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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops


Cover FX Enhancer Drops ($42 each for 15 ml/0.5 fl oz, made in Italy) are super pigmented liquid highlighter and bronzer drops that you can use in a wide range of ways. They have been extremely popular and sold out for months - it appears they sold out almost instantly, the Cover FX team sent me samples back in July and by the time my package arrived, all the colors except the bronzers were sold out. They just restocked them on coverfx.com and according to their Instagram plan to restock them online Sephora.com today. I've spotted the bronzer shades in store at a few Sephora stores near me but all the shimmery colors have been sold out for ages. In case you have had these on your radar I wanted to give you a heads up to check Sephora.com this afternoon so you don't miss out. I know everyone's preference for shimmer with highlighters is different but I will say right now that my quick take is these live up to the hype and are among the best I've tried. I think you need at least one in your life.


There are four highlighters and two bronzers (Sunset and Sunkissed featured in my summer bronzer edit). If you've seen these featured online Instagram, blogs or YouTube channels you may have been a bit concerned that the highlighters have that super high-frost overly dramatic shimmer effect. I love a good shimmer but if you're a conservative makeup like me you find that some shimmers are really just too much for everyday wear. They look good on camera or for inspirational makeup looks but for normal everyday regular life I'm not sure how many of us really wear that much shimmer.

The Cover FX Enhancer Drops are extremely pigmented and can give a very intense highlight but what I love about them is that you easily sheer it out for a soft luminous glow. They are very fluid which makes a tiny bit easy to blend. I like these on the eyes, dabbed on cheekbones and especially mixed in with foundation. Mixing these in with foundation doesn't change the foundation formula too much which is nice. Sometimes I like my foundation formulas just the way they are I just want to add a bit of shimmer or glow. Since the formula is liquid and lightweight it won't add any emollient texture like Armani Fluid Sheers, Estee Edit Flash Illuminators or Estee Edit Beam Team.

They come with a dropper. I'm usually not a fan of droppers for makeup because it just gets messy, but they are easy to use and dispense just the right amount of product.

I tried each color mixed in with my foundations (including the bronzers). Two drops is all I needed to add a glow. My two favorite shades are in the middle which include Moonlight and Sunlight - they matched my skintone the closest so the colors didn't change the color of my foundation too much. The others were too light or dark to mix in with foundation for all over the face, so those were best used as a highlight on eyes or cheeks or to bronze the cheeks.

Onto the colors, they come packaged in a sturdy glass vial. The colors of the packaging mimic the actual color which is nice so you can see at a glance what color you're grabbing:

Colors left to right:
  • Celestial is a pale pearly white
  • Moonlight is a champagne silver
  • Sunlight is a warmer champagne with gold tones
  • Candlelight is a shimmering bronze
  • Sunkissed is a non-shimmer neutral light bronze
  • Sunset is a non-shimmer medium brown

Because the shimmer is very intense, almost foiled-like when you swatch, these will look different in every swatch photo you see depending on how the light hits the product. Here they are swatched a few different ways:


Blended:


Heavy in sunlight:


Bottom line definitely worth checking out. My top three are Moonlight, Sunlight and Sunkissed. I like that they are easy to mix in with foundation or apply on top of your makeup. I really like them on the eyes for an all over wash that's easy and effortless. Sunkissed is a great color to add some life to the face - for medium-skinned girls, think of it as a very natural contour to add some color to your face without having that contour look. If you're one who loves shimmer you will really like these. There's no detectable scent, they dry to a satiny finish, last all day long, great for normal to oily skin and are easy to sheer out. If you're super conservative with shimmers and need something a lot softer or with a dewy finish I'd recommend you opt for the Estee Edit Flash Illuminators, Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow or Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust for a more subtle glow.

Per Cover FX these will be restocked online at Sephora later today. Some still available online at Cover FX. Have you tried these? What did you think? Have you tried the Custom Infusion Drops or Custom Cover Drops - they seem to be really popular as well but I'm always nervous about testing new things on my face - if you've tested them let me know what you thought! I've tried a couple Cover FX foundations before and they were too heavy for my skin, but given the success I've had with the liquid highlighters, perhaps the drop foundation will be better?

Custom Enhancer Drops provided courtesy of Cover FX for review consideration.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dior Skyline Collection for Fall 2016


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

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


A closer look at the contour sticks:




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


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


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


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

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

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



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


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


Below, applied straight from the tube on bare lips:


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

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


Two coats in sunlight:



Two coats of Skyline:




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

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


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

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


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tom Ford Beauty Black Orchid Eau de Parfum + Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom


For fall Tom Ford Beauty is launching a few mini collections, the first is the Orchid Collection which highlights two fragrances in Black Orchid and Orchid Soleil along with corresponding powders and lipsticks to match the mood of each scent. A lovely package of the Black Orchid Eau de Parfum ($120 for 50 ml) and Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom ($80) arrived a few months ago but I decided to wait closer to fall to review these. Scent is often very seasonal for me and some perfumes I can't get in the mood for if it's not the right time of year. Now that fall is approaching I am ready to review two items from the Orchid Collection. I have also purchased the Orchid Soleil perfume and a few other pieces which I hope to review in the next couple of weeks.

Both the Nightbloom Powder and Black Orchid Eau de Parfum come in matching packaging with the embossed striped black case and gold accent. The powder compact is the same size as the small bronzing powders and cream cheek colors from summer.


Black Orchid Eau de Parfum is not a new frangrance - it's been a classic in the Tom Ford Beauty line for many years. For me this is a rich and spicy scent with a dark feel. To me it's distinctly feminine, but pulls on the masculine side. Notes include bergamot, citrus accord, mandarin, gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lotus, orchid spicy floral accord, orchid, patchouli, sandalwood, incense, vanilla. If I were to sum it up in three words it would be "dark seductive floral." Lasting power is very good - I find all Tom Ford scents to be long lasting, but this one is one of the strongest I've tried. While I am drawn to unisex scents that have notes like sandalwood and amber, Tom Ford Black Orchid is a bit darker than I would normally wear, even for date nights. It has a distinct and unique scent that feels very luxurious. I'm just not sure that it's my cup of tea - but my nose has been known to change in taste. There are a few fragrances I did not like in my mid-20's that I adore right now that I'm in my mid-30's.


The Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom is a gold shimmery highlighter with a strong yellow sheen. It has a very soft fragrance added but it does not really smell like the Black Orchid perfume. The shimmer is visible with lovely silver and gold sparkles. It has a smooth medium to medium-full coverage for pigment and is easy to blend. Quality-wise it's excellent, doesn't emphasize pores, doesn't look overly frosted and stays put all day long without fall out or fading. Color-wise, I've mentioned numerous times before that I tend to stay away from yellowy-gold highlighters because it often clashes with my skintone. Alone on the skin it is indeed very yellow, but once I add a bronzer or blush, the yellow tones balance out a bit.



Swatch comparisons below to a few other highlighters. Tom Ford Night Bloom as the strongest yellow undertones.



Both the Black Orchid Eau de Parfum and Nightbloom Powder in Black Bloom are luxurious splurges that I was thrilled to be able to try. I'm a huge fan of Tom Ford Beauty and some of his fragrances are among my favorites (right now I'm obsessed with Soleil Blanc). Black Orchid as I suspected based on previous sniffs and spritzes at the counter is one of those scents that I distinctly seductive and beautiful, just not one I can see myself wearing on a regular basis. For me, my best date night scent is still Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb.

The Nightbloom Powder is beyond gorgeous in every aspect from the packaging, texture, shimmer and color. However, since I tend to gravitate to peachy champagne colors for highlighters I can't call this a must-have for me but I am very grateful a sample was sent for me to test out. I have high hopes for the pink one which I just ordered so stay tuned for a review on that one soon! Quality wise both items are a solid thumbs up.

Right now the Orchid Collection appears to have certain pieces that are available at select locations. The powders, lipsticks and solid perfumes can be found only at Tom Ford, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman (for pre-order) and Selfridges (each of the stores list the collection as exclusive). The regular spray perfumes can be found at all other Tom Ford counters and stores.

Have you tried anything from the Orchid Collection yet? What did you think?

Black Orchid and Black Bloom both provided for review consideration.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Easy to Wear Contour and Highlight Sticks


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

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

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

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



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




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




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


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




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


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



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

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

Press samples include products from Wander Beauty and Dior Beauty.


 

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