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

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?


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tom Ford Soleil Collection - Soleil Contouring Compact in The Afternooner, Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal + Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust


Today's post is the last feature on the Tom Ford Soleil color collection for this summer. There are three products for the face including the Soleil Contouring Compact in The Afternooner ($108), Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal ($78) and Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust ($65). Two of the items are new which include the Contouring Cheek Trio and Sheer Blush Duo and one is a repromote which is the Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust. All three will provide a summery look with glow from within kind of feel. Each product has some shimmer in it without being too frosty or overly shimmery.



Soleil Contouring Compact in The Afternooner ($108) has three colors of highlighter, blush and bronzer in one large mirrored compact. The texture of the items is similar to that of the Moodlight Skin Illuminating Duo. It has a powder finish but an almost creamy feel to it. The surface is embossed with a cross-hatch pattern. Application for this is smooth and easy to build. It does not emphasize pores which is a plus. Pigment is medium but easy to sheer out or layer for more color. The colors include a warm golden ivory shimmer, a peachy coral pink satin and a warm bronze matte. Overall this pulled very warm on my skin. It's not too warm that it turns orange but it is warmer than I expected. Lasting power is very good - I found it stayed put on the cheeks from early morning into late afternoon without fading or darkening.

Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal ($78) is my favorite item in the entire Soleil Collection. This has a similar finish and texture to The Afternooner, but Bicoastal has a bit more shimmer and sheen compared to the trio, but it's not as frosty as the NARS Dual Intensity Blushes. The colors pull neutral to cool on my skin but brighten the complexion with a soft rosy pink glow. Right now this one is a bit hard to find as it has not yet arrived at most counters yet (at least at the time of this post), but I highly recommend you put this on your list.

Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust ($65) is a repromote. If you missed out on it in previous seasons I recommend you give it a try. It is on the pricey side but one bottle will last you a long time as a little goes a long way. This is a sheer peachy illuminator that I like to use mixed in with foundation or as a subtle highlight on top of powders. It does sheer out a lot so it won't give the skin a lot of color but it has the prettiest sheen that I find flattering on the skin. On warmer days and in the summer I find my skin gets a bit on the oily side and this is one of the few liquid illuminators I can wear that won't get too shiny by mid-day.

Close ups of each and lots of comparisons, Soleil Contouring Compact in The Afternooner:


Comparison Set 1 shows how finely milled the shimmer in The Afternooner Trio is. By swatch comparing it to other highlighters, blushes and bronzers hopefully you can see it has a satiny sheen that isn't overly frosty or overly matte.

Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Highlighter (reviewed here)
MAC Ellie Goulding Blush Bronzer Duo I'll Hold My Breath (reviewed here)
MAC Powder Blush in Fleur Powder
Tom Ford Blush in Flush
Tom Ford Bronzer in Gold Dust (swatched here)


Comparison Set 2:

Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here)
Tom Ford Contouring Cheek Duo in Stroked (reviewed here, discontinued)
Urban Decay Naked Flushed Trio in Streak (reviewed here)


Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal


Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Las Salinas (reviewed here)
Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Liquid in Starlight (reviewed here)
NARS Dual Intensity Blushes in Adoration and Fervor
Tom Ford Blush in Wicked


Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust has a lot of dupes from other lines and brands that will give you a similar effect. The best thing I find about the Tom Ford is the texture - it's smooth and non-greasy and has the best feel overall but in terms of color there are a lot of less expensive alternatives.


Swatches straight from the tube and then blended (same colors in each set):

Armani Fluid Sheer #5 (reviewed here)
Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Skin Liquid Candlelight and Starlight  (reviewed here)
NARS Illuminator in Orgasm
MAC Lustre Drops in Pink Rebel and Barbados Girl



One last look:


Overall all three perform really well in terms of pigment and how smooth they look on the skin. If you're looking for a less expensive alternative of The Afternooner you may want to look into the Urban Decay Naked Flushed face trios. In my previous review I've mentioned the colors are really good but they emphasize my pores and look chalky on my skin - however I am in the minority with my opinion. The trios work well for most people. I do believe that while the texture and finish of The Afternooner is superior to other face/cheek compacts, the colors can be easily duped so you may want to shop your stash before buying. Having all three in a single compact does make it more convenient and I like that it's large in size so you don't have to worry about mixing colors with a brush if you want to layer separately.

The Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal isn't really sheer like the name implies but the texture is soft and easy to blend which makes it easy to sheer out. I really love the look and finish of this one - the colors are similar to the NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Adoration but the shimmer in the Tom Ford duo is softer and less harsh. Texture of Bicoastal is softer which makes it easier to blend.

Fire Lust is a must in my makeup collection but it is on the sheer side so your mileage may vary on this depending on what kind of pigment or color you are looking for.

In summary I give these a thumbs up - they are easy to use and applying them is pretty much goof-proof. The colors are versatile and will go with a wide variety of looks and can take your beauty look from day to night for that summery natural healthy glow. My opinion is that Bicoastal is the most unique and the highlight of the collection. Had I been able to play with The Afternooner in person before purchasing I would have skipped because I already own a lot of colors similar to the items in the palette. However that being said - if you love Tom Ford beauty products I will say the colors don't really replicate items individual items in the current Tom Ford line.

You can find the Tom Ford Soleil Collection at all Tom Ford Beauty counters now. Online at Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tom Ford.

Have you checked out any of these yet? What did you think?

Fire Lust and Bicoastal provided courtesy of Tom Ford for review. The Afternooner purchased by me.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Tom Ford Soleil Collection - Terra and Bronze Age Bronzing Powders and Pieno Sole Cream Cheek Color


For the bronzers in this year's Tom Ford Soleil Collection, there are a couple repromotes and a few new shades for cheeks. This summer they've relaunched the Small Bronzing Powder ($68 each) version along with the Large Bronzing Powder ($98 each) in three shades: Gold Dust, Terra and Bronze Age. This year's version has the letters TF embossed in the bronzer which adds a nice luxurious touch to the overall look. For the Cream Cheek Color ($68 each) they've brought back Pink Sand (reviewed here) and introduced a new color called Pieno Sole.

In case you're new to the Tom Ford Bronzers in general, I've swatched all three shades of the powder bronzer in Gold Dust, Terra and Bronze Age alongside the new Pieno Sole for reference. I did not rephotograph the Gold Dust Bronzer or the small versus large compacts but you can see a quick shot of the small and large Gold Dust in this post here.

Descriptions and thoughts on all the shades:
  • Gold Dust Bronzing Powder is a classic medium bronze with a hint of golden shimmer, it gives the skin a luminous glow without being too shimmery or frosty, for a comparison reference, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzers are a lot more luminous compared to Tom Ford Gold Dust. Gold Dust is warm but not orangey on the skin.
  • Terra is a semi-sheer cool-toned matte bronzer. When I tried this one last year the artists actually recommended I skip this because they said it would too sheer on my medium skintone. I bought it anyways in the large size (not shown) and found this to be more like a soft contouring powder. If you're looking for a cooler-toned bronzer this one is a good one to check out. Do note that it's not as pigmented as other bronzers so your mileage may vary if you are tan to deep in skintone. On me it does show up but it gives a very natural look.
  • Bronze Age is a new shade this season, it's deeper and more golden than the other bronzers. This one is matte and has medium pigment. It applies smoothly and is easy to build. On my skin this looks very golden but not orangey. If you are super fair this will probably look more dramatic and warm on your skin. I think this one will be better suited for medium to deeper skintones unless you don't mind a dramatic bronze.
  • Pieno Sole is a Cream Cheek Color but I've grouped it with the bronzers since it's a golden shimmer color. I had very high hopes for this as a cream blush since I'm beyond in love with Pink Sand. I'm at the exact skintone where this one almost matches by skin color and looks like my skin but with shimmer. Since it matches my skin, as a cream cheek color it's almost invisible. For me it works better as a highlighter which I think is very pretty but more subtle than I expected. Not necessarily a bad thing as it goes on the skin smoothly and doesn't emphasize pores. 
First a quick look at Terra, Bronze Age and Pieno Sole in direct sunlight (lip color is Le Mepris):


Swatches of Powder Bronzers in Gold Dust, Terra and Bronze Age alongside the new Pieno Sole Cream Cheek Color:


Powder Bronzers in Gold Dust, Terra and Bronze Age applied on the face - they all look very similar when applied with a light hand, I hope you can tell that Bronze Age is the darkest/deepest color and Terra is the sheerest/most natural. Gold Dust is somewhere in between. I tried to photograph a cheek swatch of Pieno Sole but it just looked invisible so I didn't publish it.

On the lips Tom Ford Moisturecore Lip Color in Carriacou:


Some comparison swatch sets:

Set 1:

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light


Set 2:

Edward Bess Bronzer in Daydream


Set 3:

MAC Powder Blush in Trace Gold
MAC Cream Color Base in Desert Roadtrip (d/c)
MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Magnetic Appeal (d/c, review here)
Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow (review here)


I own more bronzer than I know what to do with (probably multiple lifetimes worth) but out of all the powder bronzers I've tried I can say that the Gold Dust is one I reach for frequently. It's a no-fuss kind of bronzer that adds warmth and glow to the face without looking too orangey or overdone. Terra is one of the sheerest bronzers I've tried and probably one of the few I've tested that have a cool undertone without looking too cool. Both are on the steep side for price but they go on smoothly and flawlessly every time and do not emphasize pores (huge plus for me) or look chalky. Another plus is the colors do not darken or oxidize on the skin even on oily skin days so I don't have to worry about looking like an Oompa Loompa with these (even though I do like a good bronze tan look). I personally like the look of Bronze Age - I don't own anything as golden in color. Bottom line is I think these are well worth the high price tag (I've purchased them in previous seasons and have no regrets). If these aren't in your budget you might want to check out the MAC Powder Bronzers as a less expensive alternative - they are also very good in quality and come in a wide range of options/finishes. I would say the main difference is I find the MAC less pigmented and more sheer in finish but they are easy to layer.

I have mixed feelings about Pieno Sole - my first impressions left me wanting more color or more pigment, but the more I play with it, the more I like it. On me it's still more like a highlighter than a cream blush but the golden color is really pretty. The finish is similar to that of Armani Fluid Sheers on my skin but Tom Ford Pieno Sole does have more pigment/coverage by comparison. I like using this as a base for bronzer to enhance the color or as a subtle cream highlight on the cheeks. If you're on the hunt for something similar in color but in powder form, I recommend checking out MAC Trace Gold Powder Blush which is a pretty golden color. 

You can find the bronzers and cream cheek colors from the Tom Ford Soleil Collection at Tom Ford counters and stores now. Online at Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tom Ford.

Have you checked these out yet? Or do you already own some shades from previous seasons? What's your current favorite bronzer?

Terra and Bronze Age were provided as press samples for review consideration. Pieno Sole purchased by me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tom Ford Beauty Soleil Color Collection for Summer 2016 - Sneak Peek + Swatches


Tom Ford just launched their summer beauty items in the Soleil Color Collection and it's absolutely breathtaking. Everything is cased in the white and gold packaging for this season with new formulas for lips and beautiful items for the skin and cheeks. I have a quick sneak peek and wanted to list all the items that are available for reference. I received some press samples and purchased additional items to review which made a serious dent in my bank account but I don't mind one bit because everything is gorgeous. Personal first impressions are all very good. Some items that were limited-edition in previous seasons have been repromoted this season such as the Cream and Powder Eye Duos, Pink Sand Cream Blush and Firelust Skin Illuminator. Also on a great note is that Tom Ford Beauty has now launched online at Sephora (yay!). The items in this year's Soleil Color Collection:
Also not part of the color collection, but the Soleil Blanc Eau de Parfum and Shimmering Body Oil (previously reviewed here with other spring launches) have launched at all retailers (it was an early exclusive to Neiman Marcus for a while). Several of you have asked if this year's oil is the same as last year's - it unfortunately is not and I find this year's version a bit sticky/tacky. I personally would recommend you skip the oil.
 
Quick swatches of what I have including some of the repromotes. Note I don't have the entire summer collection swatched but here is what I have:

Fire Lust Skin Illuminator (press sample)
Pink Sand Cream Blush
Pieno Sole Cream Blush
Bicoastal Sheer Cheek Duo (press sample)


Gold Dust Bronzer
Terra Bronzer
Bronze Age (press sample)
Soleil Contouring Compact


Moisturecore Lip Color in Scandola
Moisturecore Lip Color in Carriacou (press sample)
Moisturecore Lip Color in Mustique (press sample)
Moisturecore Lip Color in  Pipa (press sample)
Moisturecore Lip Color in Cala Di Volpe (press sample)
Moisturecore Lip Color in Otranto
Ultra-Rich Lip in Les Mepris (press sample)
Ultra-Rich Lip in Temptation Waits (press sample)
Ultra-Rich Lip in Revolve Around Me (press sample)
Ultra-Rich Lip in Solar Affair (press sample)


Cream & Powder Duos in Golden Peach and Naked Bronze (original review here):



Most of the summer collection has launched in stores and online. The only item that is a bit hard to find right now is the Bicoastal Sheer Cheek Duo which is on backorder at many places. I bought some of my items (non-press samples) from Nordstrom. The collection is also available online at Sephora, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue



Stay tuned for individual reviews! I hope to have the Ultra-Rich Lip Color review up later this afternoon!

Some items featured include press samples and others purchased by me. Press samples indicated above next to the swatches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

NARS NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette and NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette


NARS is killing it this spring. There seems to be something to love in every launch so far this year from the Hot Sand Collection, Velvet Matte Skin Tints and freshly launched Spring Color Collection (a few items to be reviewed on the blog soon but in the meantime check out swatches on my friend CafĂ© Makeup's page). I'm particularly smitten with the Hot Sand/Laguna Cheek Duo and the Velvet Skin Tints are  There are two new palettes this spring, one for eyes and one for cheeks, both limited edition. For eyes we have the NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette ($59 for 12 eyeshadows) and for the cheeks there is the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette ($65, Sephora Exclusive). Both of these come in some seriously sturdy packaging - they are cased in hefty mirrored compacts and I think the presentation is exquisite.

The NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette has twelve eyeshadows that seem to feature a new formula. Many of you have expressed dissatisfaction in the quality and texture of shadows in previous palettes (in particular the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette from 2014ish). I haven't tried all of the palettes NARS has launched, but never had an issue with texture. Size of pans has been significantly smaller in previous releases which I found a bit challenging to dip larger brushes into, but it seems as though NARS took all the complaints of past palettes and made changes for the better with this one.


The texture of these is feels slightly creamy, but they are all powders - pigment is smooth and easy to layer. Some of the dark matte shades will go on a bit patchy if you use a medium to large brush - so I recommend trying a small detail dense brush to layer and blend the dark mattes. Overall performance is really good. With the exception of the one coppery shimmer shade, I would say the effect of this one is cool-toned. I do think you need a slightly creamy eyeshadow base to help bring out the pigment richness of the colors, but they perform really well alone too. My favorites are the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base, Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Sticks in Rose Gold and NARS Velvet Shadow Sticks. Application is excellent - there will be a little bit of fall out from the powders when you apply on the eyes, but once you have them on the lids - they stay put without fading or smudging. I found they lasted all day long nicely.

Descriptions and swatches:

Row 1 features four larger pans each 0.11 oz/3.2 g, shades are named I, II, III, IV:
  • Matte creamy neutral with slight pink tones
  • Shimmering champagne with beige/ivory tones
  • Shimmering mauve taupe
  • Matte charcoal

Rows 2 and 3 have smaller pans, but are still large enough that you can easily fit an eyeshadow brush into without having to worry about mixing colors. These are 0.05 oz/1.5g each:
  • Frosted white gold
  • Shimmering warm copper orange
  • Matte mauve
  • Shimmering steel with slight olive undertone
  • Shimmering steel blue grey
  • Matte navy indigo
  • Shimmering cool grey-brown
  • Shimmering grey-black with blue tones and silver flecks




Here's a quick eye look with the neutrals using the four shades in the top row 1 and a little bit of the last color in row 2. I love that online at the NARS website, they did eye swatches of all 12 shades on three skintones. Check it out here.


If you're wondering how this compares to the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette (reviewed + swatched here), I would say both are excellent options. Picking one over the other is challenging because I think they are different in color options and texture. If you're looking for something cooler-toned and want a palette that can take your look from neutral to smokey, go with the NARS. If you want something with warmer more neutral options, go for the UD x Gwen Stefani Palette. The textures of course are very different in each palette. The NARS has a creamy smooth buttery texture. The Urban Decay palette has a wider mix of mattes, shimmers, and sparkles - also the pink and bright blue offer a more vibrant/less neutral option.

Onto the cheeks with the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette ($65, Sephora exclusive). Many asked how this compares to the Steven Klein One Shocking Moment Palette from Holiday. I wasn't able to buy (it sold out quickly) so I can't compare the two in great detail. The top three shades are the same in each palette. Based on a google search, it appears the newest one for spring offers two shades that are lighter options on the bottom left half and then darker options for the bottom right half. I do believe that the one from holiday had two existing blush colors in Luster and Dolce Vita. The new one for spring offers four new shades on the bottom. This seems to be an all-in-one kind of palette for the cheeks. It has contouring powders, a bronzer, and four blushes (two of which I think could pass for highlighters, at least on me).


The colors in this palette include:
  • Paloma Contour Duo which is available separately. It offers richly pigmented matte powders in a soft pinkish cream color and a deeper contour shade that pulls mauve on my skintone.
  • Laguna Bronzer is a classic shade (also available separately) that warms up the complexion and adds depth without looking orangey or too dark. It's easily buildable for a natural glow or deeper bronze. In my college days there were many times where this was all I would apply on the cheeks.
The bottom row has colors that are listed as blushes:
  • I is a pale pink that glows. It's a matte base but if you look closely at the pan you will see tiny bits of finely milled gold shimmer. I was worried this would not show up on my skin, but it offers the prettiest baby pink glow. I hope this makes an appearance in full-size eventually.
  • II is is light pink in the pan, but applies darker on my skin like a soft natural rose pink glow, I adore this shade. It has tiny flecks of silver sparkle but it's not glittery on the skin.
  • III is a deeper warm reddish color but as you can see from the swatch below, it's not orangey (however it will pull darker, warmer and almost orangey on fairer skin tones like The Non-Blonde)
  • Goulue is a new shade, currently a VIB Rouge Exclusive at Sephora, it's a stunning medium-deep rose with golden shimmer


I think this palette will be a versatile one that will go with a wide range of looks for lips and eyes, but the overall color scheme seems to be on the medium to dark side which may be too much for fair skins if you find blushes tend to darken/oxidize on you. For me - I love a strong blush to add a bit of color and life to my face when I wear neutral lips. The texture of the blushes is smooth and easy to blend. I think it contains classics one can wear every day. The colors with the exception of the Paloma duo are all shimmery, but they don't emphasize my pores or look frosted.

There are a few new launches for face palettes to choose from this spring including the Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Blush Palette (new shades) and MAC Contour and Sculpt Palette (value set with cult classics). You may want to browse stores or research swatches online before committing to a palette. I feel like this season we are on highlighter, foundation and blush overload. I just got both of the other two, I'll try to review and compare them as soon as I can.


I deem both of these palettes winners in terms of color selection, quality and packaging. They are travel-friendly and I love that they come with in a sturdy compact with a decent sized mirror which makes it easy to apply them on-the-go. They are both limited-edition. I think given the size and packaging the prices are very reasonable for a luxury beauty palette.

You can find the NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette for $59 online at NARS, Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue (for some reason right now it's listed at a higher price at Saks). The NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette retails for $65 and is exclusive to Sephora online and in stores.

Have you checked out these NARS palettes yet? What did you think?

Both palettes were sent courtesy of the NARS team for review consideration.

 

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