Showing posts with label Chanel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chanel. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Beauty Look Book Essentials | Face and Cheek Brushes


By popular request, I've gone through all my face and cheek brushes and picked out my favorites. I've been testing a number of brushes over many years (over a decade from my college days) and built my collection slowly over time. My experience with face brushes has been similar to that of my eye brushes. I started with a small handful of tools from Stila, Trish McEvoy and MAC. For many years I only had 4 face brushes and to this day I still think most can accomplish most of what you need for face makeup with a powder, blush, foundation and bronzing brush.

I've learned through makeovers, artist tips and a number of other blogs that there are a number of brushes with different materials, shapes, lengths and densities to help you apply your makeup better. I see face brushes like art tools - you probably need a few, but there are so many different kinds out there, they are fun to play with and experiment with.


The brushes I've picked are from more mainstream brands that are easily accessible. There are a number of makeup artist brushes that look and sound amazing from other blogs but I haven't ventured into the artist brands. I've broken down my favorites into three categories. Face powder, blush and contour, and creams.
For all over face powders, whether it's loose, pressed or powder foundation, I look for dense but soft brushes that will pick up product well and apply it evenly over the face. A more fluffy brush will give a sheerer application. I like larger ones that will cover your entire face with a few brush strokes.


  • MAC #134 ($53) is a brush that is currently only available at MAC stores/online but it has been released and re-released at other MAC counters numerous times, this is my favorite large flat powder brush, it's dense, soft and perfectly rounded tip for easy powder application.
  • MAC #129 ($35) is the ultimate multi-taskers, it can be used for powder, blush or contour, for those who prefer a smaller brush for more precise control or someone who wants one brush that can do multiple things, this is your best option.
  • Chanel Powder Brush #1 ($65) is a well-designed brush with a domed tip, the bristles are slightly stiffer than MAC but the Chanel is still very soft and picks up powder well, I like this also with pressed powders such as Les Beiges and Dolce & Gabbana's powder foundation because it applies powder evenly on the face.
  • Tom Ford Bronzer 05 ($115) is one that will break the bank but Tom Ford brushes are extremely well made, designed and deliver flawless makeup application. I purchased this as part of a brush set a couple holidays ago when they had a gift card event. This is the largest densest bronzer brush I've ever seen it feels like a soft kitten. If you look up reviews on this brush you will see it is well loved by many others (ie Café Makeup, RaeViewer, Temptalia)
  • Burberry Beauty Brush ($52) is my favorite short kabuki brush although a number of other brands are very similar in shape, size, material and feel. I purchased mine from Nordstrom although they don't stock it online at the moment. You can still find it at Burberry. I like this for powder or bronzer. The reason I prefer this one is the handle is square while most other brands are round. This fits perfectly in my hand and I find it easier to hold. (MAC and Chanel are very similar in how they perform.)
Many cheek brushes are multi-purpose and can be used for both cream or powder. I don't tend to use these for creams but I've had artists use these on me before for cream. I'm listing a number of brushes here that I love.


  • Tom Ford Cheek Brush 06 ($78) is a luxuriously soft blush brush, it picks up just the right amount of powder to apply color to the cheeks. As The Non-Blonde noted, this one is as plush as it gets. I find it perfect for Tom Ford blushes but works well with other brands. I personally don't like it with super pigmented matte blushes because it will pick up too much color (like some NARS or MAC mattes/brights). For most everything else this one is perfect.
  • Chanel Blush Brush #4 ($54) is one my smallest blush brushes. It's shaped and tapered in a way to layer blush easily. It's a softer less dense brush so it works for a lighter application. If you're one who likes to go easy on the blush but still wants to be able to control how much color goes on the face this is the best option.
  • MAC Duo Fibre Brush #187 ($42) is a classic must-have for highlighters. It's the perfect brush for those Mineralized Skinfinishes to swipe a light blend of shimmer over the cheeks. I've had artists use this with foundation and cream products as well. It's versatile and works well with any kind of highlighter whether it's pressed, loose, or cream.
  • MAC Brush #168 ($35) is a classic contouring brush. It's a good sturdy white hair brush with an angled tip. I find it medium-sized which makes it good for being able to control where you place the powder. It's also a good brush for blending around the face.
  • NARS Contour Brush #21 ($42) is a new brush from NARS, you can read my detailed review here, I usually don't like angled brushes because I am more comfortable with more traditional brushes, this one makes contouring easy especially for those who aren't pros at contouring (like myself).
  • MAC Brush Tapered Face Brush #138 ($53) is another harder-to-find brush, it's made a re-appearance on limited-edition collections at counters, you can still find directly from MAC. For me this is the ultimate contouring brush because it's shaped to place product right along the sides of the face where you want contour. It's specially designed to streamline and enhance the makeup technique of sculpting and shaping. Per MAC, "use the chiselled side for contour shaping of facial planes; the pointed tip for applying and blending powder blush, highlighter or face powder." It's another multi-functional brush that works well as a powder brush.

  • Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush 06 ($72) is the ultimate blending brush for creams. If you ever try this at the Tom Ford counter they will demonstrate how it works with their foundation stick and blends the product on the face to perfection. With most brushes you will see some kind of streaks and still need blending with fingers or a sponge, the Tom Ford applies cream product (foundation or highlighter) streak-free.
  • Tom Ford Foundation Brush 01 ($72) is another cream brush designed to apply makeup streak-free. In my mind you don't need both 01 and 06 (although the Tom Ford counter convinced me otherwise). They both perform the same for either liquid or cream foundations. If you're trying to decide between one or the other, I would recommend 06 because it's more unique in shape. If you want a standard foundation brush you can find many cheaper options. I find it a staple in my weekly makeup routine. It cleans easily - I use Bobbi Brown's Brush spray cleaner after each use to lightly wipe it down but do a thorough washing after 2-3 uses.
  • Chanel Foundation Brush #6 ($45) is a classic foundation brush that is soft and applies foundation quite well. In my mind most foundation brushes are almost identical (i.e. MAC, Chanel, Prescriptives etc) in the bristles. The main difference is in the handle size. I like Chanel because it's shorter and easier to travel with. I still get streaks no matter what brush I use (with the exception of Tom Ford) but this one works very well.
  • MAC Duo Fibre Brush #187 ($42) is repeated from above, I like this for cream highlighters because it will cover a large area with fewer swipes. It also works well for blending harsh lines or edges.
For face brush storage, I love Muji Acrylic Holders but they aren't easy accessible for me and are often sold out online. I've used recycled candles from Jo Malone, Diptyque and Henri Bendel as alternatives. I also found clear jars from Crate and Barrel to be good for shorter brushes, tools or pencils. Stila and NARS Paint cans are also good for storing brushes if you are able to find them. Click on the Diptyque tag below for more storage ideas.


I usually use Neutrogena Body Wash to clean my brushes as the most economical method. I buy the large size at Costco which I use as a regular body wash anyways. I know many recommend baby shampoo but I always find it leaves a film on my brushes from the conditioning properties (might just be me). For those brushes that need extra work, I have three go-to's for cleaning brushes which include MAC Brush Cleanser, Bobbi Brown Brush Cleaning Spray and Brush Cleanser (review here). These tend to be on the pricey side so frequent usage of these cleansers isn't an option for me.

I realize this is a rather large and extensive list of brushes. You definitely do not need as many as I have collected over the years. I've been testing brushes for over a decade now (not to date/age myself) and have acquired them over time. Brush sets can be your most economical way to buy many at one time at a good price but those deal sets tend to be of lesser quality than individual brushes.

If I had to narrow my list down to my top picks these are what I'd narrow down my absolute essentials to: Chanel Blush #4, MAC Duo Fibre #187, MAC #134 or MAC #129, Tom Ford Cream Foundation 06, NARS Contour Powder #21.



I hope you found this brush guide helpful. The options can be overwhelming with all the shapes, sizes, materials and brands. To simplify your choices try thinking about what makeup products you gravitate towards in categories and whether it's a powder, cream or liquid. Pick one for each main category to start.

While tools can be used for multiple areas, having more than one brush helps keep your makeup application cleaner and easier. For example while a powder brush can also double as a bronzer brush, having one brush for each product will prevent you from mixing products and accidentally brushing bronzer all over the face from left over product if you dip it into powder and bronzer (I've done it before and my entire face was several shades darker than the rest of my body).


What are your must-have face brushes? I would really love to hear what your tried and true are, new discoveries or staples. Also if you want to share how you store your face brushes I'm all ears. Do you store them upright in containers or put them in a brush roll?



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chanel Joues Contraste Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89


Chanel's Perfection Lumière Velvet collection features two new Joues Contraste Powder Blushes ($45 each for 4g/0.14 oz, European/Asia baked version) in Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89. Both are in the baked formula and are more dramatic color than the usual traditional Chanel blush. They look quite intense in the compact but don't go on as dark on the face. Vivacité #88 is a dark pink rose that has a matte finish. Canaille #89 is a warm shimmery orangey tan color. I think these are a nice addition for spring-to-summer. Although the colors are quite rich, the texture is easy to layer and apply without looking clown-like.

The Perfection Lumière Velvet Collection:


Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89


Vivacité #88 is a darker pink with a hint of fuchsia. The tetxure on this one a bit harder than the US versions. It applies sheer but is layerable for more color. I recommend applying with a light hand though - this is one of those colors that you can easily overdo with one swipe too many.



Canaille #89 is a stunning shimmery coppery brown peach. It's shimmery but not frosty. It has a softer texture than the Vivacite. This one is also easy to layer for color but the pigment is on the richer side.



Here they are swatched with a heavy hand:



Swatch comparisons (all swatched with a heavy hand): Burberry Hydrangea Pink, Tom Ford Narcissist, Hourglass Radiant Magenta, Chanel Emotion, Tom Ford Savage, NARS Taj Mahal, NARS Lovejoy and MAC Sunbasque:


I wanted to hate these since they are not the US formula (which I prefer). I tested both at the counter and the artist applied them on my face when I tested the new foundation. I could not resist. Both are so different from any other blushes I own. I've been playing around with these for a week and the texture seems to be ok in terms of application and wear. I still prefer the soft finely milled texture of the US version blushes but these are winners for color and wear. At first glance, both Vivacité #88 and Canaille #89 look intimidating in the pans, especially to those who prefer natural colors or have fairer skin. I found them to still wear quite naturally with easy to control pigment.


Both blushes should be available at all counters by now. Also available currently online at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks and Chanel.com.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet | Smooth-Effect Makeup


Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet ($45 for 30 ml/1 fl oz) is the latest foundation formula from Chanel. It's described as a lightweight, oil-free fluid foundation that provides a long-lasting matte-velvet finish. It has what Chanel calls "soft-focus pigments" which smooth and perfect the skin for a flawless look that lasts all day. It comes in a sleek black bottle. I was matched to 30 Beige (I'm usually either a 20 Beige or 30 Beige for Chanel). According to the Chanel rep I spoke with at Nordstrom the new Perfection Lumière Velvet is going to replace the Mat Lumière.


The Perfection Lumière Velvet is indeed a lightweight foundation with medium coverage. It has enough pigment to even out the skin but not quite as full coverage as the regular Perfection Lumière. This new velvet formula is designed for those normal to oily skin.

At the counter the Chanel artist prepped my skin by cleaning first with the Creamy Cleansing Milk and then followed with the Hydra Beauty Creme. She tested 20 and 30 on my skin. We decided to go with 30 which was a perfect match. She applied the Perfection Lumière Velvet with the foundation brush and then finished with a light dusting of Les Beiges in No. 20 to set. I loved how the foundation blended on the skin with a smooth no-makeup feel. The Perfection Lumière Velvet adheres well to the skin but still lets it breathe. On my normal/combination this lasted all day long and the smooth velvety finish remained the same from the time it was applied well into the late evening. I like that it's not a full-matte finish which prevents it from looking too flat.

Chanel had some amazing matte foundations back in the early 2000's which they discontinued and replaced with Mat Lumiere (which I hated, I found it did not blend well and caked a bit on my skin). I've since tried to find a good matte-finish replacement, the closest is By Terry's Hyaluronic Face Glow but it still doesn't have the same velvety finish as the older Chanels. This new Perfection Lumière Velvet is a must- have foundation for those looking for a long-lasting natural makeup with a slight matte finish. I find it has been released at the perfect time of year as we start getting warmer weather. The color stays put on the skin without oxidizing. Below you can see how well it blends into the skin and evens out the texture:



I've been using this over a number of moisturizers, I like it right now over Le Jour de Chanel and set with the Les Beiges powder.



Here are some swatches for comparisons: By Terry Hyaluronic Face Glow No 2, By Terry Cover-Expert in 9 Honey Beige, Tom Ford Foundation Stick Bisque 04 (review here), Chanel Vitalumière Aqua in B20 and B30, Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet 30 Beige, Chanel Perfection Lumière 30 Beige, NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland.


In terms of formula comparisons to the new Perfection Lumière Velvet to other Chanel foundations:
  • Chanel Vitalumière Aqua is sheerer and more lightweight in color. The new Perfection Lumière Velvet goes on smoother onto the skin and also is more fluid in texture. I found it much easier to squeeze out of the tube.
  • Chanel Perfection Lumière is heavier in texture and has more full coverage, I find the Velvet version to work better with my skin, the Regular version was a bit too heavy for me.
Packaging comparisons:



I've been testing this for a week and I've been really pleased with the results. I've always been a huge fan of Chanel foundations (except for a couple formulas) and I highly recommend you check out the Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation. I've had no issues with breakouts or clogged pores with this formula. It blends well, lasts all day and doesn't change color. The velvety finish is natural but still matte-looking.

The new Perfection Lumière Velvet foundations should be at all counters now. Check out Natural N Chic Makeup for swatches of all shades. I purchased mine at Nordstrom. It's also available at Bloomingdales, Saks and Chanel.com.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Primers and Smoothers


I've been testing out a few new primers and smoothing products and thought I'd share my favorite staple primers along with some new discoveries. I'm not typically a primer kind of person. I've found most that I've tried don't really do much to extend the wear of makeup and end up adding an extra layer of product on my face that I don't really need. I've tried dozens of primers at makeover events and from tiny sample packets. There are so may different options on the market these days it can be a bit overwhelming. Different products offer a multitude of effects. Some will smooth the overall look of your skin, add a glow, give a matte look and then there are some that are just basic primers to help the application of your foundation. I have normal and sensitive skin. For your reference I've broken down my primer picks into two main different categories:

  • Tom Ford Illuminating Primer ($72 for 1 fl oz) is one of the best glow primers I've ever tried. I tested this on numerous occasions each time I was able to visit a Tom Ford counter under both the foundation stick and liquid formula. The counters kindly made a few small samples for me to test before I caved and purchased the full size (I'm still in price shock). The Tom Ford primer is packaged with a clever twist pump dispenser. It has a soothing fresh scent with a slight herbal undertone. What I like about this one is that has a more yellow-like pearly glow which I found perfect for my needs (most I've seen have a pinkish glow). It helps extend the wear of makeup and adds a glow without making you greasy. It helps smooth the skin and adds an all over glow to prevent your makeup from looking flat. Be aware that this is on the dewy side, if you're oily I wouldn't recommend this one. I also found this one works best with the Tom Ford Foundations. See The Convenient Beauty's review.
  • NARS Pro-Prime Radiance Enhancing Primer ($34 for 1.1 oz) is the next best alternative to Tom Ford's primer at a more affordable price. It has a reflective pearl quality that is the perfect mix of opal, gold and champagne. It has SPF 15 and a little goes a long way. I find this one photographs well with a flash. It has a creamy but thin and easy to blend texture to give an all over glow without being too glowy. Lasting power is better than average for me but it won't make your makeup last all day long (you will need a touch up in the afternoon). I really like this for the effect it gives and how it helps makeup look smoother.
  • MAC Strobe Liquid ($32 for 1.7 fl oz) isn't really a traditional primer, but I like to use it as one over moisturizer and underneath liquid or powder makeup. It's another great smoothing glow product with a super thin liquid texture. It dries well to help makeup stay in place and prevents it from sliding around - but note you only need a tiny bit on the face. It's on the more glowy side so I would recommend topping with a regular powder or foundation. This one is also good for mixing in with foundations to add a glow without making you look white. It has a more opal/blueish sheen.
  • Chanel Base Lumiere Illuminating Makeup Base ($45 for 1 fl oz) is one of the most fluid primer/bases I've ever tried. (I've repurchased this multiple times.) It has a blueish violet sheen but it disppears into a clear finish on the skin. The key to using this is to make sure you use a thinner lightweight moisturizer underneath otherwise it will make the skin oily. If you're a serum + moisturizer kind of person, I would recommend skipping one of the items before using this one. I like this best with Chanel foundations as it helps prime the skin with a subtle glow and also helps extend the wear of foundation. Make sure you use as little as possible - if you overdo it it will be too heavy and feel thick on the skin.

  • Lancome Visionnaire 1-Minute Blur ($55 for 1 fl oz) is currently available at Sephora locations in the US. I received a press sample of this (hence the white lab tube). It's a skin smoother/finisher designed to smooth the skin, erase imperfections and pores. It has a creamy neutral colored texture that disappears on the skin. This video has a good visual of what this will do for the skin. I suggest testing at the store if you can, reviews indicate this is either a hit or miss. I saw a noticeable difference in my skin texture when using this and used it under a liquid foundation (tested with Chanel and NARS). I loved the results for the overall look and it truly erased any signs of pores on my face. It helped my makeup last all day long (quite impressive) well through the evening. There is a very light fragrance to this which I found on the subtle side. The only thing I didn't like about this was that I could actually feel the layer of product on my face - not necessarily a bad thing, but I tend to prefer face makeup that is more weightless and thinner in texture.
  • Clinique Superprimer Color Correcting ($27 for 1 oz) I bought this at Sephora after reading rave reviews about the Superprimers. I was a bit overwhelmed with the color options and honestly have no idea if I picked the right one for me. I decided to go with the peach color corrector since traditional white ones are often too pale and white for my olive skin. I didn't notice any color correcting quality with this one but the color matched my skin pretty well once blended. It has a thicker airy creamy texture that has a velvety feel on the skin. The result: long lasting makeup all day long from morning until late at night (around 11ish before I took it off). The peach color disappeared and gave the skin a smooth matte look. If you test any of the options at the store you will see a noticeable difference on the back of your hand. I like that the primer didn't change the color of my foundation even though it has a peach tint. I'm not sure I picked the right option, if you've tried the any of the Clinique primers I'd love to hear your thoughts.
  • Dior Pore Minimizer Skin Refining Matte Primer ($42 for 1 oz) is a primer that wins for most innovative packaging. It's a tube with a pump dispenser. I have not purchased this after testing a couple counter-made samples but wanted to share my thoughts. This offers the most matte finish that I've ever seen. It smooths the skin out similar to the Lancome but has a thicker feel on the skin (at least for me). I found this blended well on the skin and provided a lovely smooth look. There was a huge noticeable difference. I felt it was too dry for my normal/combination skin even though it didn't look dry at all. I suspect if you have skin that is on the oily side, the Dior Matte Primer will work wonders for you.
Packaging and dispenser details:




My top three picks:
  1. For the best glow, I like Tom Ford's Illuminating Primer
  2. For the price and performance I like Clinique's Superprimer
  3. For the most visible smoothing result, Lancome Visionnaire 1-Minute Blur is a winner
Do you have any favorite primers, smoothing products or glowy bases? I'd love to hear about your thoughts and experiences for what has worked on your skin tone or skin type.
 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Beauty Look Book | Favorite Nude Pink Nail Polishes


I've been on a natural nude-pink nail polish kick ever since Tom Ford Sugar Dune was released for spring. I've since been wearing a lot of light and neutral pinks on the nails. For me light pink is a bit difficult to find, most are either too pale, too sheer or apply unevenly. I've still managed to find quite a few variations of light and nude pink with great formulas, application and wear. The colors that made my top picks:




Rescue Beauty Lounge Thank You ($20) is a nude pink with light pearl particles. It flashes blue and pink for a cool-toned sheen but has a nude pink base to prevent it from looking too pale. This color looks good on everyone I've seen it on. It's shown below with two coats.



Tom Ford Sugar Dune ($32) is my ultimate perfect nude pink. As discussed in my review a few months ago, application can be a bit time consuming, it is one of the higher maintenance nudes but once applied is a clean polished neutral light pink. It is limited-edition so if you're interested I suggest you try to track one down sooner than later.



Burberry Nude Pink and Ash Rose ($21 each) both beautiful polished clean neutrals. Scroll down through the archives (last couple weeks) to see a more detailed review on each shade.


Nude Pink:

Ash Rose:

OPI My Very First Knockwurst can be found at a number of retailers. I either purchase my OPI from Drugstore.com or Ulta. I found this to be the most difficult to apply and it required three coats. However the price of OPI is much more affordable compared to high end brands. Most of the time OPI applies just as well (sometimes better) than other luxury nail polishes. In this case, this one was a bit of a nightmare to apply. It required three coats but I love the color of this shade.



Chanel Rose Cache ($27) is a classic sheer natural pink. It has that secret-shimmer in the bottle that disappears once applied on the nail. It looks different on everyone I've seen but is a universally flatting easy to wear/go with everything kind of nail polish.



Dior Incognito ($24) is my favorite classic nude pink. It's not too dark and not too pale. Just the right in between. Do note this one is coming out in the gel formula (have not tried yet). You may want to wait for that color to be released in stores near you. But for now I've been a huge fan of all Dior's nail polish formulas. The application is smooth and flawless with very good lasting power. Everything from the formula to brush design of Dior's nail colors makes application very easy.



Zoya Rue ($9) is a classic nude pink with a hint of cool-mauve. I haven't had much experience with Zoya but the brand has performed well for me on the occasions I have tried it. Rue was part of a recent nude collection. It's a lovely natural pink cream. Below is Rue shown with three coats.



Comparisons to other lighter pinks: OPI Care to Danse?, OPI Don't Bossa Me Around, Rescue Beauty Lounge Sheer Nude, Bobbi Brown Pink Pearl, Deborah Lippmann Naked, Deborah Lippmann Fashion, Deborah Lippmann Modern Love, OPI Butterfly Moment, Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire and Tom Ford Show Me the Pink



What's your favorite nude pink nail polish? Do you have any staple go-to's? If I were pressed to pick just three, I would narrow down my picks to Tom Ford Sugar Dune, Dior Incognito and Burberry Nude Pink as my favorites.


 

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