Showing posts with label Giorgio Armani. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Giorgio Armani. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Beauty Look Book's Guide to Building a Makeup Wardrobe


This year I've received quite a few e-mails from new readers who just started getting into higher-end cosmetic brands. Being a beauty junkie and beauty blogger, I put dozens of products to the test each mont. This allows me to offer comparisons in order to help others determine differences or similarities across brands, formulas and product families.

For the makeup newbie it can be a bit overwhelming to sort through all the options. Finding good makeup that works for you often has to be done through trial and error. I think we've all been at that place where we bought something that ended up not working so well for our skin tone or skin type. Finding a store with a wide range of brands to choose from with a good return/exchange policy is one of the main reasons I really love to shop at Nordstrom. Today I've teamed up with them to create a personal beauty guide on how to start building a makeup wardrobe.

Most of my makeup preferences are for natural colors that will enhance features. New readers frequently e-mail me requesting a customized shopping list of my top beauty picks for them to take to the counter. Picking favorites is almost impossible for me since I really do love a lot of brands, but I've compiled an edited list that I think will be good for the makeup newbie. I've split my guide into three categories: Lips, Eyes and Cheeks.


For lips, if you're just starting to get into makeup, my recommendations would depend on what kind of look you want. Even if you want a natural color, texture and finish plays a major part in picking out the right lip product. Do you prefer sheer, glossy, velvety, full-coverage? Are you a lipstick or lipgloss kind of person? Do you like shimmer or prefer creams?
Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses offer rich pigment with high shine and flawless coverage. My favorite soft pink is Sensible 15. If you want a no-fuss medium to full coverage lip gloss that stays put, these will give a really pretty shine while adding a good amount of color. There are naturals and brights in this formula to suit a wide range of skin tones. Another really good full coverage lip gloss is the Dior Addict Fluid Stick. These are a hybrid lipstick + lipgloss and it packs in a ton of color with high shine. Whisper Beige 219 is a good natural beige nude that won't wash out the complexion.

If you prefer to ease into color and want just a tint of color and shine, Chanel Glossimers are among my favorite out of all the lip glosses in the market. Shades range from sparkling light pinks, bright corals, soft rose, beiges to plums. The holiday Chanel Give It Shine Glossimer Lip Trio has the perfect collection of shades to start your lip wardrobe. It has Amour (soft peach), Sweet Beige (nude beige shimmer) and Wild Rose (the perfect rose pink shine). These have a smooth texture with a naturally glossy sheen.

If you want a more budget-friendly lip gloss, MAC Lipglasses are hard to pass up. These are a bit sticky and tacky, but there are a lot of colors and finishes to choose from. Lovechild Lipglass is one of the most universally flattering colors I've seen. It's a soft plum with pink tones and gold shimmer. On me it pulls very natural, on fair skin it's the perfect plum, on darker or deeper skin tones it also looks good. Laura Mercier Lip Glacés also offer a wide range of colors with a natural finish. Pink Pop is a bright but sheer pink which brings the complexion to life with a sheer wash of bright color.

If you are more of a lipstick kind of person but want something natural, Chanel Rouge Coco Shines are my favorite no fuss swipe-and-go kind of lipstick. Boy 54 is the best classic rose pink shade that adds the prettiest hint of color and shine. The sheer formula won't be as long lasting as a regular lipstick but the color is flawless and formula is hydrating. These are really good if you're timid with bold colors and want something to ease into for lips. The sheer glossy formula is slightly transparent and lets you natural lip shine through.

If you want a full coverage lipstick but still want something that looks natural, the NARS Audacious Lipstick formula is hands down the best that has been released this year. The formula is full coverage with an amazing coverage that melds with the lip. If you have dry lips or peeling flakes you will need to moisturize or prep with a lip balm first, but if your lip is smooth, these are the best I have tried. It has a semi-matte and semi-velvety finish but there is a slight sheen to these which prevents it from looking flat. Raquel is my perfect nude pink. Brigitte is a nude pink beige that has more color but is still very natural.




For the eyes, there are a lot of different eyeshadows and liners that I adore. If I were pressed to pick my current top three favorites for eyeshadow, they would be Urban Decay Naked3, Chanel Tisse Rivoli and Dolce & Gabbana Smoky.


The Urban Decay Naked3 Palette is my most reached-for palette. It has 12 shades of neutral rosy-toned neutrals that can create a wide range of looks. There are shimmers, sparkles and mattes all of which have really incredible pigment. The texture of Urban Decay eyeshadows is buttery smooth and this particular palette doesn't have any glitter shades which is a huge plus for me (and any neutral makeup lover). This is the one palette that goes with me on almost every trip. It's a palette I find can go with everything. Pink shadow can be hard for me to wear (it often gives me a pink-eye look) but Naked3 is neutral enough to be very wearable. If you don't feel comfortable wearing rose-colored shadow the next best option is Naked2 which is more neutral and taupe-based.

If having 12 shadows to play with in one palette is too overwhelming and you need something more edited, Chanel Tisse Rivoli is my favorite neutral quad. The texture adheres well to the eyes and layers well. The colors are smooth and pigmented. For something with more dramatic color, Dolce & Gabbana Smoky (swatched here) is my holy grail smoky eyeshadow quad.

For a cream shadow that is a good over wash shadow the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rosegold is a good pick. It's a soft shimmery champagne with rose and gold tones. It is creamy and blends easily on the eyes. You do need to let it sit for a minute or so to dry and then afterwards they last pretty well. It also works as an eye base for powder shadows and helps bring out the pigment.

For liners and mascara, a simple classic black is a good place to start. Not all black eyeliners are good though. Some pull grey in undertone or can smudge easily. Finding good eye makeup that you don't have to worry about throughout the day is essential. My favorite mascara is the Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch because it grabs every little lash and volumizes, holds the curl, doesn't smudge, doesn't clump and defines the lashes really well. For me this one lasts all day without budging.

For liners, the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner is hands down the best liquid liner I've tried. It's extremely pricey but it is worth every penny and will last you a very long time. There are two ends with different sizes of tips which allows for precise application and complete control. If you're new to liquid liners, this hands down is the best one I've tested. It makes applying liquid liner super easy. If you prefer a pencil liner, Burberry's Effortless Kohl Eyeliners were just released this year. Jet Black is one of the deepest and richest black liners I've tried and it stays put all day from morning to night. It comes in a twist up pencil format with a built in sharpener at the end which I find very convenient (especially if you carry it on the go or when you travel).




Out of all the beauty products I own, I would say blush, bronzer and highlighters dominate my makeup collection by far. Picking out a few favorites was a difficult task. For the face I've narrowed down my recommendations to a few items that will multi-task.


If I could only wear one blush palette for the rest of my life I would pick out the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. It has three shades in a mirrored compact that cover all the shades you could need to go with any look. Luminous Flush is a coral pink, Incandescent Electra is a soft peach, Mood Exposure is a plum rose. The colors are very pigmented with easy to control buildable color. There is a bit of highlighter mixed into each blush which gives these a luminous glow. Those who don't like shimmer need not fear with this one. The shimmer is finely milled and very natural on the face. It's impossible to overdo but the pigment is rich enough to add visible color.

For a bronzer and highlighter, Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow offers both in one  convenient mirrored compact. The bronzey shade can be used as a contouring powder, although I like it as a bronzer on me. The highlighter is a pale warm gold champagne which has a high frost but looks very natural on the skin. The two combined can be used on the cheeks, temples and eyes.

Liquid illuminators are also something I consider in a makeup wardrobe. They can be used as highlighters on top of powder/foundation to add a glow or they can be used under blush to help color adhere better. I like to use these on the eyes occasionally to highlight. If you need a bit of shimmer in your foundation these can be mixed in. My favorite liquid highlighter is the Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed. It's a pale golden champagne that dries to a semi-matte finish which means it stays put all day long. If you want more color options or want something more dewy, Armani Fluid Sheers are classic staples that will give you that glow from within look.



I hope you found this introductory guide useful! Whether you are new to higher-end makeup or want to know what my current favorites are, I hope this provides an edited list of recommendations for you to start exploring. If you could recommend your top 5 beauty picks to a makeup newbie, what would they be? I would really love to hear what your favorites are!





This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions are my own.
For more information please refer to my Disclosures

Monday, November 3, 2014

Holiday Beauty: Champagne and Gold Shimmers


The holidays are just around the corner and the next couple of months will be very busy ones. During the holiday season I find myself always gravitating towards warm gold and champagne shimmery shades. They are easy to coordinate with different outfits and makeup looks. I find warm golds and champagne also help brighten and warm up the complexion. Holiday beauty releases are starting to trickle in at Nordstrom and I've teamed up with them to share my some recent holiday beauty discoveries - all gold and champagne themed.

I have my picks split into different categories for lips, eyes, highlighters and nails:



For lips, there are a number of stunning shimmery gold and champagne glosses new this season. I like neutral golds for layering. They can bring a nude lipstick to life or when layered over a brighter pink, peach or red, soften the lips and give them a nice glow.
  • Dior Gold Rain is new from the Golden Shock collection which is a sheer but sparkling gold.
  • Burberry Nude Glow Lip Glow isn't a new shade but I like to use this one year round. It's a soft gold shimmer.
  • NARS Soleil d'Orient is a shimmering champagne that has a slight hint of pink. It's pigmented enough to wear alone but also looks good over nude lipsticks.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Ibiza Nights is good for those who want more sparkle, it has the prettiest mix of shimmers but isn't over the top. 
  • Bobbi Brown Malt Shimmer Lipstick comes in a special-edition gold packaging this holiday which is fun. It's a warm shimmery coppery shade with gold shimmer.  





Golds are always in for me. They are neutral but easy to dress up. I like neutral gold eyes because they won't overpower the face if you wear a bolder berry, pink or red lip.
  • Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows are a long-time favorite. I like these applied on the lids with a brush. The pigment is really incredible and easy to layer for more intensity. If you use a damp brush the color transforms into a more intense and more metallic look. Any variation of Armani gold looks good on most skintones, they create some of the prettiest universally flattering shades. My favorite Armani likes to wear Eyes to Kill 6 packed on the lids and combine it with soft peach cheeks and a nude lip, the look is really quite stunning.
  • Dior Versailles 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette is a beautiful palette of pale shimmers and one deeper chocolate shimmer. The middle gold shade has a bit of a chunky sparkle which is nice for subtle layering. 
  • Laura Mercier Rosegold Caviar Stick Eye Color (mini) is another year-round classic. I like this as a base on the lids to help bring out the pigment in shadows. It's also good as a highlighter. Sometimes on lazy days I'll wear this on the lids and just finish with mascara for a no-fuss look.





Gold shimmers and highlighters are a must for me, especially during the holiday. The warmth of the gold ones can enhance the skin naturally and make the complexion look more alive.
  • Armani Fluid Sheer 10 is a nice neutral gold. I like this dabbed on top of the cheek bones (after powder, foundation and blush) with a foundation brush to add highlight. It's also good as a cheek base to use underneath blush.
  • Bobbi Brown Bronze Glow Highlight Powder is a shimmering warm gold. It feels almost like it has a slight gel texture but it's still a powder. The shimmer on this one is medium-to-high, but not frosty.  
  • Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow is another good gold highlighter. I like this used all over the face as a primer to illuminate the skin or mixed in with foundation to give it a glow.




Gold and red seem to be the hit shades this holiday for nails. There are a number of different gold polishes, some with glittery effects, others more subtle. I've been playing with three over the weekend.
  • Dior Mirror is a sheer white gold shimmer in the special holiday packaging. It has a transparent quality with two coats, I prefer three with this one.
  • Guerlain Coque D'Or Night at the Opera is a neutral gold shimmer (this one is my favorite).
  • Bobbi Brown Scotch is an interesting warm copper sparkle. It has smooth even coverage with two coats but the color is primarily sparkle.

Left to right: Guerlain, Dior and Bobbi Brown


What are your favorite colors to wear during the holiday? Do you have any favorite gold or champagne makeup shades or do you prefer the more dramatic plums and reds?



Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On My Radar / New In Beauty


Happy mid-week lovelies! A few items that popped on my beauty radar this week. Fall collections look incredibly beautiful and there are a number of new foundation formulas on the market that sound promising.

  1. Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt has arrived for fall and it sounds amazing! This will come in a Candle, Body Cream,  are the the 1 oz and 3.5 oz Cologne Spray, I can't wait to check it out this week
  2. Christian Louboutin will launch 30 new shades of nail polish at the end of the month, I have my eye on The Nudes Nail Colors (available for pre-order at Nordstrom)
  3. Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation has been on my radar for a while now, I received a sample packet (but in the wrong shade), it felt really nice on the skin, if you've tried it please let me know what you thought, I have friends that keep telling me it really is the best, but I can't bring myself to splurge just quite yet
  4. Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation is another new formula on the market, I tested a couple samples I received at the store, it did feel amazingly smooth, evened out the skin and covered imperfections while looking natural, I had a hard time deciding on a shade
  5. YSL Fusion Ink Foundation is yet another new one, I've heard nothing but great things about this, it's on my list to try out
  6. Giorgio Armani Fall has arrived, the Palette Yeux Organica Palette looks absolutely amazing, it's on hold for me at my local Neiman Marcus counter and I hope to pick it up in the next few days
  7. Jin Soon Choi collaborated with designer Tess Giberson to create five new nail colors, I ordered two and will share them soon, the five shades are Heirloom, Farrago, Mélange, Pistache and Nocturne, available now at Nordstrom and Space NK
  8. Tom Ford Fall has started to trickle in stores and has been selling out at lightening speeds. Today, some items have popped up online at Neiman Marcus including the Contouring Cheek Duos in Stroked and SoftcoreBlack Cherry Nail Lacquer, and Lip Colors in Negligee and Twist of Fate.
I have the Tom Ford and a couple JINsoon polishes to review soon. I ordered the Tom Ford Fall Collection from Saks NY after calling around several stores to find they had sold out and had wait lists going. Many have been asking me to rush the review and post it stat. I took about 1/2 of the pictures to review and my camera broke (heartbreak!!) before I could do swatches, it will take 3 weeks to get repaired so I purchased another camera which is on its way. I have some other items photographed and ready to publish in the mean time. I appreciate your patience. If you're thinking about the Tom Ford, I suggest you act fast. I've been testing it and the eye quad and cheek duos are a must if you don't want to wait for online items to show up, call your closest Tom Ford Counter or Boutique to place an order.



What's on your beauty radar this week?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On My Radar / New in Beauty


Some new items on my radar this week, top left clockwise:

As fall collections and new skin/haircare items start trickling in, I'd love to hear what's on your beauty radar!

Friday, July 18, 2014

In Rotation | Beauty Look Book Mascara and Lash Primer Picks


I typically limit myself to a couple of mascaras I use at any given time since I keep them for 3 months max before tossing but I've been testing new ones and I've discovered some new favorites. I have half a dozen I'm using right now and I've picked out my favorites to share.

When it comes to my lashes, I'm really picky with mascaras or lash primers. I have really straight ones that often don't hold the curl with most mascaras even with a lash curler (my essentials here). I also find a lot of black mascaras turn grayish looking after they dry on my lashes, smudge or end up feeling crunchy and flake during the day. When it comes to mascara I look for something that will last all day without clumping, flaking, smudging and something that stays a true lush black color and holds the curl.

I'm hesitant to try lash primers and lash serums because I don't like having an extra layer of product on my sensitive eyes. I'm a novice in this area so if you have any recommendations I am all ears.
The mascara and lash products I have in rotation right now:

  • Shu Uemura Lash Builder ($33) is a lash builder serum to help create a longer lusher lash look, I've been testing this for a few weeks and am still undecided on what I think but it's been in my lash rotation, it darkens and defines the lashes when you apply it but I haven't seen a visible difference after I apply colored mascara, reviews seem to indicate you will see results over time
  • Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum ($28.50) is something I've used for several years, I don't use it everyday but it's a favorite base that helps mascara adhere better to the lashes and makes it catch the lashes resulting in a fuller look, I like that it doesn't impact the curl after using a lash curler
  • Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof ($30) is something I discovered thanks to RaeView, it's the first waterproof mascara I've tried that doesn't make my lashes feel crunchy, this one needs 2-3 uses to break it in, it gives lush rich black lashes, volumizes, doesn't clump/flake/smudge and defines the lashes nicely, I haven't tested it at the beach or pool but it seems to be sweat proof and lasts all day
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch ($32) is a staple in my beauty arsenal, I've repurchased this numerous times (probably a dozen tubes by now), it's my favorite mascara of all time because it does everything I want - lengthens, defines, thickens, darkens the color and stays put, it's easy to apply and gets the little corners easily because of the tapered brush tip, the bristles are well designed to grab on to the lashes and glides on easily
  • Chanel Le Volume de Chanel ($30) is the only Chanel mascara I like, it's a lightweight mascara that glides on easily and doesn't clump, it stays put and doesn't dry to a grayish finish like other Chanel mascaras do (at least for me), I like the Black and Bleu (navy) for fun, but mostly use the black
  • NARS Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara ($25) is another favorite that I've repurchased numerous times, it is one of my favorite volumizing mascaras that doesn't flake or smudge, this one has a big fluffy brush so it can be prone to clumping after a while due to buildup, I wipe down the brush with a small piece of paper wrapped around the tip (tissue or paper towels will get caught in the bristles, so paper actually is best to clean the brush) and then it's back to perfection
If I were pressed to pick just one mascara to live with the rest of my life, it would be the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch. If you're looking for something more wallet-friendly, a few other  less expensive favorites I've tested and purchased numerous times include Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16), Topshop 3d Curve Mascara ($20, or in this Eyeliner/Mascara Set for $24) and MAC Plushlash Mascara ($16) has been a long-time favorite. I've tried dozens of drugstore mascaras (literally) and for some reason they've all turned grayish in color on my lashes and I've never found one that holds the curl.



What are your holy grail lash primers, serums and mascaras? I've been researching lash serums and would love your thoughts on any you've tried.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Travel / Trial Sized Beauty - Skincare for Face and Body


Since my last trip in April I've been on the hunt for more mini-sized beauty items for travel and testing. One area I always neglect in packing is skincare for face and body. I almost never check in luggage so I'm limited to one carry-on and therefore subject to the one quart-size bag rule for liquids. Squeezing in all the items into one bag is a challenge for me but I've learned that skipping out on good skincare usually results in ruined skin that takes weeks to recover (at least for me). This time I took extra care to plan in advance and did quite a bit of research in the weeks leading up to the trip looking for good travel-sized minis. This is what I brought with me, all of which fit perfectly into one quart sized bag. I love minis for skincare anyways as a way to test out new items without having to splurge on the full size.



  • SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser ($70 for full size) was part of a mini gift with purchase from Saks, I frequently check the Special Offers page before stocking up on the full size, this is one of my favorite face cleansers, when I don't have minis of my regular face cleansers, I squeeze some into a little disposable container
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water (50 ml/1.69 fl oz) the mini size is part of The Favorites Set ($32) which I've been a huge fan of, this is a gentle makeup remover that makes the skin feel clean and moisturized (FYI there is a Caudalie GWP online for a Deluxe Size Divine Oil with $50+ purchases using code DIVINE through July 2nd)
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil / Tranquil ($10 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) is one of the mini to-go sizes for MAC skincare, I bought this to test out since I've been a huge fan of the regular Cleanse Off Oil, I find the Tranquil version to be more gentle with a moisturizing feel, I prefer the Regular version to remove makeup before cleansing (with long-wear makeup, I've found I need a few extra steps to remove every trace of primer, concealer, foundation, powder and blush)
  • Chanel Gentle Biphase Eye Makeup Remover ($34 for the full size) is a mini I stock up on with gift with purchases during Chanel events, it's the best I've tried (I favor it over Lancome) that removes waterproof mascara and long-wear eyeliners without stinging the eyes
  • Giorgio Armani Regenessence 3.R Pre-Regenerative and Retexturizing Lotion ($53 for the full size) is my current toner of choice, it makes the skin feel really and soft and helps to smooth out the surface before serums or moisturizers, I got the mini size with a Neiman Marcus gift with purchase event and saved the bottle, I refill it with the full size when I go on trips or weekend getaways



  • Caudalie Divine Oil ($9 for 15 ml/.05 fl oz) is a must-have for me, I use it almost daily for the legs and arms, I love how this one smells refreshing and especially how it absorbs into the skin quickly, it's often available in value sets like this Sephora Summer Crushes set and I've seen it in seasonal duos, I bought my first Divine Oil because my friend said, "at $9 you won't be crushed if you don't like it, but you will, you need to try it, it's amazing" - she was right, I'm rarely without this one (it's often in my purse)
  • Caudalie Divine Legs (25 ml/0.84 fl oz) in the mini size is usually part of yet more value deal sets, there's one for $32 that comes with a 50 ml Divine Oil + 25 ml Divine Legs, I have super sensitive skin that often reacts to tanning and bronzing products, although this one from Caudalie doesn't tan, it does give a nice bronzed leg effect that I found very natural, since there were mixed reviews on Sephora, I thought getting the set with the mini was good to try, I tested the Divine Legs this past weekend rubbing quickly into the legs after moisturizing with a light layer of the Divine Oil, it dried quickly but I was able to work it in quickly before it set, I wore a black dress and skirt over the past few days so I didn't notice any transfer to clothing, I'll have to test this one out a few more times but I liked it and didn't experience any irritation
  • Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream (30 ml/1 fl oz) is another lovely item from The Favorites Set, I have a number of tried and true favorite hand creams, I picked this one because of the refreshing lightweight scent and compact size
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter (30 ml) is a new addition to Tatcha's Travel Sized beauty, if you're on their mailing list you might recognize this as one of the past gift with purchases they offered (they have special promo codes), this one will this one will be available for purchase mid to late July, you can read my full review here, some might wonder if I brought a body oil with me, did I really need to bring a body lotion as well? I could have gotten away with bringing just one, but I like the Tatcha for it's soothing qualities, sometimes my skin acts up and gets itchy from being dry, the Tatcha Indigo line works wonders for hydration and soothing



  • Chanel Sublimage La Creme Texture Fine ($390 for the full size 1.7 oz) is one of the most amazing face moisturizers I've tried and also one of my biggest splurges, it hydrates the skin and keeps it looking smooth and clear, there are often minis available with gift with purchases, sometimes counters have samples to give out (they are more friendly with samples if you make a decent sized purchase) 
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($15 for 0.5 fl oz/15 ml) is one of my favorite serums, I love the small travel/trial size which is available at a good price, it's often part of deal sets as well such as The Works, the best part is the mini packaging comes with a super convenient pump dispenser making it easy to use
  • Tatcha Camellia Beauty Oil ($33 for 10 ml) is the cutest mini-sized beauty oil, it's the perfect size to test out in case you're hesitant about oils in general (I am), when I travel, my skin tends to dry out a bit, I used this at night before bed to smooth the skin and give it an extra boost of hydration over night, on regular days, I use the oil for day 1-2x per week alternating with my regular serum/moisturizer routine, it gives the skin a super hydrated refreshed feel without feeling heavy (more thoughts on this one here)
  • Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream ($29 for 3 ml) came with a Barneys gift bag event offer, I love testing out mini eye creams and this one is super tiny which was good to fit into the corners of my quart sized bag, I found this one to be a bit heavy for my needs, it's a rich creamy eye treatment I found good for overnight hydration (applied in small doses) but for everyday it will probably be too heavy for my skin type, this is the beauty of minis, you can test items to see how they work for you before committing to the full size



  • Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray ($14 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz) has had so many raves on Sephora so I made a quick stop to one of the stores during my trip and picked one up. It's described as a weightless spray that keeps your makeup looking fresh for up to 16 hours. I attended a wedding over the weekend in semi-humid weather and thought this would be the perfect time to test something like this. Most of the wedding was indoors and it didn't last 16 hours so I couldn't really test this to see if it lived up to its claims. I did like the lightweight feeling, it spritzes a super fine layer of mist over the face evenly (huge plus for me) and it kept my makeup looking fresh and melt-free for around 7 hours.
  • Clinique Color Correcting Superprimer ($27 for 1 fl oz, review here) was my primer of choice for the weekend for its smoothing properties, you can see the difference in the texture of the skin once applied, it works well under liquid foundations as well
  • Origins Clear Improvement Mask Pods ($8 for 4 one-time use pods) is another item I picked up during my trip, I loved the concept of the one-time use pods and am usually skeptical about pore-cleansing masks since most usually are either too strong and sting the skin or so gentle it feels like nothing (my favorite from MAC was discontinued). I used one pod during my trip and was really impressed with how well this cleansed and tightened the skin, after one use pores were visibly smaller, there is a slight tingly feeling but it did not irritate or sting the skin, based on the reviews I've read and my experience with one pod, this one shows a lot of promise
All the liquid/gel items in my zip-loc quart size bag - yes, they all fit including a mini perfume and bottle of Chanel foundation :)


Overall this trip I felt like I packed all the essentials (and then some) for skin care face and body. I did skip bringing shampoo, conditioner and shower gels and relied on what was at the hotel (I was really happy that they had Neutrogena). I ended up using everything I brought with me along with the two items I purchased on the trip at Sephora. I don't travel often so it's taken a few tries for me to get the right mix of products while I'm away from home. I think this time I've finally found my perfect mix of items for skincare. (If you want to know what makeup I brought with me let me know in the comments below, otherwise you can see what I carried with me on previous trips by clicking on the Travel tag.)

Do you have any favorite travel sized beauty items? What items did you end up loving from mini-testing that made you buy the full size? Any new discoveries lately? Also if you ended up hating something from testing out a mini, I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Some items in this post were provided for review consideration and some minis were acquired from various gift with purchase events. Most items were purchased by me. For more information please refer to my Disclosures.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spring-to-Summer Bronze and Glow


I shared my favorite bronzers and illuminators with you last year in my Summer Glow post. There are a number of new bronzers and glowy products out this year that I've been testing lately that I wanted to share with you. Two have made the favorites list again this year. I've split this year's post into two categories: glow and bronze. For me the two aren't necessarily separate, I like to mix, blend and layer products to create a custom natural bronze or subtle glow. All of these work well with my normal combination sensitive skin (no break outs or reactions to these).


  • RMS Living Luminizer is one of those cult classic products. I've long resisted because after feeling it a few times in stores thought it would be too greasy for my normal/combination skin. I finally caved after a few friends demanded I give it a try. It is one of the most dewy and glowy highlighters I own but it does miraculously give a natural healthy sheen. It has barely any color on my medium skin and isn't too pale to give a sharp white contrast. It just gives a subtle sheen. I like this under blush or over it to add a bit of glow. I dab it on very lightly with fingers.
  • NARS Illuminator in 413 Blkr (review here) is a lovely champagne colored highlighter that isn't too pale or too yellow, it's gorgeous mixed in with foundation or used as a highlighter
  • Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow is one of my holy grail highlighters, it's perfect for medium-tanned skin beauty lovers who are looking for a good neutral highlighter that isn't pale, I use it as an eye base, on the cheeks, on the temples, I've hit pan on this twice, it's a must-have with gorgeous shimmer and non-greasy finish, it's perfection
  • NARS Illuminator in Hot Sand is new for summer, also limited-edition, I had to wait several weeks for this one, it sold out at all the counters near me so I ordered online, if you haven't checked this one out, I recommend it, it's a unique gorgeous peachy shimmer that dries down to a non-dewy finish (so it stays put)
  • Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust is repromoted this year, it sold out in the blink of an eye last year, if you missed out the first round, you have a chance to buy it this year (but with a white cap), I'm about half-way through mine from last year, it's extremely pricey but worth every penny (review last year here)


  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light made the list again this year, it's a sheer glowy powder with tiny micro sparkle particles but looks very natural on the skin, I recommend using a cream base (highlight or blush) underneath to help the color adhere better, once it does you get a lovely natural glow (also available in the palette/trio reviewed here)
  • Chanel Les Beiges Multi-Colour No. 02 (review here) if you're looking for something new this summer, this is the bronzer to buy, it's soft and natural and for me, it's back-up worthy
  • Chanel Blush Creme in Cheeky is a new blush creme from the summer collection, I thought it would be too similar to Destiny but it proved to be more pink and neutral
  • Armani Liquid Summer Bronzer (review here) is a nice darker liquid bronzer, if you like a layerable fluid bronzer, I recommend this one (although if you have the classic Bronze Universel by Chanel, you don't need this one because the color is similar)
  • MAC Extra Dimension Bronzer in Aphrodite's Shell and Delphic are both part of the Alluring Aquatic collection (both limited-edition). These are on the more subtle end of bronzers with a unique satiny-matte texture. They are buildable and with a slightly harder texture which makes these easy to layer on softly. They also adhere well to the skin and don't budge once applied. I adore both shades and prefer Delphic because it's more dramatic but they are both gorgeous. I would highly recommend acting fast with these, I'm surprised they are still available online and at counters.
More close ups in case you want to see the texture and shimmer in more detail:



There are a number of classic products such as NARS Multiples, Armani Fluid Sheers and all sorts of bronzers and highlighters that I adore. These are some that have been on my radar for a while (new ones along with tried and true).

What's in your beauty rotation right now for bronzers or highlighters?



 

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