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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette in Surreal Light


I've been playing with something very exciting which is the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette in Surreal Light ($80 for 9.6 g). It's a limited-edition for this season a part of their holiday launch. Right now you can find it at Sephora, Nordstrom and Hourglass but it will be available at all other counters soon. The colors have good pigment and enough color to show up on medium to tan skin. I'd consider myself to be medium bordering on light-medium now and the colors show up very well on me.

I've been a long-time fan of Hourglass Cosmetics especially when it comes to their entire Ambient Lighting Powder line. The Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (originally reviewed here) is one of my top picks for powder highlighters for my skintone. It gives that glow from within kind of effect, melds beautifully with the skin, looks glowy but natural, doesn't emphasize pores and lasts forever! (Well almost ... mine has lasted years!) Since the initial launch back in 2013 I've looked forward to each new year's launch. They've added something special to the line with new products and variations. Last year's palette was the first launch I skipped because of the repeated shades. This year's palette is cased in marble pattern packaging (gorgeous!) and has shades that are different from existing colors.

You have five shades of powder. All are finely milled with a soft touch. There will be some powdery kick up if you dip your brush in the palette but there isn't any fallout once it's on your face. The colors and product sizes:


Colors:
  • Finishing Powder in Surreal Light (4 g / 0.14 oz) is a sheer nude warm shimmer, I thought this would be too shimmery to use as an all over setting powder but it actually works well without making me look like a statue, it has a yellow undertone
  • Bronzer in Surreal Bronze Light (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a neutral bronzer shade, it's lighter than the two existing Hourglass bronzers by a little bit making it more natural looking
  • Blush in Surreal Glow (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a what Hourglass calls a "pale peony blush pink" it's a nude pink on my skin and it shows up
  • Blush in Surreal Effect (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a cooler-toned rose pink compared to the other shades in the palette, there is a soft warm peachy shimmer mixed throughout which makes the color itself more on the neutral warm side
  • Strobe Powder in Surreal Strobe Light (1.4 g / 0.04 oz) is a golden peach yellow shimmer highlight
Below are close ups of the palette in different lighting. I did order two (by accident) and as you can see the swirl patterns are unique in every palette similar to that of the Ambient Lighting Blushes and Ambient Lighting Bronzers. If you're new to the Ambient Lighting collection the powders brighten and highlight the skin. Their powders have what Hourglass calls "... Photoluminescent Technology to capture, diffuse and soften surrounding light to refine the appearance of skin." These powders do indeed smooth the skin.

I've been able to use all five colors on the face at once. I'll use the Finishing Powder to set my foundation all over the face (it's not too glowy for me). I'll mix both shades of blush and apply them on the cheeks, although you can definitely just use one. Bronzer is added to warm up the face. The strobe powder is used to highlight temples, cheekbones or eyes. You can use it however you feel comfortable using it though - no need to use all the colors at once.

 Close ups:



Swatched with numbers labeled according to the chart on the back of the box and what's on the Hourglass website:


Swatch comparisons below:


Thoughts on comparisons:
  • Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Brilliant Strobe Light (review here) is paler and brighter than Surreal Light
  • Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light (review here) is almost pink by comparison to Surreal Light
  • Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure (review here) is cooler-toned and more mauve than either of the Surreal Blushes
  • Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush (review here) is brighter, deeper and warmer than Surreal Effect
  • Ambient Lighting Bronzers in Luminous Bronze Light and Radiant Bronze Light (review here) are both more golden and bronzey compared to the palette
  • I didn't swatch compare the Surreal Strobe Light because it's one of the darker more yellow/gold highlighters in the Hourglass line and I could not find anything similar


The powders perform really well and I like that it has enough color to show up even though the overall feel is neutral. Sometimes those neutral palettes can be a bit too neutral but this one has visible color. The pans are small - I remember from last year's reviews many had done comparisons on the pan sizes in the palette to individual full sized products. I think the biggest complaint about this one is the price for the size and product amounts but this year's palette does contain more product in grams and ounces compared to last year's. I do think the $80 price tag is extremely steep but I don't feel as though it's outrageous. Here's a comparison break down in price per grams:
  • Palette $80 for 9.6 g is $8.33/g
  • Powders are $46 for 10 g which is $4.60/g
  • Blushes are $38 for 4.2 g which is $9.05/g
  • Bronzers are $50 for 11 g which is $4.55/g
  • Strobe Powders are $38 for 4.6 g which is $8.26/g
I personally feel this was worth the splurge. I love all things glowy and this is one of the most natural highlighter palettes I've tested. There are a number of highlighter palettes I've seen pop up online (in particular at Sephora) so you may want to do some browsing or swatching in stores if you can before deciding which one to buy. I've taken a quick peek online and this is the only one I've bought so far and I'm very happy with that decision. The packaging is so pretty, colors work really well for my medium olive toned skin. Many of you keep asking what MAC shade I am for reference and I've been severely allergic to MAC Studio Fix for many years so I stopped using it. I've always been in between NC30 and NC35 but it's been a long time since I last tested any of their foundations so out of curiosity I went and got shade matched. For MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation I can go with either NC35 or NC37 (for some reason NC37 is a bit lighter than NC35) and for Matchmaster I'm a 3.0 (but it runs slightly less yellow than I like). In the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation I'm in between Warm Ivory and Nude. In NARS I'm in between Groenland and St. Moritz for the Velvet Matte Skin Tint.

One quick note on brush testing. There is an Ambient Lighting Edit Brush ($46) which is a double-sided brush designed and sized for this palette. In my experience Hourglass brushes are very well made and perform well. They're synthetic and PETA-approved. I did not buy it but have been using my Wayne Goss Brush #2 for the smaller pans and MAC #187 Duo Fibre brush for the finishing powder.


Bottom line spendy but worth it for me. It exceeded my expectations. I knew I would like it but didn't know if I could "love" it at the $80 price. After testing it I can say that I do love it. It will be a great one for travel and it's a palette I can see myself using every single shade. It's an exquisite well-executed palette. I'm not sure if the shades will show up on deeper skintones but if you're about 3-4 shades darker than me I do think it will still show up. Now that you know what MAC shade I am if you have tested it any have any thoughts let me know in the comments.

You can find the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette in Surreal Light at Sephora, Nordstrom and Hourglass but it should launch at all other counters very soon. The palette is limited-edition.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

MAC x Star Trek Collection Picks


Last month I stopped by the MAC x Star Trek Preview at Comic-Con. The collection officially launches this month and is currently available online at MAC and Nordstrom but was available for early access to anyone in the San Diego area during the week of Comic-Con. I am not one who has followed Star Trek very closely and have never attended Comic-Con even though it is in my hometown, but I could not pass up the opportunity to see something MAC-related and was curious to see what the Star Trek collection looked like so I took an Uber for the first time in San Diego (second time I've used it ever!) to downtown since I knew finding parking on my own would be virtually impossible (or extremely expensive).

The MAC x Star Trek Preview was held a few blocks away from the San Diego Convention Center where Comic-Con is actually held. They had a space ship station setup with areas for makeup testing, makeup application and checkout. Everything was decked out in a Star Trek theme. You can see more from the event on Star Trek's website.




The day I stopped by some items were already sold out from the early preview. I ordered a couple more items once they popped up online and now have my picks ready to show you. The collection celebrates 50 years of Star Trek and at the event a tiny collectors pin and some Legos were given with each purchase. Everything as you can imagine has a metallic and space-like theme with lots of shimmer, glitter and glitz. All items have the silver Star Trek logo. The most conservative colors I could find and picked out:
  • Trip the Light Fantastic Powders ($34 each for 6.5 g/0.22 oz) in Luna Luster, Strange New Worlds, Highly Illogical
  • Pressed Pigment ($23 each for 3 g/0.1 oz) in To Boldly Go and The Naked Time
  • Lipstick ($18 each for 3 g/0.1 oz) in Llap and Where No Man Has Gone Before
  • Lipglass ($17 each for 4.8 ml/0.16 oz) in Pleasure Planet


Up first are the Trip the Light Fantastic Powders which are swirled highlighters. MAC describes these as sheer powders but I find that the color can be built for more pigment. I don't really find them sheer but you can blend the colors for a more sheer look. Luna Luster is a pale opal rose with tiny flecks of silver sparkle (they look like super tiny micro glitters), Strange New Worlds is a warm peachy rose shimmer, Highly Illogical is a mauve plum shimmer. I've been a long time fan of MAC Mineralize Finish Powders even though they can be very shimmery, I find these Fantastic Powders to have less frost and more of a softer sheen. They are still on the shimmery side though. My favorite is Strange New Worlds for the most natural sheen. The other two are more shimmery and have more contrast with my skin and work best as a soft highlighter for the cheeks or eyes.


Next are two of the Pressed Pigments, both of which are what I'd call glitter bombs. I've tried and used MAC Pressed Pigments before so I was aware of how sparkly they might be. I talked myself into being brave with these thinking I could pull them off (at least my version of brave). I cannot. They are simply too sparkly for me, even when pressed lightly over other matte shadows or when layered with other colors. The base colors are gorgeous. Not to worry for me though because I have a friend who is dying to take these off my hands, lol. Once on the lids there is minimal fallout and I will say they last an impressive amount of time.



For the lips everything was shimmery or metallic. Most options are for the person who likes super edgy looks. Where No Man Has Gone Before is a gorgeous metallic rose with golden sheen, Llap is a shimmering frosted beige, Pleasure Planet is a very sparkly multi-colored gold with a sheer yellow base. In my experience some MAC frost and shimmers look best with a clear or sheer gloss on top to help tone down the shimmer a bit and bring out the color. I think both of these lipsticks are in that category.


All swatched on bare lips, just as labeled:


Swatch comparisons:


I found the MAC x Star Trek launch to be a fun and innovative collection filled with lots of unique colors and interesting textures for shimmer and glitter. In case you haven't seen it, Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog has a really fun series of looks on her blog of the collection. I had a lot of fun visiting the Star Trek setups at Comic-Con, it's always fun to people watch and the costumes are quite amazing. If I had to pick anything as a must-have, it would be Strange New Worlds Trip the Light Fantastic Powder.

The collection is available online and in stores starting today at MAC and Nordstrom as well as all other MAC counters. Everything is limited-edition.



Have you checked anything out yet? Or do you have anything on your wishlist?


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops


Cover FX Custom 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 as of Friday morning 8/26 are back 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.

Update: As of Friday 8/26 these are back online at Sephora! 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!


 

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