Showing posts with label Highlighter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Highlighter. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial & Sculpting Powders


I'm a newbie to the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line. I used to use his Celestial Powder in Candlelight a long time ago when it came in the large compact packaging and liked it for a soft glow, but after using it up never really explored much of the line. Recently I decided to give the brand a closer look. I ordered both of The Celestial Powders ($44 each for 3.1g/0.11 oz) in Starlight and Candlelight and The Sculpting Powder ($44 for 3.1g/0.11 oz) in Medium.


The Celestial Powders are small compacts of finely milled shimmery powders. Candlelight is a soft champagne color with a very smooth shimmer. In the pan it's neutral and almost has a slight yellow/gold tinge. On my olive/medium skin it pulls more cool-toned. The shimmer is apparent but very natural. It does give a lovely glow and I know it's reached cult status for many. For me it makes a lovely highlight and also can double as a shadow, but my heart still belongs to Hourglass Luminous Light as my favorite for a light powder highlighter. I favor the Hourglass because it glows more and the color is more luminous on my specific skin tone. If you want a cooler-toned or neutral champagne highlighter that glows but won't emphasize pores and is on the subtle side, this is a good option.


above, Candlelight
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The Celestial Powder in Starlight is a soft warm pink highlighter with a medium level shimmer. On me this one has more visible shimmer and frost on the skin but the color is darker than your traditional highlighter. It has a lovely medium but soft pink base mixed with a hint of silver sheen. This one is just so beautiful on the skin. I don't think I have anything like it. It's hard to find a light to medium pink shimmer that isn't too dark or light. The shimmer in this one is more visible but not frosty.


above, Starlight
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The Sculpting Powder in Medium has been one of the most-raved about contouring powders. I am not a contouring kind of person. I think the contouring process can result in really good photographs but in person/real life I find it often looks overdone and fake. That being said I am all for a subtle contour that looks natural. Medium is a medium color that is a neutral grey/taupe/tan. There's no orange undertone and no shimmer. It's pulls neutral-cool and is very finely milled. On my skin it blended beautifully with a very soft but layerable texture. The only problem for me is that I found it too grey and too brown. For contouring I need something softer or warmer, but I think I'm in the minority - I know many prefer the opposite wanting something cooler with good pigment.


above, Medium
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Some comparisons below to some other shades for reference:


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Luminous Light (review)
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (glow portion, review)
Armani Fluid Sheer #2
NARS Illuminator in Adelaide (review)
NARS Multiple St. Lucia (review)


Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (bronze portion, review)
NARS Contour Duo in Paloma (review)
Dolce & Gabbana Blush in Tan (review)
MAC Sheertone Blush in Tenderling

After testing these products I feel all three are very good and of high quality. The powders are smooth and blend nicely on the skin without streaking of fall out. The texture melds beautifully with the natural skin texture and they lasted all day without fading. I also found that the three powders photograph phenomenally well especially with a flash. In real life however, I found The Celestial Powder in Candlelight and The Sculpting Powder in Medium didn't fit what I was looking for, mainly because of how these worked with my skin tone. Candlelight is a bit too cool for me, Medium is a bit too dark and brown for my medium/olive Chanel B30/Tom Ford Bisque 04 skin. The price of these powders is on the steep side for the amount of product given. I think Starlight is worth the price tag for the unique color and formula. For the others, I'm not so sure.

You can find Kevyn Aucoin at a number of retailers. I bought my items from Nordstrom. Also online at Neiman Marcus, Beautylish, Net-A-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman.

Do you have any Kevyn Aucoin favorites? What do you recommend that I check out from the line?

Monday, January 5, 2015

NARS Eye-Opening Act - Beauty Look Book Picks


This month, NARS Cosmetics introduces a limited-edition collection called the Eye-Opening Act featuring Tilda Swinton as the face of the campaign. This collection focuses on creating different looks for the eyes with new products and colors.


All the items in the Limited-Edition Eye-Opening Act Collection are exclusive to Nordstrom through March 15 of this year:
  • Matte Velvet Eyeshadow Stick ($28 each for 0.05 oz / 1.6 g)
    • Flibuste - black
    • Dark Angel - brown
    • Reykjavik - grey
    • Glénan - blue
    • Nunavut - purple
  • Yeux Irresistible Eyeshadow Palette ($48 for 6 shades each 0.03 oz / 1 g)
    • All About Eve Duo Eyeshadow (right side) - Flesh-toned neutral with shimmer
    • Jezebel Eyeshadow - Shimmery sable
    • Thunderball Eyeshadow - Midnight gray
    • Colombo Eyeshadow - Vintage gold shimmer
    • Brousse Duo Eyeshadow (left side) - Sable
    • Coconut Grove Eyeshadow - Deep Brown infused with reflections 
  • Inoubliable Coup d'Oeil Eyeshadow Palette ($48 for 6 shades each 0.03 oz / 1 g)
    • Dalliance Eyeshadow - Dusty lilac stone
    • Pyla Eyeshadow - Smokey hunter green
    • Sidi Bou Saïd - Blackened grape
    • Pandora Duo Eyeshadow (left side) - Sheer white shimmer
    • Luberon - Iridescent sand with rose gold sheen
    • Pandora Duo Eyeshadow (right side) - Matte black
  •  Illuminating Multiple St. Lucia ($39 for 0.5 oz / 14 g)
    • Sheer Rose

I ordered some items sight unseen a little over a week ago and have been putting them to the test. I have my picks to share with you today. First up are the new Matte Velvet Eyeshadow Sticks. These are twist up creamy shadows that come in five colors. I've had really good experiences with the NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliners and Soft Touch Shadow Pencils so I thought these new shadow sticks might be a cross of the two products. I ordered Reykjavik, Flibuste and Dark Angel sight unseen.


The shades I ordered are quite intense and pigmented. I found Reykjavik (grey) and Dark Angel (brown) easy to apply straight on the lids along the lash line. They glided on without tugging. Flibuste (black) was a bit drier in texture and tugged a little bit on my eyes but I was still able to apply on the lash line fairly easily. The Velvet Matte Shadow sticks do dry very quickly and once they set they don't budge. For me, these work best as a liner. I've played with these by using a small smudge brush to apply them (take the brush and swipe the shadow stick, then use the product on the brush to apply to the eyes). Or I've also applied these directly to the eyes and blend with the fingers or a blending brush very quickly.

I like the sleek and simple packaging but given the intensity and pigment of the colors, I feel these act more like eyeliners rather than eyeshadows and wish they came in the Larger than Life Eyeliner form for easier and more precise application. That being said, for any darker cream shadow I usually use a brush to apply (versus fingers) whether it's a pot, twist up stick, chubby stick or compact form.




Here are a few swatched comparisons. I think the NARS Reykjavik grey is a phenomenal grey color. It's my favorite out of the ones I've tested because it's an intense grey without being too light or dark.


Next are the two Eyeshadow Palettes. These are my favorite items from the Eye-Opening Act Collection. Both are super compact and cute. I thought my favorite for sure would be the Yeux Irresistible but I actually really like Inoubliable Coup D'Oeil just as much, especially since it has a lot of new colors (versus repromoted shades).


Yeux Irresistible contains a mix of warm and cool. All the shades are available in other Single Shadows and Eyeshadow Duos with the exception of Colombo which is exclusive to this palette. For me this one has colors that will create a smokey or dramatic eye.


Here are the shades swatched with a heavy hand. If you're familiar with NARS Eyeshadows you are well aware that they have a smooth texture with medium pigment that is easy to build. All the shades here perform just like the individuals. They glide on the eyes nicely and layer well with each other. There is only one shade I've found requires extra work. In my experience with Thunderball (the single), I've found it works best when packed on the eyes with a detail brush as a liner. If you apply with a regular eyeshadow brush all over the lids, you may find it looks uneven and chalky. I found performance to be the same with this palette.
  • All About Eve II is a cool shimmering champagne pink with finely milled shimmer
  • Jezebel is a reddish brown color with subtle shimmer
  • Thunderball is a matte navy teal grey
  • Colombo is a shimmering gold with a very soft texture
  • Brousse I is a shimmering plum
  • Coconut Grove is a satiny dark brown that acts more like a matte on the lids



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Inoubliable Coup d'Oeil surprised me. With the exception of Luberon, all the other colors are very much cool-toned which can be hard for me to wear easily. That combined with the fact that I rarely wear green shadows on the eyes made me a bit hesitant to order this. I decided to give it a try and I'm really glad I did. Most of the colors with the exception of Pandora Duo are new and exclusive to this palette. The combination of these colors creates a unique and softly defined eye.

  • Dalliance is a sheer soft matte lilac tan, it goes on smoothly over an eyeshadow base
  • Pyla is a soft olive green with a slight grey tone and satiny shimmer
  • Sidi Bou Said is a dusty purple grape color with a satiny matte texture
  • Pandora I and II is a sheer iridescent cool white shimmer with a matte black
  • Lumeron is a shimmering coppery rose gold champagne




Last but not least is the new St. Lucia Multiple. This is a beautiful soft shimmering rose champagne. On my medium-toned skin it's a highlighter color (I use the NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation and All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab), but I suspect on fair skin tones it will look more bronzey with more color. This one has a finely milled shimmer with a super smooth texture (no glitter). On my skin it's light enough that I can wear it on the eyes without having to worry about getting that pink-eye look. On the cheeks it adds a very natural but visible glow to the skin. It's really stunning. It's a multi-dimensional color with lots of different colored shimmers in it. It has a rose base with champagne, silver, and pink shimmers that makes it glow. I found it sheer-to-medium in coverage. It's not invisible on the skin, but it is on the sheer side for my particular skin tone. You can build the color naturally.





I'm really pleased with the eyeshadow palettes and new multiple. The colors in the palettes make creating an eye look easy whether you want something for day or night. There is a nice simplicity to the color combinations that will give you a classic look with a modern edge. The small size of the palettes makes these easy to carry with you if you need to travel or carry something with you to take you from day to night if you can't make it back home to get ready. The new St. Lucia Multiple is really quite stunning. It is sheer but gives a really stunning glow. I have mixed feelings about the Velvet Shadow Sticks. If you're looking for a more pigmented version of the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, you will probably like the Velvet Shadow Sticks. I like the packaging design and the rich pigment. I also found lasting power very impressive (they don't budge). I do think they set a bit too quickly for me and due to the intensity of the colors I think they work better as liners than shadows.

All the items in the NARS Eye-Opening Act are limited-edition. They are currently exclusive to Nordstrom counters and online. Have you checked out the collection? Or have anything on your wish list? I'd love to hear your thoughts?




This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions my own. All products purchased by me. For more information please refer to my disclosures.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Urban Decay Naked On the Run Palette


The latest addition to the Urban Decay Naked series is the travel palette called Naked On the Run ($54, limited-edition). I'm a huge fan of the Naked Eyeshadow Palettes so I jumped on the bandwagon and ordered the newest palette of neutrals which has products for eyes, lips and cheeks.

Naked on the Run has five neutral eyeshadows with a mix of shimmer and matte colors, a mini 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner, a Naked Gloss, Bronzer, Blush, Highlighter and a mini Perversion Mascara. The colors in this palette:
  • Dive Eyeshadow is a sparkly medium rose pink with a high frost and some gold sparkle
  • Fix Eyeshadow is a matte light-to-medium tan brown
  • Resist Eyeshadow is a shimmering warm taupe
  • Dare Eyeshadow is a matte medium-dark warm brown
  • Stun Eyeshadow is a sparkling chocolate with gold and brown chunky shimmer
  • Bronzer is a finely milled soft bronze color
  • Blush is a cool pink with a slightly satiny sheen
  • 50/50 Highlighter is a satiny pale pink shimmer
  • Stag 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner is a deep brown with some plum tones, it has a lovely shimmer
  • Sesso Lip Gloss is a nude plum pink with an iridescent sheen


The Naked on the Run Palette is designed to be travel-friendly or to carry with you on the go. It does have everything you need for a complete look (minus brushes) and the colors are versatile, neutral, extremely pigmented and easy to wear. The compact however is huge. It's about 5.4 inches by 5 inches and a little over 1 inch thick. For a travel palette I expected something more compact, but the palette is deep to accommodate compartments for the lipgloss and mascara. The mirror is one of the biggest that I've seen in a compact which makes it super useful to apply the product whether you're at home or traveling or on the go.

For size reference next to a medium-sized tote and magazines. You can see that the Naked on the Run is fairly large. It won't fit in any of my makeup bags, but it does fit into one of the larger compartments in my purse:


Scarf by Nordstrom, iPhone Case by Gray Malin, L'Occitane hand cream mini, Prada Saffiano tote, Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 (similar version here and here), Smythson Notebook, NARS Contour Brush

For the products, the eyeshadows are richly pigmented and velvety in texture, true to Urban Decay's signature eyeshadow formula. There is a higher degree of frost with the shimmer shades but I found them very wearable. The colors do seem to be standard neutrals, but with most of Urban Decay's neutrals, I find they always manage to add a special mix of shimmer or sheen to their neutrals that gives them a new twist making them unique.

The cheek products which include the bronzer, blush and highlighter are finely milled with a very soft texture. The pigment is sheer to medium but buildable. I reviewed two of the Naked Flushed Palettes before and think I might be the only one who cannot wear them on their own. There is something about the texture that makes my cheeks look very dry where pores are suddenly emphasized and skin looks chalky. I had the exact same experience with this palette, but based on reviews I've read, it appears I might be in the minority with my thoughts on the cheek products.

Sesso Lip Gloss is a gorgeous plum rose pink but it's very sheer. You can see the natural lip through the lip gloss but it does leave a very natural rosy tint. It has a smooth texture with a slightly minty scent. I like the Naked Lip Glosses because they make the lips feel hydrated and smooth without that sticky tacky gloss feeling. Lasting power is medium for a few hours before it disappears. This is exclusive to the palette.

Stag Eyeliner is a really pretty dark brown plum shimmer. It leans more plum on me. I believe it's currently exclusive to the palette, but I hope that Urban Decay adds it to the permanent line or releases a powder shadow version of it. It's really quite pretty.

Last but not least, the palette includes a mini Perversion Mascara. This is the first time I've tried it although it's been on my radar for months. The 200+ customer reviews on Sephora were mixed so I didn't know what to expect. I found it lasted all day without smudging or flaking. The color is a rich deep true black and stayed the same rich color once it dried. For application I felt like I had to pack on 3 layers to make it adhere to the lashes. Application was overall easy and clump-free. It defined the lashes and added a bit of volume. The only thing I didn't like about this one was that it didn't hold the curl quite as well as other mascaras I've tried.








Swatches, eyeshadows swatched on the arm without a base:


Eyeshadow pigment is richer when swatched over a base (here is a mix of face primer and tinted moisturizer):


Other products with swatches on bare arm:


One last shot:


I'm a huge fan of the Naked series so this is overall a nice addition for me. The cheek products take extra work for me to make them work. I need to add a dewy base or highlighter underneath to make them look less chalky-looking but the colors are nice and naturally flattering. If you already own all the other Naked Eyeshadow Palettes and Naked Flushed Cheek Palettes you may find this has too many similarities to the others to justify owning. Even though this is designed to be a travel palette for on-the-go, I don't know how I feel about lugging this around in my purse. The compact seems fairly sturdy and while I am usually gentle with purse handling, I'm not sure that I would want to leave this inside for an extended period of time. Also the palette is huge and takes up a lot of space in my purse. I did test it on-the-go with me for a few days and for me it's just too big to carry around.

I'm happy with mine, but it's not something I plan on repurchasing. For reference, Naked + Naked2 + Naked3 swatched here, Naked2 Basics swatched here, Naked Flushed featured here.

You can find Naked on the Run at Urban Decay counters and stores now. Online at Sephora, Ulta, Urban Decay and Nordstrom.

Did you buy Naked on the Run or test it in store? What did you think?

Monday, October 20, 2014

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serum | Apricot Glow and Sunny Flash


I'm always a fan of liquid highlighters that give a nice luminous glow, especially ones that have just the right consistency to mix in with foundations. Finding ones that are warm enough in color with just the right amount of shimmer for my medium olive skin isn't easy. There are a number of liquid highlighters on the market that are perfect for highlighting that are very shimmery or pale in color. Finding the right one to mix product in with foundation or use as an all over primer is tricky for me because I prefer ones that are beige, golden, yellow or darker in color. I had been eyeing the By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums ($89 for 30 ml/1 fl oz) for quite some time and finally splurged over the summer on Apricot Glow No. 3 and Sunny Flash No. 4. I've been very pleased with both.

The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serum is a color correcting fluid. It has a nice smooth texture that blends in nicely with the skin. By Terry calls these "color control radiance elixirs." The reps that have helped me at Space NK and Barneys explained that these are called serums because of the ingredients inside these that help smooth and nourish skin while brightening dark spots. I'm not sure if the serum actually helps lighten dark spots or just lightens the look of dark spots. I haven't used this long enough to see results of dark spots fading. Over the past four months that I've been using these, I haven't noticed dark spots fade, although this does really help to even the look of the skin and creates a lovely glow.

There are four different shades, I tested a sample packet of all four and prefer the options 3 and 4 because they work best with my skin tone. You can use these individually or mix them together to get different effects. Due to the high price of these I haven't splurged on the other two.



Swatches with different lighting shows how soft these liquids are, they have a subtle luminous glow that is visible but not too shimmery, these have a soft rose scent that is really soothing and not overpowering. However if you have an extra sensitive nose, you may want to test in person before splurging:



Out of the four shade options, I picked out Apricot Glow which is their universally flattering shade for fair to medium skin tones and Sunny Flash which is the bronzed version. I really like how Apricot Glow has a yellow-peach undertone which flatters my medium olive skin. There is a subtle pearlescent quality in it that flashes slight hints of pink, but it's predominantly golden and peach which I find adds that perfect glow when used all over the face. I like this as a primer to give a healthy looking radiant effect. If you add foundation and powder on top, you won't see the glow as much but I do see a visible difference in the overall look. I like this one mixed in with foundation as well.

Sunny Flash is a shade darker than my skintone but I like this mixed in with foundations to warm them up. I also like this layered on top of the cheeks or eyes to add a bit of depth and warmth. If you add powder or foundation on top, you won't see as much of the glow but I really like how this looks to smooth out the skin and cheek area. It has enough color to give a very slight contour. It has visible shimmer in it so it makes the skin glow, but not too much.


The serums come with an easy to use pump dispenser:


Some comparisons to other highlighters and illuminators. All of these have beautiful shimmery particles which make them look different depending on how the light interacts with the highlighters. I've taken three different swatch shots to show the base color along with the luminescent quality:

NARS Hot Sand Illuminator (discontinued)
MAC Strobe Liquid in Golden Elixir (discontinued)




I'm really pleased with both. Many highlighters look good for a few hours if I use them all over the face or mixed in with foundations but end up looking too dewy by early afternoon. The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums have a thinner texture that isn't quite as emollient as others which I find makes them last longer on the skin. You get the nice glow without looking greasy in a few hours. I found them both suitable for my super sensitive skin, neither clogged or emphasized pores, although I did find they looked best when used over well-moisturized skin. At $89 each these are quite expensive. I haven't found anything quite like Apricot Glow though, it's a very unique golden apricot color which I've been looking for what seems like forever. I highly recommend both.

Ingredients:


The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serums come in four shades. They retail for $89 each, available at Space NK and Barneys New York.

PS If you have been waiting to splurge, you may want to take advantage of Space NK's Discover Promotion which ends on 10/21 for $20 off a $75 purchase with code DISCOVER20.

Are you a By Terry fan? What are your favorites?
 
 

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