light to Medium
Bottom is the Norman Parkinson Palette
Right is the Medium to Dark

There are two lipsticks with the collection in the Matte Revolution Lipstick formula. Both are extremely pigmented. There is a light pink called Miss Kensington. In the tube and sunlight it looks like a natural warm pink. On my lips it looks more cool-toned. It's light but not too pale. If you have dry lips you may want to prep the lips with a bit of lip balm first. The color is very saturated in pigment and adheres well to the lips. Lasting power is very good. As with all of Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks there is a slight vanilla scent.

The other shade is 1975 Red which is a vibrant orange red cream. Long-time Beauty Look Book readers know this color is way outside of my comfort zone but the color is phenomenal. It's a super bright orange red but it's one I think will flatter any skintone. What impressed me was how quickly this one set and how long it lasted. I had no lipstick transfer to my teeth which I find rare for any red lip. It's a very dramatic bold color.

The final two makeup items are what I'll call the highlights of the collection. The Colour of Youth is a Lip and Cheek cream product that I think is pure genius. It looks very warm in the pan and swatches warm on the cheeks. On my lips it pulls a bit more cool-toned into a very youthful healthy pink glow. It's easy to blend and layer - I would say the pigment is sheer to medium but gives more coverage than the Beach Sticks. It's perfectly named as it does give the face life and color in a youthful way.

Last but not least the Dreamy Glow Highlighter is a powder highlighter. It's so soft and velvety it almost feels creamy. It is indeed very dreamy with finely milled shimmer that looks glowy and not frosted. It has a soft rose champagne base with a soft golden shimmer. Those who are anti-frost need not worry with this one. It has a very refined glow. It comes with a very high price tag but I think it's worth every penny. It has a soft rose undertone that makes the skin glow like magic.

I posted comparisons with the NARS Tribulation Blush from fall, here they are again for reference. As you can see below the Charlotte Tilbury Dreamy Highlighter has a slight pinkish cast.

Overall I'm extremely impressed and pleased with the collection. The price points are high but everything is made extremely well and I have to say all the items far exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend the Dreamy Glow Highlighter and Colour of Youth - they add just the right amount of color and glow to make the skin look alive and polished. The Matte Lipstick Revolution shades are very good if you like matte lipsticks. I personally prefer creamy formulas or sheerer ones but both perform really well. Miss Kensington is pale pink perfection without looking too pale or too mod-like. The Sun Tan + Sun Light Filmstar Bronze and Glow is excellent for a cream product but I prefer powder cheek items unless they are in a stick form simply because I find it's easier to keep clean.

My top two picks are the Dreamy Glow Highlighter and Colour of Youth.

You can find the Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson Collection at all Charlotte Tilbury retailers now. Online at Beautylish, Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, Selfridges and Charlotte Tilbury. Note that the items are all limited-edition.

The On Call Makeup Bag and 1975 Red Lipstick were gifted.
All other Charlotte Tilbury items featured were purchased by me.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chanel Lumière d’Été Illuminating Powder for Summer 2015

For summer Chanel has a new limited-edition powder called Lumière d’Été Illuminating Powder ($65 for 8 g / 0.28 oz). It's called an illuminating powder but to me this is more of a soft satiny bronzer. There is a very slight sheen to this when you swatch it and look at it in the pan. On the skin it looks glowy but not shimmery. It has a similar effect to that of the Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colours in No. 30/40 but with a more bronzed and luminous effect.

The bronzer has an ultra soft but dense texture. It seems a bit harder/firmer in formula compared to traditional powder bronzers, almost creamy but not quite. This makes the color easy to layer and build in terms of pigment. A looser brush will give you a more sheered out glow while a denser brush will give you more color, almost like a contour on my medium Chanel Beige 30 skin. The Lumière d’Été Illuminating Powder comes with the embossed camellia pattern which is so so gorgeous.

On my skin, this is a medium neutral bronze that pulls slightly warm on my medium skin, but it's not as warm in tone compared to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers. The warmth prevents it from looking muddy on my skin (I cannot wear cool-toned bronzers or contouring products easily).

A heavy swatch below:

The Chanel Lumière d’Été Illuminating Powder will have a similar effect to a number of other bronzers. If you already own a lot of other bronzing powders you may want to shop your stash. What I find unique about this season's Chanel is the texture. The firmer/gel-like almost cream to powder texture seems particularly good for warm weather. It adheres really well to the skin but melds in naturally. It doesn't look fake or look like it's product just sitting on the skin. I liked that it didn't emphasize pores or clog pores too. Lasting power is very good from early morning until late afternoon without fading. I pulled a few bronzers and Les Beiges powders to compare:

Tom Ford Gold Dust (Full Size and Small Travel Size for size reference)
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder No. 30 and No. 40 (review here)

I'm one who can't resist a Chanel bronzer, this one is no exception. Right now I am a Chanel B30 but am getting a bit of color so the darkest I will get is probably a B40 (foundation equivalents for me right now are NARS Punjab, Tom Ford Bisque 04 (foundations in rotation listed here). I haven't used a MAC foundation in years because the formulas don't work for my skin type (I break out in a really bad allergic reaction to those) but I was always matched to a NC30-35. I suspect if you are anywhere from the Chanel B40 or darker range this bronzer will look more like a subtle natural contour or nude illuminator on your skin rather than a bronzer. I found it worked well on my normal combination skin but if you are super dry, you may need some kind of a creamy base on the cheeks to help bring out the color more.

I give this one a huge thumbs up but I am a huge fan of bronzer in general. There are a number of new bronzer releases out this time of year. I would say the Chanel Lumière d’Été Illuminating Powder is a good in-between option in terms of warm but not too warm if you're light to medium in skin tone. I'm still testing out a number of bronzers to see which one I like best. Initial thoughts: The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers are warmer and more luminous, the Guerlain Terracotta Joli Teint Powder Duos are a lot softer and lighter in color if you're fair and don't like darker dramatic bronzers, the Guerlain is probably the best bet for you. Tom Ford repromoted both of their bronzers in white/gold packaging and a mini size, both are classics. If you want a matte bronzer Terra has no shimmer.

The Lumière d’Été Illuminating Powder is limited-edition. You should be able to find it at all Chanel counters and boutiques now. Online at, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, and Neiman Marcus.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers

Last week I was lucky to get a preview of the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers ($50 each for 0.39 oz / 11 g) at the Abbot Kinney store in Venice Beach. There are two additions to the Ambient Lighting collection. There are two options of bronzer infused with highlighter combined into one mirrored compact:
  • Luminous Bronze Light is described as a medium tan shade fused with Luminous Light, a champagne pearl powder, for a softer candlelit warmth, ideal for fair/light complexions
  • Radiant Bronze Light is the darker option described as a warm bronze shade fused with Radiant Light, a golden beige powder, to mimic a summer glow, ideal for medium/deep complexions
Both are available now exclusively at for VIB/VIB Rouge Members. For the official launch details and dates:
  • April 7 – 14 the bronzers will be available to Sephora’s VIB Rouge customers
  • April 15 the bronzers will launch wide on and
  • May is when the bronzers will hit stores
A quick peek at the Hourglass store + event before I get into the review:

Ambient Lighting Bronzers and Blush (blush review here)

Incandescent Electra which is currently exclusive to the Ambient Lighting Blush Palette will be available separately on 4/15 and on 4/23, and will also hit stores in May, also shown below the Hourglass Brushes

Another reason to visit the Hourglass store: you can create your own custom Ambient Lighting Palette with any of the highlighter options

The two new bronzers are absolutely stunning. As a huge fan of the Ambient Lighting Powders and Blushes, I could barely contain my excitement when I was able to see the new bronzers in person. Both are on the warm side and are extremely pigmented. Although they have the highlighter aspect mixed in, I found them to have a more satiny glow with a very soft luminous shimmer. As with the blushes, the color portions and swirls are rich and super saturated so a little goes a long way. The colors are easy to blend and layer.

The Ambient Lighting Powder Brush is super soft and plush which will dispense just the right amount of product for a soft glow. If you want more color, use the tip to contour the cheeks or a denser blush brush. The texture is soft and airy which makes them glide on the skin in a soft smooth manner. Each one is hand blended so the swirls will be different in every compact.

Close ups of each Ambient Lighting Bronzer, Luminous Light has a mix of champagne and soft tan, it looks neutral in the pan but applies warmly on the skin.

Radiant Bronze Light is the deeper option and is a few shades darker than the Luminous version:

Swatches with different light and angles, first in natural light without any flash:

In direct sun with a flash:

Detailed close up:

Comparisons to the highlighter counterparts:

Two sets of swatch comparisons to other bronzers:

Hourglass Radiant Light (reviewed + swatched here)

Chanel Les Beiges Multi Color (from Summer 2014, reviewed here)

One last shot: left is Luminous Bronze Light, right is Radiant Bronze Light

I've been alternating between the two since the event and am partial to the lighter option Luminous Light. On my medium olive toned skin they add just the right amount of warmth and glow. They are both warm without being orangey. There is just the right amount of shimmer and glow to give the face depth and dimension without emphasizing pores like some highlighters do. I like these layered on top of blush or alone for warmth. Even though Luminous Light is designed for light to fair skins, I think it will still show up on medium skin tones like Chanel B40s (I'm a Chanel B30/NARS Punjab). These last all day long without fading or darkening, although I suspect if you are extremely fair these may be too warm for your taste. If that is the case and you are in search of a new bronzer, I recommend the Edward Bess Daydream, although the Hourglass ones are very different in finish and concept.

I give both a huge thumbs up. They both are similar on me so I don't think you need both, although I am happy I do have one of each color. They are different enough from the highlighters to justify both. Even though they come with a hefty price tag at $50 each, I think they are well worth every penny.

You can buy the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers at online at Sephora now if you're a VIB/VIB Rouge. Starting April 15th which is just around the corner for everyone else. In stores starting May. Have you checked out the latest from Hourglass? If not what are your favorite Hourglass items?

The Luminous Bronze Light and Ambient Lighting Powder Brush were gifted at the press preview. 


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