Showing posts with label Brow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brow. Show all posts

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tom Ford Beauty Face Collection: Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Tom Ford has added more items to their face product lineup and as usual everything is on point. Items have been introduced "to perfect, highlight and define the face’s natural features for a balanced and flawless finish." There have been quite a few new foundation launches this season and the one from Tom Ford is one that I was most anxious to try out. The collection includes the following new launches:

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Up first are the Fiber Brow Gels. I received two to try out in Espresso and Chestnut. It has tiny fibers to help fill in the brows and as a low-maintenance brow girl I find it perfect. It fills in brows, grooms and tints them all in one product. Espresso is my best match although I usually go lighter. At the counter the reps said Espresso is my shade. I did try Chestnut since the Tom Ford Beauty team was kind enough to send one, it can work for me since my hair color has a natural reddish undertone. My brows however do not have any red so sometimes reddish powders or pencils colors can look off. Since this coats the hairs I find it gives it a natural tint and looks good.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel Chestnut Espresso

I haven't tried too many other tinted brow gels, but by comparison the Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel is larger in packaging and brush size which makes it easier to use compared to the Glossier Boy Brow. I know many of you love the Boy Brow. I think it's good especially for the price, but the size makes it hard for me to hold sometimes even though I have very small hands and fingers. The Tom Ford brush is slightly larger and has a more angled shape which makes application a lot easier. Compared to By Terry's Brow Mascara I find the fibers in the Tom Ford to have more substance. I would say it has a chunkier texture/consistency which sounds odd and almost unappealing, but it fills in brows more while the By Terry grooms and tints but doesn't fill in the brows like the Tom Ford one does.

I give the Fiber Brow Gel a thumbs up. I have bought and used the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor which is an excellent product. I prefer skinny fine-tipped brow pencils so this one hasn't been used as much as my Diorshow Brow Styler Pencil.

Next are the Shimmer Shots which I think are genius. Sometimes names are everything and whoever named the product and colors for this launch deserves a bonus because they are both just perfect. I've loved every highlighter I've tried from Tom Ford and the Shimmer Shots are gorgeous additions to their line. Spin Spin Sugar is a champagne color with a slight gold sheen and Lust for Life is coppery bronze. Both blend in beautifully for a natural glow where you apply. I've tried it under foundation, on top of powder/foundation to highlight, and on the eyes.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots swatched

By comparison to a few other Tom Ford highlighters, the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here) is more frosty in finish. Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust (reviewed here) is more peachy and also sheerer in finish with a more dewy finish.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Moodlight, Shimmer Shots and Fire Lust

More comparisons because so many of you have asked. I think the Tom Ford Shimmer Shots are must-haves, even though I have a lot of liquid highlighters. They have the perfect amount of shimmer and the finish is visible but natural. 

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shot comparisons

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (review here)
NARS Illuminator in 413 BLKR (review here)
Estee Edit Beam Team Bronze (review here)
Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed
Estee Edit Flash Illuminator in Sun Light and Night Light (review here)
Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Candlelight (review here)

Last but not least is the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. When I heard this was launching my first concern that it might be too thick. I've had good experiences with Tom Ford foundations in the past. I am usually either Bisque or Natural but at the counter I found the next shade up Sable to be a good match for me (although the girls at the counter disagreed and said it would be too olive for my skin). Note the numbers for the names have changed and I was told this happened across all formulas. The shades with the corresponding names are still the same, so if you usually wear Natural, you're still Natural - just the number underneath has changed. I bought Sable at the counter because I found it more olive. Samples of Bisque and Natural arrived as those are my usual colors.

Formula wise this is one of the best full coverage cream foundations I've tried. As one who is olive/golden/yellow I appreciate that Tom Ford consistently launches colors that are not pink in undertone. Formula is highly concentrated and opaque but doesn't look fake or flat like many full coverage foundations can. It has a slight matte finish but manages to look fresh and radiant at the same time. When I use this I find that I do not need concealer under the eyes. Lasting power is excellent and stays put all day. No irritation from this, no oxidizing, no budging. I do think that you need to prep the skin properly though - if you have dry skin with any dry patches or flakes any full coverage foundation can emphasize dry areas. I make sure I have a well moisturized base, but a tiny spot on my forehead, one on each cheek and one dab on my chin, then use a damp beauty blender to work the foundation into the skin.

There's no detectable scent and it photographs well with a flash.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Review

The colors I have now are Bisque 5.5 (which used to be 4), Natural 6.0 (which used to be 5) and Sable 6.5 (which used to be 6). Swatches below straight from the tube and then blended.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable
The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable

Both Bisque and Sable work for me. Natural is warmer and too dark for my skin right now. They do adjust slightly and warm up to the skin once on but they don't oxidize too much. I asked my husband what he thought about Bisque and Sable. I had one on each side and he couldn't tell the difference from the front. I turned my head to each side and he said that Bisque was a better match.

Below are swatch comparisons to the Traceless Foundation Stick in Bisque and Natural along with the Traceless Perfecting Foundation formulas I have. For those who aren't familiar with Tom Ford Foundations wondering about the colors, Natural in the stick is lighter than Bisque stick (as mentioned in this post too).

By comparison, the Traceless Perfecting Foundation is lighter in texture but can feel heavier on the face. Some have commented it looks flat on the skin - I often mix in a bit of shimmer luminizer in it. Coverage is full but not as full as the Waterproof formula.

The Stick Foundation is full coverage and one I cannot wear all over the face because of how opaque and thick it is so I often use it to layer on top of other foundations if I need more coverage. The Waterproof formula offers more natural looking coverage.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches

Swatch comparisons to the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz (I mix the shades) and also the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundations in NC25, NC30, NC35 and NC37 (my best matches are NC25 or NC37). I'm forever in between shades.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches vs NARS and MAC

Some thoughts on other foundation formulas by comparison that I have tried:
  • Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil-Free Photo Foundation (reviewed here) is one I used to have but no longer own. Formula wise the Laura Mercier was more opaque and slightly thicker in finish. I find in her line I am often in between shades and the dry down of this one darkened a bit and had a tendency to look flat if I used too much.
  • Cle de Peau Radiant Cream Foundation was one I tested at the counter. I went to the store fully intending to purchase this but sometimes a bad store experience can ruin the fun. Rant aside, I tried both O30 (too pink) and O40 (too dark) on my face and as I could not find a good match I decided to pass. Formula-wise it's excellent but at the $100+ price tag I need an exact match in order to buy.
  • Cle de Peau Silk Cream Foundation is one I used to use in O30 and was told it's been discontinued. This was one of the best formulas I've ever tried but the texture was more moisturizing and is slightly heavier than the Tom Ford. The formula while not hydrating, gave me a more dewy finish.
  • La Mer Soft Fluid Foundation is also a new formula that I had high hopes for. I acquired a small sample at the counter and found my best shade to be Beige. This one is more fluid and lighter in coverage. It also has the Miracle Broth skincare element included. I absolutely love this formula but Beige pulls slightly pink on my skin so since I cannot find a yellow/golden enough match this will be a pass for me unless I get a lot lighter this winter and can find another color.
  • Armani Crema Nuda is one I don't think I can really compare because the finish and concept is completely different in the sense that it's sheerer and more like a BB/CC cream rather than a foundation/concealer like the Tom Ford one is.
  • If you try the Tom Ford and find it too thick or heavy I would suggest you maybe try the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD instead which offers sheerer coverage by comparison but still medium to full coverage.
Bottom line lots to love with these new launches. I highly recommend the foundation if you're in the market for a good full-coverage but natural looking foundation. Many can look flat if you use all over the face but this one does not. If you own a lot of highlighters you may find the Shimmer Shots similar to what you already own. I think both are winners and the shimmer is very pretty but not overly frosty.

By now you can find the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel at all Tom Ford Beauty counters. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Tom Ford.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Press samples of The Face Collection Waterproof Foundation in Bisque + Natural, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel provided courtesy of Tom Ford.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Kevyn Aucoin The Making Eyes Kit x Space NK

Kevyn Aucoin Making Eyes x Space NK Exclusive

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.

Kevyn Aucoin Making Eyes x Space NK Exclusive
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.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New from Charlotte Tilbury: Scent of a Dream, The Legendary Muse Eyeshadow Palette and Legendary Brows

Charlotte Tilbury has launched a few new items this fall including a new perfume Scent of a Dream and new look called The Dreamy Look. A few months ago she also launched a new brow gel in a few shades and I have been testing out the clear one to include in today's review. What I have a look at includes:
The Dreamy Look features a new eyeshadow palette and a few other repromoted items including the mascara, bedroom black kohl and Secret Salma Lipstick. You can buy the items individually or in the Dreamy Look Gift Box Set. While browsing the site I did not realize the featured lipstick in Secret Salma was a repromote from the Hot Lips launch until the moment I hit submit on my order. So now I have two.

Up first is the new perfume called Scent of a Dream. I received the 50 ml as a press sample for review and it is exactly what I envisioned Charlotte Tilbury to launch for a fragrance. It's a very complex kind of scent that has a rich and seductive feel. To me it's very much an evening date night kind of scent rather than everyday. Lasting power is quite strong and I was able to smell it late in the afternoon from the morning spritz. It's a dark woodsy floral but has some light notes mixed in at the same time.
  • Top notes include lemon, peach, black pepper, saffron, mandarin and bergamot.
  • Heart notes include tuberose, jasmine, frankincense, hedoine, violet, muget, orange flower, rose oil, tea rose, green ivy and magnolia.
  • Base notes include fire tree, Iso E Super, patchouli, ambroxan, precious woods, amber, castoreum, musks.
According to Charlotte Tilbury, the top notes develop after 15 minutes after warming up on the skin and heart notes develop after five hours. I do find it shifts on the skin after a few hours but still smells very much the same. Had I spritzed and tried this in store on my own I don't know that I would have bought it for myself - it's quite a bit more seductive and rich compared to what I typically wear and to this day I still feel like my best date-night scent is Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb although Edward Bess is coming out with three fragrances next month which are incredible and Louis Vuitton launched seven new scents which are also quite amazing which might move Flowerbomb off the favorites list to a three-way tie (more details and review soon but I still have a lot of testing to do). Bottom line the Scent of a Dream is indeed dreamy and lovely, just not quite me.

Next up is a quick reswatch of Secret Salma which is a gorgeous raspberry pink color. It's the matte revolution formula which is matte but luminous at the same time. Full review and lip swatches of all the Hot Lips Lipsticks in this post here but here's another look for reference.

The Legendary Brows Brow Gel in Clear is a brow gel that comes with a very tiny brush wand. I am not a fan of clear brow gels because of two reasons. First is they rarely do anything for my brows and second they often leave that white chalky cast. I am very low maintenance when it comes to brows and I am well aware that I need to up my brow game. To date my go-to's are the Diorshow Brow Styler (review here) and the La Palette Sourcils de Chanel (review here) - they're the best no fuss impossible to overdo brow products for brow dummies. I've tried a number of brow gels in clear and tinted and try to use them but often forget to. The Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows Brow Gel performs well to actually hold brows in place. There's no white film or chalky look once it dries. I will say that a little goes a long way. The first time I tried it I applied way too much and it left my brows very sticky. I'm really pleased with it - it holds brows in place after combing them upwards.

Last but not least is the new Legendary Muse Luxury Palette. This is limited-edition and has the same exterior star designed packaging as last year's Fallen Angel Eyeshadow Palette. This year's Legendary Muse texture is not like the limited-edition from last holiday but rather like her regular palettes in powder form for 3 shades and 1 glitter finish color. I last reported that the MAC Pressed Pigments were too glittery for me. The ones from Charlotte Tilbury and Tom Ford though are ones I find more wearable even though I'm very conservative for eye looks.

I have fallen head over heels for the Legendary Muse Luxury Palette. It's a warmer palette of neutrals but still very wearable. Charlotte labels them 1 thru 4 on the back for application order but I apply this one in a different order. I like applying the darkest shade first and then follow with the top two layered on top and glitter topped as the last part. Pigment is medium to full. Colors match my arm so they look a bit sheer here but they do show up well on the eyes.

Colors are a soft pinky shimmer, warm coppery gold shimmer, light gold glitter and mauve shimmer.

A quick eye look in indoor lighting, no flash. Still working on getting the right lighting for face and eye swatches and beauty looks. I would say in real life the palette isn't quite as reddish/mauve looking as the photos show below.

Comparison swatches below show that you can definitely find dupes for the palette, but the texture and combination just works so well. There are subtle differences in the shimmer and texture is soft and blendable. I bought my palette sight unseen so I did not know what to expect based on the online stock photos. I did know it would be on the warmer side and am thrilled at how it turned out.

Left to right below:
  • MAC Eyeshadow in Naked Lunch
  • Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped, Moonstone shade (review)
  • Anastasia Glow Kit in That Glow, Golden Bronze shade (review)
    Anastasia Eyeshadow Single in Amber (review)
  • Tom Ford Cream Powder Duo in Naked Bronze, glitter shade (review here)
  • Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped, Tourmaline shade (review)
  • NARS Eyeshadow Duo Kalahari (review

I really love the eyeshadow palette and think it's a great one to wear for any occasion. Although I really don't do lots of glitter makeup, the Charlotte Tilbury glitters are easy to wear and layer on top of other powder shades for a little glitz without going over the top. If you're looking for a classic raspberry pink lip, Secret Salma is a gorgeous option that I think would suit a wide range of skintones. The brow gel is a good one but as I'm not really a brow aficionado I don't think I'd call it a must-have but it is one of the few clear ones that actually hold my brows in place. The perfume is a beautiful one, but as perfume is very personal I think it's a bit bolder than my personality and I only see myself wearing it for evening.

You can find the new Charlotte Tilbury launches online at Charlotte Tilbury. Right now the eyeshadow palette and perfume are also available at Nordstrom.

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

Perfume and brow gel provided courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury for review. Palette and lipstick purchased by me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New Chanel Stylo Fresh Effect Eyeshadows and La Palette Sourcils de Chanel Brow Powder Duos

Chanel launched some new shades of their Stylo Eyeshadows ($34 each) and two new brow palettes called La Palette Sourcils de Chanel ($50 each) both part of the Eyes Speak Volumes Collection which focuses on adding some color and definition to the eyes in an almost minimal way. I ordered three of the five Stylo Eyeshadow Fresh Effect Shadow Sticks in Brun Châtain, Beige Doré, Rose Pétale (all limited-edition, all shimmery) and Chanel sent the two Brow Powder Duos in Naturel and Brun for me to try out.

Up first are the two new La Palette Sourcils de Chanel. I've never tried the brow compacts from Chanel before or actually any brow compact in general. I'm more of a pencil or tinted brow gel kind of girl and when it comes to grooming or technique my brow game is super weak. I usually brush them with the By Terry Brow Mascara or use the Diorshow Brow Styler because even a brow novice like myself can't mess them up. I have tested a number of brow powders, pencils, waxes - so many artists have shown me how to use them and even though I try at home, I keep going back to my two basics. I have dark hair which is almost black but does have quite a bit of natural red undertone. My brows are a lot lighter in color so powders often either look too grey, too red or too black.

When the new Brow Powder Duos arrived for me to play with I did not know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. There are two options Naturel 40 is the lighter version and Brun 50 is the deeper duo. Each one comes cased in the lacquered black mirrored compact with the most adorable tools I have ever seen. They are miniature and very tiny but not so tiny they slip out of the hands. 

Both duos come with a lighter color and one slightly deeper to customize the color. The texture of the powders is very hard and stiff so you need a stiff dense brush for application. The tiny one that comes in the compact is one of the stiffest brushes I have ever tried and it worked quite well to pick up product and apply to the brows. I tested both duos - Naturel 40 is better for me for everyday but lighter brow colors often don't show up well on camera. Brun 50 is the deeper option and matches my hair more closely but I found it a bit too deep. I think I could have gone with either one - it's just a matter of preference that I prefer more natural brows.

The powder adhered really well to the brows and stayed put all day. The whole compact is perfect for quick and easy application for a natural look to add noticeable but soft definition. The tools are tiny and while they aren't the same as a full-sized angled brush or regular set of tweezers, perform well enough for quick fixes and grooming.

Up next are three Stylo Eyeshadows in Brun Châtain, Beige Doré, Rose Pétale. I ordered these sight unseen and picked out the shades I thought I would reach for the most. I've been a fan of the Fresh Effect Eyeshadow Sticks in other colors. They offer a really pretty shimmer and have a unique smooth cooling effect when you apply them to the lids. I also find they stay on for a long time.

Brun Châtain is a shimmering neutral-cool brown. Beige Doré is a pale shimmering yellow gold. When I saw this one I thought it would be too yellow but it's actually my favorite of the three. It's pale enough to add a bit of highlight on the lids with the perfect mix of yellow/gold/white shimmers to give the eyes a natural glow. Rose Pétale is such a pretty pale pink in the tube, unfortunately, like many Chanel pinks, it gives me the pink-eye kind of look when worn alone. It is workable if mixed with other colors, but had I seen or tested it first I probably would have skipped.

Quick eye swatches, these were taken with a flash to show the sheen/shimmer. As a result the colors are a bit washed out and I don't know if you can even tell there is brow product, but hopefully this will give you an idea of what they look like.

The Brow Duos exceeded my expecations. As one who is really timid when it comes to applying product on my brows both duos are great for the person who wants definition in a natural soft kind of way. The colors are easy to apply and also easy to build and impossible to overdo. If you like a strong brow you may find these are too soft for you, but I give them a thumbs up. For the Stylo Eyeshadows I think Beige Dore is the best color out of the ones I tried. Brun Chatain is a nice neutral that I thought I would really love - I do think it's a great everyday kind of color but feel previously launched colors like Caroube were a bit more special.

The Stylo Eyeshadows and La Palette Sourcils de Chanel are both available at and all Chanel retailers. As of right now the eyeshadow sticks are all listed as limited-edition shades.

Have you tried anything from this collection yet? If not what's your favorite brow product?

Brow Duos sent courtesy of Chanel for review consideration. Eyeshadows purchased by me from Nordstrom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Brow Set by Wayne Goss

I have a small but well-loved collection of Wayne Goss brushes. His latest release is The Brow Set ($55) which has three brow tools, all designed by Wayne and hand crafted in Japan. I've only been testing these for a few days but have fallen in love already. My brows are the most-neglected beauty-related area for me. I groom them with a recycled mascara wand and although I have a few brow products that I really like (the Dior Brow Styler, NARS Brow Perfector and By Terry Eyebrow Mascara) I have been in need of a good set of brow tools and the Wayne Goss set does not disappoint. (On the nails above, Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Daisy.)

There are three brushes in The Brow Set. They come cased in a cute black cylinder, wrapped to perfection in black tissue paper and a black bow which shows love and care. The presentation as usual, is beautiful.

The brushes have medium length handles, they aren't too long but not too short. Each brush has a black lacquered handle. According to the information on Beautylish, these are cruelty-free and hand crafted. From top to bottom is: Brush 22 (double ended), Brush 23 (spoolie) and Brush 21 (angled flat tip).

Brush 21 is designed for use with all types of brow products (powder, cream, wax). I really like this one because it has a wider flatter tip compared to most angled brow tools. It has a stiff dense tip that makes application super easy.

Brush 22 is a double-ended brush that has water badger bristles on one side and a fine-toothed comb to groom and define brows and lashes alike. These both comb and brush brows to perfection. I like that the comb teeth are short.

Brush 23 is described as "an upscale take on the classic spoolie." I am usually not a fan of spoolie brushes because they are never sturdy enough to last long (hence the reason why I recycle my mascara wands). You have to see it to believe it, but it is indeed another level of spoolie. It's extremely sturdy and well made - it feels like it will last a long time. It has a cone-shaped brush and is densely packed but the bristles are soft enough so it doesn't poke the skin.

Bottom line a winning set. The brow tools are extremely well designed, sturdy and made with extremely good craftsmanship. At $55 if you break down the price per tool it's an affordable $18+ per brush. I'm ordering another set for one of my friends right now.

You can find the The Brow Set by Wayne Goss exclusively at Beautylish. Do you have any favorite Wayne Goss brushes? Which ones? I am hoping he will release more white-haired brushes this holiday or in the next year!

Many thanks to Beautylish for sending the set for review.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dior Beauty Favorites + A Few New Discoveries

Several new readers have e-mailed telling me they have just started to explore higher end cosmetics asking for advice on where to start building their makeup wardrobe and what I recommend for them to buy. Many are open to trying new brands and products but often prefer recommendations from one single brand to simplify their makeup routine. I personally like to mix it up with different brands each day depending on mood but for those who want to stick with one single brand, Dior is one of a few lines I've tried that I would feel comfortable using exclusively for everything from foundation, skincare, makeup and tools. I've partnered with Nordstrom to share some of my Dior Beauty favorites with you today.

I've been using Dior beauty since my college days (early 2000's). Over the years they've revamped almost all formulas for every product. I always panic anytime I hear "reformulate" thinking why change something when it's already really good? Dior has revamped their products for better though. Their nail polish keeps getting better, the Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer is the latest and it has a lush glossy look with rich pigment that applies flawlessly. Their Addict Lip Gloss is a classic favorite for a super glossy natural tint. It comes in a diverse range of colors from pales, brights and darker shades.

A few of my favorites which I highly recommend for anyone whether you're getting into Dior or higher end lines include:
Dior's Purifying Foam Cleanser is one of my top cleanser picks out of all that I've tried. I've repurchased this countless times. There are several different formulas of Dior cleanser, the Purifying Foam is for Normal/Combination skin. It is really effective at cleansing the skin but is still gentle. My husband loves it as well. It foams up nicely and leaves the skin feeling really clean without making it tight or leaving a film.

Diorskin Airflash Skin Foundation is one of the longest wearing foundations I've tried. There is a learning curve for application though. The Airflash comes in an aerosol spray. Hold it about 5-6 inches away from your face and close the eyes before you spray. You have to make sure your face is completely relaxed or else it will apply unevenly and miss spots. I spray in a Z motion twice from top to bottom. I don't always get a flawless application with the spray but it is easily fixable with a brush or sponge. I set with a sheer loose powder and it stays put all day. If you find yourself getting oily or shiny from this, you've probably applied too much. It is long-wearing and has fuller coverage, so to take it off, I recommend you use either a Cleansing Water or Cleansing Oil combined with your regular facial cleanser.

Dior has a good range of gloss options. The Addict Glosses are sheer, shimmery and add the perfect tint to the lips. My favorites are Nuit Boreale (a pale iridescent pink with some blue and green shimmer), Bed of Roses (a soft pink rose) and Diablotine a sheer but bright coral. If you're one that likes more pigment, the new Dior Addict Fluid Stick is incredible. They have super rich pigment and they glide onto the lips really nicely. Blend it and the color melds with your lip flawlessly. It's a hybrid lipstick and gloss so it has that lush gloss look but pigment of a lipstick and stays put relatively long.

For nails, Dior has always been a favorite. The formula has been revamped several times over the year and it just keeps getting better. There are a lot of limited-edition shades released each season. They often don't do repeats of the trendy shades although sometimes they will release something similar at a later date. I've been a collector for years and have amassed a sizable collection. If you're just starting to get into higher end nail polishes, Dior is a great option. I am one who really believes there is a difference in formula. The ones by Dior glide on seamlessly. The pigment and coverage is phenomenal these days. The brush is chiseled at the tip for easy two-swipe application. The colors are rich and range from classic to neutral to trendy. I love the Gel Top Coat over other Dior Polishes. I can get up to 7 days of wear without any tip wear or chipping. If you're looking to start with color, my top three can't-go-wrong picks are Incognito for an everyday classic neutral, Wonderland for a brightening pink and Nuit 1947 for a classic vamp with a jelly finish.

Painting on Nuit 1947 with the Gel Top Coat

The Diorshow Brow Styler is something I discovered mid-July. One of my favorite Dior artists recommended this for me. I was skeptical since the Brow Styler only comes in one shade in the US in Universal Brown 001. It's a light taupe brown that actually works for my lighter brows and dark black brown hair. Often times an exact match to my hair makes my brows look too intense and sharp. I like to opt for a color that is lighter but doesn't contain any red or isn't too ashy. The Universal Brown appears to be really universal from what I've seen.

above, wearing Nuit 1947

For lashes, my go-to lash primer is the Diorshow Maximizer Lash Pluming Serum. It's a white base you apply to your lashes as a primer. It helps add volume to the lashes and makes them look thicker without clumping. The trick to this one is to not let it dry completely before adding mascara. You can still add it, but applying your mascara while this is still a bit wet helps the product glide on better. The mascara will adhere to the primer and if it's completely dry, I find it tugs a little. You don't need to rush application, but I wouldn't wait a long time.

For mascaras, I've tried almost every Dior mascara made. They have the best mini samples each time a new one is released. I've developed a couple really good relationships with Dior reps at my Nordstroms so they always call me when they have samples. My favorite is the regular Diorshow for the plush bristles and rich color (and it doesn't flake or smudge). Nordstrom sent me one of the new ones for review which is the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. It has a curved comb which helps get all the lashes in a few strokes, no need to angle it in weird ways. It's supposed to help curl lashes. For my super straight lashes I always need a lash curler, but I find this one does keep the curl well. After testing it, I found it doesn't flake or smudge. I did need to wipe off the brush with the first application (I use a piece of paper to wipe off excess) but I usually need to do that with most mascaras.

above, wearing Wonderland

For eyeshadow, Dior has so many options. Their 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette also keeps getting a makeover in formula, color options and packaging. They've retained the same navy rectangular compact but the newer ones keep getting sleeker in design. Nordstrom sent Bar 056 (one of the five new fall options) for review. I normally cannot wear greys on the eyes as they turn out to be too cool-toned. Bar offers a lovely classic subtle palette of greys I can actually wear without looking washed out. If you're looking for an everyday neutral, Rosy Tan 754 is hands down one of my favorites. I jus opened my backup a few months ago after going through one entire palette.

For those new to Dior or new to higher end lines, I hope you found this helpful as an introduction to Dior Beauty. There is a lot to explore within each product family for eyes, lips, cheeks, nails, tools, lashes etc. Even though I like to mix up brands in my daily beauty routine, I find Dior is one of the few that can really be a one-stop shop. I've fallen in love with their lipsticks, blushes and bronzers (although many are limited-edition ones). If you click on the Dior tag at the bottom you'll see more Dior reviews I've featured over the years. If you're a Dior fan, I'd love to hear what your favorites are. I'm always up for discovering new things.

Shop my favorites from Nordstrom:

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. The Dior Bar Quint and Iconic Overcurl Mascara were provided for review. All other items purchased by me. For more information, please refer to my Disclosures page.


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