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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Armani Luxe is More Holiday Collection - Luxe is More Palette, Eye Tints and Lip Maestro

Armani's holiday collection this year is called Luxe is More and the items launched are definitely luxury beauty pieces. I've been a fan of Armani for a long time but found that my favorites were previously released items such as the Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows and older blush formula. Many of the items have gone through reformulations and revamps and I haven't kept up with new launches as much. The holiday collection did catch my eye and I splurged on four items:
  • Luxe is More Palette ($140) has ten eyeshadows, one finishing powder and two shades of cream foundation
  • Eye Tints ($38 each) come in shades 16, 17 and 18, I picked up 17 and 18
  • Lip Maestro ($36 each) launched in six new shades, each color has a velvety matte finish, I picked up one Pearly Nude 508
Up first are the individual items for lips and eyes, Lip Maestro 508, Eye Tint 18, Eye Tint 17:

Swatches of the three colors below, Lip Maestro 508, Eye Tint 17, Eye Tint 18:

I'm an Armani Eye Tint lover. These are shimmery cream eyeshadows that come with a sponge-tip applicator. They look super shimmery and frosty but blend out to a smooth finish with a glow. Swatches and review of some other shades in this post here. There are three new shades with the holiday collection, I picked 17 and 18 even though I suspected there might be duplicates in my current stash. I'm a sucker for a good neutral shimmer and these looked so pretty at the counter. Eye Tint 18 is a silvery cool shimmer. Eye Tint 17 is a champagne pink shimmer.

Some swatch comparisons below:

Burberry Wet and Dry Glow in Optic White (review)
Armani Eyes to Kill Intense #9 (review)
NARS Velvet Eyeshadow Stick in Goddess (review)
Armani Eye Tint #12 (review)
Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color in Angel (swatched)
Burberry Wet and Dry Glow in Shell (review)
Armani Eye Tint #8 (review)
Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color in Twilight (swatched)
NARS Velvet Eyeshadow Stick in Oaxaca (review)
Armani Eyes to Kill Intense #4 (review)

I think the Eye Tint 17 has a similar effect to Eyes to Kill Intense 9, the Eye Tint has less frost/shimmer and a tad bit more pink, but the overall finish is almost identical. Eye Tint #18 pulls more silver/cool on my skin but that's because I have a lot of olive. If you're more pink it will probably look more neutral.

Next up is the Lip Maestro in Pearly Nude #508. The Lip Maestros this round have a matte finish and are more like a velvety matte liquid lipstick. Finish is sheer to medium but you can build the color. Lasting power is pretty good, much better than the regular Armani Glosses and the thick texture adheres well to the lips. Pearly Nude is more like a pearly pink with a very slight cool undertone. There is a slight sheen to it because of the pearl shimmers, but the finish is definitely matte.

Swatch comparisons below to:

Armani Gloss D'Armani 503 (discontinued)
Surratt Beauty Lip Lustre in Soigne (review)
Marc Jacobs Hi-Shine Enamored Lip Lacquer Rebel Rebel (review)
NARS Lip Gloss in Baby Doll (swatches)
NARS Lip Gloss in Ophelia (swatches)
NARS Lip Gloss in Risky Business (swatches)

Last but not least is the Luxe is More Palette. I swatched this in store and fell head over heels in love with the colors - I think any neutral makeup lover would gasp with awe at how pretty this palette is. The pigment of the shadows is medium but buildable. The shimmer is very fine - visilble on the skin but not frosted. All the colors have shimmer with the exception of two (top row has a matte cream, middle has a soft matte black). I've been playing with this for over a week and have mixed feelings. It's no doubt beautiful, stunning and gorgeous for an understated glowy eye look. The price is over the top and even though you do get 10 eyeshadows, a powder and two cream foundations in a large sturdy double-tiered mirrored compact, it's over priced and you can dupe the shadows with other brands. Also the bottom tier has a powder and foundation that seems like it will only suit light to medium skintones. I'm lucky in the sense they are a perfect match for me, but if you're super fair or tan to dark, the bottom deck won't match your skintone.

The palette does come in a black pouch with two eyeshadow sponge-tip applicators. The bottom deck has two black sponges for the face products. For me they are all too small to be super useful, although they are good for touch ups.

After playing with this, I think based on my past reviews of other natural palettes like the Chanel Fall Les 5 Ombres and Dior Eye Reviver Palettes, most of you will either love or hate this. I find the overall feel to be similar to the Dior Eye Reviver Palettes in the sense that it's natural with a subtle shimmer (versus high shimmer frost). The Armani Palette does have more shimmer and the pigment is slightly richer than the Dior. Compared to the Chanel, the Armani has better pigment, but it's still a very natural-looking palette. If you want high impact color and pigment, I would not recommend this for you. Still if you can get to an Armani counter, definitely test this.

I am really happy with this palette, but I do think it's extremely expensive and very splurgy. By comparison, you can get the MAC x15 in Warm Neutrals or Cool Neutrals for $85 each. Or if you want to build your own MAC palette, you can do so at the MAC stores or online for $160 (palette + insert cost $10, each pro-palette shadow is priced at $10).

Swatches of the shadows in the top deck include: matte cream, shimmering shell, shimmering gold, shimmering pale gold, silver, white frost, shimmery cool mauve, shimmery taupe, satiny plum, matte black

Bottom deck has two shades of cream foundation, I like these under the eyes as brighteners for me, and one finishing powder that disappears completely on my skin, it's a nice setting/touch up powder

Palette ingredients:

Bottom line, I love the Eye Tints, but I knew that I would. I do think they are very similar to other shades so if you already own a good champagne shimmer or silvery shimmer, no need to get these as they will be dupes. The Lip Maestro in Pearly Nude is a gorgeous neutral pink with a very slight hint of cool undertone. The formula is strange to me as it's a matte, but has a sheen to it. I'm usually not a fan of matte lip colors but this one is nice. I did find that I had to layer the color to get it to show up on my pigmented lips, but I didn't have to pack it on. If your lip pigment is light to medium, you probably won't have to layer like I did. The Luxe is More Palette is the ultimate splurge. So many of my readers are almost anti-shimmer with eyeshadows, if you are ultra conservative with shimmer and like a soft glow, you will really like the colors in this palette. They are natural and understated but give the eyes a brightened look effect. If you're one who likes more pigment and color payoff, I recommend you try it in person before splurging.

You can find the Luxe is More Collection at all Armani counters now. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Selfridges and Giorgio Armani Beauty.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday Beauty and Grooming Gifts from Nordstrom

The holiday shopping season has begun and there are a number of great beauty and grooming sets this year to suit every kind of recipient at multiple price points. I wish there was a one-gift fits all to make holiday shopping easier and more efficient but this is rarely the case for me. If you want a one-stop-shop, Nordstrom makes it really easy to find gifts for everyone in one place. They will gift wrap your gifts or give you beautiful silver boxes and ribbon to pack things up yourself which makes gifting easy. I've teamed up with Nordstrom today to share some of my top picks for gifts by recipient.

For the home, you can't go wrong with the holiday scents and gift sets from Diptyque. The Holiday Colored Glass Trio ($100 for 3) for this year is absolutely stunning with a huge wow factor. It comes with three 2.4 oz candles in this year's holiday scents Sapin, Oliban and Liquidamber. I can't get over how beautiful the packaging is this year. The Diptyque boxes are always beautiful as well.

There are a number of options and if you're new to Diptyque you might be slightly confused with the options. I've done a size comparison post before, but the quick version is shown below.
  • 1.2 oz is the smallest size available and only available in the 5 Piece Mini Candle Set (5 pieces for $75) or 10 Piece Mini Candle Set ($130). These sets are usually only available during the holiday seasons.
  • 2.4 oz candles are sold individually or in sets. Holiday scents with special packaging are usually priced higher ($35) than the ones with the clear glass jars ($32). There are sets available usually in trios.
  • 6.5 oz candles are the standard size and priced at $60 for the ones with clear glass. Holiday or seasonal editions are priced higher, this year's version is $70. These are typically sold individually although this year there are a few fragrance + candle sets available.

For the beauty lover who travels a lot, the Laura Mercier Stroke of Genius Set ($98) comes with six short-handled brushes in a dark brown pebbled clutch. I've bought many Laura Mercier Brush sets over the years, they always make really good high quality travel size sets. The ones included in this year are Flat Eyeliner Brush, Eye Crease Brush, All Over Eye Colour Brush, Ponytail Brush, Cheek Colour Brush, Secret Camouflage Brush. I've bought previous season sets for my mom and aunts and the brushes are well-loved.

For your BFF there are a number of good mini color sets from Laura Mercier. Picking makeup for friends or family can be tricky but Laura Mercier has several sets under $50 that have universally flattering shades. One is the Laura Mercier Haute Lips Trio ($38) which has a full-size Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour in Petal Pink, a deluxe size Crème Smooth Lip Colour in Pink Dusk and mini Lip Pencil in Baby Lips. I picked up one below but don't have swatches because it is indeed a gift for one of my friends. Another good trio set is the In the Glow Trio ($38) for cheeks and eyes, these have clutch-sized minis perfect for on-the-go or evening touch ups.

A luxe gift for your BFF is the Chanel Turn Up the Shine Glossimer Set ($92). This is a luxurious splurge, but for that someone extra special you can't go wrong with Glossimers. This year's set has Beige Star, Rose Tendre and Murmure, all creams and non-shimmers. I have all three shades and love them. For the person who wants natural color and shine this is a good one. If you think shimmer is preferred, the two shades from the Vamp Attitude holiday collection are stunning. I'll add swatches below.

For the extra extra special someone or beauty lover who has almost everything, the ultimate splurge is the Armani Luxe is More Eyeshadow Palette ($140). When I saw this pop up online I thought there is no way this palette is worth the high price tag. I swatched it in store and was so amazed by the shimmer and pigment. The palette is pretty large too and the colors have the most exquisite shimmers. I'll have a detailed review soon. For now a sneak preview of the top and bottom layers. It has 10 eyeshadows, two concealers and one powder.

For the men in your life whether it's a boyfriend, husband, brother, dad, uncle etc. you can't go wrong with Kiehl's or Jack Black. So many of my friends have asked me for grooming recommendations for their boyfriends or husbands. They often want to help steer them into better grooming habits without being too pushy or hurt feelings. I've found starter sets with good packaging often get used - no extra nudging or pushing required. The Kiehl's Men's Starter Kit ($43) is something I bought for my husband and he's discovered a number of good staples. It's priced just right and has a little bit of everything for face, body, hands and shaving. Jack Black's The Jack Pack ($49) is also another good one, my husband swears by the Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser but it's not for everyone (some people like my brother-in-law don't like the thick mask-like texture).

Either way, both Kiehl's and Jack Black have good sets to fit everyone's tastes. There are a lot of unisex sets and I've found the holiday offerings have a good sampling of products for those just starting out or looking to try something new. (The Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Cream also comes in a trio this year and it's my husband's favorite hand cream formula.)

Last but not least, one thing I like to do for smaller gifts is split up sets and mix and match things. It's like giving stocking stuffers but one step up. I'm completely obsessed with Sugarfina Champagne Gummy Bears ($7 to $20 depending on size) and I'm so excited Nordstrom has these!! There are a few sweet sets which you can't go wrong with. I think it would be really fun to mix a small box of gummies with a hand cream and mini candle from a set or mini lip gloss.

I hope you found some ideas from my first holiday gift guide this season! What do you have on your list? I'm up for more inspiration or suggestions as I've just started my holiday shopping and have a lot more on my list.

Many thanks to Nordstrom for teaming up to sponsor this post. All items purchased by me. As always, all opinions my own.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Foundations

It's time for a foundation update now that we are transitioning to fall weather. I've been testing some new base formulas over the past few months. I have an assortment of foundations to share today by coverage type which I've found suitable for my normal combination skin. These days my skin is slightly oily in the T-zone with a few dry patches around the chin area as I'm working to clear up my skin. I still have super sensitive skin that reacts to a lot of foundations so if you're like me, I this roundup helps you find something new to try.

In case you have completely different skin type and foundation preferences, I highly recommend you give Nordstrom's online foundation search tool to help you find the right foundation for you. There is a quick and easy form for you to fill out where you select skin type, coverage and finish preference. This filters brands and formulas for you to check out. I highly recommend you give it a try.

I've split my fall foundation edit into three categories: Natural Coverage, Medium-to-Full Coverage and Powder Foundations. My personal foundation preference is for something that is natural looking and lightweight but also has decent coverage to even out the skin and create a flawless base. Many have asked me if it's necessary for add-ons like primers and powder. I don't think all foundations need a primer, but I'm a firm believer in setting with powder. Many times I set with a powder foundation by dusting the face with a brush. Some think it's too much to layer powder foundation on top of liquid foundation but if you layer it right, it's not too much. (More on primers and powders in a separate post.)

Up first are three new powder foundations I've been testing. If you've read The Beauty Look Book for a long time you will know that my holy grail powder foundation is the Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte Powder Foundation. My color is usually Warm 100 and has worked for me even though I've gotten darker over the summer. I decided to try a few new formulas.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation is indeed a high-def kind of product. It's a super pigmented and super velvety kind of powder foundation that has medium to full coverage. You can use this one wet or dry, I prefer dry with a sponge or dusted with a brush. For me trying powder foundation is tricky - as the skin warms up, powders often darken or oxidize in color. The Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation does warm up to the skin but doesn't darken. It holds up really well with minor touch ups needed on the nose for me. I use Medium Light Warm. There are a number of shade options with different undertones.

The Tom Ford Flawless Powder Foundation launched a few months ago. This is extremely pricey at $80 but the formula is amazing. With a simple base of moisturizer the sponge applies this on the skin and makes all your pores disappear. Skin appears smooth and truly flawless. It's easy to build - the texture in the compact looks and feels powdery but there is no fall out on the face and it doesn't cake. The downside (aside from the steep price tag) is the limited color selection. I'm in between Fawn and Sable. It was suggested I opt for Fawn as the closest match. I'm about 1.5 shades darker now compared to what I am most of the year. For right now I can get by with Fawn but it's a tad bit too pale. It will be perfect for winter. That being said I do hope they expand the color selection to match the liquids because this formula is incredible.

Giorgio Armani also launched a new foundation called the Luminous Silk Compact. Color selection jumps around in this one as well. I am normally anywhere from a 6, 6.5 to 7 in the Luminous Silk and Lasting Silk. The powders I saw seemed to run on the dark side. I was matched to 4 and I was super skeptical about the counter rep's matching skills because I expected to be 5.5 or 6.5. She was right. It warms up on the skin. I would say this is one of the sheerer powder foundations I've tried. If you like a super natural look this is a good one. It is very smooth and finely milled. I prefer more coverage but it's great as a setting powder or layered over a sheer foundation.

Swatches next to Chanel Double Perfection Lumiere Powder Foundation (right now I use 40 Beige) and Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte in Warm 100


Next up are some natural medium coverage foundations. Some of these are more on the sheer side but each of these will offer enough coverage to even the skin and cover minor imperfections. I have a few tried and true mixed in with a new to me formula.

Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact was featured a few weeks ago. This is the first cushion compact I've tried and my color match is Tan Gold 204. Several of you mentioned you hoped shade 102 would launch in the US and the good news is that I just noticed that it's now online at Nordstrom! The Amore Pacific Cushion Compact is the most natural looking foundation I've tried that still gives medium coverage. It melts into your face to look like skin but as you press it into your face you will see it transform into what I call your skin but better. Color selection is limited so I'm thrilled that Tan Gold is my perfect match (it warms up and adjusts within the first 2-5 minutes but doesn't darken further after it sets).

The NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is one of my holy grail base products because it's really not like a traditional tinted moisturizer. When my friends ask me for a recommendation on a foundation that's natural this is the one I recommend first. It's usually followed by a response along the lines of, "oh but I don't like tinted moisturizers, they're too sheer and greasy." I agree that most are, but this one is very different. It's more like a natural foundation with a super lightweight texture that makes the skin glow naturally. I'm usually Groenland year round but after getting a tan I've found the next shade up St. Moritz to be a better match. If you haven't tried this formula I highly recommend you do. It has the perfect natural coverage and glows without feeling too glowy and doesn't get greasy or too emollient throughout the day.

La Mer Reparative Skin Tint is something I featured over the summer. This is one of the few skincare + foundation in one kind of products that I actually like. The formula melds into the skin beautifully and offers natural medium coverage. Over time it improves the texture of the skin adding moisture without feeling heavy. The only downside is the color selection is limited and it's also very expensive but if you can find a color match it's well worth the splurge. It helps rebalance the skin and lasts all day long. If you have normal to dry skin this one is really good.

The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream was a pleasant surprise for me. I received a few press sample recently and gave it a try. I have to say it far exceeded my expectations - the concept of a gel cream didn't sound appealing to me since most gel-like foundations feel sticky and often look too dewy on my skin. This formula has thoroughly impressed me, I like it just as much as the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and the added bonus is the color selection seems better than most lines. This is a BB Cream, CC Cream and Tinted Moisturizer in one. I'm usually not a fan of BB or CC creams because I don't like the way they feel on my face. The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue feels weightless and blends into the skin beautifully.


The final category for my fall foundation roundup is medium to full coverage formulas. This is my formula of choice since I prefer bases that cover my skin more to create an even base. All of these have been featured before on the blog, they are my tried and true.

Tom Ford makes excellent foundation. The Traceless Foundation Stick is hands down the best foundation stick I've ever tried. It's super creamy and easy to blend on the skin. It covers imperfections without looking cakey. Since it's super pigmented I recommend layering this on areas you need extra coverage instead of applying it all over the face. I love the formula but the pigment is too rich for the entire face everyday (at least for me). The Traceless Perfecting Foundation is something I use regularly. I am normally a match to Bisque 4 but right now Natural 5 is my perfect summer match.

The NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is another holy grail for full coverage foundations. This one gets mixed reviews - some love it, others hate it. It's super concentrated and a little goes a long way. It lasts all day on my normal combination skin and covers the face really really well. If I were to compare this to a lipstick, I would say this is similar to Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution. Both are more matte in finish but have this luminous quality that makes it look natural and not flat. I do think you need to prep the skin properly with a good moisturizer and primer if you have any dryness or uneven texture on the skin (I like the Dolce & Gabbana Primer or any of the ones from NARS). My shades are Santa Fe and Punjab, both of which are too light for me now. Since a little goes a long way I still have a lot of both shades and didn't want to purchase a third since I'll be losing my tan soon.

Last but not least, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is a classic staple for me. I've repurchased it several times. I alternate between Beige 30 and Beige 40 depending on my skintone. It offers medium buildable coverage and feels lightweight. Even though the name "velvet" implies a matte finish, I find it's a natural luminous matte. It doesn't look or feel heavy. In terms of foundation recommendations this one usually is #2 on my list. Many often ask, "but what about the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua? it sounds better and lighter." Both are good formulas, the Perfection Lumiere Velvet is my favorite because it covers better and has a slightly matte finish. It also lasts all day and feels weightless. The Vitalumiere Aqua is also natural looking and I know many love it. On me it feels a bit too dewy, I would say it's better suited for you if you like glowy makeup or have normal to dry skin.


If you're looking for a new foundation to try, I hope you found this roundup helpful. Finding the right foundation can take time. There are so many factors to consider from color matching, formula, finish and lasting power. As usual, I'd love to hear about your foundation favorites or new discoveries. Do you have anything that's a go-to for fall?

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. Press samples include the items from Bare Minerals and Amore Pacific. All others purchased by me. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Loving Right Now

It's the last week of August which means summer is coming to an end soon. I suspect we will still have really good weather in Southern California for the next few months - although I haven't been to the beach nearly enough this year. Right now I'm working my way through Chanel, Tom Ford, Sara Happ, and Eve Snow reviews along with some roundup features. Sometimes I feel as though the days go by so quickly and I find it challenging to accomplish as much I as I would like to. I need some organization and time management inspiration!

Right now I'm obsessed with Smith and Cult in She Said Yeah. It's such a pretty vibrant girly lilac periwinkle colored nail polish - I like it on the toes. For bronzers I'm obsessed with Tom Ford Small Bronzing Powder compacts. I don't know if they are limited-edition or not, but I picked up 2 of the Gold Dust. Armani Maestro Liquid Summer I got last year has still lasted me a long time (with a long way to go, I don't know if I will ever use it up). I like how it blends into the skin naturally. There are three shades now.

For the lips, I'm still obsessed with the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors. I almost always have one or two colors in my purse. For fragrance I'm on a rollerball kick. I ordered this Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco mini recently. I'm forever in search of a good vanilla perfume I can wear that isn't too sweet. I'm completely in love with it but my husband is not a fan. He doesn't like vanilla scents on me at all (inserts sad face).

I featured R+Co in my July Favorites and I've been exploring more from the line. I've stocked up on a few mini sample packets from various gift with purchase offers. Most recently I was sent a sample of the Rockaway Salt Spray and it smells so so so amazing. The first few times I used it I sprayed too much too close to my roots. It does dry down even if you use too much but I recommend spritzing at least 6 inches from your hair. It gives a nice textured look and volume without making the hair feel crunchy.

The Supergoop! Sun Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam SPF 50 has been on regular rotation for body. It absorbs quickly, doesn't feel greasy, doesn't have that sunscreen smell, keeps sunburns away and doesn't irritate my super sensitive skin. I started testing the cream Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 with Cellular Response Technology and it also works well without irritation issues. I'll have a sunscreen testing roundup soon. 

Last but not least, Truffle has new Clarity Pouch colors! Above shown are Large Seafoam Mint Cranberry and Small Pewter Lime Slate.

What have you been loving this week?

Press samples in this feature include items Smith & Cult, R+Co, Clarins and Truffle.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Current Base Testing Rotation

I have a love-hate relationship with foundation these days. The summer sun is impossible to avoid here in Southern California and I've gotten a bit of color even with sunscreen. On our three weeks trip to Europe we spent a lot of time outdoors and on beaches - I got 2-3 shades darker. I've been trying to stay indoors more since I've been home so my tan is fading and I'm in that in-between stage of foundation colors. Some I have to mix to get the right match. These days I've been loving sheerer coverage formulas that are more forgiving. They have enough coverage to even the skintone but are sheer enough that you don't need a 100% exact match.

Another tricky thing about foundation is color matching at the counter. In the past several trips I've made to the beauty counters and asked about foundation, the reps have looked at my skin and asked, "do you want to be darker or lighter?" Foundation is supposed to be a close match and I understand it can't always be exact, but I can't count the times I've been mis-matched at the counter. My solution is to ask to try 2-3 shades on the jawline, side by side and decide for myself. Or just go to Sephora where I know I can shop on my own and swatch at my own leisure.

I have a roundup of some new formulas I've been trying out along with a few tried-and-true. Some formulas I've found the next shade up is too big of a jump for me to purchase. Here are swatches of all the colors shown above. More detail below by coverage type.

Sheer Coverage

Sheer coverage foundations are something I haven't been able to wear for a long time, but my skin has cleared up over the past 6 months thanks to skin resurfacing treatments like the Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Night Serum and regular use of clarifying masks from Aesop, Caudalie and Glamglow.
  • I recently received a sample of the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint ($26 for 1 fl oz) in Medium. There is a skin chart online to help determine what color will be your match. I wasn't sure what to expect - this looks like the kind of product that looks so sheer it might designed for those with near-perfect skin. I've tested this for the past month and am really pleased with it. It is truly a skin tint. It's very sheer so it's forgiving but it gives the skin that natural healthy glow. It evens out the skin and brightens. I do need to set with powder or powder foundation but it's really good. It's lightweight and lasts all day without getting greasy. No breakouts or reaction to the formula either.
  • Armani Luninessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer ($52 for 1 fl oz) has been raved about by so many. I know Armani foundations are really well-loved, I like a couple of the formulas but find the color selection very limited in the ones I like (Luminous Silk has the most options and it's one I cannot wear more than 1 hour without getting greasy-looking). When this product launched I was in between shades. Since I got a bit darker I thought it was the perfect time to try Shade 5. It's pink-based but very sheer so it adjusts to my skin without looking too pink. I do wish it was a tad bit more olive, or that they released yellow versions of this formula. It gives the skin a natural glow with sheer coverage. It's on the hydrating side so I think it's better suited for normal to dry skin. If it had a wider color selection I'd give this a rating of 8.5 out of 10 stars.
  • By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream ($86 for 1.41 fl oz) is extremely expensive but in terms of formula for CC creams, it's the best I've tried. It's very lightweight, very hydrating and sheer but buildable. It gives the skin a well-rested glow look like you just had a facial. I like that it has enough yellow in it for my skintone. Right now it's a bit light but since it's sheer I can make it work by dusting a bit of darker powder like Chanel Les Beiges 30 on top. If the next shade up was a good match I would get it, but my rep said there's a huge jump and that it would be too dark. If you have oily skin I don't think this is the product for you. For normal to dry skin it's a great one.
  • Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid ($45 for 1 fl oz) is a sheer glow product. The colors pull pink but the formula is very sheer so applying this all over gives the skin a warm glow. I like to use this as a base and then layer a heavier coverage foundation on areas that need more coverage. It gives the skin a natural healthy look.

Medium Coverage

Three medium coverage base products I've had in rotation are from La Mer, Charlotte Tilbury and NARS. This is my foundation coverage of choice. I like medium coverage to cover the entire face but something that still has a bit of transparency so if it's not an exact match it will adjust.
  • La Mer The Reparative Skin Tint ($95 for 1.4 fl oz) is the most I think I've ever spent on foundation. Color selection is limited but it's sheer to medium in coverage and adjusts to the skin after it sets. My closest match is Light Medium 3. It looks pinkish in the swatch but it blends out really nicely. The warmth gives a glow to the skin and makes it glow. When I went to the counter to try this I really appreciated the honesty of the rep who helped me. His initial thought was that I would be in between shades but was really nice and swatched two colors, one on each side. We were both surprised #3 matched. I had one of my friends with me to give a second opinion. She gave it the thumbs up so I bought it. It gives a similar glow to that of the By Terry but it has more pink undertone and it has more coverage. It has SPF 30. I hate to say it but I really love this one.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder ($45 for 1.4 fl oz) is an amazing foundation. It gives the appearance of a youthful glow with perfect medium coverage. It's thin-to-medium in texture so it feels weightless. It blends into the skin flawlessly and lasts all day long. The downside is the color selection and until now I've been in between colors. I swatched #6 and #7 above to show you the jump. If you're at the counter and look at the shades in consecutive order you may find them confusing. There's a huge jump in colors and undertones. Right now I'm a perfect match to #7 but I can tell any day I'll have to mix in a light color to adjust it. If you can find a good color match this one is amazing in formula.
  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($43 for 1.9 fl oz) has been my holy grail medium coverage tinted moisturizer for a long time. My go-to shade has been Groenland but over our trip I found St. Moritz to be a better match. I got even darker than St. Moritz however the next shade up is too dark. I still love this formula - it's the best tinted moisturizer I've tried but it doesn't have that tinted moisturizer feel. It has medium coverage and feels super lightweight. It evens out the skin and looks very natural.

Medium to Full Coverage

I have a few favorites for medium to full coverage but I can't wear all of them now with hot humid weather. There are only two that truly hold up to the heat.
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet ($47 for 1 fl oz) has never let me down. In my lightest I wear 20, I'm normally a 30, right now I'm a perfect match to 40. It's been a long-time go-to for me. It has a perfect velvet finish without looking too matte. It holds up really well in the heat and for the coverage and pigment I'm really happy it doesn't oxidize or darken.
  • Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Oil-Free Foundation ($48 for 1 fl oz) is my new favorite (tied with the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet). It's an oil-free foundation that comes in a wide selection of color undertones. I matched myself at Sephora to Golden Medium which is really yellow (I swatched 4 different colors on my face at the store). It's concentrated but fluid so you only need 1-2 pumps to cover the entire face. It's lightweight but gives medium to full coverage. It blends out nicely and is easy to layer. I don't know what took me so long to try it but it lasts all day.
  • Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation ($80 for 1 fl oz) is something I repurchased recently. I'm usually Bisque 4 but it pulls light so I went up to Natural 5. I really adore this for the coverage, color selection and finish. In hot humid weather this time of year it just feels too heavy. It holds up pretty well to the heat but on the skin if I'm outdoors I can feel it.
  • Chanel CC Cream Complete Correction Sunscreen ($55 for 1 fl oz) is another Chanel love of mine. It has a high SPF of 50 and covers the skin really well. I wore this all through spring and have been using it on and off in the summer. In 83+ degree weather it feels thick on the skin although it holds up well and looks good. I'll be saving this for cooler days. It still works on warm days I just prefer something that feels more lightweight.

Overall my top three picks for right now include the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, Marc Jacobs Genius Gel and Glossier Skintint. The La Mer follows close behind but due to the price and limited color selection I don't know how likely it is I will repurchase once I finish it up. NARS is almost always at the top of my list but I don't have a color match. Do you have a summer favorite right now? If yes, please share!

The Glossier Skintint was provided as a courtesy sample for review consideration. All others purchased by me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On My Radar / New In Beauty

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have a roundup of new beauty releases on my radar. I was planning to share this tomorrow but there's a super special amazing deal that can't wait. Fall collections are trickling in and the new releases look amazing. My first post will be on NARS fall (which is incredible) and I'm currently swatching my picks from Chanel. Several have asked for the post on my travel carry-on contents - I promise to have it up as soon as I can! I'm editing the photos today and tomorrow. Here's what's on my radar from the top left then clockwise:

Sephora Pro has launched a collection of 5 brushes in the hakuho-do + SEPHORA PRO Brush Collection. Each brush comes encased in a beautiful rich red box. The brush tips are a pale white and grey color. Handles are lacquered in a shiny red with silver embossed labels. The presentation is just phenomenal. I'm testing the brushes this week and hope to have a review with first impressions soon.

Tom Ford Beauty has some amazing things coming out this fall. I'm most excited about the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo (currently available for pre-order, I've ordered it). I'm also intrigued by the Skin Primers that come in a Pink and Peach version.

One of my BFFs shared her love about Korean Skincare Peach and Lily over the weekend. She ordered some of the Cremorlab Sheet Masks and said "you need to try them." She has super sensitive skin and also knows her ingredients as she works in product development and closely with chemists. If she says something is good I trust her 100% - I'm ordering a few over the weekend. If you have any recommendations I'm all ears!

For Chanel fall I'm obsessed with the new Le Vernis shades in Vert Obscur, Ecorce Sanguine and Chataigne. Two are very very dark but they are perfect for fall. The new Les 5 Ombres de Chanel is to die for. My personal favorites are the four new Stylo Yeux Eyeliners.

Fresh has a new Limited-Edition Rose Face Mask launched to celebrate their 15th Anniversary. They've teamed up with London-based artist Jo Ratcliffe to create a beautiful special-edition floral design for the packaging. It's gorgeous.

Guerlain Fall isn't expected to arrive until next month but there is a new Terracotta Bayadère Face & Eyes Contour Palette that has caught my eye. I need to check it out immediately.

Marc Jacobs Beauty has three new face products that just launched. I need the Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer for sure. It wasn't on display at my Sephora last week but I hope to check it out soon. There is also a new Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate and a a new brush to go with it called The Face III Buffing Foundation Brush.

Armani has a new Luminous Silk Powder Foundation. I'm a 6.5 in the Luminous Silk and was matched to shade 4 at the counter. I'm not entirely sure it's the right match but I'm giving it a go anyways. The other colors in the 5, 5.5 and 6.5 range looked very pink to me. I'll report once I've given it a proper test.

Tatcha just launched a new Pore Perfecting Suncreen with SPF 35 (also available in a travel size). I'm really anxious to try this as I've been testing sunscreens all summer long. I have high hopes for this one.

Last but not least, many thanks to a couple of my readers who let me know Diptyque is on Hautelook for a limited time. There are a few select pieces available - but the deals are really good and it's worth a look. I bought two of the Lilac pillars although now I need a photophore to store it. This is my first time ordering from Hautelook.

What's on your beauty radar this week?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

I've been browsing items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for a few days now. I stopped by my local store for Early Access last week to take a quick peek and bought two of the beauty exclusives from MAC and Dior. Since things looked like they were selling out quickly I stopped by my local store again today - there were a lot of things I had on my list that sold out including the Deborah Lippmann Undressed Set and YSL Rock Attitude Glossy Stain. If you see something on your radar I recommend you order online or visit your store as soon as you can.

Beauty Exclusives I picked up include the Dior Eye Reviver Palette in Rosy Nordy Girl and the Vernis in Majesty (peach). They also had some of the fall collection out, I picked up the Cosmopolite Nail Polish (muted plum).

I think the best value find for me is the T3 Compact Styling Set which is priced at $150. The Compact Folding Dryer is $150 by itself so with this Nordstrom set you basically get the flat iron for free. I love that the dryer will fold into a more compact size. If I could have only bought one thing from the sale, this would be it (they are boxed together).

MAC seemed to be selling through their sets faster than usual at the store. I picked up the MAC Look in a Box Pretty Natural Lip Kit that has Subculture Lipliner, Pretty Natural Lipstick and Feeling Fine Lipglass. I picked up mine during early access. Today my local store was completely sold out. It seems to have sold out online too but right now just came back. If you missed out - order soon, or keep the link bookmarked. It keeps popping back in stock. I'm a sucker for a good nude pink lipstick. Subculture Lipliner is a staple neutral I think everyone should own anyways.

Palettes are always big during the sale. I picked up three palettes, two are gifts for friends but I think now I want them too.  The Chanel Travel Palette is something I picked up for a friend. It has the Les Beiges Powder 20, a blush, five eye colors, lip colors, mini brushes and a small mascara. I am not a fan of compacts that don't have separators for cream and powder - I can see this one becoming a mess. Still it's really pretty and the pink blush and lips are so so gorgeous.

Lorac has the best priced deal with a $15 The Skinny Black Eyeshadow Palette. I bought this because it's a steal - how can anyone resist? My store had about 20 or so left on the floor display - there seemed to be a lot left.

For me, I picked up the new MAC Nordstrom's Finest Exclusive 15 Pan. It's not a Anniversary Sale Exclusive, but my associate said it's a Nordstrom Exclusive (kinda confusing to me). I'm sure it has a lot of repeats for me because I already own a lot of singles but the convenience of having everything in one palette is appealing.

There seemed to be a lot of new fall items trickling in. Armani had a display unit for the new powder foundation but it didn't have any product inside, nor did they have anything to sell. I'm hoping it will launch soon because I'm eager to test it out. I did pick up a few Fluid Sheers, left to right is 14, 17 and 18. It's been a while since I last checked out anything from Armani but I've been told 17 and 18 are new.

All of Chanel Fall is now in store and online. I picked up a few items last week from Saks. Today I picked up a few more items including the three Le Vernis shades in Vert Obscur, Ecorce Sanguine and Chataigne. There are two new eye palettes: Tisse D'Automne Quadra Eyeshadow and a new Les 5 Ombre Eyeshadow Palette. I hope to swatch this weekend and have reviews soon.

I ran out of some nail care products so I restocked on the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil (purple) and Cuticle Remover (white). I picked up her new All About That Base base coat.

Last but not least I picked up three clothing items - I ordered mine online and they arrived a few days ago. Rag and Bone Theo Pullover is a super soft black v-neck sweater. I find sizing in brands these days all over the place for tops. For most Rag and Bone I am an XS - this sweater fits nicely but has a slightly loose feel. It's not too large on me but the look is slightly more relaxed than what the model shows. I ordered a Splendid Jersey Wrap Robe which runs true to size. I also ordered these J Brand Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans.

Did you pick up anything from the sale? Or are you planning to shop the sale this weekend? What did you end up picking out? I keep forgetting to stop by the shoes section - although since it's summer I can't get into the mood for boots.


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