Showing posts with label Contour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contour. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dior Skyline Collection for Fall 2016


The Dior Skyline Collection for Fall 2016 is the first fall collection I'm reviewing this year. A lot of you have been e-mailing me and messaging me about fall beauty which has just started to arrive at counters. The most highly requested item for review has been the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer in this collection and I will say right up front go buy it now - Dior never disappoints with highlighters and they give a very pretty glow. The Dior team has also created a special promo code for Beauty Look Book readers so if you see any items that catch your eye, scroll down to the end of this post for details.

The items from fall that I have to review:
Up first are the standouts in my opinion which include the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks and Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer. I already reviewed and swatched the contour sticks but I will repost photos for reference. As a quick recap, the Diorblush Light and Contour sticks are natural looking contour creams that are very easy to use and that won't give you a harsh look. They blend nicely along the cheeks and for a contour-dummy like myself, they're impossible to overdo.


A closer look at the contour sticks:




The Diorskin Nude Air Luminzer 001 for fall is absolutely stunning. It comes with an embossed design on the surface. This is one of those shades that will look different on everyone. Fair skin-toned beauty lovers will find this almost peachy while deeper skintones will find this more pale. On my medium skintone I find it to be a champagne gold with slight peachy tones. It's finely milled, blends in with the skin flawlessly, doesn't emphasize pores, stays put all day and has the prettiest sheen. The highlighter comes with a tiny kabuki brush which is well made but for me on the small side so I find it best for touch ups or on-the-go rather than for regular application.


Left is swatched heavily, right is blended out. You can blend or sheer out the color more if you prefer a more diffused glow. It's absolutely perfect!


Swatch comparisons below show that the Nude Air Glowing Gardens 002 from spring is a tiny bit lighter than the Nude Air Luminizer for Fall 2016. On my face they are almost identical, I put one on each side of my face and they looked pretty close. Photos of course cannot do the shimmers or texture justice but I hope these help show the difference. And yes, even if you already own the spring versions, I think the one for fall is still a must.


Up next are the two Skyline Eyeshadow Palettes. These also come with a stunning embossed surface. Texture is similar to that of the highlighter - they're powders with a slightly creamy feel. Pigment is medium but buildable and the texture melds in with the skin so they don't look powdery. If you apply them with a slightly damp brush the color can be intensified.

Capital of Light has a mix of shimmery and satiny shades including a gorgeous grey taupe, pale ivory white shimmer, satiny baby pink, shimmering tan and deep violet plum. The mix of colors creates a pretty smokey plum eye.

Parisian Sky has all shimmery shades. This one is better suited for an everyday kind of look. The colors include a shimmering tan, light sand shimmer, pale blue shimmer, silvery blue sparkle and deep chocolate shimmer. The blues give a sheer wash on the eyes and brighten the entire eye area when layered with the sand and beige colors. As one who rarely wears blue colors on the eyes, I found these surprisingly wearable.



Next up are two lip colors for the fall collection which is the Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks ($35 each). There are a few repromoted colors like Incognito 316 which is a classic neutral pink that pulls cool on my skintone. There is one new limited-edition color called Sophisticated 927 which is a cool-toned plum with a silvery sheen. These have a smooth sheer to medium coverage and glossy shine. If you're one who likes glossy finish lipsticks but want something to give visible coverage these are it. They have more coverage than the Rouge Dior Baumes but have that same glossy finish. These have a semi-thick almost gel-like feel which makes the pigment adhere well to the lips. Adding a liner of course will help extend the wear but they feel very comfortable on and fade nicely. As far as I can tell there is no detectable scent.


I applied these on the arm with a lip brush because these are the types of lip colors that don't show up well on arm swatches straight from the tube, but do on the lips:


Below, applied straight from the tube on bare lips:


Last but not least are the Dior Vernis nail polishes in Minimal and Skyline. Both look very standard in the bottles and borderline boring. I will say at first glance I thought they looked a bit unimpressive but Dior polishes rarely disappoint. In my opinion, out of all the luxury brands that have reformulated their nail polishes over the years, the Dior revamp has been the best. Formula has always been top notch with a smooth, glossy flawless finish. They improved the brush by rounding the tips so application is really easy. Minimal is a perfect creamy beige peachy nude. Good nudes can be hard to find and this one brightens the hands without looking too pale. Skyline is a gorgeous chocolate cream, also not the most unique color but it has the perfect mix of brown and vamp to give the hands a perfectly polished look.

A lot of you have asked for nail comparisons - I'm fresh out of nail wheels so I will post comparisons in a separate post as soon as I get them in the mail. I will say right now though that Minimal is almost an exact dupe for Chanel's discontinued Secret (the Dior is a bit brighter and has smoother/better coverage) and by comparison Chanel's discontinued Emprise is a lot peachier and darker.


Two coats in sunlight:



Two coats of Skyline:




Bottom line gorgeous. Top three stand outs to me are the Diorskin Nude Air Luminzer 001 and Dior Vernis in Skyline and Minimal. The Addict Hydra-Gel Core Mirror Shine Lipsticks comes in close fourth for formula - right now I'm still in the summer state of mind but I think Sophisticated is perfect for fall. Quality-wise everything is excellent. Pigment on everything is rich and visible on the skin but easy to blend and layer for those who like a natural refined beauty look. If you buy just one item I would say go for the highlighter unless you already have a lot and don't feel the need for one more in which case I would say opt for the Minimal nail polish. It's a great everyday neutral that will give the hands a clean polished look.

Dior is offering an exclusive promo for Beauty Look Book readers. Dior.com usually offers complimentary samples with any online order but starting today through the end of the month they are giving my readers extra deluxe samples. With any $100+ purchase using code BEAUTYLB at Dior.com you will get some extra deluxe minis including a 5 ml Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming fragrance, mini Hydralife Sleeping Mask packette and mini Diorshow Maximizer 3D. Code is valid today through 8/31/2016, while supplies last (U.S. site only).


You can find the Dior Skyline Collection for fall available now online at Dior.com and at all Dior counters. All the items are limited-edition. Have you checked out the fall pieces yet? What did you think? If you haven't, what's on your wishlist?

Skyline Collection provided courtesy of Dior for review consideration. Many thanks to Dior for providing my readers with a special promo code!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Easy to Wear Contour and Highlight Sticks


I have mixed feelings about the contouring technique for beauty. Mainly because I'm not very good at doing it myself on my own face. I have used a bronzer like Bronze Universel de Chanel or NARS Laguna in a 3 shaped motion along the sides of my face to warm up the complexion and add depth, but for the popular contouring powders and creams - I find they are easy to overdo and while they look great in photos, in real life I think it can look very much overdone. I do own quite a few contouring powders and the most natural ones to date that I've tried are the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Powders for flawless finish and textures that blend beautifully with the skin. I haven't really found a cream product that I love - there are a number of compacts others rave about but cream compacts get messy so I haven't really found anything that speaks to me. Today I have a roundup of four brands of contour sticks, several of them are multi-tasking and great for travel because they are double-sided.

I find it rare to find all items I test in a category phenomenal in the sense that I think all aspects  of the product are great but this is one of those rare occasions. I tested highlight/contour sticks from Burberry, Wander Beauty, NARS and Dior and all of them are impressive to me and perfect for a natural look. If you need a contour product for dummies (like me) these are the perfect option for you because they look very natural, easy to use and blend really well. Picking one will come down to brand, texture or color preference.

Up first are the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen in Nude Radiance 01 and Face Contour Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes in Medium 01. In terms of a highlight the Burberry Fresh Glow Pen is on the sheer and subtle side. You will see a glow on the face if you highlight the cheekbones or eyes but it gives a luminous glow versus a more visible shimmer. The fresh glow highlighting pen comes in 1 shade, if you're similar to my skintone or lighter the effect will be more subtle, but if you're tan to deep there will be more contrast and it will show up better on your skin. Texture is creamy but dries down quickly. It is easy to blend before it dries down so you don't have to rush.

The Face Contour Pen comes in two colors and I picked the lighter option. It dries to a matte finish and blends easily on the skin for a very natural contour. It is on the warm side but it's not too warm. This one is the easiest for me to use by applying a few stripes along the cheeks and then blend with either a finger or brush. This is the easiest to use along the sides of the nose because it's slim. You can find these at Nordstrom, Sephora and Net-A-Porter.



There are two On-The-Glow Bronzer Duos from Wander Beauty. I received both items to try out, each one has the same highlighter in Candle Glow. The lighter option is Malibu which is a neutral brown and Capri is the darker/deeper option. If you go to their website you can see it on different skintones. These have a thicker creamy texture but they don't feel greasy and look completely natural once blended. I love Malibu because it's a lighter color and the perfect shade for my skintone for a barely there contour. Candle Glow Highlighter has the perfect mix of gold and warmth so it doesn't look yellow on my olive skin. You can also find these at Sephora.




Next up are the NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos which are currently Sephora exclusives. I had very high hopes for these as I'm a huge fan of the multiple sticks and they did not disappoint. The texture of the highlighter multiples are stiffer than I normally see in multiples so they do not swatch well on the arms. They do swipe a 100x better on the face or eyes. I found these to be on the more subtle side which I think is due to the slightly stiffer/harder texture. The bronze/contour sides are amazing though. As a lover of lighter contour shades I love the Copacabana and Sidari Beach duo - it's a peachy pinky color on my skintone which makes for a less traditional brown contour.




As you can see below they look to be on the sheer side. I think the highlighters are all sheerer than most multiples I've tried from NARS. The darker contour sides are creamy with little to no shimmer. They look streaky on the arm but blend out easily on the face.


Last but not least are the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks which are part of the fall 2016 collection launch. They just launched at Dior.com and there are three shades each with a different color of shimmery highlighter and contour cream which has no shimmer. These are my favorite of the bunch because the round tip makes them easy to glide along the face. The flat tips of the others are still easy to apply but having the round tip is easier for me to put on the cheeks. My favorite color is 001 but 002 is probably better suited for my skintone. The browns are on the warm side which I found a bit too warm for my nose but for the rest of the face or eyes it's perfect. Texture is very creamy but natural looking without being too dewy.




Here's a quick look of before and after the Diorblush Light and Contour Duo in 002. Also worn on the face includes NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Groenland and St. Moritz mixed, Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped on the eyes, Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara, Lancome Juicy Shaker in Lemon Explosion. On then nails is Dior Minimal.


I couldn't fit all the items on my arm so I split them between the contour side and highlighter side with a few added items to compare.



That wraps it up for thoughts and swatches on four brands of contour sticks that are easy to wear and natural looking. My personal favorites are NARS Copacabana/Sidari Beach and Diorblush Light and Contour Duo 001 - but all of the ones I tested are pretty good for that natural contour. In terms of application I put these on the face after foundation and powder. I like putting these on the cheeks in stripes along the side of the face directly from the tube and then either blend with fingers or a duo fibre brush like the MAC 159 or any synthetic brush like the ones in this post here.

Do you have any contouring favorites? If so please share in the comments what your skintone is and your favorite shades or brands. If you haven't tried contouring and are interested in starting with natural looking products, I hope this post helps you find something new to try!

Press samples include products from Wander Beauty and Dior Beauty.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

Celestial Powders

Sculpting Powders

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

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


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.
 

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